November 29, 2004


Abstracts for DIGRA's Changing Views: Worlds in Play conference are due tomorrow, November 30th.

The conference is in Vancouver from June 16 to 20, 2005. Also note that this year, conference fees are reduced for graduate students:

A greatly reduced conference fee ($100.00) for student delegates makes participation more accessible.

As someone who couldn't afford to give his paper last year, I was quite pleased to see that.

Posted by Jason at 6:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2004

WoW Beta - First Impressions

I began as the human priest Rasselas in Northshire (East Coast RolePlay server - #19 I think? - if anyone wants to join or chat).

The game effectively and swiftly teaches you the basics of conversation with NPCs, training, and fighting within the first hour. Combat is fairly simple - you right click on your opponent to either begin swinging, or select them with a left click and choose any of your available spells. I quickly found that my Smite spell worked much better than trying to melee with my lousy damage (1-3 points) mace. Once I hit level 4, I found the priestess in the Abbey who allowed me to train a few new skills, such as Shadow Word: Pain (30 damage over 18 seconds).

There are plenty enough quests in and around Northshire Abbey to take you at least to level 6 (I am currently level 5 with a few quests to go). Most are "seek and destroy" style - kill a type of kobold, kill wolves for meat, or kill bandits for ransom on their scarves. Deputy Willem gives out the ransom quests - if you play, make sure you complete the bandit/scarves quest to upgrade your weapon.

Milly Osworth's quest for her wine introduces a slightly new twist to the theme; you need to retrieve her grapes from the vineyard, which has been overrun by bandits. In order to get the grapes, you must "open" the chest, which takes long enough that you might get attacked by multiple bandits. Like the others, however, this quest is relatively easy.

In fact, only twice did I find myself in any real danger. The first time was my initial engagement with the bandits who, unlike the wolves or kobolds, would attack immediately within a particular range, sometimes bringing along friends (you could pick a kobold's nose and he wouldn't be bothered). The other danger point involved someone breaking from combat and dragging two bandits over to me. A little run and gun saved my skin both times.

Other quick impressions. The game was attractive, with its own unique artistry - somewhat cartoonish, but clean and crisp. I haven't been able to figure out how to customize the chat to my liking - most chat seems to be global, with combat and area chat mixed in the same small window. I like to have a bit more control over my chat window(s), which was one of the few things I thought Asheron's Call did quite well. AC2 allowed multiple chat moveable windows that filtered according to your customization (toggle on group, global, tells/whispers, all in one window or some on/off in multiple windows).

At early levels, grouping was unnecessary, which gave off a bit of the impression of a single-player game, with lag, banter, and occasional kill competition.

A few other neat things - some basic emotes programmed in to normal chat, so if you type "hehe" in normal chat, your character does laugh (which other players can hear). If you click in your radar, a temporary marker will light up and sparkle, so it can help guide you in (it might actually autorun you there, but I didn't test that).

That's all for now - hopefully I'll have some time tomorrow to move on to a new city.

Posted by Jason at 1:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004


Get the sense that Google needs to do a little better job with their ads? Read past the first one...


That's right. Sexy Faulkner singles.

Posted by Jason at 6:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 9, 2004


For those interested in such things, the World of Warcraft open beta has begun. I'm currently downloading the 2 gigabyte client (so I expect to be able to install sometime after the game goes retail... ), which you can get by signing up here.

Once I get my client running, I'll post my world and player name in case anyone wants to join up.

Posted by Jason at 9:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 3, 2004

Train Wreck

Allegory? You tell me.

Either way, it makes for a long ride home.

Posted by Jason at 10:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 2, 2004


The line wasn't too bad - in total it took us just over an hour or so to cast our ballots. Maryland is using the new electronic voting machines, which were simple to use, though I stand by my desire for a paper record.


Since I can't put my "I Voted" sticker on the blog, I thought I would photoshop a simple one - feel free to use it on yours, although I ask that you upload it to your server rather than feed off of mine (except wordherders, of course, who are using the same server).

There are four different options (two sizes, border or no border) for this voter blicker (a "blog sticker," see...) below the fold.

Speaking of stickers, after you vote, go download Scott and Nick's sticker narrative, Implementation - but not before you vote!

UPDATE!: Be sure to add your voting narrative to Chuck's collection, either through trackbacks or comments.

[w: 96, h: 115, no border]

[w: 96, h: 115, with border]

A slightly smaller version:
[w: 63, h: 75, no border]

[w: 63, h: 75, with border]

Posted by Jason at 10:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack