Chronicle of the Server Transfer

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Once upon a time, a young man lived a double life. In one world, he was a powerful sorcerer that bent the very elements of the world to his will. In the other, he was a rampant telephone banker taking phone calls from angry Americans without care for his own well-being. On a particularly challenging day at the call center, he reflected upon his alter-ego. Sigh, he thought, when I finally reach the apex of my power, there won’t even be many people on to share it with me, at least for three hours or so. And that fetid Naxxramas? Well, I guess I’ll look the other way unless some strangers decide to siege it. Damn timezones.

Then again, you can see some oftly nifty things the other way. Just last week these two dogs looked like they were fighting but they really weren’t. They were growling and biting, and looked like they were fighting, but then one howled and I realized that –

On one hand, his mage-side wanted to live and let live, friendships being what they were. The logical, banker, side of him prevailed however and he appealed to the powers that be to take him some place better. Somehow, his wallet felt instantly lighter and he had the grave feeling that all he knew was being left behind. Guild what-now?

Finally, when the dungeon masters of Washington Mutual released him, he summoned his will and returned home to explore his new magical land. Funny… everything looked exactly the same; a little more Earthen maybe, and definitely more Ringish. Bags? Check. Bank? Check. Cumberbun? Check. What was different, then? He looked around at Ironforge and then it hit him.

The silence.

He knew that the world he found himself in was richly inhabited but where were the the trade chatters? The general jokers? The bank-step barkers? As he pondered his dilemma, a soft voice floated through his mind.

WTS 120 cobalt bars, pst, no nubs plz.

Ah, it was a quieter world but some things would always remain the same. The young man walked, admiring the city of Ironforge anew. Then he noticed his reflection in the window of a local pub.

My guild tabard is gray! Boring, lame, way too “you’re not in a guild, dumbass”, gray!

Alas, this was the part he dreaded. He removed the tabard.

He continued on his walk, feeling somewhat lonely. I know, he thought, I’ll just use my handy dandy WoW-Census spell to check out the guild scene. Bring it on, world! Once cast, he fell into meditation.

Something tells me this is a world arife with mostly raiders. I see… playtime requirements. I see… he sighed. Magical charters and closed doors.

Damn you, world.

He continued on to the auction house to sell the various magical components he’d brought with him on his journey.

Whistling the theme from Tales from the Crypt and ready to loose a fierce cackle, he had an idea. I know, I’ll scout out guild tabards! And meditate! Thank you dear Yoda yoga, I’ll meditate and then I’ll know where to go!

Scout and meditate he did. Days were consumed in deep search. He lost himself in researching his meditations and, even while trapped in the world of telephone banking, he ruminated on the possibilities.

Frost Watch.

Frost Watch is where he would go… or try to anyways. Preparing himself for any possibility, he drafted a scrip destined to the leader of the frosty order. Then, he waited. And waited. And then, when it seemed that the tides may have turned against him, he was informed that he should wait a little while longer.

Not long after the last communication, he was contacted.

Malgos, a mysterious voice spoke in his mind. Are you ready to join the Watch?

Suppressing a light hearted squeal of “omgoshyesinvitemenowplz”, the young man solemnly replied; stoic like a Native American wood carving, grim like a wizard hidden deep within stone towers-

Absolutely am!

And instantly, he felt accepted. Though he saw no one in front of him, his mind was filled with a dozen echoes of welcome.

Gratuitously, he thanked everyone with unspoken words of return.

Turning, he saw a battlemaster. Accepting his call to arms, he was transported to the cold depths of Alterac Valley.

The young man fought valiantly, calling down the powers of doom on the heads of his enemies. Readying his most mighty spell, he felt knives pierce his back. His blood spilled onto the white snow as he turned to face his attacker. A small Blood Elf  faded into the shadows.

Drained and at death’s stoop, he fell to the ground.

Before his vision went gray and the world turned black, the elf returned.

Pausing for a moment, he seemed to contemplate what to do next. Then, decided, he knelt down beside him.

Moving to the left, then a little back to the right, the elf knelt again and completed the teabag.

Ah, the mage thought. This place is starting to feel like home already.

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Left 4 Dead

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So, it’s not an MMO

The day before Christmas, I sat in my living room looking at the pile of wrapped goodies I’d gotten for my friends and family. Feeling particularly jolly (and no, there’s no jelly belly here) I decided to take the dive and buy a new game for myself. After all, as long as I’m slowly deflating my bank account, I may as well treat myself a little. Right?

So, off to steam I went and began my download. When it was done, I was surprised to find that there was no need to install it. Via Steam, once the download meter was done it was good to play. The game opens with a cinematic that could have come straight out of Night of the Living Dead; very cool and really worked well to get you in the mood for some zombie killing.

I’ve never been a Counter-Strike fan, so I figured I’d try single-player first. When I was at the start menu though, I found myself selecting “Play Online” to try the co-op. Go figure.

I was pleasantly surprised. I figured I’d get “pwned” right away due to my utter noobishness with the game. Right off the bat I was able to pick up a small machine gun and lots of ammo. I was also able to get a nice health pack to help me get through to the next safe room. When we (myself and three other players) began, I immediately spotted zombie wandering from the trees. From there on out, it was all out havoc. And yes, I did get beat up at several points. Thankfully, my team was right there with pain killers and medi-packs each time. As a matter of fact, I didn’t die until the final stage of the scenario, but then, so did everyone else.

Out of nowhere, masses of zombies come flying at you. The game had a nice “28 Days Later” vibe to it with zombie behavior. They were slow and docile when they didn’t see you – but if they did, they snapped into action. The different in zombie types are also nice. I found myself liking Boomers (the fat puking zombies) for two reasons; they explode nicely and I like the swarms of zombies their puke draws. Smokers are also cool and can really be devastating. Smokers throw out intestine-like tendrils that pull you away from your group and hold you defenseless while they eat you. It happened to me several times where I’d be pulled away where my group couldn’t see me only to find myself incapacitated.

Overall, it’s a very fun game and I’ve yet to try out versus mode. The AI provides a different experience every time but I do feel that it could wind up being repetitive. The variation in weaponry and zombie types is there but I feel that it may not be enough in the long run. Gun types are probably okay but having only six types of zombies (the infected, smoker, hunter, witch, tank, and boomer are the ones I’ve seen in several hours of play) with no noticeable variation in each type’s look (meaning, one infected usually looks just like the other, not taking into account gender) just seems a little dry. Versus mode has the potential to enliven this though, so I’m not counting it as a big limiting factor at this point.

I’d recommend this game to anyone who’s in the mood for some zombie killing without mundane ammo limitations. Left 4 Dead throws you right into the action and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride. Like CS:S, you can compete against players – but only if you want to, which really opens up the game to a whole extra group of gamers. The limitations in npcs and the almost complete lack of story are what mark this game down for me. With downloadable content patches though, this game could really be spectacular. If I was forced to score it, I’d give it a 7.5/10 with the potential to hit 9, and maybe, 10/10.

Tips to Lower Your Latency (a Compendium)

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This guide has moved along with our blog! Please update your links to it’s new home at Game by Night.

Click here to access the new guide!

I’m back!

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Hi everyone! I’m back, fresh-faced and bright-eyed, after a week of much needed R&R. Over this past week, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time browsing through department stores and the local shopping mall, slowly draining my bank account to help brighten the holiday for my loved ones.

 

During my time not spent in the check-out line, or with family, I took a little time to game. My baby mage, now level 74 (and a half!) is now finishing out Grizzly Hills. I’ve picked up a couple of nice upgrades and finally stepped foot into Violet Hold. The first run left a lot to be desired, to be honest, but not by any fault of the game. Latency was the culprit that really made it quite unpleasant.

 

High ping times have actually been a big issue lately. Yours truly did some research and found some sure fire ways to drop it though. I was frustrated folks. I did everything I could to isolate the problem to hardware but got nothing. I mean, I replaced my NIC, Wireless Router (went from G to N!), and cable modem but had no improvement (the $75 router got returned). After hours of scouring the internet for tips, I was able to greatly improve my situation. Stay tuned for an article on that today. It’s a compendium of sorts and I’ll be attaching it to the sidebar somewhere. If you happen to miss it, keep an eye out.

Merry Making

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Hello Everyone,

I hope this holiday finds you happy and with the people you care about. Since many of you have been checking the site this week, I thought I’d let you know that I’m taking a little time away from gaming/blogging to spend time with family and make the most of the time out of work and school. After Christmas we’ll be back up and running… so, like, this weekend =)

Until then, I wish you the best this time of year affords!

Happy holidays!

Raegn

Bringing back the Nintendo for the holidays…

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Inspired by Keen and Graev’s holiday banner, and bored to tears at work, I made a holiday banner for the site. I imagine the above to be the final scene in my own old school nintendo game. Mario? WTFPWNED.

Happy holidays everyone!

Interesting new site…

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Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to point you WAR fans over to Tumeroks. The site is a good source for news and opinion, as well as for game information through their wiki. A heads up too, they’re holding a contest right now where you can win a 60 day game-time card or Ashling’s leveling guide. Support the community and stop by to say hello!

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