The wife went ahead and bought me an xbox elite since they went down in price and my BFF has one. Now I join the legions of minions that have adquired one. Before a fanboy goes ahead and tells me that PS3 is better, I would have to agree… but I refuse to buy a blue ray player because I am not looking forward to replacing my DVD collection. I thought I would not become HD sobby, but sure enough, I dislike watching regular channels now and pretty much stay on the HD ones.

GAMERTAG is logtarDOTcom Click bellow to add me.

So in any case, go ahead and add me to your XBox friend list. I have Bioshock, Street Fighter and Prince of Persia so far… BF1943 and CoD WaW are what others are wanting me to play, but I might stay away from FPS action since I tried it and I did get some motion sickness… it might be because I have not played FPSs in a while.

In other gaming news we also picked up the Beatles Rockband for the Wii and enjoyed every second of pretending to be the Fab 4. Great game.

Raiding and motorcycle riding

From WiKiPedia

A raid is a type of mission in a video game, where the objective is to use a very large number of people, relative to a normal team size set by the game, to defeat a boss.

I have spent the last three months plaing WoW (World of Warcraft) and I have to say that it is the most complete game that I have ever played. It has all the elements of the best RPG’s that the Finally Fantasy Series introduced to game, the progression mechanics that make everyone want to keep going and the social and team aspect of your best war shooter. A lot of negative things can be said about the game, about how it could suck your free time dry, but the pay off to me is well worth the time and money I spend into it… it makes my stress go away.

That said, the thing I dislike about the game the most is some of the people that play it. Here is where the motorcycle riding part comes along.

I love motorcycles, but what was coolest of all was getting a group of 20+ people to ride together even if it was just to grab a cup of coffee a town or two away. Riding in a large group is one of the most exciting things because it takes tons of trust for you to ride right next to someone. You need a leader both in the front and the back of the pack. You also need great communication to transmit messages such as “gravel up ahead” by just using non verbal signals.

Bad groups in motorcycle riding cause accidents and potential serious injuries, even death. The same goes for doing a raid in a game. However, in a game you can reset the game and just come back tomorrow, in motorcycle riding might have to remember one night for the rest of your life as the moment when one of your friends lost his ability to walk.

I try to approach everything in life with respect. To me when someone is in a group and does not respect the rules (or does not even know what they are) shows lack of respect. While it is the responsibility of the group to tech such rules, it is also necesary for the person to have the willingness to learn and listen.

I am a level 60 now in the game, and soon I will be moving toward the maximum level which is 70 right now. Now we I have started to participate in groups where roles have to be followed. This week I experienced the two complete opposite experiences in the same raid. I could not help but compare it to my best and worse riding experiences.

The worse ride of my life was not even one where I got into an accident. During that doomed ride we actually had 3 riders go down out of a group of about 12. There was no mayor injuries except for one bike that kind of ended up beyond repair. My day ended when I separated from the group because one of the riders that went down was too shaken up to continue so I chose to just follow him home to make sure he was ok.

Lots went wrong that day and I might some day list everything that happened, but it was doomed because of bad leadership. The last point of this post will tell you why.

The horrible raid this week was not due to bad leadership, it was actually people not listening to the leadership. However the result was the same as that doomed ride. There was no fun, there was a lot of disappointment. An activity that is supposed to make you feel better should not become frustrating.

The best raid I have had so far (besides the ones that Wook uses one of his awesome characters to dominate the game.) was a place where you need 5 people of around my level to go in. We only had 4 and I was the lowest level, everyone else was around mid 60s. It is a hard thing to do (which I found out with a bad group) this instance without a healer. The computer monsters hit pretty hard and with a bad group you end up dead a lot. However, with this group of other 3 people and no healer we were able to clear the whole place and never had a total wipe.

The best ride of my life was a charity ride with CLSB. Riding with them is one of the things I miss the most. That day we had 40+ riders and had to go quite a ways. However we had no issues. Even stopped traffic in some places without a police escort to keep the whole group together. It was a nice thing to have that many people ride together such a long distance and keep a nice pace the whole time.

What I have learned from motorcycle riding groups is that pace is the most important thing. Your leader has to set a pace and the group most follow. Great leaders will always set a pace that the most inexperienced rider can follow safely. In the game it is the same thing, a pace needs to be set and it is the responsibility of the players to follow.

The moment you start going to fast and not checking to make sure others around you are doing with the pace, the experience stops being fun and it starts getting dangerous.

I play WoW

It feels a little like coming out of the closet (no homo), because since I have been playing the trial I have been keeping it quiet. MMORPGs are quite addicting and I knew I would love the game. I could never get into games that were quest based unless there was a sense of going in with other people and doing stuff. I also admit that if it was not because I am playing with people I know, I would probably have quit playing right after the trial ended.

A couple of weeks ago a guy started working where I work and at first I thought his love of StarWars was going to be the extent of what we had in common. The person that he replaced was probably the only person that I did not truly get along with at the office. I thought, I have to give the new guy a chance. The more I got to know him the more I liked talking to him and he seemed to enjoy our little chats. We went to lunch and he mentioned WoW and like I always had when someone tried to get me to play I replied with the I cannot do something that will conflict with my already busy life.

He then started a very methodical and successful campaign to get me to play. He prayed on my open mindedness to not let my past negative views on the subject. I had a coworker that had played Ultima Online for over 8 years and felt almost obligated to keep playing because of the time he had already invested in the game. I also have met several people that let WoW control their lives. He told me it could be all of those things if you let it, but it is up to the person to control the game and not the other way around. He told me he ran a guild and he would help me out if I was ever interested.

I love sports, but if my wife wants to do something else instead of watching a game I am all for it. I also have been able to stop playing other games in the past with relative ease. I realized that maybe I had to try it for myself before I judged the game since, well the name Logtar did come from a blizzard product.

The first week was rough. My wife had heard all of the horror stories about people’s life’s being ruined by WoW… marriages had ended… people had lost jobs. I questioned my sanity for even downloading the trial and spending any time playing it. Then I realized that WoW is a game with a very active chat room, specially if you are part of a guild.

I started to level up pretty quickly and then my buddy from work created a character to help me level. I got myself into a lot of trouble because I went into a cave and was surrounded and pretty much dead. Then he came to the rescue with a healer at the last minute. I though, that is awesome. We went on a couple of quests where he backed me up and it was very entertaining, but I still was not sure about continuing my WoW career after the trial.

This past weekend was when I got to play the most. We had a dinner party for Earth Hour that was very cool, and the next day was pretty much a lazy day. Then I ended up getting a little WoW in and I was advancing pretty fast. For only spending an hour or two a night my character was already over level 10. Then my buddy who after attending the dinner party and getting along and acquainted with most of my friends is now becoming a friend too jumped into WoW with one of his level 70 characters.

He said, I am going to take you on an instance. Just stand back watch the show and grab the loot. He ask if anyone in the guild wanted to join and we ended up with a party of 5. I am sure anyone that has played WoW has been to the mines a couple of times, but I was there for the first time. I had seen the open areas and done quests on my own but had not gone into a place that felt almost like a totally different game. I also got to see some of the bigger cities on my way to the instance.

I have played RPGs before and they have always bored me. Even when playing with another friend, there are areas that are just insanely difficult and you just have to keep on playing them over and over. In WoW, to even out the odds, or even stack them up on your side all you need is a group of friends. I don’t think without having a guild I would have had as much fun as I had this past couple of weeks.

I know what some of you most be thinking, but seriously, until you actually give it a try don’t base your view on the game on someone you know actually being swallowed by the game. I think it is all a matter of you being in control rather than letting the game control you.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

So one of the most anticipated games for the Wii has come out! and in what a way. I saved all the gift cards that I got on my birthday to buy this game. I had put a copy on hold and picked it up! Bea is playing it right now and having tons of fun :) Best Buy actually got 50 Wii consoles today, but in less than 30 minutes they sold out. Other stores around the area got 100 of them and also sold out. We also had put money down on the second guitar for the Wii, and picked it up this weekend. Bea already Hello Kittyed up. I guess the Wii is going to have an amazing weekend when it comes to sales number. If you feel lucky enough to be able to beat me :) come and challenge me… here are all of our current friend codes. Leave yours in the comments.

buy at Amazon.com
Wii Code: 5819-2355-3304-5713
buy at Amazon.com
Super Smash Bros Brawl: 3050-7251-5160
buy at Amazon.com
Guitar Hero III: 5412-8125-4161

*** Update ***

Check out my review of the game over at BlogCritics. Nintendo Wii Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

The Art of Storytelling

On a little side note, I want to say that if you read this blog and have defensive goggles take them off. I would never want to say something to put down anyone, including a whole country, unless I was trying to entice some thinking. I am glad that I am making some people mad about what I say, but then I realize that they are completely missing the point. When I post about humor not being present in every day life, most missed that I was able to find it with my close friends… is it better to get it from a stranger or from your buddies? not sure, my point was simply find it!

I have been curious about role playing for a while. Even though I had a previous experience, this past weekend was the first time that I actually played the Serenity game.

I ended up finding a local gamer, who is also a blogger, also a food lover and cook, also into martial arts, also into plenty of other things that I like. We met a couple of months ago during lunch and had a great conversation but busy schedules had prevented us from getting together more than during just social calls. We had met each other’s wifes and this weekend we both blocked out Saturday night to do dinner and hopefully start a game.

After a wonderful dinner at a local Indian restaurant we had not visited, review of that to come in yelp, we were invaded by puppies. Btw, if you are in the KC area and want a puppy come we can direct you the right way. In any case, after we had settled for the night Bea and I embarked on our first role playing experience. I have to admit that I was surprised that Bea wanted to do it, but super excited she got into it. I might go into details on another post, but I want to concentrate and maybe make sense of the title of the post.

Growing up in Colombia I was familiar with “Cuenteros” known here as storytellers. I have actually been told by many of my friends that when I tell an anecdote I go into too much detail, some like it, some don’t. The first storyteller in my life was my Grandfather who would sit and tell me about growing up, or the army or his job. He would always tell me little details that later became part of the story and I loved every single moment.

The closest thing that I have found to storytellers in the US have been comedians. They are the only people that I have seen that transport an audience with words, sometimes simply to their own lives but just from a different point of view.

Role playing games reminded me of storytelling. As the story developed and the people playing started to build a story I felt very excited. I had missed oral story telling a lot, and now I had found a place where I could not just hear it but be a part of building a fantasy world. The more I thought about it, there more I wanted other people to be there so the story could take other turns and other characters could come into play. While storytelling and role playing are a lot different, I find the similarities enticing and cannot wait to get another night of gaming going.