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December 16th, 2010

The fan motor on New Bruce is in the process of going fut, so we've taken him back to CarMax (hurrah for warranties) and in the meantime just for giggles we've rented a Prius. Gotta say, I'm not impressed. Aside from the whole hybrid thing, it's just a cheapie commuter car and not a particularly nice one at that. And while I've seen other colors on the road, this one is grey, grey, grey from nose to tail and all through the inside, giving the impression of a car that's embarrassed to be seen and hopes you'll not hold existence against it. Ah well, we hope to get the Murano back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the dealer room applications for AnthroCon opened yesterday. In years past, the frighteningly efficient mammallamadevil would have been all over it like piranha on one of Dr. No's henchmen, but she is pursuing other things at the moment and so I'm flying solo.

It's important to note here, that I am a crap businessman; I like numbers, but they don't like me, and bureaucracy and I only manage to peacefully coexist as long as neither of us encounter the other. However, those PA tax forms aren't going to fill out themselves (the bastards), and AnthroCon won't let you in without one. So, even though it pained me to do so, I put in the PA vendor ID application and hope I didn't screw it up completely. It was all done online, so hopefully I'll hear back by tomorrow and there's still be a slot open — the current plan is to split a table with sirfox, since I won't have much besides a couple of buttons, the new edition of Childproof the Unicorns, and my drawin' hand. (THIS JUST IN: unclekage informs me that it's more likely to be a week or more. Oops.) If all else fails, maybe I'll just go for the Artist Alley. We'll see.

(Incoming rant! What is up with cons any more? I remember when you could decide two months out to go to Dragon*Con and still get a hotel room! Now you have to have your "con year" planned out nine months in advance! It's nuts!)

Anyway! I see that it's snowing here. Good weather for the office "Holiday" party — not so hot for driving home in a Prius. Oh well, at least it'll make life an adventure!

-The Gneech

Halfling Rangers FTW

Came home on a snow day after the office holiday part today, and spent some time playing a new (to me) MMO. It's actually quite an old one but has had enough graphic upgrades that it's still presentable. It's not as lovely to look at as LotRO, nor does the setting have the depth, but it's at least something to scratch that "something new" fix I was talking about a while back.

I'll leave it to interested parties to speculate which game it is, but as you can tell from the title, it has halfling rangers in it, and I'm having a good deal of fun with one. There's something very satisfying about a character 3' tall who appears out of nowhere, fills the nearest giant spider full of arrows and steel, and then disappears again like he's engaged a cloaking device while still putting his knives away.

Full speed stealth on demand is nice, too. This game's version of the ranger is a kind of hybrid tracker/thief, who specializes in ambush and can travel deep into enemy territory without pulling aggro all over the place. That's a big deal for me, because it helps me feel like I can go "straight to the good stuff" without having to fight every trash mob between me and the thing I'm supposed to go click on.

I did play around a little with a barbarian warrior type too (I mean, how could I avoid it, right?); it was more fun than Age of Conan, but also more than a little bland. "Run over here, kill anything that's killable, click on anything clickable. Yawn." The ranger's skills actually do different things, whereas the warrior version I was playing basically had a bunch of different buttons to push that amounted to "Do some damage, do some damage with a different animation, or do some damage and maybe knock them down."

(re: Age of Conan, I actually have a theory that the only way to have a good "Conan-esque" experience in a multiplayer game would be to play in any setting other than the Hyborian age — because one of Conan's defining features is how unusual a person he is. But in a Conan-based MMO, what are you going to see but a bunch of barbarian warriors running around? It totally negates the purpose. That, plus the fact that most derivations from Robert E. Howard's work get it all wrong, or at best fixate on the weakest aspects and totally miss all the best aspects.)

Anyway, it's a fun change, and I like the implementation of this particular class. It's also been very solo-friendly so far. I might start looking into group stuff later if I get more into it, but right now I'm happy to treat it like a giant solo game that just occasionally has particularly deranged NPCs running around in it.

But now, bedtime!

-The Gneech

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