Hey, guess what? i’ve actually got extra time today, this very morning. One hour, to be precise. For the next 60 minutes you’ve got me all to yourself, Long Shot. So what do you want to do with your hour?
Time enough, at last!
More than likely i’ll just ramble on about this and that, and you’ll wonder while reading “what’s the point here?”
Then you’ll reach the end and be all like “oh…I see what you did there.”
That’s the plan at any rate
* * * * *
Okay first topic: school. i skipped out on the spring semester, because…well i can’t say for certain. Anxiety, mostly. And for a bit i was thinking like my old, 23-year-old self: i don’t need no degree! Then i wizened up and realized how much time and effort i’ve put into getting that piece of paper, and deep down how much i wanted to accomplish the goal. So now i’m back at CSU and loving it. Learning stuff is very rewarding.
Also, it gives me another avenue to hone my writing skills because this semester i am in News Media Lab I. This is a fancy way of saying i am on the staff of the Cleveland Stater – the official school newspaper. Not only am i a writer for the paper this semester, i snagged credit as the online editor and assistant chief copy editor as well. In fact, our first issue arrives from the printer today, and we have to distribute it on campus this afternoon (why i only have one hour to myself). i’ve got three articles in this issue. One is about eTutoring at CSU. There was a news announcement on the school website about the new eTutoring program, something i felt worthy of reporting on. But after ambushing the program coordinator for an impromptu interview, i learned that eTutoring was launched in 2010. So why the announcement? To raise some awareness i suppose – it seems that eTutoring is woefully underutilized. However, i did manage through good interviewing skills to get a bit of a scoop. You’ll have to read the Stater to find out what. Don’t worry, i’ll give ya’ll a link later (after i update the online version – my duty as online editor). In another article, i covered the appointment of a new VP of research at CSU. This one was quite a learning experience. Three lessons i learned here:
- Never agree to show the interviewee the article prior to print
- Always explicitly state that the interview is recorded
- Be a prick when they insist on changing their quotes and stuff
My third article was originally about how the filming of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was causing problems for CSU commuters. After challenging the authority of roaming PA’s and insisting upon my rights as a free individual to stand and take pictures wherever i wanted to – including one step away from where their “set” was – i encountered a protest by the musician’s union. My nose for news smelled something interesting there so i walked over, introduced myself, and wound up doing the story about that. Guess what? Front page of the Stater. Got a nice big color photo to go along with it, too. Unfortunately, my clandestine operation into the Cleveland Public Library did not yield the amazing photo i thought it might. The 6th floor had a fantastic view of the set, and i stood up there about an hour and a half waiting for something to happen. Naturally, five minutes after i left, they blew up an SUV on the street. Damn.
This could have been my shot! (It wasn’t)
As for my copy editor credit, on this issue at least, i’ve got to give a hearty thanks to a classmate for being unable to devote much time to the lab class. Since i have my class days free (no work those days) i can be there all day. When it came time for “print day” – the day we do layout and copy-editing, pretty much just me and the E-I-C were there doing the work. While he was arranging the credits box, our professor told him to put me down as copy editor, since “he’s assumed those responsibilities on his own.” Hey – i was just trying to help out…but i’ll take the credit, sure. Thanks, classmate who couldn’t make it to class!
Now, on to some bittersweet news. As Long Shotters know, i’ve been playing DDO on-and-off again for about seven years now.
Well, it’s off again.
i’ve never been able to exactly put my finger on it, but just about once a year, i will reach a point where i log in, muddle around a bit, and feel like there just plain isn’t anything to do. Mind you, i’m not a hardcore grinder. i have no greensteel. Haven’t done much raiding. You get the picture. But there always comes a point when my brightly burning passion for DDO just fizzles out, for a couple of months at least. This time, i think it’s a combination of several things.
First off, time. During the spring and early summer, since i wasn’t in school i had oodles of free time. If i may out myself as an uber-geek, i pretty much came home from work, ate dinner, and logged in for the rest of the night for much of 2013 so far. Now that school is in session for me, time is a valuable commodity and i just don’t have the kind that i enjoyed before.
Because of all that time, i became quite involved with my guild, the Sacred Flame Guardians – SFG. They are a great bunch of players on Sarlona and they taught me a ton! Particularly Wolfie and Boeregard, who showed Wrongside and i the ropes of a bunch of raids and high-level quests, generously passing off powerful gear to us and generally showing us a hell of a good time.
But then Neverwinter Online released.
For my money, i hate to say it because i’m such a huge D&D nerd – but i think that game sucks. i know, i know, it’s still in beta, yadda yadda yadda…but i’ll tell you what. i’ve played A LOT of games in my life, quite a few MMOs included, and i can tell whether or not i’ll like a game after a day or two of playing it. If i’m not mistaken, Gamer Geoff has a similar outlook and states his case much more eloquently. NWO fans will say “you’ve got to play it up to cap to enjoy it” and stuff like that. But to them i say this: if i play a game for 10-12 hours and do not have any fun during that time, then to me the game is a failure.
Now, how does this relate to DDO? Unlike me, many members of SFG think NWO is the shizit. In fact, there is a branch of SFG on the Mindflayer server there. i was actually present when it was founded, and my title within it was Founder (at the time – it’s very likely i’m not even in the guild anymore). For those guys, who do have greensteel and have done all the raids countless times, NWO is a breath of fresh air. So i hope they are having a blast as much as they showed me in DDO. Good gaming, SFG!
SFG mates battle a Bone Golem
It wasn’t just NWO’s release, and my lack of free time, that caused the DDO wave to break this time though. It all seemed to start around the time of the forum migration. i don’t know if that had anything to do with it directly, but it seems like the playerbase severely dropped off at that time. Not only just in the game, but on the lively forums as well. That probably had to do with the fact that a lot of people couldn’t even access them for a while – myself included. And i did not like the solution either, or going into my computer’s host files to change stuff so i could visit the forums. While it was useful that Turbine provided those solutions, it wasn’t very confidence inspiring. i shouldn’t have to alter system files to visit their forum. They should have fixed it themselves.
That kinda lead me to look at Turbine in a different way. For many years, i’ve been a bit of an apologist for them. More than a few times i’ve defended DDO and Turbine on the forums. i’ve been VIP my whole career. i’ve tried to get new people to play. Heck i devoted a significant part of the Long Shot to DDO! But, i don’t know…it just feels like i’m being let down more often than not anymore.
The launcher crashes all the time. In fact if you check out the DDO Facebook page, almost all of the posts are about client crashes, game crashes, game down for maintenance, billing problems, and so forth. Not exactly the kind of excitement that says “come play me!”
And then there’s the expansion pack. i’ll admit it – when the pre-order was available, i rushed home from work just like Wrongside and snatched it up. Even got the Legendary upgrade too. And for what? A new wilderness and a handful of quests with no raid? Granted, pre-orders are typically for the exclusive stuff. So what did we get? Some cosmetic pets and cosmetic gear, the owlbear hireling, epic tomes, and skill tomes. Okay, not too shabby i suppose. But nothing really all that exciting if i’m honest. At the end of the day, i definitely experienced cognitive dissonance after purchasing the pre-order. Oh and we got to utilize the bladeforged too. But as Long Shotters know, i’ve never been a fan of the living constructs so i was pretty meh on this. i did roll up one as a monk though, because i thought it would look neat fighting with the fist blades and stuff (it does).
Additionally, Update 18 was a let down. Let me preface that by saying when DDO was released, i was like “Eberron? Strange choice for a setting.” But over the years, i’ve come to really like that world. It’s unique, and interesting, and thoughtful. And it’s the only game in town that takes place there. So, while i understand that the ‘Realms are much more popular…it smacks to me of Turbine losing confidence in their own IP that they’re shifting so much to the other setting. Look – every fantasy RPG takes place in a setting like that. Kinda pastoral, kinda medieval, but with more magic and stuff. We’ve seen that a million times. DDO was built on Eberron, so own it! If the game isn’t as successful as they’d wished, then just make what you’ve got better! i don’t like the shift to the Forgotten Realms. So when i see all the new content is there, i’m disappointed. Plus, all the new quests were level 15-ish. This means all our toons, who had to be around level 18 or so just to be able to get to Eveningstar in the first place, are above level for the new content! That was a major bummer, to rush over there with Wrongside and find out we were 10 levels above the new quests. i don’t get what they were thinking there. They made the Iconics so you could start at the level of the new quests, but you wouldn’t even be able to get there to do them – especially since Spinner of Shadows was bugged and unable to be completed. But fear not! Now there’s a cheesy portal in the Harbor to take you there.
Now, i’ve still got a gaming bug. Always have, always will. What to play, what to play? A friend suggests Star Wars: The Old Republic. Okay, i’ll check it out. It’s F2P, which is always a good thing to get you started.
Um…damn. That game is freakin’ awesome! i can’t wait to tell you all about my experiences there so far as an arrogant, vicious Imperial bastard. But it will have to wait – my hour’s up.
Force schmorce – i’ll take a sniper rifle and a vibroblade over hokey religion anyday
While you’re waiting with rabid anticipation for a Long Shot update, check out the Cleveland Stater and see what thousands of dollars in loans is doing for me!