Tripod’s “Head of Zombie”

I’m just an old crone in the woods
Mixing my magic potions
Living alone here in the woods
Ninety years, ninety years,
Scraping by on berries and tree sap
Sunken eyes deep in my weathered face
My scraggly hair-like dry white hair
I’m raving to myself
To the few teeth I have left

witch

And I have such…
…a smokin’ body…
…a full and youthful rack…
…the ass of a gym instructor…

My neck is a portal,
between good storytelling…
…and no sense at all.

I am a zombie shambling through
a dark and abandoned building
Horrors I’m told have ravaged me
Jerking and spasming
Seven years I’ve rotted in the waste
My family held out hopes I was alive
And now my son has found me here,
He raises up his knife…
as the tears stream down his face…

zombies

And I have such
a smokin’ body
my breasts are both intact
I’m dressed as a nurse-themed stripper

My neck is a portal,
between narrative logic…
…and no sense at all.

Head of zombie,
Body of hottie
Head of orc queen,
Body of hottie
Head of space fish,
Body of hottie

I’m a cartoon aardvark
In a pixelated magical kingdom
Gathering sparkling pumpkins
On rainbow skates
It’s also the case that
I’m stacked like a swimsuit model

My neck is a portal
between good storytelling
…and no sense at all!

 

Edit: Lyrics fixed, courtesy of Joseph Skyrim!

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Overwatch Beta: First Impressions

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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WTF.

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AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.

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Ok, I know this is obviously a bot game vs AI, but….

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WTF.

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I have shit accuracy. I am a total noob. I’m not familiar with the map at all.

How the hell does this happen?

Then I went to play an actual game with players.

First round: Went via some side route or other (as inferred from seeing other players charge up a central path toward the objective.)

Managed to be fast enough to overtake the objective by a half metre, set up in an unobtrusive corner slightly behind the presumable viewpoint of the opposing team staring straight ahead at the spawn objective.

They had no chance at all.

First round won.

Second round: One or two opposing team players switched to Reinhardt. The frontal barrier shield puzzled me a bit and I spent a little way too long a time dicking around out of turret form trying to reposition and figure out how to get around behind them and failing and totally ignoring the team fight and objective, while the opposing team sat on it.

Second round lost.

Final round: Decided not to play Reinhardt’s game any longer. Remembered during trying out all the heroes’ skills on the practice map that the frontal shield only has 2000 health. Turreted up a nice long distance away, held down the left mouse button while aiming in the general vicinity of the big blue glowing rectangle thing sitting on the spawn.

Another Bastion on my team did the same thing. Two Reinhardts on the opposing team = no more shield, then dead.

Our team moved in onto the capture point. I de-turreted and went around the sides again, looking for a nice angle on a completely unfamiliar map. Found a cute side room whose only entry seemed to be nearer our team than theirs. Had a decent enough side view of the capture point. Finished off about 3-4 people that were dumb enough to move into my sight line aka on the capture point, while the other five members of my team destroyed those that didn’t dare get on said capture point for obvious reasons.

After that game, I uninstalled Overwatch.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s got that super well-polished Blizzard look all over it.

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I was deeply impressed by the very guided tutorial, which really assumes the person playing it is completely new to FPSes and may need some adjustment time with getting familiar with the controls and so on.

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After that, you get to play around in a little private Practice Range map to shoot bots (literally robots) and have friendly bots to test out all your skills on. You learn about Hero Swapping and have all the time in the world to try out every Hero’s skill in blissful peace and quiet.

(Albeit, the map closed on me once because I stayed too long, and I had to start it again.)

This is worlds apart from trying to learn MOBA hero skills from either watching a video or having to be in a serious business game lasting 45 minutes where your teammates will rip you apart for being noobtastic.

Then you can ramp up to something less potentially hostile and 100% cooperative by going up as a player team against a set of bots, or Practice vs AI.

Which I think it is a GREAT idea… except a little HAHAHAHAHAHAHA WTF HAHAHAHA in practice. See above.

I suppose they were easy bots or something. Who knows. I was yolo solo-queuing by just hitting the Practice vs AI button.

After which, I presume it’s vs other players time, and/or ramping up AI difficulty in some way that wasn’t obvious on first glance.

Given how lethal every hero appears to be capable of being, I suppose Blizzard decided to err on the side of generosity by ramping up the chance that everyone will get at least partial “wins” by scoring some kills here and there, even if their team loses.

However, this may be at odds with the snowball mechanic of MOBAs or some such. Apparently, it’s less fun to be on the losing team’s side because you end up with one or two men down, and promptly keep losing from being outgunned and outflanked or whatever.

I dunno. I was busy playing Bastion.

Now, I’m -sure- Bastion has counters, as more skilled players would tell you. I’ve been a TF engineer, my turret and I have been outplayed countless times by skillful medics.

Apparently the Widowmaker can snipe Bastion to death from really far away (presuming not noob player with good aim), Genji can reflect a Bastion to autokill themselves (counter = recognize a Genji and don’t freaking shoot until the skill is over), etc.

I’ve been on the receiving end of a Reinhardt charge and pinned against the wall and shotgunned to death (during the lost round in which my positioning was very very bad.) Not fun.

I hear Roadhog can do a Pudge and meathook a turreted Bastion into his waiting arms of insta-death.

Is it going to take a little while for newbie players to realize this? Yep.

Is it still going to be possible for a thinking Bastion or Torbjorn to outwit many of the casual players out there? I’m guessing, YEP.

Is Blizzard going to nerf Bastion a teeny bit more because it seems quite ludicrously OP compared to other heroes? A qualified maybe-yep.

(I heard some guy on Reddit went up against a pre-made team of 4 Bastions and 2 Reinhardts. I laughed my ass off on reading that team composition.)

Is Bastion still going to be playable and enjoyable post-nerf? Is it possible to learn a bunch of other heroes to counter Bastion? Is it still going to be possible to play and position Bastion skillfully to out-counter the counterers? Probably all of the above, yep.

But you know, I realize that I don’t have the patience nor the time for it, personally.

It feels a little like I’ve done this before, with Team Fortress, and TF has a bit more of that jump-in, jump-out, soloqueue, play your own minigame fun, as opposed to the small team, very objective-focused, MOBA-like teamfight style of Overwatch, where team synergies are likely what you’d want to focus on at higher levels of play.

If you had a team of friends to get together and knock out a few rounds while voice coordinated, sure, yeah, it’s probably a little more fun like that. (Then again, MANY other games would be a little more fun like that.)

I’m especially NOT paying $40 USD or more for the privilege of jumping in to casual play a few rounds here and there for kicks.

$20 USD, maybe. I’d buy it if/when it ever goes on half-price or free to play.

I mean, TF2 is free to play. Dota 2 is free to play. League of Legends is free to play. That’s their competition right there.

It’s a little bit of a shame because the polish could knock your socks off, the heroes all feel pretty unique and cute; if you were a play-all-the-things player, you’d have a really fun learning curve mastering each hero; many of the heroes all feel like they’ve stolen a little bit from MOBAs or other FPSes here and there (a pudge meathook, an enigma black hole pull, dwarf turret playbook is nearly a dead ringer for the TF engineer, etc.) and it’ll be interesting to see how players put them together in new and surprising ways…

… but um… there’s probably still a few more balancing passes and iterations to go in order to make sure that a few heroes aren’t overwhelmingly favored over everything else…

…and ultimately, it’s me. I’m playing too many other games, most of them free or already with initial outlays paid for, to have 1-3 hours a night to commit to Overwatch. So… why should I pay $40 USD for a game I have no time to play just yet?

Does not compute.

I’d give one thing to Blizzard though. They got me to download the Battle.net Launcher. It is a super-slick well-polished affair like pretty much all their other games. Which are conveniently displayed in super-slick fashion in a vertical row screaming “Play Me For Free” or “Try It For Free.”

I already downloaded Diablo 3 to give it a spin. Cute. Also another thing I actually have no time to sit through a long story for, but maaaybe, if it ever goes on 50% sale ever ever again.

I have been waiting for a cheaper Starcraft 2 for eons. All three of the chapters are finally out now. Some kind of battlechest bundle can’t be much farther away. Maybe 2017 or 2018… In the meantime, I could actually ‘try it for free.’

No doubt, I will take Heroes of the Storm out for a free spin too at some point.

(Already messed around with Hearthstone on the Android phone. Meh. It’s a card game. It makes money off selling the promise of power/options in card packs. Standard schtick.)

So the only thing I probably WILL be keeping for now is the launcher and the Battle.net account. The rest can wait for another day, far far ahead in the future. That’s probably already a win in Blizzard’s book.

GW2: One Liner Asides

Not to speak ill of anyone, but given the latest storm in the Reddit threads and a corresponding effort to increase red name posts in the forums delineating clearly what’s being currently worked on – even if it’s taken as bad news for a very vocal subset of the GW2 community – the winds of change for increased communication seem to be finally blowing.

Or at least, a small breeze is being felt.

Also, I think I’ve figured out where the stereotypical raider subset – you know, the elitist exclusive entitled bastard type who won’t ever shut up about wanting MORE challenge and MORE content for the only part of the game they think is worth playing, happily putting down others who don’t play their way or share the exact same interests and everpresently whining on forums instead of just gracefully bowing out for a while and playing another game – went in GW2.

Time will tell if they are too exclusive to come together to form a proper community. Their first challenge: Putting what they want into bullet points for communication.

Let’s see if they can come to a consensus agreement on what they would like, or if they’ll fail it just as badly as the concept of a united roleplaying community.

bigcharrbutt

In other news, TIL that blue doritos point straight at charr butts.

(Yep, fell headlong into that goldsink too.)

GW2: These Goals Are Not My Own – How to Have Fun Again

Readers may have detected a touch of ennui and frustration in my last post.

A little thinking helped to narrow down the cause.

It is a basic case of: These goals are not my own.

The past week has been spent in very “reactive” mode. See new update, respond to new update. See achievement to be gotten, rush to get check box completion. See enemy zerg report, rush to defend against enemy zerg.

That is not to say that new content is not welcome, or achievements are no good. It is a question of degrees.

A two-week update period gives me very little time for anything else. The first week is spent !00% focused on the new content and achievements, leaving the second week as emergency back up and farm/grind of content I like that will be disappearing. I’ve maintained a three week schedule would be less hectic (see comments) and failing which, I would be fine with the four week Flame and Frost style stuff too (but I know this sentiment is not shared by a good many Reddit and GW2 forum frequenters.)

As for achievements, they have their place and purpose. Achievements can provide direction and guidance. Achievements can focus player attention and crowds in the places where ArenaNet feels would be more fun with more active players.

But let me ask you, taking a recent specific example, why 2,500 points in Southsun Survival? Why not 1,000?

A thousand points would still serve the same purpose of having players hang around playing the minigame. “Proper” play generally yields 30-50, with a 50 point bonus if you win. “Point” play yields 50-100. That’s anywhere from 10-20+ games played still.

The Aspect Arena achievements felt more attainable. 2,500 points just feels grindy as all get out. It ends up making what is intrinsically fun a chore and an obligation.

Obligations lead to burnout.

An interesting quote from the researcher mentioned in the article above is “It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness — a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time.”

The phrase I’d like to key in on, in our particular context, is loss of autonomy.

These goals are not -my- own.

I feel obliged to do them because I have chosen the higher level goal of being a completionist with seasonal achievements (for which, one might say there is also some external reward prompting with the new Achievement Reward system) but it does not mean that I’m actually enjoying the in-between steps if they get too insane.

It reminds me of WoW raiders complaints about feeling obliged to do a ton of dailies just to keep up with what is expected of them in a raid. They like to raid. They don’t exactly like to do 48 repetitive things in order to just merely qualify. Again, this is a matter of degree. 10 things? No problem. 20 things may be pushing it. 48? Hahaha. How much free time do you devs think we players have anyway?

It is the same with WvW. For me, I hasten to add. (There are plenty of Tarnished Coasters super-duper hardcore about WvW or just feeling a lot more like WvWing than I do at the moment, and they’re keeping the fight going. The benefits of playing on a full server.)

My tendency tends to be, log on, check guild and friend list, see a bulk of them in WvW and go, “Gee, I guess I should join them. I’m sure it’s aggravating for them to see other people online and not WvWing when the whole place evidently needs as much help as it could get. They probably could use more support and hands on deck.” Before you know it, the feeling of social obligation has overtaken my whole night and 4-5 hours are spent reacting to a commander’s orders/movement and engaged in generally outnumbered defence.

Some days I -want- to fight. I’m itching for a scrap, log into Mumble, find a commander I like to follow, and willingly blend into the zerg and have a great time. But regular schedules get to me and I have guildies and commanders that spend every single night (and possibly some mornings too) in WvW. That wears me down after a while. I just don’t have the personality for that sort of orderly routine.

The cure for this, is both simple in theory and hard to execute.

Start addressing your own goals.

Having been Skinner-Box conditioned to follow achievements as quests, when I posed myself this question, I sat around stumped for quite a while.

What -did- I want to do in GW2?

Ever so slowly, like drawing blood from a rock, came tentative answers from a hitherto ignored portion of me.

  • How about, go explore bits of the open world again, find cool stuff, and level a class you haven’t played yet.
  • Collect all the ranger pets!
  • Maybe tweak your charrdian’s build again, give up spirit weapons and see just how much damage you can put out as a berserk army of one.
  • You wanted an asura thief, and maybe a charr thief at some point.
  • Hell, make that one of every class for asura and charr eventually. Cos they’re just too awesome.
  • There’s an experience scroll to level 20 that is unused in your bank. And an empty character slot that was intended for Black Lion Key farming.
  • Your guild bank is sitting on a pile of unconsumed celestial crafting recipes. Because they’re level 80 and your weaponsmith/jeweller is not yet 80.
  • You need gold, like always.
  • You had the urge once to watch a few PvP videos and learn how to sPvP properly, and read up on builds and such. Oh, there’s a PvP monthly you might also try to finish for points…
  • Just how long can you sit at 199/200 fractals done in your achievement summary and not do anything about it anyway?
  • Speaking of which, you always wanted to learn the other paths of dungeons you haven’t done and work on obtaining the Dungeon Master title.
  • Your human storyline is not yet done. It’s the last one. Your human mesmer is rotting somewhere.
  • Your elementalist needs attention. It feels complex, yes, but I bet it is capable of doing some crazy things once mastered.
  • Perhaps peek back in on GW1 someday and see if more progress can be made on the HoM.

And on and on. All stuff I’ve been sitting on because other more urgent things were prioritized first.

Burnout recovery self-time.

I addressed the immersion problem first of all, trying to reconnect back to the GW2 -world-, rather than obsess about the game, meta or otherwise.

Graphics settings back up to crash-a-holic, prepared to memory error per zone.

Went invisible so as not to bother with anyone or anything in my friends or guild lists and switched into personal bank guild.

Logged on runty asura ranger. Went out into the world.

Metrica Province, by the way, is a really excellent place for losing oneself (as long as you tune out the fire elemental calls.) So are most of the Maguuma jungle zone areas. They’re just not traversed very often by many players.

Maybe they don't find the swamp pretty. I think it has its moments. And the yellow fireflies are good xp.
Maybe they don’t find the swamp pretty. I think it has its moments. And the yellow fireflies, like most untouched mobs, are good xp.

Found a giant asura champion that I had never seen before.

The only good asura is a small one.
The only good asura is a small one.

Kited him in circles in an epic battle of level 12 ranger dodging and healing spring-ing, with plenty of inquest respawns getting in the way. Pulled out a blue Mighty Chain Leggings from the Inquest Chest at the end of the herculean fight. I think I need a T-shirt that says, “I can’t wait for the next update and better champion loot.”

Talked to nearly every NPC I could see. There are some crazy asura conversations in Rata Sum. Metrica and Brisban also have some classics too.

Hidden message to someone, perhaps?
Hidden message to someone, perhaps?
Boredom loves company. Also overheard daring each other to stick a finger in a socket.
Boredom loves company. Also overheard daring each other to stick a finger in a socket.
This chap has interior redecoration on the brain.
This chap has interior redecoration on the brain. It’s just a tent!

Somewhere in between, I discovered a Wintersday gift box in my ranger’s inventory. I could have sworn it wasn’t there before when I first started. Maybe a back log in the full inventory queue or something. Opening it yielded 250 mystical cogs, a toymaker’s bag and a bunch of skins. Talk about a belated gift. I’d missed this freebie before, but hadn’t been sweating it due to being fast enough to loot the chest to begin with.

This naturally called for buying some stuffing and glue off the TP (it’s amazing how inflation makes one barely blink an eye at spending 1 gold for a stack of stuffing and 2 gold for a stack of glue months later) and crafting the toy golem. Which makes all the minis I would want from that. (I still think the princess doll is fugly and don’t want it.)

Seeing the current price of stuffing and glue also led to another modest attempt at the endless plush griffon tonic. Five tries later, I was three more gold poorer, endless tonic-less, a mystic forge daily done, and with some spare normal griffon tonics to hand.

A plushie a day makes the blues go away.
A plushie a day makes the blues go away.

It is amazing how one immediately cheers up running around as a cute stuffed animal.

(Southsun, by the way, is nice and peaceful and deserted once more. It’s another of my favorite hangout locales with a TP, bank and merchant nearby, as long as one ignores the settlement of crazed karka just next to you. Just missing a guild bank. Maybe I should look into the price of those guild transport thingmajigs.)

Out of sheer mischievous fun, I made the run south past scary reef drakes and annoying reef riders to the Consortium resort and did the easy jumping puzzle as a plushie griffon.

I believe I can fly!
I believe I can fly!

No one found me before the tonic wore off, but I had a blast just camping out and being cute regardless.

I really wanted someone to come upon this sight. Next time, I shall bring more tonics to wait it out.
I really wanted someone to come upon this sight. I shall bring more tonics next time.

I also did other stuff from that long list of mine (keyword: mine) but I’ll save that for another post.

If you’re feeling the burn, go and do what’s fun for you until you feel better.

Tabletop Fiasco @ Geek and Sundry

I may be the last person in the world to find out about this. If so, my only excuse is a quote from a Tripod song:

If there’s four levels of cool
Then I’m at Level 3.
It goes freakishly cool people first
Cool people next, then there’s me….
And then my mum.

I Always Get Into Stuff, Tripod

But anyway, Wil Wheaton apparently does a webshow on Tabletop games over at Geek & Sundry, and besides a rollicking round of Munchkin with Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh and Steve Jackson (which was pretty fun to watch too,) there is a truly spectacular example of the Fiasco RPG, which is a must-see.

Fiasco is basically a tabletop roleplaying game that is centered around generating a good narrative/story based on well-laid plans going horribly awry for a number of characters. It’s recreating the plot of any Coen Brothers movie or heist film in a very entertaining, consensus storytelling fashion. (They do a better overview and explanation of the game than I can in the video, so feel free to just skip this and watch.)

 

I’ve owned the Fiasco pdf for a good number of years now, mostly because I developed a habit of collecting RPG systems in my youth and it got cheaper and easier on the storage space to hoard them digitally instead. It’s a thick 135 page tome that I’ve never managed to read from cover to cover, but was impressed by how its design and mechanics help to build up and prompt ideas for the players.

Characters must end up linked to each other via Relationships of some kind, there are a number of Needs involved (the prime rule of storytelling, what a character wants and what he is willing to do to get it) and some Locations and Objects to create a setting and have some key Macguffins to focus on.

Sadly, I lack friends with the patience to sit at a table for two to three hours and tell a collaborative story, and try as I might, haven’t gotten around to figuring out how a game of solo Fiasco or writing with Fiasco might work. I keep stalling at the setup as my brain fries trying to develop three or four interrelated characters at once.

Still, the show’s pretty good inspiration for yet another attempt at it some time.

And even if you have no interest in tabletop roleplaying games (or ad lib acting or writing stories) whatsoever, you should just watch the Fiasco videos above because it’s one of the best movies that was never made.