Thursday, December 12, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new. Crap, I miss the old

New computer (named Maglor after one of the sons of Feanor) is here. It's running Windows 8. Never even played with 8 before.

Figuring out how to do things is a bit of a struggle (how the fuck do I right-click with this new touchpad, for example). I've also had some issues getting lotro up and running. First I forgot that laptops generally go to sleep when you close the lid (my screwup) meaning that Steam didn't finish downloading lotro till noon.

Second, the net fiasco. I try installing, Steam says "hey, you need this version of .net", I go "sure", go download it, and lo and behold it won't run. So, a bit of googling reveals that you can try unzipping the file and running the executable (no dice for me, but worth a try). Then I found out that you can enable .net 3 in the control panel and tried that. One reboot later and the launcher is now patching. It has stalled once so far but a restart of the launcher seems to have fixed it and I'm keeping a close eye on it.

I'm also having keyboard issues (this new laptop has a number pad and the touchpad is perilously close to where my palms rest naturally when typing). Also, the left ctrl is smaller than I'm used to and right next to the fn key and I don't have a mute button anymore. I do have both arrow keys and a mostly complete numberpad, but I wish the arrow keys had a nub on them so I can find them without looking. Hmm, wonder if I can put a dot of nail polish on it without damaging the keys?

I did take a picture of old and new computers sitting next to each other, and will post that once I feel well enough to find the camera cord. My body, as ever, has impeccable timing. I'm really excited about the Hobbit tonight (Thranduil's my favorite elven king), but my digestive system's currently treating all food as poison again (yes, that's about as much fun as it sounds).

Maglor is a y510 from Lenovo, and Taliesin (the old laptop) is a y550. Despite the similar model numbers, they really are quite different. For one, Taliesin (a famous bard) is much older and less powerful and likes to overheat. I'm really hoping Maglor does not because I don't want to deal with a new computer again for a bit. Yes, new and shiny, but also learning new ways of doing things, transferring files, and not just working (which is what I prefer my computers to do unless I feel like futzing with them).

I was waiting till the client finished doing data functions (I assume that's what Dat f... stands for) so I could get in and post comparisons, but that looks like it'll be a while. So, I shall go watch netflix now, and write a quick post with comparison shots later!

Oh, and here's a couple useful windows 8 things. First, the windows key acts like the button on the iPad or the N on your nook, very useful. Second, nifty keyboard commands list, if like me you prefer to do keyboard when you can. And remember, yes the Metro screen's annoying as crap, but you spend most of your time in the desktop anyway, so it's not as bad as, say, Windows Me.
Windows + H = Opens the Share charm
Windows + I = Opens the Settings charm
Windows + K = Opens the Devices charm
Windows + Q = Search for apps
Windows + F = Search for files
Windows + W = Search for Windows settings
Windows + X = Access common admin tools (you can right-click on the lower-left hand hot corner, too)
Windows + E = Launches File Explorer in the desktop environment
Windows + O = lock screen orientation
Windows + R = Opens a Run dialog
Windows + L = Lock the computer
Windows + Print Screen = Saves a screenshot to your Pictures > Screenshots folder
Windows + any of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 = Launches the corresponding program pinned to the taskbar
Ctrl + Shift + Esc = Open Task Manager

Friday, November 29, 2013

There has been little gaming, due mostly to the overheating monster showing back up. The fan pad buys me a couple of hours of running around lotro, but that's not really enough. Nothing like laptop going black just as you're finishing up an escort quest or the unlocking of Moria to cause lots of cursing.

I have really been enjoying myself (or I was) but the shutdowns are both frustrating and REALLY annoying. I've gotten to the point that I just run around the world and try to get deeds done. Since I'm at the point where I have to level my bow to defeat the tentacle monster to get into Moria, this isn't so bad.

Since my mom's computer is dying, there is a new computer on the horizon for me. Ordered, but I won't see it for at least a month. Still, I am vaguely excited. Enjoy Black Friday, check out the Steam and Turbine deals, and try not to get killed by angry shopping mobs!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lotro's New Expansion! New WoW Character Models!! Way too many exclamation points!!!!

First off, LotRO changes....
Oooh, lookie, talent trees! Dual-spec as default! While I am saddened by the loss of the old way (which I saw as partly giving me a guide on how to play the class a, b, or c way), I do like talent trees, and let's face it, the whole getting deeds by using class skills to get talents was a bit over-complicated and not binge-gamer friendly. Of course, it looks like I still need to get deeds by using class skills, they just give me talent points instead. Here's a couple examples of what the trees look like, I appear to have screencapped the captain and burglar ones. The numbers on the right side are to change between specs. The left buttons are class, virtue, and race (possibly not in that order)
Captain talent trees once you select a specialization

Captain Specializations

Burglar Specializations
Aesthetically I find these very pleasing, I like the clear explanations, and overall I'm happy. I'm rather annoyed that I need to remember to lay traps to get the deed for it on Nathyrra (never used 'em much), but I do understand that traps (and all forms of crowd control) are an important part of the game. Now if I could just figure out how to get to the window again, that'd be nice. I'm probably missing something, quite honestly, but a little popup along the lines of "to get to this specializations window again, hit h or x button on the menu" would be nice.

The trees really remind me of the old WoW ones, which I miss. Obviously, with my main at 50 I can't speak about end game balance, or pvp balance, so no clue on that. Oh, and I haven't bought the expansion yet (because I never really saw what it would get me that I needed right now).

I was also happy to get lots more Turbine points. I did notice my bars had fewer buttons on them, but sadly they don't appear to have combined all the hunter travel skills into one button that brings up a selection. I'd love for them to do that. Oh, and there's item levels now, so I know what level my items for dailies are without hitting the wiki. There also appear to be some crafting changes, but I haven't looked at that yet. I basically logged in, played Nathyrra for a bit (things still die when I shoot them), spec'd 6 other toons, and wandered off.

Now, WoW character models. Thank goodness. I'm not paying huge amounts of attention to them, mostly because I figure I might as well wait till they're all finalized and also, they don't appear to have released many that would affect my toons (belf, human, draenei, undead, panda, goblin, and almost all female). I do like the instant 90 idea, because quite frankly I can't stand leveling through Wraith and Cat yet again (I've done it 8 times or so, quite enough). The new expansion looks interesting, but I honestly don't know if it'll hold my interest or not. We shall see...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I'm Up To

I'm no longer playing WoW (again). It just didn't hold my interest. I'm wandering into lotro every so often. But mostly, I'm not gaming.

I'm knitting (lots, see pretty shawl I made above) and reading, and I do have a couple ideas for what I want to do blogging-wise. I'm kinda writing a Fallout: New Vegas let's play, which will go here, but I want to have it mostly done before I start posting (so I don't leave readers hanging).

Whatever I end up doing, I promise to let you guys know, and I hope you have a great fall!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wow vs LotRO, a study in simplicity vs complexity

I've just gotten my internet restored after a month away (lightning strike, AT&T complete idiocy, 4 techs, new line, big ordeal), and re-subbed to WoW. That has a lot to do with my missing my awesome guildies and friends, and also missing the ease of it. I love lotro, but I love being able to just jump a griffon/wyvern and get where I need to be quickly and easily. On the other hand, when I'm in the mood for it, wandering around trying to find the next quest hub can be a lot of fun. But when I'm not in the mood for it, and just want to get some XP (I'd like to see 50 by the end of the year), very annoying and complicated.

On the other hand, I spent about 2 hours with a friend on facebook walking me through what I should be doing in WoW. I've been away since December, and lots had changed. I had almost full bags with no clue of what to do with any of it (still haven't tackled that) and no clue on where to go.  Apparently the Isle of Thunder is my friend, and I did run through the first two scenarios to start unlocking it (which also helped me remember how the heck to shadow which is also on the complex side).

I also can't help wondering if I'd have as much trouble re-acclimating if I had a max level character in lotro. Jumping back onto the hunter or minstrel's fairly easy, but one's level 40 and one's 30. That's less than halfway to level cap, so there's far less for me to think about. I don't have bags stuffed full of transmog and cooking ingredients (and I have no clue what the heck I was doing with so many scallions), they're full of trophies, wood, random crafting things I'm saving for other toons (which go in shared storage till I wanna craft on that toon), and leather. The only complexity there is which task board I need to go to, and if it makes sense to send some of them to a lower level toon (to get more XP for the buck, so to speak).

Some of the simplicity of WoW has come as it's aged. I remember when you had to discover each flight point for each toon (which you still need to do in lotro), and when Azeroth was weird and new and I ran the length of a continent using only a speed boost in my early 20s (trick or treating all of Eastern Kingdoms) and alt+tabbing out to maps. I generally don't alt+tab out to maps in lotro unless I'm looking for something specific (ruin, quest location, that sort of thing); I can generally figure out how to get where I need to go. I like that about lotro (and I like the mithral coins option which allows you to go to any travel hub for one, just wish I got a few every month as a subber as they cost points).

I suspect part of it comes down to how I think about and play these two similar games so differently. In LotRO, the journey is the point. If I try to start power-leveling, I get frustrated because it feels so slow (the rested XP change doesn't help). In WoW, the socialization and end-game are the points, and thus I expect the journey to be fairly short (I have no idea what it will take to get Lyllea raid-ready, and honestly I'm not going to worry about it, I have enough RL stuff to deal with). If the journey is the point, I want a journey to be interesting, with nifty things to see and options for side-journeys, and I'm willing to forgive a certain amount of complexity for that. If the journey's a commute, I want simple and easy, preferably short, with as few traffic jams as possible.

I don't think one game is more complex than the other, I think they're just complex in different ways. That's good, it lets me enjoy them both, but I do wonder how much my viewpoint (very experienced former raider in Wow vs newbie with highest toon at 40) has to do with it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Still running around Middle Earth

After a brief gaming hiatus caused by chirping capacitors (never a good thing, ever), I've been back to wandering around Middle Earth, killing things and taking their stuff. It's been quite enjoyable, even if most of the questing is of the "go kill these guys", "go gather this stuff", "collect x trophies" type. (and if you're sick of that and level 30, hit Oatbarton unless you hate hobbits. But really, if you hate hobbits, why lotro?)

I do have a complaint though. So, Nathyrra's almost 40 now, and I've been running around Everdim for well, about 10 levels. I really like the idea of helping reclaim these ancient ruins, and I love the scenery. But things I do not love, really nonobvious routes. I like randomly wandering around, seeing where I will be going next and collecting travel points, but I dislike seeing quests I have and not being able to see a clear way to get there. Here's my most annoying example...

I had quests in Rhunenlad and it took me quite a while to figure out how to get over there from Kingsfell. Looking at the map I saw two routes, going east from Melumen or going through the possible gap at the north edge of the mountains. The go east plan was foiled by a lot of giants (very powerful ones) and I was unsure about the possible gap (hence calling it possible).

You're actually supposed to go through Esteldin (a city roughly about where the second l in kingsfell is). I discovered this completely by accident while wondering where a road in Esteldin went. To Rhunenlad, as it turned out. Now, thinking about it, putting a city in a mountain pass makes sense and given that the quests in question were given to me in Esteldin, yup, probably should have occurred to me before I tried the suicidal giant run.

Thinking more about this (and yes, I've had similar problems before, this is just the most recent and painful), I like the world making sense. I like cities being on top of hills (and it makes it easy to spot them and go, ooh, what's that?) and I like the map style. Just wish the path (and if you look there is a gap path in the mountains) was slightly more obvious. But I still really love....

All those ruins/cities? I've been there, in some cases by the "ooh, what's that?" method. I love seeing stuff in game and getting to go check it out. It's the explorer in me, always wanting to know what's over there...  (these caps all taken from the top of a thing in Evendim that you get to at the end of a questline and I would remind you all that my graphics are on the lowest possible settings)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Computer Problems fixed, for the moment at least, now back to Middle Earth

Well, the computer problems are (hopefully) fixed for the moment. One BIOS update, way too much fiddling with video card drivers, one dismantling to clean out dust, and taking all the video settings in LotRO down to minimum.... plus my trusty (if annoying) cooling pad and I can run around Middle Earth.

I've been having a ridiculous amount of fun, to be honest. Even if I did get stuck at Rivendell (why the game would give me a quest that transports me there when Caithdein is level 23 and can't ride back is beyond me), it's been nice to run around and go "ooh, pretty"


At this point I've run 5 toons through their rested XP (okay, the two level 12 toons didn't take long), but Caithdein, Nathyrra, and Aerthiel have all gone up quite a bit (hanging at 25, 35, and 29 respectively). It's been really nice to be able to switch around and still see new stuff (or in Caithdein's case stuff I haven't done in so long that I don't remember it).

It's looking like the developers are planning to do some interesting things this year, including a housing revamp (be still, my heart) and creating a player's council. I thought there was some mention of redoing deeds/traits as well, but I can't find a source atm for that, so it might be wishful thinking on my part.

They're also released a cloak for Boston, which is a nice touch, and is pretty. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an Anniversary Celebration to get back to (last night and all)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Where I've been (just in case you were wondering)

I've been dealing with a failing gallbladder and a (possibly but I'm really hoping not) failing computer. Gallbladder's all gone, and the surgery was way easier than dealing with it failing. Computer, well, I'm popping it open today (for the first time ever) to clean it and check the thermal paste. Given that it just  powers off randomly, something which it started with Mists, and has now spread to games like Torchlight 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, and even LotRO, (and now with the cooling pad on it as well) I'm hoping for dust bunnies and a happier Taliesin afterwards. Replacing him is not in the cards any time soon.

Gaming-wise, there's been almost none. I haven't logged onto WoW since Dec, and my sub's run out. Oddly enough, I don't miss it. I miss hanging with my awesome guildies, but Mists just didn't grab me. Still might resub at some point to get a baby dragon, but that's about all I want out of it. Who'd have thought that an expansion based around dailies at max level would not appeal to someone who doesn't like dailies? SHOCKER! I consume media in chunks, whether it's watching an entire season of a TV show at once, reading an entire webcomic or blog archive, or questing for several hours at a time. The daily concept doesn't really work so well with that, and I resent feeling like I MUST do something in a game that isn't fun. So yeah, not my thing atm.

I've currently got some Black Isle games installed, but mostly have discovered that a)I don't want to do Irenicus's stupid starting dungeon for the 20th time and b) I really am not good at AD&D. I did log onto lotro last night and play with an alt for about 10 min before shutdown, and had some fun. It looked a bit different than 9 months ago, but I liked what little I saw. Currently my antiquated desktop is (hopefully) pulling down the installer via Pando (which I hate), and I'm hoping it'll handle it enough to let me play. Not expecting graphical miracles or anything, just more than 10 minutes of running around killing wolves and vale pests.

Otherwise, well, there's been a great deal of knitting. I have a couple ideas for WoW-related knitting projects, and I learned I can knit a lace shawl in a week if I focus on it. Since I'm still struggling with major depression, I'm trying to get set up to sell some of my lace (mostly shawls but I'm trying to branch out into hats, armwarmers, scarves, and random other things). Sadly, knitting time and gaming time are difficult to combine.

As for this blog, I shall post when I'm gaming (or have something to say about gaming). I figure you all aren't here for random blatherings, but rather specific, game-based blatherings. I might try a let's play of something. I do have plans to try DDO (again), Conan, Star Trek, and possibly the Old Republic. The Secret World sounds like something I'd love, but given tight funds that might be a while. And there's always my ridiculous steam backlog of games. But right now, I think I shall go see if I can wander around Middle Earth for a bit before girding my loins to take this laptop apart (EEEP!)