Upgrades and patches and crashes, oh my!

So last night, leaving work, I was like a kid the day before Christmas. Not one but TWO shiny new expansions awaited me at home. By the time I went to bed, I felt like a kid on Christmas afternoon who’d found that all those mysterious packages had held socks and underwear.

I first hit LOTRO to get Mines of Moria installed. I’d opted for the downloadable version of that, and had “pre-downloaded” and installed the expansion a few days earlier. When I got home, the servers were down for a hot fix, but I ran the client anyway and… it took two hours to convert the game to Moria! Urgh. Once that finished, I logged in (after sitting in a queue) and played “spot the differences” with the UI (which primarily seemed to surround traits). I’d read about the big combat changes but I didn’t really see anything markedly different, but then I’m no theorycrafter. I wanted to get EQ2 going so I logged out after a few moments.

Angela had run the updater for EQ2 for me in the afternoon, so no patching was necessary. I had to re-open my account, apply my key and off I went, back to Norrath. My Dire Bear was kind of cool, but not as cool as the higher level ones (my character is 38) and not as fast as my horse. And beyond that… nothing really. I can’t fault Sony; they’d made it clear that this expansion was for level 50+, but I figured I’d find *something* shiny and new to excite me, but not really. I did log in to find I had 153% of the experience I needed to level from some change made in the past. So as soon as I got a point of xp, I dinged to 39 and half-way to 40, so level 50 doesn’t seem out of reach.

But then I crashed. Silently and with no fanfare. The screen froze for a second and suddenly I was looking at my desktop. I rebooted the PC, just in case, and once Vista eventually lurched back to life I logged back in. Played for 20 or so minutes and bam! Another crash to desktop. No obvious cause…nothing that connected the two occurrences in my mind. When last I played EQ2 (this past summer) the game was rock-stable for me, so I dunno what’s up. I have updated my video drivers since then; maybe its the PhysX crap in the nVidia drivers? I started surfing the support forums, but by this time it was after 11 and I finally just said “To hell with it” and went to bed, dejected and rather cranky.

And woke up even crankier this morning. Tonight I get to check out the “New XBox Experience” which honestly doesn’t sound all that exciting, but we’ll see. I’m going to set EQ2 to use a totally default interface in case one/some of my mods are out of date and breaking that game. If that doesn’t fix it, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Probably let it set for a few days until I’m more in the mood to troubleshoot PC gaming. If it turns into a long-running diagnosis/fix attempt cycle I’ll just write off my return to the game as a bad idea and go back to Warhammer.

Ah well. At least its Ghost Hunters night!