Posted by Reygahnci on Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I still find myself clicking on MMO-Champion in down-time at work. It is entirely out of laziness that I have not yet removed it from my delicious link feed, which was how we kept our bookmarks synced in my day. I liken it to looking up people you knew in high school on Facebook - it is not exactly something you care about any longer, but it was something you were attached to at one point and you still have a thread, however tiny, connecting you to it. I feel this way about WoW; I like to think that I keep track of changes for whatever reason and can comment on them, even though I really do not have a stake in it any longer.
I have been playing Minecraft like a fiend. Whatever was put into my water supply to hook my on WoW all those years ago seems to have been shifted to Minecraft. I have a server... wait... let me start from the beginning. I am a computer scientist; programmer by trade. I have always had some fancy with hardware and software and setting up machines. For the longest time I hosted the "of Calamitous Intent" website from a server I set up and ran beneath my desk. It was nothing entirely fancy, just a simple PHP app to host forums and a web site and what-not that I built. A custom character profile page that would allow someone to upload gear and the like in the days before the armory. Lately, it had become my testing zone where I would test out anything Linux-running to see if it worked and keep up to snuff on my shell scripting (I use Windows at work, so writing shell scripts is rare but amazingly useful).
So, we got new hardware at work and they were selling the old kits (mobo/cpu/memory) which were not exactly old and dated, but definitely not top of the line any longer. Plus, it was a Sandy bridge chipset and that particular model had a defect keeping it from being truly 64-bit (and therefore being able to have more than 4GB of RAM; it only has 2 at the moment, but that was still a concern for being non-upgradeable in practice). So, I bought one of the old kits and built out a "new" server for myself: Intel Core2 Duo 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB SATA HDD. Keep in mind that this was a hefty upgrade from my 800MHz/256MB/8GB HDD. In any case, when one upgrades a server in this way, one looks for a use.
I had been running a minecraft server from my main machine and just starting it up when Guntir and I were going to play. It made sense at the time - I had RAM and CPUs to spare on my desktop (quad core and 3GB of RAM; you only need a gig for Minecraft client and a gig for the server). However, now that I had a proper server built up, I thought "Why not... just run Minecraft all the time and let Guntir and Ender (GF's brother) connect whenever they want." So, I set it up as a service on the machine, built some backup scripts, setup some crons to fire them off every couple hours to back up world state, and fired the server up. It is actually pretty fantastic not running the server on my own machine because I can allocate more RAM to the game itself, and since the server has more RAM dedicated to it, we get fewer lag-holes.
I am still waiting for Notch to announce how one applies to become a modder for the game. I am a Java developer by both schooling and trade, so I am ready for him to hand out the source so I can look it over in depth. I have a few simple ideas for mods that I want to get out there.
Oh yeah - after getting the server up and running in a way which I am happy with, I ended up checking out mapping programs to see if I could get a topography of our world for reference. I ended up going with something called Pigmap after trying and failing for a number of other options using the Google maps api (all of which were written in Python and required the most asinine setups ever). I ended up feeling pretty good with the results:
This may not be up for long - I found out yesterday while playing that basically any request on this costs something like 100MB of downloaded images >_<. I am going to see if I can off-host the images elsewhere and simply link them up on the page so the user still makes the request against them, but on a different server. I am not sure, as of yet... but I have to say that I am impressed with the results even at the cost of so much data.
Couple of things about my server - it is whitelist only (not publicly accessible), it has no mods, very very few /gives (I gave Ender a sword and a pick when he joined the first time since we were in a cave and surrounded by baddies... but he dug straight down into lava last night and lost them, so meh).
Posted by Reygahnci on Friday, June 10, 2011
I know I haven't updated in a while... life has gotten rather hectic. I proposed to my girlfriend and she has agreed to become my wife (yay us!) and we have been using almost all our free time looking at venues, inventing stuff to use as decorations, going over the invitee-list, etc.
Additionally, and this is where the "sorry guys" comes into play, I have decided to quit playing World of Warcraft. I do not yet know whether this is a permanent withdrawal or just a short-term hiatus until things are fixed, but either way I have canceled my account. My reasoning for doing so is rather simple to explain:
1) I have a wedding to plan and that takes the majority of my time, leaving me maybe an hour or two per night to get some gaming in, and that is if I am not super-tired from the day's labors.
2) Blizzard has taken the fun out of PvP and turned it into a grind-fest for gear, titles, etc.
There was a time when Guntir and I would queue for 2v2 games and play 50-100 matches a week just because of how much fun they were. We were point-capped and not gaining rating and sitting at a 50-50 ratio...
but we were having fun
I have not been able to say that about WoW PvP in a long time (probably since season 6). It seems that Blizzard has been continually working at a lot of things: game balance; PvP incentives; match-making fairness; and a slew of non-PvP-related changes. I have to say, while I think that Ghostcrawler has done an amazing job in the game balance and match-making fairness categories, there is definitely something to be desired for PvP incentives.
It is no surprise for any long-time reader that I have trouble with the latest changes to the arenas. I hate being forced to play 50-60 games per week to advance my character's gear progression. I hate being forced out of the only fun bracket as it is no longer supported or focused in the balance avenue. I hate the length of time that classes remain overpowered or underpowered and the general unwilling to fix things in a timely manner by Blizzard. I hate that after years of feedback and suggestions, almost all of my bug reports have been ignored on the PTR only to be resolved a couple hotfixes later on Live realms.
It is with fond memories and a heavy heart that I look back on the past six years and feel that it must all come to a close, but again - I no longer wish to pay for or play a game that I no longer enjoy.
I have said these words before, but in the past there have been last-minute changes that have brought me out of my funk to play again and rekindle my passion for the game. I find a way to get past the flaws and imperfections and enjoy some small facet. I do not think that this time will be like that. My subscription has run out and I have all but uninstalled the game from my hard drive. I have not been keeping up with MMO-Champion much anymore; though, I do admit that some mornings are slow and I check the latest PTR notes - occasionally, I have to stop myself from IM'ing Guntir to discuss the latest round of changes. As far as I know, Ferocious Bite is back to 25e up-front with a 35e extra-consumption for double-damage... and that is still broken, but I find it harder and harder to care.
Who knows... maybe Blizz will announce something that re-hooks me and I write something about Druids in a month or two's time. It would surprise me, but I cannot tell the future. I plan on keeping the blog for a while, maybe making some entries about my games du jour just to keep it fresh - I have been playing a lot of Minecraft lately with Guntir and it is horribly fun, even for an hour or two a night.
There is a problem when we can go into an arena, get fewer rewards than a battleground, and spend 2 hours on 2 loss-draws which each took 45 minutes to complete. There is a problem when every healer in the game has infinite mana and the only way to score a kill is to either have ludicrous burst or minutes of CC-options. Generally speaking, there are problems with the game which are not be acknowledged, let alone addressed.
I promised to quit the day that the 2v2 bracket was removed. 4.2 is all but removing the 2v2 bracket for all the reasons I mentioned above.
Reygahnci was my first and only main. I have always loved being a Druid, and nothing will ever change that. I want to thank Blizzard for providing me with such an amazing gaming experience over the years, and I look forward to many more years spent playing Blizzard games. I am sure that in years to come, I will end up playing it through again for some nostalgia factor (like I did with Ultima Online), enjoying the music, the questing, the general exploration, and the like.
I will always remember the thrill of competing in the arena, the enjoyment of exploring a new zone, the warmth of a reader learning from my posts of videos, and the tiredness felt during and after an amazingly long night defending Tarren Mill whilst drinking IBC Cream Soda with Guntir and Komnyy. I will forever miss these days, but think back on them fondly.
Moreover, I will always remember that World of Warcraft may have single handedly cemented my relationship with my brother as a friend.
Thank you all.