Daily Archives: December 18, 2006

Recipe: Instant Noodles (Requires Cooking (1))

I thought I might divert slightly from games themselves a moment to talk about food, perhaps starting with a recipe for lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. Or possibly not.

Actually, I was inspired by my own gourmet lunch today to consider the ideal gaming foodstuff. It should be quick to prepare (while in a battleground queue, for instance), easy (can’t waste time skilling Cooking up to 300 in real life), cheap (so as not to encroach on monthly MMOG subscriptions) and long life (so you can stock up on vast quantities at the supermarket every couple of months, reducing time away from the game). Filling those criteria admirably are instant noodles, or ramen, staples of students and coders. My favourite variety of these are Blue Dragon 3 Minute Noodles, the “chicken with chilli bits” flavour. The only drawback is they do need some highly technical equipment to prepare (a saucepan and bowl); for a while, they were usurped in my favourite noodle spot by Nong Shim “shin cup” noodles (like Pot Noodles, but actually edible), until the supermarket stopped selling them. In trying to hunt them down again, a Google search turned up an “undeclared presence of irradiated ingredients“. Oh well!

Winterlude by the telephone wire

It’s coming up to Christmas, and that means event time! Both the MMOGs I’m currently subscribed to, World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, are running winter events.

World of Warcraft has the “Feast of Winter Veil“, which has been in before, but not while I was playing. Christmas revellers, eggnog and reindeer abound, towns are decorated with coloured lanterns, and there’s a few quests you can run which are fun. The only drawback is there are Christmas outfits of… gnomes. Gnomes! What is it with gnomes? If it’s not leper gnomes at Halloween, it’s santa-hatted gnomes at Christmas, and they’re just wrong on so many levels.

City of Heroes has added a ski chalet to “Pocket D” (the transdimensional nightclub). Apart from anything else, it’s great fun sliding down the slalom course provided; there’s also new badges, costume parts (ear muffs and fur edged boots and gloves, to go with the santa hat from previous years), and a mission for Old Father Time to rescue Baby New Year, who’s been kidnapped! (Baby New Year, oddly enough, is a small figure with a freakily large head. More gnome infestation!)

City of Heroes can never quite match their first winter event, though, from 2004. This added cold-hearted snow beasts all around the city to be defeated, plus giant, evil, snowmen: the winter lords! The thing was, they hadn’t quite tweaked their XP-giving formulae for these giant monsters, with the end result that low level characters could rapidly gain *huge* amounts of experience and levels over the course of the event, it was powerlevelling run mad. The aftermath was hilarious, as level 30 and 40 heroes ran around without any idea of their powers or where they should be taking missions, having skipped major chunks of the game. Some people who’d started during the event were most indignant on the forums that XP gain was so slow without the Winter Lords, demanding to gain their last few levels in another week or they’d be quitting (ignoring the fact that City of Heroes doesn’t exactly have an end-game, so they’d be almost certainly be quitting anyway). Ah, happy days…