Weekend links

Leipzig has been cancelled (the games convention, not the city), wonder if Cologne will take its place. I read it here first.

Pester Flimgoblin, starting his blogging career at War of Alts. He found us at Games Day!

Pwnsan has put up a ton of unlock guides, for how to get those nifty pocket items. Nice work… I’ll have to decide what I want and go for it.

Word of Shadow talks about the idea of a joint account. It’s not 100% new to the table, but I think it’s an awesome idea and that companies really need to work on some of their subscription models. Why not have joint accounts? Then my husband might be tempted to play MMOs again for lesser expense.

Wide Eyed Newb makes an important point. If you enjoy a blog post, comment on it. It really perks us up if we get comments, and that goes for all bloggers!

Over at Player vs Developer, you can join in a discussion about whether the free content coming to WAR is really an expansion. I agree that it really isn’t, it’s just extra content, a la many other MMOs. Common Sense Gamer also quite sensibly points out that the two MDPS classes were taken out of the game to get it released in time, adding them back doesn’t really count as adding new conent, but in restoring it. I’d like to add LotRO to the games discussed as a game that has had frequent content added but in knowing what an expansion really is with Mines of Moria! That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to the Land of the Dead and Slayers though.

The sky is falling! No, Mark Jacobs announces official forums. And there’s a CS grab bag, and there’s some news on 1.1.1

/random has alerted me to the coolest Valentine’s cards, via geekadelphia and Hawty McBloggy.

Oh, and go watch the Bloodbowl trailers!

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Kill time, slaughter blog posts!

Ok, so I’m up early and we have a wait till this big announcement. Go read some new blogs, the blogroll on the side here is fairly extensive and I still have more to add. So, I’ll let you read through some with me, as I read my feed reader this morning, these are the things that strike me:

  • Skurmish has gone and got a WAR a screenshot on Massively, in the One Shots segment. Congrats!
  • Oh no! Schlotzy’s is closing (but I understand why), I enjoyed it while it lasted!
  • Reroller is right, the Sigmar tattoo is… odd. That’s not to say I haven’t made a toon with it, and then deleted her!
  • I know I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but really.. people dropping out of scenarios again. Mythic – this is tragic. And lame, and cowardly, and playing the numbers game – which all MMOs get to eventually with some players.
  • Addicted to oRvR? You should be (perhaps). I’ll be passing the news of this oRvR tracker add-on to my guild, for sure.
  • Keen will never shave his head and dye the mohawk orange, Syp. You know that! I’ve had a mohawk, and considered it. But then I didn’t get a Valentine’s so my hair is staying where it is! (If anyone wants to see me with a mohawk, I might post it, sometime!)
  • Baby giraffes are cute. Maybe this is the one they’re discussing in Prancing Pony (oops, wrong game!)
  • Regis is playing scrabble for me. Good, cos I’m lazy and it’s early in the morning. I think WAR event hints works nicely, for the record. Go write Regis a nice Valentine’s poem for your arch-nemesis. Um.. I’ll think up one, honest.

That’s it for today, I might keep this format, of my initial thoughts as I go through my reader… tell me what you think

and a couple of things to read

Schlotzky’s on what he’d like to see in the 29/1 announcement (of course, Americans say 1/29 ;p)

The lovely Regis on decrypting the Valentine’s poems. Got to thank him, because I’m rushing for work and have barely had the time to read them. You can’t go far wrong by following his blog, people!

Podcasts

I’m a bit of a podcast nut, because I have a 1.5 hour commute to and from work on the days I work (yes, I’m lucky enough to be a part-timer). I also tend to think podcasts can ease some of the blah from grinding, as and when I need to do it. So it falls to me, fairly naturally to give you a quick overview of the podcasts I listen to – I’ve tried to stick to WAR and gaming ones, but if you ask nicely I might list all the ones I have on my listening list (even ones I’m ashamed of ;p).

Warhammer

No Prisoners, No Mercy – now here’s one we can rely on! Part of the Virgin Worlds collective, this is really top notch and makes me laugh like no other WAR podcast. Sister Julie and Sister Fran put such passion and heart into the podcast that it’s impossible not to get caught up in its infectiousness. It’s a great insight into someone else’s experience of the game, and also raises some really interesting points. But let’s put it this way, the minute I get this one downloaded on iTunes it goes to the top of my listening list!

The Warpath – another weekly WAR podcast from the Virgin Worlds collective, this time helmed by Phillip and Stephen. long-time friends and players of Warhammer tabletop – which is great for me, because it helps fill in some of the lore that I’m really lacking in. I’ve really enjoyed their breakdown of classes – it gave me a lot to think about! There’s quite a bit here about progression through the game and how they’ve found the levels and tiers they’re currently playing, and I find it fascinating to listen to how others view these things, it also sometimes kicks me out of my doldrums and reminds me why I’m enjoying the game, and I look forward to the time when they hit their first fortress.

WARP – yay, another regular WAR podcast, and another one I’ve been enjoying recently. It has quite a few hosts, which means they bring a lot of different experiences to the podcast which is pretty cool. They cover things a wide variety of things, and taught me a lot about the various things different archetypes could do to siege equipment, and I think the show is developing really nicely even if it’s not quite as polished as it’ll probably be in a couple of months – but I still enjoy listening a lot.

Destruction Dollswhat can I say, it was a fun couple of episodes they put out, and I was greatly looking forward to more of it. But it’s been put on hold indefinitely. Shame, but it’s happened a fair bit. Still worth downloading and listening to the episodes they produced, but it’ll be pretty out-of-date.

Chaos Cast – produced and presented by THE triumvirate of WAR bloggers, Syp, Snafzg and Keen, this was once a fortnightly show. It seems to have also fallen by the wayside though, but I’m sure we’ll see the odd sporadic episode. The camaraderie between the three is obvious from listening, and it was always enjoyable to listen to.

Podcast of Reckoning another podcast that seems to have drifted off a little, but I’m listing it here because I know Orlock from MMOgeek fully intends to record another and get back into the swing of it. I remember it being full of fun and good humour, as well as having a British voice as part of it. The WarhammerGeek parody songs are simply fantastic, so even if you don’t go download the back catalogue of podcasts, head over to the site, listen to them and bug Orlock to record the ones he’s written!!

General Gaming

Virgin Worlds though I might like to pretend I don’t pay much attention to other games, of course I do. And Virgin Worlds is a great way to hear about developments in the MMOsphere. I may not agree with Brent on a few things (mostly to do with LotRO rather than WAR), but he’s terrific at what he does and always puts together an informative and entertaining show.

PC Gamer this is the PC Gamer UK podcast, and I adore it – despite the fact I don’t play many games at all. My husband and my friends are quite games-fanatic though, so it allows me to keep in touch with releases, and the contributors are always entertaining. It’s probably not work-friendly, but I love the banter between the contributors!

Shut Up, We’re Talking Darren and Karen host a podcast where they and their guests discuss the most up-to-date or interesting MMO news. Part of the Virgin Worlds collective, it’s another one I just wouldn’t miss and have been listening to for a while. It’s really interesting to get all the experiences of various MMO players and I’ve never failed to find this one particularly worth listening to.

Rock Paper Shotgun Electric Wireless Show – newish podcast from one of our favourite websites out there (I’m sure you’ve guessed we love it). Again this covers PC games, has great repartee and may not be entirely work-safe (if you’re prone to listening to podcasts on speakers at work that is!). But it always makes me smile, gives me a great insight into games I can then recommend to my husband/friends and has that nice touch of British humour about it. Episode 4 is basically a couple of the guys from Rock, Paper Shotgun, and Paul Barnett on a British train, chatting – which nicely encapsulates the casual and fun nature of the show. It’s only up to show 6 now, but I hope it continues for ages.

So that’s it in terms of gaming podcasts currently on my list, though it seems I may be trimming them down somewhat if those on hiatus don’t return soon!

Hope you enjoy them, if you go investigate. Or suggest some others for me to check out – remembering that some of my time is given over to comics, TV and film geekery too 🙂

Lie back and link for England

Welcome to Denizens of Xibalba, Cathbadh’s Warhammer Adventure and Spell Damage!

The UK launches its first National Videogame Archive. About time!!! Hrrm, wonder if they want some of my old games…

Virtual Worlds Forum event postponed due to a shooting at the venue. And talking about virtual worlds, both Sony and Microsoft are planning on launching them, Second Life style for their respective consoles.

World of Warcraft praised for educational value – by nature, they mean all MMOs here, they just used WoW as an example. In similar news, the Church says games can be a positive influence!!!

Spore expansion due out in November. It’s called “Cute and Creepy Parts Pack”, digitalspy say they don’t know what’s in it but I think I can guess. Don’t want to be cynical about money-making, but an expansion.. ALREADY?

Tigole posts more about Blizzard’s upcoming plans for WoW PvP: Including the ability to queue from anywhere and earn xp via battlegrounds. That didn’t take long. There have been a lot of blog comments about this — Syp thinks competition is great for gamers, syncaine wonders if borrowing too many ideas can water down the core of a game.

Congrats to The Greenskin for a year of blogging! Inspirational!

Save da Runts lists 10 tips from a tank to the healers.

Gamasutra has an in-depth community analysis of Warhammer Online. The writer has been checking out forums to see how the community is evolving post-launch.

Ever felt awkward about admitting to your non-gamer friends that you spend the evenings playing games? The Brainy Gamer has been thinking about whether our culture has a taboo about adults playing frivolous games.

We expect to have more Blizzcon links next week, but here’s one to start. Diablo III will be playable (presumably as a demo) at Blizzcon. And they announce one of the other classes: the wizard. Oh, it has frost nova and magic missile, be still my beating heart. Sorceress fans should be pleased. Here’s the trailer.

Elitist Jerks have an amusing thread on how to think of a good guild name. Also lots of thoughts there on how to reach a consensus with your guild and what your guild name says about you. I love the idea of naming them like Iain M Banks’ ships, wish I’d thought of that. “Of course I still love you” would be an ace guildname. (GCU Arbitrary – no comment, they found where I steal usernames from – arbitrary!)

Not even the rain has such small hands

I have a confession to make, I’m really hamfisted with a mouse. Not so that it isn’t usable, but it always seems to take me ages to do anything with it. From ‘argh, where’s the cursor gone?’ to ‘you stupid machine! I totally did click on that icon!’ So I’ve always been a dedicated keybinder. Like most ex-MUSHers, I can comfortably type at 40+wpm without looking at the keyboard and have a good feel for the keyboard layout so I find it fairly straightforwards to try out different keybinds and get them into my muscle memory promptly.

Usually in games where you level up a character and get more abilities, you’ll be assigning abilities to keys as you get them. And then need to revaluate later on and possibly try different binding schemes once you know which abilities you need most often or most urgently. The general idea is to bind any ‘oh shit’ or emergency abilities (such as detaunt) to buttons you can get at very quickly. So if you are using WASD to move, it’s the buttons close to that which are the keyboard prime real estate.

I also admit that I wish I could control my character purely from keyboard without using the mouse at all, I’m really much better at typing than mousing. But you can turn a LOT more quickly with the mouse than with the keyboard and tab targeting (even when it works well) isn’t as good as mouse targeting. In particular, using the mouse to turn is pretty standard for PvP. If you don’t do it, people who do will outmaneuver you and if you are trying to get to someone’s back (or stop someone else getting to yours) then you’ll be at a serious disadvantage. It’s more of a deal for melee than ranged, but still worth practicing.

I was reading this thread on Elitist Jerks about keybinds for WoW, where they discuss their keybinds and the thoughts behind them in more detail.

So if you are using the mouse to turn that leaves you with one hand free to do all the keyboard stuff. And here’s another disadvantage — tiny hands. It’s true, I will never be a concert pianist or double bass player. And there are tighter limits to how many keys I can comfortably access on the keyboard with one hand if I need to keep it fairly steady than there would be on someone with bigger hands and longer fingers. There is the option of getting a mouse with more buttons on it and binding more abilities to that (people in the thread discuss binding shift and control to the mousebuttons too eg. shift+mousebutton1, ctrl+mousebutton1, etc). Although some of those also are designed for larger hands to use, plus I don’t much care for the mouse in the first place.

I’ll probably talk more about keybinds once my Archmage is higher level and actually has all her abilities. I’m looking at my hotbars now and at the abilities I will be getting between now and max level and thinking that I’ll need to use the 4 bar hotbar layout. In truth, in large RvR battles where you are more static, it’s not quite so important as in smaller skirmishes.

No links please, we’re British

First, a welcome to Swisshammer (more Euro blogs!) and Kiss My Bolter.

Have any ideas on how to improve the chat system in game? MJ is taking feedback in a thread on The Vault.

GOA haven’t provided us with an EU  server status page yet, so Penlid@Freddyshouse has produced one of his own.

Money News tells you all about tome tactics and how to unlock them. (The quest librarians who award the tactics aren’t currently in the game due to being fixed for an exploit but I expect they will be soon.)

Quick Youtube vid you should go watch – Paul Barnett’s finished Hamtoucher’s ‘WAR(here we come)’.

Rock Paper Shotgun has a blistering review of My Dream Job: Babysitter. Maybe it’s because I was drunk when I read it but that made me laugh a lot, thanks guys!

British gamer stabbed over forums dispute? This is just plain wrong. We’ll never be hosting a forum! And on a crime theme, but with absolutely nothing to do with gaming at all, a tyre-slashing grandmother in Germany has been ordered to knit jumpers as a punishment!

Games Radar has a list of ten gaming moments you wouldn’t want your family walking in on. It made me grin, and includes any form of playing World of Warcraft. Meanwhile, Fidgit has a list of 10 moments that changed videogaming forever. It also includes WoW, as well as the Portal song.

You think Warhammer plundered from World of Warcraft and you haven’t read all the history of both games to know exactly how they line up for borrowing from one another? Well, how about this? World of Warcraft are now putting out a miniatures game. No kidding.

Let’s all get behind the Rock, Paper Shotgun list of 10 things all PC games should do. They had me at Alt-Tab support.

Gamespot have a guide to Mourkain Temple that everyone should read! Best guide so far, and not least because the angry Rune Priest looks like Arb’s. (thanks Ardua for sharing that link)

Just in time for Fallout 3 (what do you mean you didn’t know it was out in about a  month??), The Escapist notes that UGO have provided a crash course in Fallout.

KOTOR MMO to be revealed later this month according to CVG. And RF Online is closing in Europe and North America on 10th November.

Wired has its review of Warhammer Online up now, it’s pretty damn positive. Obviously we haven’t been linking to every review of the game, we figure if you’re reading this blog, you probably like the game, but this one came in a bit later than others, so stood out in the feed reader.

Kiziko has an interview with Josh Drescher, it’s very funny and he also talks about capital cities and city sieges.

Kikizo: Some people say that this could be the next World of Warcraft…

Drescher: Those people are very kind!

Kikizo: When we say “some people” we mean your PR guys…

Drescher: [Laughs] Well OK, very good…