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Repair Bills can be satisfying. April 30, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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We didn’t kill a damn thing last night. It was still a great raid night though. We spent the entire raid time devoted to working Switchmaster and we made some great progress. It was the first time I felt like we were actually getting somewhere with that mob.

I mentioned in vent that it has been a nice raid week. We took the first part of the week and killed loot mobs as well as clearing the trash from Palace for Switchmaster. Then we had an entire night to devote to making progress on him. One of the officers said “Yeah it’s been great! We were going to kill The Maestro first, but forgot there was trash up there.”


Guys, it’s ok to have nights where we don’t get any loot. We need to take nights and dedicate the entire time to working on a mob we should be killing. Taking an hour at the end of a raid to work progression so we can make sure we get some loot during the beginning of the raid is counterproductive. This week was a great week, get the loot early on, clear to a mob that we need to work, and then take a night and work on that mob till we start making progress.

I can’t help but wonder if officers/raid leaders are getting tells to the effect of “if I don’t get loot tonight I am leaving” or “why are we wasting an entire night on a mob instead of killing mobs we are guaranteed loot on”. We raid 4 nights a week, using one of those nights to actually work on progression by killing a mob we have not killed yet (and is within our progression range), is definitely something we should be doing. If the officers are getting tells of a differing opinion, please post them on the forums so we can discuss it ;)

It’s very easy to back-seat drive and I realize that is totally what I am doing. I know that behind the scenes there’s probably people bitching about the exact opposite things that I am bitching about, and the officers can’t make everyone happy. I’ve been an officer, several times, so I know that’s what’s going on.

The only advice I can offer to our leadership is this: You can’t make everyone happy, so let’s focus on making me happy. Also, I really hate it when people wear blue on the raids. Please make everyone cover up any blue color they are wearing with green. And you just missed our exit. God.

Tonight is an off night, so I’m not sure what kind of trouble we’ll be getting into. Anep will not be on this weekend and Sasspanz is on one of her mini-breaks (we hope mini anyway ;) so there will probably not be a lot of Second String action tonight or this weekend. We’ll see. I plan to work on the templar some if not, or whore myself out to pick up groups.

Who knows what we’ll get into tonight, but I am sure it’ll be fun!


The way you do the things you do. April 29, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2.
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Whew..been a busy few nights with work and I have not had much gaming time at all. I wasn’t able to log on at all last night, and I was working all during our raid Monday night. It made for kind of a stressful raid as I tried to juggle everything ;)

Speaking of Monday nights raid, we really kicked some ass. The plan initially was to head to Palace of the Ancient One. The raid leaders decided to hit TotMC first as our timers were resettable. We blew through the zone again, killing Thet-em-aua on the second pull. That was followed up with Palace of the Ancient One and we cleared the first pair of named and the trash up to Switchmaster. I am hoping that means we’ll be spending one of our raid nights focusing on killing him.

It was a good night and brought some nice loot into the guild. We did have one issue with loot and it’s got me wondering how some of you other raiders out there handle this. We are getting to the point now that some of the TSO patterns we have dropping are not needed by any of the raid mains in the guild. So, we’ve got a decision to make as to what to do with them. We’ve sold a couple, we’ve given a couple to others in the guild, and some have been given to alts.

The guild is trying to work out rules on how to handle this unwanted loot. There was a small  issue on Monday night when it was opened up to alts and it was clear not everyone had a handle on the new guidelines for unwanted loot. Currently we handle it like this:

Loot drops:

  1. It is offered up to mains on the raid. If none want then:
  2. It is offered up to mains who signed up for the raid but were benched. If none want then:
  3. It is offered up to mains in the guild who did not sign up or are not raiders. If none want then:
  4. It is offered up to alts of members on the raid. If none want then:
  5. It is auctioned in channel or muted.

I have some issues with this whole system but I abide by it as it is what was decided upon by leadership.

How do you other raiders out there handle loot like this? Is it offered up to alts? Just auctioned? What do you do with the plat you make off auctions?

I’m just curious.

Tonight we are headed somewhere in TSO to pick on some raid mobs. I’ll let you know how we fare tomorrow!

MMORPGs as social outlets. April 27, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, My lovely wife, Second String.
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Let me start off by saying that I realize that the content of this post is not ground-breaking and that there has been tons of discussion over the years about MMO’s as social outlets. However, I think that personally I’ve reached a point in my life, with kids and responsibilities, and, perhaps, age, that have changed the way I spend my “fun” time and the way I interact with those that share my interests. Thus, the subject is at the forefront of my thoughts.

I’ve been playing MMORPG’s for over 9 years now. I started with Everquest 1 in late 1999. I was 24 years old. I had just moved to Denver from Dallas to go back to college. (I had dropped out my first attempt for reasons that many young men drop out at that age, the blush of first love) It was kind of a clean sweep on life for me as I was accepted to the school and moved within 3 months time, not knowing a soul in Colorado. The placement agency for the College housed me with 3 17 year old guys fresh out of high school. Now, I liked those guys, but there was a huge disconnect between my life experiences and theirs.

I was browsing the shelves of my local gaming store when I spotted the box for Everquest. I had no idea what an online game was, or what to expect at all. I loved playing table top games though, things like Dungeons and Dragons, and I bought the game hoping it would mirror my table top experiences. I also hoped it would allow me to connect with other like people as I was dedicated to my schooling and under no circumstances was I going to spend my time partying and raising Cain. My time was to be spent with my nose to my book or relaxing in front of the computer.

Well, that only lasted till I met the first hot little college girl that liked older men, but it’s the thought that counts right? (I did manage to keep my grades up though ;)

Nine years is a long time and my life has had many ups and downs. Relationships have come and gone, I’ve had the blessings of children, I met and married my wife, I’ve changed careers, followed by changing jobs and I’ve lived in 4 different states. The one constant has been the draw of MMORPGs and the friends I’ve made there. In fact, one of my longest and dearest friends, Stormraven, I met in Everquest probably a month after I bought the game. We’ve talked daily for 9 years now and have met in real life as well.

I don’t mean it to sound like I’ve logged on daily for the past nine years. I haven’t. There were long periods when I did not log into an MMORPG at all. I spent most of that time working full time and going to school in the evenings. I also played softball, played in a pool league, a poker club and various other pursuits that go along with those (i.e. – drinking beer and….pursuing).

I always came back though, at some level or another. In fact, it was during one of my returns from sabbatical that I met my wife. You’ve probably already read that story here so I will spare you the retelling.

Since meeting Sinnir, my “in-game” time has increased, partly because it’s something we both enjoy together and thus I can spend more time playing video games and it qualifies as together time :) and partly because our lives and levels of responsibility have changed. Children, money, responsibility, the economic downturn (had to work that in) make “going out” with any amount of regularity impossible.

So, we’ve turned to “going in”. We’ve cultivated friendships online that are an alternative to the relationships we may have once formed “in real life”.

Most of us have probably heard it from family or friends. “Are you playing that computer game AGAIN? Don’t you want to go out?” Online games seem strange to the unfamiliar yet those same people would not bat an eye to hear you are heading out to play poker with the guys, or to your book club, or even out to the bar. MMORPGs can be, at least to me, as rewarding socially as any of those activities.

This has been reinforced for me personally in spades over the last year that Sinnir and I have spent with Second String. Our crew has gotten together to spend New Year’s, Birthdays, and other holidays together. We exchange birthday cards, Christmas presents and we worry about each other. We just spent a weekend celebrating Anep’s and Taylona’s birthdays. When Sinnir asked me what I would like to do for my upcoming birthday, I couldn’t think of anything I would enjoy more than getting onto vent with those crazy bastards and sharing a few beers and laughs.

I guess it’s a virtual way of getting everyone around the kitchen table to play pictionary, getting drunk, and making fun of each other except no one has to drive home and everyone can dirty up their own porcelain throne.

This is a long winded way of saying that MMORPGs are more than just a way for the stereotypical basment dwelling introverts to sit home in the dark. They can also be a fun rewarding social outlet for a huge variety of people. MMORPGs have personally introduced me to one of my oldest and dearest friends, to new career opportunities and to the love of my life.

Even geeky computer games have their positives ;)

Birthday Bash. April 26, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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So, I sit at my desk this morning. I don’t remember last night’s events clearly but there’s a glass here, a half-full black and tan that I didn’t finish, and a dull ache in my head that hints I had a good time.

We gathered last night for the x2, Ward of Elements. We were 10 strong, all of Second String, minus Snappe and Kizzie who are busy trying to procreate.

Anep – 80 Shadow Knight
Sasspanz – 80 Assassin
Castillion – 80 Coercer
Sinnir – 80 Templar
Taylona – 80 Fury
Tarsir (Rhesus) – 80 Shadow Knight
Seeb – 80 Brigand
Aeyanna – 80 Troubadour
Theonee – 80 WIzard
Haku (Elonias) – 80 Mystic

and I vaguely remember Graybone, 77 defiler, joining later in the night, I think.

Now, I know there are others in the guild that want to go to Ward of Elements, and we had two openings but didn’t take anyone…are we elitist assholes that think we are too good for anyone else?

No, no we’re not. The situation was, we weren’t really going to the zone to have a smooth problem free successful run. We were going so we could all get together and get hammered to celebrate Taylona and Anep’s birthday. It wasn’t really the right atmosphere to bring along someone new. We knew we’d be moving really slowly, dying a lot, screwing up loot, and getting really loud and obnoxious in vent, so we kept to a closed run to protect the innocent.

We zoned into Lavastorm and then into Ward of Elements. We kicked the night off by doing the first of many many shots to come, I was doing Irish Car Bombs. An Irish Car Bomb, you take half a glass of Guinness and drop a shot of Bailey’s in it, then you slam it. I had a lot of them, but don’t worry, I was being responsible and drinking Black and Tans (half Guinness, half Bass) in between to keep myself straight.

We did shots to celebrate every mob we killed, we did shots to punish ourselves for wiping, we did shots when we screwed up loot, hell we even did shots to celebrate doing shots.

We also managed to kill some mobs. I think we killed everything in the zone except for the Library and Aiden. I’m pretty sure I won the T3 pants. We did manage to screw up loot a couple of times but loot will drop again.

All in all it was a fun night and we were successful in our purpose, whether we were successful in clearing the zone or not ;)

Happy Birthday Taylona and Anep, I hope you guys had as much fun as I did, and remember, my loony bun is fine Benny Lava!

Has the curse actually been lifted? April 25, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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We had an excellent night of raiding.

It began with Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold. We killed the Strange Stalker with little issue and moved on to Kultak the Cruel. We’ve never killed Kultak, and as we’ve never killed Switchmaster either, Kultak is skipping slightly ahead in TSO progression for us. We did surprisingly well however and I had to chastise myself for doubting. We didn’t get him down, but we were able to kill all his adds and work directly on him. I think it was great progress and he is a lot closer to dying than I initially thought.

We decided to call pulls on him and head to TotMC again to pick up a couple more patterns for the raid. We blew through the first two named and slaughtered Thet-em-aua on the second pull. It was such an improvement over last week. It was actually hard to believe how smoothly it went. I was really proud of our guild and it reminded me how our raids are supposed to go. Now just to bottle all of that success up so we can repeat it every week.

The eye mounted ring dropped again and I won it. I even beat four others on the roll. Has the curse really been lifted?


We followed the raid up with some Second String time. We formed up with Anep, Sinnir, Me, Graybone, Elonias (eventually swapping Elonias for Taylona as Elo went to hopefully kill Varsoon and finish his Chapter 8 quest) and Seeb. We blew through Najana’s Hollow Tower, OoA, and AoB before calling it a night. It was a good time and nice to do some grouping again with those guys. We’ve been slacking too much lately.

Today we are headed to Shard of Hate for our more relaxed Saturday raid. We are following that up tonight with a Second String foray into Ward of Elements. It’s also Taylona’s birthday, and we are combining Anep’s birthday with Tay’s, so I imagine most of us will be seeing ALL KINDS of monsters by the end of the night ;)

Good Morrow, friends.

Second String Plat Farming. April 24, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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Quick update today.

Finally got a little bit of Second String time in last night.

We went and 9 manned PR for plats as I think some of us are running low. It was a fun time and we cleared the entire zone making 16 – 19 plat each plus 3 yet-to-be sold Crystallized Mana that will add nicely to that total.

It wasn’t really the crazy instance running I was looking for, but it was nice to get together with everyone again. Unfortunately I had to work before PR so I missed out on the instance runs that went on then. I have missed them so much though <sobs>.

Tonight is raid night and I think we’re headed into Palace of the Ancient One. Hopefully all of our main folks are on and we can make some progress on Switchmaster.

We shall see!

Virtual Home Tours April 23, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, My lovely wife.
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Sinnir has posted some virtual tours of of both of our houses over at her site. Go take a look at mine and hers!

I have to say I am incredibly pleased with how mine came out and I think she did a perfect job capturing just what I was wanting. It’s awesome! I’ve been meaning to post screenshots of it forever, but this is much easier ;)

Trakanon is a meanie. April 23, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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Boy is he.

We zoned into VP last night and ported to Trak’s lair and noticed “Hey look, there’s Phara Dar right there, we should kill him for some new pants” Which we did and we got two new pairs of pants for the guild plus a nice bow. This is a nice little side effect of being able to port directly to Trak’s lair and I can’t help but wonder if it will be fixed in the future.

For now, I am hoping we work a 5 min kill of Phara Dar into our normal raid schedule, even if we don’t pull Trak. It’s purely selfish as I really want my VP pants.  (unrelated: that sounds like PP pants.)

We then zoned into Trak’s lair and got killed. A lot. Wow, he’s a tough sumbitch. We may be working on him just a little sooner than we should be. I had fun though. I don’t know if he belongs in rotation yet, but it’s not for me to decide and I will zone in and let him eat me as much as the raid leaders desire. I am definitely glad we are giving him a shot.

Tonight is an offnight and I’m hoping that we can hook up as Second String and do something. I’m not sure what as we’ve pretty much done everything around to death and we aren’t scheduled for the x2 until Saturday, but I’m happy just doing anything we can get together and laugh during.

Otherwise I may work on the templar a bit. I’m thinking that it will be fun playing through instances again as a healer, and maybe I will p.u.g. it a little on him. I’ve also been toying with the idea of betraying the Guardian to a Berserker and seeing if I like the warrior class more from that angle. I could box the zerker with the templar, but I also want to get the templar leveled up with some kind of speed, so I may save that project for later.

On another note, my birthday is coming up on May 12th. I’m just putting it out there in case someone over at SOE happens to stop by and read this and wants to surprise me by flying me out for Fan Faire and making me a cake.

Just sayin’

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. April 22, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Movies, Second String.
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No EQ2 last night at all. Sinnir and I took the night off and watched Rose Red. Ohhhhh….scaaarrryy….

Sin isn’t much into scary movies….at all…so it was nice to sit down and watch a kind of scary movie with her. Scary in the sense of “hey this is a TV miniseries”, but still….well, Ok IT was a TV miniseries as well and it scared the beejeezus out of me as a kid. I give her props for watching a scary movie at all. Maybe now we can move into something truly scary..

What’s a good scary non-gore movie? Gore doesn’t really scare me, it just makes me sick to my stomach which is not really the same thing as a good scream. Ghost stories really have the most effect on me personally. A good suspenseful ghost story will have me turning the hall light on to go to the bathroom for the next week. The Changeling, for example, had me taking showers for quite a while. I also liked The Blair Witch Project.

I guess to me movies with an unknown threat or unknown terror, or something that could be real, scare me the most.

We’ll be back in game tonight though as it’s raid night. I believe Trakanon is on the agenda, at least it’s planned. I am looking forward to putting some time in on him and eventually kicking his scaly ass. It’s not just for the loot, although Trak loot is still great loot, it’s also for the satisfaction of killing him. I’m sure it’s going to take us some time to get the encounter down, but a little hard work and dedication he’ll be deaded.

Thursday I think we’ve finally decided to put some Second String time in and I hope we can get together and have some laughs and run some instances. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you informed!

All in the family. April 21, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, My lovely wife, Second String.

My lovely wife and super templar, Sinnir, has decided to take a dip in the blogging waters.

She’s set up shop over at The Seventh Level. Go give her a visit!

I wonder if now I can get special treatment for linking back to her. I think I should ;)