Friday, January 18, 2008

I Can Haz Morningtide Prerelease Card

Tomorrow's the big day! Me and Diesel are packing up for a short trip to Bucharest for the Morningtide prerelease. I hope the next Magic: The Gathering prerelease will have a counterpart event in Iasi aswell, because a day such like tomorrow seems to be a lot of trouble!

Door of Destinies

Door of Destinies, the Morningtide Prerelease Card as announced on January 17 by WotC.

This isn't the whole thing, though. A Sealed tournament will be held, which means every contestant gets 1 Tournament deck + 3 Morningtide boosters and plays with a Lorwyn block deck made out of them. When the competition is over, you can take them home! (Even if you didn't win.) I'm also planning on buying a Lorwyn Fat Pack, some deck boxes, card sleeves and maybe some Elf and Kithkin tokens with real artwork. (If I find tokens I won't have to use my business cards as tokens anymore!)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (pre-review)

The Lord of the Rings Online

Packaging Art of the LOTRO, used fairly.
Please visit for a full copyright details.

This was announced to be the fantasy game of all time, and since the moment beta was announced gamers rushed by the thousands to obtain a beta key. When it was released, the game started receiving a lot of good press, but nonetheless there was some bad press aswell. Being in the beta myself, I tend to agree with this other beta player fellow's oppinion, which tends to be one of the LOTRO bad press out there.

Strike one, the beta

I got in the beta with the first stress test, and I wasn't suprised seeing all the hoopes and blows the servers did that day. There were some minor bugs in the game especially with the quests, most of the features weren't polished, but all that wasn't what got me disappointed. It was the fact that the world itself, as a MMORPG, didn't make any sense. I'm also a Lineage II player (although I've played very little on retail servers) and I've got a pretty high standard when it comes to MMORPGs.

Anyway, I'm fan of Tolkien's work (even though I haven't read the books just yet) and just like more than half of LOTRO's players I had to have and play this game. A friend suprised me with a 60-day pre-paid game card on my birthday last year, but I didn't have the time to play util this year.

The comeback, a year after

I started playing the game last weekend, as an Elven Hunter named Gildorwe. I first tried playing on a more relaxed server, but it seems it was too relaxed (hardly ever seen another player around) so I decided to switch to the Laurelin English role-playing server, with which I am more pleased. They say that login queues are very likely, but I haven't yet experienced one.

The game is much more polished now, and I found the first 13 levels to be quite entertaining. Discovery is probably the defining keyword of the experience so far: there's a lot of things that need be discovered, from game mechanics, to UI and back.

At a glance

The game is most enjoyable in fellowships, so the smartest things to do is play this game with a pack of friends. Of cours, you'll find people in the game, and you'll even become friends, but it's never a sure gathering. I found a couple of fellow role-players who I enjoy playing with, but I can't be online too much and it kinda sucks for all of us, since epic quests usually require fellowship playing is order to be completed.

You'll find yourself wandering alone sometimes, especially when you'll be completing some side-quests or doing crafting, but those aren't very every-day situations. And speaking of wandering, the amount of walking in this game is driving me crazy... Renting horses is somewhat expensive, and you can't have your own just until level 35 (or 25 if you purchase the Gold Edition).

The graphics and sound are superb, and if you're one of the lucky people to have had a massive investment in hardware, this game makes it pay off. Even with medium grade hardware the game still looks nice and moves smoothly. The amount of customization options to get the graphics just right for your hardware setup proves this area was very well take care of.

I'm going to play this game as much as I can in the following 45 days of initial subscription. You can expect a full review soon! Well, not too soon, because I'll still play some Lineage II, and take care of business and hobbies.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Can Haz Morningtide Prerelease

Morningtide Shamans

Shamans art from the Shamans pre-release poster, © Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Magic: The Gathering logo and related artwork © Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Well, it seems like Magic: The Gathering really got to me. Meanwhile I bought a couple more decks, some more booster packs, and I've got a custom deck that kind of works.

We play the game in the breaks at the office, after hours at the office, multiplayer in the weekends, etc. Winning is most fun of all, but I usually lose to my fellow "experienced" player Dan—who built himself a strong deck and acts like a 7th grade bully among 4th graders. Of the multiplayer games, two-headed giant is the most fun to play. Last weekend we played Diesel and I vs. Dan and Raisa, and we won the last game. (It is at this point irrelevant how many we lost.)

However, what I probably enjoy mostly about the game is the "collectible" part. And because of that I need to be at the prerelease of Morningtide in Bucharest . It's like... this urge!

I have some of the details down, like transportation, lunch, and some arriving, like how to get to Hobby Store, how many people are expected, etc. I'll take the early morning intercity (which leaves Iasi at 5:30) and I should be in Bucharest around 11. I'll probably have lunch at McDonald's in the train station, and then hopefully take the metro to the shop. This way I get 5 hours of prerelease fun, and after that I'll head back to the train station and take the 6pm intercity back home, which will probably land me back in Iasi around 11pm.

Sweet, huh? Well, the part that sucks so far is that there's no one that would go with me. It sucks not to know anyone in a big convention of people, and this is no different. Plus the 10 hour train ride isn't going to be very pleasent if alone.

Either way, I'm looking forward to this event and I won't be square.

January 14 update: Diesel decided to go to the Morningtide prerelease, so it seems I'll be having companion afterall.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 (before)

This year is generally marked by changes: some harder to make, some expensive, some of the uncontrollable, but hopefully all for the good.

And changes have made their way into my home ever since the first hours of the year. My brother came home with half of his face covered in bruises and blood, back from his party last night. Apart from being scared to death, I didn't know how to react... I warned him that it's eventually going to come to this if he kept hanging out with his friends in that piece of crap neighborhood it will turn bad. Worst of all, he doesn't want to talk to me about it. This is one of those times I wish I had a real dad.

Last August, my mom went to Corsica which means I'll try to do some travelling before this winter comes to an end. Since I won the "Employee of the Year" distinction at Grapefruit last year, I'll be using the money to go see mom.

On a much brighter side of the panorama, I'm going to move to a new job this spring, and take on a project that I've had in mind for quite some time now. It's a little late to start working on it, but not too late. Given the right team, the project will be deliverable by the end of the year, so I'll have something to write about before 2008's end.

I'll even do some new travelling for the new job! I'll have to fly to England sometime in March, essetially work-related, but I'm also going to see some sights and walk some very specific shops.

This year seems to be fully booked, but I know—well, actually hope—there will be room for enjoying myself aswell. I'm also hoping for a random event that's going to change my personal life, and which I hope won't set me too off course... You probably know what I'm talking about.