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My triumphant return! October 5, 2009

Posted by castillion in Aion, EQ2, Second String.
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I’m back! Did you miss me? Like I didn’t already know the answer to that question, hahaha! I love me.  I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long, but my two weeks of vacation turned into a month off blogging while I recovered at work and dove headfirst into my gaming addiction.

There have been several developments in my Online Gaming Habits. First off, EQ2 is out. So, if you came here to read about my uber exploits in the World of Norrath and to learn about the latest things Second String is doing in EQ2, I’m sorry but we don’t talk about that anymore. In fact, for now, Sin and I have cancelled our EQ2 accounts. We may reactivate at some later date, but I haven’t missed it at all yet.

Yes I know, I need to update my banner and I will eventually. My graphic skills are really limited though, so it may take me some time to get a banner I like again.

We are still playing and still loving Aion. I won’t be a complete fanboi and say it doesn’t have its issues but man we are having a blast there. We started up a guild led by Stormraven and me on the Marchutan server, Paranoia(fear my uber web design). We are about 15 strong and are made up of some Second Stringers, some friends from EQ2, some friends from work, and some friends of friends. It’s going well for now and I think we are all having fun. We aren’t striving to be much more than a group of friends hanging out and progressing through the game at our own speed. For now, that’s exactly what I’m wanting and, once we stabilize, we can see where the guild goes.

Second String is still going strong in the new game, although we are definitely missing some of our friends. Right now the Second Stringers in Aion are me (Mcmad), Sinnir, Taylona (Priya) and Snappe. Yes, Snappe is back! Sinnir finally decided to stick to her healing roots, so she is playing a cleric, Taylona (Priya in Aion) has decided to roll a Sorcerer and Snappe has gone with a Gladiator. Yes, Snappe is back!!! Anep and Sasspanz will be coming over soon, but they are on a gaming hiatus at the moment.

What am I doing? Well, I am playing the templar (tank) class again. My first eq1 character, Mcmad has died and gone to heaven (omglolz). I am having a blast and I’ve definitely missed the tanking role. It’s good to have the old guy back and it’s good to slip back into my comfort zone of tanking and bossing around groups. I’m really enjoying the tanking role so far. It’s much more fun and involved than EQ2 was for me, and I’m loving the aggro mini-games. I leveled him to 29 last night, one more level until the new wings!

There’s so much to talk about with Aion, my tanking experiences, our instancing, pvp, …so much! I don’t want to blow my wordwad about Aion on my first post and I can already feel this could turn into a long one, so I will save some more for tomorrow.

I leave you with a picture of McMad reborn:

 

The big guy in all his glory.

The big guy in all his glory.

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Strangest Search Term so far. July 13, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2.
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I was looking over my blog stats to see what search phrases have brought people to my site.

This was on the list:

black moon rising+porn

Now I am left to wonder just what kind of porn this person was looking for. Funnily enough, I can imagine it and I never thought of my blog title, Blackmoon’s Rising, as anything pornographic until the very moment I saw that search.

This is really very funny.

Because they come in a pink bag and are yummy as hell. June 22, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2.
3 comments

Another weekend of my life down and I’m back at the grind. I curse my parents for not being rich so I could be lazier. It’s O.K., I can do that. My kids will be cursing me one day too. Hi Kids!

Friday night was raid night and, as I mentioned in last week’s post (you read it right?) I had to work. That meant I missed most of VP. I did finish up work just in time to log in for the Taskmaster, right after they killed Nexona. Well, actually, I finished work while they were fighting Nexona and I just pretended I still had stuff to do until they killed her because, well, because it’s Nexona. Hi Wolf! (I think I will end every section with a shout out).

Saturday the kid’s kept bothering me and wanting me to do stuff outside underneath the horrible burning yellow globe. I tried smacking them around but that wasn’t really what they were looking for. So after giving in and taking them to the pool and grocery shopping (I had to take out a loan), I was finally able to get some playtime in. Stormraven (/plp) was bored and filling his time with a bag of Danish Wedding Cookies, so we decided to give the new zones a run. We cleared the new group version of Kurn’s Tower and the new 6 man instance Emperor’s Athenaeum. Hi Storm!

I liked both of the new instances. Yes Kurn’s was a void instance rehash, but I still liked it. I really dug Emporer’s Athenaeum’s style and the instance over all. I wouldn’t call either of them super difficult as they are both mainly tank-n-spank, turn-n-burn, watchtv-n-mashbuttons fights with the exception of the final fight in EA. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. The instances were a nice break from the “how the hell are we supposed to do this” fights we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Hi Aiden!

The final fight in EA however is super cool. You walk into a room where there are 4 Iksar Swordslizards standing in formation. I don’t remember their given names, but each of them has a color coordinated title – Jade, Sapphire, Night, and Sunrise (tre chic). All four of them are also dressed to the nines, each strapping a glowing katana across their back, the color of which matches their name and outfit. I am sure they all also have wallets that say Bad Motherfucker on them.

There are 4 towers in the room, one in each corner. The towers each contain a glowing sphere that, luckily enough, each glow with a color matching one of the 4 lizardmen. When you click on a tower during the fight, it will freeze the lizard man with the same color title, the green tower freezes the jade lizard, for example.

Two people are assigned click duty. You could use more than two, but it’s really easier to control if only two people are doing the clicking. The tank engages all 4 named (note: it’s really important that the tank aggros all 4 named before anything else happens, otherwise the event will reset after about 40 seconds). As soon as the tank engages, each of the clickers freeze a named, so that two are frozen. The group then burns down one of the two active mobs. When the two frozen mobs re-activate, the two clickers freeze the two that the group is fighitng and the group goes to work on the two fresh named. Rinse and repeat the click/freeze until all 4 are dead.

It took a few pulls to work it out, but once we did they dropped pretty easily. I do suggest having two healers along though as the named really pound on the tank, plus they AE and do all kinds of other fun stuff to the rest of the group.

Saturday I ran a couple of shard instances with Storm and we also managed to work WOE in there. We killed Aiden again, but no coercer arms this time.

Catch y’all tomorra.

A night off. May 14, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Movies, My lovely wife.
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An off night.

When I say off, I mean offline ;)

Sinnir and I went to dinner yesterday and over margaritas decided that we really needed a night off. This has been a rough week between Sinnir and the gnome being sick and me working tons of extra hours for a huge release on Monday and the following fallout that always accompanies such a project. We were just tired and needed a night to reflect and reconnect.

We went and picked up a couple of movies instead. Mama Mia! and Zach and Miri make a porno. Wildly different movies but we thoroughly enjoyed both.

Sinnir had been pestering me for a while to see Mama Mia! and I finally
caved. I know that saying this lowers my testosterone level, but I really enjoyed the movie. It was fun and entertaining. Plus, you get to see Pierce Brosnan sing, which in itself is worth the price of the movie. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Zach and Miri make a porno is hilarious if you enjoy raunchy comedy. We laughed, a lot. I hesistate to recommend it because it is so…so dirty..then again if you are renting a movie about two people making a porno and are easily offended, someone needs to smack you. I will say if you enjoy belly laughs, full frontal nudity, and potty humor, you’ll enjoy this movie.

So, sorry for missing the raid last night all, but we’ll be back up to our regular antics tonight.

I get by with a little help from my friends. May 4, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, everquest ii, MMO, Second String.
3 comments

Much has happened since last we met. It was a very full weekend which brought some good news and some bad news. We’ll start with the good news.

Aiden is dead. We cleared the Ward of Elements!

Sunday I had made plans with Stormraven to do the x2. The set up we took was:

Stormraven – 80 Shadowknight
oogg – 80 Defiler
Wolfette – 80 Swashbuckler
Sinnir – 80 templar
Castillion – 80 Coercer
Callous – 80 Guardian

Kaflor – 80 Templar
Wylee – 80 Troubadour
Chus – 80 Necromancer
Nugsinoth – 80 Conjorer
Rhyanna – 80 Fury
Erienne – 80 Wizard

We had planned on forming up early in the morning to give ourselves ample time to clear the zone and work on Aiden. The zone clear was uneventful and we killed all the named up to Aiden with little issue. I wore pants the entire time. they did add some neat charms to the zone, but I lost the roll on all of them ;) We pulled Aiden. Then we pulled Aiden again. Then we pulled Aiden for an hour and decided to take a break for lunch.

90 minutes later we regrouped, minus Chus, whom I assume fell asleep folding laundry again. We replaced him with Blaveklostthegame – 80 Dirge, and continued on. We pulled Aiden, and pulled Aiden and pulled Aiden. Yeah, that’s a lot of pulls, but we refined our strat on every one. Finally, we all had our Super Mario jump-on-the-flaming-tornados skillset honed to perfection and we pulled him for the final time. He dropped the templar/Shadowknight/someotherclassthatisnotcoercer arms, which Kaflor won.

It did feel good to finally kill that bastard, but more in the “haha we beat your stupid hoop jumping event” way that in the “wow that was cool” way. The Varsoon event still wins in my mind ;) I do feel confident in repeating our win there, but it will take a lot of training every time you bring someone new in or change your raid setup around.

I do have to give our little raid a ton of credit. It took fortitude to hang in there and die as often as we did on Sunday and be willing to stick it out for the duration. It was certainly a comment on teamwork and everyone deserves to pat themselves on the back. There are no slackers on that kill for sure.

It was a pretty full weekend besides just the x2, with some TSO raid zones, SoH and grouping mixed in. Last night we spent the night grouping the Kunark instances with me tanking and everyone playing alts. We had a good time.

Now, that bad news.

Anep and Sasspanz have decided to take a break from the game. They’re making some changes in real life and it will prevent them from logging in for at least a couple of months probably. We will miss them dearly and I wish them well with whatever is coming up for them in the immediate and distant future. We love you guys.

That’s half of the original Second String down. Snappe was the first to go, now Anep and Sassy. That leaves Taylona, me and Sinnir left of the original gang. I have to say I have had a blast this entire time. We’ve had our ups and downs but far far more ups than anything else. You guys have all made the game what it is for me today. Of course we’ll all stay in touch in the real, but I’ll miss our adventures in Norrath.

I don’t know what this is going to do to us in game yet. Second String has expanded enough we can still blow up zones. Rhesus’ tank has really come a long way so we have him to abuse. I just don’t know right now as I think most of us are still in a state of disbelief. I know that some members of SS are wanting to explore different classes too, so this may be a time of reforming and altering our group builds. We’ll see.

Snappe, Anep, and Sasspanz, how many months has it been since we first started grouping? I know if we counted the laughter as days it would be decades. Thank you guys for the fun. You all know my email, even if Snappe is the only one that ever writes <sob>

Good Journies friends.

(I know Anep and Sass may be on occassionally while their subscribtion runs out, but I’m putting this out there now damn it ;)

You never know when you might need it. May 1, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2, Second String.
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Fun night last night.

Stormraven shot me a tell as soon as I logged on inquiring about my plans for the evening and, if I were free, could he take me out?

I played a little coy and hard-to-get and told him I had to check my schedule but eventually gave in to his advances and we decided to head to Palace of Ferzhul.

The group make up was:

Stormraven – 80 SK
Rhyanna – 80 Fury (and let me tell you, she picked the right class, she is so MEAN)
Zahrn – 80 Brigand
Castillion – 80 Coercer
Azznep (a.k.a. Anep) – 80 Inquisitor

We were saving our 6th spot for Chus – 80 Necromancer, since the whole reason we were doing Palace was kill Varsoon for his TSO signature quest update. We waited on Chus, and waited on Chus, and waited on Chus and finally decided to zone in and kill trash while we waited some more.

So we zoned in and started clearing trash, no Chus. Then we cleared some named, No Chus. Finally we got to the library and were having issues 5 manning it so we decided to invite Nugsinoth – 80 Conjurer in Chus’ place. It turns out that Chus fell asleep on us. Typical Necro behaivour.

We cleared the rest of the zone up to Varsoon without much incident although parses seemed a little low and there was a chill in the air that was hard to explain.

We pulled Varsoon the first time and got him out of the blades room into the fire room and died. We pulled him a second time and died a second time in the fire room. Azznep then posed a strange question to me. He queried, “Castillion why aren’t you wearing any pants?”

Weird, I hadn’t even noticed. I guess that explains the draft. I put some pants on and we promptly pulled and killed Varsoon. It’s amazing how much better we did when everyone wasn’t distracted by me running around with my Magic Wand at the ready.

I bid adieu to Stormraven and his group of misfits and joined up with some of Second String, or my group of misfits. They wanted to do an semi alt run through Crucible and wanted me to tank it for them. I was actually happy with that as I had just respec’d Saynt to a more DPS’y spec and had dropped another 40 shards on him to get a couple of the DPS TSO T2 pieces. I did see some improvement from my respec, but I think I can get more DPS out of him. I think I will be dropping my Divine Aura spec. It’s going to take a little getting used to, not having that security blanket, but may be for the best in the end.

Tonight we are doing some raiding, in one of those zones with the raid mobs. I have no idea where but it should be fun ;)

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.”

Grrr.

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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5 comments

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!