Blaugust: Free Ideas Lockbox!

Here we go, fashionably late to Blaugust Reborn 2018.

  • August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.

So a fun tip for all the WordPress blogs out there:

You can pull up a random post from way back when, simply by adding /?random to the blog link.

For example, https://whyigame.wordpress.com/?random will likely link you back to one of my rants written during my more prolific days.

This discovery has quite thrown me down the reading rabbit hole as now I’m starting to reread all my old posts (boy, I sure had a lot more ideas in those days) and then running around to someone else’s WordPress blog and sampling some ?random posts of theirs too.

Now there is no excuse for not being able to riff off someone’s else blog posts, because you can rummage in their back bin of history to vehemently disagree with their opinion of seven years ago.

treasurechest

Much like a lockbox, you may end up clicking and opening a bunch of crap first, but persist and you might get lucky and discover an ideas treasure trove that inspires a blog post of your own.

What is old is new once again.

And hey, it’s free and kinda addictive.

Blogger users are, sadly, out of luck on this one. It appears to take a lot more arcane coding beyond my comprehension to do the same thing on Blogspot. But hey, y’all have the best blogroll out there.

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GW2: Disconnected Ramblings

I finally finished the Heart of Thorns story today. The last chapter’s flight phases were a humongous PITA between 250ms latency and having to replay a considerably lengthy fight of multiple phases if one failed to dodge a single hit while in the air.

Granted, I voluntarily chose to make it harder by deciding not to group up for this fight.

But I just found it nigh impossible to find a reliable means of dodging said hit, the hitboxes just didn’t feel or seem right from one’s gliding camera angle. I tried strafing with lean techniques, speeding up and changing vertical angle with said lean techniques, stealth dodging and it all seemed 50/50 as to whether it would work or not. I suspect the distance traveled by the object which hits (oh, how roundabout we must speak to avoid spoilers?) is just too short for our laggardly latency to react to reliably.

The only thing I didn’t try was undeploying the glider to drop and redeploying it because duh, that’s nigh guaranteed failure at our kind of ping. I’d just crash feet first into the floor, which is the equivalent of lava here.

Anyway, it was a mixture of sheer dumb persistence, a little luck and developer tweaks (they put a second essential object on the other side, where the floor hopefully has not fallen away and left you a flying unreachable essential object – assuming it didn’t glitch out, at which point you just have to die and try again and hope it’s there this time) that got it done.

Also, Canach. Canach is my bro. If I got lucky enough to evade the first two hits of the stupid flight phase, but got murderized out of the sky just as the phase is ending, my bro braves a ridiculous amount of shit in order to rez me while I’m downed. I narrowly scrape through the bloody aerial phases a number of times that way.

Glad that’s over. I liked the ending. I got to do something that felt rather appropriate on a Hero’s Journey sort of narrative, while satisfying some meta player urges.

While watching the cutscene, I couldn’t help but think back to Scarlet and “Someday you’ll see. Tyria needs me.”

In other news, can someone please explain to me what “antisocial” means in an MMO context?

I’m starting to think that it’s a blame-others phrase slung around by people who either don’t have the time / priority to invest socially into an MMO (but would like to, because nostalgia) or a euphemism for “Woe is me, no one is willing to help me get what I want done at this very moment NOW, or magically reads my mind to know that I am lonely and want someone to talk to.”

By nature, I’m quite a lone wolf.

I enjoy soloing mobs the Bhagpuss way a lot. (And throw in lots of shameless harvesting/gathering and selling, because ka-ching.)

But by my count, I’ve done -so- much socializing in my MMO of choice that I find it hard to understand when others claim it feels friendless and antisocial.

Random example:  the past weekend has been spent in a Teamspeak filled with 120-130 people for hours on end. I don’t talk but there are plenty of others chattering away. We’re practising / trying for world first on the Tangled Depths meta event, which seems to be a mite overtuned on the early days of Triple Trouble Wurm sort of scale. Said meta event happens every two hours, so there is at least one spare hour of time in between, before set up and preparation of groups and all that.

You can see every range of social and asocial behavior going on. People have the freedom to AFK for that one hour, some in a big clump at the waypoint and some hiding away alone in corners, while others choose to group up and “explore” the map that way, aka beelining from one marked point to another following the one guy with a clue as to where he is going. Still others choose to solo explore and spontaneously come together for events or just when crossing paths. Some talk in say chat, some talk in Teamspeak; some talk constantly, some sporadically and others not at all.

I have helped two guilds claim their guild halls, aka group sizes of 20-40+. I tried a guild PvP mission, aka group of 5. I did a fractal, aka a PUG of 4 other strangers. I ran into random people while on my solo wanderings about the Heart of Thorns maps and helped them, rezzed them, communicated or coordinated with them to defeat (or make relatively good tries on) at least three separate Verdant Brink night time champions multiple times. I joined others asking for help at hero points, I start soloing hero points and sometimes someone joins me spontaneously and we get it done…

…I’m not even -trying- to interact with anyone here. I just keep bumping into them. (Or they fall down at my feet and it feels bad to walk away without Fing them up.) Halp?

Finally, really quickly, a discussion on MMO spoilers.

I get the spoiler thing. I do. I don’t want to be spoiled myself, so I don’t open stuff marked with spoiler tags until I’m done with whatever it is.

But here’s something I still don’t get, that maybe my readers can help me with: is there an expiry date before something is no longer considered a spoiler?

If someone wants to talk about the ending to Harry Potter or discuss something re: past seasons of Game of Thrones, isn’t there a time when one should assume it is either public knowledge by now, or whoever still doesn’t know probably doesn’t care about it to begin with?

Do I have to spoiler tag what happens to Macbeth?

In the storyline context, Guild Wars 1 is ancient history by now. A bunch of heroes slay Abaddon. Kormir takes over. It’s known fact. It’s part of the timeline.

Sylvari are Mordremoth’s dragon minions. Used to be a spoiler. If you don’t know by now, then none of Heart of Thorns will make sense, especially when the dragon starts whispering sweet nothings to your sylvari character.

And so it goes. Time moves on. The story is going to progress and it’s going to operate based on what just happened in Heart of Thorns.

So… expiry date? When?

Aka, “Please please tell me when I can start discussing all the cool story revelations and sharing all the delicious screenshots without having to muck around with HTML formatting and spoiler tagging nonsense that I’m very very bad at.”

GW2: And Some Days, Lady Luck Smiles On You…

Case in point, last Sunday’s Triple Trouble Wurm kill:

cobalthead

The group at Cobalt killed the phase 2 wurm head in, if not a record-breaking time, still a very good and respectable time.

Once Amber had killed theirs, it was the usual. Grab champion bag from the dead wurm, collect Golden Chest from the sidebar, take portal to big chest and get a whole lot of not very much scrolling down the side of the screen…

…except…

…is that something pink I see in my bags? Did I maybe get an Ascended chest (that will soon be able to switch stats to something useful) to sweeten the day?

*flips to the chat channel I’ve set for game messages*

lastwurmarmor

Oh wait, it IS the last regurgitated armor chest (of three) that finishes my skin collection!

Feeling suddenly very celebratory and cheerful, I start the process of tidying up my inventory, which means breaking open the big golden chest to reveal more blue and greens and salvaging those, and then opening up the 5 champion bags that came out of the chest and getting even more blues and greens (plus crafting odds and ends) and salvaging -those-…

… Then I do a double take at the exotic that dropped out of the last champion bag.

thankyourngjesus

That, for those who don’t recognize the skin, is Lord Taeres’s Shadow.

Something I’ve been oohing and aahing over for a long time and had my eye on, but hesitated to get at 60g on the TP. (It’s now worth 80g on the TP.)

Thank you, RNGjesus.

You have no idea how hard it is to decide whether to sell it or keep it – selling would give me enough gold to buy a Scientific skin (my new ‘chase’ goal in GW2, aka collect as many Scientific skins as possible) and keeping, well, saves me 80g and gives my future mesmer the most stunningly stylish sword one could ever ask for.

Being the hoarder that I am, I’ll probably go with the latter. Gold can be earned by other means, after all.

One lucky day indeed.

Death to Chain Letters, Web Awards and Other Grumpy Hermit Musings

One random wall-of-text fact about Jeromai:

I murder chain letters. I take great delight in breaking chains that run on fear and superstition, trusting in science, RNG and the general unfairness of the universe to leave me blissfully unscathed from whatever heinous doom was supposed to fall on that most dastardly of souls, the one-who-*gasp*-broke-the-chain.

That said, a blogger friend whom I respect and enjoy reading has nominated me for a not-to-be-named-here thingummy, leaving me in the decidedly awkward position of not actually minding answering a few questions from one friend to another, while not actually wanting to perpetuate something that sends someone else’s (whom I don’t know, and know not their motives) SEO skyrocketing.

I’m also okay with the spirit of the thing, which seems to be to highlight less trafficked bloggers or friends whose words you enjoy reading and would like to hear more from, or know more about.

I just really really detest that it’s wrapped up in a) a web award format (I don’t understand the appeal of decorating one’s website with a random graphic saying that you won an award, hell, I don’t understand why people go to meaningless (as in stuff everyone can win or fake ‘excellent service’ awards a bunch of people make up to soothe their employees’ need for external validation) award ceremonies in real life either) and b) a chain letter format.

So eff that.

Format stomped on. It’s dead.

Now I’m just here to answer some questions, share a few less-known bloggers whom I enjoy reading, and then ask a few of my own, throwing open the floor to -anyone- to respond and share if they want to, whether I name you specifically or no, or whether you’re even a blogger (maybe you’re just one of my favorite commenter persons instead.)

I do not drink soda. (Especially not after ballooning in my youth from a daily Coca Cola habit, sorta like a Super Size Me documentary in real life.)

I don’t watch enough TV these days to have a current favorite show or a celebrity crush. I could point y’all to ancient history and recommend Babylon 5 as my favorite show of all time instead.

As for celebrity crushes, had a bunch, and they’re still mostly ancient history, given my lack of current TV or movie keeping up with, but you know, I think Holly Marie Combs playing Piper Halliwell in Charmed is pretty damn hot.

Asking me for a favorite video game character is like asking me narrow down a single favorite video game. I just can’t do it. Even on my best focused days, I’m playing GW2 and Minecraft simultaneously because each give me different experiences, both of which I enjoy and need.

As long as the video game character fits the story the game is telling, then they’re a favorite because they’re who they need to be.

Asking me for a favorite genre of music also falls in the above category. I listen to pretty much anything and everything, and I just keep what I like. Pop rock, musicals, filk, country, symphonic metal, mashups, yeah.

Sting is a perennial favorite, his repertoire is extensive and his lyricism is clever. Been listening to both the Wicked and The Last Ship soundtracks lately. (Jock the Singing Welder is a hoot.) Leslie Fish’s lyrics are either hilarious or awfully sharp or both. I guess I haven’t been listening to much country lately, but I used to enjoy Faith Hill once upon a time. Heather Dale was a really nice Celtic/folklore artist I discovered via Pandora, before they region-blocked me and much of the rest of the world (DEATH TO REGION LOCKS, eesh.) Nightwish and Poets of the Fall are awesome (is POTF considered rock, rather than metal? Who knows.)  And Norwegian Recycling is my favorite mashup artist.

Yes, I drink alcohol. Not in heavy amounts, so as not to kill my liver and kidneys and whatever. I enjoy tasting a variety and a range of good quality stuff, so I dabble with certain cocktails and go on little tasting sprees to sate my curiosity. Beyond craft beers, I ventured into absinthe for a while (really good with coffee), tasted a little sake and decided nah, dessert and ice wines I like, other wines are either too dry or too pricey for me to consider further, and I’m currently eyeing various rums and other liqueurs, but haven’t acted on the desire yet.

It’s a lot cheaper a habit to eat gourmet single-origin 70%+ chocolate (Amedei is awesome) and keep the remainder of the cash for a vast variety of games, than buy 4-5 bottles of good alcohol for a tasting party.

No beard. Scratchy both ways, I should think.

I’d pick enough money to sustain me for life, over life-long love. Not that I don’t think the latter is unimportant, but as we’re right now in the beginnings of what seems like an aging population crisis and seeing how much my family is currently spending on my seriously aged grandparents, a certain pragmatism is telling me that one would have a better time of it if one can afford to pay younger people to look after you in your old age -and- pay for medical care.

If I really loved my life-long love, I wouldn’t want them to end up trying to deal with all the problems without sufficient money.

Several years ago, if my current boss fired me, I’d probably be relieved and happy, cos I was in serious throes of burnout in a more-dysfunctional-than-normal organization.

Now, I’d probably be sad, because I’ve found a niche in a slightly less-dysfunctional-than-normal organization and am being careful about my propensity for obsession and burnout. Getting fired would mean I’d have to run the job lottery all over again and try to find/locate/create a not-so-dysfunctional space for myself /somewhere/.

I’d rather not have to do that until it becomes necessary. (Cynicism tells me it’s merely a matter of time, cos change is a constant and all it takes is a few screwed up individuals to make life difficult for everyone else in the organization.)

Did I start a blog to showcase my writing or just to vent? Both.

Why do I think you nominated me for this award?

Because you want to hear a grumpy hermit rant about death, doom and destruction to chain letters?

Because Jeromai is a weird, eccentric cipher of a person and trying to find out more about the mystery is always intriguing?

And just when I thought I was done, another blogger friend whom I respect and enjoy reading has come up with even more questions. Dammit.

What language would I learn overnight if I could?

Um, it’s a toss up between Quenya (to speak in elvish tongues would be cool), Old English (reading and understanding Beowulf and other texts in the original language would be awesome) and contemporary Mandarin Chinese (because despite a dozen years being educated in it, I still have little to no grasp of it and it would actually be a useful ‘normal’ skill.)

Knowing how easily I get motion sick, I’m not 100% sure a full on VR experience would be great for me. But it’ll have to be whatever incarnation of Guild Wars we’re up to then, because Tyria is awesome and ArenaNet still has the best fantasy artists of our time creating that painterly otherworldly look. (also some pretty solid engineers and network people and programmers and planners for the minimal downtime, minimal lag experience.)

I honestly have no clue what I’d want to say to a dead person, let alone invite them over for tea and biscuits. If I liked what they wrote in a book or so on, their work and wisdom and knowledge exists beyond their individual lives. And they would probably be a lot less impressive in person.

(I’d also be tongue-tied and am generally not very sociable by nature, so… yeah.)

Biscuit recommendations though, the Aussies have it with Arnott’s Tim Tams.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones. Can I just have all the Houses go down in flames, along with House Atreides and House Baenre?

Justice means…

…that I just spent an hour googling up and reading philosophy to figure how to even begin scratching the surface of this question.

When I hear the word “justice,” my first impulse is to think of it in a more legal sense, which I guess, brings to mind more procedural and retributive justice systems. I’m personally a little more in favor of restorative justice than retributive, but one recognizes that all types exist in the world (including the lack of -any- justice or a perversion thereof.)

In the context of the question, it seems to be referring to distributive justice, how goods and resources should be allocated to a populace.

Which then makes me want to ask, “in a game or in real life?”

Games are a smaller, more controlled system with boundaries and rules that can be set by the designers. I’d say they should feel free to experiment with all types, and see how the populace of different games react, a sort of inadvertent social research in a way.

In real life, my belief is that justice is a human created concept. Fairness and altruism has some roots in biology, but a full on justice system seems to be the province of humanity.

Much of the world is already operating on a capitalistic, economically-driven meritocracy, which rewards people (very generally speaking) for the amount of work they do. (Definitions of ‘work’ being somewhat questionable, as some ‘work’ may simply be politicking or maneuvering oneself into a better social position for more benefits.)

Totally equal distribution of goods regardless of what people do wouldn’t work, then no one would do anything.

So I would actually put a vote in favor of a distributive justice system that attempts to counteract and balance out the meritocratic economically-based system steadily widening the rich-poor divide by distributing stuff according to needs – the rich get less (but still get something) and the poor get a little more (supported by societal contribution.)

In no way should it completely -replace- option 1 or option 2 (extremes and black-and-whites are unlikely to happen anyway). but I feel that governments and society and the community (ie. humanity as an organised group seeking the overall best for the group) should tilt a little more to option 3 so as not to leave subsets of their populace behind (where they will end up diminishing the health/wealth of the society anyway).

Yeah, uhh, sorry if you were expecting a simple answer. This is wall-of-text city. My brain just can’t pick an option without explanation or thinking deeply.

Would I accept $100 if the other person got $900? If it’s a one-off ‘free’ payment (as in, not given in terms of return salary for work done and stuff like that), then yes.

The alternative is “punishing” everyone and both not getting a cent. I’ll not cut off a hand to spite my face. Both people benefit, and I could use $100. Especially if you take the same problem and increase it in orders of magnitude, I’ll take $1,000, $10,000 and so on, even if the other guy gets the larger share.

Maybe if it were $10 or $1, then I’ll say, nah, because going without that sum isn’t too big of a deal. Chances are likely, though, most people will offer a fairly even split.

What’s probably more important is that for cases of future interaction, one notes the selfish profiteering scrooges as opposed to the equitable ones. I’d want to avoid getting into future exchanges/deals with those that reserve too large a share of the pot for themselves.

But for a one-off, seriously, I’ll take any no-strings-attached hundred bucks you wanna throw my way. 🙂

I wish I could have favorite midnight snacks. I had a really bad bout of acid reflux a couple years ago and now I obey the oft-repeated advice to stay upright for at least two hours before going to bed, cos reflux really sucks. *sighs* The perils of getting old. I’ll pretend I can, and say a couple spoonfuls of Ben and Jerries’ Chocolate Therapy ice cream. (That’s not that far off a stretch. That’s a favorite teatime or anytime snack.)

A wished-for sequel for a favorite game? Planescape: Torment. (Oh wait.) The Secret of Monkey Island (Hang on.) Guild Wars (Fuck.)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (This is not working, is it?) Defence Grid (*pulls hair out*)

Oh, ok, Grim Fandango, Heavy Rain, and The Wolf Among Us.

I has no MMO home location. I r a nomad.

Beyond a little text room on a MUD that used to be the hangout of my first hardcore guild, when I think of “home” in a game, I think of this place:

My own blogger list, consisting of folks outside what I would term my immediate blog echo chamber (i.e. frequent posting folks who come up with ideas to bounce off, and thus get a lot of link love), but whom I’d love to read more from:

In no particular order (some came on board during NBI and some are old stalwarts whose posting rate has dropped,)

No obligations. Feel free to totally pretend never to have seen this post. I’ll happily take any and all answers from my commenter literati too.

Random questions being made into a list for the hell of it:

  • How much time do you spend gaming each day or each week?
  • How many people do you roughly interact with while gaming, and what’s the extent of your interactions?
  • What emotions do you enjoy experiencing while playing a game?
  • What are some of your favorite genres/settings/worlds to read about in a book?
  • Are they any different from the genres/settings/worlds you might like in a game? (Be it a computer game or a tabletop RPG.)
  • What Warhammer 40k army would you choose (assuming unlimited budget)?
  • ASCII art, yea or nay?
  • Your favorite vegetable, and your most loathed one
  • Unlimited budget, pick one country in the world, that you haven’t been to, that you’d like to visit.
  • You cannot choose a human for your next MMO character. Would you pick a tall race or a short race first? (Width or muscularity, bestial features or lack thereof is up to you.)
  • Wings or no wings?

Go nuts.

Or not.

Up to you.

Random Search Terms of the Last 30 Days

It’s been pretty hard to see what people have been searching for, ever since search engines like Google started masking the keyword phrases from statistics collection.

2,109 were ‘unknown search terms,’ which is what WordPress classifies masked phrases as.

That leaves us with only 231 to scan through.

13 of those were looking for ‘lesbian sex’ – of which I doubt my one post about The Secret World’s Dragon faction tutorial mission would really satisfy – and 4 of those for ‘animated sex’, confirming once again that the Internet is for porn.


Wildstar

9 people have come looking for first impressions of Wildstar, while others have more interesting concerns on their mind:

‘wildstar adventures chicken’

– Oh, does it have chicken play like in LOTRO too?

‘wildstar first achievements’

– Are you looking for a guide which tells you which achievements to do first? Or trying to compare e-peen with who got a particular one FIRST? Like SERVER FIRST ACHIEVEMENT, WHOOOOO…

‘wildstar difficulty’

– Magic 8 ball says “Yes.”

‘wildstar dungeon slow’

– It’s you. You’re not hardcore enough to speedrun shit. Did you have -any- interrupt armor slotted?

‘what if my scanbot dies wildstar’

– Or maybe it’s players like this never getting taught by the rest, trying to sneak into LFD without getting attacked by toxic players. You… resummon it, by the way. (At least, that’s how it worked in Beta, when I played for a couple days.)

‘is anyone else stuck at level 20 in wildstar?’

– …no?

‘wildstar why i quit’

– Ah, ye olde search for justifications to rationalize your decisions gambit. Twice.

‘i just bought a year worth of game play for wildstar and its not there’

– That might be a good reason to see the search term above.


Guild Wars 2

‘gw2 tengu data mined’

– …I wish. Cantha confirmed?

‘gw2 why is liadri so hard’

– …Because.

– Abaddon feasts upon the tears of your frustration. All your deaths to Liadri and cruel jumping puzzles are but sacrifices to the bloodstone that rebirth the coming of the old god, which will herald a new age of DOOM. See Living Story Season 5 – When Livia Returns!

‘gw2 charr gods’

– CHARR NEED NO GODS.

‘gw2 chaos of lyssa drop raate’

– Sucks. Like every other rare one-percentile-or-less desirable item out there.

‘main trin safe spot’

– There is none. Get gud. Learn to kite and dodge and condition cure bleeds and communicate with your team to make sure everyone’s on the same page. And if four of you cluster together during the cannon phase, you just killed the poor bastard in the other corner trying to spread the cannon fire out. ALL SPREAD or ALL RUN TOGETHER.

‘guild wars 2 austalian wvwvw player are fighting doors and npcs’

– Time to transfer to a higher tier server with more Oceanic and SEA opposition.

‘gw2 edge of the mists commanding tips’

– Wear blue dorito. Run away from any players from the other sides. Go in a big circle visiting any available objectives that give loot.

– Or conversely, bring some players used to real WvW with you, drop a few choice pieces of superior siege, chase away everybody from the map after one brief shining moment of swimming in loot bags.

‘gw2 large body’

‘gw2 norn boobs’

– Looks like there’s a niche for GW2 fetish porn. Any takers? You might get plenty of hits! Mix in lesbian sex, furries. and cross-species ERP and you’re golden.

‘gw2 best drop place for dusk 10 june 2014’

– If I knew, I wouldn’t be here wasting my time writing this post. I’ll be building a time machine.


Miscellaneous

‘landmark game crashes’

– No surprise there. It’s beta, the devoted will tell you.

‘tinkers construct smeltery eats my ores that i melt down’

– Yes, that’s meant to happen. You need an outlet from which to release the molten ore and send it into a casting tray/box of some sort.

‘sleeping dogs how to break from getting arrested’

– Run or drive really really fast away from the sirens. Failing which, do something permanent to the annoying vehicles in your way. No one said being a undercover triad mobster would be easy.

‘i hate runes of magic site’

– Me too?

‘what happens when the clentaminator with red solution hits a shadow orb in terraria’

– Gee, that’s a really detailed question. How did you get here? I’ve never written any FAQs about Terraria! Short answer: Haven’t a clue. Maybe you should try it out.

‘tales of maj’eyal save game editor’

– Cheaaaat. Just use Exploration mode and be happy, eh?

‘people that are level 100 in mob war and need friends’

– Not me, I stopped playing that after a month. Try one of the ubiquitous fake friends sites for posting your code and scraping off a whole bunch of others.

‘i miss city of heroes so much’

– Me too. Pre-incarnate trials anyway.

‘mmos were never fun’

– I’m caught between feeling sorry for you and suggesting that if this is true for you, it’s time to stop chasing them and play something that -is-.

‘get to the blue mountains tsw’

‘why can’t i go to blue mountain tsw’

‘tsw where is the blue mountain zone’

– Seriously?! This is still a confusing issue two years later.