sareini: "Little one, I would like to see anyone - prophet, king or god - persuade 1000 cats to do anything at the same time." (1000 cats)
Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, Callie will be going to the vets for her yearly vaccinations. Even though both she and Lily are 100% indoor cats (aside from the .5% when she pokes her nose past the front door for a fleeting second) it's important to get the vaccinations because (a) you can never be too careful; and (b) because Lily is on long-term steroids now she can't get her vaccinations, so Callie needs to step up to provide the herd (clowder?) immunity. Callie is significantly easier to get into the carrier than Lily, what with being small enough still to be picked up and held with one arm and her not psychically knowing when it's time to get into the carrier like Lily can somehow sense. Once that part is done it's relatively easy and so routine that even I and my anxiety can't come up with anything to panic about.

Then, later on in the day I will be joining several friends and friends of friends in the headstart for Secret World Legends, the new f2p version of Funcom's The Secret World. It's a new game, so new characters for everyone... and that's been causing me some deep thought and anxiety over the last few days.

You see, I've had a small pool of characters that I play/write about for a very, very long time now - some of them have been around for nearly 30 years at this point. And so with maybe one or two exceptions, I don't like to create new characters; not when I've got these perfectly good characters that I can tweak to that purpose! Over the years I've become aware that these characters are also facets of myself in one way or another - Talia (who over the decades has also been known as Tiffany, Kimberley, Abigail and Rebecca) is how I wish I was; while James is the part of me that identifies as male and (poor thing) gets saddled with my mental illnesses and anxieties (and angst). There's a couple of others, but these are the two that have been with me the longest. When I write, they're the characters who'll turn up in just about everything, carefully shaped to fit the situation. And over the years they've helped me through a lot of things as well - they're not real, of course, but working out what they'd do or say to me in situations when I've had no-one else around to turn to has probably saved my life on at least one occasion.

So it's difficult for me to just create new characters, because to make the cut as a character they really have to have something that makes me attached to them, otherwise I lose interest very quickly. And I feel awkward about this, because in my past I've had people tell me how wrong this is or mock me for it, to the point where now I expect it from people automatically. Even explaining this here is making me feel weird because I never actually talk about this stuff.

On a related note I should probably get back on with the character backgrounds I've been working on for the versions of them in my current original universe brainworm...
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
After about 25 hours now of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I have an Inquisitorial Decree: Fuck Bears. Seriously, fuck them and their stupid aggro radius and infinite chasing AI, even if you disengaged before a single shot was fired. And their ability to spawn on top of you in the middle of a fight. Seriously, I think my Inquisition now has a bear bounty. Best part was when I was trying to do a quest where you had to walk three times round a statue to resurrect someone's dead grandmother or something, and all I managed to summon was bears - and once a pack of wardogs when I tried going the other direction. Apparently grandmother was a bear in disguise. Who knew?

In other news, I've recruited the final member of my party - the Hogwarts Sorting Hat as worn by a teenage boy - and finally got to the kissing stage with Dorian. Woo! Now I can go kiss him in the library whenever I want, I believe, while I wait for the trigger for the next part of the relationship to start. Which might not be for a while now, as I think I'm going to have to spend most of the next couple of days doing the last-minute sprint on my niece's cardigan before Saturday. Time to catch up on some TV shows.

***

On the Lily front, her illness continues to perplex me. On a whim on Monday, I gave her the very last steroid tablet left after we stopped them last week. She was sick that night, but not last night, and the last two nights she's been playing with Callie and with her shoe (Lily has a strange affection for one of my formal dress shoes). Does this mean that she needs to go back on the steroids as well, or was the few days' vomiting just a blip or getting the last of the stuff out of her system? I guess tonight will be a deciding night for it - if she's sick again I'll be calling the vets tomorrow; if not then I will cross my fingers and leave it till next week. Part of the problem is the stress and logistics of taking her to the vet - not only do I have to get her in the box and do all that, but I have to try to get myself in a suitable mindset for leaving the house on short notice, without triggering an anxiety attack.

But at least there are no bears, I guess.
sareini: jack and ianto with the plants... naked :) (torchwood)
After two years, I've finally started playing Dragon Age: Inquisition again.

I got DA:I back in October 2015, for my birthday, after I'd watched a friend playing it and decided I wanted a go (especially after he showed me Dorian and told me he was a gay romance option). Unfortunately, I only played it for about two weeks - I think I'd barely gotten to the halfway point - before Nick died, and after that I didn't feel like playing it, and certainly not cultivating a relationship with the most dashing mage this side of anywhere. And this went on for some time. Occasionally I'd think to myself, "I should get into DA:I again," but never actually do anything about it, as I was either too stressed, depressed, distracted or all of the above to actually sit down and play such a huge game.

But this week I finally decided to get back into it, so I started a new game (because it's been so long that I needed to go through the tutorials and stuff again), and so far I've got around 14 hours of play put into it while still not being at what I think is the big halfway battle (I'm deliberately putting it off to raise my companions' approval ratings and have as many conversations with Dorian as possible to get the relationship started). And it's pretty much as fun as I remember it.

Of course, I do have the usual problems that I have when I'm gaming anything more complicated than LoL, the first among those being my complete lack of direction. I like to think my party companions, when we're out questing, must turn to each other and say things like, "You know, our Inquisitor is great and everything, but... why's he trying to climb a waterfall?"

"Eh, he'll stop in a minute."

"But it's the second time in five minutes!"

"Yeah, but he means well, right? He's just got so much Inquisitorial stuff going round his head that he... gets a bit lost sometimes."

I have no sense of direction in video games. Following maps, platforming, finding hidden passages... I blunder around zones either opening the map every 10 seconds to try to work out what direction I'm facing or to see if I'm any closer to whatever waypoint I've hopefully marked as being reachable in this decade. I've fallen into inescapable crevasses twice already (personally, I'm surprised it's only been twice), and blundered into way too many fights that I really shouldn't have because I was too busy looking for a landmark to notice all the red dots on the radar.

I was trying to explain the game to my brother the other night as well, and it went a little something like this: "So you're a video game protagonist who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and fell into hell, then came out of it with a thing on your hand that can open and close the hellgates, and that makes you able to form the Inquisition, only it's a good one, not like the Spanish Inquisition... except you can walk into people's houses and root through their belongings for anything you like the look of, so it's a bit like that Inquisition... Anyway, you also get a whole load of companions for your adventuring party, and they include Joan of Arc, Ianto Jones with pointy ears, a dwarf, Grizzly Adams, a minotaur, an anarchist elf, the black Emma Frost and Devlin Waugh."

Somehow, this has made my brother interested in playing the game himself. If his laptop can handle it.
sareini: default (Default)
To counter my last post of rage about a stupid team member, I decided I should do a counter-post, listing a couple of the great teams I've been on in my MMO adventures.

1. The MM team of WIN! )

2. The LFD group that was a lawnmower )

tl;dr - sometimes, good teams happen.

Ragequit!

Sep. 1st, 2010 06:14 pm
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
I get remarkably grouchy sometimes when I'm playing games. Maybe it's just me being an anti-social bitch at the best of times (in my defence, I claim stress from being a full-time carer and therefore just wanting a quiet time when I relax by playing my computer games), or maybe it's that I'm sometimes unlucky enough to meet up with some truly, truly terrible people while playing.

A month or so ago, Mr Sare and I were invited along on an Imperious Task Force in City of Heroes (for those not in the know, it's the one in ancient Rome where you fight gladiators, Nazis, robots and aliens). Mr Sare rarely does TFs because he doesn't like to team with people he doesn't know, but we knew the majority of people in the group so it was all going to be fine. And for 3/4s of the TF, it was.

The story continues... )

tl;dr - I don't like playing with other people sometimes, and this is one reason why.
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
So, I'm still playing WoW and, remarkably enough, enjoying it still (although searching a cave for an hour for a fricking Tattered Manuscript so I can get one step closer to having a Felhunter is going to be the death of me, I'm sure). Part of the reason I'm actually enjoying playing is because I've managed to find myself some good roleplayers, and currently I spend my evenings with them, hanging round Silvermoon City and getting into trouble. Of course, not everything is perfect though, and so I'd like to take the opportunity to get a rants off my chest.

Rant ahead )

In conclusion: tl;dr - godmoders suck.
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
I have something of a love/hate relationship with World of Warcraft. Well, maybe “love” is the wrong word. It’s more of a fascination, really. After all, it has around 11 million people playing it, so it must has something going for it, right? But at the same time, there’s the hate. People seem to take it so seriously. There are so many numbers involved, or at least there are whenever I read forums or articles about it written by players. And it has 11 million people playing it.

But, every now and then I get the urge to play it for a while, just to see what happens. As was the case yesterday, when I re-subscribed. Now, I’ve played WoW before, on and off, in the past, but as I never got any higher than 41, I figured that I’d start from scratch here, with a new character on a new server, and see what happened. So, here I am on the Earthen Ring (EU) server, with my new character, Jachin the Blood Elf Priest. Let’s see where this takes me.

Complete with screenshots! )
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
It was 2002. Or maybe 2003, my memory's become hazy over the years and the fact that I was laid low for much of the time during those years with ME doesn't help much. I think it was 2003. But anyway. Mr Sare had gotten a game while out in town, called Anarchy Online. He'd liked the sound of it, because it was supposed to be sci-fi and it had "Anarchy" in the title, and he was curious because it as one of these new "MMOs" that were popping up in the computer game world. We like to keep up with the trends, do we in the Sareini household.

So he sat down to play it. An hour or so later, I went to see how he was doing and to languish in his bed for a while (it was bigger than mine, more room to sprawl about).

"I don't like this game," he grumbled.*

"What's wrong with it?" I asked.

"I can't understand the controls. Or what I'm supposed to do. Or anything, really. It's stupid," he sulked.

"Well, what are you going to do about it?"

"Dunno. Just not play it, I guess. Can't take it back to the shop."

Well, I couldn't just let him effectively waste money on a game like that, so I told him to move over and took his spot at the computer desk while he went to make coffee, or pizza or something. My only aim at that point was to try to figure out what the basics of the controls and things were, so I could show Mr Sare and everything would be happy again. As it turned out, the controls weren't that bad at all to get the hang of, and Mr Sare didn't know what he was supposed to be doing because he had just run headlong into things without stopping to read things like the tutorials or the starter missions (it's a flaw of his that continues to this day, and one day I'm going to snap while trying to lead him through a new game and beat him senseless with a coffee mug). But by the time he'd come back, I was actually enjoying myself playing. So, when even after I offered to teach him how to play Mr Sare wasn't interested any more, the copy of Anarchy Online passed to me.

My first character was an Agent, which I picked because I wanted to be sneaky and, if I'm remembering correctly, I royally buggered up. I got slightly better with my next character, an Adventurer, and finally worked out what I was doing with the Fixer profession. Sadly, though, I was only able to play Anarchy Online for a couple of months, until they released a patch that made the game incompatible with my (admittedly low-spec) graphics card. I was very sad.

Since then I've played Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies (pre-NGE and everything), City of Heroes, EVE Online, WoW, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Champions Online, Fallen Earth... There's probably others in there too that I've missed out, but you get the picture. I've even gone back to Anarchy Online a few times, once my system was upgraded enough to be able to play again. Its graphics are terribly, terribly dated now, but it still holds a special place in my heart as the first MMO I ever played, and in a way got me to where I am now.

(* - I'm paraphrasing maybe just a little here.)
sareini: quintesson icon (transformers)
Last night I found myself hating someone I was teaming with.

This was something of a new experience for me, as most of the time I consider myself to be pretty easy-going when it comes to other players in MMOs, mainly because I'm very much aware that, so to speak, "there but for the whims of Eris, go I." I'm practicially infamous among my circle of MMO friends for being able to grab aggro by just standing there, I have no sense of direction and get lost in missions all the time, and I all but have a keybind that says, "BRB - cat aggro". So if people can put up my my flaws, then I can certainly put up with theirs. But last night was... different.

Things had started off well enough. I'd been invited onto a Task Force in City of Heroes by a couple of friends, the rest of the team being filled with people they knew more than I knew them. I was playing on my Blaster, because there was the promise of being repeatedly shielded and buffed into omnipotence and I couldn't let an opportunity like that go by. As it turned out, one of the others on the team was a /Kinetics controller, but I didn't actually know this until someone requested a Speed Boost from them (for those not in the know, Speed Boost or SB is a buff which greatly increases speed and endurance recovery for a short time when cast on someone. If Adrenaline Boost is the amphetamines of the CoX world, then SB is indeed the crack). This made me stop, and blink. I actually had to check my icon bar to see that, yes, I did have an icon for another of the Kinetics powers on me, but no SB. And yet the player had SB.

I admit that this is somewhat personal for me, as one of my very first characters - and the first I got to 50 - is a Mind/Kinetics Controller. And I love this character, and happen to consider myself to be both not bad at playing him and pretty knowledgable about the powersets involved therein. So when I see someone else who has Kinetics and yet isn't bothering to use the buff that is, to be honest, one of the best in the game - I get a little upset. And by "upset" I mean I set my jaw and try very hard not to start grinding my teeth.

Throughout the whole TF, this player never SBed anyone unless they were asked. Not once. To me, it just seems strange to take a power and never use it, but hey, that's just me. And because I didn't want to make a fuss, I didn't say anything and just mentally willed Drain Psyche to recharge faster so I could dive into large groups of mobs and hyper-charge my recovery for a minute or so each time. And all in all, even without the boosts that SB would have given us, we were doing pretty damn well.

Then we came to the final mission. This particular mission was something of a pain - it was an escort mission, and there were two ways of doing so. One involved fighting your way through the map and them back again with the escort, and the other involved someone with fly going to find the escort and bringing them back while avoiding the mobs because the escort can fly too. Because one of the team was due to go to work soon, we opted for option B, and in the mission before the last it was explained and decided up on that I would pick up the escort as I was the only one with fly and, when buffed up, was unstoppable for two-three minutes. Just before we enter the mission, however, Kinetics player suddenly pipes up: "I have Group Invis and SB"

Well, bully for you, I think, but say nothing as we're zoning in and I need to get buffed up and ready. The rest of the team start to turn me into a firey psychic engine of destruction, a SB is asked for... and it's then that we realise that Kinetics player has gone off by themselves, not telling anyone else, to rescue the escort and aggroed half the map.

And it was there, dear readers, that I realised that it was indeed possible to hate someone playing a computer game. I swore so much I nearly scared the cat (and she's heard me swear before), had to turn off Team chat for the duration of the mission (especially after the Kinetics player, being told again what the plan had been, and that the escort needed to follow someone who could fly, responded with "lol I can't fly who's the flyer?"

We did complete the mission, albeit 25 minutes later than it should have been and with numerous deaths because no-one knew where to go and the escort kept trying to aggro the whole map (dear CoX devs: could you turn her lust for battle down, just a little?), and I informed my friends through clenched and grinding teeth that I really, really didn't want to team with that player again. Thankfully they agreed with me on that one.

Gah. I know it's not healthy to get so mad at someone in an online game, even if they are so incompetent and lost in their own little world that they wouldn't be able to find their own arse with both hands and a map. But really, some people are just asking for an internet Boot to the Head.

2XP

Oct. 13th, 2009 04:43 pm
sareini: default (Default)
This weekend just gone, City of Heroes had itself a weekend of double XP (and influence/infamy and prestige) for all, along with an account reactivation weekend as well. (Whether or not the timing of this weekend had anything to do with it being about the same time that a lot of Champions Online players would find their first month's subscription up for renewal is neither here nor there.)

Because I'm still currently sharing a computer with Nick (who knew that they made half-sized graphics cards for office desk units, or that they were so damn impossible to get hold of?) my play time was reduced to the times he wasn't playing, but I still managed to get a fair amount of playing and levelling in, mostly thanks to my friends who I teamed with, particularly Ardy and his lovely other half Shannon. And we did have a lot of fun, from levelling a duo of Dominators up to 21 or thereabouts, getting my Storm/Energy defender and Discworld homage to very nearly 40, getting my all-Psychic Blaster to 33 and my Empath to 33 as well, just to name the ones that come to me right now.

And it was a lot of fun. Of particular note was the team where my Empath hit 32 and gained access to the Empathy Tier 9, Adrenaline Boost, and then discovering that the Tank on the team had never played on a team with a high-level Empath before and so had never had AB cast on them. Adrenaline Boost, you see, is a bit like in-game crack (or perhaps amphetamines would be a better comparison); for 90 seconds, you supercharge their health regen and endurance recovery. That was certainly fun to watch. It was also fun to be a Blaster on a team full of Controllers and Defenders, get shielded and bubbled till ther was almost no room for icons, and being able to be right in the middle of a pile of mobs and fire away without being touched.

CoX's new "SuperSidekicking" mechanic was a great asset during the weekend as well. In the past, if you wanted to team with people you either had to make sure that there were enough high-level people to sidekick the low-level people, or everyone had to be in the same level range. Now, everyone is automatically sidekicked to the level of the team leader, and regardless of whether that level is higher or lower than your current level, you still get XP from it. It eliminates a lot of the team-juggling that went on in the past, and makes things a lot more streamlined in teaming. CO has a similar system, of course, and it's one of the things that's actually done well teaming-wise in that game (annoying message that pops up every ten seconds if you're out of range of your "mentor" aside). I would suspect that more and more games are going to start implementing a similar system to make it easier for people to team with their friends regardless of the level differences.
sareini: richard goes fwoom! (lfg)
Over the past few weeks, while I've been hanging out on the Champions Online boards (and by "hanging out" I mean lurking and looking for threads that cause the most amusement or headdesking and forwarding them on to my friends) I've seen one particular topic come up repeatedly. During an argument over whether CO is any good or not (and this isn't that argument), City of Heroes will inevitably be brought up and someone will announce, with all the self-importance that someone posting anonymously on the internet can muster, that the Mission Architect system killed that game and they've never been able to find a team to play since.

To which I practically have to sit on my hands to stop myself from replying, "You poor thing. Don't you have any friends?"

Seriously, I'm at a loss on what else to think on this one. Certainly I've never had a problem with teaming up in CoX since AE hit, or before it, and when Nick plays he quite often has to beat off the blind invites and tells asking him to team with a stick, just to prove that it's not just my circle of friends who are teaming and no others. What I guess these people are complaining about is the fact that, as with anything in MMOs, there was a group of people using the AE system to farm xp/gold/fluffy bunnies (note: if there actually had been fluffy bunnies, I would have been there like a shot), and for a while that seemed like the only teams that were going on. If you didn't bother to look any closer than Broadcast chat in Atlas Park, that is. Everywhere else, there was still plenty of non-farming teaming going on, and still is. Either that, or I hallucinated the team I was on yesterday afternoon in the RWZ where I hit 38 with my Storm/Energy Defender.

Where am I going with this? Well, I'm not too sure right now, but I think I'm trying to make a point about teaming in MMOs. MMOs are an inherently social set of games, after all - even my socially-phobic self recognises that - and and so teaming up with people, be they friends or just random people you see trying to do the same mission as you as you fly/run/teleport about the place, is always going to be an important part of an MMO. But the fact of the matter is, it goes both ways. It's one thing if an MMO doesn't have a system in place to team or their teaming system is flawed (although to be fair to CO, they're working to fix that, even if it should have been in there at launch), but it's entirely another if a player just doesn't bother to look beyond their own virtual nose for a team and then complains that there's no teaming to be found. In their own way, those people are just as lazy as the people in Atlas Park endlessly farming Freakshow boss missions - possibly even more so, because at least the farmers are teaming!

So, in conclusion: teaming - it won't bite you, and you might even like it.

(This Monday morning snark post brought to you by chocolate and Amitriptyline. Amitriptyline, it's supposed to be making me sleep but it's just making me manic and bitchy.)
sareini: default (Default)
I cancelled my subscription to Champions Online earlier today. I'd been meaning to do so for a while, since we can't currently afford to run two MMOs at the same time (this might change in a couple of weeks, but that's neither here nor there right now), but I finally got round to it today.

They asked me why I was cancelling my subscription, and if I had any suggestions for them to make the game better after I picked "Game Play >> Bugs/General Content".

Well...

Very long list of reasons here... )

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