Archive for April, 2007

More updating!

Well, hello there my crazy readership (which numbers, like, 6 people at the most, but I love you anyway even if you won’t leave me comments)

I hope you enjoyed Bmatt TV: Episode 1. You can expect more as I come up with more fun things to do with it.

I also want to issue a quick correction. I mentioned not having any “Photo Editing software”, but I meant to say Video editing software. Hopefully you figured that out given the context and just laughed at my foible.

So this past weekend, Richard Walter became a married man. The wedding was very beautiful, though I was amused by the fact that the ushers were in sandals and the wedding party itself was in fact barefoot.

What I am NOT AMUSED BY was the fact that I showed up in shorts and a hawaiian shirt on the recommendation of one Josh Henry. I was HORRIBLY underdressed compared to everyone else and felt like an idiot. So take this to heart people, when I ask you for advice on a matter like this, I may be dense enough to think you’re actually serious and not just messing with me.

At any rate I beat Josh up for it after he came to crash at my house when the reception was over, so it’s all good. I’m just never taking fashion/clothing advice from him again.

Justin Permenter and Andy Nance were in attendance as ushers for the festivities, as was Merriman. It was like a big KSG reunion. Oh right, I should probably explain that one. KSG = Knights of St. Grenado, which was a Halo 2 clan composed of myself, Richard, the aformentioned 3 guys, and a few others who would get together about once a week and just play a series of Halo 2 matches for the fun of it back in college. We kinda stopped doing it for a lot of reasons, but it was good times back in the day. I hadn’t seen any of these guys in a long time, I was a bit suprised to find Justin now numbers himself amongst the engaged as well, with the knot being tied in a mere couple of months. Congrats dude. Anyway, enough talk, more crappy cell phone camera photos!! And yes, as usual, these will be on Facebook.




If anyone’s interested, tonight my favorite podcast, Extralife Radio, will be recording a new episode (#134) live, via Stickam (the same service I host Bmatt TV on). If you would like to join the Chatroom, head to http://www.stickam.com and search for user Extralife. The live feed, when it does go live about 9:00pm central, is on the right. I’ll be in there as “Old Man Franks”, the name of the character voice I use to do amusing segments for the show. And I still encourage you to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (it’s completely free) or go to http://www.myextralife.com and download the show when it’s published tomorrow. It’s very funny, I think you’ll like it.

And I haven’t done this in a while….kitty attack!!

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BMATT TV DEBUTS!

Conflagration is very proud to present, BMATT TV

With your host, THE BMATT!

In today’s episode, you get a tour of my room. Woooooo….

Preeeeeeeevieeeeeeeew!

Does anything NOT crazy ever happen in Waco?

Welcome back to the show everyone.

Well, actually, it’s not really a show so much as it is a blog entry. But darnit I’ll call it a show if I want to!

Maybe it will be a show later on, who knows! I might or might not have some plans in that area that you don’t know about that I’m not secretly telling you about! What?

Anyway, as most of you who read this probably figured out, I was in Waco this weekend, after a series of flip-flops on whether or not I would go, I ended up being able to go after all.

Main reason I went? GUY NIGHT AT THE D-HOUSE WOOOO!

There was much pizza and Dr. Pepper. And some Wii Sports. And quite a bit of Dance Dance Revolution, with a dash of me getting my face melted in Super Smash Bros Melee, by, well, EVERYONE. Gah, I’m so out of practice on that game. Akin, Jeff, and J-Dugg would be ashamed of me, and rightfully so. I’m SORRY CAPTAIN FALCON!! PLEASE DON’T HATE ME! I did come in second (or was it third?) on the Wii Sports Bowling game we played, and I didn’t do half bad in DDR either (it’s a rhythm game after all), so perhaps I somewhat redeemed myself. Either way it was a lot of fun. And at some point a giant storm blew through, but it was gone in a few minutes. Giant storms aren’t fun if they don’t linger. Anyway, see some of the pics below, and they’ll be up on Facebook too.

Saturday was freaking COLD! I helped Josh out with an ATS garage sale on Saturday morning, and by helped, I mean I went through all the stuff and looked for something I might want to buy. Of course I actually couldn’t buy anything because all I had one me was my debit card, so I had to let that webcam and the Veggietales DVD go by the wayside to some other person. Crappit. Anyway after that we made our usual trip to Bankston’s to grab the new Star Wars comics (two new issues of Legacy and a new issue of KOTOR, both of which were very good).

While I was there I came across a stack of the stater kits for the World of Warcraft collectible card game. Now, under normal circumstances I would have zero interest in this thing, I’m not much of a trading card game fan, but the concept of “loot cards”, or cards with a code on them that let you get little extras in the game (like a ogre suit or a riding turle), was somewhat intriguing. Plus I’ve read that many people have gotten at least one loot card in the starter decks they’ve bought, so I took my chances and grabbed one. It was cheap anyway. Well, didn’t get one of them, but I do have to admit the artwork on these things is pretty nifty. I doubt I’ll take the time to learn to play it, though. Not sure what I’ll end up doing with it. Perhaps I could donate it to the Instance podcast. Not really interested in learning to play it though, the game itself is enough WoW for me.

At any rate after that we went and hung out with Kyle. Kyle had just gotten ahold of Super Paper Mario for the Wii, and man, that game is FUN. I love it when a franchise has that perfect balance of the classic feel that you know and enjoy but with enough new points that compliment the existing items very well. The Metroid Prime series is a great example, and Super Paper Mario does it great.

I think I’ve more or less decided that as soon as I can find one, I’m going to get a Wii, and grab Super Paper Mario, WiiPlay, and WiiSports to start off with. I swore I’d wait until I got the Star Wars game where the WiiMote would be a lightsaber came out, but my inner geek which longed to be an early adopter has won out over my skeptical side. I’m still considering a 360, but more or less my PC has become my hardcore gaming machine what with World of Warcraft and soon Command and Conquer 3. The only “must-play” game on the 360 that I want is the upcoming Halo 3, and I think I’ll just have to content myself with waiting for the PC version. PS3…not touching that. No way. Way too many bad decisions went into that console and it’s floundering because of it.

Anyway, back to the weekend. Kyle is an awesome guy, and that’s all I need to say. So after Angie got off work we met her back at the Dhouse and decided, hey, let’s watch the Incredibles. Because Disney + superheroes = goodness. During the movie we keep hearing this weird beeping sound that we can’t figure out where it’s coming from. Finally Sean Corley (he and Cheryl were there too) goes outside and then runs back in and tells us the house next door is on fire! We all run out while he goes looking for a fire extinguisher. We can see the smoke pouring out from this house’s side door, but no flame. It looks pretty obvious to be an electrical fire, going on inside the walls. A few minutes later, the fire department shows up. Not just one truck, no, not even 2. No less than five firetrucks, an ambulance, a police car, and the fire chief’s SUV show up. Now granted, yes, fires are serious business, but…I dunno…maybe that’s a little overkill? Tiffany Bonow came by, I think she might have been worried that the D-house was goin’ up. Anyway, it all ended well, and we headed back in to finish the movie. I of course grabbed some pics with my camera, which you can see below (and on facebook)

Sunday was the usual of church (sermon on the power and desire of God to heal), meeting some people for lunch at Subway, and then I helped Josh move Angie into her new place, then I went home. Was a fun weekend, all in all.

Next weekend is Richard’s wedding, and afterwards Josh will be staying over at my place. I think I’m gonna get him to try and do an entry here just for the fun of it, heh heh. At any rate, you all behave and I’ll see ya next time. I feel like killin’ some Combine and Headcrab zombies. W00t.

Truly it is now "Shattered"…

So if you’ve paid any kind of attention to my little Twitter box over there (which most of you probably haven’t), you might know that the guild in World of Warcraft that I belonged to recently disbanded.

Now I know some of you just read “World of Warcraft” and instantly stopped paying attention. Well hold on a freakin’ second. This isn’t going to be a discussion of something cool I found in the game, or some shiny new loot I gust got, this is more a look at the dynamics of this group of people and what may or may not have caused the disbanding, as well as some little shoutouts to the people who are gone. If you’re still not interested, then that’s fine. However it was something of a major spectacle and I feel like commenting a little on it.

A little history: Shattered Legacy (SL) formed as a result of some internal disputes among the guild “Horde Collective” which my friends Akin Ogunsola and David Allen (Akin’s roommate) were a part of. I don’t know all the details because at the time I was still leveling my mage and thus was not a part of the guild. It’s also not really important. When I finally got to the point where I qualified to join, they had started a second guild for recruitment called “Alternative Legacy” (or AL). Basically the idea was that AL members would accompany SL members to raid dungeons (basically any dungeon that required more than 5 people to complete, typically they needed 20 or 40) that SL had already conquered and could repeatedly do so with ease. This would serve the dual purpose of teaching AL members the finer points of how to raid, nuances of how to play their chosen class, and to help them get better gear all the while. Eventually, you could be “promoted” to SL. The long-term idea was for AL to become self-sufficient with it’s own leadership that could advocate for who to promote to SL.

However, this never quite materialized this way, because a large quantity of people who displayed competence were quickly promoted to SL, leaving AL with only a few people who were any good to try to lead. There were also only so many “training slots” availible every week to go on these runs with SL, and many people simply couldn’t get in, got frustrated, and quit after a week. I was good enough that SL made me the Mage Class Leader of AL, but due to SL having a full compliement of mages themselves, plus the fact that I didn’t have very good gear yet, I wasn’t promoted up.

Eventually the AL concept fell apart entirely, so SL invited everyone still in AL to join with the idea that they’d simply help out anyone who still needed gear help, and remove those who simply were no good and weren’t willing to accept advice.

Everything was goin’ great from where I was sitting. I was in a guild with 2 good friends of mine (3 later when Jeff joined up after coming back from Basic), doing well at being a mage in a raid setting (that’s not my own feelings, this is what other players in the guild told me), and we were conquering new raid challenges and getting awesome gear.

Then came along the first WoW expansion, The Burning Crusade. As soon as the game’s Beta Testing opened up, the following details emerged: With a new maximum character level of 70, we knew there would be plenty of new quests and 5-man dungeons to do. Some of the new statistics on the gear from Burning Crusade came to light, and it became evident that the gear we were getting from doing these epic raids would very quickly be eclipsed by new items in the Burning Crusade. With this information in mind, the guild leadership decided on a new path. SL would stop doing raids that it had already finished, and would instead focus solely on doing ones that were unfinished or that they hadn’t started, just to see as much content that we hadn’t seen as possible before the expansion came out. Long-term, they reasoned, there was not point in doing old raids simply for gear becuase it would be obsolete very soon when Burning Crusade came out. So why not simply try as many challenges that we had not tried as was possible?

This resulted in the guild being split along 2 factions. The first is detailed above, and consisted of most of the guild leadership and some of the members who had been in SL for a long time. The second consisted of people who wanted to focus on getting the best gear possible out of already conquered raids. Their reasoning was why not simply focus on getting the best possible gear to start out with when Burning Crusade rolls around for everyone? After all, without that quality of gear to start with, the raids we were going to try to work on until the expansion was released would be difficult or impossible to the point of frustration, and wouldn’t be any fun.

Faction 1 had most or all of the gear they needed and didn’t want to waste time going back to those raids again instead of seeing new ones , Faction 2 had little or none and didn’t want to waste time doing bosses they weren’t equipped enough to beat. I pretty much fell into Faction 2, given how relatively late I joined the guild.

However, it turned out to be irrelavent. Neither side would budge on the issue, however since the guild leadership was all in faction 1, that ended up being the course we would take. In frustration, some people from faction 2 simply stopped showing up for raids (For the record I was not one of them). Eventually we simply had to call off raiding altogether until the expansion came out. Classic case of both sides saying “If we can’t have our way, then nobody gets either”. So we stopped raiding and focused on the PvP aspect of the game, or “Player vs player” which consisted of a series of “battlegrounds” where players from the horde and alliance could join teams and wage a small scale war against each other in “Capture the Flag” or “King of the Hill” style scenarios.

Two things made this transition not quite so painful for the guild.

1. PVP combat in the game had recently undergone several major revisions. Previously, you had to wait in line forever to join a battleground. This was because it was limited to people only from your server. However, Blizzard recently implimented allowing players across multiple servers to join the same battleground, so your waiting time was much smaller. Also, the rewards for doing well in Battlegrounds became much easier to obtain, so it was another way of working towards gear upgrades.

2. Many other guilds were experiencing similar problems, so there was a large pool of people wanting to do PVP, which made the wait all that much smaller.

However, there were still some among the guild that were mad about not raiding, so they left to join guilds that were still doing so. Guess you just can’t please everyone. During this little pvp-interim area, we basically open up the doors on recruitment, anyone who wanted in to PVP with us and get a tryout when Burning Crusade did hit was welcome to.

So January 23rd hits, BC hits the shelves, we all grab it and go to town. Now here’s something else to bear in mind, many of the guild’s members are college students. There’s a few, like me, who work full time, but mostly, college guys. They have more free time, so they get higher in level pretty quickly on. Makes sense, right? Now I don’t know what really prompted this next move, whether it was impatience at wanting to raid again, or just some boneheaded hardass “I know what’s best” thought, but the GM (guild master, the head of the whole guild) instituted a periodic ruling where you had to be this high in level by this date or “You don’t play enough to be in a raiding guild” and you were kicked out, unless you had a reason for being unable to play for a certain length of time. I managed to stay well ahead of those deadlines, but still it got a lot of people kicked, and I think it was completely unnecessary. It screamed of impatience and arrogance on our GMs part and it cost us a lot of people who could have contributed much eventually. So what if they didn’t level as fast as the rest? They’d get there soon enough.

So eventually we get enough people at level 70 to start raiding. Well, here is where another big change instituted in the Burning Crusade comes into play. Previously the raid dungeons required either 20 or 40 people to complete. There were 2 20-man ones, and 4 40-man ones at the time the expansion was released, and the 20-man ones were obviously not as difficult a challenge, so the 40-man ones were what most guilds were built around. In the Burning Crusade, the company who made the game, Blizzard Entertainment, announced that all new raids would be at most 25-man size, and that the first raid challenge would be only 10-man. So basically you had a lot of guilds built around doing 40-man raids suddenly having the spots availible cut nearly in half, and even moreso to do the first new raid.

So right away, we decided that if more than 10 people wanted to do the first raid, which was called Karazhan (or simply Kara), they could wait outside and be rotated in and out. Eventually as we got enough people with experience, we could have 2 groups going. Good plan, right? Well, no, not so much. If you do it that way, then very few people get to see the whole dungeon and learn all the encounters, so you would eventually end up with 2 groups of half-experienced people. Couple that with the problem we began having that people did not like waiting outside doing nothing until they were asked to go in (which in some cases didn’t happen at all). People began leaving over it.

Then came the real sign of trouble The GM of our guild passed the title on to another officer. He quickly realized he didn’t have the time or commitment to lead, so he passed it to a third officer. This one was a good enough guy as a leader, but for whatever reason, he missed a lot of scheduled raids, leaving us with almost no one to lead. A couple volunteered to try to pick up the slack, but others wouldn’t come because a “real guild leader” wasn’t around to lead.

So that’s it, that was how the demise of Shattered Legacy came about. The guild ended up primarily being split three ways. One group of people simply took the opportunity to quit the game altogether, including our original GM and the first officer he passed it to, as well as Akin and most likely Jeff.

The second group transferred to another server, Hakkar. One of the guild’s officers who quit during the time before Burning Crusade came out was starting a new fresh guild on another server, and invited anyone from SL who wanted to come over and join. Many trusted his leadership skills and style, so they took the shot at continuing raiding with the people they’d played with forever.

The third group formed a more casual guild that only planned on occasionally raiding, focusing more on casual PvP and 5-man dungeon content. Myself and David joined this new guild, which is called “Malicious Intent”. I personally don’t plan on raiding with them, and they’re fine with that, as it’s not a primary focus, which I like. I can play when I want and not feel obligated to constantly be working on stuff.

So yeah, that’s the saga of Shattered Legacy. It had it’s ups and downs, I know it only seems like bad stuff happened, but a lot of the good stuff I can’t really convey here in the name of brevity (this post is already long as it is). We had some good times and I’m gonna miss playin alongside a lot of the people. I’d like to say some good things about a few of the people who are gone.

Akin (Rabid, 70 Tauren Warrior, quit) and Jeff (Kish, 70 Troll Hunter, most likely quitting) – I owe these guys bigtime. Setting aside all the stuff these guys have done for me outside of the game in the real world, they (and David) taught me how to really play this game. They helped me out with some tough quests and dungeons, told me where to find stuff, a whole lot. I was very happy to finally get a chance to do endgame stuff alongside them, those were always the best times in the game. I know they’re moving on with their lives, though, and I’ll always love em like brothers. Good luck guys.

Flocker and Sylvec (Both 70 Undead Mages, transferred to the Hakkar server) – I had managed to figure out how to play a mage fairly well, but in a raid environment I was somewhat clueless. Flocker was the mage Class Leader, and eventually a full fledged officer, and he taught me a lot about the finer details and math behind being a mage, stuff that Akin/Jeff/David couldn’t really tell me. Sylvec was also helpful in this regard. These 2 guys and myself were the last 3 mages who actively played in the guild, so we kinda developed a rapport, and I’m gonna miss em’ both.

Abnormality (70 Troll Rogue, still in SL at this time) – Abno cracks me up. In addition to being a darn good rogue, he’s absolutely hilarious. He often accumulated mage gear and would put it on during raids or normal dungeon runs and call himself a Archmage Abno just to pick at us, especially me, as for a long time I was the guild’s only troll mage. After everyone moved on, I briefly stuck around in SL before joining Malicious Intent, and it was just me and him. We had some good times, and I hope he does eventually join MI.

Tharduk (70 Tauren Shaman, quit) – This guy’s real name is Mike, and before he had his shaman, he played a mage called Nythailus (Nyth for short). When we originally quit raiding, he began playing his shaman more, and eventually decided to play him primarily in the Burning Crusade. Nyth is probably the guy I most quickly befriended in SL, and I really don’t know why. Our personalities are almost complete opposites, but we got along well enough just being fellow mages. We PVPed a lot together when that time came around, and we still talk via MySpace and AIM a lot. He’s still convinced I need to “go get laid” because it will somehow cure me of being such a geek. Hahaha. Good luck with the ladyfriend, man, hope to see you around again someday.

Aviang (70 Orc Shaman, quit) – Aviang was a longtime guild officer, who was just a good guy. I didn’t really get to know him much until SL started doing PVP only, and we just had some good times. Eventually he started playing his low level Paladin more often, and he would bug me nonstop to help him do low level dungeons. It was annoying, but he was so funny with it I couldn’t really be mad at the guy. But alas a new job and a little one on the way means no more time for WoW. I still talk to the guy over AIM and MySpace as well. Enjoy bein’ a dad, AviWANG!!

Myth (70 Tauren Hunter) and Relica (70 Tauren Druid, both transferred to the Hakkar server) – Myth and Relica are a husband and wife duo who both play WoW, and are darn good at what they do. Before Blizzard implemented the changes making PvP easier to get into, Myth went hardcore into it to get the Warlord rank as soon as possible, and he did it. Gotta give him props for it. He’s also a damn lucky guy. Relica is a great druid, and she briefly stuck around SL after the split up and did a few quests and dungeons with me and Abnormality. I got to know her a little better, and she’s great, fun-loving, and a total geek. She’s probably almost as big a Star Wars nerd as I am. I wish I’d had more interaction with em before they left, and I wish them both well, in life and WoW.

Nickelz (70 Troll Rogue, transferred to Hakkar) – I gotta give this poor guy credit, he was the final GM of the guild and he tried to hold it together, he really did. He’s been an SL officer for as long as I can remember, and he did a ton for the guild, so he gets props from me, he also helped me out a bunch and provided some verbal support for me when the rest of the mages were heckling me for being a troll and not an undead. Good luck to you as well dude.

There’s a load of other people in the guild I could say something cool about. A lot of them are in this new guild, Malicious Intent, with me, a lot of others have moved on, but this is practically a novel now, so I’m gonna end it there. Hope you enjoyed reading this if you bothered to do so!

Vida

Happy Day of the Resurrection, gang.

Or as it’s more commonly known, Easter. But what, if anything, in this blog is common amiright?

This is also my 100th post here at Conflagration. I’d like to thank you all for reading it.

I’m sure you’ve all taken a moment (or will) today to thank Jesus Christ, God walking among us, for defeating death and Hell once and for all time. If you haven’t (or aren’t), I really encourage you to do so. But I’m no preacher, I’ll leave that to the men God’s raised up to be that. All I can be is thankful and reflective, and I hope that’s enough.

So here’s to one more year closer to the return. And as many posts here at Conflagration as I can fit in here until then.

Now quit reading and go hunt eggs!!

But be careful, and watch out for this….

Transformers Images!!

Thanks to Scott Johnson at myextralife.com for this awesome link

This Thread at the tfw2005.com message boards contains a compilation of CGI images, toy prototypes, and other design images of the robots to be seen in the upcoming Transformers movie!

If you’ve never seen Transformers, here’s the basic premise.

There’s a faraway planet called Cybertron, populated by fully sentient robotic creatures, known simply as Transformers. They are capable of transforming between humanoid form and a vehicle form. There are 2 “races” I suppose is the best word to use, the Autobots, and the Decepticons. The Autobots are culturally a race dedicated to law, order, justice, and pretty much everything virtuous. The Decepticons are the opposite, they are scheming, selfish, and generally just plain evil.

As you can well imagine, these 2 have been at war for who knows how long. The movie will probably show something along the lines of how the specific group of Autobots and Decepticons got to Earth, but most incarnations of Transformers (and there are several) basically utilize the premise of them coming to Earth for a new source of energy, in prehistoric times. However, the fighting between the 2 groups in space causes both of their vessels to crash land on Earth and sends them into dormancy for millions of years, until awakening in the present day (usually by some kind of natural disaster disturbing the crash site). The movie will probably vary widely from this, at any rate.

To remain hidden on Earth, the Autobots and the Decepticons adopt earth-based vehicle forms to blend in among the populace. However, the war still rages, and they won’t remain hidden forever.

Peter Cullen is confirmed as the voice of Optimus Prime. He’s most famous for being Prime’s iconic voice in the original cartoon series. Hugo Weaving is confirmed to be the voice of the Decepticon leader “Megatron”. Hugo Weaving is best remembered as Agent Smith from the Matrix and Elrond in Lord of the Rings

I think this movie is shaping up to be awesome, and I’m very much looking forward to catching it. Here’s some more links to check out if you want

Official Site (warning, Flash heavy)
Wikipedia Entry
The original teaser Trailer
Some Battle photos
Trailer – “Hidden”
Trailer – “Destiny”