Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

By Alex Hamilton on in Elder Scrolls Online, Grab Bag, Magic: The Gathering, Nerd Culture, News, Video Games. Permalink.

Grab Bag

Put them all together, and they make a post! Credit: Zach Copley https://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/

That’s what they say, anyway. I hope it’s true since I haven’t posted in lots of days. Out of town happens, apparently, as does “stuff”. Here’s a number of brief updates using everyone’s favorite tool – bullet points! I’d call it a potpourri post but The Blogadin + flowers generally equals no, and melange sounds too cooky and/or French. I think I’ll go with Grab Bag. So, yeah…here’s a grab bag to get you caught up…

[UPDATE: This was written early Sunday morning. More stuff happened, like work and life and, oh yeah, Diablo 3. You all understand me not posting this until Wednesday, right? Right???]

  • The biggest news of late is Thursday’s launch of Elder Scrolls Online. *Thrills* Okay, maybe not. I actually couldn’t be less excited, but I’m definitely interested. The game went live at approximately 15:30, and by 16:00 the game’s low-dough fans were already up in arms. As with most subscription-based games, the purchase of the game comes with one month’s access. In order to actually play the game, though, players are forced to allow a pre- authorization for the full amount of the first paid month, so instead of “first month free” it essentially becomes “buy one, get one”. For those with low balances in their funding account, this full pre-auth is putting the customer at risk for NSF/UCF fees (UCF is short for uncollected funds, which is bank-speak for “The money was in the account, but was on hold or otherwise unavailable for use.”). For those with less than $15 in their account, they’re not able to access the game without first submitting a ticket to Zenimax’s customer service team, which I’m sure is in no way overburdened with the initial glut of normal support tickets that typically comes with the launch of a major MMO. In short, if you want to play ESO and you don’t have a lot of cash, Zenimax is going to mess with either your money or your time. What could be more customer-friendly for a new game? I’m already not a fan of the game animations or pace, but those are simply personal preferences. A move like this, however, puts a game dangerously close to earning a spot on the Zeroes list. We’ll keep our ears to the ground around May 3rd to see what happens with those pre-auths.
  • International Tabletop Day happened. YAY! That will get it’s own post, though, but regarding the name itself: I’m a little surprised that the word “Gaming” isn’t in the title somewhere. I can just picture someone heavily interested in carpentry or furniture seeing that name on their interwebs and gleefully clicking on the link, but insteaed of seeing Bob Vila and power tools they get an eyeful of Wheaton and Day.
  • Captain America debuted on Friday and posted a solid $37M at the gate. I’m also reading that there’s some kind of major plot twist in the movie that shakes up the Avengers’ TV/movie universe, but I can’t confirm that as I won’t see the movie until next weekend.
  • Thursday’s episode of Big Bang Theory featured Wil Wheaton as a  bikini-clad orangutan, Sheldon and Amy debating whether the XBox One or PS4 should earn a place in the entertainment center, and Bernadette making a buffoon out of herself. Quite legitimately one of the ten best episodes of the BBT franchise…many, many genuine lolz were had!
  • M:TG Grand Prix Phoenix is well under way. I’d provide an update on how folks are doing, but written updates are apparently non-existant [UPDATE: Or, apparently they’re right here] so I’ll just go with this: Some people are winning (Phimus Pan is likely one of them, because that’s what he does); some are losing; at least 50% have uttered profanity in the direction of Revelation control and/or black Devotion; not less than seven players have had been struck by cardboard, whether thrown or while in the hand of another player. [UPDATE: It's over. Valley residents Gary Wong and William Levin represented us well by getting all the way to the semi's, but it was Robert Berni who took the trophy home.]
  • The Arizona Science and Engineering Fair took place on April 2nd. I was fortunate enough to draw the Senior Division this year vs. the young’ns which is probably better for everyone involved…less risk of tears. You had your typically large range of quality in projects and experiments, but two that really stood out to me were in the Behavioral Sciences division, both hailing from Basha High School. I’ve reached out to the students’ teacher, Dr. Michael McKelvy, to see if an interview can be arranged with the lot of them. Stay tuned!

That’s all for now, me thinks. Posts about International Tabletop Day and a game review are coming shortly!


Alex Hamilton

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