I just wanted to put up a quick post to let folks know what’s been going on with me lately.  Things are a little chaotic for me IRL and as such my gaming habits have changed quite a bit.  For the most part I’ve been playing single-player games that have the benefit of a pause button such that I can deal with interruptions without a fear of dying Winking smile  So this post will just be a quick summary of what’s going on and hopefully soon I’ll get back to my MMOs of choice!

The majority of my single player gaming has revolved around 2 sports games, which I must admit have grabbed my attention more then I expected.  The first game is Football Manager 2012 (available on Steam) which I’ve talked about before and I’m still really enjoying.  I’m still primarily just managing Everton and my last save I ended up pretty much winning everything in my fifth year after some pretty close calls.  One of the things I enjoy most about this game isn’t so much the actual games themselves but the player management and dealings.  After a while, once you build a successful team it can become a little boring from that aspect and I usually end up restarting.  With the start of the actual real life Premier League this past weekend I decided to start another game off with Everton as I get the most enjoyment out of those first couple of seasons.  While some aspects aren’t 100% accurate every once in a while a story from the current news occurs in a VERY similar manner to what happened in one of my games which I always find pretty cool.  I think I’m going to have some very hard decisions when FM13 is released as one of my favorite players (Jack Rodwell) is now playing for Manchester City.  For whatever reason I just don’t find playing the bigger clubs as intriguing, but we shall see when it is launched.

The other single player game I’ve really gotten very deep into is Pro Cycling Manager 2012 (another one available on Steam) as the combination of the Tour de France and the Olympics have gotten me following cycling more then I have in a long while.  Unlike soccer, I really know VERY little about the workings of professional cycling so there’s been a pretty steep learning curve on that aspect.  Because of that I’m actually finding this game pretty darn challenging to actually do well in.  I’ve started with a custom team revolving around the 3 big names from Team Sky (Wiggins, Froome, and Cavendish) as well as Phinney and TJ VanGarden from the US and a host of other Brits and Yanks to fill out my squad.  But despite all the big names I have, I find it really hard to consistently do well – which of course is what drives me to continue to play the game!  I’ve restarted probably at least 6 times as each time I get a certain way in and then realize some part of the game that I didn’t even know existed, or realized that the way I was racing was totally wrong.

Both of these games have similarities in the ability to micro-manage training and individual progression but with PCM you have much more control over the actual outcome of each event.  The actual games in FM are much more like traditional simulations where you set things up and just let the computer figure out the outcome.  Where PCM you have much more control over all aspects of the race, or at least you can choose to control those if you want.  You can run it in more of a sim mode, but I like to actually do the races.  Of all the career games I’ve played, these 2 seem to be amongst the best when it comes to individual and team progression.  They’re not the most graphically or aesthetically pleasing (go play an EA game for pretty graphics) but the depth of these games is pretty amazing.

As for MMOs, I’m still “playing” both LOTRO and The Secret World.  TSW probably has more draw for me right now, but I haven’t been playing that much as I really want to be able to take time and dive deep into that game.  I’ve been VERY impressed with how well they’ve been able to not only maintain things but continue to push out new content.  Even though the press is hammering them, I think TSW is one of those rare games that might have a larger community 6 months after launch then the first month of launch.

As for LOTRO, I really haven’t done much of anything in Middle-Earth lately.  And that even includes the Rohan beta, which yes I am a part of but really haven’t done a whole lot of.  I really want to be excited for Rohan and mounted combat but for some reason I’m just not.  And maybe (I’m hoping) it is just because of everything else that’s going on such that once that’s resolved I’ll get back into a better grove.  I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t liked as the region is absolutely gorgeous and everything I wanted Rohan to look like.  Mounted combat is actually better then I had expected, although probably slightly worse then the Mount and Blade series (which I realize is a pretty darn high bar).  I’m actually quite impressed that Turbine pushed back the launch date for Rohan as that’s something I’ve ripped them quite a bit for in the past with the various updates and expansions.

To wrap things up, I’m still gaming and hopefully should be back into MMOs here soon and am still quite available via email, skype, and twitter for those who want to chat or carry on via other means.

One last thing I want to toss out is that I am planning to support CSTM in their Child’s Play fundraiser this year and am looking for ideas of how my time could be used.  The concept they’re introducing this year is to auction off people’s time such that the winner would get something, for instance Pineleaf has offered to run skirmishes with the winner (assuming server issues can be resolved).  So I’m certainly open to run skirmishes or instances as can be arranged on Silverlode or just have a general skype/vent chat session to talk about the various classes I play or even other games if folks want.  I may even try to convince a certain suicidal Minstrel to see if we can arrange for a “let’s see how much we can pull” session if someone’s interested in that kind of chaos Winking smile  Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?