Wednesday 20 April 2011

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be

For almost a year the Hipster Battalion rampaged around Warhammer Online bringing chaos and destruction, in a well behaved and organised sort of way:
“Look, a shrine to Sigmar, let’s smash it up!”
“RAWR! SMASH! Oooh, tome unlock!”
“Oh, I didn’t get it. Must be an individual thing… I’ll wait for the shrine to mysteriously regenerate then smash is up again.”
“Right-o. Hey everyone, tome unlock over here! Line up now, form a queue, that’s right, no pushing in now…”
“RAWR, SM… oh, hang on, was it your turn to smash?”
“No, no, you go ahead”
“No, really, after you, please”
“No, no, I insist, remember I disembowelled that Elf first over in Caledor”
“Oh, so you did! Ah, the larks we had… But I corrupted that forest over in Cinderfall before you had the chance, so really, you smash that shrine”
“All right, tell you what, I’ll smash it now, and you can have the first go at setting fire to the village over there”
“Only if you’re first in the line to chase the farmers off and poison their crops”
“Deal. RAWR! SMASH!”

After a lengthy campaign of public quests, dungeons, keep sieges and occasional scenarios the battle-weary Hipsters finally staggered into sight of the level cap, Rank 40, a few weeks back; I made it with my Chosen, I believe a couple of the others actually hit 40, Hipster Lieutenant Colonel Van Hemlock came up just short, though he had made up much extra ground re-rolling as a healer halfway through when the much missed Shamanic Goblin Laser Squad hung up their healing staves. It was a good old run, and as the Battalion cancelled subscriptions and headed off to enjoy retirement in various liberated caf├ęs I had a couple of weeks of game time left to run, and even managed to get up to Renown Rank 40; the open RvR seemed to bog down a bit in Tier 4 as the increase in player numbers made stalemates more likely, but scenarios were popping far more regularly and generally rather fun.

WAR was the only active MMOG subscription I had running, worth it (though slightly pricey) for one night a week plus a little extra-curricular RvR, but not really for anything much less than that. Course it’s all relative, a monthly WAR sub seems pretty good value compared to one visit to the cinema (for an off-peak non-3D film with no drink or popcorn) or a venti-soy-whipped-frappa-lardy-lattechino, but gaming is a tough market. MMOG-wise of course there’s a plethora of free-to-play options, I’ve been playing a fair bit of World of Tanks since it properly launched and Lord of the Rings Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea are both ticking over. In the latter two I’ve reached something of a mid-level hump that might push me to cancel a subscription, but being able to have a bit of a rest, pop back in from time to time for a couple of quests or a bit of crafting keeps the interest there, and there’s no psychological barrier to entry of having to type in a credit card number if I ever fancy picking them up more seriously again. Outside of MMOGs, I’d been resisting Steam sales for a while, but when Melmoth nudged me towards half-price Magicka, and for less than the cost of a couple of months of WAR I somehow ended up with that, the Claptrap DLC for Borderlands, 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) and Just Cause 2. It’s a good job there are a bunch of bank holidays coming up in the UK, I might even manage to play some of them for more than half an hour…

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