The Gaming Update
As I've stated before, I got to be in the last few rounds of beta testing for the Burning Crusade. I'm not sure I've ever explain what that means for the general populate who have no idea what beta testing is. The beta version of a game is basically an incomplete and bug filled version of the game. It's the "not ready for primetime" version. So the company has a bunch of people, some volunteers and some employees, that play the game and send in error reports when something is broken. The interesting thing is that you get to see things before they are done. Sometimes this is frustrating, like when a quest is bugged and you can't complete it, and sometime is just plain cool, like when they haven't put the texture map on a character yet and he's just this green wireframe with no skin. In any case it's an interesting look at the evolution of a game through the development process.

But as I've also stated, the beta is over and it's all for keeps now. The Burning Crusade is here and it's awesome. First the new dungeons, at least the ones I've been in, are wonderfully designed. Plus they are a realistic size, which is much appreciated. Anyone who has run Black Rock Depths knows what I'm talking about. The only issue that I've come across in dungeons so far is that the second boss in The Underbog requires a mage or a warlock in the group to kill him. Otherwise it takes too long and your healers run out of mana. Hedana is doing well. She's up to level xx and has replaced most of her gear. She's been respec'd to Retribution and some Holy. I love the changes they made to retribution. I don't think that it made the Paladin class overpowered but I do keep pulling aggro off the main tank when we're running dungeons. Blizzard has created a new site called the Armory. You can look up stats on any guild or character in there. Click here to see Hedana's page.

Sadly, there where some losses to the Burning Crusade. I'm afraid that in order to make room for my new Blood Elf Mage and Draenei Shaman, I had to say goodbye to my Undead Warlock, Mortir, and Tauren Shaman, Munaki. They went honorably though, donating their money and bags to Maychen the Blood Elf Mage. Similarly, Munachi the Draenei Shaman what greeted by his Alliance siblings with open arms and wallets.

I won't go into too much detail here but basically the new starting areas contain two major areas, basically the equivalent of Northshire Abby and Goldshire for humans. I've played through all of the quests for the Draenei starting area and is ready to move on to one of the continents. She's at level 21, so I'm thinking she'll move to Lakeshire since I hate the Night Elf quest series. That's one of the reasons I love the Draenei starting area, the quest series is well done and flows together nicely. Maychen is only at level 6 so far, but from what I've played so far, both in the release and in the beta, the same can be said for the Blood Elf quest series.

Okay so that's enough World of WarCraft for now. Time to move on to some other game reviews.

First up, I recently tried the demo version of Tortuga Two Treasures and I have mixed feelings about it. It's a bit of a mixed game in that it is both a 3rd person, sword-in-hand game and a seafaring, blowup other boats game. It's strength is in the seafaring aspect. Although it is a bit simplistic and the boats turn slowly like real boats. But overall it's fairly enjoyable in short bursts. The trouble comes in when you hit the 3rd person part of the game. That part of the game is horrendous. The play control is just terrible. If you've read my past review then you know that play control on one o my highest priorities. Apparently, the same cannot be said for the developers. There were some cute parts of the 3rd person game, such as the crotch-kick attack. But overall, I couldn't uninstall the demo fast enough. If you want a pirate game, keep looking.

Next up is a game called Stoked Rider. It's a snowboarding game. I have no idea what possessed me to install it and try it, but it too couldn't uninstall fast enough. Again I'm going to site play control or rather the lack thereof as the source of my disdain for this game. If you want a snowboarding game again look elsewhere.

A while back I also tried a demo of F.E.A.R: Extraction Point. It's an expansion pack for F.E.A.R. and while I've never played the original, the expansion makes a good case for picking up the original. It's one of those spooky 1st person shooter games. But I didn't feel claustrophobic playing it like I do when I play DOOM3. Hallways are decent sized and there are far less spawn monsters. Most are there when you walk into the room. If you like FPS and were disappointed by DOOM3 (and really who wasn't?) then I recommend picking up a copy of this game.

I picked up a copy of God of War 2 the other day and for some reason it hasn't managed to find its what into the PS2 yet. But I'm sure it will by the next update. If it's half as good as the first one, it will be spectacular.

Finally, I'm sad to report that the CompUSA in Woodbury is closing. This is a personal tragedy for me as it was my source for cheap DVD-R discs and computer parts. But there is a silver-lining to every cloud and in this case it came in the form of a clearance sale. I picked up a cheap copy of Star Wars The Best Of PC. Basically it's a 5 in 1 game. It comes with copies of Empire at War, Battlefront, Knight of the Old Republic, Republic Commando and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Plus a 14 day trial of Star Wars Galaxies. Do people still play that game? I though everyone played WoW, Everquest, or Warhammer these days. Oh well couldn't hurt to try.

Well until next update, may the light of the naruu shine upon you or something like that.