Friday, March 30, 2007

Been a while ...

Okay, it's been some time since I wrote in here. I don't know why, but maybe it's because nothing all that interesting has happened since then.

But a few things popped up in the last couple days, so I figured an update was due.

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First off, I'm going to go on a non-video game related tangent here.

I know! Me talk about something not about games? Who'd have thunk it?

Anyways, my tabletop group and I have been playing a GURPS campaign for the last while, and it's been good, at least IMO. My friend Inferno is GMing, and it's set in a low-fantasy gameworld, in a Vikings flavoured area of the world. Inferno has been running it more towards the realistic side of things, and I like that. GURPS is inherently realistic in game terms, so it fits.

Anyways, we've been playing at my place of all places. Mostly cause it's near where Inferno works and he had to go to work after games each night. He has been on night shifts, like me, for a while now. So, we've been playing here. Which is nice cause I don't have to go anywhere, I have food I can eat readily available (I have allergies), and I like having people over. I've been getting into my character, things have been funny, and at numerous times, life threatening for the entire party. Overall, it's been a blast.

But the recent problem is that we've gone back to playing DnD 3.5 for a while. Inferno's live-in girlfriend broke up with him, and is just now moving out. So he's been in a bad head space, and hasn't been that able to keep focused on GMing. I don't blame him either. He's had to live with her for over 5 weeks! Like me and his old roomie said, she should have been kicked out a long time ago. It's been really bad for his recovery. So, on we've gone to DnD again.

And the short of it all: I fucking hate it.

I just can't stand DnD. It's not really the fantasy gameworld (we're using Greyhawk), nor the high magic genre. It's simply the ruleset. I hate classes and levels, and so forth. I also /really dislike/ my rogue character.

Basically, I feel DnD (at least 3.5 edition, as I'm not familiar with 2nd or earlier) is like a video game. And that's not inherently bad. But it's not something I want to play when I do tabletop. I get enough of the classes, levels and item based gameplay when I play video games. Why do I want that when I play tabletop?

Also, like I said, I /really dislike/ my rogue. He's so fucking useless in everything aside from picking locks, disarming traps and finding treasure/traps/secret doors (search rolls) that it hurts. He's completely ineffective in combat, even though he has higher strength than most rogues. He's got shit for Armour Class. No real effective items, except some goggles that make his Search rolls +5 higher and a robe that helps him Hide (+10). And his Charisma is low (7), so he's not good at any social skills or getting information.

Basically, he's an utter one trick pony. And all those things he can do well, only require me to roll 1 die (d20). Woohoo ....

It's like,
Guys: "Oh, the door is locked. Send in the thief!"
Me: "I check it for traps." *roll*, (if I find any) "I disarm them." *roll*, and "I unlock it." *roll*

Wow. Fun.

I've truly considered telling my friends to simply run him as an NPC, and just make the necessary die rolls when they need to. It's not like he matters in combat, so when that happens, just keep him in the back and out of trouble. When the rest of the party is interacting with NPCs in town, he never does anything, so it doesn't matter that way either.

In fact, upon typing all this, I think I will simply type up my character sheet for them, and let them run him as an NPC. Perhaps when we go back to playing GURPS, I'll play again. But I think the rest of the guys will be out of town for most of the summer months, so games probably won't last too many more weeks anyways.

Gah ... I so hate DnD. Fucking levels/classes/items.

Maybe I can convince the guys to let me run my Aliens game instead. At least I can GM it, and it's a setting I /actually like/. Go Post-Apocalyptic/Horror!

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In other news, I might be switched over to day shifts at work soon. We've lost a couple guys due to transfers/quitting, so they need a person in the mornings. And I guess I'm it. It's going to definitely be weird though, as I've been on night shifts for like 2 years now.

I even got my haircut today, and it's a lot shorter than it was before. Normally I grow my hair out in the winter months, for extra warmth, and so I don't need gel/wax/whatever in my hair getting on my toque. Plus, I like just combing my hair and going. Styling it has never been high on my list of fun things to do.

But, it is kind of nice now though. It sure does take less time to wash, and I can actually see my ears again.

But it does seem a tad colder now, and I find myself a bit chilly, even in my place. Maybe it's cause I'm tired, I dunno.

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In game news, Battlefield 2142 is boring now. I haven't really played it with Kofi for a couple weeks now, as his computer crapped out on him. But we weren't playing it all that much anyways. I've logged like 50+ hours into it already, and I'm bored. Kofi has 73 hours or something like that. Some of the high up people on the leaderboards have like 6000 hrs. It's fucking insane. It must be all that they do, or at least it must occupy /all/ of their free time.

Need for Speed Most Wanted is okay every once and a while. But I've got near the end of the challenges, and they are getting stupid hard now. On the time trials if you fuck up, even the slightest, you're done. It's highly annoying. And the campaign is boring as heck, mostly cause I've driven the better cars in the challenges, and my campaign car doesn't even come close.

I uninstalled Oblivion the other day, as I added all those mods, and the one that changed the levelling made the enemies /ridiculously hard/. I can't even kill a regular bandit with 2 sneak attack arrows. Hell, I couldn't kill one with my fucking sword. I had to use spells and a copious amount of potions to keep me alive while doing so. It was stupid.

I've also changed my mind about getting Jade Empire. I read a couple of reviews of it, and they didn't seem all that enthusiastic. One said the campaign is far shorter than a regular Bioware RPG. Another said the character progression isn't all that varied, as well as saying that the combat isn't as engaging as it seems. I watched the one video from the Bioware newsletter, and it's true. The combat doesn't seem that engaging. It's mostly MMO style. Lock target, and click special moves. Bah ....

And I was soooo looking forward to another good RPG to play.

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Smallville was new for the last couple weeks and I've been entertained by the episodes. Some big time stuff has happened, so it's upped the capital D, "Drama!" aspect of the show. I think it's gone into another break for a while now, so it's not back until Heroes is.

Bah ... fucking bastards. I want my comic bookiness!

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In MMO-land, I've been fiddling with /numerous/ characters in CoX again, trying to figure out what I'd like to play. I even had a couple ATs/powerset combos I liked, but the characters I had designed them around seemed better in other ATs/Powersets, so I re-rolled them. But it wasn't a big loss, as they were like level 6 or something.

I haven't tried the Villains side at all since I came back, as the only AT I really liked was Brutes, and I hated how I needed to keep up the pace to keep my Rage bar full. It was like you couldn't really take a break until the mission was over, otherwise it takes you a while to get the bar full again. Plus, the Brute is just like a Scrapper, except the Scrapper /always/ has their improved critical ability, /and/ the Heroes side missions aren't anywhere near as annoying as the Villains. I especially /hate/ the Arachnos bases, with the constant annoying humming sound and the mesh walls that drive my framerate into the ground.

I've actually thought about trying to alter my CoX files so that those sounds are gone. As well as deleting the Heroes side ones with placeable music in missions. It sucks cause I listen to MP3s and I can't turn off the fucking in-game mission music. It's not controlled by the music slider, it's simply a sound in one place of the map. Move far enough away, and it fades. I don't know why they even decided to put them in the game, especially without the ability to adjust their volume.

So, after fiddling with a bunch of characters, I /think/ I've got one that I actually want to play. I had a couple that were lots of fun, for a while. But they soon became very one dimensional, and I'm much more of a hybrid/multipurpose/jack of all trades type of player. The Claws/Regen scrapper was cool, as he always had an attack at the ready. But all he does is damage. No knockdowns. No -Accuracy, no Hold/Immobilizes/etc. At least until level 26 or something. It was kind of hard to play. I'm used to the utility of Dark Melee, and it's -ACC debuff on the attacks, it's dual nature damage (Neg Energy/Smashing), it's Fear debuff, Healing, End drain, etc. You have a plethora of options, not just "more damage". And the Claws do Lethal damage, so their mostly even or resisted. Not many mobs have weaknesses to Lethal damage, unlike Negative Energy.

The other character was a Ice/Energy Melee Blaster. He's still fun, as the knockback from Energy is /highly entertaining/, especially with the ragdoll physics. And I like Ice as there's more of a utility for the set, in that you get 2 Holds, and 2 AoE DoTs. The AoEs aren't until later, but the huge single target damage of Ice more than makes up for it. I've had fun with the set, but the /big problem/ I've found is that I'm almost always out of Endurance. My attacks are all very END draining, so it doesn't take long before I can't do anything. And as a Blaster, that usually spells death.

I dunno, I might keep up with that character, as I really like the RP aspects of the character I designed, but I don't think I can make him my main. The END issues are huge, and grinding to 20 for Stamina will be a fucking chore. I could group up with END regen buffing teammates, but the vast majority of MMO players I've grouped with, aside from guildmates, have been complete and utter tools. I can't count how many times I've just made up some excuse to get the hell out of the group, before they wiped us all out. On the flip side, all the grouping I've done with my guildmates, aside from a couple times with my Rad/Rad Corruptor, has been utterly painless. Perhaps because most of the times, we have all been /very adept/ soloers, so we know how to play our classes effectively. Thus, no one does something stupid, like make a Tanker and not take their Mez protection power.

Like Inferno, the one time I got him to trial CoX. He made a Tanker, and skipped Unyielding. Just cause he said it sounded like it sucked. *facepalm*

Sooo ... I've come up with a character that I think I can play. The only thing about it: It's a Dark Melee scrapper.

Yeah, I've played one before, I know. But his secondary is Dark Armour, and it plays /completely different/ than Regen. I've got to be a lot more watchful of my END bar, but it's kind of cool in a way. My very first major character in CoH back in the day was a female Dark/Dark scrapper. I even got her to lvl 15 before I re-rolled. That's amazing, especially since CoH was my 2nd MMO and I had almost /no idea/ how the game worked.

So my new char is a Dark/Dark scrapper, and he's both different and similar to Dex, my long time Dark/Regen scrapper. He's tied to the same storyline as Dex (but all of my characters are in some way), and is related to death in a way too. But he's very different personality wise, and powers wise. Dex was a Mutant like Rogue from the X-Men. He could steal people's powers, etc. This new guy just has them from Magic, and no one knows why. And the coolest thing? He's a corpse. Literally.

I've decided that he's a zombie like dude, who's actually dead in a way. His body is animated, but he's not alive. He doesn't eat, sleep, drink, breathe. All like regular Undead. He's mindless in a way, so psychics won't be able to read his mind, which also helps integrate him easily into my old SG, as their currently being plagued by an old psychic villain. My guy is also very different than Dex in personality. I haven't permanently set his personality in stone, but I'm thinking about playing him very cold, and unemotional. Like a zombie.

There's been a couple details I've been waffling on though. I was thinking about having him have no eyes or tongue. He sees through some kind of magic, and he speaks through it as well. But I think I might have him just have white eyes, with black pupils and pale veiny skin. Simply because none of the CoX faces have those missing features, and I might want to have him be able to more easily interact with people later on. Not having eyes or a tongue does make things a bit difficult. Plus, if I decide to change his personality to make him more human like in attitudes, having inhuman features is kind of a big social stigma.

So, yeah. I've got this character, and I've been enjoying him. Also because after playing the other scrapper sets, and comparing them to each other, I can see why I like Dark Melee. The other sets all have long animations, slow recharges, or higher endurance costs vs. the damage dealt. I actually calculated the damage per second (DPS) and damage per endurance (DPE) for some of the sets, and after looking at those, the recharge times, and figuring out attack chains, I can see why Dark Melee comes out on top. At least IMO. Most of the other sets are weak DMG wise, are either Lethal or Smashing damage (the 2 most resisted types), and have a lot of waiting for powers to recharge, at least at the lower levels (I /hate/ waiting to attack). Plus, they seem to lack the "oomph" in sound I'm looking for. When I hit a mob, I want to hear a decent sound. The other sets don't really accomplish that, except for maybe Spines. And for soloing, Dark Melee has almost all single target damage powers. Only one is melee cone. And that one is almost the same as the other powers for DPE even when you only hit one mob. Most of the other powersets need to be hitting at least 3 mobs to make their attacks worth the time (DPS) or Endurance (DPE).

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Blah ... I've rambled on a lot here. Sorry about that.

Till next time.
The Rev.

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