Status: Phase 1, casual return, most likely to play Fri / Sat
Server: The Ebon Hawk
Guild: The Seventh Virtue (ally, casual)
Primary Character: Culurien, consular sage healer / dps
Highest Probable Play Times: Friday night / Saturday morning (EST)
Activities: PVE, limited RP, SW fan fiction writing, connections to The Legion and old friends, as time allows
Official Gaming Update, in Short
What are Zyrath and I doing these days officially? In short, we’re in a PHASE 1: casual return to SWTOR. (Casual does not mean I will not be re-learning healing seriously! I cannot have fun if I’m not good.) I’d like it to be permanent, but this must happen organically, not be forced / stressful, we must both have fun – so we will see what we see. We are giving it a trial run and so far I am very positive! Why now? Life lined up finally, essentially. Where will we be? We are moving from Connor’s The Legion to Beviin / Vivek’s The Seventh Virtue, under their “ally” designation, for more casual players – purely for practical reasons – Zyrath has trouble engaging in RP sometimes, and Vivek currently runs a lot more PVE / PVP than The Legion. I want to give us the best chance to do stuff together – if I get stuck playing without Zyrath, I won’t enjoy the game. Therefore last Monday, I notified Connor and Zato of our intentions and asked for their thoughts. They have given us the green light and full support for this switch – for which I am most grateful. It is my intention to still be OOCly and ICly in touch with The Legion. They are my mother guild! I’d love to run with their members as well and visit an RP event or two if all goes well. For more details – my TOR history, why now, how I know Vivek / why TSV and why I’d like to come back to the game, see my (way too long) post in comments.
DETAILS: History, Game Mentors, Leaving and Return
TOR Beginnings: Zyrath (my hubby) and I started playing TOR on launch day – I eagerly awaited it to come out for at least 1-2 years as I was a huge KOTOR fan. The game’s launch coincided with my graduation from college in Dec 2011 – after which I took a year off and played SWTOR exclusively. I needed the break as I burned myself out and it was wonderful. We originally were in a RL guild with some classmates of mine. It was our first time on an RP server – my classmates taught me RP basics – and as I’m a huge SW nerd / fan, I found it a lot of fun, and even felt brave enough to try writing stories and post them on the community site. Zyrath enjoyed making stories for his characters as well, but found engaging in in-game RP more challenging – he also had less time to devote to the game than I did working 11 hr days and some on weekends.
Shinoa, my first mentor: We loved doing PVE / ops, as we came from WoW originally – Zyrath introduced me to MMOs there and I fell in love with raiding. At the time, I was beast master hunter dps. Our RL guild didn’t do ops much – my first leg up in that direction came from Shinoa – who I will never forget. He was a gregarious, kind and awesome person who ran public ops for The Ebon Hawk – RPed with me – said, hey, let’s get you some gear! And proceeded to run me through my first HMs / ops, teach me the ropes, neat tricks, and introduced me to other sage healers who could mentor me. TOR was my first time as a healer. We ran stuff with him for a good while – it was the best! He ran the best PUG ops – it was amazing. He left the game eventually – we tried to follow him – but couldn’t keep up. I don’t know what became of him. And I still miss him.
Finding The Legion: When he left, Zyrath and I continued his tradition of leading public ops. I thought Shinoa’s goal of gearing the community was so noble and awesome! We met Connor and Keela that way. When our guild became memberless, due to them all leaving for other games or RL, we joined them in The Legion. It was in The Legion that I got my first taste of what it was like to be involved in an epic RP storyline and I had a blast – Connor, Keela and Zato really mentored me in RP and showed me how it was done. I had great times writing stories with them! One of my favorite things about The Legion was how Connor would lead / run public RP events and grab people from all over and anyone who wandered in. It felt so organic, and reminded me of Shinoa’s leading public ops, except on the RP side. Zyrath and I started up ops for the guild, I wrote stories, etc.
Shift to just me, and then shift out of TOR to RL: Zyrath eventually got burnt out leading / doing ops – it was too much with everything going on at work and he couldn’t relax. Unfortunately, I also took on too much responsibility, as is my usual thing to do even now in RL things – and got stressed out. This situation might have been rectified; however, RL happened! I got my dream come true when I joined Emory University’s chemistry grad school program and ran serendipitously into the perfect lab and a professor with all the characteristics I prayed for in a boss for four years. As an undergrad, I had had a very stressful and demanding boss – though I love him anyway – it was stressful to work for him. It’s been two years – and my opinion of my lab and new boss hasn’t changed – it’s so much more wonderful than I deserve.
Grad life: Learning how to balance things in grad school took a while. Science is one of my deepest passions and research was a dream since 6th grade, so I wanted to pour my all into it. As a result, I left TOR. I also wanted to make sure that I passed the second year report – essentially – a qualifying exam which passing means I become an “official” PhD candidate. Failure meant leaving the program with a Masters. Not acceptable. I passed last October (2014) – the most stressful experience of my life so far. After that, I banged my head against a wall attempting to incorporate my committee’s advice and startup new experiments that utterly failed. Nothing moved or worked for 6 months – incredibly stressful. Finally, about two weeks ago, I got the huge breakthrough I needed and never expected – and now I am banging my head against a wall *productively* versus not productively! I finally felt as if I was at the place where I could game a little and not “lose my train of thought” for where I was in grad school.
Missed the game: Even though I may not have connected, I never forgot about any of you and missed you all! I have a long memory. If I go away, my connections with online friends seem to get frozen in carbonite.
SWTOR Return: I talked to Zato recently – and he encouraged me to check out the TOR webs. Something just clicked. Zyrath and I recently finished playing Dragon Age III and didn’t have an outlet for relaxing together. With things going well in RL and being less stressful, it seemed the time was right to come back to TOR. To give return the greatest chance for success, we needed to make sure we could have a place to do things together that we enjoy, which is PVE content. I enjoy RP, but I didn’t want Zyrath to be left out. He’s not against RP, but it takes him a lot more work / stress to engage in it – which is something we want to avoid for the moment. The only way we can come back more stably is if we can spend time together in-game! Thus, we decided to make the switch to TSV and see how things go. This change is only practical, and has nothing to do with The Legion – which we still both love. I love Connor and company, will continue to champion The Legion, and will be maintaining all the contacts, as it were. Connor is my game mentor. The first thing I did was to inform him and Zato of our intentions, to hear his concerns. However, he was very gracious and gave us his support. I am very grateful. I could not enjoy playing while at the same time offending my good friends.
Why Vivek and TSV – Vivek surprised me: I first knew Vivek from the forums, and I admit that at the time, I did not like him much. He seemed somewhat confrontational to me and / or negative, though he obviously ran a huge RP base. I met him in-game while running ops for The Legion. I was determined not to like him at first – but somehow, we worked out a thing where we could run joint ops with TSV and The Legion to do 16-mans, and help The Legion learn and get into new ops we had not yet done. It worked out really well. I was amazed to discover that Vivek seemed in-game a completely different person than on forums – he was a total gentleman toward us at all times, fun and positive. He also lead ops like a pro, and was extremely kind and generous in how he treated The Legion. He keeps a running and active Mumble chats with lots of participants from a wide variety of places – which I quite love. After that, Vivek became a friend and someone with whom I genuinely enjoyed hanging out. Anyone who treats my friends with such kindness deserves my friendship. To my amazement, he’s still here after all this time. Connor has come back to the game. Zato plays. A lot of my old friends are still here. Vivek and his guild are some of the only other people I knew well from another Republic guild while I played TOR, and he still runs a lot of PVE / PVP as well as RP. Therefore, we are going to try to make our return with him. Vivek added me as a TSV ally today and was giving me a rapid break down on new additions since I’ve been away, before he went to work. We hope to add Zyrath tomorrow when he settles on which character he wants to play. Wish us luck.
Currently: I have a huge addiction to healing, and am looking forward to making this return happen. I have plans to write up some stories with Zato. I got some stuff sent in to Connor today about a possible Culu storyline. I’m going to attempt to find out what’s going on in TSV storyline so I can think about giving Culu an RP connection there. However, I don’t want to overdo it just yet. I need to slowly reintroduce myself to the game. I wanted to binge level today – but there’s a lot more than leveling to do – writing this intro post, a Culu story, looking at healy talents – thinking. I also have a presentation to put together for Tuesday – and as I’ve discovered in grad school – slow and steady wins the race! My goal is to slowly reintegrate myself so that it is a more stable / organic connection. Even if I have to leave again for some reason, I hope to do a better job maintaining contact, at least on enjin.
FIN: That is the full story! Sorry for the length. If anyone has questions, I wanted the answer to be here in this giant post somewhere. Today, I hope to go jogging, write an intro story for Culu and then put together the beginnings of my presentation. Our current most likely days to be online in TOR are Fri / Sat. This Saturday is a lot more busy for me than usual. Most are better and this summer is looking promising. Sundays, Zyrath and I are currently involved in a board gaming campaign with some friends (Shadows of Brimstone). That may or may not change in the summer. I usually plan out next week's work on Sunday nights, though I could be in game, and may visit Mumble. This month, I will be busy for a time preparing for The Atlanta Science Festival coming up March 28th as well. That's our current timeline. I hope all my gaming friends are loving life and their gaming! See you in the game / forums / around the galaxy. Love you all. <3
Today, we're playing Imperial Assault, a Star Wars board game, at Brian's house: John, me, Brian, Matt and Steven. Brian, Matt and Steven are our friends we know from playing Warmachine.
Friday, 4:10 p.m. status
Morning Activity. John woke up earlier this morning to get in line for the store at Warmachine Weekend to open. It pre-releases some exotic models that will not be out in some cases until next year. He was able to get a bunch of troll models for himself as well as some others for friends. I'll list them later. However, because of difficulties with the line and getting his card to work, everything took too long and he had to drop out of the Last Chance Qualifer (LCQ). I was heart broken. However, he said that it was a stressful tournament and his back was still sore and he was stiff from the drive, so it was ok. Now he could play in all the other fun tournaments.
Some Games. John has currently played in one Scrambler and won 3rd. Stephen, Max, Alan, Walter and others are still playing in the LCQ. Brian is playing in the Iron Gauntlet. The two caster tournament that Brian always played in and won has been retired. We joked that maybe it was due to his ownership of it.
Getting over Cold. I was exhausted, so after lunch came back up to the room at noon and rested / slept until 2:26 p.m. Took more advil, as by then I had a 99.1 fever. John came in and we did a quick walk around to see people's games. Now, I'm back up here, probably going to watch a movie in bed. I'm trying to rest as much as possible to get better faster. I think I did a bit too much yesterday. I really want to avoid doing that at all costs the next three days. That I still have a fever, however low, after 1 week is insane.
Right now, John and I have been leveling characters on the Imperial side - me, an agent, and him, a bounty hunter. We're on Alderaan around level 30-31. I've also hit level 55, max level, on my main Culurien, a Jedi sage. I'm hoping to get into end game content again, if I can manage it, and get John to join me.
Here's one of Steven's official taped Warmachine matches at the Last Chance Qualifier in St. Louis. John showed it to me. It's only 27 minutes long! He assassinated his opponent. Check it out, if you're interested!
Day 2: Friday Afternoon - Evening
Be warned - I didn't have time to edit this post - had to write it quickly - so there are probably loads of spelling errors. I apologize in advance. I have to say, some AMAZING things happened this weekend.
I forgot to mention – on the drive down on Thursday – mom texted me a million questions about peptide nanotubes – 42 to be exact – asking me all sorts of questions – which I answered one-by-one until she ran out of questions and I got tired. I was deeply amused at the time. I guess she knew that I had time on my hands.
After my post of Friday morning, I found John playing in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) for the 16th Invitational spot. He was just starting his first game at 11:30 a.m., due to a mix up with his first name being listed as his last name and the judges not being able to find him on the list.
Adventure to Find an ATM
Since he was near the back wall, I was able to settle down on the floor beside him with my laptop and phone, write stuff and grade IR reports. Then, I decided to find food for John. There was a concession stand outside the door, but it only took cash. The ATM in the hotel turned out to be broken.
At first, I thought that was the end of it, because I wasn’t about to leave the hotel by myself … but then I decided – NO – John MUST have food! So I went on an adventure to find an ATM, one block down from the hotel, at a credit union via my iphone Google maps. At the time, I felt like I was going on some dangerous fantasy expedition and coming back with treasure. I’m very easily amused, I suppose.
Story of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)
John was really frustrated after his first game, because he had it well in hand – well up on scenario points and was about to win, when his opponent killed his caster in the last fifteen seconds of the game. I’m not sure of the details but it was some slight details that happened in the last second that favored this happening. Sometimes, this kind of thing happens.
There are two ways to win a Warmachine game – either by killing the opponent’s caster (assassination) – kind of like check mating the king in a chess game – or through scenario. Each game will have a scenario named for it – there are several that change at intervals, and all involve variations of dominating or controlling flags on the board to gain points or making sure that your caster is always 14” from a board edge and such.
John was able to win all three of his next games in the LCQ. Walter won his first game, lost his second and won his other two. Matt and Jesse won their first two games, lost their third and won their fourth. Frank chose not to participate because his back and knees were hurting and it’s a grueling all-day event. Brian and David Kelley had already qualified for the invitational. Steven was the last that was left undefeated. The officials cut the matches short at round 4 and decided to just play the undefeateds on Saturday.
While it was going on, I was able to move to each new table location John played at, camped out near a wall in his line of sight, and sat with my laptop writing, posting photos or grading IR reports. After finishing the IR reports, I took a break and wandered around the room, taking more pics, watching a game here and there, going over and hugging John and making sure he didn’t need anything, finding out what was happening at our other people’s games and giving John status reports, etc.
David Kelley’s Insistence on the Youngblood Tournament
At one point, I was sitting by the wall typing and Matt came by and asked if I was having fun. I said yes. David Kelley was bugging me to join the Young Blood’s tournament. He was like – Jess! You’re going to play in Youngbloods, right? Right? Huh, huh? You BETTER! Gotta represent!
I was like - *shoulders slump* - oh ok, ok, David Kelley, I’ll play. Playing tournaments makes me nervous and I haven’t played in SOOO long. My last game was against Daniel Stabley how many weeks/months ago? But, I decided I wouldn’t be able to look David Kelley in the eye if I didn’t play, and I had planned on it anyway, since – I felt like – if I was here, I *ought* to participate, for John and to say that I had played in a real tournament at Warmachine Weekend and to be “official” and all that. So it was more than just David Kelley. He just provided the last push of momentum over the cliff. John made sure to emphasize I didn’t HAVE to play if I didn’t want to. But, for all of the above, I decided to.
However, I was not going to play on Friday. There were Youngblood tournaments going on – different point levels and types – on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, I didn’t want to leave John’s side while he was playing and I hadn’t looked over my list. I couldn’t remember everything I had in it and that was embarrassing. I wanted to at least re-familiarize myself with it and read all the cards again.
Two Caster Tournament
While everyone played in the Last Chance Qualifier, Brian and David Kelley played in the Twin Towers, two caster tournament, list size of 75 points. A typical game is 50 points. These are big games. There were about twenty-five participants and Brian ended up winning.
Discussions of the Day
We all piled in the van and ate at Hardy’s for dinner. Everyone discussed the Warmachine matches, the different strategies, what they had seen and what had happened.
Apparently during the day, someone asked Walter a question about who had won a particular event and he said that he didn’t know, but he knew the winner of the Twin Towers two caster tournament – and he pointed over the way at Brian. The guy asked him – oh, is that one already over? He said, “No … and yes.” I thought that was a hilariously awesome line.
Apparently, the two caster tournament is “Brian’s event.” People hailed him as keeping up the genius – and that his opponents couldn’t beat him because they were merely human.
In spite of being very good, Brian is actually not nearly as well-known or famous as Jason Flanzer, Jake Van Meter or some of the others because he purposefully avoids the spotlight. He refuses to do podcasts, videos, post voluminously on forums or appear on anything. He just plays the game. I wish he would do a podcast or two, if only so other people could learn from one of the best how to play Menoth.
Jason Flanzer is very famous for playing ALL the factions and winning tournaments with crazy lists that people say are no good or with factions that people claim suck. He’ll do something new with stuff – then everyone will start copying it. If you play Warmachine, you will have heard of Flanzer.
Basically, there are two schools of thought in Warmachine to master the game. 1) You play one faction exclusively against all the other factions, and you know your own faction SO well, that you can beat anything with it. 2) You play ALL the factions equally and thus learn them all decently well, so that no matter who you face, you know are they play and can counter their strategies.
Flanzer is good, but John says, he’s not as good as he could be if he only played one faction. He spreads himself too thin. John’s a proponent of the first school of thought and thinks that players who concentrate all their energy on one faction will ultimately be even better masters of the game.
Friday ended with Max buying beer and calling off the bet against him drinking – which is what I expected would happen. He had said he wasn’t going to pay anyone anything – so everyone else said fine – if he kept it, THEY weren’t paying either. Walter said he’d pay the whole bet himself, but Max still called it off.
Brian said he’d dearly love to know what I’d act like drunk and is convinced I’d become violent, start slugging everyone and yell at them all to stop cursing. I sincerely hope not. The very idea is incredibly disturbing. Gratefully, I’ll never know.
To be clear, John and David Kelley don’t participate in any of the bad language thrown around; and they and Frank also don’t participate in the trash talk horrible humor. John is my man – awesome. I wasn’t sure how Brian came up with this and worried about it, slightly. It’s NOT my job to change or condemn anyone – I hope I don’t give such an impression. I guess maybe it’s just obvious I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it, but I really like the guys. They’re all sweet and very nice to me. It’s just expected that, whether I’m there or not, they will act no differently. And honestly, I can’t complain about that. I don’t want people to wear false fronts around me. I want them to feel like they can be themselves. It’s important.
I’ve noticed so far at Emory remarkably less swearing in the labs than I was used to at UGA. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s so nice. It makes me feel so much more comfortable and relaxed.
Photos from Day 1
Day 2: Saturday, The Youngblood Tournament
Brian’s Funny Shirt
Pictures from Day 2
Day 3: Sunday, the Invitational
The Invitational: Round 1
Photos of the Invitational
Photos of the Finals Table, Made by Mechanika Studio
Beautiful set pieces and painted armies
Oh my goodness!! Steven and Flanzer are playing side-by-side, both their games filmed by Matty K. Round 5 on going! I gave Steven a soda. He hates it when his games are filmed. Go Steven GO!!!! I'm so sad I'm going to miss the game while I do Young Bloods. 36 participants.
Steven just won the 5th round - AHH!!! Dang it now I gotta do my tourney. See my short updates to the previous post. This rolling status post will be collapsed into it later.
11:52 am CST
Young Blood's tournament slightly delayed.
AHH!! Steven's playing Flanzer next - they're about to deploy. John says its a bad match up for him. Though the game is balanced between factions, there ARE some bad match-ups. But David Kelley beat eLilith with pHaley, so anything is possible! Pray for his game! Dang I'm going to freak out worse about his games than mine. AHH!!
Stevens game not going that great according to John. :( eStryker can still pull off crazy assassinations. My game on 2nd turn.
11:32 pm CST
My tournament ended at 10:48 pm CST and I'm currently exhausted and too tired to write. Updates tomorrow.
Steven's game ended up being neck and neck and he lost to Flanzer in the last 15 seconds, like what happened to John. Flanzer went on to win the last game and the LCQ for the 16th spot. Invitational starts at 9 am tomorrow CST.
Friday: Day 3, Invitational
Brian just assassinated eGaspy to win first game.
David Kelley is still fighting to hold his control points for his game against Circle but we think he's ahead.
Games are too exciting to write but updates later. Must watch! John's in a scramble match.
10:58 am CST
Flanzer won his game.
Will Pagani won his game.
David Kelley's still on going. Looks to be coming to a head.
11:03 am CST
David Kelley just lost to senario points. :| Jesse said to Brian - you are now officially Obi-wan Kenobi.
11:57 am CST
Brian is playing Flanzer in round 2. This will be a tough one. GO BRIAN GO!!! Kill kill KILL!!
4:14 pm CST
In the 2nd game, Brian was in a good position to win but death clocked himself, losing in the last few seconds to Flanzer. Flanzer beat his next opponent the same way - by the clock. It's Will Pagani and Jason Flanzer in the finals. About fifty chairs are setup for people to watch and it's being projected on a screen. The finals table is amazing! It's high tech with lights, amazing paint job and real turning gears.
John won 1st place in the scramble he played in. In the LCQ, he placed 41st of 177.
After this match, John is going to eat dinner and play board games. I'll hang out, write up a summary of this week and then start on school stuff. Summary update of everything coming later tonight.
I had a nap and am feeling better. Trying not to stress out about the work I haven't done yet. Even if I spent every last minute working today, I'd still not have done enough - it's a scary feeling.
Monday: Beginning the Trip (11:45 - 12:10 p.m.)
Intro: What is this trip about?
I'm sitting here on Brian's couch typing this while ~10 guys are starting to pack and laughing about everything. My aunt on Facebook was asking me - what is this? That's a good question!
What is this trip about? John has wanted to go to this huge Warmachine tournament in St. Louis for a while called "Warmachine Weekend." It's the biggest Warmachine tournament in the country.
The game is kind of like chess - a tabletop game with pieces that you measure with a ruler. It's official name is "Warmachine and Hordes." There are seven Warmachine factions and five Hordes factions, each with their own armies, generals (called casters) and special rules that you can build an army out of and play against each other. Warmachine factions are more mech/machine/robot based. Hordes are all about beasts and magic.
Each faction has a certain style of play and many casters to chose from. Each different caster also has a style of play and completely changes how the army one takes will play, giving its units special rules and abilities unique to him. Casters also have different tierrs or upgrades of themselves - the next tier of a caster isn't necessarily "better" - he's basically a different "flavor" of the same thing, with slightly different rules - things that he does weighted slightly differently.
There are now three tiers: "plain," "epic," and the third tier, "legendary" or "three." Thus, casters will be denoted by a letter in front of their name to indicate their tier: "pNemo," "eNemo" and "Nemo 3" for example. People won't say "L-Nemo," so it seems the vocab is in the process of being switched to a "Nemo 1," "Nemo 2," "Nemo 3" idea, but people will use both interchangeably. Some casters only have one form. Most have two tiers. Some now have three.
Each unit has a certain "points cost" based upon its valuableness in an army. Armies are made by "building lists" of a certain total points. Most common point levels to play are 35 and 50 point lists - meaning, everything in the army has to add up to that point cost. This keeps the game balanced between factions.
Short Description of Warmachine/Hordes Factions (nickname in parenthesis)
Cygnar: My faction. 10 casters. Noble, followers of justice, heavy on science/tech. Known as best long-range shooting faction. Casters I play = pNemo, Nemo 3 (mad scientist based off of Capt. Nemo character) and Siege. May try eCaine in future.
Cryx: 11 casters. The undead, their mechanothralls and slaves. Known for its deadly troops.
Khador: 11 casters. Think, warrior Viking/Russian type people. Known for powerful mechs. Played by Steven.
Protectorate of Menoth (Menoth): 10 casters. Vigilante, zealots of Menoth who want to burn all heretics. Known for their ability to light most everything on fire. Brian's primary faction.
Retribution of Scyrah (Retribution/Ret): Has 8 casters. Think, "space elves." A newer faction, not quite as strong as the rest but still good. Our Matt of ATL was the first person to figure out how to use them effectively, making them competitive and is currently the best Ret player in U.S.
Convergence of Cyriss (Convergence): Has 3 casters. Newest faction. A race of robots from people who transferred their souls into machines because they view technology as perfection and worship math. Most focus efficient faction.
Mercs: Has 11 casters. This faction's units can be taken into other factions' armies. It is not often played on its own and the casters don't get used as often. Their casters are great but their units don't support them well.
Trollbloods (Trolls): John's faction. Has 9 casters. Trolls are ... trolls. They like to beat up things with clubs and brute force. Known for their toughness and difficulty to kill.
Circle Orboros (Circle): Has 10 casters. Think, druid-like spiritualist people of the woods. Known for their tremendous mobility. Most mobile faction. Walter's primary faction.
Legion of Everblight (Legion): Has 9 casters. People of dragons. I don't know much about them. Played by Chip.
Skorne: Has 9 casters. Sadist and masochist warrior killers who live off of pain and the pain of others. Known for their deadly beasts. Steven's primary faction.
Minions: Has 8 casters. Minions is the Horde's version of Mercs and acts exactly the same way. It is almost never played on its own but its units can be used in other armies.
Our Group and Their Skill Level (Updated, See Note)
Brian: In his 30s. Plays only Menoth. Best Menoth player in U.S. and arguebly the world. Among top 25 best all-around players in the country and top 25 in the world. Winner of the team 2nd place in the World Tournament! Computer programmer in real life. Known for being cool as a cucumber when he plays and somewhat cold.
Walter: In his 30s. Plays primarily Circle. Arguably one of the best Circle players in the U.S. One of the top 40 best all-around players in the country. Known for playing annoying lists that are difficult to kill. Enjoys dramatizing games.
Steven: Age 23. Plays primarily Skorne. Close to top 25 best all-around players in the U.S. Also plays many other factions, among them Khador, Cryx and Cygnar. He's been playing a lot of Cygnar this year, which is what he's playing in the tournament this weekend.
Matt: In his 30s. Plays primarily Retribution. Also Mercs and many others. Was first to make Ret competative. Best Ret player in the country. One of the top 40 best all-around players in the U.S.
David Kelley: 30s-40s. Plays Cygnar. One of the top 50-60 best all-around players in the country. Hosts the tournaments and runs the store at Gigabytes Cafe in Marietta.
John: Age 31. Mid-level Trolls player. He started with Cygnar, which he still plays occasionally, and is currently working on collecting and playing Menoth. His playing has improved dramatically, since he started 2 yrs ago since he plays against the best.
Max: In his 20s. Mid-level Trolls player. John thinks Max and Jesse are probably just above him in skill level. Max is known for drinking excessively.
Jessie: In his late 20s. Mid-level Ret and Khador player.
Frank: Age 52. Mid-level player. Plays mostly Cryx. About the same skill level as John.
Me: Beginner Cygnar player.
Note: I double checked my stats with John last night and this morning, updating them. He says, once you get to Brian's level, it's really difficult to determine top 10 to 20 players, because ALL the players are so good and it's in constant dynamic flux. Matt and Walter are closer to top 40 players rather than top 25. David Kelley is closer to top 50-60. Matt, Walter and Steven annihilated each other in his qualifier, which is probably why one of them didn't win it. Jesse plays Khador these days, not Cygnar. Frank plays Cryx.
And Continuing About the Trip
I really enjoyed sleeping until the sun came up this morning! We got everything packed up and got to Brian's house at 10:45 a.m. We were supposed to meet up at 11 a.m. Brian said, we were really early! Traffic was great. We sat around watching things while he dropped off his dog. Suddenly, everyone has now arrived at 11:55 a.m. Ha!
A ludicrous bet
Max, one of the guys, made a bet with ALL the guys that he wouldn't get drunk over the Warmachine Weekend trip. They all immediately took him up on it because they think he'll totally fail and don't know why he's even betting this. Several of them jokingly tried to "convince" me I should slip alcohol into his drink and get him drunk some time during the four days - this discussion has happened multiple times over the last month. I cannot even begin to describe how completely averse to this idea I am. I think they know this. That's why they like talking about it, maybe. I politely refused. John finds this whole thing intensely amusing. I kind of do as well. It's hard not to be amused. He's not betting so he won't offend me. Ha.
Observing and comments on some of the guys
I'm greatly looking forward to observing at this event and taking lots of pictures. Matt asked me if I was excited and said that yes, there'd be lots to observe. I really like Matt. Matt, Steven, Frank and Brian are my favorites, always are nice overall and try to include me in stuff. Jessie is driving the van. I don't like him so much. I'm going to try to stay away from him, more or less. Unlike Rolando, his teasing is not amusing. He tends to harp on people sometimes - repeatedly, nonstop, demeaningly in a silly, annoying fashion - but he doesn't really know how irritating he is. He's well-known from this trait. I've been the butt of his jokes before and learned to avoid him. He makes fun of everything and everybody - it's just what he does, but he's pretty nice overall. I like everyone else.
Amused and interested - this will be fun!
I think this will be a fun adventure. It's completely hilarious. I'm surrounded by nerd guys. I told John I feel really badly that I'm not more nerdy - I'm not sure I'm worthy to be in their company. John says don't worry about it - someone has to be the top nerd and it doesn't have to be me. I thought about that. He's right. I guess I feel competitive about everything.
Gallery: our luggage
Gallery: Brian's house
Monday: The Drive (12:30 - 11:00 p.m.)
We all piled in the car. It was amusing. Walter was the last to arrive. We were standing around in the driveway. Walter drove up rapidly, I dodged out of the way, he hit Frank’s car – a wack/thump – and got out as if nothing had happened. Brian was like – did he just hit Frank’s car? Everyone said yes. But apparently, Walter didn’t know until people made fun of him for it later. He denied it but eventually said well, everyone couldn’t be lying he supposed. He was just proud of not hitting me.
Traveling: not as bad as I thought
I was surprised. I was expecting the car ride to be more painful, but it was somewhat less painful than I expected. There were certainly plenty of threats to make it so, but everyone settled down in an hour or so and mostly talked about Warmachine. There was the expected lots of inappropriate humor. And terrible music. Fortunately, these earbuds James got me are truly great – they block all noise.
Traveling: silliness that did occur
We got out at a gas station early on and John and I, Brian and Matt stayed in the car. Jessie actually got out and plastered his face against the side of the van and licked the window! …. That was completely disgusting.
Apparently, John threated to put a hot tamale down Brian’s nose (Brian hates cinnamon in all forms) and as a result, Brian crushed two chips in his hand and THREW the crumbs all over John. I was VERY annoyed and made exclamation about why the heck this was done.
Steven was like – Brian! Don’t do that!
Brian: It was aimed at John.
Steven: But you got some on Jess. She will actually get upset and then you’ll feel bad. […] You don’t feel bad, do you.
Brian declared he did not. What Steven does not realize is that crumbs thrown at John and not hitting me is just as annoying as them being thrown at ME. They’re crumbs. *headdesk* I hate crumbs wherever they are. I chose to ignore them and got rid of them later at another gas station. Brian sneaked a chip onto my seat later, hoping I’d sit on it, which I managed to throw out the van door just before it closed.
We ate at a Kentucky Fried in Kentucky. I thought we’d get to St. Louis faster. It took until 11 p.m. pretty much. Jessie’s GPS kept saying that we had 3.5 hrs left to go for about 4 hrs. It was very mysterious. Frank told me not to worry – on the way back, all the guys would fall asleep. I told him, so far, I was ok.
Frank and David Kelley are actually normal folks who happen to also be nerd Wargamers – both married with kids. David Kelly has a young son. Frank is a much older guy, actually – in his 40-50’s somewhere I’d guess. And yet he fits in right along with everyone else here. At the Kentucky Fried, we discussed chocolate for some reason and Walter talks about how much of it he eats. It’s true. He beats me by a LONG shot. It’s unbelievable how much he eats just in general.
Arrival: the Doubletree hotel is nice!
We arrived at 11 p.m. or so and immediately signed up for the event. I really like this hotel. They gave us cookies when we checked in! The cookies were amazing. They even have a cookie award. Ha! It’s deserved.
Gallery: traveling and the fireworks sold in Kentucky
Gallery: the Doubletree hotel and registration
Friday, Day 2: The Last Chance Qualifier
The big event today is the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) - the winner of which will get the 16th spot in the Warmachine Weekend Invitation - basically, the championship tournament in the U.S. It's expanded tremendously from the 96 players of last year to 146. John's playing in it and is pretty nervous. It's about to start at 9:30 a.m. We're on central time. He says it's going to be a pretty brutal eight rounds all day with no breaks, what with the numbers.
We all went to McDonald’s this morning. Jessie has been attempting to herd us about somewhat like cattle – yelling for us to get out! Get in! We’re getting everything to go! He drives the van like a maniac – too fast, slinging us around corners, charging into parking lots like a bull and saying “America!!” while he does it. John threatened to take his keys after today. I really hope he does. I feel like, he makes our entire ATL cohort look like we must ALL be idiots. It’s ok though. Ignoring it is best option so as not to invite worse.
Setup and Other Things
I saw a guy from St. Louis who came to our qualifier at the Gigabytes Café that David Kelley hosted here in this tournament. Ha ha – I never expected to see him again.
I asked why David Kelley is called “David Kelley” – was wondering if it’s a double name. But no, it’s just there used to be five “Davids” in his vicinity and so people also called him by his last name. Now, he’s the only David, but the name format stuck.
Fortunately, there is internet here. I’ve setup on a couch just outside the last chance qualifier room and am going to try to grade orgo TA papers. Then, I’ll see what else I can work on. I’m not going to play today probably. I might play in the young blood’s tournament tomorrow. I met another girl here sitting beside me who wanted to talk and said she’s played the game for five years and would love to play a game with me tomorrow. So I guess I can’t get out of it now. That’s ok. It’ll probably be fun.
FIN for now
I’m enjoying observing this event so far. I always hear about our ATL friends going – now I get to see it all happen in real time! This is probably one of the biggest if not the biggest Warmachine tournament in the country. I'll be observing throughout the day, taking pictures and posting more notes up here as I have opportunity.
Gallery: Last Chance Qualifer and Morning Stuff
Gallery: Last Chance Qualifier at Noon w/ Videos
30 sec pan of the room from the back
Links to More Videos
Video: John discussing his first game with Matt. Walter and Steven in background. 22 secs.
Video: Shot of John's 3rd game against eCaine. 32 secs.
Friday: Afternoon - Evening Update
They cut off the LCQ short last night after round 5 and are just playing the undefeated people today. Steven is one of them!! We all know he has a shot at winning this thing, but he's GOT to beat Flanzer's Trolls to do it. *shudders* And he gets nervous under pressure, unlike Brian. Pray he doesn't get nervous. I really want him to WIN! Take that 16th spot! Proper update coming a bit later when I get a chance.
I updated our group's skill level stats after talking to John last night and this morning and he gave me the more accurate low down on it. I never get it quite right.
Saturday: Morning Update
Gaming has decreased markedly, but focus is still SWTOR, Warmachine/ Hordes and the random board game. That's what these posts will address.