No love for a pirate


Friday, February 3, 2006 | 01:12 AM | by
So I'm not sure how to start something like this, so I guess I'll come out and say it.

Hello, my name is Tim. I've been playing Everquest 2.

(insert gentle sympathies and welcoming nods here)

But I'll get to that in a moment. Everquest 2 underwent a pretty major patch yesterday that changed some fundamentals of the game. First of all they completely removed their archetype progression system. For those of you unfamiliar, it worked something like this: you arrive fresh in the world, and decide what general role you want to play. Fighter, Priest, Mage or Scout. Pretty simple.

You then progress for twenty levels and then narrow down your choice. What type of Priest do you want to be? Do you want to be a Cleric or a Druid? Then twenty levels later you get to narrow down your choice even more.

While I thought this system was pretty cool, I also see where problems arise. Say if you wanted to make an alt and try a different path. For the first twenty levels you're experiencing exactly the same gameplay. That's sort of rough.

Well with yesterday's update you now choose your class right off the bat, for a more immediate introduction into the playstyle you're looking for.

And to accomodate the new progression, the beginning of the game has been changed now too. Anyone who ever played EQ2 or experimented with the free trial will remember starting out with Captain Varlos on his ship, The Far Journey on their way to the Isle of Refuge. Well no more. Gone is The Far Journey, and gone is the Isle of Refuge. Characters now start directly on an island specifically tailored for good and evil, with all new quests and items. It's pretty neat so far.

One change I really disagree with is the way they altered crafting. Previously EQ2 had one of the most complex crafting systems in MMO's. Now apparently they've gone and dumbed it down. It's a real shame.

So anyway, why have I started playing EQ2? Well, it's no secret that my first impressions of the game were less than stellar. I was in the beta, and tried it at least half a dozen times after release, and I just could never get into it. And the primary reason for this was that the character models were so goddamned ugly.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I caught wind of the new Soga models that had been added to the game, so I checked them out. And they were leaps and bounds better than the originals. So I thought to myself that maybe with the new graphics I'd actually be able to spend more than ten minutes in the game without wanting to vomit. So I gave it a shot, and lo and behold, I'm enjoying the game.

Now, it's by no means perfect. No MMO is. EQ2 does some things better than WoW, and WoW does some things better than EQ2. But that's an entirely different conversation alltogether. What I do find is that EQ2 is a bit more mature than WoW. Barring the recent changes to make crafting more simplified, EQ2 is a more complex system with a steeper learning curve. There is actually a penalty for death, and fights gone wrong are very unforgiving. It's more of a serious MMO, which just so happens to be what I'm in the mood for.

So yeah, I'm playing EQ2 at the moment, which will account for the occasional mention of it on the website. RF Online was terribly disappointing, and Vanguard doesn't come out for quite some time, so Norrath is where I plant my free time. Again.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

CAD Animation Debuts

Friday, February 3, 2006 | 01:21 AM | by
The pilot episode for the Ctrl+Alt+Del Animated Series  has launched! We're really happy how everything came together for this first episode, and the feedback we've been getting is great!

It's very, very exciting for myself and Blind Ferret entertainment to see this project launch, and the support has been overwhelming. It was a learning experience for everyone involved, and we want to extend a big thank you to everyone who signed up for the CAD Premium membership and made this a success.

Not only do CAD Premium members get a new animation every month, but also a ton of other goodies. In the last month, subscribers got an exclusive comic strip, a bunch of wallpapers, and some sneek peeks into upcoming CAD projects and artwork.

If you haven't signed up for CAD Premium, you can still do so. A 12-month membership is only $24.95, and will give you access to the next 12 months of animation and content, viewable whenever you like.

The first month is available for $1.95 for people that want to try it before committing to a full year. Subscribing for the month will only give you access to the content for that month. However if you buy the month of February, and then decide to subscribe for the year, you only pay the balance ($23). The introductory rate of $1.95 for the month applies to February only.

Once again, thank you to everyone who subscribed and made this animated series a reality. We've got a great year in store for you!

Some FAQS:

Q. Is there a way to buy just the animation?

A. Basically what you're paying for is the animation. All of the other extra content is stuff I throw in there to make CAD Premium as good a deal as possible for you. But the animation is the expensive part to produce, and it's the flagship for CAD Premium, so that's why there is a subscription fee.

Q. So if I purchase by the month, it's $1.95?

A. Only for the month of February, as an introductory offer. After February the price per month goes up, as does the price of the 12-month subscription.

Q. What formats are the animation offered in?

A. We offer Windows Media (.wmv), Quicktime (.mov), and Flash Video (.swf)

Q. I'm having a problem signing up, or my password won't work. Or the videos won't play for me.

A. Email Blind Ferret or post in the CAD Premium Technical Support forum and someone will be with you as quickly as possible. I personally can't fix any of these technical issues for you, so it's more efficient to email your problem cadpremium at blindferret dot com.

Captain Varlos

Friday, February 3, 2006 | 03:02 PM | by
We've received a letter from official sources located at Sony Online Entertainment (original located here).

Dear Sir or Madam:

We would like to correct an inaccuracy in your graphical depiction (located on "The Internet" at ) regarding certain potential staffing changes internal to Sony Online Entertainment and one of its subsidiaries known in Norrath as "The Far Seas Trading Company."

Contrary to what is depicted at the location above, we are pleased to affirm that Capt. Drake Varlos (hereafter: "Mr. Varlos" ) remains under exclusive contract to The Far Seas Trading company, located in Norrath, in the world of EverQuest II.

In the end, after a tense 11th hour negotiation between Mr. Varlos, his agents, The Far Seas Trading Company and Sony Online Entertainment, all parties agreed to mutually beneficial terms extending his stay indefinitely.

Under his new contract, Mr. Varlos's primary route has been relocated to the calmer waters between the Queen's Colony and the Outpost of the Overlord. This shorter run is much more appropriate for a man of his success and stature, and he is required to work fewer hours each week reducing his potential exposure to ninjas significantly.

All parties amicably reached this new arrangement. Both Mr. Varlos and The Far Seas Trading Company look forward to a bright future for this ongoing, successful relationship.

Warmest Regards,

Scott Hartsman
Senior Producer, EverQuest II

Curious about the events surrounding these negotiations, reporters from Ctrl+Alt+Del's head offices have contacted Captain Varlos for a statement, which has been recorded for you below.

We of course will diligently follow any developments as they occur.

Captain Varlos- Agreement Reached

Friday, February 3, 2006 | 07:34 PM | by
Correspondance from Sony Online Entertainment received as follows:

In Re:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for your assistance in clarifying that, despite our best information at the time, the recent staffing issue involving an employee of one of our subsidiaries ("The Far Seas Trading Company" ) has not yet been resolved to all parties' full and complete satisfaction as we were led to believe.

After further discussions with Mr. Varlos, we are pleased to announce his promotion to Admiral and a redisitribution of his existing responsibilities. In his new position, he will be free to roam the seas of Norrath as he chooses.

Further, the overseers of both islands have agreed to provide him with the option of "supervising" the distribution routes of both Blackburrow Stout and Captain Orlin's Spiced Rum between Queen's Colony and the Outpost of the Overlord, as he is welcome to spend as much time as he likes in either area.

We sincerely hope this puts this issue to rest, and are grateful for your assistance in resolving this matter.


Scott Hartsman
Senior Producer, EverQuest II

Captain Varlos wished to make a statement regarding the aforementioned negotiations and settlement.

We here at Ctrl+Alt+Del are happy to see that a mutually beneficial arrangement could be reached regarding the relocation of Mr. Varlos' obviously talented services.

Go Seahawks!

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 01:36 PM | by
Good luck to the Seattle Seahawks today, in their first SuperBowl ever!

Go Steelers!

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 06:14 PM | by
I'm not really a football guy but because it's fun to take sides, I'm rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Go Steelers!

Ok, fine

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 09:09 PM | by
It's currently 14-10, Steelers.

If the Seahawks win, you have to drive down from Canada and do my laundry.

If the Steelers win, then... I'll mail my laundry to you to do and then you can mail it back.

wait... what?

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 10:35 PM | by
No such thing as the taste of victory, right Tim? Oh wait... your team lost.

Maybe next time

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 10:42 PM | by
Yes, I feel their pain. At least they can say they were the first ones to get the Seahawks to a championship game though.

Speaking of championship game, did you settle on a Bruiser, and if so, have you been working on catching up to me? I didn't play EQ2 all day today to give you a chance to catch up.


Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 10:58 PM | by
I tried... boy did I try to play EQ2... but house cleaning is all I was able to do this weekend. But all hope is not lost! If I play enough tonight, I can get that cool looking Bruiser up to your level. If you aren't level 4398 by now, of course.


Haha, housework

Sunday, February 5, 2006 | 11:09 PM | by
I'm level 13, if I recall correctly.

Just make sure you're going to stick with this class this time before you catch up to me.

I'll play around with crafting to buy you some time.