Sunday, May 24, 2009

What I've Been Listening To: May 17-23, 2009

Here in the 'States we are celebrating the Memorial Day weekend. Celebrating is a term that seems a bit strange considering that the purpose of the holiday is to remember those who have died during our many wars. Hopefully those on both sides of the political debates in this country can put aside their differences and just remember and honor those who paid the highest price in the service to their country.

Here is what I've been listening to over the past week.

"First Time" Listen

SOE Official Podcast #62 (Hosts: Alan "Brenlo" Crosby & Aimee "Ashley" Rekoske) - I've put "first time" in quotes because this is not the first time I've listened to the official podcast put out by Sony Online Entertainment, but I haven't listened to the podcast over the past few months. Now seemed a good time since the host, Alan "Brenlo" Crosby, recently made the move from head of SOE's community relations team to Senior Producer of EverQuest2.

The SOE podcast covers all of SOE's wide range of MMORPG's, from EverQuest & FreeRealms to the Matrix Online and Planetside. As expected, the hosts put a positive spin on all things SOE. If listeners take that into account, the podcast can be entertaining. The podcast gives all the major SOE news in one place along with one or two interviews with SOE staff. Recent interview subjects have been Jason "Pex" Ryan (Free Realms Community Manager), Jason "Jaskell" Haskell (Star Wars Galaxies Associate Game Developer) and Josh "Autenil" Kriegshauser (Technical Director for EQ2).

Besides news, the hosts try to keep the podcast light, with recurring characters like The Grumpy Old Gamer, The Love Doctor, and server hamsters making frequent appearances. The server hamsters have gained quite a following with podcast 62 bringing in the introduction of a love triangle (or more likely a "Fatal Attraction") to the SOE server hamster community. Another thing the podcast is famous for is the hosts slurping of coffee. What was a small joke and complaint early on has turned into a full-fledged feature on the podcast.

For those interested in any of SOE's games, this podcast should be a regular download.

Old Friends

Van Hemlock #51 (Hosts: Tim Dale and Jon Shute) - The podcast went on the road to KIASACon '09 where their guests were Mike and James from Killed in a Smiling Accident. The conversation centered around game reviews, abusing the City of Heroes Mission Architect system and perhaps the last Tabula Rosa news we will ever hear. Wait, that would assume either 1) Richard Garriott will shut up or 2) that Jon will ignore the noise even if it amuses him. I think the answer is "no" to both questions.

Free Play Podcast #19 (Hosts: Riknas & Andras) - The game reviewed this episode was Runes of Magic. Having played the game to level 15 scout/15 rogue, I have to say this was a great review as well as a great podcast. The hosts looked at some aspects of the game in a way I wouldn't, and I liked the results.

The Instance #145 (Hosts: Scott Johnson & Randy Jordan) - The hosts of the World of Warcraft podcast discussed in-game issues like the arrival of Outfit Manager, vehicles, and the Lake Wintergrasp daily quests now only being weekly quests. Out of game issues included WoW-related applications disappearing from the iTunes store and a web comic in Germany pulling the comic from its website. And don't forget to listen through to the end for all the contributor content.

The Instance #146 (Hosts: Scott Johnson & Randy Jordan) - The hosts followed up on a couple of items discussed on episode 145, discussed trying to get BlizzCon tickets and actually told people to go to the official forums. And as always, the lightning round of questions is good.

In case you can't tell, I suffered a bit from The Instance overload as I tried to catch up on that podcast.

Spouse Aggro #76 (Hosts: Beau and Leala Turkey) - The Turkey's have switched up the format and are eating dinner, not breakfast, during the podcast. The main topic was avatars in games and what they may or may not represent about the players behind the pixels.

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