Tag Archive for game

The Normal Progression…

I’ve been discussing the problems with character balance in EverQuest with a few people recently, and I think we finally nailed down the problem with why the pure melees have fallen behind and more importantly why the perception of pure melees of themselves is so bad.

It boils down to the “Natural Progression” of a character through his life in game from level 1 to 65 (currently).

Let’s take the pure casters first. They start with spells. Intelligence casters get new ones every 4 levels until 24, then every 5 levels after that until 49. For wisdom casters, the priests, its spells every 5 levels from the beginning. In this progression to 49 they also gain specialization (20 for intelligence, 30 for wisdom), and through items they gain focus effects that can change the power, duration and cost of their spells. At 50 they begin to get new spells every level, 50 itself holds very little, but 51 to 65 ranges from 3 to 8 or so new spells per level, some more usefull that others, but they gain spells none-the-less. They also gain more items, and with those items can gain focus effects to further enhance their spells.

The Hybrids experience the same progression as their caster parent, only to a lesser and slower degree, with spells being at levels 9, 15, 22, 30, 39, 44 and 49. But at 50 they start to gain spells at every level up through 65 just like their caster parent. The penatly they suffer here is that they do not get all the spells of the parent class, but they also gain a few speciallized spells that they alone have. They gain also through items and focus effects, although sometimes to get these effects they will have to sacrifice other stats… but that is as it should be. They also gain melee skills as they level. Most of them get their last melee skill at level 40 (rangers get their last at 35) and those skill cap out slightly lower than their parent melee class. Above 50, hybrids get disciplines – 2 each, one damage dealing, one damage avoiding or recovering.

Pure melees get melee skills and items. Their melee skills stop at 30 or 35. Their items possess no focus effects (currently their are items in the Plane of Time that have melee focus effects, however, after strenuous testing, where caster focus effects return an average 6% increase in power per effect, melee effects return an average 0.5% increase in power, and these are not available to everyone). Above 50, pure melees get disciplines – one per level although not totalling 10 because some levels are skipped on the way to 60. Beyond this, a pure melees only method of advancing themselves is through items and pure level mathematics of the game (a level 55 monk will take less damage than a 54 monk during a fight all other things equal due to the small effect that level has in all game calculations), and their items don’t yield to them as much as the same items yield to the hybrid (wisdom, intelligence, mana, and spell focus effects).

What’s missing here is that beyond disciplines (most of which are situational, short duration, long reuse skills) a pure melee has little to look forward to as he levels except for the pursuit of more and better items. This has the effect of making playing a pure melee feel extremely one dimensional.

Pure melees, in my opinion, need to get more special attacks. I’ve written before about combat styles, and while I still think that idea has alot of merit, in my mind more special attacks would actually go much further to alter not only the game, but the perception of those who play it.

For Warriors:
As it is now, a warrior gets Kick, Bash (if he uses a shield), and Taunt. One of the current issues with warriors is that while they numerically should be the superior choice for all a group’s tanking needs, they lack the most important feature that is truely required, that of being able to reliably hold and control aggro (the attention of the mob). At first, not being able to as reliably hold aggro seems like a decent trade off for the up to one thousand hit points he may have over the other plate tanks, however, upon playing in actual environments it becomes apparent that maintaining agro is actually more important than hit points as long as the hit points of the tank are high enough to survive a few rounds of combat without healing. With 70-75% slows available to high level groups, attaining a point of survivability is almost trivial, and being able to maintain aggro (or more importantly to pull aggro back off the slower) far outdistances the other factors of tanking.

To that end, what I would suggest for warriors would be a series of special attacks along the lines of kicks, slams, slaps, pushes. There would be two lines within the warrior attacks, the first would be aimed at helping resolve the aggro issues with a low damage high taunt attack. This would allow for the warrior to juggle his taunt key with this attack for a more readily available aggro increase. The second attack would be higher damage, but lower taunt. This would allow a warrior to increase his damage in situations where he is not tanking, or does not need the additional aggro of the high taunt attack.

For Rogues:
The only problem I see with rogues is one similar to clerics. A cleric gets complete heal at level 39 and will use it forever. A rogue gets backstab at level 10 and uses it forever.

There isn’t really a problem with this except in that rogues have little to look forward to as I described above. So what I would propose is giving rogues a series of attacks similar to backstab in that they need to be executed from behind the target, but of increasing damage as the rogue levels. Similar to the warrior, I would give rogues two lines of attacks. The first would be extremely high damage line. Every new attack in this line would be stronger with a higher minimum hit and higher maximum hit. The second line would be half the power of the first line, but have a built in “evade” that lowers them on the aggro list, a distracting blow if you will. This would allow rogues to choose between the evading attack when they need to reduce aggro, but go for the high damage when aggro isn’t a concern.

For Monks:
Monk are supposed to be martial artists. As such, for them I see a simple continuation of the series of skills they already have. These upgraded attacks however would have various attributes, pushes, 0 second stun, a crippling attack that would through melee debuff the ATK of the mob, and other similar things.

In all these cases, it would allow all pure melees to have actual class related skills to look forward to as they levelled in addition to their gear, so in that respect it would allieviate the problem that pure melees don’t benefit from levels as much as other classes.

From the Computer to the Table.

EverQuest is one of the most, if not THE most, popular online role-playing games to come alive. And now, if playing it on your PC wasn’t enough, you can, starting this year, play it at home.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Sony Online Entertainment along with Atlanta’s own White Wolf Studios bring you EverQuest: the Pen and Paper Adventure!

Its been a long time since I broke out the old AD&D books and played a real pen and paper game. The last time I did, I ended a character in a satifactory way. His life, long become corrupt with power, was redeemed and his soul sacrificed for the greater good. That day I walked away from the table, burned the character sheet, and never looked back. And you know what? EQ as a paper RPG is NOT going to make me change that.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the game is going to suck. White Wolf has a good track record in my opinion. And the guys doing this are the same folk who brought you Ravenloft, arguable one of the best gaming modules for AD&D. But honestly, EverQuest is, in its simplest form, an AD&D knockoff for the virtual world. All the fantasy MUDs and MMORPGs are. So I don’t see much how EQ:RPG is going to take the world by storm.

But stranger things have happened…

Shadows of Luclin or Shit outta Luck?

Verant is at it again.

And I mean that in both the good and bad sense of the phrase.

The Good: They released Shadows of Luclin, an expansion for EverQuest – the game that keeps on kicking. New lands, a new race, a new class, new items featuring never before thought of properties, a new expanded skill system, and more. The world opens up again and for a while we can all explore something new and different. You won’t hear much bitching about this part of the game because people don’t complain when they are happy.

However…

The Bad: As usual, they introduced a large amount of bugs with the game release. Bards are, for lack of a better term, useless. They can’t sing anything that isn’t self only. Druids got a new line of group skin buffs to make them for desireable in groups, but group buffs, like group songs, don’t work (this may be fixed now, they patched twice already and the game has only been live 2 days). And while many of the armor textures look good, the character models… let’s just say they leave something to be desired.

Change is good, and change is bad.

The people wanted more in game content, and Verant provided. The new world and items, spells, class, race, all of it, a good idea and exactly what the customer wanted.

The new skill system is mostly good, except for the fact they made it level based again. I don’t think anyone would have complained if you had to be level 51 to get the new skills, but Verant decided that you get some skills made available to you at 51, some at 55, and some at 59. Basically, they made it so that no matter how hard you worked for these extra skill points (don’t through experience points just like levelling) you can’t get all the skills unless you are level 59. Here, in this one factor of the system, they missed the mark of what the average player wants. Most people would like to someday be level 60 and on top of the world, however, most realize that its a dream. Some people are in small guilds that don’t do gigantic raids, or don’t play often. These people might make level 55 and realize that 55 is all the level they need to do what they want in game. But now, in order to get the cool skills that would make them better, they have to level to 59. Lots of these skills have levels within them, 3 or 5. If Verant was determined to keep a level based system, they should have done 2 things: 1) make the skill tree more of a tree with prerequisites and order, and 2) take a skill with 3 “levels” and make the first attainable at 51, the second at 55 and the third at 59 so that you can have the skill at 51, but you can’t master it until 59.

Lastly, people like eye candy. And for the most part, the armor textures of Luclin are good. Plate armor LOOKS like plate armor instead of a solid steel t-shirt. But the character models themselves, especially the faces, have left most people dumbstruck. Some of the races look good, and for the most part all the females are decent although a bit heavy in the boobage department, but they destroyed faces. Every race/sex gets 8 faces, this has always been true. But where before Luclin the 8 faces were unique, the 8 new faces are very very very similar. If two humans pick the same hair and beard style and color, unless one of them picks the face with the eyepatch, get more than 10 feet away and you can’t tell them apart anymore. If you were one of the people who picked the “asian” human face, you are completely out of luck, it no longer exists. Verant made a leap here that they should not have. They redesigned the look of the player. Not just his armor, but his face. Rather than take the existing faces and modify them to fit the new models, they chose to make new faces altogether.

The end result of all this is.. once they get the bugs fixed, they have released an expansion that is 95% good. But that 5% bad is the worst possible 5% because its something that makes many players unhappy and they have to stare at that 5% every time they get into the game.

EverQuest Finally Starts to Roleplay.

… or so I thought.

Verant finally decided to put up a “Roleplaying Perferred” server. Its got a few rules over and above the regular server and a semi-complicated alignment system with exp penalties for grouping with the wrong sort of people and of course the infamous “Trivial Loot Code”. Most of these rules are well and good, and I think outline a roleplaying system quite nicely. However…

Arguably, one of the best roleplaying game systems ever created came out of TSR in the form of its many versions of Dungeons and Dragons. Over the years, I’ve played a few of these and one thing remained constant: TSR would put out book after book outlining spells, equipment, lands, history, classes and all the nit-picky goodness, but never in any of its myriad of books does it tell you HOW to roleplay, it leaves that to the player.

The difference between EQ and D&D? Never in D&D would you create a character named “Mystik Al`dude” and sit in one place killing a single monster over and over. Not once while playing D&D did anyone ever say “Explore? Why don’t we just wait for this kobold to respawn and gang rape him? Its easier.”

I logged onto the Firiona Vie server after having let it sit a couple of days live. Partly this was because I didn’t want to run into the first day issues of 300 people trying to kill the same 12 moss snakes. I sat at the character creation screen for a long time (you only get one character on this server) trying to decide who I wanted to play and why. I quickly bypassed all the characters I regularly play on other servers. I wanted this to be new. So finally I ended on a Dark Elf Shadowknight named Dvain.

My first impression? Too many people running. When you go into town in your normal life, or even in a D&D session, you don’t run at top speed. I put on walk and began to stroll. People zinging by me at a full run, flailing weapons about. Don’t these people have any manners? Put the swords away when there is nothing to fight, no danger. After about 5 minutes of horrible talk and worse names, I had to turn off OOC, Shout, and Auction, and PC Names (so they don’t show over people’s heads). Ahhh… much better.

I wandered around and spoke with my guildmasters, they don’t respect me, and I am humbled by their willingness to openly hate me as a tribute to our dark god. They gave me some chores to do, so I spent time cleaning the floors and other such things until they decided I was worthy to begin my path as a shadowknight. I gladly accepted these new duties and headed out into the city proper.

I met quite a number of other adventurers, a few talkative fishermen, but also about ten times as many people zinging by at full speed in a hurry to do something. Finally I made my way out in Nektulos Forest. I stretched for a bit, then drew my sword and began looking for the beasts who held the items I sought.. fire beetles!

I’m as curious as any lad, and after finding a few of my prey, I realized I was further from town that I had ever been. And I liked it. I had heard stories from some others about a human city, I even saw the guards of Neriak killing a few of them. So I decided to seek it out.

After that I had quite a few adventures. I met some other roaming dark elves and some humans, and a few other odd races. I found the city of Freeport where they tolerate my kind, and even a brother guild of shadowknights who were willing to assist me in my dark ways.

Mostly I was disappointed. Not in the game. After two years I still find it fun to play this game in almost any form. I’m disappointed in many of the players. It seems, from my experience so far, that about 90% of dark elves have chosen to roleplay as the brooding silent type who seeks power and wealth. Many of the humans seemed to be that way as well. With so many ways to roleplay a character, its odd that so many choose the exact same way to play.

At the end of the night, after being trained in much of the ways of adventure and entrusted to advance to the 5th level of skill, I returned to Neriak, pulled up a stool in the Blind Fish, popped a few silver on the bar to start a tab, and began to share my tales with the other patrons… no one. Well, not entirely. I had two people come in and ask me what the hell I was doing justing sitting around and not “playing”. They seemed frustrated when I asked them, “Playing what?” And one guy, bless his soul, who actually sat and listened as I told him the story of my adventure to Freeport.

As I told him I was turning in for the night, he jumped out of his seat, looked at me with a gleem in his eye and whispered, “I’ve got to see this Freeport.” He smiled, and walked out of the pub.

There may be hope yet.

The Next Game.

Currently I play Everquest. I used to play Ultima Online. I tried to play Asheron’s Call. I beta tested Anarchy Online. I never considered World War II Online. And I’m currently beta testing Dark Age of Camelot.

But what has me really excited these days is City of Heroes.

Most people who are willing to look beyond the minor inconveniences of most games will tell you they play them because they like the fantasy setting. They wanted to hurl a fireball, or draw sword on a dragon. Me, I always wanted to fight crime.

I’ve been reading comic books since before I could even understand the words. I’ve got 15 long boxes of comics (soon to appear on Ebay) of what I have collected over the years. With every page I read, I dreamed myself into Batman’s cowl, I wore the Green Lantern’s ring, I fired bullets while wearing the Punisher’s boots, and every now and then I’d save the world all while wearing a silly looking costume and proud to be wearing it.

There are lots of games on the market. And lots more slowly heading towards it. Of all of them, this is the one I hope for most. This is the game I drool at the thought of playing.

Yesterday they released a “gameplay” demo. Not really much of gameplay, but it does show the in game graphics and some of the interface, and character creation. I am in awe.

This is the game I want to play. I just hope I can survive until Summer of 2002 to do it.

23 January 2000

Boy… its been a long long weekend. I finally decided that in EverQuest, as much as I want to roleplay, I realize that some flaws in game design force you not to.
Flaw in question… items. Some items are dropped only by a single creature… and then not dropped every time. And with rougly 100 or so people all wanting the same item, sometimes you have to get there first and camp it. Therefore destroying all roleplaying.
But that is exactly what I did this weekend. Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday I was up into 8am trying to get one item. And I still don’t have it. So I continue to camp.
In other news… nothing is going on. I still work the same job, and still don’t have a girlfriend (hard to believe after I explained how I spent my weekend, eh? ;p ), but with the advent of EverQuest, I have finally found time for one thing… writing. I had been putting off doing any creative writing down to the doodle level (i.e. – I’m in a meeting at work that doesn’t hold my interest so I doodle out lyrics and things), but playing EQ and roleplaying EQ has sparked me. I’ve been working on pages here dedicated to the characters I play.. and now I’m even getting into organizing events for the guild I’m in, and for the server that I play on.
Anyhooble… I’m off to play more of my EverCrack. See ya soon.

2 October 1998

Some baseball games are just better than others. Game 2 of the Braves/Cubs playoff was phenominal. It was slow to start, but then any good game should be. I’ve never liked games that ended in the first inning where some guy hits a 3 run homer and the rest of the game is just great pitching. Being in the crowd at a game like that is just awesome… I need to get season tickets.
Is $60 too much to pay for tickets to a baseball game? The seat are regular season $15… hmm… maybe.
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Theater Review: None.
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Today’s Song: Centerfield by John Fogerty. Great song… good baseball music… but I hate when they tease you with the few opening claps of this song at ball parks but won’t play any more of the song.
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Today’s Movie: None.
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TV Highlight: None.

1 October 1998

I’m going to see the Atlanta Braves play the Chicago Cubs in the second game of the five game series tonight. And today my loyalty was called into question. A few days back when the Cubs beat the Giant for the Wild Card position and the right to be in the playoff I proudly announced, “Cubs all the way, baby!” Mainly because I like the Cubs, I’m from Chicago originally, and.. well.. because it felt like the right thing to say.
I’m also a Braves fan… I have been for a while, even back when they were in last place (yeah, I know, EVERYBODY says that, but I always admire a last place team that refuses to give up). So I’m going to this game tonight, and personally, I don’t care who wins, because I like both teams. I’d be happy to see either one of them move on to the next level, so basically, I’m in a win-win situation because regardless of how the game turns out, I’m a fan of the winner. Is there a law that says I can’t be a fan of more than one team?
Anyhow, my loyalty got called into question when after I made the “Cubs all the way” comment and then today said I was going to the game to see the Braves beat up the Cubs. As if I had just switched sides in a war, I was being called a traitor, and that I was recanting my earlier words. Why?
Then I got raked over the coals again when I said that I was pulling more for the Cubs because the Braves get this far alot and I’m a fan of the underdog. I mean, it’s why I became a Braves fan in the first place, they were in last and I rooted for them. They’ve been on top a while. Sure they haven’t won every World Series in that time, but they have won their division for 7 straight years.
I’m flawed, and I know I’ll never be perfect… and I just get tired of seeing someone win all the time because I know that I don’t. Do I want them to lose… no. Do I want the other guys to win… yes. But then you see the problem with life in general, for people to win, someone has to lose. I don’t want the Braves to lose, but I want the Cubs to win more than I do the Braves. C’est la vie. That’s life. Deal with it.
Of course, I say all this knowing that the Braves are going to win. The Cubs are good. Just not that good. =)
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Theater Review: None.
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Today’s Song: Got You (Where I Want You) by Flys. I just dig the whole idea of this song… a guy… hitting on a girl… who really isn’t even aware that he is alive much less hitting on her… and thinking to himself, “I got her right where I want her… she’s mine.” Just cracks me up and makes me feel good.
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Today’s Movie: Escape From New York. If you have to ask why I would chose this as a movie of the day, then you need to go rent it.
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TV Highlight: I watched the original Khan episode of Star Trek last night on the Sci-Fi channel. I have always loved the movie Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan but I had never seen this episode… truly a treat to see where it all began. Basically the whole Star Trek thing on Sci-Fi is cool, worth making time for now and again.

1 July 1998

There are 2 things I want to talk about here in my .plan, but one will have to wait until tomorrow (or the next update).
As happens often, my judgement of “good” movies has been called into question. Mostly this time it was triggered by an offhand comment about my selecting Outland as a movie to go rent, and how I was full of it. So I decided that maybe I should fill people in on how it is that I judge movies.
First, never have any expectations. That’s my #1 rule because I find that if I believe the hype of a movie I am ALWAYS let down. The only times the hype ever helped a movie in my opinion were Batman and Independence Day. If you remember the commercials and previews for those movies, they gave absolutely nothing away. Hell, the Batman promos were just the Bat Symbol and the date it was coming out. Only later did they actually show you what Batman or the Joker looked like. The way they handled it, you were salivating whenever you saw a commercial because they new you already wanted to see it (I mean, who didn’t want to see Batman) all they had to do what make you NEED to see it. ID4 did the same thing by never showing the aliens, by only showing fast moving and fleeting shots of the alien crafts. Both movies promos made you feel like you needed to see the movie and kept enough from you that they delivered. Sure you can drive trucks through the plot holes in ID4 but who cares, you were on the edge of your seat anyway eyes plastered wide open. Jurassic Park is one I waffle on in this category because they showed a little more in the previews and commercials, but the fact that most theaters sold 7-day advance tickets for it shows that the campaign worked. A bad example of this, although I liked the movie, Deep Impact. About 80% of the movie was revealed in the trailer, so there wasn’t much to surprise me, I saw it all coming, but this is part of it. I prefer it if I don’t KNOW what the movie is going to tell me before I see it, but even if I know every step they will take I can still enjoy the movie. So to recap this, never have any expectations, or just have them low enough that the movie will exceed (i.e. – if you went to Godzilla looking for a monster to tear up New York, you were happy… if you were looking for an emotional struggle of the people who’s lives were affected by the destruction of the city, you were insanely stupid and hated the movie). I guess the true guide is, go in with basics, not specifics.
Second, don’t think. This one is where people get stuck. Most people have no problem with setting aside expectations of a film, it’s not hard. But to ask them not to think is hard. Now I need to explain myself. A movie is entertainment. Sure, it can contain a deep meaning and be socially important, but there IS a difference between a documentary and a movie. A movies is not just presented facts, it’s a story. I like to think of it as a ride. Let me give you a human example of what I mean. One of my friends, Joel, is a movie-thinker. It’s all he does. He wants to be challenged by a movie. We went and saw The Usual Suspects and The Game. He loved both of them for one reason, they beat him. He couldn’t out-think those movies. They took turns he didn’t expect and they gave him an ending he didn’t see coming and he applauded the movies for doing that. Now, I’ll admit, I’m being hard on him. For romance movies or for “classics” he suspends the “challenge me” attitude. And once a movie beats him once, he always respects it, so seeing The Game again wouldn’t make him hate it since he knows what’s going to happen now, he’ll remember that at one time it did win. My attitude is that the story unfolds as they tell it. I watch, I pay attention. I take notes of things, “He just put the knife in his own pocket and not the desk drawer”. But I don’t try to stay a step ahead, mostly because (to toot my own horn) I’m a smart guy, and I’d win too often if I tried to out-think a movie. The only thing that can ruin a movie for me storywise is if they say “Ah, remember! I put the knife in my pocket!” but they never showed it, either because it was edited or because it was left out on purpose (because otherwise you would have figured it out). Other than that though, I sit back at let the movie pull me along at its pace. That’s what I mean by “don’t think”. Don’t try to win. Let the movie tell you its story.
Third, it’s all you. By this I mean that there are some movies you are just not going to like. If you hate horror movies then don’t go see H2O when it comes out (Halloween: 20 years later, for those not in the know). If you hate disaster films, don’t see Armageddon. Remember what you like and don’t like, and choose accordingly. And if friends are going to see a movie of a type you don’t normally like, tell them, or get them to pay (there is nothing better than being able to say “Well, that movie sucked. At least I didn’t pay for it.”), or just bear it for one of 2 reasons. 1, tastes change, you may like something you previously didn’t. And 2, related to the hype thing, some movies get billed wrong (i.e. – If you saw Event Horizon what you saw was a haunted house movie in space, but all the commercials were pushing it as a SCI-FI suspense thriller, email me if you still don’t get the distinction and I’ll explain, I guess a better choice would have been to fine one of those “screwball comedies” that make you cry when you see them cause there are only like 2 jokes in the whole movie). So to sum up this one, keep in mind who you are.
Fourth and finally, opinions and assholes. Like the old saying goes, everybody has one. Remember that. You hate a movie, fine, that’s cool, say it, say it all you want. But don’t try to tell me, or anyone else, the I didn’t like it either. I say I like it, that means I like it. If you care and ask I’ll be more than happy to tell you why I liked it (I watch a movie called The Stoned Age once every couple of weeks cause, damn, that movie is just funny as shit). And I’ll be sure to ask you why you hated it. But never, ever presume that you can change my mind by repeatedly saying “That movie blew! It sucked ass!” or even “That was the best movie ever!”, the only way you can move me is to show me why I should move and allow me to move on my own, pushing just makes me push back (and most people are the same way).
That’s it… the “Jason Pace Patented Movie Viewing Policies”… Don’t expect more than the basics, don’t try to out-think the movie, remember who you are, and that your view is your “opinion”. And keep in mind throughout all of this, it’s just a movie. If you rent a movie I recommend and hate it, email me and tell me why you didn’t like it, but don’t expect a refund.
I guess I should also throw in as an after note, that some movies are viewed with a purpose, to see one scene or for a particular special effect or for an overall mood and not a specific story, and that should also be kept in mind in reading my recommendations.
Another long one… told you it would happen again… and I’ve got another that it in the wings…
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Today’s Song: anything by Seven Mary Three. That’s not a song, take it literally. I’ve got both American Standard and Rock Crown in the player today and I stop every 2 hours to hear the local radio station play the new one (if you know when the release date is, email me). They rock… they roll… they are damn good… every albums gets better. I should also say, I guess, that I feel the same way about Better Than Ezra as I’ve got Deluxe and Friction, Baby in the player as well. I think SMT is coming to town soon, gotta check the TicketMaster page (all venues in Atlanta are TM venues).
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Today’s Movie: Dogfight. I forgot how good this movie is. I watched Nick of Time again because I was feeling like it, and then decided to take on something a little more dramatic, so I popped in Dogfight. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the lowdown. River Phoenix plays a marine who is about to ship out to Japan right near the beginning of Vietnam (the real fighting hasn’t started yet, it’s still just “military assistance”). He and his buddies have what is called a Dogfight. It’s a party where everyone throws $50 into the pot, the dance hall, food and drinks are paid for out of that and the winner gets the rest ($100). What’s the contest, bring the ugliest date. River was always good in his roles, even the cheesy ones like in The Explorers, and Lili Taylor does a great job as the woman he gets involved with. Damn good movie. Go see it.

28 June 1998

Well, I missed a few days… but I have an excuse… My dog ate my employment application.
Actually, I now have a job… Seagull Software. I start that on July 6th, so next weekend is my last “free” weekend. Not that I’ll be working weekends, but it’ll be the last weekend that isn’t followed by getting up on Monday morning.
Now that job hunting is over, what am I gonna do now… I already decided that all my free time from here on out will be focusing on projects for North 5. First and foremost being the web page. Then I’ll start working on other things…
I’m not usually one to quote myself, but I said something that was actually pretty nifty the other night… while out drinking on Friday at the Ugly Mug Pub, I just casually said to a couple of fellow gamers from DoS, “You know that you have been spending too much time playing on-line games when you refer to being drunk as lag.” Friday night I didn’t get drunk… but on Saturday, hehe… I went to a party / pool tournament, what follows is a chronicle of the games last night:
First off, I playing some practice games against Frank.. nice guy, decent pool player, but he doesn’t play his shots with the next one in mind, meaning he doesn’t line up shots too well.. Anyhow, first game went to him when I scratched while trying to sink the 8, and the second game he still had 5 balls on the table when I dropped the 8 for the win. After that Derek and I started a game that was going pretty evenly, but we never finished because the tourney began.
I was told in the beginning of the evening that the man to beat was Austin, of the 5 tourneys they had held, he had won 3. So of course when we drew numbers for the games, he was in my bracket. Not my first game, but in my bracket. My first game was against Robby, and I almost lost. He was up with only the 14 left on the table and I had 5 balls out there. He missed a shot and I got lucky as hell by ending my turn everytime leaving him no shot on the 14. Slowly I worked down the table, and his last shot of the game, he left me set up to drop my last ball and then the 8. After almost losing it, I pulled back and won. I decided it was time to start drinking.
My next game, as luck would have it was against Pete, ForceTen of Clan DoS, and we were fighting out to see who would play Austin in the semi-final round. The game was going easy enough with Pete and I both sinking a ball or two, but I hadn’t drunk nearly enough to be good yet, so I was nervous. Then Pete dropped the 8 in by accident and took himself out of the game. At this point I think the last 3 or 4 games had ended that way.
Now was the semi-finals, me versus the legendary Austin, and I was on my 7th or 8th drink and fading fast, time to get nasty. = ) The game was normal enough, I took the break and we both traded off getting balls down, but then he took a lead and got about 3 balls ahead of me. With only the 6 on the table, he started chasing it around never quite getting it to drop in a pocket. In the end, he missed a shot on the 6 and set me up perfect for my last couple shots. The king is dead, long live the king. hehe. I’ll admit, I got lucky here. I really didn’t think I had a chance, but with the cops hangin’ around outside deciding whether or not to come in looking for minors drinking (of which their were none) and the hosts flipping out because I think they suspected a person or two to be holding (if you don’t know, don’t ask), I would guess that Austin was a little off his game. Besides, I have always been of the opinion that even when you know you can win, you should lose every now and then to keep the odds up. = )
For the finals, I was playing Scott. The game was going evenly when out of my drunken haze I had a moment of clarity and dropped 3 balls in a row and took the lead. We played back and forth a little but finally I whittled down the table and dropped my last ball. I had a nice setup on the 8, but it’s one of those shots where if you sink the 8, it’s great, but if you go a couple degrees off the mark, you scratch.
I got $43 for second place.
I must give out kudos to Kelly and Sean… they throw a kick-ass shindig.. I’m just a little upset that I missed the female, naked body-shots because I was playing pool. Next time I’ll know better and lose in the first round like Eric (D’oh!! hehehe).
I am also very glad that I am one of those people that just don’t get hang-overs…
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Today’s Song: Hey Man Nice Shot by Filter for all the obvious reasons.. this song really needed to get played during the tourney.
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Today’s Movie: The Outsiders. This was on TV during the party… I love this movie. See it.