Spider-Man in Niagra Falls

Going through some old email archives this weekend and came across an email I had written sending out an article I’d stumbled across about Marvel’s Adventure City at Niagra Falls. Who knew?

A little googling came up with a video of the Spider-man ride from there, which is like some bizarro world craptacular version of the absolutely brilliant ride here at Universal Islands of Adventure. Video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdSM5LZz54c

More Thoughts on the Cataclysm Beta

EDIT: Lost my Picasa album when I reinstalled the WoW Cataclysm client, so the Picasa links won’t exactly work right.

Finally hit a point with the Worgen in Cataclysm where I find the story got interesting. It’s kind of hard to judge without the animated cut-scenes in place, but the early story really didn’t grab me. It was kind of hard to figure out who the Worgen were. Yeah, there were wolf-people all around Shadowfang Keep, and I knew that the boss mob there had something to do with them, but their story didn’t really come across for me. So…I got bitten…then I’m a Worgen, but not exactly. More sort of half-human Worgen, thingie…

Eventually, after the quest that was bugged earlier was fixed, you get the “so you see, Joe” scene where some handy druids show up to explain exactly what’s going on. Better. Still confusing. But at least I have motivation now. I’m half-human, half-Worgen, and the druids are helping all of us contain our bestial side so we can fight the bad guys smartly. Cue the theme from The Hulk.

The art style is kind of gothically kewl. Lots of fancy-dressing and top hats. Made me chuckle happily when one of the quests I did gave me a top hat. Totally worthless from a game perspective, but at least now I look like all the other citizens of Gilneas.

Speaking of totally worthless from a game perspective, there’s a lot of complaining in chat about the whole ability Worgen have to transform. You see, you get to choose your Worgen form, but not your human form, so you swap into this random human form selected for you when you hit the transform button. Being a roleplayer, I kind of like the rp aspects of this, but I’d rather see the transform have a purpose. Maybe not the, “Oh, no, I have to transform or they’ll attack me” kind of thing. But it might be fun to have some quests where you have to change form.

On the Goblin side of things, I tried to heal my first instance as a Shaman. Total disaster. Um….I have one healing spell. And I didn’t spec Restoration. Not that the six or so talent points I had when I tried to do it would have helped. I’m thinking next time I use the Dungeon Finder, I’ll only tick DPS.

For the Alliance…and Horde. ;P

Harry Potterland at Universal

Went to see Harry Potterland at Universal yesterday. (Okay, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter…really?) The detail that went into building the place is amazing! Take a look at the pics I posted to see. You definitely step into the world when you get to the land, which is something I’ve felt about most of the work done at Islands of Adventure.

I’ve seen very little of the attractions yet. The line for the Forbidden Journey ride was two hours long at 7PM, so I’ll skip that until the crowds get shorter. Ditto on the rather annoyingly small Ollivander’s Wand Shop show and the Honey Dukes/Zonko’s shop. I really don’t feel like waiting in long sweaty lines to shop. I’d feel different if I was a Potter fanboy, I’m sure. I did hear where they said J.K. Rowling insisted the shops be small to be more authentic. Really, J.K.? Have you NEVER been to a theme park in Florida? It’s hot. Blisteringly, annoyingly, pass out from the armpit smell hot. Air conditioned space is like a Patronus spell when you’re surrounded by starving Dementors. Those shops NEED to be bigger.

From Harry Potterland at Universal

We ate at the Three Broomsticks restaurant, which is really the re-themed Enchanted Oak, which used to be one of my favorite places at IoA. And here is my biggest beef. Enchanted Oak felt like an Inn in the Shire. It was kind of welcoming, with lots of little booths and a distinctly positive magical feel. The Three Broomsticks is kind of…dingy. It feels like a dungeon inside now. It’s much darker. Lots of antlers hang on the walls. It’s not really someplace I feel like slouching about for a nice meal. The food is pretty much the IoA cloned menu of ribs, chicken, or ribs and chicken, along with some British flavor. Natasha had the pasties and wasn’t enchanted. I had the ribs, which I’ve always thought were quite good. The Hog’s Head brew was quite good — nice, mild beer in a collectible mug. Butterbeer is suitably sweet, like cream soda with butterscotch in it. Ultimately though, Three Broomsticks just isn’t someplace I’d want to spend a lot of time. I mean, it’s kind of nasty in the movies, isn’t it? It’s one saving grace is that they back porch is covered in tables with umbrellas over them, and that same porch has a great view of the castle.

From Harry Potterland at Universal

Again, not a huge Potter fan, so you might feel differently about Three Broomsticks if you own a wand. =) Hey, I’ll admit it, if there was a Death Star restaurant, I’d eat there…lots…

There was a great choir of Hogwarts students performing with their singing frogs. Very catchy, upbeat, musical show. And you can get your pic taken with them afterwards.

From Harry Potterland at Universal

Ultimately, Potterland is amazing work. If you’re a Potter fan, get your time turner and get there yesterday. Or maybe find some way to travel into the future, when the lines are shorter.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Beta

EDIT 09/12/2009 – When I reinstalled the WoW Cataclysm Client it messed up my syncing with my Picasa gallery, so I lost the pics that were up there. I’ve restarted posting pics up there.

So I’m lucky enough to be in the beta for the new World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclsym. So far, it’s been pretty fun. I’m running a Worgen Warrior and a Goblin Shaman. The Worgen currently have a bug preventing me from getting past level 10, so I switched over to playing the Goblin, which I’m finding waaaaay more fun. The Goblin quests really have the spark of humor that you find a lot in WoW. Admittedly, they’re less high fantasy and perhaps a bit too Gnome-like in terms of how the humor works, but being a fan of well-done pop culture references and anachronisms, I’m really enjoying it.

You can follow my progress at this Picasa album.