Winter Hours starting first week in November

On November 6th, the food bank will operating on our winter schedule, closing a half hour earlier on Tuesday evenings. Daytime hours will remain 10 am to 1 pm, and evening hours are 6 pm to our new closing time of 7:30 pm. 

Drfited away – but still playing games!

My blogging career definitely tracks my MMO play activity. If I’m playing any genre but MMOs, I don’t seem to take the time to blog about it. Since I’ve been actively blogging here, I played some League of Legends, a lot of Starcraft 2, Team Fortress 2, and a lot of single player games that I missed while immersed in various MMOs (The Witcher, Mass Effect, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Fallout 3, among others).

I recently started playing LoTRO again (and tried Rift on a free weekend), and my desire to blog also picked up. It’s curious; I’m a very solitary person within most MMOs. For example, I just finished leveling a minstrel (usually a very group-friendly class) to 65, almost entirely solo. Despite my reticent nature in-game, I’m happy to talk about what I’m doing in an MMO when I’m not actually playing it.

Why do I want to talk about MMOs more than single player games or multiplayer games? Is it something about the persistence of an MMO compared to the more transient experience of multiplayer matches? Is there more of a story to an MMO? There’s a pretty good story in most single player RPGs, but I don’t feel compelled to write about those so much. I spent a lot of time playing TF2 and Starcraft 2 and League of Legends with other people, but I don’t feel the need to blog about it. It must be the persistent world that makes me feel like sharing, the non-instanced nature of an MMO. Anyone can log on to Steam and find me for a TF2 game, or friend me on League of Legends and ask if I want to play, or I can join a variety of Vent/TeamSpeak servers and play a match with friends, but all those interactions happen outside the game world first. The MMO is always there, always on, always the same, and somehow that makes me want to write about it. Maybe it’s a way of connecting with my character who’s idle while I’m not able to log in, and maybe it’s a way of connecting with other people who are doing the same thing, yearning for a bit of persistence while we await another opportunity to enter that world and play.

Whatever it is, I’m happy that my on-again off-again relationship with LoTRO has finally reached a major milestone.

That took long enough

Gallatin at 65

It’s kind of crazy how much work still remains in LoTRO. As you can see, I’ve got trade skills to master, I need to figure out Legendary Items and maximize what they offer, I’ve got plenty of skirmishes to run, deeds to finish, traits to earn, and dungeons to explore if I ever decide to start grouping on a regular basis. I’ve reached level cap, but I certainly haven’t come close to maximizing Gallatin’s potential, and I hope to spend some time figuring out how to make him a useful member of a group instead of a solitary War Speech minstrel. He’s also got a big house to decorate!

LoTRO F2P – An Early Look

I managed to get the LoTRO F2P update downloaded last night, after adding the Turbine Invoker and Turbine Launcher to my firewall exceptions. Never had to do that before, but it worked.

The update wasn’t all that large and I got to play for a little bit. There are interface updates – the experience bar is a little bigger, a little brighter, there’s a Skirmish button next to your bags, and there’s a Store icon at the right side of your toolbar. I got a bunch of deed updates and I got some Turbine points for deeds and reputation. People in my guild were talking about having thousands of points – I only had 80 :) I don’t think I’m a completionist, or maybe my point total just isn’t correct yet. Turbine had a note about a problem with points, so I’ll wait and see what I end up with in a couple days.

I thought, as a current subscriber, I’d get a chunk of points to play with, but they haven’t appeared yet. I think the only points that registered were due to my standings with various factions.

I finished up some Moria quests and logged out. I’ll check out the new zone when I get a little more time to play. So far, so good? Beyond the update problem, everything was stable. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the F2P is live for everyone, though. I wonder if they’ll stay stable through the weekend.

LoTRO and free to play

The Lord of the Rings Online goes free to play in two days, on September 10th. As a current subscriber, I get an early look at the new point store, new zone, and lots of other changes, rules, limits (or lack of limits if I keep subscribing) and, I’ll admit it, some confusion.

I’m not the obsessive MMO player I used to be, where I’d follow official and unofficial forums like a dog on a scent. I couldn’t tell you what my monthly fee might be if I decide to keep subscribing. Does it stay the same? Does it increase? What happens if I stop subscribing? Does my gold disappear? What about the characters I already have over the cap?

I know I could find these answers in a thread on the official forums, but I hardly take time to blog any more – I’m hoping that nothing really changes, I get charged the same amount, and the game I’ve casually enjoyed through 56 levels, deep into Moria, doesn’t change too much for me.

I’m happy Turbine is experimenting, I like some aspects of the free to play model, and I think it’ll be good for the game, but I’m also being selfish. I don’t want to do any extra work. Sue me, I’m lazy :) I’m looking forward to logging in and checking things out, though. Think I have to give it the usual patch-day level of expectations? Probably. Right now the updater is bombing out behind my Word Press window – maybe it’ll be tomorrow before I get to check things out.

I’ll post my opinions about the F2P changes, and if it impacts an old casual subscriber, or if the game just keeps ticking along for me.

Anyone else going to start playing, or return to play, now that it’s free?

Why I’m not allowed to decorate the house

I’d choose prints like this, and my wife would threaten to leave me.

I found the above site from a link in the Gamers With Jobs Dwarf Fortress thread. Someone was pointing to a story Tim Denee drew about one of his Dwarf Fortress games, and I found the link to his store at the bottom of the story. Great illustrations, and great marketing for his prints. I love seeing people take their hobby, marry it to their skills, and put it up for sale for other hobbyists who’d never be able to find prints like that in a stupid mall store.

That still doesn’t mean my wife is going to let me put it up in the living room, though.

I really like the Bronzemurder story print too. Maybe I’ll have to buy it for my office :)

Hope everyone’s doing well – I haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve largely been out of the MMO scene, and I usually find myself most motivated to blog when I’m playing an MMO, opposed to playing single-player games. A quick recap would find me mostly playing through Fallout 3, replaying Dragon Age:Origins, playing Mass Effect 1, or playing Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends for my multiplayer fixes.

I’m still subscribed to LoTRO and playing on occasion, slowly working my way through Moria. I should emerge from the mines shortly after the game goes free to play, and maybe I’ll be back to update then. I’d like to be back – we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve finished my last course for my Masters degree. All I need to graduate is to finish my qualifying paper and have it approved, and I’m officially finished. Then I have to figure out what I want to do next! Doctoral degree? Top-secret gaming/university project? Write a book? I think it’s going to be one of those three, although there’s an outside chance I’ll work on a teaching certificate as well. Plenty to do, not enough time to game!

Gameloft giving away free iPhone games

I don’t have an iPhoneTouchPad, but someone on The Well mentioned Gameloft is giving away free games in celebration of their tenth anniversary. If you’ve got an iTouchPadPhone, follow ‘em on Twitter and pick up some free stuff.

I’m trying to get an iPad through work, but it’s an incredibly political item to requisition, apparently. I work with software that has an iPad application, and I think I have a great reason for testing it and seeing what else we can develop for it, but it’s turned into “He’s getting one? I want one too! In fact, I want HIS!”, with much foot-stamping and other grown-up behavior going on. *sigh*. We’re asked to innovate, and then questioned when we ask for tools to investigate innovation. Yay for corporations. Meanwhile, much, much more money is being spent on other items.

Didn’t mean to rant – I meant to just point out the free games. So, go! Game for free :)

Guild Wars (player) fail

I bought Guild Wars through Steam the other night. NCSoft does a security bit at login where you have to type in the name of one of your characters. I suppose this prevents scammers from hijacking accounts, and I’m in favor of it.

However, I screwed myself. I made a new character, made up a name I’ve never used in an MMO before, played through the tutorial until I got sleepy, and went to bed. I tried to log in again last night, and was greeted with the “Type in the name of a character on this account” box at login. Doh. I have no idea!

Clearly, I’m not the only person to do this; the NCSoft support site has instructions how to request the character name. My ticket is in their queue, and I’m stuck waiting to play until they hook me up.

I’m definitely ticking that “remember my answer” box under the login info once I get the character name back.

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