And in the Dorkness, bind them.

The year was 2007. I was still fresh-faced from the disappointment I held in my little nerdy heart for a few other MMORPG’s that Will Not Be Named here Again.

I was tired of being lied to. I understood gaming companies had to really sell it to get the subscribers, and thus the cash, to pay things off, I really did. Look, Mr. programmer who spent hours making fighting chick’s rack perfect and realistically bounce has gotta eat too, right?

But selling it and then paying roughly $50 for a copy of the game, plus the monthly subscription–just to play for two weeks and be disappointed? It was weighing on me, man. It was getting tough. I didn’t realize it then but I was becoming an MMORPG skeptic. I still played MMO’s, don’t get me wrong. I still signed up for beta and to this day? I still play them. But I eye them far more warily than I used to and it’s rare that I write about them. By the time I get around to writing about them I find I am usually already disenchanted.

But I’m ahead of myself–let’s go back to 2007. What happened then?

Elven starting area.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar was released. A massively multi-player online role playing game set in the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, riding on the back of a huge wave the movies had set to motion. It was a good move by Turbine, actually. Here was a beloved setting many adults and children were familiar with, rife with all the markings of a great backdrop for a game. Earlier that year I got the chance to beta test the game and I did.

For a week I played, I really enjoyed myself. There were glitches of course and several things were not even yet implemented this early in the game (those would come later on) but I found myself liking what I’d seen so far. I didn’t have the same parts and video card in my computer then, that I do now, and couldn’t run the game full blast. It was still pretty.

Then the game was released and that was the end of beta. I asked my husband if I could play, who had also beta tested the game as a hobbit burglar. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy the game as I did. On top of that, we were in a financially crappy time–he couldn’t see a point in purchasing a game he did not enjoy and I couldn’t see me pushing him to spend money we needed for other things–like food, bills and so on.

So the game was set aside. I heard about it through good blogging friends of mine, Eve and Lillith. Art, posts about–all these things reminded me of the game and I never truly forgot about it. Life simply wasn’t going to let me play it when I wanted to. Several other games came out and one thing distracted me from it and another and another. One year went by, then two, then three.  I’d almost put Lord of the Rings Online aside entirely until–

I got a little e-mail that informed me this year, Lord of the Rings Online was going free and that you could sign up for the beta…

So I did.

Now…I’m doing a bad thing by telling you I got into the beta. Yeah, I know. I’m pretty rebellious. Last week? I totally ate three peanut butter cookies while baking them. Just sayin’. So,  technically, even though I am no longer playing the free-to-play beta, I am under the NDA not to discuss it. Let me just say I am aware I am breaking the sacrosanct of NDA and am fully ready to accept my punishment.  (Dear Turbine, please send a reasonable Aragorn look-alike to dole out my punishment. Please.)

But I have to tell you this because it was the free-to-play beta that convinced me to to finally purchase a subscription to the game. And to make the deal sweeter the monthly sub is a might cheaper than most MMORPG’s out there if you buy a package payment plan. AKA: Purchase 3 months for $ 24.

I do not regret my decision one bit, despite the fact it’ll go free to play this fall. And I plan on continuing to support LotRO even after it goes F2P.


Because the game has not degraded over the years but has improved, significantly. There is player housing, horses, fishing, hobbies. Many, many, many more quests than I ever remember there being. There are two new

A beautiful day for a walk in the Shire.

extremely fun classes and the community (which reminds me so much of the Star Wars: Galaxies peoples when the game was in its golden years)is a fantastic, amazingly patient, helpful, well spoken bunch of fellow gamers. It truly outshines any MMORPG community I’ve been in for a long while.

I can download the high-res version and play this game with everything cranked max. Lighting, shadows, Anisotropic hiked up, water, water reflections–you name it, I’ve got it turned all the way up. It’s gone from pretty to pretty-damn-gorgeous.

Right now, at this very second on the Lord of the Rings forums and in the game chat channels–there are countless debates about how the game will go down hill once it goes free. There are people saying the community will slide down hill. That paying members will stop paying and that the game will never be the same.

I’m here, breaking the NDA of free-to-play Beta, understanding I might have it taken from me (that’s okay though) to let you know it was because of the F2P that I decided to purchase a sub. It was because of the community that I wanted to support this game and hope to continue doing so. I wanted to remind fellow subscribers that, not all bad things will come out of the F2P.

And to let you guys know, seriously? If you played the first year and quit–if you’ve never played but always wanted to–do it. Go check out the free trial. Go sign up for the F2P beta right now.

I never go back to old games. That’s just how I work. Once the magic is gone I simply can’t. It’s done. Ask anyone I’ve met and follow my posts about the MMORPG’s I’ve played, and you’ll notice that once I’m done that’s just it.

Here I am, three years later, and I’m back to Lord of the Rings Online and loving it to pieces. That in itself, should be incentive enough for you just try it.

And hey, if you do?  Send a hello to Bluecup Bumbleroot, Landroval server, let me know what you think of it and if you need any help.

Happy 1st Anniversay you marvelous geek.

Today marks the first year of being officially married to Bariguy, my other half here at 2phatgeeks.  We’ve been together for years, so long that everyone who knew us simply assumed we were already married. So it was a shock that early last year I revealed that not only were we not married; but that I had to return to Canada to get my paperwork in order for us to get married.

Luckily, everything turned out alright. And here we are, 1 year later and official in paper work.

To be honest and cheesy, though, we were already official in my heart–years ago.

I’m a lucky woman. I have a husband who not only understands my Star Wars quotes, but joins in with his own favorites. Who understands when I reference an internet meme and who not only gets my jokes? But laughs at them.

In celebration of our 1st year anniversary let me share with you some of our most embarrassing and geeky moments!

I love you, Shawn!

A collection of our most embarrassing and/or geeky quotes from all times in our marriage at this link! Click it to read them on my personal journal!

Hooked on Dragon Age: Origins, worked for me!

Or: Reasons why I am such a Dragon Age fan girl.

So I’m on my third run through with this game. And I’m still approaching it as ridiculously as I did the second time. I’m over here more worried about hurting a computer generated pixel’s feelings more than anything else.

You know its a good game when you find yourself with a case of crazy.

King of Swooping

"Oh Maker! What is WRONG with you women?"

During the first run through of Dragon Age: Origins, my character’s main love interest turned out to be Alistair. He’s blond, built, has the tendency to look like a kicked puppy when his awkward, boyish, somehow-still-innocent-but-sweet overtures are misconstrued and? He’s hilarious as hell. “We won? We did? Yay!”

…Did I mention, cute?

The second time I played through and epic battle of conscious and morality began inside my head. It started out with the innocent thought that: It’s a game! I could peruse any other romance I liked now! How about Zevran? Leliana! Choices!oneone!`1! I could frolic amid the companions Bioware had worked so hard on to entice me with. With their pretty faces and long back stories and funny quips. And did I go to these new interests to explore the new relationships and romances?


The moment Alistair’s brow quirked, lightly stubble-speckled face filled my screen I quibbled, inwardly. In the first few seconds of his introduction I felt immediately as if he was staring inside my ready-to-write-fan-fic soul and judging me. He knew. I felt terribly guilty for considering any other choice but Alistair.

I kept imagining his face. His sad, sad, you just ate a Mabari puppy! Why did you eat that puppy? face.

Going off the rail on a crazy Deep Road trail.

And that’s when the ridiculousness of it all hits me again. Alistair isn’t real. He’s a program generated pixel on some highly paid Bioware member’s screen. (HI BIOWARE HIRE ME PLZ? I CAN WRITE. AND MAKE REALLY GOOD COFFEE. :D) He’s a concept, a processor-birthed entity meant to entertain me and continue shelling out my $$ so this company can continue fulfilling my house-wife fantasies wit–he’s not real!

And I’m worried about what he’ll think.

And behold, there was a sign.

That’s how you know Bioware has succeeded with Dragon Age: Origins. Bugs, glitches, giant spinning heads, splotchy kiss scenes and speeches that don’t make sense with your choices aside, Bioware set out to make a kick ass game that gets you emotionally involved and invested with it.

I can’t imagine a sign that it’s done exactly that, than me worrying over what Alistair is going to think when I’m over there romancing the Crow. Or the pretty bard–and he doesn’t even know!

But I know.

As many times as I have already been swayed by his charm, good looks, and stupidity witty commentary, I keep going back out of some sort of guilt. I think that speaks louder about character, connecting with your audience and amazing writing more than anything I’d have to say about it.

Swingin’ my big stick.

Our little notebook investment arrived yesterday. A little sleek black Asus meant to simply help us store the wealth of information I will be shoving into it this March because Shawn and I are spending four days at Disney.

Originally, we were simply going to buy a lot of storage cards for my digital camera, cell phone and video camera. We realized this plan was not-so-brilliant and Shawn, my one true geek went shopping around for other options.

The little notebook is perfect. It’s all shiny black with that New Computer smell and nothing delights me more than watching my husband come skipping home when we have new gadgets for him to play with. He literally spent the entire night setting it up, removing programs, installing the ones we use, customizing as well as tweaking. During all of this he generally kept up and entire line of conversation excitedly extolling the add ons, features, and wonderful uses this new notebook will bring. He might as well have been four years old again–skipping through the Star Wars toy section. His eyes were bright and his hands expressive, he’d stop for five seconds to press a button here and there or type something then continue telling me of dis wondrous shiny device we had purchased.

Sadly, my excitement only ran as far as, Neato! A new thingie to type on and decorate with the added bonus of being transportable! and to name it Piddles the Notebook.

I had an even more difficult time focusing on anything he had to say. As he was babbling happily away about what programs were installed and what weren’t, he was fiddling with a removable stick of ram the entire time. It’s on a long, long string meant to be worn about the neck. He’d start spinning it to the right and winding it around his fingers until it stopped short. Then, in mid-sentence, he’d start swinging it to the left until the string was fully wound around his fingers just to immediately switch directions and repeat.

After about six minutes of being entranced by this as if I were a three-week old kitten, I shook my head abruptly and demanded, “What are you doing?”

He stopped in mid-speech about being surprised how fast it was, given how small the notebook was, eyebrows quirking upward. “With what? Huh?”

I fluttered my hands absently in his string-spinning direction. “What are you doing with the swinging and the thing and the–wtf?–is this some sort of weird geek sexual strip routine I’m not aware of? Like a routine featuring a feather boa except–”

He interrupted me entirely calmly and as if he’d been waiting all his life for this moment to say a single line he’d been saving for decades.

“Don’t deny it. You find it sexy when I swing my big ram stick.”

And it is in those moments when I’m done staring agog or laughing my fool ass off, that I realize each day I love him more and more. Big hard drive and all.

What’s white and black all over with spots of red?

If you said a newspaper you used to beat the annoying guy on the cell phone yelling loudly as if that would help his reception whilst stuck in an elevator with him until he is bloody–then you’re wrong! (Say that run-on sentence three times. Fast.)

It’s actually something I’ve been tinkering with on the side lines, mulling and musing over whether or not I should have one and if, by having one, I’m sort of making me ego seem even larger than the small moon it occupies now…It’s my Portfolio for my digital photography and clay creations, called Everyday Magic. (Run ons ahoy, matey!)

When we originally purchased, I asked my husband to give me a subdomain name of, I had wanted to do something for myself with that but hadn’t any clue what. This was if I remember correctly, just before he purchased my canon camera and well before I started tinkering in clay. A few months ago I finally settled down and started searching for photoblog templates (sorry fellow design Geeks–I’m only good at being a game/Star Wars/Star Trek/Sci-Fi/Fantasy nerd! Not design!) that would suit the simplicity of what I wanted and put the showcase on the pictures, not the words. After stumbling across so many amazing photography blogs, I wanted one of my own!

I didn’t have much luck at first but settled on one for a bit. It just didn’t sit well with me, however. While the design was okay, I was limited in showing only very small pictures of my images and the instructions just weren’t WP-n00b friendly. After a second search I found an absolutely fantastic theme two days ago by Graph Paper Press.  It’s the F8 lite theme offered for free and it is mind-blowingly awesome, because it does exactly what I wanted a theme for my portfolio to do: emphasis entirely on photos and content, yet a clean, simple, elegant design lingering in the back ground.  It truly is a fantastic theme that tricks you into thinking how simple it is.

I’m gushing like the gigantic girl-nerd I am about this theme because it’s kicked up my interest and my enthusiasm over keeping the portfolio blog up to date. When I was first facing the thought of posting a picture daily; having to edit and reconfigure the images to display properly with the old theme? I began to not-look-forward to doing that with every photo. It was becoming too much of a hassle and frankly, (as you can tell with my rash of posting and then weeks of nothing here at 2phatgeeks!) I simply set it aside.

A good theme on a blog really, really, truly effects both the readers and author.

A great, fantastic theme that I love looking at makes me want to stay at a site and meander about a bit longer. Gets my nerdling-creativity going.

So that’s what’s white and black all over with spots of red! And that’s what’s got my creative mojo going! My new portfolio word press, Everyday Magic & its newest kick-ass theme by Graph Paper Press!

You wanna come over to my blog and hang dudes?

I got pics!

Aion: is it worth your money?

Authors Geek note: While the author has been playing Aion for several weeks, she does not claim to be nor tout she is some sort of Aion expert, either with the Aion Lore or game play. Should she be incorrect, please feel free to comment!

What is Aion?

Aion is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) being distributed in the USA by NCSoft. Originally, a Korean MMORPG, it has been released and played in Korea approximately a year before being tweaked for North American audiences and re-released here.

General Lore?

Loosely retold, the story is that you are an ascended being–a Daeva, who has forgotten his or her memories of the past and so you must journey to recover your powers and your memories. As proof of your ascension from humanity to Daeva-hood, you proudly boast a pair of white or black wings (depending on which side you choose, Asmodae have black wings, Eylos have white) and can fly wherever there are large amounts of aether.

The Eylos and the Asmodae have been at war with one another since the destruction of Aion’s tower, blaming one another on the cataclysm that sundered their planet in two–leaving the Asmodae occupying the colder, sunless half and the Eylos in the warm, bright other. To add further conflict, when the world sundered and created a great Abyss, a race called the Balur began occupying the Abyss attacking Asmodae and Eylos alike.


Graphics are a mix of breath-taking textures and details, bright colors or dreary settings to create the mood–to a biiiiit outdated pixel-ated spots and places and flat texture wraps designed to trick the eye into thinking it’s 3-D. In some areas, such as the capital cities for the two main races? Aion’s detail and attention truly shows. The main cities and player details are really eye catching.

ameriaavatar2Character customization is okay.  You can truly make some unique and different looking avatars to represent yourself in the game. However, it’s not quiet enough to make them stop blurring in my head. There are far too many pretty, oh-so-pretty boys running around with teeny tiny delicate ladies. (Yes, including myself–guilty of making a short female avatar!)

The armor sets are not as unique as I’d like, and while you can dye your armor different colors, it’s not quite the same.

There are vendors in the main cities which sell actual no-benefit-clothing. They are so ridiculously overpriced however, in my opinion, you are better left to worrying about extras such as this when you can afford to rake in the several hundred thousand kina needed to own one piece or two.

What’s the questing like?


And I do mean that in the grindy-oh-god-just-drop-my-god-damn-shit-already-jesus-been-at-this-for-two-days-way. Those of you familiar with the grind of Lineage might find this game (while not specifically as bad) familiar and like a second home.

And yet, I don’t mean the grindy either.

Aion’s quests are good for those who seek the lore of the land or like a good little laugh. They range from: steeped in history, to: find my pet pig. The rewards for the quests aren’t often the end goal but the amount of things you kill. NCSoft has attempted to make the outright grind-fest which was the original Korean game (which 1 or 2 repeatable quests–so I hear–for every five levels have turned into a butt-ton of quests every level or two) into something a little more appealing to North American Audiences. And in a sense, they succeed here, marginally.

What’s the game play like?

The game play itself against PVE is pleasant if, again, repetitive.  As I am not the sort to get into super depth about armor, crit rate, percentages and what not–I’ll be passing over this with my usual generalities.

I do feel that Aion is a gear-centric game. The better your gear and the better your manastones/Godstones slotted into your gear (mana stones are little, well, stones with + bonus to stats. Such as +8 to Evasion to +14 to Parry. Godstones are Proc stones, such as: 10% chance to stun on hit, etc) the easier time of it you’re going to have with your class.

As you level, you are eligible for skills to purchase from your class trainer. There are the normal, subset skills for your class and then a triggered, special ability connected to the original skill which can also be triggered. This depends either on a percentage, a stat, or in some cases can be triggered each time by just hitting your regular skill. Whether or not you succeed against PVE or a PVP will depend a lot on timing and your gear.

It sounds Grind-ey. Am I really going to have to Grind?

Eventually, yes. There is no real way to avoid having to spend an hour or two, three, or more grinding for mob drops either to sell on the Auction house or gray (useless) drops to sell at a merchant just to afford your skill-up books, or your crafting/gathering skill ups. Or travel. Or paying for Soul Healing to remove XP debt after death. The game is designed to pandimoniumbe an enormous money sink–and this is where at the very least Aion shines perfectly. They did a great job. It seems like every time you turn your head in this game some NPC some where wants you to pay them or buy something for them for several thousand kinah (the monetary system) which you likely do not have.

Don’t be fooled by people who shrug and say it’s eeeeeassssy to get several 100k in an hour or so below level 25. These are people who are either grinding for hours straight, or people who have more time than the general crowd to play the market. The average gamer with responsibilities elsewhere (jobs, time away, etc) generally does not have time to do either very well.  If you want $ in this game you will have to set aside time to grind and sell. Period.


I’d only recommend the crafting if a) you are willing to grind for either the parts and pieces you need, as half the crafting materials you need can be collected, the other half can only be found from mob drops or purchased from players from the AH, b) grind for the money needed to get these pieces off the AH, as eventually you’ll out level the things you need and they will no longer drop, or c) you like never having any money. Seriously. No matter what you do, crafting wise, it will cost you money to make something. Even if you just grind the work orders blessedly placed by your crafting instructor to help you grind levels up without using materials you will desperately need to make your own Staff of Awesomeness.

Work orders, however, still require you to purchase components to finish the work order. While the main “materials” are supplied to you by the crafting trainer a player picks their work order up from, the cost for extras is still steep enough that in the beginning levels you’ll find yourself running out of money just for a few points.

And the PVP?

Can I absolutely avoid PVP?

No. Due to the rifting system and the zones these happen in, you’ll be forced at the very least to run from–or observe PVP from a distant happy safe place. I’ll explain more when I get to rifts.

aionzergrushPVP from my point of view: It’s fantastically frustratingly awesomely awful. All at once.

PVP happens in two ways in Aion:

The Abyss, which is the space created between when the tower of Aion was torn asunder. Occupied by the Balur who will attack Eylos and Asmodae alike, it’s a collection of floating islands in the sky a player must use their wings to fly to in order to travel. When in the Abyss and away from your factions NPC or fortress, you are attack-able to the opposing faction.

Within the Abyss are powerful artifacts and fortress’ controlled by the Balur. Artifacts can be taken with great effort and reward by either Eylos or Asmodae; but since this is the Abyss, either side may also hamper either side in their attempts to take over an artifact or Fortress. For example, say the Asmodae were attempting to take over a fortress for their own. Not only is a fortress difficult to clear and the end boss legendary to take down–Eylos may also pour in while the Asmodae are in the fortress. The Eylos can kill the Asmodae whilst they are trying to take over the fortress and should their numbers and strategy be strong enough, they may be able to take over the fortress themselves.

Designated Zones where rifts occur:

Rifts are tears in the ‘fabric’ of the Abyss, connecting the two sundered sides of the planet. They can be traveled through either from the Eylos side to the Asmodae side or vice versa. Rifts appear every few hours and in random places at random times all over the map of certain zones. They are level restricted and population restricted. For example, Rift A connecting to Asmodae will only allow 20 Eylos of level 20 to pass through before closing.

As I have only played Asmodae, I can only attest to the Rift PVP from that stand point. When you reach level 20 several of your quests will span in two different zones. One of them, Morheim, has the largest amount of quests for the 20-29 level range and a player will no doubt be spending time there. While the PVP is nothing like the Abyss, roving packs of the opposite side randomly appearing while you are trying to collect 20 mushrooms are an average occurrence in Rift appearing zones.

This isn’t necessarily as bad as you think it sounds like.  Most often, those who come through the rift are individuals, groups of three or four or opposing factions just trying to finish quests–as the game some how feels the need to give you quests to do on the opposite faction. (As in: Eylos are sent to Asmodae territory to finish quests and Asmodae must go to Eylos territory to finish a few of theirs) Depending on the server, time of day, level range of the rifts–it’s currently rarer for me to see large, organized groups of Eylos terrorizing the country side. Usually it’s one or two hopefuls just trying to finish a quest being zerg-rushed by happy Asmodae.

The PVP system in Aion is…actually…fun.

You are rewarded each time you kill a mob in the Abyss, or each time you kill a player in the Abyss, or each time you kill a player in PVP regardless of where it is with Abyss points. You may accumulate these points for rank and to use Abyss points to purchase unique, orange gear which cannot be found anywhere else in the game.

I have been playing MMORPG’s for a modest seven years now. There are others out there that have been doing it far longer, but I’d like to point out that in seven years I have never participated in, nor wished to have anything to do with PVP.

In Aion I have actively put myself in the Abyss, joined a guild, followed them on fortress raids and taken great joy in stabbing at the opposing side. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not the above is a positive or a negative toward Aion itself.

So in a nutshell: is Aion worth your money?

Yes if:

  • You are bored of everything else and have nothing else to play.
  • Like PVP, or at the very least, don’t mind it or don’t mind having to grind extra in controlled PVP-areas (non Abyss)
  • You like pretty, pretty, pretty characters.
  • You played Lineage II or Guild Wars. Aion is NOT WoW, despite the similarities in some areas.
  • Realm Verses Realm works for you
  • You don’t mind the grind
  • Pretty, pretty characters with wings!

No if:

  • You have ONLY played WoW and no other MMORPG.
  • You don’t want to ever PVP or be near it.
  • You want to quest all the time, all day, every day/want to have a quest to do every time
  • Want uber rewards for quests
  • Dislike gold spammers
  • Dislike having to grind out a level or few, or grind for drops, etc
  • Pretty, pretty characters with wings make you do EW faces at your monitor

I’m thoroughly enjoying Aion at the moment, and I will readily admit half of that is because there’s just nothing else out there that I either haven’t already played (free or paid) or nothing on the horizon for a good long time and I need my MMO fix. The other half–is because I am actually liking the game despite the money sink, the gold spammers, the idiots (which come with any game) and the grind. There’s something about it, possibly because I AM a girl and I DO like pretty things–that keeps me signing in. And that’s all a game really has to do at the end of the day to work, doesn’t it–keep me signing in.

Orange you glad I didn’t say CLAY?

For those of you who follow me over at my live journal blog, this is old news. What I am about to write isn’t surprising; in fact it’s all over my live journal and it’s pretty much all I’ve been able to think and talk about lately.

Yes, Ayoub, I have become one of those douchebags that claim whatever it is they’re doing is the best thing evar omg and cannot stop trying to convince people to at least, try it.

What the hell am I going on about, anyway?


That’s right, bitches. I’ll say it again.

Polymer clay.

heartcuppycakes_1I have been eyeballs deep in polymer clay since last Sunday, August 30th and I haven’t looked back since. For the longest time I watched sites like Etsy or Deviant Art and other trendy hip-cute factories envying and wishing I could have a pair of cupcake earrings or even maybe some sushi charms–and couldn’t really afford it. I always thought too, that it took a special kind of talent to work with clay like that, to make such small things.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

On Sunday, I came home with 12 packages of polymer clay, sat down to make a pair of cup-cake earrings and haven’t stopped since.

If you’ve been remotely considering picking up clay to make yourself a pair of earrings, beads, charms, figures what have you–do it. Do it right now. Try it. Buy a color or two and just what you need to make a few sets of things (if you are so inclined) and sit down one afternoon to tool about. You may think I’m far more off my rocker than usual, but I tell yas, internbutts, it’s the best fun I’ve had creating something in a while.

So much so that I’ve made a huge surplus of extra things and have decided to sell a bit on Etsy! Also–can I gush enough about Etsy and wonder why I didn’t take a friends advice in trying it out before hand? I mean, hello?! Slow Mel is Slow! If you’d like to check out my Etsy and see what I’ve got, you can do so via a new side bar widget here at 2phat geeks —>

Or you can visit my Etsy shop directly here:

If you’ve been hesitating picking up clay, let me urge you to stop hesitating and go get some now.


You’ll thank me whenever I see you again next year!

Champions Online Beta: Game at a glance

As some of you may have realized, I’ve been attempting to download and patch Champions Online to play in their “Open Closed” beta since the doors opened early morning August 17th. I was able to get on an create a character, but someone I love and who I just happened to marry has commandeered the game from me and is having what I can only describe as, ‘a ball’ with it so far. He has named his super hero Angry Shawn and is right now, as I finish typing this up playing the game still. What I have played and gotten my hands on is enough to give you a few first impressions:

Champions Online

You are in the comic book.

From the launcher, to the log in, to the options and what screen resolution you’re going to choose–everything reeks classic comic book. Bright eye catching colors that don’t hurt but still catch your attention, that font which screams COMIC littered every where along headers and options.

Blue and deep gold is the UI’s chosen default color.

Blue backgrounds, deep gold for trim and eye catching parts and pieces, with the standard comic book font in readable sizes. I like it. It doesn’t hurt the eye and it screams POW.

Character customization choices are damn near OVERWHELMING.

The choices and color customizations are insane. I literally spent thirty minutes deciding what to make this morning. The choices are endless; head pieces, horns, hair, no hair, normal skin, metallic skin, cats eyes, normal eyes, pupil-less eyes, crests, capes, stances, human, not-human, robot, elves, beasts/bestial features, monster features–I can’t or could not list them all.

Character customizations ARE horrifically cliche, especially on the female side.

The boobs. Oh my god, the boobs. Yes, you can choose to have a super heroine with smaller breasts that do not classify as a weapon of mass cleavage like the DEFAULT size–but it is like they didn’t put half the amount of effort in making the rest of the body or super hero costume scale with the rest of the itty bitty titties. I tried making a character that wouldn’t poke eyes out at fifty yards when cold and it just did NOT work. It looks awful, like her lungs had caved in and were trying to suck the front of her body in through her spine.

If first impressions are correct: EVERYTHING is instanced.

From the get-go you have a long, huge list of ‘shards’ to choose from. If I am guessing correctly (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong), and I believe the largest amount of people in a shard/instance is 30.

Shawn says it’s one of the smoothest running in-game play for a beta yet.

I’ll let you know what I think when I can, y’know, PLAY. ::Stares at Shawn.::

Graphics are an amazing balance.

A balance between the heavy handed black-inked lines of the paper comic books we all know and love, and the amazing textures, effects and realistic graphics to pull you in. I’m not sure how to say it–they’ve balanced fantasy with realism and come up with fantarealisay I guess. (Screen shots forthcoming when I can play. >.>)

Summary of Champions Online at a glance:

Tentatively optimistic. Shawn says it’s a blast, it is definitely something different in the market to tinker with and he’s having fun. Character customization IS huge, and well done. I’m going to go out on a limb and state the game is something you should keep at the back of your mind if you like MMORPG gaming and want something different. This may or may not be subject to change at the end of Open Beta and extensive playing of the game is had. We’ll let you know then.

Twilight Sucks.

Shiny, Cap’n.

I must not fear the geek t-shirt.
Fear is the lol-killer.
Fear is the little geek death that brings complete monotony.
I will face my inner nerd.
I will permit it to pass through me and over me and encourage me to pridefully display my geekery.
And when it is gone I will feel a little sad and maybe go play a little Oblivion to make myself feel better.
When the game is pwnt there will be nothing, because if I really love it I’ll just start it again.
Only mountain dew will remain. 1

There comes a time in every geeks life when you just want to show off, and teach people of your nerdling ways. A time when you wake up in the morning and think: you know? I haven’t yet branded everything I own with something monstrously obvious that I love me some geeky stuff. And that’s when it hits you like a frothing at the mouth reaver looking to chew on your innards and make ’em outards.

You need moar T-Shirts.

Or at the very least? This is what I think when I crawl out of bed at the crack of noon and blearily wonder if I truly did roll a one or if I really exclaimed out loud in mid conversation, ‘lawl!’.  I’ve got my grubby little geekling hands on a few t-shirts that properly tout myself as someone who quotes all the correct tired internet memes, but I would love some more. I mean, who wouldn’t? (Only the souless. Or those not yet Initiated into the Nerdling ways.)

And Ultimate T-Shirts is willing to step up and help you out with this level 9 Elite Quest. Touring about their web site, which has some shiny, shiny flash reveals a plethora of T-shirts worthy of any geek or fan of geek-like things. The T-shirts, of course which caught my eye the most are those dedicate to Serenity.

I’ve not yet had any business run ins with the company but from what I can tell it’s looking pretty sweet. I know where I’ll be splurging a few bucks on more dork apparell when I get a chance, starting with the shirt in this post!

1The Litany against fear used by the Bene Gesserit, from the novel Dune
This post is sponsored by payperpost & ultimate t-shirts.