Tenfold Hate


Bring It On, Winter Doldrums
January 7, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: Film, Gaming

Not much going on with me game-wise since the holidays. Still having a hell of a lot of fun with LoTRO, but merrymaking coupled with post-holiday blues has compromised my MMO time the past few weeks. I’ve never been a fan of those “year-in-review/predictions-for-the-upcoming-year” posts, so I’ll spare you all. Simply put, 2008 was a year of lukewarm games failing to hold my attention. From Mythic and Blizzard to Funcom and SOE, a good part of the year was spent bed hopping from Vanguard to Burning Crusade to Age of Conan to Warhammer.

While none of these games are terrible by any means, it took LoTRO coming waaay out of left field with the MoM expansion to rinse the bad taste out of my mouth.

2008 was not all mediocrity on the MMO front–if only because it spawned the Spouse Aggro podcast. Beau Turkey, who took over the helm at Troy’s Voyages of Vanguard podcast earlier this year, and his wife Leala (who hosts the uber-awesome Epic Dolls podcast) lend a breath of fresh air to the often all-too-whiny, eternally dissatisfied legion of MMO bloggers and podcasters out there.

For me, these guys pull off in their podcasts what Tipa over at West Karana miraculously has pulled off in her blog year after year–that perfect blend of intelligent discussion, humor, and a true affection for RPGs.

Caught two great westerns over the holidays–one old, one new.

The first is John Ford’s Fort Apache. Ford’s work stands the test of time surprisingly well, whereas many other classic Hollywood westerns can come off as a bit to hokey. Henry Fonda. John Wayne. Apaches on the warpath. What more do you need?

The second is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This flick is not your standard western. If you like the slow, poetic style of directors like Terrence Malick and Werner Herzog, you’ll love this one–which plays more like a starstruck stalker flick than a shoot-em-up. Great performances all around.

What am I looking forward to in the first half of 2009? Watchmen.

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My Pretty (Yule Festival) Pony
December 21, 2008, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Lord of the Rings Online

yule-festival-pony

Here’s a pic of my guardian’s Yule Festival Pony–one of the many cool rewards for participating in the seasonal quests around Middle Earth this time of year. Though the shot came out a bit dark, note the snowflakes on the saddle blanket.

FYI, turning in five Yule Festival tokens to the dwarves didn’t garnish me as fine a reward as this Christmas steed–I walked away from Thorin’s Hall with little more than two lumps of coal! Guess I’ve been a bad dwarf this year…



New Wolverine Trailer
December 15, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

I’m approaching this spring’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine with severe reservations, based mostly on the extreme suck that was the third installment of the X-Men franchise. But I’ve gotta say, this trailer has piqued my interest. First off, if I’d been editor-in-chief at Marvel in the early nineties, I’d have squelched fleshing out Wolverine’s origins in the first place. I always thought his story played out better veiled in mystery than the stories of Victorian-era Canada fleshed out during a time when Marvel really hit an all-time low in terms of storytelling.

Anyway, this trailer is a mine field of nods to comic book geekdom, which I’m always a sucker for. However, this is dangerous territory, because it provides enough filler to make a trailer look awesome without suggesting any substantial plot. You’ll notice everyone from Emma Frost and the Blob to a young Storm and Gambit making cameos. But nods to nerd-dom does not a movie make–that’s where Last Stand failed. They culled superficial elements of X-lore, put them all in a blender, and added explosions.

Hopefully Jackman and company can flesh out a coherent, gripping story that doesn’t pee all over the existing lore, something Last Stand was not able to do on any level. Liev Schreiber looks like a great choice for Sabretooth and I always find Hugh Jackman likeable. And from the brief clips of them together, the two actors nail that antagonistic anti-chemistry Logan and Creed have for each other.

It’s hard to say what the worst Marvel adaptation has been. For me it’s a three-way tie for last between Fantastic Four, Elektra, and Spider-man 3.

Check out the trailer here!



TGIWTF?
December 12, 2008, 9:29 am
Filed under: World of Warcraft

A friend sent this to me this morning. I’m not sure how long this classified will be around, but apparently, some woman who is REALLY into Warcraft is LF someone to make sweet love to as she plays arenas. This link is certainly NSFW. I’m assuming it’s a total farce, but hey, I’ve heard of much stranger fetishes than this one. Different strokes for different folks.



Curse You LoTRO, I Can Never Chuckle Smugly at Crafters Again
December 11, 2008, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Lord of the Rings Online

Last night I spent the better part of the evening completing the cooking quest that rewarded my guardian with access to superior ovens. This involved a lot of hopping back and forth between my historian (who was farming most of the ingredients–and by farming, I mean planting crops and harvesting them, not “farming” as MMORPGers have come to know it) and my tinker (who cooked everything and spent the night running from town to town, delivering the hobbits their freshly cooked meals). My night as a glorified medieval pizza delivery boy garnered me just under 2500 xp upon completion.

I always chuckled smugly inside when people listed crafting as one of the important features of an MMORPG. But LoTRO has managed to convert me. Again, I attribute this to the way they weave the MMO tasks we’re all too familiar with into their carefully constructed world with top-notch storytelling. It’s a pleasure just to BE in Middle Earth, and that antsy, “C’mon, c’mon, what’s next?” that quickly takes hold when I’m playing an MMO is still curiously absent. There’s something very Zen about the world Turbine created. It’s relaxing. The detailed artistry conveys a true sense of atmosphere and place, from the music to the water textures.

I feel like giving myself a swift kick in the ass for not delving into LoTRO sooner. It’s pretty exciting to revisit my preconceptions and uncover something unexpected. It suggests I may very well still be receptive to what the current MMO world has to throw at me if it’s done right. Nothing like a healthy dose of STFU for my cynical “been there, done that side” every once it a while. And that’s what LoTRO has served up–and its tasting pretty good.



Atari and Cryptic: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together?
December 9, 2008, 9:28 am
Filed under: MMORPGs

Just got the news over at Massively. Despite any prior indication that this was coming around the bend, it appears Atari has acquired Cryptic Studios. With the resources required in this day and age to put out a “Triple A” MMORPG, I don’t see anything wrong with smaller studios getting an economic piggy-back from larger companies. Anything in the current economic landscape that gives MMORPG studios a bit more survivability (as long as it’s not accompanied by total creativite compromise) is probably a good thing.



Why So Serious?
December 6, 2008, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Lord of the Rings Online

lotro-serious

One of the many reasons I love LoTRO. Don’t know what these two are so uptight about, but I kinda felt like Ozzy pissing on the Alamo as I did a handstand in such noble company.

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