Check out Phantasm Adventures IV

Welcome to the world of Phantasm Adventures IV! This is the first of many books that will help you play this fantasy role-playing game. Use this book to generate a character for the game. It contains:
• 10 Player Races
• 75+ Background Picks
• 6 Factions, each with 100 levels
• 6 Professions
• 200+ skills
• 25+ Experience Goals
. . . And all the rules you need to play the game!

All the rules necessary to create endless combinations of fantastic characters: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MI7014S

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/465244

 

Return to EQ II

If you follow me for very long, and most assuredly if you read my older stuff, you know I am a big fan and player of the game Everquest II.  In recent years though it has been mostly a love/hate relationship.  I have so many fond memories of playing the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game.  I started playing the game back in 2004 and have been a subscriber of the game on and off for the last ten years.

Recently they made the game free to play, and with that the need to generate money by selling literally every aspect of the game from potions, mounts, levels, skills, spells, items, etc….  I do not have a problem with that, other than some of the items are garishly horrendous in appearance.  But I do take offense when they turn around and give away free stuff to entice players to stay — sort of like a drug pusher on the playground giving out free hits of speed.  They are not that coy when it comes to offering free stuff in the hopes that players will continue to buy stuff in the game.

EQ2 Guys

The free stuff just keeps coming and they just keep offering more free stuff.  At one point, I just threw up my hands and walked away.  It became nothing more than logging into the game to see what futher free stuff was going to be offered.

I left for about a year but then asked a friend if he would be willing to come back, but only if we moved to the RP server and take nothing for free.  We start completely over with nothing other than our memories — which for me is pretty faulty anyway.

Our first hours back feel so liberating.  We are fighting 10th level orcs and having a challenge.  We are accepting nothing for free and will continue to accept nothing on these characters.  I am not sure if my friend will continue to honor his pledge or not, but for me I am not going to accept spells or anniversary items in the least.  I want to earn every xp point, every platinum coin, every spell book, every item on my person.

Fighting with the Guardian

 

Edit:  I created a new account, so I came into this game with no anniversary gifts or any legacy items in the least. I further found out that at the free to play, Bronze Level, you cannot interact with the chat channels.  I just turned them off, enabling only group chat with my friends. How joyous is it not to read the banter of teenagers blathering about politics or religion — a blessing in disguise.

I wish Sony would create a throw-back retro server that essentially start the game over, with no expansions added — release 1 every 6 months.  How cool and fun would that be — I even wish they would make leveling ten times harder, but I doubt they would ever do that.

My Gaming History

I knew I was hooked on gaming ever since my brother came home from the store with an Avalon Hill board game called Starship Troopers. I am not sure what year that would be, but I would have to think it was the late 70s. It wasn’t until high school that I came across D&D; I remember pointedly each time I bought a brand new copy of the 1st edition set of AD&D — still to this day can I remember the smell of the binding, cracking open the Dungeon Master guide. It was only a few years later that I started constantly DMing and then writing my own adventures. During those formative years we use to play a different RPG every month, trying out dozens of games — Sadly after three moves I own only a small percentage of my original core rules booklets.

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In 1980 I home published a little book called Phantasm Adventures. I typed all the pages up on a typewriter and photocopied and bound them. Perhaps 100 copies of this game exists, yet only recently I had people from Canada and England asked me if they could buy a copy for their RPG collections. I own one original copy of the game — the where about of the other 99 are a mystery to me.

It was during this time that Jeff Dee (the creator of many of the original art found in the 1st and 2nd edition D&D rules, and also the writer of Villains & Vigilantes), and later Jack Herman (co-author of V&V), both moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am unsure of the reasons he moved here, but I think it was a comic-drawing gig. The funny thing is I remember asking my mother if I could go down to this guy’s house and do some gaming, and my mom, always the worrisome type said no because it was in a rather unruly side of town (for Grand Rapids). So it wasn’t during the first alignment of the planets that I met Jeff Dee and started my game design career.

But the second time when again he posted a sign at a local hobby store looking for gamers a year later, I did finally get to meet him. It was here that I was introduced to V&V (the first super hero role-playing game). If I had to put a date, It was probably around 1984. Jeff Dee was the best GM I have ever played with — his campaigns were so imaginative, the stories were intricate, and best of all the battles were engaging. I remember always wanting to go to his house and game.

During this time, I also met up with Scott Bizzar (president of Fantasy Games Unlimited) and I pitched him a number of ideas on different full length gaming system including my little brown book called Phantasm Adventures. This was before the time of true word processing or very early on. If my memory serves me in 1984 the Lisa computer came out for Apple and that was the start of what I would call personal computing — although it would be another 15 years before I owned a Mac for a brief period of time. Alas, during this “StoneAge” everything had to be typed on either a typewriter or a bit later on my archaic Commodore-64 word processor.

mv8_ZrX3FaFTktNE5dUjE3wIt was in 1984 the I wrote my first adventure module for V&V called The Devil’s Domain. The adventure centered around a demonic figure trapped in another dimension trying to escape to Earth and a group of stalwart heroes trying to stop him. To this day I still get small royalty checks from the company every year.

In 1985 I released a compendium of super villains for V&V called Most Wanted III, having the prior two Most Wanted written by Jeff Dee and Jack Herman. This was another great production value module with artwork predominately done by Jeff Dee.

In 1986 I released my third and last V&V adventure called Return to the Devil’s Domain. By this time the franchise was seeing great growth but the overall production standards having slipped with shoddy artwork and poor editing.

Phantasm

In 1987 through 1988 I moved to Japan for a year. It was during the early part of my stay that I visited a bookstore and bought a Japanese game magazine called Game Graphix. On the back they put their address in English, I suppose because they thought it looked fantastical — as if a game’s magazine here would put their return address in elven, I guess. I wrote to the company and within a week I was sitting in their offices talking about games. The rest of the year saw the formulations of a dozen game books — I would write them in English, then present them to the editorial staff that would translate them into Japanese. It was during this time that I wrote and published Phantasm Adventures, Bloodbath, Bloodchant, and Multiverse.

in 1990 I was nearly considered for the producers position at Interplay, the maker of games like Fallout and Bard’s Tale. I was to work on a game called Castles. I flew out there and had serious talks with the president, but in the end I did not take the position.

WorldGuide

When I returned to the states I continued to work on RPG designs for 10 years, working with every major publisher including TSR, Steve Jackson Games, Iron Crown Enterprises, and Different World Magazines. I still banged out expansions, modules, and map sets for the Japanese.

Castle Guide

It was between 1987 and 1997 that I wrote such works as The Castle Guide and the Equipment Guide for 2nd edition AD&D. I also wrote a huge compendium for RoleMaster under the name of Heroes & Rogues. I also took a hand at editing for Hero Games, working on several super hero adventures for Champions. the Japanese continued to buy my creations including Advanced Phantasm Adventures. You can see more about this English version here:

http://emeraldtablet.wordpress.com/phantasm-adventures/

It was during this period that I was on fire on creating home-brewed game systems, just as desktop publishing was taking off. I created a dozen RPG systems all seeing a very limited print but I became a center of gaming fury in Grand Rapids. At one point, I remember, I had 12 guys in my house playing one of the games. I created such systems as TED&D (pronounced Teddy like the bear) which stood for Troy’s Enhanced Doom & Death; Realms of Ardaan; and Star Traders.

I finally got to work at a computer game company when I accepted a position at Bethesda Softworks, the maker of Skyrim among other computer games. I was to work in the offices and also collaborate on Dagger Fall. My stay at the company was short lived as I discovered that working in the industry was not as glorious as it sounded.

After returning from Bethesda, I entered the “Dark Ages” of design, not producing anything of real quality for 10 years. It was a time of placid existence, without thought of worlds beyond ours — even my gaming dried up and I became lost in the world of gaming.

Multiverse

In 2007 I returned with several community mods for Civilization IV, a computer game of conquest from Firaxis. Although not a programmer, I did figure out how to make large modification to the rules. To this day, I still get people from all over the world emailing about how much they enjoyed my mod.

in 2010 I was contacted by Jeff Dee and Jack Herman about writing a new module for V&V; This project is in the works. It was during this year that I was also contacted by some of the original editorial staff of Game Graphix in Japan and they sought to release a new version of Advanced Phantasm Adventures. Sadly, this project keeps lapsing because of many outside factors.

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In 2011, I started another design project called Iron Age. It was built off from my game rules system called Bloodbath, but a bit more complicated. It was also backed up by historical research, hoping to put players into a relatively real world environment of history. My hopes is that playing the game will spur the players to learn more about the culture and history during the Iron Age. The development continues, but slowly.

Return to Diablo III

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Every gamer has heard of Diablo.  It has been in the lexicon of gaming for nearly twenty years.  The original Diablo came out in 1996, followed by its sequel Diablo II in 2000.  Both games generated huge amounts of buzz and millions of players spent far too much time playing the game.  How many people can recall the late Friday night games that turned into Saturday afternoons?

For such a fantastic franchise, it was astounding that it would take 12 more years for Diablo III to arrive.  So much hype had been built up in the game that it was a gigantic release in 2012.  With it came a lot of baggage that didn’t sit well with gamers:

  1. Internet Authentication
  2. No Modding
  3. Real Money Transfer
  4. Horrible class abilities
  5. Stilted Game Play
  6. Dreadful story

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I remember playing the game when it first came out.  I was a huge fan of Diablo I and Diablo II.  I spent 15 years playing the game and running mods for them in my basement for friends.  We carved up that demon more times than the Super Bowl.  So when I got my hands on the game, I was very disappointed.  All of the six reasons above kept me from buying it.

Then for two years Blizzard kept the price near $50, which again never made me all that interested.  Time and time again, I returned to the game hoping that bug fixes and tweaks to the game would change my mind.  Up until now, that never happened.

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Finally some light at the end of the tunnel occurred in March of 2014 when it was announced that the debacle known as Real Money Exchange was going to be closed and that a super patch would restructure the game to allow for better loot without having to spend money on their auction.

The real problem with the entire idea of selling imaginary items was that the system never worked. Players had to spend hundreds of hours simply wading through a million monsters to find one item that they could not use but might sell for enough real money or ingame gold to allow them to buy a similar piece that could be used.

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Aside from the horrible RMT was just the dreadful replayability of the game and the various levels of difficulty that strangled the game.  Much of this was changed with the Super Patch.

Most notable was the Loot 2.0 patch which changed the very nature of how magical items were collected.  Now it was possible to find decent items for the class you were playing or use those magic items to buy or craft items that were usable.

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Another great change was finally lowering the price point of the game to $20 making it much more affordable for those like myself who seek quality gaming experience and cut rate pricing.

The game is 100 percent better than what it was. It is sad that two years had to go by.  In that time the game genre has moved on, overtaking the ground breaking experiences in the game that took 12 years to come out.  Many other games, like Path of Exiles, does just as well to satisfy the Diablo urge and nearly free.

There are a number of interesting aspects to the game that I will finally get to enjoy.  It is, of course, Diablo — the game that I got me through my early years of gaming.  Added to that is the ability to play either a male or female, new classes, a crafting system, a better story line, and hours and hours of monster hacking.

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If you haven’t tried the game in a while, I offer you another trip down memory lane.

I will say that logging into their Battle.net can be a veritable chore. I am unsure if it is because of their security, but it took me hours to finally get registered and download the game.

Elder Scrolls Online

So I had the chance to play Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) today and although I found the game to be beautifully rendered and the controls to be well defined and easy to use, the overall game is completely hobbled by this antiquated idea of quests and forcing players through the game.

In recent years gaming has actually gone backwards in allowing players the freedom to explore. Gone are the days when you could simply grind your way through the game, exploring new lands and vistas, making enough money to fuel your next adventure.  ESO, among the others of recent years,  has turned all players into automated mannequins chasing dots on the map to fulfill orders of plucking X number of apples for predetermined cash payouts.

All gear is the same and all builds are essentially the same. Gone is the mystery of playing with character levels, skills, equipment, and different ways to move through the game. ESO predicates leveling on strict sets of quests, turning a fun game into a predetermined video story.

Why can’t players create their own stories?  Allow the world to be explored and manipulated, letting players set the markets for goods and services.  Provide paths to grow, balanced with the need of other players to help achieve the end.  Nothing is worse than to complete a long quest to see 7 other players standing around the static NPC gaining the same dull prize.

Where is the innovation of discovery and story creation.  If players wanted a prewritten story they could read books.  Computer games should allow players to invent their own stories, not read something that was hard coded in by a 22 year old game designer.

ESO also courts the same idea that all players are 10 years old.  When are game companies going to put on their big boy pants and treat gamers like adults?  This insipid innuendos of sex, drinking, drugs, and moral decisions is an abomination to 90% of all players — because we are all more than 15 years old.

Too bad ESO does not break the paradigm of current MMOs, striking off in new and exciting grounds.  It is just another pretty MMO to sap 15 dollars a month for two years, before going free to play and opening the doors for a new squad of trolls and assholes wanting to destroy and maim.

Aside from the gorgeous graphics and the great menu layout, the game does nothing to break new ground.  If you are tired of your old MMO and essentially wanting the same, try Elder Scrolls Online, you won’t be disappointed. If you want a break in the paradigm of other MMOs, this isn’t it.

A Year in Gaming

Every year for the past three, from October to October of the next year, I have given a synopsis of my weekly gaming group.  In the early days we would alternate with RPGs or even board games, but now it seems all we do is computer games.  We also used to have a number of guests that would stop over which would include my friend Wade, Eric, Rick, John, and even Mike. This year most of the gaming nights, I only had my friend Joe over.

Some people may even wonder why I would post such a diary as it rarely has any real content nor details in any way what sort of adventures we had, but I offer this for nothing more than my own whimsy.  Perhaps some day someone will find this and use it in a paper on the average gamer in the early twenty-first century.  I guess I don’t know why I am doing this or who will even ever read it.

***

09-25-13    Last game for the year.  Yup, next week it starts all over.  We played our Torchlight II guys to 40th level and had fun.  Probably next week we will be done with the game unless we start again – not enough classes to go again though, so we’ll probably hang it up unless I can find a mod or something.

09-19-13    Started our new 10th level guys in Torchlight and played the night out.  Got 18 levels.  Very fun if not a bit tiresome with the clicking.  The last game we played on Veteran really wasn’t as fun as this one.

09-11-13    Finished our game of Torchlight II.  We could have played other dungeons or even start the game over at 51 but we made new guys up.  Very fun if not sometimes horribly frustrating game. Wade was a no show again.  Will probably play Torchlight 2 for another month.  Not sure what we will do after, maybe Civ4 or EQ2.  In two weeks this journal starts all over again.

09-05-13    NO GAME – Joe had other commitments and WADE is a no show again.  Was really looking forward to playing the game.  A few more entries before we start this blog all over again.  Sometimes seem silly but fun to look back over the years to what we were playing.

08-28-13    Wow what an exciting night playing Torchlight II.  The night started with trouble when my character was 1/3rd Joe’s character’s level – somehow it didn’t save correctly or got corrupted.  Spent 20 minutes trying to figure it out, in the end used the often forgotten Windows tool of “Previous Versions”.  Got my character back to 44th and we fought our way to 47thA GREAT night of fighting, loots, and glory.  Last game of August, it is sad to think fall is coming.

08-22-13    Joe and I played Torchlight II once again and had a ball.  We are in the third of four Acts, just like Diablo.  The game is a blast.  I now hav a 43rd level Engineer and he has a 43rd level Wizard.  Sort of ran into a brick wall last night, so next week we are resetting the zones and going back through for loot and XP.  I suspect we will be playing this for a least a month, maybe all the way to Halloween!!

08-14-13    Joe and I played Torchlight II.  I got my engineer out and he continued with his wizard. No wade still – his back is still whacked.  We had fun playing Torchlight and got our guys to 32nd level.  We also started playing Everquest II again, and both of us are excited about the game again.

08-08-13    Joe and I played his wizard and I played a guy a rolled up this weekend in Torchlight II.  We had a lot of fun.  I am going to essentially only play this on Game Night and surely can play for another 8 or 10 weeks – Can we play until Halloween?!?   Great fun in the game with mighty battles and magic loot

08-01-13    Joe and I played two new character in Torchlight II and had the best game ever.  It was rockin’ all night long. Wade couldn’t get over because he had hurt his back real bad – poor fellow is always in pain. Made a Beserker and Joe made a hybrid Embermage/Gunslinger!

07-25-13    Joe, Wade, and I started playing Torchlight II.  We had so much fun.  Haven’t had this much in in many moons.

07-18-13    Joe and I played TF2 and I showed him XCOM, Galactic Civilization and (x)?  Probably last time we will play TF2.

07-10-13    Joe and I played Team Fortress II all night.  Had fun although the game wasn’t cooperating with in in the least.

07-03-13    Just Joe and I. We played Civilization IV.

06-27-13    John White came over but Wade crapped out on us.  Can’t put up with that. Marginally fun night.

06-12-13    Great time with the guys playing Phantasm Adventures.

06-06-143   Joe, Wade, and I started making some characters for Phantasm Adventures. We had a lot of fun just talking and coming up with ideas.

05-30-13    No game this week.

05-23-13    Wade, Joe, and I played Civ 4 and everyone had a good time. Single game this week with everyone having fun.

05-16-13    Wade, joe, and I played Civ 4.  It was amazing how just ignorant Wade was on the basics; not sure what he was thinking. Had so many problems with just keeping his civ alive.  Finally had a 4th game that he thought we was doing well, but in truth he was in last place.

05-08-13    Was going to play Civ 4 but Joe and Wade did not come over. Joe had a funeral to go to.

05-01-13    Was going to play Civ 4 but just started playing Vanguard and never stopped.  Played Edaw and Kimmstifer most of the night.

04-25-13    No game this week, though we would have played VANGUARD.  I think the real reason joe backed out was to watch the Red Wings on TV, but he said e didn’t feel well. I played solo.

04-17-13    Joe came over again last night and we played VANGUARD.  It was a very stormy night (outside for real).  Started out playing Tarograss, Daarnash, and Renfred in the far north of Qalia but was getting hammered so we went to Renton Keep with Toddan, Darkmaze, and Moonbee – great xp and Darkmaze gained 3 levels!

04-09-13    Got together a day earlier because our weekly get together would have fallen on Joe’s dad’s passing anniversary.  We had a great deal of fun playing several younger toons: my paladin and shaman (Okthank my weaponsmith).  Played in Lomshir/Dark Horse area and had a ball.

03-27-13    Joe backed out – pussy. Wade is worthless in trying to have him do anything.  I will play tonight.  Cherry went off to work.

03-20-13    Another fun night with Vanguard. Wade tried to call in the last few minutes before game and invite himself – but without a decent character and a grasp of the game, he is just wasting our time.  Joe and I played a couple of guys throughout the night and had a ball.

03-13-13    Vanguard is King once again. Wade didn’t show up and I wasn’t going to beg him.  Joe and I had a fantastic night with going into Khrig’s End (spelling).  Found four other guys and traveled with them to the bottom of the dungeon and got almost two levels with my cleric Pumpkinpuss (and also my sorcerer since they were in a brotherhood). Joe played a monk and love the game, but also loves to complain about it (the game is a bit schlocky).

03-07-13    Vanguard.  Had Wade over and he fumbled through the night.  He played my guy and he fucked it all up.  We are having fun though and ran out into some big trouble in the world.  Joe has a ranger and a rogue. I have a bard and a bloodmage.  Great fun finally again on Wednesday night.

02-28-13    Vanguard. Had another fun night with some new guys.  Joe seems good at not paying for anything.  Wade failed to show up and will probably miss out for the foreseeable future.  Calling Eric to see if he wants to come over and play.

02-20-13    Vanguard.  Thought we had a fun night. Started with some Raki but then went to Goblins. I wish he would download and we could play at home, but I think he fears he would play it all the time and not do his “writing”.  Wade will be brought in when we play something else.

02-14-13    Joe bailed.  Wade’s mom passed away. 

02-07-13    Played Star Wars of the Old Republic, but unsure if I want to waste any more time in the game. Net week we shall play either Vanguard or Civilization IV.

01-31-13    Started off with Lord of the Rings but I just wasn’t digging it. Went on to play Star Wars. Maybe next week play Vanguard?

01-24-13    Joe and I played Lord of the Rings. Made some new guys, hobbits, and got to level 8.  He doesn’t seem to want to put the time into it and so it’s a fairly boring game. Wade cancelled on us again, so I guess he is done until spring.

01-16-13    Joe, Wade, and I tried Star Wars of the Old Republic MMO. Had great hopes that we could play the game and learn the systems, but it was bland and unresponsive. I heard thru reviews they really curtail play on free accounts, making you pay for everything.

01-09-13    Cancelled because of the flu

01-03-13    AppendWe did finally get to play Lord of the Rings and I enjoyed it.  It was fun.

01-02-13    Moved the game night to Wednesday and will try once more to play Lord of the Rings. Not sure how it will go or if Joe will get into it. I don’t want to play Civ 4 for a while, as I am burnt out in it and Joe is just too good at it (that is all he plays).  I would like to do other things that just play Civ 4 and would like to try board and card games.

12-19-12   Tried to play Lord of the Rings but the server was down. So we played Civ 4 but need a break from it. Wade left halfway through the night cuz he was bored, so he is on the outs for a while.  Next week is Christmas but need to switch game night to Wednesday anyways, so we’ll see what happens.

12-11-12    Sadly no game tonight. Joe and Wade both cancelled. Doesn’t look at rescheduling this week.

12-04-12    Just Joe and I again since wade had to take care of his very sick mom. We played Civ 4 again; seems to be are mainstay on Tuesday night.

11-28-12    Only Joe. Tonight I treat Wade to our annual Christmas dinner. Game last night was fun but had some initial troubles getting it set up and at times had several OOS errors. Still it was a good night.

11-21-12    Had some real issues last night and Wade had to go home early. Joe and I played a new mod called Master of Mana.

10-13-12    Fun playing Civilization IV again last night. We played on a new world starting at the Renaissance era. Everyone is getting so good at it now that the AI is having a time to even stay competitive.

10-10-12    Had another fun time. Continued to play the game from last week.  I did much better after going strictly military early in the night, capturing several cities. No end in sight for stopping this weekly foray into Civilization.  I am sure one day we will put it aside, but right now we are having a blast. I have no game in mind for the future, though I would like to move beyond a computer game.

10-03-12    Over the weekend I amended Civilization IV a bit changing Slavery and harbors. The big change I made was giving a new Unique Unit to every civilization. We started a new game at a slight accelerated pace with me playing the Greeks, Joe playing Kongo, and Wade playing the Iroquois.  Wade played exemplary and won a great amount of credibility.  I floundered like always. Joe seemed content on being off by himself. Good game overall.

Goodbye gaming 2011 — essentially we start over

the first Wednesday into October.

Troy


Vanguard Goals for the First Week in April

For me, Ratook my main, is going to be making everyone new harvesting gear. Okthank, my blacksmith, is going to be making a ton of arrows and iron horseshoes for all my alts. Dagulas, my carpenter, needs to get up some levels and do his Banisher quest line up to the point he gets his gem of NT port.

I also want to get Daarnash and Pumpkinpuss out harvesting a ton of metal and textiles.

I have a handful of other alts that I wouldn’t mind taking to Lomshir and into the depths of that dungeon in that beached boat along the coast — that is a little secret spot between you and me. Don’t tell anyone else.

I will be posting some pictures of the guys later on tonight. Can’t wait until I get home to start the weekend.

First Week Back playing Vanguard

I do not remember the last full week of game play that I had in Vanguard? But today marks the first full week back to playing the game in a long time. I am the type of player that doesn’t just “mess around” with a game. I either jump in with both feet or I just don’t play it. In the old days I had two accounts, those that followed me from Everquest I and Everquest II and hence they also made their way to Vanguard. I also toyed with the idea of playing for free, but it isn’t as if $30 a month kills me financially and I don’t like the feeling of missing out on stuff because of it — so I resubscribed.

I was a bit dismayed that Sony does not offer other ways to pay for the accounts. I would have liked to used Paypal but in the end just put it on a credit card. I was thinking of doing the 3 month plan for $30 but opted for the standard $14.99 a month. I would like to note that a reason for seeking other sorts of payment options was because I have often had problems using a credit card with Sony Online. A card that works flawlessly on Amazon will balk and fail on buying a subscription at Sony.

Originally I started playing almost immediately at launch, and according to the various websites, this would have made it probably around February or March of 2007. At the time I was listening to podcasts over at http://www.virginworlds.com with a weekly show by Brent Lassi. It was specifically Vanguard that made me want to make my own show and thus I created a Voyages of Vanguard. I played Vanguard furiously for at least 2 years, using my experiences as my commentary at Voyages of Vanguard. I had a great host named Karen that made  shows with me back then, and she is now writing for many online MMO websites.  By 2009 I had stopped playing and for 4 years I had nothing to do with the game.

One of the many detractors from Vanguard was the that I had friends playing other games. Vanguard is also a tough and unforgiving world and as time went by the writing was on the wall. It also seemed that Sony had given up on the game. There was great chaos it seemed over at Sony and Vanguard simply slipped through the cracks — and it was highly obvious.

Back last August the smartest thing Sony has done in years they made the game free to play. Although that sort of model does not fit well for me, and nor have I ever truly supported this model, it made perfect sense for Vanguard. They also made some very intelligent moves in making the game liberal with what you got for free — so much so that it is my opinion more players are using Sony Cash to buy ingame items. My verdict is out still on some items you can purchase as it circumvents crafting and questing, something that seems wrong. Time will tell, but I hope they do not fall victim to the idea of placing all highly sought after items in the game as something you can just buy.

I am having a great reunion with the game. My friends and I are back to playing it. They are playing for free and love it. I am paying for two subscriptions and having a blast too. I am doing both adventuring and crafting, but perhaps will venture into diplomacy sometime too — but that seems as daunting as crafting.  I have made up so many new characters it is ridiculous. Each class plays differently and they all seem so fun to play.  A ton of adventuring quests keep me busy at night with friends.  And trying to level in crafting on the odd times is both exhilarating but exhausting.

Many troubling aspects are still in the game. They lag and the chunking are as bad as ever, but now at least we all have computers with so much more horsepower that it is less noticeable. I tend to fall through the earth at least once a week and die horribly or get snagged on some simple rock and spend 5 minutes figuring out why I can move. Many quests are broken and some character classes seem far more powerful than others.

Overall though I enjoy my return and tell others that it is worth downloading and playing — Hey! It’s free so how can you go wrong and my friends can attest you really, really don’t need to buy anything to have a blast in the game.

I am even thinking of returning to Podcasting. I am waiting a month or two but would love to hear from others on if they would be interesting into listening to my show again.

My Pickup Group — Vanguard

Last couple of weeks I have returned to Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and with that I have been getting involved with good old fashion pick up groups. Of course with that, you tend to see a stereotypical pattern of players. Here is my imaginary, yet so real, pick up group player makeup.

Terry, a twenty-eight year old guy, living in his grandma’s basement, out-of-work, and lives and breathes the game. He has eighteen alts, all the crafting classes covered, the best gear, and you always find him as a guild leader or group leader. Strangely, he is so highly organized and knowledgeable you ask yourself why he is living in the basement, without a girlfriend, and no job?

Jeff Jefferson, who plays an Ogre mage aptly named JeffJefferson. This kid is twelve-years old, and his mom has found that the recent MMO is a cheap and proficient babysitter. While mom is off getting some at the bar, the group is getting their fill of Jeff who constantly begs for money, equipment, and cheats. He is of the age and mentality that he thinks there are special power-ups and moves in the game — what little he reads, he still trying to get that special power to unlock by moving North, North, Jump, West, Duck, North, North?

Wanda, a forty-five year old, divorced over weight mom of six, who has no apparent income and often complains her kids have no shoes, socks, or pants, yet she is playing twenty-four — seven on the game with a rig that would make Jeff Gordon blush. She is a whiz at statistics, spells, and skills yet she tells you she can’t find a job. The only thing that grates you more than her stories, is that she calls you “Hun” all the time — belittling you down to one of her six mangy kids.

Mike, the thirty six year old bachelor, who is tanked by 5 PM on three cases of beers — and for the love of god don’t ask him which beer is better, or you better close the chat channel. Mike is introverted and without girlfriends; yet all his characters are scantily clad females with names like LargeTitus InYourFace. After you comment on his deplorable name, he keeps telling you, “Get it!!?!! its Large tit s in your face, get it? Get it??”. after about a minute of you shaking your head sadly, he says: “Get it!!?!! its Large tit s in your face, get it? Get it??”. Ya, Mike I get it!!!

Brad Jockitch, the over-the-hill-muscle-bound-boob, that recalls his glory days when all the world bent over backwards for him, how the chicks dug him, his boss glorified him, and his family put him on a pedestal of pure ivory. Now Brad is sunk to poppin’ oxycotin every fifteen minutes, half of the time AFK while he is off using the “bio-break” or getting himself another whole-wheat tuna sandwich. “I was one-tenth of a second away from making the Olympic Shot Put team!!” ahhhhh Brad, shot put isn’t measure in time? …………… Long tenable silence, “Did I say Shot Put ((gurgle)) ((gurgle)) I meant Lacrosse, sorry I have sixteen various kinds of painkillers in my system.

Tina, To-Hot-Handle, Torres. Oh ya baby, I often get Tina in my group, ya baby!! Twenty-two, hot, and sexy….willing to talk the talk, and walk the walk….go to her website and she is dripping all over the site in hot and sexy poses. She is willing to find backwaters of any world and seek out the promiscuous in all and all a good night. The strange thing is, is that she has a horribly sounding voice — something between a buzz saw and a pig being strangled to death? Ahh, Tina, lets not do Teamspeak…..

And finally, Svenoluntski Horg’ufanslengorthoria, some swedish multi-millionaire who could pay me more money than I can dream of, to dance naked in Time Square …. could even make Bill Gates blush with envy, yet he is more concerned with playing with a bunch of fat American tools in a dungeon called Chaotic Chamber of Scintillating Hellfire. He types perfect grammatical English, yet can barely chirp a word in English — everything he says sounds like he is asking for another scoop of Hagen Das Ice Cream — Sorry, Sven, I don’t have any Strawberry Ripple HagenDas!!

Ahh yes, my fantastic a typical MMO group. The problem is, you ask, is where do I fit in that list of characters? Well, mull that over while I pop another 1995 Bush Lite (excellent year for American beer), I walk my sixteen dogs, papoose four of my troll looking kids on my back, pop a few painkillers, order my next $8000 dollar Dell, while filling out my government cheese request, and talking to my rabbi why I can’t find the perfect man — man, did I say man, I meant woman, yah, that’s it woman — darn those meds….