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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Everquest 2: Benedicta and Valhakar Reach 95

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I am writing this on the phone to see how viable blogging while at SOELive next week.  So if there are typos forgive me and I will correct them tomorrow morning.

This afternoon Benedicta and Valhakar reached max level, currently level 95, for the first time in their Everquest 2 careers.  We quested some but late this afternoon a group of guild mates grouped up and did Sky Shrine until we each dinged.  Their help and patience is much appreciated.   We are in Solstice on Oasis and it is quite simply the best guild we have ever been a part of as a married couple.  The casual, friendly, relaxed, and helpful atmosphere is something all guilds should strive to achieve.

We stopped by the broker before logging out.  Some of the gear available was good and reasonably priced but some of the gear makes no sense.  Funny thing the crappy gear was being shown to both of us because we both wear plate and it had primary stats for each of us on the same gear.  Needless to say, that gear remained on the broker.

We are both a little lost and definitely under geared.  Time to figure it out in the coming days and to determine how the veteran bonus affects AA leveling on the rest of the characters in our respective stables.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Everquest 2: Housing Delights & the frustration of Scale

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The title for the above, A Gnome lives here but Why?  First off, I love the acorn housing but how I wish the housing would be scalable.  My shorter characters, which by the way is almost ALL of my characters, are dwarfed by the walls and ceilings of their respective houses.  If you scale the furniture up it is still too small and then far, far too large for your character to have any realistic hope of being believably used. 

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This is Benedicta’s bedroom, again the bed is proportionally appropriate for a Halfling but scaled up it would still be much too small for the room’s dimensions.

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Enough with the whining about a technical challenge I realize cannot be solved retroactively by the developers.  I’ve had trouble sleeping for the last week or so and as a result, I’ve been working on housing for my characters.  It meant a lot of crafting but that’s not a big deal. 

 

Everquest 2: Weekend Adventures of Benedicta & Valhakar

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So began our epic and fun weekend Friday afternoon as we lay dead on the floors of Arcane Research Halls while our mercs attempted to kill the last boss, which we unknowingly pulled first.  It was the first of many deaths in Halls while working on the epic weapon quest, in fact I had an experience debt of 3.5% by the time we finished (all experience was off while hubby caught up) and the final boss went down like candy after all the other bosses were dead.  We got our epic weapons Friday afternoon, first for both of us, and it set the tone for the weekend.

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Like most instances, especially the newer ones, the scenery is gorgeous.  We spent most of the weekend leveling on signature quests, and this one brought us to Forgotten Pools.  This shot is before we killed anything in this room or realized that the room was split in half by color.  We did figure it out before we wiped however, so that was helpful.  I must admit, I’m loving the fact that recent but old content can be handled by the two of us with mercs out without having to ask our wonderful and helpful guild to come assist.  We may wipe a time or two before we figure out the mechanic but it is satisfying when the mechanic is new and unique and we figure it out. 

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Another instance shot, this time the water is reflecting the night sky and trees like a mirror.  It was a gorgeous shot I just had to share.  We were in the Temple of Fear in the Eidolon Jungle.  To be honest, there were many moments of stunning beauty in that zone. 

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First words I heard when hubby saw this NPC, “Now that’s when big imp!”  I was in the other room waiting for him to pull and he was right, he was a HUGE imp but alas he too fell to the might of our Paladin/Templar pairing.

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Sunday evening eventually rolled around and we had to stop playing.  I’m almost 93 and he’s about two and half bars behind me.  I will turn off my experience until he catches up.  That’s just one of the great things about Everquest 2, I can turn off all experience at will.  We had finished up in the jungle and are about to experience Wurmbone’s End next. 

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A big thank you to the Everquest 2 designers and developers for Advanced Solo versions of instances.  We are both very, very appreciative of being able to complete story lines and quests without having to do PUGs or distract guild members from their fun to come help us out.  Please do more of this content, it is fun and challenging.  There is a definite sense of accomplishment when we finish one of these instance. 

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Everquest 2: Double Experience Weekend

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Everquest 2 had a double experience weekend and while I didn’t manage to hit max level, I’m fine with my leveling experience.  Hubby hit 90 yesterday and we went up to SkyShrine (SS) and did one of the solo instances together and then went and hung out in the public zone for a bit.  Hubby also found and hired the elite merc that hangs out in the Withered Lands on Saturday!

The SS solo zone was fun, not super challenging with a Paladin and Templar pair up to be honest.  We manage to do enough damage with very little healing to finish the timed run well under the proscribed time.  Then we went over to the public zone with mercenaries out and that was much more challenging.  We didn’t necessarily kill groups of three to four quickly but they did die, well that is until a group of two spawned on top of us as we were killing a group of four.

I spent most of the weekend in the Withered Lands questing.  I did however finish up the Gathering Obsession quest chain and hired Qho as a mercenary.  I fully expected to enjoy getting him killed but the little brat grew up into a GRAND mercenary.  No really, he is quiet unlike Daeron, holds aggro, pumps out the dps, and made my Sunday of gameplay quite enjoyable.

I wish they would open questing up in the Withered Lands at 89 rather than 90.  The content isn’t challenging with Legendary gear equipped at 90 and most of the gear is crap compared to what can be crafted or obtained from the broker.  That complaint said, I’ve enjoyed the questing in Withered Lands immensely.  Great story line and I appreciated the satyr storyline, it was nice to see satyr’s portrayed as benevolent rather than evil like most games.

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Everquest 2: Crafting & Sale Bonanza

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This weekend my mid-range Armorer and Weaponsmith both reached level 95 in crafting, bringing my Veteran Bonus to 80% for my remaining crafters.  I’m pleased but I am even more please that I managed to fly to the Sanctuary of Tears twice and only died once.  I didn’t get lost and no one circled me in, which if you know my sense of direction (more accurate to say, lack of one) that is in itself a major accomplishment.

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I got some adventuring experience too but mostly as a by-product of finishing the first of the gathering obsession quest chains for the brat.  While annoying, the cloak he awards is stunning so all of my characters will be completing it.  Which brings up a minor grip, can more items be turned into house items for wall display please?  With all of the beautiful cloaks, robes, and armor I’m going to have to set up a house full of nothing but mannequins. 

There is currently a Station Cash rebate sale on-going and we’ve both done a wee bit of shopping.  All of my characters just got rings for their fingers at a steep discount and thus the ugly glove problem has been permanently eliminated.  I also stocked up on kilts, not the kilt sets but just the kilts.  I only like some of the coordinating pieces, which is why I wish they’d offer separates so the possibility of mixing and matching existed. 

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That’s Benedicta in her new outfit, with the cloak from the harvesting quest.  She looks good, I just wish the boots showed as much details on her as they do on much taller characters where they come over the knee.  Melodicaa, my Troubadour, got the Bard’s Backpack.  The rest of her outfit sucks but the backpack looks great and I love how the backpack is also inventory storage, not attuned, and functional.

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One last one, before I go permanently hire mercenaries since I just figured out they too are on sale (allegedly according to the forums).  Holidays in July means, I finally have my Winged Bovach Matriarch and you can see Abrava’s emerald on her finger.

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Go play Everquest 2, you will never regret it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Everquest 2: We Boosted, Now What

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Apparently my resolve not to boost lasted less than two days, when hubby boosted his Paladin I joined him and boosted my Templar.  I felt guilty, incredibly guilty to be honest.  I had almost caught up on AA and had a journal full of quests which were suddenly gray.  I’m somewhat over the guilt but am still going back completing those gray quests when I can’t sleep.

Why do I feel guilty?  Simple, behind on language quests, heritage and signature quests, faction, and story and lore.  I can catch-up on most of it but I really wish they had included a cut-scene that caught the player up on the story.  Since any player can boost, it is easy to have no clue what is going on in the story. 

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One of the first things we both did was get caught up on deity quests.  Imagine my surprise when I get to the last step of my deity quest line and am confronted with the avatar of my god and he’s a GRAY.  No seriously, my jaw dropped and I just sat there and stared for a good couple of minutes.  I have relatively high faction with good old Rodcet Nife but still I am contemplating renouncing my faith and switching gods.  It is very likely that I will be renouncing.

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Hubby and I have been demolishing everything we come up against, separately and when paired up.  The quest line for the Othmir prophet made me tear up and I found the quest chain very well written and thoughtful.  We’ve moved on from the Great Divide but I’m sure we will run into the friendly Othmir again.  We have been doing the Qeynos quest chains and heritage and signature quests, in fact we are on the last couple of steps for rescuing Lucan D’Lere.  We are on hold until we reach level 90 and drag a couple of guildies along to Vasty Deep.

AA seems to be much easier to gain now than at lower levels, it may have more to do with the pressure being off to reach 280 AA by level 90.  Hubby dinged 87 and I[m just shy of 87, we both have 290 AA each which is nice.  We are having fun.  We recently did the Erudin Library.  It is beautiful and I wish they had made it a player housing option.  I loved the bookcases and the stairs made from magical books.  I loved the murder mystery to be solved and the overall feel of the Library.  I didn’t get lost or turned around, unlike when we delved into The Hole earlier this week.  All I can say, is thank heavens Hubby has a sense of direction and can read a map otherwise I’d still be lost in The Hole.

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Anashti Sul portrait in The Temple of Anashti Sul.  The portrait is beautiful, as is her uncorrupted avatar.

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Overall, despite the guilt I don’t regret boosting.  I will eventually catch-up on languages and quests.  Having one character at max level will make it easier for other characters to gain AA as they level.  There are so many beautiful zones and story lines waiting to discover I am looking forward to catching-up and figuring it all out. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Everquest 2: SOE Live, Boosting, & Bugs

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We decided to attend SOE Live, formerly Fan Faire, this week and are looking forward to a vacation.  Hubby managed to take time off in the middle of summer and a busy time for him so we are combining multiple celebrations into one trip (my birthday, his belated birthday, vacation in general, and our upcoming ten year anniversary).  We are both low key about celebrations and we generally have a horrible track record with vacations (usually they turn into unmitigated disasters).  So, we aren’t making a big deal out of this trip rather, it’s just a long weekend away.

That being said, I decided that since I do the blogging in the family and we are going to a gaming convention I should get at least one character in Everquest 2 to max level.  I have a pack of characters between 20 and 37 and two between 60 and 61 and there are only two characters that have level appropriate Alternate Advancement Points. 

So, I had to decide do I boost a character or do I earn my levels honestly?  I picked my favorite characters to play and tried out each class at level 85, the level you can boost to, and decided from there.  Ultimately, I decided to earn my levels rather than skip the very thing I love about EQ2 the lore and stories it tells.

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I decided to play my Templar to level.  She’s the character closest to my heart and although she was only at level 34 and 15 AA points behind where I liked, she’s still my pick.  Luckily, her crafting is high enough that she can use a glider already and shortly she will be able to fly.  I completely suck at glider maneuvering and usually steer myself into a sticky situation.  Hubby graciously tried to use Call of the Veteran to port me into Neriak to pick up the Shadowknight mercenary.  Unfortunately, CoV was once again being buggy and frustrating, so he sacrificed himself to the epic gate guards as I ran in behind him. 

Seriously, the placement of just those two mercenaries compared to all the others is bad.  If you are a good characters without a guild or friends to assist, good luck getting the best tank that isn’t a veteran reward or Collector’s Edition.  I wish they’d make CE mercs available for loyalty points when the next expansion comes out.  I’m praying that the 10 year vet mercs become available for loyalty points once the 11 year vet rewards are announced. 

Maintenance should be completed and my coffee is brewed, enjoy your gaming day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Everquest 2: Continuing Alternate Advancement Catch-Up

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As dawn breaks in Qeynos, my newly recreated Fury pauses her relentless acquisition of AA to admire the beautiful thunderstorm illuminated so majestically via the protective ward over the city.

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Same morning but an excellent view of the dragon threat facing the city, plenty of motivation to work on AA and discover the reasons why they are there.

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Nothing sadder than a dead Asarai or Fae is there?  Yep, that’s my darling hubby standing there silently contemplating why I ever decided to make a tank.  FYI, I’m not the best tank in the world obviously.  However, relearning to play my Shadow Knight is improving every outing so there is that.

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My Troubadour had to pause and admire the night sky while out cleaning out quests and working on the gathering quest chain for Qho Augren (aka The BRAT in this house).

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And finally, Air Lute apparently happens all too often in Crushbone Keep but so long as the spell fires off I’m ok with playing the air lute now and then.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Xbox: Assassin’s Creed: Unity & Ubisoft’s Woman Problem

Assassin’s Creed is one of my favorite gaming franchises, which isn’t a surprise to anyone really.  However regular readers of this blog will know that I have been critical of the last couple of installments of the franchise.  Black Flag was a thinly disguised sailing sim with pirates and III suffered from frustrated cape crusader complex.  With each iteration of the franchise the story telling and character development has gotten weaker, thereby weakening the franchise as a whole.  Ubisoft has gotten much better at marketing and selling fans stuff but the gameplay and story has suffered.

Unity is their chance to redeem the franchise but can they pull it off?  That us the question I keep asking myself and the E3 coverage and social media responses left me with more questions than answers.

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Set in the French Revolution, Unity has all of the potential to tell an amazing story and return to its roots of Altair and Ezio.  Political intrigue, historical characters, and the fight for freedom set amid the violence and romance of Paris. 

But what is once again missing from a AAA Ubisoft release?  The ability to play as a woman.  I’m sorry but let’s be honest, there is absolutely no excuse that Ubisoft cannot seem to tell a story that has a main character that can be either sex.  There might have to be some dialogue changes based on one gender or the other but those are minor and not hard to do.  The franchise makes more than enough money to justify the expenditure for two voice actors and animating both sexes.  Hell, the franchise would make MORE money if the option to play as a woman existed.

The game is based on alternate history so the argument that “well a woman in that time period wouldn’t have done that” is utter crap.  The co-op play doesn’t even feature the ability to play as a woman.  Maybe Ubisoft doesn’t read the latest studies but forty-five percent (45%) of gamers are women and women purchase forty-six percent (46%) of games sold.  So, women aren’t some small minority of the market and I hate to break it but women in general vote with their wallets.  Women buy and play games were they aren’t included and were they are represented. 

I will give Unity a chance but should Ubisoft fail to deliver a story and gameplay worth of Altair and Ezio then it will be the last installment in the franchise for me.

Xbox: E3 2014

I flat out ignored E3 this year.  Sure there are a couple of games that I’m looking forward to but overall E3 turns out to be all hype and little substance.  And honestly, I can stand watching those presentations.  They are either boring, start LATE, or feature that oh so annoying Aisha Taylor.

Only games that have my interest and attention from E3 are Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed: Unity.  But let’s be honest, those games had my attention prior to the conference.  I could care less about Halo 5, Crackdown, anything Nintendo, or space battles.  Oh hell, maybe I’m getting old but I prefer my games to have strong stories and not just be a rehash of the last iteration with new graphics.

I don’t anticipate my view on E3 changing for conferences to come either. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Everquest 2: Everquest Worlds Mobile App

phones SOE did the smart thing and made a mobile app that covers all Everquest Worlds in one app.  The app is available for Android and Apple users.  I understand why they excluded Windows users, even if it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Carrying on however, I’ve used the app since I have access to an Android device.

It is a very well done app and in one evening sucked me in completely and I drained the phone battery from full to depleted without realizing it.  There are news and video feeds for whatever Everquest franchise you play and they are separated out so you don’t have to wade through Landmark video trying to find one that pertains to Everquest.

I watched the first EQ2 Insider yesterday and will watch the second one today.  I don’t normally watch dev videos either but it managed to keep my interest over the hour even if it were a month old.  The one thing they could do to improve the news/video feed is to put dates on the feed rather than just the newest on top. 

The mini-games in the app are addicting.  I fully admit I got sucked into Mineral Match and Book of Magic.  I won in-game rewards as well, a mount for Everquest and an appearance weapon for EQ2 (pictured below).  The EverGuess game kicked my rear and I’m normally good at those games.  The EQW Trivia mini-game was the clear winner for me.  It proved that my lore-foo is WEAK and needs improving to day the least.  I will be improving that over time, especially since I play EQ2 for the tremendous lore and involved storylines. 

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I’ve barely begun to dig into the app but I can say, well done SOE well done. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Everquest 2: “Gamecation” Screenshots

Well, summer is in full swing here with temperatures over 100° every day for the foreseeable future and thus we decided to spend the last week on a “gamecation” instead of fighting high temperatures and invading hordes of tourists and families attending graduation ceremonies.  Norrath was the destination of choice and we had a blast.  Here are the postcards from our “gamecation”.

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Our wee Berserker and Inquisitor characters stopped off to enjoy the beach with a Mystic Merc after returning the undead to their graves in Stormhold.

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Beautiful evening in Norrath was caught in the Thundering Steppes.

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On a Griffon flight in the Thundering Steppes.  I love the design of the griffons in the game, the look fully capable of killing you if you managed to piss it off.

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Here we are on our Paladin/Wizard pair that worked on heritage quests and acquiring AA points over the week.  I really like how the arrow over Valhakar’s head is obvious and easy to see even in a crowd.

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The robe dropped in Runnyeye and it was better looking than the boring white I had on s it went in the appearance armor slot.  Even after all these years, the evil eyes creep me out and thus they were valiantly tanked by hubby.

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Overall, it was a great week and a great gamecation.  Time to get back to reality and remember there is a world other than Norrath.  Never fear though, Norrath will be visited throughout the week from here on out, all I have to do is decide on a “main” when I’m not paired up with hubby.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Everquest 2: Welcome Home

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So, that happened earlier this week (Monday to be precise) we returned to Everquest II and have had a blast all week.  The yearly All Access pass is simply to good of a deal to pass up, so we bought two.  Hubby has the week off and so we have been playing AA (Alternate Advancement) catch-up on my wizard and his paladin.  No potions, no bonus, just slider set to 100% AA experience and catching up on language quest lines and involved quest chains.

I can honestly say, that while I despise the AA catch-up grind most of my other characters aren’t in as big a hole and thus it won’t be like this when they hit level 59 and only have 132 AA points (or 123 like hubby).  But then again, characters were active before there was AA and thus it was inevitable there would be catch-up.

One thing that would make AA grind easier, would be the ability to mentor down in the field.  I had to blow several opportunities for AA points yesterday because I couldn’t mentor down while on the Draconic language quest line.  Not the end of the world but it certainly would have been nice to mentor down and gain those points in Stormhold.

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Also I hate fighting in the lower levels of Solesk’s Eye, those clear pathways over lava (pictured above) made me nauseated.  Hell, I was always afraid I was going to fall over and off.  But that being said, we earned a lot of AA finishing up quests and getting lost trying to find our way to Nagafen’s Lair. 

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There we are hanging out in Sanctum of the Scaleborn.  The zone is beautiful and full of decent AA to be had.  I think we are coming back after we finish Clefts of Rujark, where I might add we managed to duo (with the 10-year SK merc and the Inquisitor merc) Rak’jaller (Epic x2 triple up).  It was fun and intense and satisfying when he went down. 

So, even though I moved houses and overwrote my house layout save by a not-enough coffee mistake, we are having fun in EQ2 once again.  It is like coming home.  There have been some serious improvements made (bag/inventory changes are AWESOME) and overall I don’t think we have any complaints.  Not sure if either of us will be boosting to 85 but that possibility does exist.  I’m sure we will decide next month when Heroic Characters go on sale. 

Maintenance will be done shortly, time to clean the house and find coffee before then. 

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

MMO Mobile Apps: Where are they?

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The ultimate goal of MMO developers and producers is to make the game so engaging that you are willing to pay out your monthly subscription without a second thought.  And yet, they all fail to fully integrate their game into their customers lives.  Where are the mobile apps that let me manage crafting or research while waiting at the dentist office or on the train?

Truth is, we live in a world where mobile is integrated into almost everything we do on a daily basis.  Players are much more likely to be long term invested in a game that let them check goods for sale, research, crew members, etc. when they can do that from the comfort of the office during a boring meeting or while sitting around the airport waiting for a flight. 

Mobile apps shouldn’t be limited to checking out a players item level or what achievements they’ve earned.  Mobile apps should encompass non-combat, non-quest oriented gameplay, like crating in SWTOR or researching in TESO.  Mobile apps should also be available on all three mobile platforms and not just iOS platforms.  There is no logical reason MMO providers should limit their audience base to iOS.

Maybe, just maybe, game developers are waking up to  the fact that they can only benefit from inclusion of mobile apps into their core game structure.  Right now, I would love to be crafting on my SWTOR characters while catching some early morning sun but …

Never mind Corso is done crafting, here’s hoping I learn that reverse engineering schematic!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Xbox: Shadow of Mordor

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Game just keeps looking more and more interesting to me, wonder if it will be worth it?  Hubby has yet to be truly happy with a  single XboxOne game purchase, same would have been true on the PS4.   Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor releases on 7 October 2014.