A quick (but delicious) update

28 06 2010

A couple of months back I posted my recipe for pickling onions (or anything else you want to pickle) a few readers commented saying they were going to try them etc etc so this update is for these people more than anyone else!

God Damn they are good!!

I don’t often write things down I just kind of stash them in my head for later, as such anytime I do write down a recipe I tend to actually make it so as to be sure that I have committed it to paper correctly, as such 8 big jars of pickled shallots (no silver skins to be found) were squirreled away in order to facilitate my posting of the recipe.

I decided a little while ago to be cheeky and to try one even though to my mind it’s a little early.

Well I’m glad I did!

They were sweet, but sharp, lovely and crunchy and because I’m a chilihead deliciously devilishly hot.

Needless to say I soon found excuses to finish the whole jar, the rest are going to be treated as an experiment; I will open one jar a month for the next 7 months and see just how wonderful they end up 😀

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Northrend and beyond

28 06 2010

I wrote a quick update a while ago mentioning that I had just hit level 70 with my (not so) new Ret Paladin in WOW. Well time has moved on since then and so have Curadane and I.

I have now said good bye to outland and have ventured off bravely into the freezing wastes of Northrend.

7 levels later and I feel like I have seen enough of the continent to put my two pennies in.

Overall I am really impressed; there is a sense of scale to the continent that makes it seem as if a mere ten levels of questing and grinding just isn’t enough to see it all. I know some people like to rag on sandbox games and MMO’s because there is just too much scope for going off and doing basically not very much in order to explore huge sections of map but I like it.

If I am going to go to the bother of controlling a virtual person in a made up world I at least want that world to seem like a place worth visiting, both in terms of places to go and things to do.

There is no point putting a serious investment of time (and wow is a serious timesink) into a game if you can trot across the whole map in five minutes and keep revisiting the sae half dozen or so locations to speak to the same couple of dozen protagonists.

Another thing which pleased me about WOTLK in general and Northrend in particular is the graphics, now granted as a long time LOTRO player they aren’t really anything to write home about however I do think they are a big step up from Vanilla WOW or The Burning Crusade. One of the main reasons that I prefer the graphics in WOTLK is that they are less cartoony than many of the graphics in TBC. I know the reasoning behind it and agree that it suited that particular expansion but personally they just weren’t my cup of tea.

The quests and dungeons all seem well thought through and there are some interesting new tweaks that help to keep things fresh, even if some of them are a little gimmicky (I’m thinking of the harpoon guns in Utgarde Pinnacle) but there is definitely something fun about driving round in a siege engine as part of Wintergrasp PvP or  flying a war dragon around as part of the Occulus instance.

So the not so good things….

I’m not sure on Death Knights, I wrote at some length before about my issues with DKs and I’m sorry ot say that having now spent a few more weeks grouping with them my initial opinions haven’t changed.

I think that a big part of the DK problem is that even by the time you are playing through Halls of Stone, The Nexus etc etc they just don’t seem to have really learnt their class….at all.

There is a long list of issues that I have regularly come across and it seems I am not alone a lot of other players are also complaining about these and others:

Tanking in all DPS gear – Just because it is plate it doesn’t mean you should tank with it!!

Hoping that DPS alone will generate enough threat for you to be able to hold a room full of mobs – fail in anyone’s language

Not using Frost presence when tanking….seriously wtf?

Oh yeah and my favourite the shitty fairy at the top of the Death Knoob tree, the cherry on top of the liquishit cake you so freely share around…..

After a wipe on halls of lightning, Utgarde Pinnacle etc “Soz guys my 1st time tanking roflol”….Well thanks a lot, thanks for fucking up the one instance run a night that I might get on an instance I actually need to do, thanks for the half the group (usually including a pissed off healer) dropping as soon as this utterance leaves your lips and lets not forget the 10g minimum that you have just cost me in having to go repair my sorry plate wearing ass.

Ok calm, down deep breaths, DK rant over.

I also dislike the 1k gold it costs for cold weather flying, just seems like a money sink but hey thats life. Personally I never rock less than 4/5k gold at any given time so dont mind paying it, but there are a lot of players who will spend whole weeks farming just to hit that 1k or alternately will decide to contact their friendly neighbourhood Chinese gold farmer in order to puke up some of their hard earned cash.





The wait is over :)

11 06 2010

It’s been 4 years but the wait is over.

The World Cup is here again; normally I avoid writing anything about football (soccer for our colonial cousins) as normally the discussions spiral round and round and round about who is signing who or which player/team/coach etc is the best…yawn

But I am genuinely excited about  the World Cup, I always have been since I was a child and watched Italia 90 at home.

I am always more than a little amused at myself as it is also the only time that I have any vaguely patriotic feelings at all about the UK.

It is strange I go through life feeling a generally pleasant ambivalence to the country of my birth but then every 4 years I suddenly feel this unfamiliar pang of pride and anticipation.

Maybe it is nothing more than the fact that England is the birthplace of the modern game (some claim the game full stop) and even though we get humbled at it quite regularly we did succeed in giving the world one of the few genuinely unifying things that it has; 22 men kicking an inflated bladder around.





DING 70!

10 06 2010

Well I am surprisingly tardy in reporting this but I hit 70 on Tuesday evening.

Obviously it’s not the big deal it used to be but it still gives me a sense of achievement, there are now only 10 measly levels between me and the Lich King.

Because I actually really like the Burning Crusade content I have decided against jumping ship to Northrend straight away, I really want to work my way through some of the greatraids that there are in TBC, in particular Sunwell Plateau and Mount Hyjal.

I only ever got to complete Sunwell once before I took my gaming hiatus and would really like to give it another whirl.

Being a few years further on as a gamer and having been a bit more patient and focused on making some gold I am really enjoying the benefits of having good gear.

Ret Pallys are really gear dependant and I see some of my compatriots really struggling in comparisson to other classes for two simple reasons; either their gear sucks balls or they aren’t bothering with  can’t afford the little things that make all the difference like decent gems and enchants.

Sure I might have taken a week  or so longer in order to get here but good god the time spent farming has sure payed off!

So if you happen to be hanging around Boulderfist (not likely) and want to run some TBC raids then hit me up 🙂





Lord of the rings online…for FREE?!?!?!

8 06 2010

Well it turns out that the rumours  that have been rumbling away for a while now were true, Lord of the rings online (LOTRO) is going free to play (F2P).

Turbine dropped this not so unexpected bombshell on Friday and it would seem on the face of things that this is going to work out pretty much the same way that things did with Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO).

So why has this happened, well the population in LOTRO has never really hit the heights that it might of and on my recent visits to Middle Earth I have even found that it has dropped off a bit.

If DDO is anything to go by and it probably is, we can expect to see a big spike in the number of “subscribers” when F2P goes live and then for things to settle down a bit but still be a lot higher than current population levels in LOTRO.

Whilst I can see the big plus sides to going F2P I do remain a little bit skeptical of how it is going to work out in the long run. I worry that with the game suddenly being free there will be a vast influx of new players and the chat channels etc will suddenly be full of the sort of idiocy that you see so regularly in WOW etc, the reasonably mature standard of players in LOTRO has always been one of the big attractions for me (other than the hobbits of course) and I know it is a big factor for a lot of other players as well.

The biggest worry for me is that the standard of content that is released for the game is going to suffer as a result. Already we have seen Siege of Mirkwood released even though it wasn’t a patch on the original game or Mines of Moria and I can envisage a time down the line when we will look back fondly on SoM and long for the good old days.

Whilst I can see that from a numbers point of view F2P makes sense I jsut can’t see how it makes sense in the life of the game, this isn’t some tired old MMO that has been kicking around for far too long and needs to be put out to stud, Turbine have only taken us into a very small part of Middle Earth so far and there is plenty of scope not only for future expansions but even to give the game a bit of a mid-life overhaul.

One things for sure at least I won’t have to worry about having too many subscriptions now!





Where have all the raiders gone?

2 06 2010

Well I’ve been back in the World of Warcraft for a little while now and have managed to reach level 67 so far, some people might call this rate of progress almost casual but I really don’t mind, I’m just enjoying the ride!

I knew before I even set foot back into the game that things would have changed and moved on, some for the better for the worse, in particular I expected to see a lot of changing as a result of Wrath of the Lich King and the new level cap being that much higher.

Well I wasn’t wrong, most of the new features serve to make the game better and even more accesible than it previously was, especially as the dungeon finder now means that some people that never would have had a chance to run some of the instances can now pug up and run them to their hearts content.

Their are a coupleof negatives though, the aforementioned dungeon finder has given rise to far more of the also aforementioned pugs (pick up groups) anyone who has read any of my previous diatribes will be familiar with my dislike for pugs so I will not go into it again here suffice to say that if you have only ever grouped with pugs then you are missing out.

The other big problem is one that probably will not bother the vast majority of people but certainly manges to irritate me.

Very few if any people are running the classic raids anymore.

Now I realise that whenever there is a new expansion it’s all about the new end game content and that maybe you see the point of running raids to get gear that can be replaced from random world drops in a mere 2 or 3 levels time.

But you miss out on so much of the game if you ignore the older raids, not only is the content great, the gear (if obtained at the level it’s intended for) is very good and they are just fun!

Not to mention the fact that if you leave out the raids then you miss out on big hits of xp points which are certainly a refreshing change to grinding mobs or running the same dungeons time and again.

That’s why I have decided to twink my mage, I am going to take him through to 60 and leave him there, maybe not forever but certainly for long enough that I get to experience all of the original end game content as it was meant to be played, not as some level 80 DK that’s been summoned into an instance for a laugh.

When I have done 60 I will move on to 70 and do exactly the same all over agai.

Now all I need to do is find 24 friends with similar ideas….





Summer Lightning

1 06 2010

It is quite possible that Summer Lightning has won more awards then any other beer on sale in the UK today.

These aren’t my words they are the words of the Hopbabk brewery who are responsible for creating this delightful summer ale.

I first came across Summer Lightning a number of years ago at the East Anglian beer festival in Bury St Edmunds and I will admit I was bowled over by it!

When poured the beer  has a golden almost straw like colour to it and whilst there is a head it is rather on the small side (about 1 finger), I know some people to have complained in the past that there isn’t that much of an aroma to the beer and in some ways they are right, if you compare this to a monster like Exmoor Beast for example then no there isn’t much of an aroma at all, however what aroma there is has pleasantly fruity citrus nose to it with a nice hint of  malty bitterness as well.

Summer Lightning has a crisp and refreshing mouth feel to it and it is a surprisingly good palate cleanser, I have known many people to say that it would be their ideal curry beer in that regards.

There is a refreshing bitterness to the beer and it has a pithy hoppy finish to it which is great, however the hops do not overwhelm the slightly nutty – biscuity taste that is present as a counterpoint. For such a light summer beer there is a surprising amount of body to it.

For me Summer Lightning takes the crisp, refreshing bitterness of a good pilsner but manages to pack in some of the complexity of flavour that you would expect in a far heavier ale.

For me Summer Lightning was and still is exactly what a good summer beer is all about, the added bonus is that they brew it all year and it is as enjoyable mid winter as it is midsummer.

4.75/5








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