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Old and New Things

June 11, 2012

Dear Reader,

So, I’ve been busy-ish the last few days, or, at least, pretending to keep myself busy.  I haven’t mentioned a few of the things I’ve been doing, so I figured today I’d ramble on about my recent activities rather than keep them secret until I could surprise you.  I’m terrible at that – keeping secrets from people – because I’m far more interested in sharing information than savoring the surprise that holding on to it might bring.  Then again, I’m a blogger, so I guess you knew that.

First and foremost, I did purchase the 4x game suggested by Herf and Sihlan, Warlock: Master of the Arcane.  When I went to investigate it further (after having initially dismissed it due to poor critical reviews, I found it had gone on sale just hours earlier.  Synchronicity is a powerful force, and I could hardly say no to a game that had come to me by word of mouth and was now 50% off.

I’ve only played one game, but it was a long game.  I left it running a few times when I did other things, so it’s hard to give an accurate measurement, but I think it probably was a 25 hour game by itself, which is even longer than a typical Civ 5 game.  The main difference in the length comes from the lack of a “failure to win” situation; in Civ 5, if no one’s actually won by the year 2050, then whoever has the highest “score” wins.  There is no such mechanic in this game; it goes on until someone wins.

The win conditions are the main place I find fault with the game, too.  You can, as usual, win in a variety of ways, including conquering your foes, researching and casting a big spell, seizing all the “holy grounds,” or defeating a god’s avatar, which apparently comes to kick your butt if you make the god too angry.  Well, by my count that’s 3 military victories and 1 research victory.  The problem with the research victory is its cost.  The cost of researching the spell isn’t too bad; I had the spell available about halfway through my game.  However, to cast the spell you need 12x more mana than the next most expensive spell in the game, which took me about 100 turns just to accumulate.  On top of that, the spell takes 20 turns to cast – and can be interrupted.  The interrupt is a 2 turn spell that costs next to nothing, and you don’t get your tons of mana you spent refunded.  So that victory is basically impossible unless you’ve so badly crippled all the other mages that they have no mana and can’t cast anything; in other words, you’ve crushed them militarily.

So really it’s a game of conquest.  But okay – I can live with that.  Back in the old Master of Magic the only way to win was basically the same, so I can dig it.  Other than that somewhat frustrating realization, the game was very fun.  I was on the ropes a few times, but always came back swinging.  I didn’t really understand a lot of the basics, but in my second play through I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do better.  It was definitely worth the 10 dollar investment, so thanks Herf and Sihlan for selling me on the game; it’s been fun!

Secondly,  I’ve been swimming.  Not Wii Swimming or Kinect Swimming, but actually just swimming.  My doc gave me some bad news upon my last visit (they always do) regarding weight gain and blood pressure (both of which I’d been feeling anyway, so once again, I don’t like going to doctors), so I thought about my situation and what I could do.  My schedule changes so often that I can’t really commit to a particular exercise regimen.  I used to cycle 2 nights a week, and it was after I stopped that these new health issues arose, but I teach now in the evenings, when the classes are.  I find exercise excruciatingly boring, too, so that doesn’t help.  So I thought, “What’s something I can do at just about any time of day that isn’t terribly dreadful?”  I used to like swimming when I was younger, and I know it’s a very good workout, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I’m up to 12 laps a day in a 25m pool, which isn’t any kind of record-setting achievement (particularly since it takes me about an hour to do that with all the huffing and puffing at the end of each length), but it’s, at least, a start.  I feel very dedicated to continuing going, but there is one major obstacle.  The locker room is full of naked old men.  My first day I probably saw more penises than I’ve seen in all of my 32 years of living, and all within a 2 or 3 minute time period.  Look, I’m just not comfortable with that.  Fine, yes, it’s normal, I guess, and I’m the abnormal one, okay.  I get it.  Still.  That’s a lot of weenies to have to perceive peripherally just to get healthy.

Lastly, I’ve made a return to the 10×85 yet again.  I’d thrown in the towel when Blizz had initially led us to believe that Mists would be Q1 or Q2 this year (which they most certainly did when they stated without hesitation that Mists would not be on the same expansion schedule as their previous expansions.  Except it is).  However, with the entire unworking summer ahead of me, I have time, I think, to finish.  I’ve gotten my hunter to 81 from the low 70s in just a few play sessions, and he’s the 9th, so that’ll only leave my lowbie warrior afterwards.  I’m in the last leg, I think, and I’m getting my final wind to get it done.  I plan to have the hunter done by the end of this week (in which my wife is out of town, sadly), but there’s one obstacle there, too: Jeeves.  Why can’t I just NOT make a Jeeves?  I don’t know.  Yet I’m flying to Winterspring as we speak to collect thorium for the Repair Bot 74A as I type this.

But at least it’s not weenies.



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