However, I have a new runner-up. As I mentioned recently, I purchased copies of Torchlight II for my two boys, but the router kept crashing. Since the router worked for every other game we've played (and between the three of us, we have play a fair number of games), I was upset. I ensured the firmware was up-to-date and checked the settings, but the best I could do was get two players in a group for ten minutes before the router crashed. If I tried to join their game, it would crash instantly.
Since my boys really wanted to play together, and I was planning on playing with them once I finished my manuscript, I bought a replacement router--the same near top-of-the-line $180 router (an Apple Airport Extreme) I had previously. (Why the same brand? Because it had always worked flawlessly in the past and it had the nice feature where I could transfer settings effortlessly. Hindsight being what it is, I should have known I was making a mistake.) Well, that didn't fix the situation for my boys and they were unable to play the game over the Internet. I was empathetic, but also busy trying to finish revisions on my story, so I didn't have enough time to really dedicate myself to solving the problem.
So, this weekend rolls around and my manuscript is at the editor leaving me with far more time than I've had since August 1st when I buckled down to finish that novel. I have plenty of work to do around marketing and distribution for my book, but I wanted to take a little time off and play games with my kids. Determined to solve the networking issue without resorting to Tunngle, I pulled out old routers from the cabinet where all discarded and extra computer parts go, waiting for that glorious day that they can be reused. I don't think any of those spare parts ever get reused, but this was their chance. Pushing aside SIMM chips, I started with a 90s-style single-purpose 10/100mb switch, figuring that it would at least allow local play. By the time, I walked upstairs, I realized the flaw in my plan: Of the three computers only two actually had ethernet ports--the other one was wi-fi only.
Irritated, but not to be deterred, I dug further into my cabinet of discarded toys, only to come up with a cable bridge and two ethernet-only routers. I must have recycled or given away past wi-fi routers, or my wife has been slowly and clandestinely clearing out the cabinet like Tim Robbins.
Already $240+tax into the game (one router and three copies), I decided to buy a new router. So, I put another $180+ dollars down. The three of us played flawlessly for over an hour before the Major League Gaming Starcraft II matches sucked in my older son. Not that I mind. I love watching MLG.
I'm not sure if there is a moral to this $420+tax story. Maybe, don't buy the same router you already own if it didn't work the first time. Or maybe, put a lock on your computer-parts cabinet. However, now we should be able to get in some good, quality family time beating up monsters in Torchlight II. It was fun, even on the normal difficulty setting to just march around and slaughter hordes of monsters. With the blood splatters turned off, it reminded me of the original Diablo more than Diablo III.