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Alternate strategy

Slight change of plans for the coming week as holiday excursion to Spain to stay with the folks has been scuppered by my better half falling ill (not serious but enough to not be flying and such and require some bedside tlc from yours truly), so will be staying in Oslo and idling some, and knowing me, probably checking in on the office and keep track of the preparations for the upcoming presentations of the new expansion at Gamescom and PAX. I am not the type that stays away from work easily unless I am literally out of the country. One of the flipsides of loving what you do for a living.

The unexpected downtime will though give me an opportunity for some writing, maybe some photography and a little more gaming. Maybe finish my campaign in Bloodbowl, catch up on a few Dawn of War II games with their new game update (the game is also 50% off on Steam this weekend for those who may be interested!). Also have the Ghostbusters game sitting there which I am really looking forward to trying, I was a huge fan of the first movie, and despite the game getting fairly luke warm reviews I am pretty sure I will enjoy it regardless...more on that later if I get the chance to strap on the virtual proton pack and give it a spin this week.

Also been watching Sanctuary on iTunes while we wait for the new TV seasons to start. I missed the show when it aired and it's better than I expected. Almost finished with the season now, just the two part finale to watch...well worth checking out. It isn't up to the standards of say Fringe or Lost, and is very much more your 'enjoyable sci-fi romp' type show. The concept is strong and interesting and I have enjoyed the way they managed to use very different formats for quite a few of the episodes that broke up the pacing. They aren't just sticking to a strict episode 'template' which is always a good start. With survival horror elements and character driven episodes breaking up the 'monster of the week' theme nicely it is one I will definitely keep watching.

Will also be continuing to check out the Aion beta event this weekend as well as my usual sessions with Conan. Players do often ask how many other MMOs I play and how much I play the one I actually work on. In terms of the first question I guess it depends on how you define play, I try to play at least the first month on all MMOs as they appear, certainly the mainstream western games. Pretty sure I have played them all, and I tend to keep subscriptions open on the main competition so I can keep up to date with what they do, and how players in the games are talking about them. If it at all possible I try and take a character to max level (I don't always make it though). It is probably more out of professional curiosity as actually playing for my own enjoyment though. I think it would be a little strange for me to not want to see what the other games are doing and try them out, see what I think works, and what I think doesn't, or at the very least have some good sound context for when I see players comment on any given feature of another title. When a player suggests 'You should add Feature X to your game' I like to be able to have an understating of the pros and cons of that system, and all the considerations that are attached to it.

Some do cross over into me actually having fun and playing the game, rather than simply testing the game...I just don't get enough time to really get dedicated to a single game in the way I used to. Now I get more enjoyment out of trying more games while having a couple I come back to regularly.

In terms of Age of Conan itself, I guess I play on the live servers for between five and eight hours a week, with the occasional longer weekend session as and when the opportunity arises. That is probably a little below your average player, but of course I also test quite a bit on internal versions while actually at work, that though I don't really consider to be actually playing time. I am also a good old fashioned alt-a-holic and have played every class through Tortage, four of them to level 40 or so, and two up to the maximum level (ok, one is not quite max yet, currently playing through Tarantia Commons on my way to 80). I think it is important to be in-game playing the game, both to gauge how the players are liking things and to better understand how the players actually play the game, because it is never quite like how the designers expect them to!
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