Meet me at sundown
So, for the past couple of weeks, I had been debating wether or not to get XBox live. I know there are a bunch of games, plus I could compete with people from all over the US. Eventually, I could get some of my friends on there to do battle on the different games. But there were several factors I considered before signing up.
2. The wireless set up I have at home.
3. 3 or 12 month sign up
In the end, I went ahead and got it after considering many factors. Here is my experience with XBox live:
What to get part 1: The Live kit
I went all over Austin and looked online to see what I could find. There was the 3 month kit that comes with a head set and some demo games. Then, there was the 12 month kit with a headset and a full version of Crimson Skies. Plus, I have a pair of 2 month trial cards that came with DDR and some other game. Or, I could just get a 12 month card and get the headset later. Everywhere I went, the prices were about the same. After much debate, I opted for the 12 month kit, since I didn't want to miss out on the headset experience and it came with a free game. I am happy I did. I had not read any reviews of Crimson Skies before buying the game. I was actually thinking about selling it to EB games to get something else. But, I was surprised by how much fun it is, especially, the Live multiplayer. But more on that later.
What to get part 2: The Network
Now, as you all know, I got the D-Link running the show at home. Sure, its kinda old, but it gets the job done. But, the router and cable modem are in the back and the TV with the XBox is in the front. Hmmm. Now, the last thing I wanted was CAT-5 running from the back to the front, so I had to go the wireless route. I looked around at several options. One was the XBox adapter and the others were offerings from D-Link and Linksys. I also thought about rigging up some hack, like using that Airport Express as a bridge, but that won't work. The port on there is a WAN port, so no luck there. Next, I thought about getting a 802.11g router and using the old one as a bridge, but the D-Link router docs say that cannot be done. So sadly, I would have to go with a bridge. The D-Link and Linksys bridges were like $10 more than the XBox one, so thats the one I went for. At home, I have MAC address filtering. I had to figure out where to find the MAC address of the wireless adapter. After a while, and several screens later, I found one on the XBox dashboard. I added the MAC address to the router's Allow List and I tried using a couple of times and no dice. The Xbox would give me an error and I would have to reset the wireless adapter. Next, I found one on the bottom of the Wireless Adapter. I used that one as well, and nogo. In the end, I allowed every MAC address just to get the thing working. I tested it again, and it worked! On Sunday afternoon, in a moment of clarity, I figured that I would have to put both the XBox MAC address and the Wireless adapter MAC address on the allow list, but I haven't gotten around to it. I will probably do it sometime this week. I don't want to leave the access point open to everyone in the apartment complex. No telling what they'll download.
Where do I Sign up??
The sign up went as expected. All my info is now in the hands of Microsoft, including a credit card #. If I am using the subscription cards to pay for service, what do they need a CC# for? I guess the game 'Extras.' Now, will they conveniently charge me in about a year, for 12 more months without me asking? I'll be watching my statements carefully to make sure I don't pay for 12 months without me knowing. But, I used my GMail address just to rib 'em a bit. After all that, it was time to choose a name that would strike fear in the heards of those who dare challenge me. As luck would have it, the gamertag I wanted was still availible: shadyrudy, what else? After that, I set up a password using the D Pad and the buttons and was good to go.
Time to frag!!1!
I was all ready to go and I tossed in Halo. Looked around and around for the Live settings. Wait a minute.... Halo is not live enabled!?!?! Arrrrgh. I never bothered to look at the box and see that the Live symbol was nowhere to be found. Ok, don't panic. Of the Live games I do have, I ruled out DDR because it was almost 23:30 PM and I was going to bed soon. So, I tossed in Pandora Tomorrow and fired up the Live multiplayer section. First, Ihad to endure some training missions, as the controls change a bit. That, and when you are a Merc, you don't have NVG or Thermal, so that took some getting used to. But, after passing the training, I hopped right into the mix. The guys I was playing with made up their own game within the game, which was pretty fun. Instead of diffusing bombs, 3 spies would try and kill the 1 merc. If a merc killed you, you were it in the next game. If the merc lost all his lives, you were the merc again. It was actually pretty fun and the guys I played with were cool. Limited cussing and no abuse, so overall, a positive experience. The headset audio isn't be best in the world, but good enough for plotting against the other team and such.
Take to the Sky
Before firing up Crimson Skies, I was already planning to take it to EB games to get some $$ and buy a Live enabled FPS. But, on the box it has a huge "not for resale" and the game is already selling for $29.00, so the most I will get for it is like $10. Plus, the game wasn't shrink-wrapped or anything, so I may as well test it out. Boy am I glad I did. That game is really fun on Live. The normal game seems a bit easy, but Live is where the challenge is at. You'll find me on there at night, but usually for about 30-45 minutes or so. I still have stuff I need to do around the apartment. Happy gaming!