Every once in a while, we need a good day of gaming, especially if gaming time falls short for us. Sometimes I feel like I’m just nibbling at games between everything else and really desire to take a big ol’ bite every so often.
For me, it was Saturday. A lazy Saturday, as it turned out. After spending time shopping with the family in the morning, we laid the kids for naps and my wife entertained herself with various projects. Therefore, I ended up with several hours of uninterrupted gaming time, in which I bounced between LOTRO, RIFT and Dragon Age II, accomplishing various tasks and feeling as productive as a gamer can.
I’m still working hard on getting my Eagle-friend for my Lore-master, but it’s probably going to take some time. I was stupid during this quest chain and used some skirmish points to buy items that I could’ve farmed or purchased on the AH if I wasn’t being lazy. Now I’m at the next step where I need special items that are only dropped by dungeon bosses or sold for ridiculously high prices through a skirmish vendor, and I blew almost all my skirmish marks already. Doing some basic math, I figured that I’d have to run about 28 skirmishes to get the items if I couldn’t find a dungeon group. At two a day, that’s a couple of weeks. Ah well, I wasn’t thinking ahead enough.
As for RIFT, I’m not really rushing anywhere in particular but am enjoying Gloamwood for its quests and rifts, and am joining as many dungeon runs as I can get my hands on. Dungeons in RIFT aren’t as mindless as I felt they became in WoW, nor are they as difficult to find a group for as they are in LOTRO. Some of the fights are tough, but with a little perseverance and group strategy (boosted by swapping roles), I’ve seen many dungeons to the end without frustrated players throwing in the towel.
Dragon Age II is proving to be an excellent RPG experience. It’s much, much better than the first game, which I felt suffered from too much generic fantasy and too tough of a combat system. Instead, it’s shrunk the world down to a city and its immediate surroundings (like in Baldur’s Gate II) and set you loose to earn your fortune through various side-quests (again, like BGII). I much prefer the combat in DAII over DA:O, since I’m not dying every single fight and magic doesn’t have to worry about friendly fire.
I first started playing DAII as a mean-spirited warrior, but quickly abandoned that to reroll as a goofy mage. DAII’s dialogue system may be streamlined too much for some people’s tastes, but I like that I know exactly how I’m approaching the situation, and I really love the humorous choices. It’s actually started to make my character sound like an actual character instead of a placeholder for myself, which I feel is a good thing.
I’m also cursing the game for making an elf that I actually find quite adorable and hilarious — the little quirky Merrill (“They’re so big and grim! What do you suppose would happen if I tickled one of them?”). The roster of characters may not be as strong as DA:O, but they’re not bad, either. I’m still trying to figure out the optimal party setup, but I am definitely having fun with a rogue and three mages.
Story-wise, I’m once again vastly enjoying all of the yarns that BioWare crams into these games. The over-arching tale isn’t as captivating for me as the smaller stories are, and I’ve found myself surprised a few times by twists and turns even though I figure I’m pretty good at spotting them coming.