All Things Fire

I purposefully skipped doing dailies in GW2 for three days.

Nor did I log in, for that matter.

No dramatic reason. I caught a cold over the weekend, felt sick and tired most of the time, got bored of the same old routine and made a purposeful decision to strike out all the daily chore items on the ol’ checklist and went and did something else.

Like sleep a lot, read, watch Netflix and play Path of Exile.


The latest build-copy experiment is a Firestorm witch elementalist.

I got bored playing Marauders, didn’t feel like a Ranger, and wanted a spellcaster. But since I am partial to all things fire, and have gotten the furthest on fiery Marauder types, I went looking for a build that was based around a fire spell.

PewPewPew’s cheap Firestorm build sounded perfect. (Especially since I play self found.)

So far it’s been working pretty darned well, up until level 69 or so, despite a gaping hole in cold resistance that I was too lazy to shore up (since that would involve pausing and thinking about gear.)

Getting one shot by map bosses that use cold attacks finally slowed my progress to a halt.

I was grumpily thinking that I might have to farm the next couple of days for appropriately acceptable gear, but a random belt dropped tonight with 35% cold resistance and a unique amulet with 30% hp and mana leech. I swapped both in for the hell of it, and it seems to have done the trick for the time being.

Not bad, considering I haven’t taken the time and effort to figure out how to craft / get my hands on ‘proper’ statted rares, nor have I even slotted all the skill gems the build tells me I’m supposed to yet.

The latest essence league has been a pretty big help on the novice but stubbornly selffound player front. Essences provide a way for quick rolling rares with one desirable stat.

Find a good white wand, look for the spell damage % essence, roll it, and if it’s better than what I have, put it on. Done.

Find armor, look for the +life essence, roll up a random rare with added life, hope for some good elemental resistance rolls, and swap it in if it’s better. Done.

A lot more painless than just randomly rolling rares with an alchemy orb or settling badly for a blue magic item.

I’m still really fond of Path of Exile. I play it infrequently and at a fairly casual level, yet it still manages to engage and entertain whenever I get the urge to dip in.

I guess part of why I consciously decided to ignore GW2 dailies is a kind of “See, I’m not addicted” declaration. It’s not an uncontrollable habit, in other words.

Not that I have to prove this to anyone, but now and then, I guess I just like to test it for myself.

People talk a lot about MMO or game “addiction,” and while I don’t deny that it can be a real problem for some people (eg. I know someone in real life right now that has an almost -obsessive- compulsion to play Pokemon Go), I guess I’m just curious why I haven’t felt this way for more than a decade now.

I’ll admit I was unhealthily obsessed with my very first MUD. Even while offline, I would be living, breathing, thinking about the next steps and goals. I probably would not have been able to take a conscious couple of days off then.

Somehow, after burning out from it, nothing has ever taken on that level of seeming importance or urgency since.


Not sure I have a point with this. It’s not like I -want- be addicted. Maybe it’s just that I can’t seem to share the capacity of others to -care- that deeply and I feel oddly different about it

On a lighter note, the fused skins are back temporarily in the Black Lion store, and I broke out 4 tickets that I’ve been hoarding from idly completing the cheaper collections with gold to pick up a Fused Greatsword.


Yep, so ready for Ember Bay and the next Living Story episode: Rising Flames.


Primordius minion camouflage suit activated.

Noun / Verb Identity

This is something that has been on my mind lately.

Ever since the stray thought popped into my head:


I raid, but I am not a raider.

Or at least, I don’t really consider myself part of that illustrious group.

Sometimes, I feel like an outside observer looking in, an immersion or gonzo journalist perhaps, or an anthropologist engaged in cultural immersion.

Sometimes, it’s the same sensation as an expatriate warmly welcomed by their host country and openminded enough to immerse. You go deep enough to be part of said country, a part of you will forever remember the good memories in that country and will probably miss it dearly if/when you leave, you might even be changed enough that reverse culture shock might be an issue…

…but no matter how long you stay, there is always a tiny niggling feeling that you’re an outsider, that you don’t quite -belong-.

This is not specific to raids, by the by. It just so happens it’s the thing I’ve been doing most lately, and the thought just hit me that way.

I WvW (from time to time), but I am not a WvWer either. (Or I don’t consider myself one.)

I PvP now and then too, but I would really hesitate before describing myself as a PvPer.


This is me, just a couple weeks ago, discovering that they’ve put in a match history at some point in the past, and admiring that my last played game was on the last day of 2015.


There have been some 8-10 more matches added since, sating the sudden desire to try out a warrior in PvP and attempting to cross over to the next tier out of Amber, but I dunno, I’ve got like 6 pips and there’s 9 pips to go and I don’t know if I’ll ever find the time or urge before October ends.

I play fractals and dungeons, as and when the whim takes me, but I am by no means a fractaler, or a dungeoneer.

I can roleplay, but I definitely don’t do it as a matter of course, and cannot be said to be a roleplayer either.

You could argue that some of this is semantics. If you do something (verb), by definition, you are a (noun form of that verb.)

But it seems to me that there is a small unspoken psychological or conceptual gap in there that is about identity.

(There is some research that seems to support this perception. Are you a “voter” or merely “voting” in this election? Are you a “chocolate-eater” or merely “eat chocolate a lot?”)

Then I start thinking about why I am willing to accept some things as part of myself and my self-identity, and why I’m not willing to accept other things.

I am quite happy to say that I am a GW2 player, for example. I think that obsession is kinda undeniable.

Call me a generalist, an explorer, a soloist, I’ll probably nod and agree, even if I don’t embody those things 100% of the time.

Things like AP hunter, or node miner, or collector, might get 50-75% agreement.

It’s not really primarily frequency – I raid twice a week, if not more when asked to.

Preference maybe plays a bit of a part, but not entirely? I’m not sure.

Some of it has to do with perceived community belonging, but not all.

(ie. Many people rejected the notion of being a “gamer” after Gamergate somewhat tainted the label. Me, I find I play and collect too many games to be anything but. So that label in my mind is still valid, even if I may not identify with the entire gamer community or a subset of the gamer community who feel like they speak for the entire.)

It’s a mildly interesting exercise in other aspects of one’s life too.

Am I a blogger? Yeah, I think I would claim that as part of my identity, even if my frequency sucks lately.

Am I a writer? Possibly.

Am I a Pokemon Go player? A Path of Exile player? (Pst, PoE had yet another crazy update lately. I -so- want to play but have no clue where I can find the time.) An Evolve player? A Minecraft player?

[Maybe. Want to be but probably am not. Not really. On occasion. In that order.]

No easy answers.

Just more “Who am I?” questions.


A Good Kind of Explorer Problem

It’s not escaped my notice that the latest trend in GW2 has been to shuffle a little towards Explorer content once more.

Clues to solve in order to find Bloodstone Slivers; a detector object to ping five locations on a map; the discovery and feeding of hungry cats.

It goes by largely unremarked (on my part I’m up to my ears in busyness,) but I think it’s making a good amount of people happy, with less corresponding -unhappiness- from other camps (they’ll just wait for dulfy or reddit, if they care about it at all.)

Running around trying to catch Pokemon has reminded me of my roots. Which is Explorer-dom, in a mapping sense.

I’m not Silph Road spade-standard when it comes to systems – following after and reading up about IVs and making a note-to-self memo about finding some free time to sit down, cross reference trainer appraisals with a web IV calculator assistant and organize my Pokemon is about my limit…

…but I’ve been enjoying the nostalgic feeling of knowing where special hidden secrets or resources are, that other people don’t know, or haven’t found yet.

No doubt, someone out there is playing at a higher level than me and has hooked into some API or third-party cheat program that displays the location of every single Pokemon as they spawn, but at my prosaic level, I have just been delighting in going to commonly frequented locales or landmark places of interest on my teeny little urbanized island and taking note of the types of Pokemon that spawn there and what tends to keep showing up.

I’m putting together a personal map of available resources and it’s fun.

It’s like what I used to do in MUDs when wikis and third-party sites were not established yet, or more sandboxy games like a Tale in the Desert where the world is just too big for any one person to know it all.

You build your own reference of “good places to go for this or that,” maybe you share some of it with others to expand each other’s maps, maybe you keep some of it a private secret for yourself… it’s something you don’t see very much of, in this day and age of “everyone must have a chance to experience the same content” plus “someone out there has expert programming knowledge and can write a third party app to get info on demand, directly from the source.”

Watching people attempt No Man’s Sky and being reluctant to buy into it yet has also reminded me of my extreme fondness for a very old, very little-known game called Nomad or Project Nomad (depending on which continent you knew it from.)

I don’t think it’s procedurally generated per se, but the amount of lavish worldbuilding and text that went into simulating a believable sci-fi spaceship trading universe has to be experienced at least once.

(It’s available for free at It takes a bit of DOSbox wrangling, but it’s worth it to play with sound.)

It really plays to the Explorer soul.

There are a bunch of well-characterized different races, much more memorable than No Man’s Sky’s, I’m willing to wager. They’ll tell you different things about a whole bunch of trade objects, which are bartered back and forth and valued differently among the races – no common universal currency here.

Ask the right NPC about certain facts or objects or people and they’ll reveal even more intriguing secrets that were not apparent at first glance. It’s easy to go down an explorer rabbit hole of following one interesting clue after another.

There are guided quests to follow, if you so desire, but also the freedom to play it like a sandbox and just fly to a random number sector of unknown and unexplored space – where you might find more danger than you bargained for, or an uninhabited planet, which can be mined for resources with the right tools. (No getting off and walking, but then, this is a super old game from 1993. It has its limits.)

Every time I play it, I intend to map it for good, making proper notes of all its secrets. Somehow, I never quite manage.

I’ve been re-inspired to play it again, after watching so many No Man’s Sky streams and seeing Syp get a such a blast out of playing retro games like Quest For Glory…

…I managed an hour, but am still struggling for free time.

Besides the Quest For Glory series, which I’d revisit if I had more time, fondly recalling my days of intense mapping of rooms on paper, the name “Skyland’s Star” popped into my head out of the blue.

This shareware text adventure game was one of my most patiently mapped and almost-completely comprehensive. (Not entirely though. Somehow I never quite finished. Some puzzle or other must have stumped me.)

I googled it for fun and found that it actually still had a webpage reference.

I definitely want to play it again and try to recreate and better my map from the past.

(What’s even better is that it only costs $5 USD and has a Paypal link, so I can actually toss the creators a two-or-three-decades belated thank-you, and get a walkthrough to crosscheck my exploration once finished.)

Assuming I ever find the time to -get started-.

Speaking of getting started, don’t get me started on the vague desire to pull out aged handheld consoles and replay old Pokemon games, or to revisit or play for the first time Final Fantasy games on a modern day device like a smartphone or iPad (they’re available, they’re just mindblowingly costly for an app, and will probably generate enough heat while playing to cook an egg.)

That’s probably just a pipe dream though.