Saturday, February 24, 2007

Byte: Fools and their money

Ever since The Burning Crusade came out last month, I've been putting away the pennies to pay for my Swift mount - and more importantly, the cost of the training to able to ride it. As I've been on holiday this week, I've been seriously sticking in the hours to raise the gold. Outland is pretty spectacular for Uncommon drops, so in the last couple of days I've earned no less than 200g in drops and auction house revenue.

On Wednesday I bought the actual mount itself, but the training cost is a rather more prohibitive. Last night I had a couple of particularly lucrative items come in at the auction house, so I stumped up pretty much the whole of my cash and bought the training with just 1g50s to spare. A grand total of 630g spent in two days, but undoubtedly worth every copper, as now I'm the proud owner (and rider) of a Swift Frostsaber.

I had originally planned to bypass getting the Swift mount altogether and go straight for a flying mount once I hit level 70, but of course, Blizzard knocked that idea on the head, by making the flying mount riding training have the 540g's worth of Swift riding training as a pre-requisite before you can buy it. So now I have another three and a half levels to scrape up the absolutely horrific amount of money to train up for a flying mount. At least I'm only got another level and a bit to go until I get Flight Form, which should at least meant that I can explore Outland without fear of getting ganked. Though since I hit level 66, getting ganked by anything other than a level 70 is a much tougher prospect, now that I've really got to grips with PvP in dire bear form. I've got tactics worked out for warriors, hunters and the spellcasting classes, so I'm doing pretty well in PvP these days. As with most things, it mainly comes down to practice - knowing what to do in certain situations - speed of thought being more important than speed of hand... Maybe it's being high level, or maybe it's being in a decent guild, but I'm finding Outland much more enjoyable than Azeroth. If Burning Crusade is the only game I end up playing on the PC this year, I don't think I'll be too sad. At any rate, it'll probably the game I play most this year.

I've played a little Excite Truck this week as well - and it's mad as a brush. Just the kind of game that the Wii should excel at. It's fairly lightweight, but lots of fun. The control system takes a little getting used to, but the thing I adore about the Wii is the way that you interact with the games. I'm going to playing this one quite a bit, I think. Which is more than can be said for Zelda - I've not really given it that much of a chance yet, so it would be premature to judge - but I'm not hugely enamoured with it. Once I get into the main part of the game, I'm sure it'll pick up, but it's not really going to be tearing much time away from WoW in the near future, I feel.

Something that *is* taking time away from gaming is my revitalised passion for pencil sketching. My usual late Friday evening of gaming last night was supplanted by a couple of hours sketching. I'll stick them on Flickr later, no doubt, but I did a fairly detailed sketch of my right hand (obviously, I'm left-handed, so I sketched my non-drawing hand), which I was quite pleased with, as they're very difficult to draw. Not quite so good was the self-portrait I drew from memory. I'm still having a bit of trouble judging proportions, but I'm getting there. The self portrait doesn't look terribly like me (well, below the eyes, anyway) - it's interesting to see the gaps between what your memory thinks you look like and what you look like when you look in the mirror. I'll do another self-portrait next week, except with a mirror, just to see the difference.
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