Occipital neuralgia

The day after WAR launched, six days ago, I injured my neck somehow. The same thing happened to me four years ago, and the doctor and chiropractor said it was occipital neuralgia. Basically, the optical nerve is inflamed or pinched somewhere in the back of my head, at the base of my skull, and the pain radiates from there over the top of my head to right behind my left eye. It’s like a ram’s horn of pain. It’s constant, and I’ve had the headache for six days now.

I’m counting myself lucky that I know what it is this time. Last time it happened, it took a couple months for the doctors to figure it out, and the headache lasted all that time. Anti-inflammatory medication would reduce the symptoms, but as soon as the medication wore off, the pain returned. It wasn’t until the chiropractor was able to convince whatever was pinching the nerve to move back to its proper location that the pain subsided.

I’ve been to the chiropractor twice this week, and I’m going again tomorrow, so hopefully it’ll be clearing up by tomorrow night. Today’s the best I’ve felt since last Friday, but it’s still touch and go.

The pain makes everything difficult, including gaming. I’ve only had two long play sessions in WAR since launch. I knew I was going to have a busy week at work, but the headaches kept me away even more. I gritted through it to do some open RvR with CoW on Tuesday night…ok, a lot of open RvR!…but I haven’t played as much as I’d like.

I’ve got a bit of blogging to catch on, and I’ll try to do that over the next day or two. Hopefully, next week will see me in WAR quite a bit more!

Building a community: CoW guild in WAR

If you read here semi-regularly, you know that A) I piped up in the beginning of August, stating that I liked Boatorious’s idea of a WAR bloggers guild, and B) I’ve been slammed with work since just a week or two after I indicated my approval of the idea.

I have to say, it’s absolutely humbling to see what’s grown out of that little idea. To be honest, I was a little skeptical, because I’ve tried, in pretty much every MMO I’ve played, to gather a group of like-minded players that I know from outside the game, and it’s never really worked. The best guild I was ever in, The Fellowship of Dihn, was a group of players who played UO together, and I fell in with them in-game, with no outside organization. In fact, I got to the Dihn folks through a guild of Everquest druids that played DAoC together, but that group, organized off the EQ Druids message boards, fell apart rather quickly.

Watching Casualties of War go from a “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…” post to the level 8 guild rank, 140+ member organization that it is today has been nothing short of amazing. It’s like a wildfire, the way it’s grown.

It wasn’t just work that prevented me from keeping up with the developments of the guild. So many people joined so quickly (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) that the site exploded. Not only am I overwhelmed trying to learn as much as possible about WAR, but I don’t have a prayer of keeping up with all the activity on the guild boards.

I’m so impressed at the contributions of everyone who has come to play with us. From the people who volunteered to help Genda with the web site, to the officers who are taking leadership roles in the forums, to the in-game players who are actively encouraging guild participation in RvR and PvP…it’s an awesome community effort. There’s no way this idea would have been successful without a lot of smart, funny, and dedicated people throwing their lot in with Casualties of War.

It’s not just the people. Mythic deserves a lot of credit here as well. The Living Guild idea is brilliant, and it gets people invested in the community in-game, not just on message board forums. The people at WarDB are building off the tools that Mythic has made available as well, so you can keep up with guild activity, like Hudson described the other day.

I’d love to say thanks to everyone individually, but it’s just not possible. CoWs, I’m impressed, I’m grateful, and I’m so glad to be running with such a dynamic bunch of people. I think we’ve found the right group of people for the right game, and I can’t wait to see what the next couple years of gaming hold in store. Waaagh!

Christmas morning

It’s like I’m a little kid again, awake at 5:30 am on Christmas morning and knowing that my parents won’t let me wake them up until later. Like 5:45.

I’m sitting in my office, coffee next to me, laptop ready to go, just waiting for the servers to finally go live for everyone. I think my head might explode.

Every bit of launch anticipation that I’ve managed to suppress over since I started in the Closed Beta lo those many months ago is rushing back at me like a tsunami. I’m bouncing my feet, my palms are sweaty (ok, maybe I’ve had too much coffee), and I keep looking at the clock. STILL 32 minutes.

And I’m sure at 10:01 am this morning, all hell is going to break loose and the servers will be swamped, and who knows if I’ll even be able to get in? At least I’ll actually be able to DO something, though. This sitting around is making me crazy. Maybe I’ll go get more coffee!

As a person who’s responsible for a couple mission-critical servers in a datacenter, my hat is off to the Mythic team this morning. As much as I’m thinking “C’mon! Launch is still 29 minutes away!”, I’m wondering if they’re running around like crazy yelling “Holy shit! 29 minutes! Aiiieeee!” Good luck, folks!

I’m going to go take a little walk before my head really does explode. Another big cup of coffee, and I should be ALL ready for some RvR πŸ™‚ WAAAGH!!

Looking back before stepping forward

I’ve been studiously avoiding all things Warhammer for the past couple weeks. A fortuitous burst of overwhelming work activity has kept me off the message boards and the blogs, and I’ve spent my evenings running Eve missions, playing Puzzle Quest on Gametap, and trying to ignore the fact that in 48 hours, I’ll finally be playing WAR.

It’s been a long time since I jumped into an MMO at launch. WoW was the last game that got my full attention. I don’t know what I’m going to find in WAR, but I do know that my gaming life will change over the next few months.

I get excited about single-player games, but few of them affect me as much as a good MMO. It’s the people that make the difference; since I started playing games online, my favorite memories revolve around the communities of people that I grew to know.

When I grew up, games were still in their infancy. I cut my teeth on Asteroids and Defender at the local 7-11, drinking Slurpees and smoking my first cigarettes while I waited for my next turn (omg, video games are a gateway drug). If my mom was going to the mall (which were still a pretty new phenomenon where I grew up), I’d always ask to tag along and scrounge up a couple bucks to disappear into the arcade while she shopped. I played D&D whenever I could, but it was really, really, rare to find fellow gamers.

It wasn’t until I ventured onto the Internet that I found a ton of like-minded people. Inveterate gamers, unabashedly enthusiastic about their hobby, willing to stay up late, to play just one more turn with me, one more game, willing to talk games every time we could get to the keyboard. It’s been a transformative experience. I was a history major in college, graduated in 1988 without ever having used a computer to type a paper (and I typed some long-ass papers). 6 years later, largely because of what I learned while PC gaming, I had a new career in the technology business. 20 years later, I’ve met more people and played more games than I ever could have dreamed possible.

From playing MUD’s and playing Quake, hanging out in early gaming communites like Arcadium or on the Quake newsgroups, moving to Counterstrike and then to EQ, the rise of EZboards like The Druid’s Grove and The Safehouse, joining The Well, and starting a blog, the common thread in my enjoyment of online games is meeting and getting to know new people.

WAR is going to be quite an exciting new chapter. I’m thrilled to be playing with the Casualties of War, alongside the bloggers who I read obsessively. I’ve been holding back on getting too excited too early, but damn, I’m ready to play now. I’m not expecting WAR to be revolutionary. I could care less if it’s a WoW-killer, or if some people hate it while other people love it. I do think that Mythic is making a game that’s going to fit right into my personal history of making great friends within a vibrant gaming community, and that’s what has me so excited.

To WAR! To Cow’s! To gaming! It’s been a long wait. Let’s get busy having some fun!

Bitching about Tobold’s free account

Are you fucking kidding me? I read this over at Lum’s, and I’m astonished anyone is complaining about Tobold getting a free WAR account.

Let’s get this straight. Tobold’s blogged heavily for 5 years now. He doesn’t have any ads on his site. He’s paid a lot of cash in subscriptions for various games, and he’s given thousands of degenerate game addicts like myself countless hours of free content to digest and discuss. He’s thoughtful, he’s dedicated, and he’s a big contributor to the unofficial MMO gaming community.

$15 a month is going to buy him? Look, I don’t know Tobold. He may be easy, but I can’t imagine he’s cheap! Do you think for one second that he’d modify his content, fearing the loss of his free account? Ridiculous. Moreover, do you really think Mythic is going to mail him and say “Hey, we’re giving you a whole $15 a month, you BETTER say nice things!”? If y’all think that’s a sufficient bribe, you’re so not cut out to ever consider a career in politics. Just sayin’.

Jeez. How about congratulating the man? If anyone in the MMO blogging world deserves a little coming back his way, it’s Tobold (or Brent, but I’m pretty sure that Brent already works out of a secret lair in Tahiti, surrounded by gorgeous island women provided by Sony πŸ™‚ ). Enjoy your massive, world-changing windfall Tobold. Let us know what little island you’re going to purchase, now that your monthly bills have been so drastically reduced! Clearly, you’re indebted to Mythic and EA forever. When do you have to publically admit that Madden and US football is superior to that “other” football that only 3 billion people in the rest of the world prefer? I’ll expect to hear you and Jeff Green talking about it together on an upcoming “EA Whore Podcast”. Sheesh.

When you consider the money the US government wastes every year, it’s astonishing to me that people are going to take the time to bitch about Tobold and his $15. Could our priorities get any more fucked up?

WAR headstart: Tortoise and the hares

It appears I have angered the Work Gods, and they are raining their displeasure down upon me in the form of meetings, training sessions, project deadlines and a couple invitations to dinners in the city. Ok, so it’s not all bad πŸ™‚ However, as the WAR launch fast approaches, I’m looking more and more like a tortoise in the race to 40.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t pre-order, so I’ll be starting on the 18th. It was bad enough thinking that a lot of my friends were going to race off ahead of me during the head start, but it’s going to be even worse as I have lots to do during the first couple weeks of launch.

I haven’t played the Open Beta. I did make a character, did a /who Casualties, saw people at 15 already, and got discouraged πŸ™‚ I also couldn’t stand the thought of trying to furiously level to catch up, only to have that character get deleted. I also had a kid emergency (she’s at the age where the idea of Bigfoot and aliens and the Loch Ness Monster seem frighteningly alive as you’re trying to go to sleep), so I had to log off anyway.

I’d be bummed about missing out on the early leveling rush if WAR didn’t appear to have such a good end game. I’m pretty confident that even turtling along to level 40 behind the people with more time to play will allow me to have a blast with the guild in the end game excitement. I just have to fight down that feeling of “being behind” as I see other CoW’s leveling like mad πŸ™‚

I suspect there will be others in the guild who have similar RL responsibilities, and I’ll find plenty of people to group with. I was just hoping to overdose on an MMO at launch for the first time in a couple years…hmm, since WoW launched, I guess. I’ll still get to OD, it’ll just be a few weeks later than everyone else. Save me a spot on the ramparts of some big end-game keep!

I’m not dead yet

School has started, which means I’m helping faculty and students by day, and I’m taking a grad school course at night, “U.S. Foreign Policy in a Troubled World”. Great professor, great reading list, little time for gaming at the moment!

I’m kind of laying back anyway, waiting for WAR to start. I was approaching WAR Hype Overload at the end of the Preview Weekend, and the whole “Brent says WAR is DOA” thing got a little exhausting. Gary Gannon and Ryan Verniere had Brent on their new WAAAGH podcast (Where have I heard that name before?), and I thought they did a good job of exposing why Brent felt the way he did, and countering his opinions.

I tend to agree with Ryan and Gary much more than I do with Brent, but I do understand where Brent is coming from. I think that because MMO’s launch so slowly, we’re hoping for bigger changes than we get. Shoot, I should probably break this into a longer post when I have more time. If I get time this week, I’ll write it up with real links and stuff πŸ™‚ Back to reading until then!

I’ve played a little Eve lately, running a mission or two when I’m too tired to keep reading, but not tired enough to sleep. Making money, training up Large Turrets V (23 days, nice).

I also caught the Lord of the Rings trilogy on TV a couple weekends ago, which always makes me fire up the orginal Battle for Middle Earth to stomp around with the Fellowship. I don’t usually enjoy RTS games, but BFME is easy enough for an old man like me to keep up πŸ™‚

Hopefully, this break from WAR testing and talking will have me rested, refreshed, and ready to go when the game launches in a couple weeks. I really can’t wait to have a character that’s MINE, all MINE. And I’m definitely looking forward to the madness that will be the Casualties of War πŸ™‚