Bridging the Gap

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Awhile back I blogged about World of Warcraft’s new Dungeon Finder system and my initial experiences with it. I ended the post with a list of thoughts so far. Today I would like to add to that list in light of continued use of the system (new thoughts in bold).

Pro’s-

  • Instant access to a dungeon party.
  • Easy experience (XP) earned.
  • Feels like you’ve accomplished something within an hour.
  • Instance Teleporting.
  • Meeting random new friends.

Con’s –

  • Your playing with random strangers.
  • Party members dropping out for no reason (not dedicated).
  • Dungeons seem to take about an hour to clear (45 minutes at minimum). Dedicated time is needed.
  • Finding out that the random person you just met and enjoyed playing with is on another server.
  • No penalty is given to party members who suddenly quit.
  • Lower level players are not able to play with higher level players (no scaling/ “Level Sync” system).

The friends that I play World of Warcraft with out-leveled me long ago (currently a 23 level difference and counting). Choking on their leveling dust, I manage to continue on towards that level 80 goal. (One can dream can’t they?) My high level friends occasionally fly down from Northrend and help me quest and run through dungeons — very kind of them I know–.  The other night I partied up with a few of these friends and decided to do a quick dungeon run with the Dungeon Finder. To my horror, I soon found out that the Dungeon Finder would not let me enter the queue due to my friends being too high of a level for the dungeon. What!?!

Bridging the level gap by adding a “Level Sync” system, ala Final Fantasy 11, seems like the next logical step for Blizzard to incorporate into World of Warcraft. Otherwise, for players separated by multiple levels — like me! — the level of frustration and feeling of being left behind makes one want to just give up. So Blizzard, add a scaling feature to the Dungeon Finder and let me play with my comrades in arms! Please?

Quote of the Day

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Thought this was too good to not post.

Toilet etiquette appears to be an important part of ANA’s (All Nippon Airways) policy — the airline had previously asked passengers to use the lavatories before they board flights so as to reduce the overall weight of the plane, which would ultimately be better for the environment as it would mean less fuel usage. – Original Article

What we can learn from this is that your bodily waste is calculated into the total weight an airplane can carry. So remember, excrete before you fly. The Earth may be depending on it.

About

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Reworked the about section for the site today. Take a look:

About Us:

The setting Pacific sun, surfboards dug firmly into the sand, friends sitting close by taking it all in. Perfection. As the sun goes down, you and your friends gather around a bonfire and reminisce about the waves of the day. The cool breeze coming off the ocean mingles with the smoke creating an aroma made of memories. You tilt your head back and laugh at a joke that wouldn’t be so funny if your weren’t so tired. Oh the joys of summer.

JohnnyBGamer.com is all about creating those conversations that stretch late into the night. Whether we are talking about issues of faith, life, or gaming, we are dedicated to promoting healthy conversations and building community in the world of video games. What does this look like? Take a look below:

  • Professional content
  • Discussions (reviews, editorials, and blogs) that dig deeper into the heart of our daily media intake (worldview and theology)
  • A mission that seeks to balance life and video games

So, pull up a chair and make yourself at home. Though the surf pounds the sand in the distance, take comfort in knowing that your friends are sitting close by.

-Bryan, iguanagirl, & ghostryder.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Plants vs. Zombies Released

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PopCap Game’s Plants vs. Zombies (link will open iTunes) was unleashed upon the iPhone/ iPod touch today. Priced at $2.99, this app is sure to change your outlook on the power of sunflowers.

The 2009 game of the year is now on iPhone and iPod touch!

Get ready to soil your plants in this Adventure mode version of the hit PopCap game! A mob of fun-loving zombies is about to invade your home, and your only defense is an arsenal of 49 zombie-zapping plants. Use peashooters, wall-nuts, cherry bombs and more to slow down, confuse, weaken and mulchify 26 types of zombies before they can reach your front door.

Each zombie has its own special skills, so you’ll need to think fast and plant faster to combat them all. But be careful how you use your limited supply of greens and seeds… as you battle the fun-dead, obstacles like a setting sun, creeping fog and a swimming pool add to the challenge. And no matter where you take this iPhone version of the hit game, the fun never dies!

Monday

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Good Monday afternoon everyone!

By now I am sure that most of you are settled into your places of employment and have commenced with the work day. Bosses have already yelled, deadlines have been pushed or postponed, and some random crazy person has disrupted your otherwise “normal” Monday.

Here in the JBG offices, which overlook the beautiful forests of Endor, Monday has proven to be uneventful. Valentines weekend has come and gone, and yours truly enjoyed relaxing with his wife. What did we do? I ended up BBQing and cooking for my woman. Plain and simple.

As a sidenote: Valentine’s Day always seems like the greatest setup for a man, a setup for failure. Expectations always run too high and consumerism is king. Lucky for me my wife realizes these things and decided to keep things simple.

What have I been playing?

Besides the occasional game of Cartoon Wars – Gunner, I haven’t been doing too much on the gaming front. Just haven’t had time. With the Olympics on TV, a son that is growing too quickly, and a life needing to be lived, gaming has certainly taken a backseat lately. Fret not though dear readers, much more is to come on the horizon. Such as?

Goals for JohnnyBGamer:

  • Come up with a working definition, based on the DSM IV, for gaming addiction.
  • Focus articles on gaming addiction and raise level of awareness.
  • Write more reviews!
  • Recruit other writers to write for the site (regardless of belief).
  • And in the far future…
  • Setup a gaming tournament hosted by JBG.

Hopefully Monday is treating everyone well. If it isn’t, there is always tomorrow. So, take a deep breath. The day is almost over.

Born of Hope

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Came across this movie and thought I’d share. Nothing like a good fan made movie on a snowy day. Enjoy!

Born of Hope

This 70 minute original drama is set in the time before the War of the Ring and tells the story of the Dúnedain, the Rangers of the North, before the return of the King. Inspired by only a couple of paragraphs written by Tolkien in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings we follow Arathorn and Gilraen, the parents of Aragorn, from their first meeting through a turbulent time in their people’s history.

For more on this movie be sure to check out the official website.

Crossroads

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Arclight, faithful druid and all around good elf, recently hit a crossroads in his World of Warcraft career. After 53 levels of working in fine-feral-form, the time for change had come.

Recently resubscribing to WoW, I thought that it was time for something new. 53 levels spent as a tank was getting old. Looking around Stormwind one day, I noticed other druids that were specced out as moonkins. Why not give it a try, I thought to myself. So 20 gold later, I now have a guildless moonkin for hire. Time to hunt for some gear that will give me some mana regeneration!

If anyone out there plays a druid in WoW and has some tips for me, I’d appreciate it. Arclight (on Stormscale) is my main character in WoW. I have been playing him off and on since the game launched in 2004. While it is kind of sad that I have yet to hit 60, let alone 80, I have enjoyed the time I have spent exploring Azeroth.

Tips? Thoughts? Comment below.

World of Warcraft Auction House Going Mobile

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Original Post:

Since the launch of the World of Warcraft Armory, we’ve been regularly releasing updates and new features designed to help players stay connected to the game even when they’re not logged in. Today, we wanted to give you a heads-up about a new service now in development that will let players access the Auction House directly through the Armory website or Armory App for iPhone or iPod touch.

While there are still plenty of details to be worked out, we’re designing the service to offer auction functionality similar to what’s available in-game. Players have been requesting — and we’ve been hoping to implement — a feature like this for a long time, and we’re excited that the Armory and the game have evolved to a point that makes it possible.

This is a fairly complex service to develop, due in large part to its unprecedented integration with the game, so we don’t have an exact release date yet. It’s important to note here that certain elements of the service will be premium-based, which we’ll go into more detail on once the service functionality is finalized. As with all of the services we offer, we plan to integrate the Auction House and Armory in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience, and we won’t release it until it meets the quality standards that we’ve set for our other features and services. You may be seeing bits and pieces of the Auction House service pop up in the test builds we use for the public test realms as we go through the process of internal testing. We’ll have more info to share with you here and at http://www.WorldofWarcraft.com as we get closer to release. – As originally posted by Blizzard Poster Bornakk.

Thoughts:

As exciting as this announcement is, many details still have yet to be hammered out like:

1. Cost

It’s important to note here that certain elements of the service will be premium-based…

Blizzard seems to be on the pathway towards requiring a monthly subscription fee + additional fees for what is deemed “premium content”. What does premium-based content look like?

  • Tier A – Players are given mobile access to the Auction House as well as in-game chat capability (premium-based monthly fee required).
  • Tier B – Players are given mobile access to the Auction House for a one time app fee.
  • Tier C – Players are given mobile access to the Auction House for one character (for free).

There are so many variables involved (access to multiple characters, number of auctions allowed per day, etc.) that speculation seems mute at this point.

2. Release Date

As with all of the services we offer, we plan to integrate the Auction House and Armory in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience, and we won’t release it until it meets the quality standards that we’ve set for our other features and services.

Translation – The Auction House feature is still in the early stages of development. As with all Blizzard products, expect to see it released when we feel it meets our high standards.

Be sure to check back with JohnnyBGamer for the latest in video game news crumbs.

So You Want to Start a Guild?

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For whatever reason, be it a sudden abundance of time or a willingness to destroy your life, you suddenly find yourself wanting to start a guild in your favorite MMO. Common sense would dictate that this is a terrible idea. While this may be true, more social gamers cannot deny the urge to unite the denizens of a particular world under one banner.

Truth. Justice. Life Sucking Numbness.

Being one of the great enablers of the Internet, JohnnyBGamer wishes to guide those who desire the dark path to guild leadership. Please know that once one begins this path, it is very easy to throw all time invested/ players recruited away with a snap of a finger. You’ve been warned.

For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on the most popular of online games, World of Warcraft. So let us begin this march towards mayhem and total doom.

Dictionary.com defines a guild as:

an organization of persons with related interests, goals, etc., esp. one formed for mutual aid or protection.

After months and months of preparation, your moment has finally arrived. The name you have chosen to bestow upon your underlings (your guild name) has been carefully chosen. Right? If not, think about this for a moment. Your guild name must cause hearts to fear. Got a name yet? Good. Let’s continue.

In order to form a guild in World of Warcraft, one must talk with a Guild Master and purchase a guild charter (10 silver). A grand total of 9 players must sign this charter, in blood, before it can be turned into the guild master and made official. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong. Presuming one does not have 9 friends to sign the charter, other methods must be employed to obtain the signatures needed.

Bribery (one of the oldest forms of greasing the gears)

  • Offering players, who have no intention of staying in your guild, some gold for their digital signature may be worth your time. How much you might ask? Pick a number.

Power (the pathway to the soul)

  • Who wouldn’t want to have the title “Grand Taco” in your guild? Not only does this name denote power but also supreme authority. If all else fails, let the signing player give them self a title. If you don’t like it, delete them. That is why  you are the guild leader.

Secrecy (who doesn’t like a good secret?)

  • Let the signing player know of your grand schemes to destroy and rule Azeroth. It will happen one day…

If all else fails, beg. Beg as if your life depended on it. Although spamming the chat channel may prove useful if begging fails.

Once you have obtained the 9 signatures needed to proceed, return to the Guild Master. Your Warcraft dynasty has only just begun.

Join us next time as we tackle guild tabards, structure, and the need for clear expectations.

The Cold War is Over: Part 2

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Despite the Cold War ending in 2009, I still use my iPod Touch on a daily basis. I have also learned that Bluetooth for gaming wasn’t that big of a deal. However, I am still leery of Apple and its hardware upgrades. Primarily a console gamer, I am used to the 5-8 year life cycles the consoles go through. With the exception of the PSP, every major video game console has stayed relatively the same (minus a few minor hardware upgrades that do not alienate the user base). $250-$300, a one-time purchase, buys the user 5-8 years of gaming. Comparing that to Apple and their hardware upgrades every few years, I’m not sure those that have adopted the iPhone/ iTouch hardware are getting the biggest bang for their buck.

I have read that iDevice gaming is the wave of the future. In this wave, the likes of the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP are washed to the side as cheap gaming reigns supreme on the iDevice. As much as I love my iTouch, I cannot imagine a world without Nintendo and Sony handhelds. I believe that each has its place in the vast expanse of gaming; each has its own strengths and weaknesses. While gaming on the iDevice may be the in thing at the moment, I can assure you that this will not always be. How do I know this? Alienation by hardware upgrade is not how Nintendo has become the dominate competitor in handheld gaming. No parent, and certainly no gamer, is willing to pay for upgrades in hardware every few years. At least I hope not. My pockets aren’t deep enough.

This is my second in a series of thoughts on iPhone/ iPod Touch gaming. For Part 1, click here.