Friday, February 22, 2008

Leaving Warcraft

The other day, I decided to leave World of Warcraft for good. I sharded and sent all of my items to a friend, then deleted my main characters. The only one I have is the first character I made in December 2005, a level 13 night elf rouge, and the most recent character, a level 43 blood elf paladin that I was leveling with my girlfriend. I might delete the paladin but for now, leaving it if she wants to play.

When I deleted my main, a level 70 warlock, I had 27 days played. That's days of in game played, which equals out to about 650 hours. Then on my other characters, about 3~5 days more, or 72~120 hours. While I didn't play very seriously, I still spent a surprising amount of time in the game, and I really didn't even see but a few instances.

After thinking about the time spent in the game, I wanted to focus on other things but didn't want to have it be a distraction. So if I deleted the characters to the point where I would need to start from the beginning, it would be harder to jump back in. I don't think of the game as something bad, I had fun playing on and off for 2 years but after getting to 70 once, there wasn't much to solo, and I didn't like to spend time in a long instance for end game.

One thing I didn't want to do was just throw away all of the items. I ended up sending everything to a friend and he could use them so it was at least helping him out. Even if I was leaving the game, I still didn't like to just waste something if another person could use it.

In the end, if Blizzard came out with another MMO, I would play again but for now I want to spend more serious time learning to play the guitar, and studying for school. While I'm leaving I might come back to play again, it's a fun game, but just takes a long time to complete the higher level stuff.

Learning to play the guitar

I've been learning to play for the last two years with little success. I get interested and then I loose interest, or other things become more important, like gaming. So on the advice of my friend, I tried out a guitar learning series called Metal Method by Doug Marks. It's a dvd series how to play the guitar from a more rock style instead of a traditional style.

So far I'm just on session one but it's actually pretty nice. For starters, the first lesson goes over the guitar, good basics such as how to hold the guitar, then begins the first lesson. Here's where it's different from regular lessons, instead of having your play a chord, you play single notes on the first string. There's also a PDF included with the dvd lesson and a visual guide of the guitar tabs.

For the price of $15 per dvd, I think it's a good investment. Not too hard and the instructions of Doug Marks is very clear, he's easy to listen to, all steps are simple to follow. I'll be sure to post my on going sessions and how they follow up.

Dundracon gaming convention

The past weekend, Carol and I were at Dundracon in San Ramon. It's a gaming convention that covers all forms of gaming, except video games. At first I was a little hesitant to go, I never really played much except video games and some pen & paper RPGs. After I was at the convention I was really amazed at the amount of games available. There were miniatures, RPGs, board games, LARPs, etc.

On the night we arrived, I jumped into a World of Warcraft board game. Honestly, I can say the board game is too close to the actual game play of the on-line game. You spend a few hours choosing a monster to kill, turn in the quest, get loot/xp then repeat. It was very similar to the computer game, and after a few turns I started to wonder if there's something more to the game? Ironically, it felt too similar and didn't really show any major difference, which could be good and bad. Still it would be fun to play this with friends at a cabin trip.

The next day I attended a couple of seminars about Creating a Dungeons and Dragons character, to World of Warcraft vs Real Life. Then in the afternoon I joined a RPG game playing Ars Magica, a game based upon magic in early 1300 Europe. The gm was really great at balancing the game and the role playing part, actually was a really fun game experience. Especially having the other people in the game with everyone role playing made the game really work, and we ended exactly on time, solving the puzzle of the story as well. Even I'm normally not into role playing but really got into the story of this game.

Mixing pen & paper RPGs with computers

After playing a more role playing RPG I was thinking how could you bring such depth to a video game. Is it even possible? Something that is common is to play a pen & paper RPG but across the Internet. There's tool available for people to share maps, dice rolls, and other

RPTools has many tools available for the role playing game.

Dice Tool - A dice roller
Map Tool - Creates maps and sharing for other players

Another tool is from Fantasy Grounds, this is a paid version but allows similar controls.

Finally, you can use RPGGateway's play by post forum to find other players. This is a slower version as each action needs to be posted, then replied to but offers more time to think and write a response.

If I can get enough friends interested I could like to start a play by post game. Most of my friends we don't see each other so often and it would be great to keep in touch with them in a game.

The Rogue LX406 Pro 6 string bass

Last posting I mentioned I ordered this bass. Well it came in over last week and got a chance to play it a few times. I have to say that for $200, it's a really nice bass. My other bass is a old 1985 Ibanez 4 string, I wanted to try out something with more strings, settled on the 6 string version instead of the 5 because it's more similar to the guitar. After playing with dozens of bass guitars at my local Guitar Center I still think for the money the Rogue feels better, especially considering the price is cheaper than any P-Bass, even Squire.

I really like the matte finish neck, while it's wide for the 6 strings I can still reach the 6th string without much trouble. The body also feels nice, it's more square than I normally like but works and is balanced. The bass is also using active pickups, gives more power to the sound but you can turn it off as well. There are some negatives, I noticed on the fretboard, some chipping from light string slapping, and rough edges where the neck is bolted to the body. But considering the price, I can overlook these mistakes.

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