Blaugust Day 24: Asura Alt Collection – The Warrior (GW2)

I find it very tedious to run dungeons.

My charr warrior that was originally planned as a dungeon/fractal runner somehow ended up as a Teq and Triple Trouble Wurm killer, hanging out around Sparkfly Fen and Bloodtide Coast.

Between hanging on to PTV soldier gear (for Tequatl before it could be crit) and accumulate a great deal of blues and greens and champion bags and dragonite ore from all those chests being opened, plus a few tonics for in-between waiting fun, plus consumables for the “need emergency dps” moments, his bags are overstuffed.

That usually means I get through 1.5 dungeons before my inventory overloads and I start looking around for salvage kits… and realize that I’ve left the copper salvage kit in my other pants (aka the WvW alt, that also needs to salvage on the fly, or the cloth salvaging alt, etc.)

Which leads to extra stress attempting to sort and clean inventory on the go, while the rest of the group is in “go go go” mode trying to finish the other 1.5 dungeons.

So, maybe, I would be less stressed out if I had a second warrior, with lots of bag space, officially designated as a dungeon-runner and make him fully meta-compliant with the proper (and expensive) runes and consumables an everything?

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Thus was Peacemaker Yolo born.

And yes, I kept encountering the YOLO meme and kept thinking it would make a great asura name. Not to mention, be extremely hilarious to yell it in caps and then charge headlong into a bunch of mobs like Leeroy Jenkins, if entertainment and a combat initator was ever needed.

Naturally, there is no way in hell “Yolo” alone was available as a name, so we had to get roleplayer-creative and give him a title of some kind.

The Peacemakers are an organization that has always intrigued me within the asura culture. They’re like a police force (complete with golems) and defensive army protecting asura territory and patroling Rata Sum and its outskirts.

I’ve always wondered how they ‘fit’ within the general academic asuran culture where it’s all mainly about research labs and krewes working on individual projects and politicking their way to the top. Are they intellectual drop outs that turn to more physical military pursuits? Or are the peacemakers also a well-respected job occupation in asura culture? Then there are shades of military and thought police, I’m not exactly sure how far asura will go,  given their frenetic pursuit of modernity and semi-loose morals, in a way. And then there’s their relationship to the Inquest. I presume they’re somewhat at odds and the Peacemakers tend to jail the troublemakers of that faction, when they get too disruptive.

No concrete canon answers as yet. Just idle speculation. But enough to feel interested in naming a character as ‘belonging’ to that organization.

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I contrasted Yolo from Kujl and Shudd by making him an older asura.

Here’s a veteran of the wars, of a sort. This guy has been around the block a couple of times. He’s definitely a sergeant or higher in terms of police rank, whatever the asura peacekeepers use.

Is he set in his ways? Yeah. He’s probably a traditionalist of some kind. I see him as the most xenophobic of the lot. This guy is “for asura, by asura.”

Only asura are people. The rest, well, bookah is probably too familiar a term. He probably doesn’t call them anything at all. If he does say bookah, it’s probably with an intonation of “outsiders”/ “other” / “alien.”

He likely spends most of his time in asura territory or Rata Sum, only going out on special assignment to take down troublemakers that require SWAT team-like special forces (*cough dungeons cough*).

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I see him more as an inadvertently hilarious character.

The guy’s deadly serious, probably doesn’t have much of a sense of humor anywhere in him at all, beyond a dry wit.

He probably has no idea how adorbs he looks when he’s all suited in his get-up.

To him, it’s probably like standard operating procedure. Protective goggles, make sure your face is concealed to protect operative cover and anonymity, leave no witnesses, blah blah, etc.

If anything, I guess he likes that he looks young and spry when he’s all Batman or ninja-masked. “Still got it,” even after all these years.

And boy, does he hit hard with hundred blades.

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The benefits of being meta-compliant.

Sadly, despite having this guy in my alt stable, clean bags, dungeon waypoints finally ran to and unlocked and all, I’m still procrastinating dungeon-wise, so I guess the issue is just me.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 24.

Blaugust Day 23: To-Do List Review

Apparently, my subconscious brain has decided that the best way to reconcile Blaugust and my natural tendency to post at less frequent rates is to make me reaaaally sleepy and tired on the “off days” so that I will crawl into bed instead and procrastinate by zonking out like a light, and then release sufficient adrenaline on the “on day” to say, ok, go for it, here’s your super-challenge, 3 posts in one day to make up for it all.

Stopgap post #1 will be a to-do list review. Just how close did the ideal cleave to reality?

(Key: Strikethrough means ‘counts as completed the task, in my book.’

Blue text means ‘Still more left to work on that.’)

  • Watch the Dota 2 International
  • Play the GW2 Beta Weekend
  • Seriously attack the hobby room with a GTD-based cleaning effort
  • Scan at least a book a day for the month of August
  • Trove – level ringcrafting
  • Trove – level gardening
  • Trove – get better mount
  • Trove – fish
  • Trove – get ally
  • Trove – get boat
  • Trove – play it, do dailies, get to max level, etc.
  • GW2 – Finish new LA jumping puzzle
  • GW2 – Finish Dry Top Challenger Cliffs badges and llama
  • GW2 – Finish Silverwastes badges (normal and golden)
  • GW2 – Finish the last undone JP, Spelunker’s Delve
  • GW2 – Finish Ebonhawke book reading achievement
  • GW2 – Tidy up alt inventories
  • GW2 – Open champion bags with low level alt
  • GW2 – Sort bank / organize inventories
  • GW2 – Build up gold reserves
  • Watch Indie Game: The Movie
  • Maybe Play or Revisit Steam Games:
    • AI War
    • Astebreed
    • Cinemaware: Anthology
    • Dishonoured
    • Don’t Starve
    • Evolve
    • Gone Home
    • Hate: Plus
    • Her Story
    • How to Survive
    • Injustice: Gods Among Us
    • In Verbis Virtus
    • Minecraft
    • Path of Exile
    • Poker Night 2
    • Puzzle Pirates
    • Puzzle Quest
    • Realm of the Mad God
    • Skyforge
    • Spacechem
    • Spiral Knights
    • Strike Suit Zero
    • Tales of Maj’Eyal
    • Talos Principle
    • The Banner Saga
    • The Blackwell Legacy
    • The Dig
    • The Stanley Parable
    • Terraria
    • Warframe

Not too bad, really. I got many of the one-off things done.

The key outliers are all the declutter projects. Apparently, it is just impossible for me to balance decluttering and playing games and blog posting all at once. If I declutter, it’s probably going to be radio silence for a while.

Trove is letting me indulge my secondary Achiever to no end, I hit all the notes I wanted on that front.

I’ve even gone through several hundreds of fishing lures (while watching old TV series in the other screen. After I finish all the seasons of Dexter, I might just borrow Game of Thrones off my DVD-crazed family member who just picked it up from Amazon and has been doing a marathon in the living room. The opening theme is now stuck in my head and I haven’t even -followed- the show.)

There’s a pretty serious amount of cruel RNG to Trove fishing though, hence why it’s in blue. I’m still missing -one- ancient scale for the first fishing rod upgrade that I want, and after that, there’s even more things that require ancient scales.

I got my Knight to max level in Trove. The Tomb Raiser is level 19 and will probably make it to 20 over the next week or so. Following which, I will work on the Dracolyte. All of them are vaguely in Shadow Level 1 and 2 gear or thereabouts, and I think that’s likely my solo plateau.

Turns out it isn’t so much -soloing- of the Shadow Arena that is the problem (the Tomb Raiser has managed U3 Shadow Arenas with some initial deaths – but you just restart and can try gain) but the fact that you only have so many Shadow keys as one person. The ideal is to find a group where everyone contributes a key, I suppose, though there are probably many more groups that don’t work out.

My Knight keeps blowing up in the normal U5 adventure world groups – geographic latency plus dodgy servers with lag are not a great recipe for being able to avoid one-shot KOs from mobs while in melee – so I’m waiting on a more damage focused ranged alt to give grouping a better attempt.

The other options right now are to slooowly attempt upgrading with Pearls for 1000 flux each (earned via challenge attempts every hour), go through annoying RNG cycling 3rd and 4th stats with Tentacles (of which I seem to have run out and can only find the randomly popping Shadow Knights as a reliable source of, possibly might get more in Shadow Arenas, not sure), figure out which emblems and flasks I should be unlocking with cubits earned from the daily log-ins, fish more or just level the Candy Barbarian when I get bored of the slow upgrade pace.

They’re all doable, just at a slower pace than before.

That slowdown in pace is somewhat welcome, in that I’ve been able to switch back to GW2 and pay a bit more attention on that front.

I really -tried- the new LA jumping puzzle. I faithfully read and watched Dulfy. I got about 3/4 of the way towards the first key, then I just kept failing a jump and falling. I retraced my footsteps through the same 3/4 of the first part 5+ times, then couldn’t take it any longer and called it a day.

I might try bringing a mesmer alt next time and making a portal before the jump I keep missing. It’s just that said mesmer alt is comfortably ensconced where he is (by the crab-grabbin’ gloves NPC) and it feels tedious to move him elsewhere.

I did tick off several other achievements, the last undone JP I’d been sitting on – Spelunker’s Delve, Dry Top badges and llama, Ebonhawke volumes (take 2.)

There was a particularly infuriating Dry Top badge jump (#9) which took a while, but was pretty entertaining to attempt. I liked the parts where I could think it through and systematically link – “Ok, here I’m going to fall down and strafe just a tide so that I land on this ledge… next, hit the super-jump and aim for this other ledge, etc.” and then perform consistently once I worked it out. I was busy raging at the inconsistent bits – namely Mr Purple Lightning Jump – where latency lets you keep over-shooting or under-shooting, even though you -know- where you’re supposed to go, the skill itself doesn’t quite let you achieve what you want. *twitch*

I gamely tried to tidy up my inventories. That’s definitely still not complete, but some initial steps have been taken on the “clear out the junk” “attempt the easy stuff” “gather an initial overview” front. The hard decisions and actual organization are still yet to come.

And I’ve managed to build back my gold reserve from hopelessly poor (aka 10g, period) to middling peasant (100g or thereabouts) by taking advantage of the recent rise in gold to gem prices from the anniversary sales and exchanging 10 bucks I was still owing myself from July’s declutter project in the other direction. I still have ten more bucks left I can use, though I’m hoping to see a larger bump up once more delicious anniversary items start being released.

I guess I have now officially graduated to “whale” status after three years… (even if I only count in the larger scheme of things as a dwarf sperm whale.)

For actual game-playing though, I did more of that in GW2 this week than I have for a while.

I did several Vinewraths, along with a couple Silverwaste chest train circuits.

I even said, what the heck, and bought three versatile simple infusions to slot into my warrior – who was sitting around with three Ascended slots yet unfilled – bringing his AR from 26 to 41, and then tried a level 30ish fractal for a daily. It was surprisingly painless. I lucked into a guild group of 3 persons who had already finished (what I define as the annoying part, but fractal regulars call the easy) half of the Swamp fractal, so just had to kill the Mossman. Colossus went super smoothly since they did all the running and I just had to sit in the corner and not be a derp and kill the target.

The only part that freaked me out was one portion of the dredge fractal which apparently got changed one patch or other, and I ended up seeing this stealth bomb/pipe with patroling golem sentries phase for the first time. Having very little clue what was going on and not seeming to go invisible from the first pipe that dropped the bombs, even though it was puffing out the powder and the rest seemed to be going invisible ok… I decided to err on the side of caution and just sit there until they finished, just in case my bumbling set off any alarms or what not. The actual ice elemental merry go around was fine. I guess I need to read up on that part for the next time. Eventually.

Jade Maw was also just a fairly methodical takedown sequence, though I also managed to bug myself and get stuck mid-crystal pickup while still moving. Some guy conveniently stood by me and got downed by the Jade Maw, and rezzing him managed to fix that and unstick me from the ground. I was kinda surprised to see that the final chest rewarded a gold, not sure if that was a recent change, though very unsurprised to score a useless uninfused ring as a reward as well. Even more junk to hang on to until the expansion comes and lets us do something useful with the rings.

As for the other Steam games, I did attempt quite a number of them.

The adventure games with finite endings can be officially declared to be done.

I dabbled for a while with those struck off as blue. I’m likely to revisit Astebreed, Strike Suit Zero and Terraria again.

Astebreed was an interesting arcade/bullet hell shooter where you played a mech suit with both ranged and melee attacks. Its schtick was that it kept flipping perspectives, so you might be fighting 2D side scroller in one phase, and then doing something like isometric 2.5D in another, and so on.

Strike Suit Zero is something I really love and want to play more of, but am a little intimidated by the controls and the reputed difficulty level. You get to fly around a small spaceship arcade simulator style, and eventually get an anime mech spaceship with ludicrous power-up and give ’em hell options.

It is a -great- game for putting you in the shoes of flying a small dogfighting spacecraft around large fleet battles with bigger cruiser and battleships pounding the hell out of each other, as long as you don’t mind a bit of fanciful heroic license over realism – you get to shoot down torpedos to protect the big ships, circle around them blowing up turrets, and basically do many unfeasible Luke Skywalker things to progress to the next mission. I’ve only played the first four or five missions and I’m already feeling like I’m in the middle of a Babylon 5-like space battle, and things reputedly get more wild as the missions progress.

Controls though are definitely a bit of a learning curve. Just when I think I’ve got the hang of consistently flying a normal spaceship, they give me a crazy mech that opens up and auto-targets and spins camera perspective on holding down one key. It’s something that feels like you could be totally kickass with, except you’re pressing all the keys with the wrong timing while struggling to learn right now and doing poorly as a result. The mission result screen also doesn’t help, because it keeps reporting my performance as sub-par, even when I thought I was doing pretty well. The game just assumes an average player to be a lot better than they are, I feel.

Terraria is Terraria. One of those games that will suck up all your time if you let it. I can’t really afford that right now, so I’m just not dipping into it heavily yet.

Injustice: Gods Among Us was ok. A fighting game with superheroes. That looked like you’d really need a controller to play it properly. Since I wasn’t in the mood for fighting games, I uninstalled it for the time being.

Poker Night 2 was much of what you’d expect, poker with banter. I think I liked Poker Night 1 more because I recognized more of the characters, but Claptrap and Glad0s were fairly entertaining, even if Sam is the more sedate and easy-going of the Sam and Max duo.

I haven’t been able to get myself to go back to Skyforge. Or Warframe. I guess it probably isn’t happening any time soon.

I peeked at Spacechem again, and a couple of tutorial games later, my brain just splattered on the side of my skull and I decided, nah, I don’t think I’m in the mood for really hard puzzle games right now.

I tried the Banner Saga, and I’m not sure I really get it. It’s very… slow-paced. I’ve been spending more time watching little sprites move from place to place on a map than actual gameplay, even more time watching conversational cutscenes that don’t really say anything, and only every so often, I get a playing board where I can attempt turn-based strategic combat… whereupon I promptly got one character killed and I guess that fellow’s gone for good, which leaves me to wonder if that’ll just make the rest of my fights even harder and the game less worth playing.

Dunno.

There’s plenty of other games left that I could be playing, so maybe I’ll attempt those over figuring out games I still don’t quite get. The rest of the list seems ok for the rest of August and stretching into September.

I’ve -installed- Dishonoured. Just haven’t started the game yet. Maybe I’ll try that soon.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 23.

Blaugust Day 22: Asura Alt Collection – The Guardian (GW2)

Yep, a second guardian.

From very early on, I knew a charr guardian was going to be my main in Guild Wars 2, but coming a very close second was the idea of an asura guardian.

I was in love with the amusing contrast of really tiny yet really tanky, plus the fantastic asura combat animations, spinning around on a staff to empower, leaping and spinning everywhere like little dervishes with weapons way too large for them that pull them every which way with inertia.

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Shudd was my answer to that desire. (And we have seen him before, showing off various armor styles nearer the beginning of his career.)

Funny story about his naming – I knew he needed a proper asura name. One syllable, short and sweet, with two double letters in there somewhere.

You know, it’s a lot easier said than done.

I sat there for a good fifteen minutes, stuck at the naming portion of character creation, typing in any short, nonsensical but asura-sounding words I could think of, and coming to the conclusion that with the number of people playing GW2 that also care about naming conventions, a LOT of the possible one syllable word combinations were getting taken up… there are only so many vowels to go around and possible consonants to be arranged around them, right?

Somehow, the word “should” popped into my mind. (Maybe because the sequence of events went something like “There -should- be SOME names left, dammit.”)

There aren’t any repeated letters in that though…

So I tried, “Shodd.”

Nope. No go.

Erm, “Shadd?” Nothing.

“Shedd?” (Though it sounds silly) Nada.

Let us not try Shidd. (‘Tis a silly name.)

Eventually I went down the vowel chain, and badabing, Shudd got through. And hrm, sounds presentable to my ear. Works.

The great irony was when I played through the asura infinity ball personal story arc and realized that I had an NPC assistant named Shodd. Totally unintentional, but I suddenly had a pairing worthy of a law firm: Shudd & Shodd, World Domination Inc.

Then I got to Lion’s Arch, and realized there was another asura NPC, Captain Shud, in charge of the portals and on the captain’s council.

This was a perfect, if completely unintentional, demonstration of additional lore – aka how confusing asura names are to humans, yet utterly distinctive to the diminutive asura.

In my head, I could just hear it being patiently explained to a bookah, “No, no, you’ve got it wrong. It’s Shudd, as opposed to Shud… or Shodd,” each word carefully pronounced and articulated…

A giant question mark appearing over said bookah’s head…

…and the lil asura throwing up his hands and going, “Oh, forget it. Why am I even bothering?”

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Why -two- guardians, some would ask, when the one guardian could switch traits any time to be any build whatsoever?

Well, the idea was that my charr guardian was going to be built for solo wandering, to be mostly a one-handed weapon user, to be all hard-hitting berserker and stuff. The asura, on the other hand, was going to cleave a bit more towards meta, to do my group dungeons, to be a little tankier, to be used in WvW and we could achieve gear and build differentiation that way.

Best laid plans and all that.

It worked for a time. The meta of the day was the anchor guardian, so I faithfully picked up Knight’s gear, a hammer, a two-handed sword and so on. I did a considerable amount of dungeoning with Shudd, and couldn’t help but notice that I was picking up 95%-100% of the aggro of every fight and struggling to stay alive through self-healing, altruistic healing, renewed focus and pretty much every other trick in the book, while my group compatriots did nothing but dps (probably poorly too) and after that go, “Jeez, that was super easy. Piece of cake. Need harder difficulties!”

What? I was barely clinging on to life and it was so touch and go at certain points… And you want it, harder?!

Some time around the point between the Molten facility and the Aetherblade one, I realized I had finally had it with attempting to tank (or rather, anchor) for groups that couldn’t appreciate or see what was happening. Far better to split the aggro, let the ungrateful ones take a few hits of their own, and -feel- it, and all the stupid remarks about “easy peasy, need it harder” went away. I swapped to warrior for dungeoneering then, and retired the guardian.

He did, however, still see me through lots and lots of WvW. I swapped around cleric, soldier, zerker, zealot stats every which way, trying to figure out the best combinations, changing between tanky/bunker healbots, tanky frontline spearheads, not-so-tanky midline staff (lootstick) spam and basically played a ton of melee frontline in a zerg, during the best of times with superb commanders.

These days, I’ve been changing it up and playing more ranged backline (it’s also lazier and less stressful and easier to drop in and out unmissed) so poor old Shudd is sitting around unused, with bags still mostly bursting and untended to. Probably just a matter of time before things change again, I suppose.

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Personality-wise, Shudd is a lot more gregarious than Kujl.

His oddity, I suppose, is his adventuresome nature. He’s also off exploring the wilderness and interacting with all races of Tyria in a manner similar to the old GW1 hero, Vekk.

Yes, he is snide and snarky, like nearly all asura out there; he’ll cheerfully call you a bookah without thinking twice, but he’s not xenophobic about it. He’s in fact quite happy traveling and communicating with all races because to him, everything’s part of one giant lab experiment – his lab experiment.

Graduating from the College of Synergistics, he studies relationships and connections. You might call him a sort of sociologist or anthropologist, practising observational science. He studies various cultures, how they get along, relate to and interact with one another. He’s interested in psychology, history, economics and basically anything and everything that might suggest how it all synergizes into the Eternal Alchemy.

Because well, if he can understand that, then that’s it right there. The secret to life, universe and everything. Godhood, world domination, your heart’s desire, the fount of eternal life, the source of all magic, whatever, it all pales in comparison to the origin of knowledge, to understanding how it all ties together.

If the network of the Eternal Alchemy can be determined, mapped and understood, everything else would naturally fall into place like dominos following a chain reaction.

It’s going to take a life’s work. It’ll be a magnum opus, and possibly a swan song. It may mean slaying the Elder Dragons, if need be. So Shudd’s out there, observing, cataloging, fighting, searching for true facts and truth itself.

(And occasionally looking cute, in a gremlin-sort of way.)
(And occasionally looking cute, in a gremlin-sort of way.)

Everything else, well, it’s just stuff made in passing, inventions to kill time or serve a purpose.

The infinity ball? A toy.

The alchemagical devices that generate holograms like shattered dragon wings and his sword? Just utility tools.

His powered armor? #normalgeniusasurathings. Doesn’t everybody do that?

Whatever. The answer is out there. Somewhere.

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This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 22, and 42.

Blaugust Day 21: Sleep is for the Weak, and They’re All Ok By Me (On Gaming Priorities and Balance)

Yesterday, I managed to discover one thing I prioritized over writing a blog post and meeting the Blaugust deadline: SLEEP.

It was 9pm on a Friday night, all the time in the world to scratch out a blog post really, but since I’ve been nursing a mild cold that only fills up half a trash can full of tissues (as opposed to nastier ones that devours boxes of tissues and fills a trash can to overflowing) and feeling moderately woozy (which could also have been caffeine withdrawal from two Starbucks lattes downed mid-week to speed up the work day…)

…I looked from computer to bed, and bed to computer, and then said, “Forget it. Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’ll knock out two posts.”

The extra 2-3 hours feels really good this morning though. I suspect I’d been shaving off an hour or two the last few days and accumulating sleep deprivation that way.

Funnily enough, before I crashed, I managed to make time to knock out GW2 dailies and attend guild missions (and Trove dailies while feeling grumpy about how long weekly guild missions were taking this Friday.)

And dinner, of course. And a shower. Before game. Then sleep. Because health.

In my roundabout way, I’m trying to figure out how to segue into a topic that part of the blogosphere’s been talking about lately: Gaming priorities.

  • Apparently Izlain and Eri started it, with a Couch Potatoes AMA, where they talk about regrets from their gaming habits. (Which I will admit I have not prioritized any time to listen to, so am quoting off someone else’s summary. I’m a poor audio learner, ok?)
  • Braxwolf picks up the thread, where he wonders about the impact of having too many sources of short-term gratification tempting our younger generations and if this stands in the way of them being able to endure hardship for long term benefits.
  • Rowan Blaze adds on to it, pointing out that gaming is just one of a myriad other activities that it is possible to become obsessed with or addicted to, at the expense of other things. He goes on to cover gaming and its possible effects on relationships.

Then there are other posts that aren’t explicitly about gaming priorities, but seem to me to be related:

  • James over at Goobbue Crossing is feeling the grind in GW2, flooded with currencies he has little present use for and can’t figure out, and feeling under-motivated (and not really rewarded) to get past the learning hump.

Plus pretty much any and every other post that laments the fact that there are too many games out there (including those on one’s Steam list) and/or the need to focus playing only a few of those at any one time, and/or the challenge of finding enough hours in the day to knock out a blog post in addition to the above.

I find myself in total agreement with Syl’s comment over at Braxwolf’s:

There’s always something to learn in nature and it so happens that in nature too, substances that can heal you very often can harm/kill you too (aka ‘the dose makes the poison’). Games or rather escapism through games, has the potential to do a lot of good in a person’s life; it can get them through a time of hardship and tragedy, it can cure them of loneliness and insecurity. For a time. Until it stops doing these things and becomes the opposite.

The keyword is balance. Sometimes you know when to stop and re-balance, sometimes you’ll learn the hard way… It’s never too late to look at your life and change things if you really want to, especially if you’re still young and capable.

Moderation and balance, and becoming clearer in what you value, and thus should prioritize.

It’s easy to see that in Braxwolf’s case, one of his values is long-term benefits/greater good over immediate hedonistic happiness, and Rowan strongly values his relationship with Scooter, for example.

I can totally relate with James’ currency flood feeling, every time I try to get back to LOTRO, my bags overflow with things I’m sure I don’t need to bother with right yet, but have no idea where to put them in the meantime, and it feels like a hurdle I’m not willing to cross because some things about LOTRO just don’t appeal to me as much as other MMOs.

I try to play Eve Online, and while the learning hump there feels like a fun challenge to get over, I usually end up asking myself, but why would I do it? I would be paying a subscription (or grinding isk for one) to basically be someone else’s content, because I’m not really motivated by socializer or killer preferences. I’d be better off playing an MMO that hits my more favored Explorer or Achiever tendencies, and does so in a less directly competitive manner.

Different people may value different things more highly, and prioritize them differently as a result. It’s really all about balancing what we value first, and not let any of them take the upper hand and overwhelm everything else that we also value.

And if that does happen, well, it’s a learning experience… learned the hard way.

I dunno, but I rarely frame these things as a regret. Regret to me, kind of says that you wished they hadn’t happened. But in my opinion, I needed them to happen in order that I could learn valuable lessons and readjust my life as a result. One doesn’t learn by coasting through life. One only learns when one stumbles, or rams facefirst into a wall, or falls flat on one’s bum. Hurts, but learning to get up again is also another one of those important life lessons.

Incidentally, the longest continuous gaming session I ever experienced was in my foolhardy youth, where winning was everything, and my team raced two other teams on a MUD quest marathon to kill 30 raid-like bosses. It took us 9 hours. We won. One other team called it after that, and the last team gamely plodded on and finished at the 11th hour.

After that, I said “My god. That was crazy. Never again. Worth the experience once. But never, never again.”

No regrets. But I definitely learned the boundaries of one of my priorities that day.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 21.

Blaugust Day 20: Asura Alt Collection – The Ranger (GW2)

I need another one of those quick posts again, because I’m seriously starved on time lately.

It’s all I can do to knock out one set of GW2 dailies (hit the three easiest – < 30 minutes), and then go on to one set of Trove dailies (fill the star bar – also < 30 minutes.)

I think Paeroka is on to something, showing off all her MMO mini-mes

Ditto Rowan Blaze, with his SWTOR character biographies.

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So, this is Kujl.

Pronounced “Cudgel,” as he will tell you sourly, if he deigns to tell you at all.

He shares the typical asura trait of assuming all bookahs fairly stupid and not worth conversing with, plus a little extra helping of bitterness for being teased mercilessly through progeny-hood for his un-asura-like name.

(No double-vowels, not even a double-consonant, not the usual short sharp exhalation of a one syllable male name, but a double syllable one slightly more typical of female asura names… the only thing vaguely respectably masculine is ending in a consonant… and the sexy ears, of course.)

Personally, I sometimes slip fondly into something more vaguely resembling “Cujo” or “Cujill” when I’m thinking of bringing him out for an sPvP spin, but it’s ok, we’ll whisper it and he already thinks we’re all a bunch of bookahs anyway.

He’s been level 39 for a very long time, having officially replaced my necromancer as my sPvP ol’ reliable some time back.

And he’s one of the rarer combinations of race and class – something I love my characters to be, so that they’re a little bit atypical and I can infuse a little more backstory into them.

Why asura ranger? Well, mostly because I thought the idea of a pet being as big or bigger than his ranger master would be hilariously awesome to play.

In my head though, Kujl is an extremely antisocial (probably even asocial) asura who doesn’t even want to mix with his own kind, due to said horrible childhood teasing making lab and school life a living hell.

Obviously, animals don’t judge in that fashion.

Since nature and the outdoors are where most normal and ambitious asura only venture to when their labs suffer an unfortunate accid- “learning experience” and require some ventilation time… or when they need test subjects… Kujl has probably discovered or decided that this giant free-from-rent-and-research-grant-requiring-(aka-political-schmoozing-needed) venue is where -he- will set up lab instead.

Being also a typical “I’ll show them… I’m a genius” asura, Kujl is busy pioneering work in “living” golems.

Yep, his pets are implanted with all manner of technomagical control devices for “guaranteed reliability” (fine print: beta version, some testing still required.)

It’s a curious thing, but I’ve always thought of Kujl as being fairly young, and his levels tend to match, I haven’t moved him beyond level 39, and not really sure I want to, even if I do want a level 80 ranger at -some- point.

Yet, he has a very old, serious, bitter soul.

He was one of the earliest characters I made, probably in one of the original five slots.

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I found a portrait of him at level 9, some time in Dec 2012, and I suspect he was made earlier than that.

At the time, I knew he was young, I tried to color him flamboyantly, yellow and purple “rich” colors, mostly because I was sick of dyeing all my alts some version of ebony, grey or brown for natural metal/leather colors.

It just didn’t quite click. He was kind of saying, this is not who I am.

I suppose we can assume he was still schooling at this point, dressing up in a more civilian style, if only to blend in, but just not comfortable with city life.

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Around 2013, I start attempting to level the ranger alt again, and give him a bit more of a makeover. He still has the purple intensity, that reflects the deep blue intenseness of his eyes. The yellow has been dialed back to something more cream-leathery, and more natural dark leather armor is protecting him on his ventures afar.

He stalls somewhere around lvl 20ish.

When I next revisit him, probably at least a year later, I have a free makeover kit lying around, and I decide to check out the exclusive asura hairstyles.

I have no idea how to describe it. A mohawk? A ponytail? Something vaguely Aztec-inspired? But somehow, I know it fits. He’s grown up.

He doesn’t need that kid hairstyle with the purple hairband anymore.

He’s moved from kid to teenager to young adult, at least.

I take him PvPing. I’m relying on his totally nondescript lowbie leather armor to signal that I’m a nobody, not at all prestigious, I can be overlooked, I probably suck, maybe we’re small and sneaky, but that’s about it for the fear factor…

… We do suck. For quite a while, as I throw myself gleefully into build-testing the hard way, under fire.

But slowly, surely, one experimental tweak after another, as I and he grow more comfortable with his weapons and what he is capable of, I start winning matches. Not a whole lot, but enough to tilt me back to a 50% win/loss kind of ratio.

Several months later, GW2 opens its very first sneak peek of Heart of Thorns, and somehow in the closing of that, something funky happens to the old pre-launch early start accounts and Anet says that our particular version of game doesn’t quite exist anymore. They’ve given us the heroic edition of the game instead, and the heroic edition comes with an extra bonus GW1 heritage/legacy armor skin from the gem store… Take your pick, heavy, medium or light?

The medium Krytan armor looks to my eye like the best of the lot, and it really reminds me of my GW1 ranger, who spent quite a while wearing a style like that.

But do I even -have- a medium armor class who can wear it?

Oh wait, yes, I do.

Somebody’s come of age.

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Some months after that, I was on my scientific skins collection kick.

When it was done, I was struggling to figure out who else could use green skins besides my necro (who already sports Tequatl sunless styles and a rare dreamthistle skin or two.)

And then I knew who it was absolutely perfect for.

Scientific and steampunky, as in asura-like technology?

Green and acidy, as in condi damage?

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Thank you, Kujl. Take a bow.

(Just don’t take over the world while I’m not looking.)

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 20.