Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Farewell, Maya Angelou

 I know that she lived a full and blessed life, but I am still saddened at Maya Angelou's passing. She was an amazing person who could paint quite a picture with her beautiful and inspiring words. I remember that I was 13 when I started reading her books; gifts from my grandmother. I loved those books. I loved her words. I loved her. I grew up and I loved, admired, and respected her still. She moved me, she gave me strength, and I felt that there would never be anyone quite like her.
All I can say is farewell, Maya Angelou and thank you. Thank you for sharing your life, your wisdom, and your beautiful words with us. Phenomenal woman, bless you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Neverwinter Pros And Cons: Fun Game, Too Many Server Issues And Gold Sellers

 As many of you know, I have been playing a lot of Neverwinter. I loved Dungeon and Dragons when I was a kid (still do) so this free to play MMORPG set in that realm really appeals to me. Cryptic Studios has done a great job with designing and developing a beautiful world with an interesting story, lots of cool characters, and plenty of quests to do. I'm excited about the latest Icewind Dale area that's arrived and I am looking forward to Tyranny Of Dragons which is coming in August. I love playing as a hunter ranger on my Drow elf (now level 60 with spiffy end game gear, woohoo!) and I am really liking playing as a control wizard on my Wood elf character. I can solo a lot of things on both, but for the things that require groups such as 6 party dungeons, it's not that hard to find people. There's a Looking For Group channel in chat and you can round up a party in no time. I've met some cool people online to do these various quests and dungeons with and with a solid party, you're done in just a few minutes. There are daily quests too like Dungeon Delve and The Foundry which is a favorite of mine because these are quests designed by fellow players and you can play them, review them, and even give a donation of some gold if you really liked their quest. You get a companion too which helps a little although sometimes the AI is incredibly stupid. My Devoted Cleric once ran into a wall and then just didn't seem to want to heal me as an undead ogre tried to beat me to death. There are crafting professions you can pursue also which you earn rewards for. You can join a guild too if you're so inclined; there are a lot of them out there. I haven't done so yet because so many of them want you to sacrifice the blood of a goat, rip the wings off gnats, and promise them your first born to prove you are worthy of them. That's just not for me. I'm holding out for a guild that is laid back and understands that real life comes first. There are daily events as well and they have seasonal ones also. There are also contests for killing certain types of mobs and you get rewards if you place in the top five. Neverwinter while an obvious time sink, is a fun game for me to play and Cryptic Studios has done a great job with creating it.
 Now with all that being said, I do have some issues. Mainly the big one is with the damn server issues. For one thing, they never mentioned in any of the support forums about being able to go into the options in your game and disabling the on demand patching function. A very good friend of mine informed me that I could do this and instead of having to wait for a ton of files to patch before I could enter an area, it would manually patch everything all at once and then I could just play the game. Did it take a long time? Oh yes, but it was worth it because I have not had to worry about seeing that Patching Files message again and can just run into an area and not have to be frustrated by loading times. The other issue with the servers is a few times here and there I'll get a server not responding message or I'll start rubberbanding  and suddenly there's a huge lag spike and everything is moving insanely fast to catch up which is bad when I'm fighting things that can kill me such as War Trolls. I could understand if this happened at peak hours (it does every now and then), but this happens when there's hardly anyone on and frankly, it's ridiculous. I know with a new patch for an online game there are going to be some technical issues, but these server issues have been going on for a long time now (try a couple of years according to my friend) and of course players I have spoken to about it are a bit put out that they have not even bothered to address this issue even when they have posted in the tech area of the forums or they give them some inane half assed answer rather than actually doing something about it.
 Then there's the gold sellers. Look, I know Perfect World the company that bought Cryptic studios claim they ban the jerks that spam their shady little gold selling websites in every single chat channel (this is why I turn off the zone and trades chat on all my characters), but for each one banned a hundred more pop up. It's kind of a nature of the beast type deal with many online games (remember all the gil sellers in Final Fantasy XI?), but it's clear they need a better security system in check because I know I'm not the only one fed up with these people or bots. They're getting bolder too. Today alone, I rejected and blocked twenty-eight friend requests from VERY obvious gold sellers (note to the idiots, don't have your crooked website in your character name if you want us to believe you're a real boy or girl) and blocked a bunch of messages in my gaming email. So it's a never ending struggle of these accounts getting banned and them returning with new ones to pretty much harass the rest of us who are trying to enjoy the game with their underhanded gold selling nonsense.
 With those two mildly irritating things aside, overall Neverwinter is a game worth checking out because it is a free MMORPG that is fun to play and doesn't really take up too much time. You can do a quest or two and come back the next day to do a few more by yourself or with friends. If you do give the game a whirl and see a Drow elf by the name of Pirotess or a Wood elf by the name of Raina running around adventuring, that's me so give a wave or say hello!

 Neverwinter is played on the PC and if you would like to download the game and check it out you can do so here:
 You can also download it on Steam here: