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StarCraft pride

Written by Odane the 24th of August 2010 at 12:21

During the past several days there has been practically nothing but a lot of StarCraft 2 gaming on my screen. World of Warcraft have had to step down a bit in favor of hours of Battlenet play with my friends. When StarCraft was released some 12 years ago I was actually a pretty decent player. So decent in fact that I was ranked third in the world at the ladder during one week (you know, when there was one big ladder instead of thousands like now), but of course that wouldn't be for so long as competition quickly grew.

I must say I am pretty shocked at how my skills have declined over the years. When I initially began playing SC2 on Battlenet I only manage to place myself in the silver league since I lost two out of my initial five matches determining rank placement. The funny thing though is that it is not undeserved as I am struggling to fight my way and climb the ladder bit by bit. The matchmaking system is one of the best I have ever come across. At least 70% of all my matches are very close to my opponent beating me and sometimes they do.

At the same time it is also very exhausting to play close encounter after close encounter and more often than not, rushes will fail and the game will drag out into tier 2 and 3 going on for 30-40 minutes and even more. I feel that my nerves are not what they used to be, since I feel that I have something to prove and not playing out of basic recreational pleasure. It kind of hard to admit that I am probably never going to be as good as I once was, but then again, maybe I am actually as good as I once was only that people simply has gotten better.

Anyway, StarCraft 2 is really a top notch game and the story was as good as expected and on-line play is superb. I hope I can give up on the frustration of trying to be a great player and relax, enjoy the show and only be a good player. Pride in gaming sure is a thing of evil and probably totally unnecessary for anyone not being a pro or nihilistically possessed by a game.

I don't enjoy lava

First steps into Grizzly Hills

Written by Odane the 6th of August 2010 at 11:21

This week has practically been all about StarCraft 2 so there hasn't been much room for WoW. However, I have actually managed to squeeze in some night time with a friend and as a result, my main character Brutalskägg is now past the half mark to level 74. During the weeks before SC2 I managed to finish up all quests in the Borean Tundra with the exception of some dungeon work in the Nexus. I quickly moved on to Dragonblight and worked my way through most quests there too, only having two group quests left (I think, if there isn't any follow up quests on those ones) and yesterday night I finally, for the first time visited Grizzly Hills.

I have really fallen in love with Grizzly Hills. The nature of the area and the fiddle music playing as I visited Amberpine Lodge (the Alliance settlement) is really sweet. It sort of reminds me of our Swedish forests with its lush and wild nature. I haven't managed to explore all of the area yet, but as I moved through the forest and hills a bit I can clearly understand why it's called Grizzly Hills. There are bears practically everywhere and they are not of the friendly kind of sort. It's clear that Blizzard took heavy inspiration from the Alaskan wilderness when they made this place.

A quest I really had a laugh about was a situation where my character Brutalskägg manages to eat some food in a bucket. Naturally, when faced with a big yellow question mark and the only thing you have to do to get experience is to eat something, you really don't think twice. This was however not liked by the chief and so I got a handful of quest to rectify my mistake. The funny thing came a little later when it turned out that I had to eat some seeds and "process" them. After a gruesome toilet visit I took the "processed" seeds back and as it were those seeds belong to the bucket I first tasted the food from...

Yes, Blizzard promotes eating your own "processed" food.

But enough about that, I have feeling that this area will be a little more funny to do quests in than Dragonblight. Although I like Dragonblight with its mighty Wyrm Temple and dragon wars, the feeling of that place was not the jolliest one. And somehow I also think that Brutalskägg fits right in with the feeling of Grizzly Hills.

By the small trail in the forest of Grizzly Hills. Note that Brutalskägg has dyed his hair to a flaming orange kind of color. Not unlike those dwarfs in the Warhammer universe.

Twelve years of waiting is over!

Written by Odane the 27th of July 2010 at 04:51

Twelve years...
Twelve years of agonizing limbo, but today is the day!
It's the day that StarCraft 2 finally is released here in Europe!

I was just short of my sixteenth birthday when I first came into contact with Blizzards modern day Classic. It was a time when the PC was at its highest, when practically every game was made to the PC and ported to the consoles and not the other way around. StarCraft blew my mind. It was simply the best RTS-game that had ever been created (with Dune II at a distant second place and Red Alert at third) and over 12 years later, it still stands as the best RTS of all time. Other games in the RTS genre have made noble attempts at trying to overturn this hulking mountain of a amazing game, but no one has really gotten up to the level of StarCraft. Blizzard practically killed the RTS genre by releasing an almost flawless game and now finally after all these years, we get the sequel.

Finally I will be able to unravel all the questions of the past. Finally I will be able to see what became of the noble Jim Raynor, finally I will be able to experience the destiny of the Protoss race and finally I will see the evolution of the Sarah Kerrigan, the queen of blades and empress of the Zergs. All these thoughts and questions have been left unanswered for too long. But today is the day when the journey begins anew and some questions will be answered, while new ones will undoubtedly arise. There is no doubt in my mind that this game will sell in the millions and probably take a place in the top five most sold games ever. In fact, I will go on record to say that this game will sell over ten million copies before the end of the year.

Especially if the price for a copy is this good! :) 249kr = US 34$

Lock n load!

Breaking a two year hiatus from WoW

Written by Odane the 16th of July 2010 at 04:52

It has been roughly two years since I quit playing World of Warcraft, but with the coming of Cataclysm and some enjoyable reading of Swedish GameReactor journalist Mikael Sundberg's articles about the new addition, the game has once again hooked me in its claws. It all began about a week ago after I finished up reading Mikael's first article about Cataclysm and how the world of Warcraft would never be the same. It came to me that I had actually never finish leveling up any character to L80, or even L70 for that matter. The whole continent of Northrend was unexplored since I had my hands on other games at the time. And now, possibly within just a few months, all things are going to change.

With inspiration in my back, I once again logged on to my old account, only to see that I had to make a battle.net account, something I hadn't had since that early days of StarCraft and Diablo. Fair enough, I went through the short process of updating things and suddenly I was back at Iron Forge, two years later, just as I was when I left it.

My main character is a dwarf warrior named Brutalskägg (Brutalbeard) who was once one of the main tanks of a small guild called Köttkompaniet (The Meat Company). We consisted of mostly friends of whom I know IRL, but also a few outsiders. Since my time off, the guild has fallen on hard times as well as the server Vashj on which I play. Only two other members are actively playing today and both of them are L80, so I have some catching up to do. Brutalskägg left two years ago, only being a meager level 62 and fresh into Outland.

Vashj was a shadow of its former self. A quick look at server statistic showed that only 600 Alliance member were logged on last month and that Horde members accounted for 91% of the total server population. In other words, Vashj is soon to be a graveyard... for the Alliance at least. However, time is running short and I do not plan on switching server just yet, there is exploring to do first!

During this week I have grinded Brutalskägg up to L70. I mostly did simple Outland quests, mainly in Naggrand and Netherstorm, but once I was up to 68 I left directly for Northrend by boat from the "new" port in Stormwind. When I arrived I found out that a flying mounts costs 5000 gold! Something many probably have no problem with affording these days, but Brutal only had about 500g in his pocket and that was mainly from farming mines in Outland and selling ore at the auction house. Needless to say I was forced to rely on my swift but old and faithful brown ram to take me to adventure and conquest against the undead minions of Arthas.

How will it fare one might wonder? Well, with the coming weeks, I should find that out.

Brutalskägg at Valiance Keep in Northrend, standing proudly with the statue of Varian Wrynn in the background.

Gaming and the English language

Written by Odane the 13th of July 2010 at 03:05

We Swedish people have tendency to overestimate our English language capability. All native English speaking people here on GameReactor EU (are there any yet?) will undoubtedly see a lot of grammatical errors when helpful Scandinavian people are trying to write texts so as to make the appearance that this place isn't totally vacant. Readers will probably see a lot of singular "is" when it should be plural "are" and like most people who have English as a secondary language, there are bound to be a lot of errors regarding conjunctions and especially all things regarding the apostrophe and the apostrophe s.

Why am I writing this you may ask? The answer is that I have recently ended my studies to become an English teacher. After tons of grammar seminars, language proficiency tests and Shakespeare I am finally ready to teach the English language to Swedish pupils. This is what the university thinks anyway. However, I am not so gullible as to think of myself an English speaking, reading and writing expert. I still make enough errors in my texts to see that English is something I must practice on a regular basis. So why not combine my love of electronic gaming with English? It makes sense right?

Although I am probably not prone to post things on a daily basis, I will try my best to write a decent amount of texts here in GameReactor EU and hopefully make this place a little bit more alive. I hope to see a few responses here and there from the community and I will try to read and respond to your texts as well.

You can't go wrong with this book! It's pretty much my Bible when it comes to English