Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend in games

Another weekend passed, another year under belt. Actually the weekend started with company pre-Christmas party, which was a blast. At least compared to the last years fiasco. Sang a lot, drank somewhat more modestly due the first and overall I was rescued back home in a decent condition.

Woke up on Saturday at around noon. Logged in later 'only to check the AH', but instead that resulted not only checking the spiffy 170g more on Pupunen, but also checking in with Copra.

And boy Hudson is right. I logged in, checked my gear and tried to empty my bags from unnecessary quest stuff, but because I put the LFG tool on, I was asked to join the Blood Furnace in about a minute after that. The 'group' was two DK's, who were adamant that we could handle the instance by the three of us.

It became clear after the first wipe, that a) two tanks will not make it and b) Copra's mana efficiency with feral gear was insufficient. Also I learned that it helps a lot to change to the tree form if you are going to heal... After a few mobs we got a feral druid into the group, who quit the group because the DK's didn't want to reset the instance (we had just started!), the group split. The feral, however, invited me to another team, which was with three DK's. We cleared the site in one, swift, solid flow. And even though this was the first time I healed as druid, I was thanked for great heals and especially great for a first timer. Thank you, pleasure to serve! With the drops from this I got my MP5 up to 40 and overall mana almost to 5k. Not bad, considering my gear was still almost feral.

After that I just got rid of the excess loot when I was invited for the Hellfire Ramparts. Jeeves! I didn't even have LFG on!

I must say that I laughed out when I saw the group. Four DK's and me. You gotta be kidding me. They said they had tried on their own, in fact they were in the first mini-boss already, but had wiped because they had no healing abilities. Right, and onwards. No problems in the first, Watchkeeper Golgomar, nothing in the second, Omor the Unscarred (two parts of the quest done), but the darn Vazruden was the tough part. Nazan, whom he sends to 'protect' him, was easy, but the dragon Vazruden rides was the death of Copra. The DK's pulled the Dragon into such a place (the bridge to the platform), that it was impossible to avoid the dragon's breath. As Copra started to take damage, he was dead. Wipe one.

Second try resulted almost the same, but it was closer. And it was my fault that it went bonkers, like it always is. After which the group called it quits.

Copra earned an upgrade to his mana, mana regen and MP5 at the cost of armour and agility. I just have to learn to avoid damage better and see next time that I'm not at the bridge but on the platform to avoid the darn dragon.

What was the most interesting thing about this was that... I really, REALLY liked it! Healing seems to be for me, even though I'm at a loss of what to use and when and obviously I'm using too much time clearing curses and poisons. But all in good time, these were my first runs as a healing druid and healing with HoT's is pretty different than the way of the Priest. It's more proactive healing than reactive healing.

Sunday came, got Spore: Galactic Edition for my birthday present. And I was left alone with the dogs (kids can take care of themselves already) and the game. What's amazing with the current games for PC is that when you first install them from DVD, it takes at least a half an hour. Then it patches itself, loading of the patch taking at least another half an hour and the patching another! When it finally was ready, I had leafed through the Art of Spore, the game manual (which I never read) and played some pinball. Yea, what wouldn't you resort to when waiting for a game to install.

The start went smoothly, it remembered my details after removing the Creature editor. I just loved the start, the meteor and all, but the little bugger bugged me. The cell-stage is the most frustrating so far, really. But I have to run something else than herbivore next time...

The biggest surprise came from the stage when the creatures emerged from the water. Biggest because the game is full of sense of wonder, joy of finding and understanding and exploration. The surprise was to find creatures from my friends (JoBildo being one, cheers!) and my former creations from the demo Creature Editor, which I thought were lost! I think that when I start the game anew, I will play the creature stage a bit more, because of the exploration, the social minigame and the sheer scope of the continent.

Now I rushed through it by doing the things the game suggested, and found myself in the Tribal stage sooner than I expected.

Being the social, diplomatic and peacefull in nature, my creatures were/are herbivores, social and diplomatic. So the tribal stage was a pretty straight forward after I realised that I need enough of the instruments to conduct the diplomatics properly. Got an achievement for finishing that stage under an hour, which amazed my son who had played the game by his friend. And never got that fast.

I finished the game in the Civilisation stage, after conquering one continent by converting the cities to my super-religious dogmas. The other continent is having a civil war: two cities are fighting each other, so it would be like stealing a candy from a kid to finish them off.

All in all, I played about six hours of Spore, enjoying every moment. I think it delivers everything that it promised, at least so far I have been thrilled, amazed, surprised and laughed playing it.

I can't wait to play more. And that is a good sign.

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