August 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Shaman, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

A few weeks ago patch 3.2 was released.  Not exactly fresh news (more “news carrion”, I suppose) but something that was introduced in that patch still makes me smile when I use it.

The Totems Bar.  Or whatever its official name is.

Being a shaman of very little brain, it took me a while to realise that out of all the totems I could use, I tended to use the same four 90% of the time.  So in one of my infrequent UI tidying sessions, I set up those four totems in prime quickslot positions, with standby replacement totems nearby.  And then all the “Once a week, but they’re necessary for a particular fight” totems in slots further away.

Six months later, I marvelled at how much of a mess I’d made of my UI.

So I trimmed it a bit more, and removed all totem icons that I’d not had to click on in the past six months.  Yes, you, Sentry Totem.  I then also, in a break with established tradition, wrote a macro.  Well, copied a macro that someone else had written (I did modify it a little, though).

It was a cast sequence macro that would allow me to use one icon, clicked multiple times, to drop the four most used totems.  It freed up 3 of my quickslots that I really needed for useful things, like heals.  And whilst it felt like I was cheating (one button win!) it did make dropping the same four totems less annoying.

So, when patch 3.2 was released, I’m looking at this here new-fangled Totem Bar.  And felt it was a bit cheeky that we got to pay golds to actually get to use it.  However, it does mean that instead of taking 10 seconds at the start of a fight to drop totems, I can have all four drop at once.  And it’s set up in a way that makes selecting a particular totem very easy, even whilst in combat.  Add that to three separate pre-loads, and it’s a lovely little addition that just works.  And works nicely.

It’s meant that dropping totems, or moving totems, is now really easy.  It means that when I’m instancing or raiding, if the fight moves, so can the totems without taking a good few seconds out of healing.  It means that when soloing, I’m not going to spend longer than the fight itself will last dropping totems.

Blizzard, you got a winner that time.  Ta muchly.




Hawley the Lost

August 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Posted in LotRO, Moria | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

The other night, whilst mooching my way around Moria, I was presented with this view:

Hawley, lost again

Now, I may complain about having got lost in Moria the moment I entered, and remaining lost ever since, but this was one of those moments in gaming that I love.

I’m not really an explorer.  A old and very dear friend of mine would take a sub-level 10 gnome rogue exploring in the original Everquest (back when it was cool, y’know) and see what sights he could see with it.  The answer?  Quite a surprising amount.  We used to get the screenshots as “Wish-you-were-here” postcards.  Sometimes he’d buzz level 60 raids as they were about to go into a raid area.  Genius.  If there was an opportunity for online special forces, he’d have been in there.

I, on the other hand, am an inadvertent explorer.  I just don’t feel the urge to go and hunt out the dark and remote corners of a map.  Being some sort of awful achievist, they’re just not exciting enough when compared to smacking something royally about the head.  I know, I’m a healing thug.

Having said that, I just love that moment.  That moment when you see a view, and something about the artwork and artistry involved in creating that view *just clicks*, and I get to gaze in awe and wonder at it.

I had been looking for a quest target, but suddenly I had to investigate the shiny thing more.  So all thoughts of questing aside, I went to explore.  And promptly got a better view:

Hawley, slightly more lost

Fabulous.  Who’d have thought that Moria, with all its dark faceless caves and dour, stentorian halls could have something so…  blue.  And it’s not just the colour palette, but the sheer conceptual bravado:  A Waterworks.  No, *The* Waterworks.  Of course somewhere the size of Moria would have plumbing, but done in the style of the finest builders and engineers in Middle Earth.  And it is the sheer size and scope of The Waterworks that really hammered that belief home.  Only a race born to build would even conceive of such a place on such a grand scale.

Much as I love the look of many of the zones in World of Warcraft (apart from Azshara.  Hates you, Azshara!), one of the things about Lord of the Rings Online that makes it special is the thought that this version of Middle Earth could, just could, exist in the real world.

And one of the things I really like about The Waterworks is that it could, just could, exist in the real world too.  So what did I do?  Well, I went in there, and found stuff to smack about the head repeatedly.  Fabulous!

Games designers are all too often far too anonymous.  I however, would like to send a thank you to the person or persons behind the creation of The Waterworks.  For a surprisingly long time, you made a jaded gamer see something wonderful, rather than just another place to go and collect xp.



RSS Feed

August 28, 2009 at 10:54 am | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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While on the NC10 it’s hard for me to edit much here. But to get the site’s RSS you can use:

Will sort it out when back from London.


Of Burlocks and Hawleys

August 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Characters | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Ah Burlok, where have you gone?

I’m not sure what to do.  I really enjoy playing Warhammer Online, but I managed to completely miss the fact that all of my characters were on a server that was doomed.  Dooooooomed, I say!  Dooooooomed!

Never mind that the guild I was in merged with another, and they’ve gone off to where the grapevine has told me is Karak-Norn.

I’m a strange sentimentalist when it comes to online gaming.  These permanent worlds are only semi-permanent, after all.  And as those who know me are sick of me saying; “It’s all pretty pictures and ugly code”.  Stuff doesn’t really exist there, so all that will remain in a few years are the memories of some good times, and some friendships.

So the passing of Insult to Injury, and the server its varied and wonderful members lived on, leaves me with the same sort of melancholy that I get when I say goodbye to a favoured mug.  Thanks mug, you looked fabulous with my tea in you, but the dishwasher has destroyed that picture of a stormtrooper that was on you, and the clumsy man at work broke your handle. But in a day or so, I’ll have a new favourite mug, and you’ll just be a memory.

No, I’m not trivialising the whole affair.  I really do value my mugs that highly.  I love my tea, and the vessels that hold it.  Just as I love playing these games.  But when the game is gone, it’s gone.  I’ll not dwell on it.

But what should I do now?  Server-Dooooom has killed off all my characters, so I went and created new Hawleys.  Sort of like a population explosion of tiny little Warrior Priests, on the English speaking servers.

Well, all bar one.  Karak-Norn.  I went there, casually created the character, confidently put the name in and…  Name already taken.

Yowsers!  One of the reasons I chose “Hawley” as a name to stick with was that it always seemed to be free on a server.  That no-one else liked it as a name.  And that it sounds vaguely goofy as a name.

This amazed me.  Who on earth would choose a name like “Hawley”?  Apart from me, of course.  I’m not upset about it.  It’s a name, not a way of life.  But I can’t help wondering.

And this opens me up to having to come up with a new name.  “Hawley” is a default name for my healers, now.  In fact, the only Hawley of mine that isn’t a healer is a Warcraft Hunter alt (I fancied a change.  It felt a bit wierd at the time, and confuses me now) that I don’t play very much.

What should this new name be?  I’m a believer in names.  Names have power?  No, they don’t.  But the only truly individual thing in an online game is your character’s name.  Hairstyles, skin colour, noses, all come from templates.  But the name?  There’s only one on a server.  So the name can say more about a character (and the player behind it) than anything else.

What should I call my Warrior Priest?

I’d want a name that says something about him.  Something that says “I’m dangerous.  I hit people with a hammer, in the face.  I heal my allies.  I get all smitey at the drop of a hat.  I’m a bit grumpy, and ever so slightly nerdy.”

The search continues.

Of course, I’m not sure what server I want to play on, yet.  I’m solo at the moment while settling back into Warhammer Online, and remembering how to play the game.  But in time I shall probably want to find a guild, and start levelling properly.

Will that be a Hawley, or Not-Hawley?

Watch this space.



Is back!

August 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Posted in General | 7 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

So, here I am again.  I finally have a bit of spare time since the universe decided that it was high time that I got All Growed Up(tm).

I can’t complain.  I’ve spent far too long living the life of a geeky teenager to have any recourse to complain that what other people go through over the course of a decade or so, I’ve had erupt all around me in the course of 9 months.  Yes.  The universe decided to shine a bright light in my face, hit me with a rubber tube, put bamboo splinters under my fingernails, and shout; “You WILL grow up!  You WILL!”  A lot.  With spittle.  Not pretty.

The upshot of all of that growing up was that quite a number of my geeky hobbies got to suffer.  Chief amongst all of these was online gaming.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, I went from spending time playing four online games (I know!  I’m such a game-whore!) to…  well, none.  I would occasionally sneak the odd moment in one or more of them, but nothing and nowhere near the hours that I would have done in the past.

I do not begrudge the lack of play.  I swapped playing (in no particular order) Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan and Warhammer Online (with occasional forays into Eve Online) for a great job, a great girlfriend, moving house twice, a great promotion from my great job into an even better job, now living with aforementioned great girl, and even had a foreign holiday (for the first time in 19 years).  In essence, I got all growed up.

But now time pressures are easing off.  I can afford to spend more time playing games, and whilst my playing shall never get back to those halcyon days of spending three evenings a week raiding and another two levelling and instancing, I can at least game again.

So, here I am again.

I’ve forgotten so much about playing in these games, that I know I’m making things tougher for myself at times.  But hey, it’s a lot of fun in those big bad online worlds.

And to go with that all that, here is *M*M*O*S*H*.  It’s an opportunity to comment on what it’s like playing a healer (mostly) in online gaming.  Well, the games that Arbitrary and I (and whomever else) play.


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