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03/07/2006 Archived Entry: "A Banner Year"

Ok...now that we're into March, I think it's safe to say the world is not going to blow up at the start of 2006. Yes, I know...the posting rate is much like that of a snail...with an inner ear infection...upside down...trying to go upstream...

First in news, Krinny.com has expanded to MySpace! Well, this isn't exactly news, I've had an account there forever and a day and just never bothered to do anything with it. However, this will become the first (and probably last) mirror of this blog! This wonderful syndication brought to you by the magic of copy and paste...

In actual news, I'm still dog tired from our San Diego trip. We were out there for BBWorld, a user's conference for the Blackboard e-learning suite (one of the many projects that gets passed down to me). The conference was ok...the drinks were good (if somewhat pricey in places)...but there was just way, way, way too much walking. I mean like 20-30 miles...at least...and I'm fairly sure it was uphill both ways in a blinding...well it doesn't snow in San Diego but you get the point. Walking around in Tijuana was fun, as was seeing the Mexican "border" which, I kid you not, amounted to a gate. Nobody watching this gate mind you, just there. However, the merchandise available there was not all that interesting. It was neat to say I've been there, but I don't know that it's a place I have an interest in returning to. Main lesson learned: Microsoft throws a damned good party. Anyone who thinks of putting 2 full open bars on the flight deck of an aircraft-carrier-turned-museum knows what they're doing.

Supposedly, there are still plans to visit my brother who is currently stationed in Rio...more news on that as the day progresses.

On the gaming front, Empire At War (the new Star Wars game) is...well, I'd give it an "ok". If you're a fan of Star Wars, it's really cool to be able to watch a phalanx of Imperial Star Destroyers sweep across the map blasting everything in front of them. From a game perspective though, it's a bit under-cooked as the units that are "counters" are far too effective, especially in the ground game. It's like you blink and the units are gone. Hopefully when LucasArts releases the promised modification tools (modtools for you uninitiated) someone out there will be able to correctly balance these things and make the game a lot less cookie-cutter. Right now there's no incentive to try different tactics...just build up the generic set of units that offsets the enemy's. I know that sounds like "strategy", but while it may sound that way, it really isn't. One of the great things about strategy games is that a variety of tactics should work. As it stands, bring a group of AT-ATs, a few anti-infantry weapons and an anti-air platform and you're basically all set.

Yesterday I got a new game in, Galactic Civilzations 2: Dread Lords. I seriously forgot that I ordered it a few months ago back when I was waiting for my Xbox 360. I had the beta, but didn't play it much since I couldn't switch out of the game to talk to people (Alt+Tab support is required IMO). Seemed promising though, I hope to find the time to give it a proper rundown. Penny Arcade gave it a decent enough mention, and usually that bodes well for a game.

Speaking of the 360, mine finally arrived...a day and a half before I went to San Diego for a week. However, that's all in the past. So far I have a grand total of two games for it: Madden '06 and Fight Night 3. Madden is a really different game on the 360...I think I'm too used to the Xbox still to enjoy that one. Fight Night 3 though is really good. I'm not a huge fan of the announcers (who inevitably end up repeating themselves 839471 times in these games), but the graphics are very nice and there's just something fun about a "realistic" fighting game where not everyone is a super-ninja-ex-SpecForces-mutant-spy with the mega-blast-of-doom. There's something honest about punching a guy in the nose and making it bleed.

No talk of gaming would be complete without a mention of the progress in WoW. After close to a year, I finally got my first character (as in, order of creation) up to the max level. Ignore that I had two other characters, one created WELL after him, get there first. As of last night, I purchased a big kitty for him to ride around on. I'm now trying to figure out what to do next. My first character ended up hitting instances constantly...but that's almost always a 2-3 hour solid commitment...4-5 if groups aren't really forming that rapidly. I'm not sure I really want to do that again, it really did turn the game into more of a job. I have a massive effort ahead of me to complete my crazy plan for the 2nd max level character as I'm somewhat sick of big kitties and have opted to go for a big horse for that one. This. Is. Insanity. Since I'm about 2/3s of the way (total), I don't feel like turning back now, but I don't recommend that course of action for anyone. I now know why there's so few people with cross-faction mounts. It's either insanely expensive, or 2-3 months of farming. However, I will (eventually) complete this goal.

In the meantime, I have 6 other characters on that realm to advance, and trying to choose between them is like trying to pick a favorite kid. The one who's closest to the max level is a class that I really don't know if I'm playing right. Groups get things done when I'm in them, but I just can't help feeling like I'm not doing it right. The next one after that is probably the most boring class to play (or at least was). The others are all so low that it'd be a very hefty amount of effort just to get out of the really annoying "no mount" phase. It's a minor dilemma, and I'm sure something will eventually strike my fancy to play.

I'm sure there's something that might actually be interesting going on in my life, but I can't think of it at the moment. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share!

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