The Summer Slump

I am in full summer mode at the moment, just in case it wasn’t fairly obvious already lol. Expect err, the number of non-WoW related postings to increase a bit. About half of my guild and seemingly a good chunk of the WoW population is too, based off of the general raiding lull and blah feeling floating around the community. It’s not just WoW either, I just haven’t feel like gaming nearly as much lately; I think there was an article on low game sales a week or two ago. The weather is nice and the days are long, so why not go outside and engage in recreation?

Summer has never traditionally been all that big of a game season for me or anyone really, seeing as nothing really ever comes out during the summer, with the Fall and Winter pre-Christmas release season just around the corner. I used to play video games quite a bit while I was in school because it was one of the only long break periods in which I could dedicate time to completing lengthy games without having to study or work on a project (well, that and being a kid, thus having no money to do much of anything).

In my case, friends and family are generally more available to do stuff during the summer. It’s when children are out of school and when people take the time to plan vacations. I’ve been either away or busy during the weekends quite a bit more than usual this year for whatever reason. I’ve also been focusing a bit more on non geek traditional hobbies: Playing the guitar, running, and several other things.

I know that the summer slump occurs annually, but it just seems extra bad this year for some reason. I’m sure that being firmly in-between patches isn’t helping much either. Ulduar is awesome and all, but I think we’re due for an injection of new content soon. So is it a general disinterest in WoW? Is it a product of the bad economy? Or is everyone just really busy all of a sudden? What’s everyone up to in the real world nowadays?

WoW Armory iPhone App

The random one or two minute site outages are me by the way, being a doofus playing with the nginx configuration file. I’m used to Apache servers so I’m having a bit of trouble getting it to dynamically subdomains in an intelligent manner without borking something.

But anyway, I’m a little late to the game in posting this: An official Blizzard armory application is finally out in the wild up on the iTunes store for both the iPhone and iPod Touch. I figured that one would eventually be released, given the market for one and Blizzard’s crackdown on similar applications a couple of months ago.

The app itself is really pretty awesome, it does a lot more than I would have expected it to. I really like the calendar, which displays and tracks both official game events and guild events. It doesn’t allow you, as far as I know, to add or modify events, but it does display all information as well as the invite status of anyone invited.

The application does require you to login to your account in order to access any of it. There is a preview video, more screenshots and a full feature list over at the official app page on the World of Warcraft site. Oh, it’s FREE by the way.

Review: Betrayal at Krondor

image_47Betrayal at Krondor is a longstanding PC favorite of mine. It’s an older (1993) DOS based PC roleplaying-game, developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra On-Line. The game events occur in the rich and detailed fantasy world of Midkemia, the setting for Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Cycle. I actually wasn’t aware that Betrayal at Krondor was based off of a book series when I had originally played it. If anyone is curious, it takes place approximately halfway between A Darkness at Sethanon and Prince of the Blood (decade after the riftwar).

The game is designed to unfold like an interactive book. It’s divided into nine chapters, each beginning and ending with a cut scene consisting of text narration and pseudo-live action animation (fair warning: This game was created in the early 90’s, the height of live actor cut scene cheese). Most importantly, Betrayal at Krondor feels like a book: The narration is compelling and well written. Most RPGs present you with a generic selection of character archetypes to play. Not so much here, the characters are well fleshed out, each with a distinct personality, past and history.


Betrayal at Krondor, if I am not mistaken is one of the earliest examples of a not strictly linear game. Each chapter allows you to freely explore large portions of the map, which are filled with small towns, loot and side quests to complete. It’s a good balance: Open enough not to feel like you are on rails but not so open that you are distracted from completing the main plot. I highly recommend taking the time to explore. The side quests are fun and supplement the main storyline.

Keep in mind that the graphics haven’t aged well to say the least. All of the game travel occurs in the first person. Though the concept was way ahead of its time, it looks pretty dated now. Combat occurs in the third person, image map graphics with hot spots for inns, shops and whatever are used for large cities and certain locations. The game’s charm though, lies within the writing and plot. Stunning new age graphics were never a main draw, to me at least. The soundtrack on the other hand, is great.


The gameplay has a turn based grid combat system which occurs in the third person, kind of similar(ish) to Final Fantasy tactics. Skill gain is based around usage, there’s no leveling. For example, the more you use a sword, the more accurate you will become. It’s a well balanced system. One of my favorite parts of the game are the Moredhel chests. The treasure chests are locked with a letter dial combination lock. You are given a riddle and it’s your job to figure out the answer.

Anyway, Sierra released Betrayal at Krondor as freeware, available at Abandonia or wherever people go to download old games. There’s also a sequel, Return to Krondor, also a fun game. Unless your computer is ass-old, you will probably need DOSBox to play it. Highly recommended, well worth a download.

TV: Merlin

I don’t usually keep track of what’s on television anymore (I haven’t since graduating High School). Actually, the only channels that I do keep somewhat of a tab on are Discovery and Sci-F…errr SyFy to some extent. So if any other channel has anything worthwhile on, I almost always miss it. But back on topic:

I got a chance to watch some Merlin this weekend, a BBC acquired 13-part series that runs on Sundays during primetime. It’s a coming of age story about Merlin, a young man born with some magical talent, the struggles of his youth, all while trying to keep his powers hidden. It strikes me as kind of odd that NBC would air a period drama during prime time. Fantasy series hold a strong nerd stigma in the US and period drams in general seem to be hit or miss, usually miss. But hey, not complaining.

If you are expecting the story to remain true to the tale of King Arthur, you might be somewhat disappointed as the plot seems to be a very liberal interpretation at best. Smallville is to the Superman comics as Merlin is to the King Arthur stories, for better or for worse (think young Merlin and young Arthur + antics).

The production quality is decent as is the acting (good cast), there’s plenty of sword play, pretty renaissance-esque costumes to stare at as well as CGI monsters. A little cheesy? Perhaps. Fun? Most definitely. It’s well worth watching, especially if you also share a strong fascination for fantasy and medieval period stories. A new summer favorite for Keiya.

Oh, all of the episodes are on the NBC site as well as Hulu.

Paladin Tier-9: Turalyon’s

MMO-Champion has as preview of most of the Tier-9 sets up, along with set bonuses. Paladin Tier-9 is apparently called Turalyon‘s Battlegear, Garb and Plate for Retribution, Holy and Protection respectively. I don’t know how final any of these are, since they are being pulled off of the test servers.

The new paladin sets kind of remind me of the old school PVP sets minus the tacky yellow color. I like the blue, white and bronze/gold color scheme, it’s very regal looking. The helm is also “wearable”, unlike Tier-8’s weird burka mask. Does anybody actually have the helm graphic on for that item? Many of the tiered sets look nice conceptually, but don’t translate very well into the game. Crystalforge for example: Very swank and pretty in the collector’s edition artbook, but way too purple and…floaty in the Burning Crusade.

I am also glad that Blizzard is adding different horde and alliance models for Tier-9; Can’t have those dirty horde fakadins looking like me. But, if variety is what they are shooting for, why do the Death Knight and Warrior sets use the exact same model? Seriously, exactly the same just recolored. Really Blizzard?

But on the other hand: HAHAHAHAHA horde paladins. I am so sorry that you all are going to look like psychedelic crack shaman. Go go alliance!

WoW Macros + Update


Before I babble: I’m not sure if the contact forms on this site or any of my domain emails are functioning properly, I switched them over Google apps and haven’t really tested them. Sooo if anyone’s email has bounced back within the last week, whoops sorry. Also, yay I tweaked the theme so that it’s a little prettier.

I’m majorly slacking on the WoW posts lately. Kind of behind on everything related to patch 3.2. In fact, I haven’t even read all of the patch notes or class changes as I am busyish attending to other things. WoW lull period! I am also sadly slacking off on all of the Argent Tournament dailies. I have a total of 50 at the moment QQ, not enough to buy the new mount when 3.2 goes live. I could have totally had a ginormous stack if I had bothered spending a half hour doing them every day. Shame on me!

Our raid was called off last night because half of our guild was unable to login for most of the evening. It turns out that the authentication problems were only affecting people who have not yet converted their account over to So if anyone is still having issues, it might be time to do so. I have a feeling that at some point in the future, folks will probably be forced to convert their accounts anways.

I feel compelled to post something useful and have been meaning to update my macro list. So, here is a small list of macros that I use frequently on my paladin. You know, I’m certain that one or two of these were copypasta’d and modified from WoWWiki or something, so apologies…

Auto mount selector
One press of this macro will summon your flying mount if you are in a flyable zone, otherwise it will select your ground mount. A second press will dismount you. Replace ’21’ with the number corresponding to your ground mount and replace ’12’ with the number corresponding to your flying mount.

/script if (((GetZoneText()==”Dalaran”) and (GetSubZoneText() ~=”Krasus’ Landing”)) or (GetZoneText()==”Wintergrasp”) or not IsFlyableArea()) then CallCompanion(“MOUNT”,21) else CallCompanion(“MOUNT”,12) end
/dismount [mounted]

Fish and Cleanse
/Shrug. I have fishing cast and cleanse both bound to a single macro on my middle click button. If a fishing pole is equipped it will attempt to cast it, otherwise it will cleanse.

/cast [equipped:Fishing Pole] Fishing
/cast [ noequipped:Fishing Pole] Cleanse

Crusader Strike + Trinkets
When I was protection, I manually enabled trinkets so that I can time them according to healing and incoming damage. As retribution, there’s really no need to do that. This macro will use any trinkets if the cooldowns are up.

#showtooltip Crusader Strike
/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide();
/use 13
/use 14
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();
/script UIErrorsFrame:Show();
/cast Crusader Strike

Divine Sacrifice
Because using Divine Sacrifice without Divine Shield can be ummm…bad for your health.

/castsequence reset=5 Divine Shield, Divine Sacrifice

Mouseover Cleanse
No need to manually click on raid frames and lose your current target: Mouseover the person you want to cleanse and press this macro. Very handy as ret since it allows you to continue DPSing while cleansing if the other classes need help.

[target=mouseover,exists] Cleanse

Hmm, I have hunter macros somewhere. The umm screenshot in this post isn’t related to anything, I just thought that the front page looked kind of plain since I haven’t posted any images in a while.


Yay finally! This site should be up in full working order, minus a few modules that I need to reinstall and reconfigure (the weblinks module for the blogroll stuff and some admin features that no one other than myself will care about). I’ve hopped from one shared provider to the next over the course of several years and have never been really very happy with any of them.

Being too lazy to just setup and run a virtual server, I just tolerated it. But lately, between this site, the guild site, guild forums and whatever else I play with on this account, I’ve outgrown shared hosting. So I finally purchased a VPS account over at Linode and installed Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, Nginx (a faster/lighter alternative to Apache that supposedly is better than Lighty in that it is more stable and doesn’t leak as badly), MySQL and PHP.

All is well so far. I’m not really a Linux guru, so if the site implodes: Whoops. I probably shouldn’t have played around with that setting…

Spring Anime: Afterthoughts

My anime binge petered out around two months ago, but I’ve kept up with a few series (and more or less dropped or put a hold on the rest). I haven’t yet checked to see if there is anything interesting and new coming out this summer. Hashihime though, has a good preview list that I will finish reading later.

Eden of the East was one of my favorites this season; a very good though not great series. It’s quirky, thought provoking and consistently animated well throughout the entire series. I don’t really like cliffhanger endings, but this one was decent I suppose, if not incomplete. It’s hard to review the story as a while since it isn’t technically over until the two announced movies are released.

What I didn’t love about Eden: The mystery that had originally pulled me into Eden in the first episode or two leveled off, dulled and flew out into numerous directions by the time the series hit mid season. I also thought that the characters though decent, felt pretty average; No one was particularly memorable. Being a big Honey and Clover fan, I did though like the art style a lot.

Fullmetal Alchemist hit the point in which the manga and the first anime series diverge last week. Until that point, the series was more or less a recap of what I have already seen already. The tone, pacing and some plot differences than began to surface and the series progressed were different, but overall it seemed…rather familiar. I am really looking forward to seeing how the plot unfolds in comparison to the first series. I have read the manga a bit past where it majorly splits off from the anime, but not really any further.

Oh, I also finished K-On recently. That show just drips with moe, but I enjoyed watching it, even though I don’t usually like anime series of that nature. I guess there isn’t a whole lot else to be said about it. It’s cute and had a fun premise. I still need to finish up the last few episodes of Ristorante Paradiso. I don’t think I typed up a blurb on it in the other Spring anime post, but it’s a pretty good slice-of-life show. Also behind on Cross Game,Hajime no Ippo, Bleach, and Naruto.

I think Bleach is heading off into filler. Slow pacing is slooooow. Ummm, isn’t the anime sort of catching up to the manga, being roughly in the same arc and all? Word is that Naruto is back on track with the manga plot, I might start watching it again. I am a pretty big Narutard, owning a domain with a name that is based off of the series and all (bah, it wasn’t that popular of a series yet and seemed like a good idea at the time), but not even I can stomach the filler. Why is it so bad….

Ummm Ignore the Warnings

There, site should be in more-or-less full working order, though some images might not be functioning until I restore them. I might have forgotten to do a database backup before doing something earlier and something bad might have happened as a result…I’ll re-add the blogroll, link page and whatever else is missing later. I might as well update all of the links while I’m at it; Half of the sites listed have stopped updating.

Edit: Okay ummm, I think I have outgrown my shared hosting plan between this site, the guild site, the guild forums and whatever else I have squeezed on this cheap account. My yearly contact is up in two months, thinking about migrating over to either Linode or Slicehost.