Star-Fired Beef


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Until Next Year

Blaugust is over for another year. This was my first attempt at participating. I started off well, but I became overwhelmed by RL stuff mid-month, so my posting dropped off dramatically. I did make the halfway mark, so that is a good benchmark for me to aim to better next year.

Thanks to Belghast for once again organising the event, and keeping track of everyone in it. I was impressed at how useful Anook was in both logging your posts and consolidating everyone else’s to make it easy to follow them. 

Finally, congratulations to everyone who participated, those who achieved Survivor status, and a big congrats to those who completed Blaugust.

/salute

Supreme Beings of Leisure – Truth From Fiction

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The Secret Lore – The Ankh

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Ankh is a group instance in the Scorched Desert zone of The Secret World. I haven’t been inside, but I have discovered the first remnants of Dr Klein’s research nearby the entrance. Needless to say, it ended badly for all involved.

The Ankh

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate the oily signal – RECEIVE – initiate the dream frequency – INDUCE VOMITING IF SWALLOWED – initiate embalming protocol – WITNESS – The Ankh.

What is time to us? We stand outside. A romantic thing is about to happen nearly four thousand years ago. Romance to us, sweetling, but our sense of beauty follows a different aesthetic than yours.

The hooked needle enters the nose, like a lusty, lusty proboscis. It pierces the brain and stirs the grey. All memories commingle in a swirling stew. The soup! The soup! It all flows out. A mummy leaves little to tempt the worm.

Initiate the now.

A new romance blooms. Dr Klein, the ever-studious, sits with the mummies in the dusty dark, studying a black fluid he calls the Filth. It has gone by names he is not cognisant of – the Devouring Plague, the Zero-Point Pathogen, the Blackworm Jism. Daily he microdoses the ebony liquid, at first via syringe, but soon he holds the droplets in his hand, cooing until it slithers up his nose with a lusty slurp. It pierces his brain, stirs his grey. The soup! The soup!

 O, Dr Klein, Dr Klein – we are the only ones to sing his screeching ballad. Would you like to hear it, sweetling?

Go to the desert’s edge – to the Valley of the Sun God – to the cliffs – through a gap in the stone. An Orochi excavation camp – empty – high tech equipment hastily abandoned. The recent earthquake uncovered that which should be forgotten – an ancient temple of unusual shape. Guttural sounds come from within. Without, a jackal cackles the hymn of madness.

Enter the Ankh.

Initiate the secret histories.

What is time to us? We stand outside. Everything has happened. Everything is happening. We smell the brick oven of the desert and the gelid funk of aeons, and we are there.

Akhenaten made his first pilgrimage here. On this spot, the Pharaoh commands his slaves to dig, hundreds of lives lost delving for his god. Through shafts and passages in bedrock deep, they reach bottom, as cold as the space between stars, the walls and floor slimed with oily water. The cult of Aten is born from this black-jellied quim of earth.

“Be this the condensed breath of my god,” Akhenaten says of the black water. “Harvest it!” A temple is built, so that all may bathe in the ichorous breath of Aten. A pulley system is installed to extract the dark matter below. The baptismal fluid evaporates in the desert air, so ceremonies are conducted underground.

The black water invokes visions during sermons. Embalmers use it to ensure a cultist’s service is as eternal as the sun god. Undead cats savage slave children to the musical laughter of the Pharaoh.

Time passes – first in a trickle and then in a gush. The City of the Sun God grows. The black water flows thicker, the visions stronger, the deformities more severe. The holy fluid, now a tar, flows upward on alien gravity – a living thing – choking passageways in rivulets and tendrils – a crawling chaos.

Some grotesques out-grotesque all and can no longer be endured. The Marya, the Young Warriors, descend on the valley, footfalls sound as cleansing rain. They gift the Aten cultists with the mercy of slaughter. The new Pharaoh commands that the temple be sealed, the entrance to the hollow collapsed. The black water recedes. The darkness waits, monsters skulking in its belly, moaning for their god.

Initiate the now.

Digital devices beep for Orochi employees who will never answer. Dr Klein came with the team as an archaeologist. They found the Filth. They found horrors. They found things less easy to define – machines of warped bone and sinew – voices that are not voices that sing lullabies that will eat you in the dark.

Lullu-lallay, sweetling.

The Filth has dried, but flows again since recent events. Urgent – cross-reference with Tragedy in Tokyo!

Dr Klein, the ever-studious, still diligently studies and experiments, and the dead are ever so much more cooperative. He works with the mummified clay, and now great Melothat walks the halls as titanic as a plague.

Dr Klein takes his medicine daily, tiny doses of Filth. He fancies himself immune, but there is no immunity to the slime that flows along ninety-nine dimensions his science cannot see. Dr Klein is part of the soup. Now he is more, and now he is less. He has plumbed depths you cannot possibly fathom. His skull is a tentacular snow globe.

Shake it, sweetling! Shake it!


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Organising the Steam Library (Blaugust Day 15)

Continuing the prompt train via Pam, I’ll devote this post to detailing how I organise my Steam library.

As seems to be common, I have a lot more games than I ever anticipated owning. Thanks to Steam sales and various bundles, there is a large measure of mindless collection involved, and I have had to divvy up my games list in order to avoid being overwhelmed every time I look at it. So here is my breakdown:

Steamlist1

These are the games that I would prefer to play with others. Some of them, like Blood Bowl, Civ V and Terraria, I have played and will play solo, and some – Monaco and FORCED in particular – I can’t see myself playing solo at all.

 Steamlist2

 

There is some overlap with the above category here, but these are the games I can come back to over and over – you can see it is dominated by strategy titles. Roguelikes and sims also tend to fit in here.

 

 

 

Steamlist3

Pretty straightforward category: games that I am finished with, either because I have beaten them and am not interested in replays, or I’ve played them enough to get my enjoyment (or steam trading cards) out of them and thus consider them done.

Steamlist4

This is the latest category I created. Games that I have tried, and aren’t bad, but also aren’t engaging enough to stay on my to-do list. Also games that I would probably like to try but are not high enough on my priority list to remain in the Games category. Basically, my backup list for that magical time when I’ve played all my other games and am jonesing for something new (aka it’s never gonna happen (but it totally might!(keep dreaming, son(you never know!)))).

 

 

Steamlist5

I was actually fairly surprised to find that I had enough games to warrant an MMOish category. Includes both actual MMOs, and the weird lobby-based games like MOBAs, shooters and such.

Needs Controller is self-explanatory. These games I have decided would be best enjoyed with a controller rather than mouse & keyboard. Mostly shmups and beat-’em-ups.

 
Steamlist6

Puzzlers is also an easy category to present. Can range from pure problem-solving, like SpaceChem or Obulis, to platform-puzzlers like The Bridge, to Lemmings-like games, to (non-action) tower defence.

 

 

Steamlist7

 

These are games that I have tried and they have either irrationally angered me, or bored me to death. Also games I have no intention of playing, and versions of games that were superseded (e.g. by HD versions) and yet linger in my library. Oh, and fatally bugged games.

 

Steamlist8

 

 

 

Finally, the remainder of the games. The ones I still have to play, or at least give a good try. The objective of my Steam Challenge series is to cull this list as much as possible. Hopefully by finishing them, but sending them to other categories is also acceptable.

 

 

And there you have it. I have thought about creating more categories, e.g. adventure games, but it hasn’t appealed to me enough just yet. The main reason I’ve got the ones I have is that I want to separate out games that I am not necessarily aiming to focus on, but can play whenever. 

 

P.S. Hat tip to Valve for now having an Early Access sash for their titles as well as a DLC sash. It bothered me a lot to see a promising new title show up in the store only to find on navigation to the game page that it was in EA.

Jock Jams – Are You Ready For This


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The Secret Lore – The Kingdom

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Kingdom is one of those parts of the Secret World that is frustratingly undeveloped. You only ever meet one member of it, Saiid, in the Scorched Desert, and I for one am disappointed that we don’t get to spend more time with him or his compatriots. There is so much potential for character or plot development here, but alas, this lore entry is all we get at this time.

The Kingdom

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate Ka signal – RECEIVE – initiate Ba syntax – IT KEEPS GOING AND GOING AND GOING – initiate the Going-Forth-By-Day lexicon – THREE CAN KEEP A SECRET, IF ALL OF THEM ARE DEAD – initiate the necrotic prerogative – WITNESS – The Kingdom.

Staccato city sounds beat the tempo. Cue the Danse Macabre.

The hand that deftly holds the smartphone is skeletal with rot, skin like old tea leaves. The ears are mostly withered away. A tongue like a dried date waxes eloquently into the receiver, setting the pieces, playing the game. Empty sockets stare from sunglasses. They still have a formidable wink. The drawn rictus always grins knowingly. Frowning is a fad of the living. He smells oddly sweet – honey and the wilted flowers of an absentee lover. With perfect suavity, he adjusts a silk tie and tips his hat.

He shambles away with such an undying style. His name is Saiid. At least, that’s the name he would give you. No one knows Saiid’s name. Not even Saiid.

The dapper dead strut the streets of modern Cairo in Armani suits. There are levels of panache the breathing never achieve. In the deep shade, they tickle the strings – kingpins of Egypt’s criminal underbelly. Hidden, fearless, outside the bounds of any faction – no rules save what they create. Their chests are hollow, but their ribcages pound with lust and debauchery. These embalmed princes pursue the one sanctity left in this world: money. They are the Kingdom.

Initiate internal scan – dry bodies contain eternal souls. Initiate the secret histories. What is time? We stand outside – everything has happened – everything is happening – into the past – the connecting frequency is the clink of coins.

In the before – they are all rich men – merchants, nobles and priests – living their lives in the golden age of the land of Pharaohs. But death is blind to wealth. These men of affluence obsess over immortality and afterlife access. Their coin buys potent rituals. Something goes horribly right. Something goes horribly wrong.

A bizarre accident – the spark of life hibernates within their mummified husks. Time passes, first in years, then in decades. Their souls rebuild – spirits ever-living, flesh ever-dead. They open their shriveled eyes. Oh, the shock. Oh, the best laid plans.

They stumble from their tombs like emerging cicadas who find they have no wings. They are strangers in a strange land. But they find one another, and these men of pragmatism accept their cadaverous existence. They are men of talent, now united. Why should they lower their standard of living in this afterlife? Their mouths decay into smiles. They gather their funerary treasures, and the forbidden relics of other tombs. Wealthy once more, they hide from the living, and form a decadent underworld.

Time passes, first in centuries, then in millennia. Their dance stays the same – financial acumen and preternatural terror – a hidden empire – a seedy dominion. Cairo is theirs.

Initiate the now.

Politicians and law enforcement think they rule society. They cannot see their own puppet holes or the desiccated hands jammed inside. Civic planning, excavation rights, gambling, prostitution, black market trade – all of these belong to the Kingdom, and they offer access to it for the right price.

There is no morality or loyalty. Those rotted away long ago. There is no grand plan of world domination. The debonair mummies continue their eternal existence.

The internet has been kind to the shamblers. Information and anonymity, all at a touch. The flesh be preserved, but the spirit be willing. Undead, but not anachronisms,  they delight in the digital toys of this faceless age.

Recent events bring the secret societies back to Egypt. The Kingdom has no interest in the ethics or politics of the secret world – the struggles between the factions – but they do watch the movements, eager for the opportunity. They offer their services, careful to creep past the eyes of the Council of Venice.

Watch the dead dance, sweetling. They worry not about the living or of consequence. They do not agonise over the insane cults that have crept up in their backyard, who worship the anathema to all life. Why should they worry? They have already died. The worst is past. And the afterlife has been very, very good to them.

Do you hear the static-twinkle of our laughter? We know a secret, sweetling, and now we will tell it to you: there are always worse things than dying.


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The (Meta?)Physics of Magic (Blaugust Day 13)

Have you ever sat back and wondered about how magic actually works, in your universe of choice?

There are some spells or types of magic that we accept, but never really think about the implications of the way they work. Some effects may work sensibly enough in certain applications, but raise questions about other uses or situations. Let’s just go through a few I can think of. Note, this post contains no answers, just questions.

Invisibility

The mechanics of the Cloak of Invisibility from Harry Potter is straightforward enough: anything covered by the material is invisible. But how do invisibility spells or potions work? Does it apply to your body alone? Anything in contact with it? Does that mean you can pick something up and it becomes invisible? Is it a field (kind of like an electromagnetic field) around you, that covers your clothes and personal items – but what if you have a 10′ pole? Does it actually divert light around you? In that case, can infrared sight still see you? Or does it work by affecting the mind of any observer, just kind of erasing you from their visual processing? If you took a photo, would it show the invisible person/thing?

Healing magic

It seems like healing magic suffers from a major inconsistency – often, there are grave wounds that take many healers a great deal of time to mend (think Archdruid Hamuul in WoW’s Cataclysm), yet we also often see combat healers throwing out instant-mending spells in the thick of battle. So how does it work? Does healing magic simply amplify and accelerate the body’s natural healing abilities? Does it repair the damage itself? Does it take time, or is the patient just instantly restored? Does it tax the body at all? Do different types of magic (natural, divine, etc) work in different ways?

Shapeshifting

How long does it take? Is it a long, drawn-out, painful process, or a flashbang-woah-now-I’m-a-wolf kind of process? Where do clothes go? Items? Do you retain consistent mass (assuming you are changing into something way different, e.g. human-owl)? If changing into an animal, can you understand that animal’s communications now? Can you still talk in (human) language, as much as your mouth parts allow? 

Creature summons

Do you teleport a creature to your location, or does the spell simply create a new creature, fully formed? Can you choose where you get the creature from? Do you have to know what it looks like? Where does it go when the spell ends? If you use the same spell often, do you get the same e.g. bear, or a different one each time? Does it remember you?

Illusions

Much like invisibility, is it a thing that exists independently (like a hologram), or is it all in the mind of the sensor? Can it be recorded – photo, video, etc?

Portals

Are they like wormholes (I’ve watched too much Stargate, can you tell?)? Do they need anchors? Do you maintain velocity through a portal? Can you stick your head through to check out what’s on the other side before going all the way? Can two people on either end of the portal hold onto the same object? Can they close while someone or something is travelling through? Where does that send the person/object?

Any other aspects of magic you have wondered about?

Marcy Playground – Cloak of Elvenkind

 


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Tuesday Maintenance (Blaugust Day 11)

Okay, I’ve come down from the initial high of Blaugust adrenaline and now these posts are beginning to be a bit of a slog. Not so much coming up with ideas and writing them, I still have a few posts in draft stages or in mind, but actually being motivated to sit down and do it is the slog. I am fairly sure it is just that pushback you get when trying to establish a habit, so I hope it’ll pass in the next week or so. We’ll see.

Today I’m just going to revisit my To-Do List and update it. Red for removal, Purple for success/new goals, Orange for a change.

  • Stay on top of Hearthstone and HotS dailies This is a given, pretty much, so not really worth tracking.
  • Investigate Magic: Origins and figure out a sensible goal for that  Have played it; will go on the dailies pile as HS and HotS are
  • Play at least one ranked game of Heroes of the Storm per day: reach 20 wins Reach rank 25 (currently rank 30)
  • TSW: Finish up the Beseiged Farmlands zone
  • LOTRO: Pick up where I left off with my old Dwarf Guardian, Naels – finish adventuring through the Bree-lands
  • Borderlands: Reach level 30 Finish it.
  • Finish SBCG4AP’s Dangeresque 3
  • Solve the More Than Machine mission in SpaceChem (Hephaestus IV Defence) So devastated – lost my save files. NOT going to start again now.
  • Get some people together to try out multiplayer FORCED
  • Go through another campaign in Atom Zombie Smasher to refresh my memory before writing a Steam Challenge post about it
  • Hearthstone: Reach rank 10 in a season.

I have not ventured into either MMO this month, so no progress there. Same for Dangeresque 3. I think I’ll only get around to Atom Zombie Smasher when I am wanting to get the Steam Challenge post done. I have been making steady progress in Borderlands, though, so that’s good. Tune in next week to see how my list hasn’t changed at all!

The Hives – Walk Idiot Walk


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The Secret Lore – The Orochi Group

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Orochi are omnipresent throughout your journey in The Secret World. They are always meddling, always pushing at boundaries, always…dying. Most of the interactions you have with them involve cleaning up their messes, usually because they’re all dead now. Or Filth-corrupted. Like everything else in this game, there is a history, a mythology, behind the Orochi.

The Orochi Group

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate Kushinada-Hime signal – RECEIVE – initiate eight-branch frequency – BUILDING A BETTER TOMORROW – initiate the seven-dead-daughters syntax – SEIZING THE FUTURE – initiate the Susanoo Proclamation – TRAGEDY STRUCK IN TOKYO TODAY – Flip the Ace of Industry – WITNESS – The Orochi Group.

Have you ever had the falling dream, sweetling?

Falling, always falling. You fall so far. You fall into the Inconquerable Sun. The stars go out. You can hear a star scream for aeons and aeons after it’s died.

Awake. In the dark. The flicker-glow of the TV. A reassuring commercial for Sycoil energy bleeds into the staccato ad for Diet Zagan Cola. An acrid aftertaste of carcinogen rapture. You reach for a can. Synthetic. No sugar. Weep for the false sweetness, pleasuring your tongue even as it eats your brain cells. You doze.

Have you ever had the eight-branched dream, sweetling?

You cry a name to the heavens, “Yamata no Orochi” – the Eight-Forked-Gargantuan-Serpent. Eight heads and eight tails, its length extends over eight hills and eight valleys, eyes red like winter-cherries. Every year it devours your daughters. You pull out your hair. You look to the clouds and pray for a storm god. You pray that His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness will come and slay the Eight-Way-Wyrm.

Awake. The television. A commercial for video games by Anansi software. A commercial for Faust Capital. A movie channel, a news network, a children’s cartoon station – all under the QBL Media banner. The signal distills divinity into two gods: Stimulus and Response. Wakefulness has its degrees.

Initiate data compiling. Cross-referencing. Distilling the data-stream down to an omni-dimensional Tarot deck. Each card has three sides. Initiate cartomancy. The universe can be viewed rightside up or upside down. Each reveals a truth. Every card can be dealt in the upright or reverse position. Initiate the hand. Deal three cards of the Major Arcana.

Flip the Tower – the Eight-Branch Dragon – The Orochi Group.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: The largest, most powerful corporation on the planet, the Orochi Group influences every aspect of modern science and innovation – striding forward as a lead player in economical, technological, and political fields worldwide, since 1949. Established in Tokyo as an international investment group shortly after World War II, the young corporation attracted the brightest minds. The soil proved fertile, the growth exponential. A few years after conception, Orochi’s eight subdivisions took to the global market. Today the enormous conglomerate hosts award ceremonies, donates billions to charities, and encourages youth programs.

THE REVERSE POSITION: There are doors and mainframes that regular Orochi employee security cards will not grant access to. The corporation casts a shadow, and that shadow answers to no outside agency. Rumours of occult research, technology twenty years ahead of its time, elevators that nosy employees enter but never exit – only the board of directors know for sure. The eight heads hold secrets.

Flip the Devil – The Charismatic CEO – designation Samuel Chandra.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: A handsome face sits at the centre of the eight subdivisions, at Orochi HQ in Tokyo. He smiles from the glossy magazine covers, eyes following you across the room.

THE REVERSE POSITION: He stands against the window, looking down from the apex of a skyscraper. Even this height does not dizzy him, but if he presses his face against the glass and bites his tongue, he tastes blood and feels the fleeting shudder and flutter of recollections that a great height precedes a fall.

Flip the Priestess – the Chairwoman – designation Lily Engel.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: She controls the board of directors, just behind Mr. Chandra – beautiful, brilliant, and upwardly mobile.

THE REVERSE POSITION: She does not appreciate the old names. We were there. We remember the monstrous nativity. There are tombs that are less haunted than some wombs.

A fourth card lays torn in half. The Lovers. Let us play some more, sweetling. Flip the three-faced cards! Initiate the hand. Deal eight from the Minor Arcana.

Flip the Ace of Pentacles – the Cyan Serpent Head – Váli.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: A world leader in genetics, DNA research, and biotechnology, Váli produces pharmaceutical drugs that have helped millions overcome disease.

THE REVERSE POSITION: There are closed doors. There are research reports that contain words like “cryptozoology,” “cryptobotany,” and “paranormal.” Their scientists know so much about bees, and so many fragments of the secret world sit on slides and in vials. In the corner of a laboratory, something rattles the bars of its cage while singing lullabies in dead languages.

Flip the Two of Pentacles – the Yellow Serpent Head – Sycoil.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: A leading oil and power company, Sycoil revolutionised undersea drilling. Recent years see them experimenting in alternate energy solutions to supply the world’s constantly growing energy demands.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Secret studies theorise on the use of anima to power technology. Gears and circuits hum as they did in ages lost to your kind’s memory. Look where that got them.

Flip the Three of Pentacles – the Orange Serpent Head – Zagan.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: A major producer of packaged food and drinks, Zagan has released a new line of healthy, genetically enhanced, bioengineered products. Research includes vat-grown meat products which could eliminate the need for animals raised for slaughter.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Board members discuss psychochemical drugs in food as a behavioural modification. In a rain forest, zombie ants shamble up the branches, mind-controlled by the aggressive fungus soon to burst from their bodies. Get the joke?

Flip the Four of Pentacles – the Steel Blue Serpent Head – Manticore Research Group.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: A multinational aerospace manufacturer, global security, and advanced technology company, Manticore develops weapons and defence equipment, satellites, and rockets. Their civilian tech subsidiary builds passenger jets, engines, and turbines.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Anima is gathered to power weapons in secret test facilities. Accidental fatality margins run high, but the cost of company funded funerals and life insurance payouts fall under acceptable expense parameters.

Flip the Five of Pentacles – the Teal Serpent Head – Anansi Technology.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: Anansi is a high profile software and hardware company. Their flashy retail stores, sleek operating systems, game consoles, mobile phones, and multimedia players are found across the globe.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Conspiracy theorist websites and newsletters claim that Anansi is storing information and tracking users through their hyper-modern mobile phones and laptops and conditioning the minds of the masses through games and subliminal control. Anansi’s PR department ignores the allegations. The newsletters abruptly cease and the websites close down.

Flip the Six of Pentacles – the Tyrian Serpent Head – Faust Capital.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: The largest multinational financial institution in the world, Faust Capital covers investment, personal banking, insurance, and stock market trading. In the last six decades, they have uncannily dodged every crash and financial crisis.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Did you hear the news story about a top Faust executive, who was found dead, having leapt from his office window, with charts outlining geomancy and the mystical flow of fortune tattooed to his chest? No. Of course you didn’t.

Flip the Seven of Pentacles – the Red Serpent Head – QBL Media.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: QBL is a media behemoth, owning TV channels in all major markets, a Hollywood movie studio, television and movie production companies, animation and special effects studios, record labels, book publishers, newspapers, magazines, and a handful of theme parks.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Critics claim their ubiquitous presence controls the outcome of presidential elections, directs wars, and sways public opinion. In a digital mass grave of killed data, the story of a certain Faust Capital executive’s suicide lies buried.

Flip the Eight of Pentacles – the Green Serpent Head – Plethron.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION: Closely tied to Váli, Plethron is an agricultural biotechnology company. It uses genetic research to advance farming and pesticides in order to massively increase crop yield, particularly in the third world.

THE REVERSE POSITION: Controversies over their genetically modified food products hover and buzz like blow flies. What are Plethron’s intentions? ADD spreads like an epidemic, and it becomes harder to concentrate on such questions with every bite.

Satellites hover over the world like angels, singing to one another in a secret language. The game goes on, sweetling. More cards flip. A tragedy erupts in Tokyo, scattering the deck with nuclear winds. What happened? Perhaps you should ask the Eight-Way-Wyrm.


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New Compy586! (Blaugust Day 9)

Ugh. I got my new comupter on Friday night, but had to install windows and move the old hard drive over so I left it until yesterday. Unfortunately, my friend – who had donated some of the hardware such as the case and power supply, and had put everything together – had forgotten to give me the motherboard driver disc.

He was generous enough to come by tonight and bring the drivers, and stay to help set everything up and check that it was all working well. It seems to be all good! Now I have a rig that I am comfortable throwing more recent games at, and hopefully I’ll get better performance out of the MMOs I am playing too. The big test will be when I boot up TSW.

Soooo, that means I kind of missed a day (but not really since I’m counting this one as yesterday’s anyway). It also means that you get a crappy blog post to wish you hadn’t read for Day 9 of Blaugust.

You’re welcome.

Faith No More – Naked In Front Of The Computer


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My Role (Blaugust Day 8)

Today, as I am running out of time, I am going to take Izlain’s prompt and give it a quick answer. He asked:

Do you find it difficult to play a role outside of your typical class choices? This can be in an MMO, MOBA, single player RPG or any other game that uses class as a distinction for gameplay.

I generally don’t find it difficult to play the different classes or roles, but there are some which I gravitate or default to as a matter of preference, and I find it more difficult to “get into” certain roles.

I generally head straight for spell-flinging classes on character creation, especially if it is my first character. I am more comfortable with ranged combat roles, and although I don’t mind being an archer or gunner or whatever, I find that the spellcasters usually have flashier or cooler effects on their abilities.

I do, however, get bored playing the same thing every time, so I have no problem branching out into other roles. I do find melee dps roles to be harder to adapt to than tanking or healing, mainly because I am not used to having to maintain contact with the target and I often find myself hitting buttons thinking “why is nothing going on cooldown?” It’s because you’re out of range, doofus. Usually because the boss has taken one step away and you didn’t realise.

I also find it much easier to tunnel as a melee rather than as ranged. It all tends to add up to making it much more work to play a melee dps than ranged, but I do like to try them all out at some point. I can’t imagine having one as my main in an MMO or MOBA, though.

Healing is a tricky one for me. I usually like trying it out, but I find healing to be very stressful in some games, so I doubt I could do it exclusively for a long time. In short bursts, yes. But not as a main role. Although, hmmm, maybe as an off-healer? I do like being a jack-of-all-trades, so part-heals, part-dps is a role that appeals to me.

And that’s me in a very convoluted nutshell.

Moby – James Bond Theme


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The Secret Lore – Council of Venice

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Council of Venice is a strange organisation, supposedly the United Nations of the Secret World. As such, it is slow and cumbersome, and bogged down in petty politics. As you get deeper into the main storyline, though, you start interacting with, and help, the Council – no matter what your chosen faction.

Council of Venice

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate the assembly signal – RECEIVE – initiate the lame behemoth syntax – DEADLOCK VOTING REMAINS UNBROKEN – initiate the Armageddon Proclamation – SOUND AND FURY SIGNIFYING NOTHING – initiate the Technicolour spectrum – WITNESS – The Council of Venice.

It was a great idea. Gather the secret societies, form a council, protect the mundane civilians from the secret war, mitigate the damage, avoid esoteric mega-disaster. Theory mutates in the half-light. The road to ruin is paved with good ideas. Ideas are easy. Execution…now that will kill you.

Initiate the secret histories.

Initiate the King James Protocol. The code is 16 and 16. The password is “Revelation.” Transmit!

Initiate the King James Protocol. The code is 6 and 17. The password is “Revelation.” Transmit!

Initiate the King James Protocol. The code is 20 and 1. The password is “Revelation.” Transmit!

In times you call ancient, something almost went horribly wrong. Those who sleep gigantically nearly woke. Apocalyptic desperation breeds cooperation. The cabals worked side by side, but realised disaster could have been avoided long before. We buzzed in their ears.

The five most prominent cabals formed a council in Jerusalem – an open dialogue to create a mediator between the factions and ensure common decisions regarding the most dire aspects of the secret world. The seat of this council migrated many times. In the wake of the crusades, the power of the Roman popes and European kings, the council moved to Venice in the 13th century. There it remains.

In all the seasons between the then and the now, the Council has ensured that the mundane world never see its own shadow.

Each secret society has a number of delegates proportional to size and importance. The Illuminati, the Templars, the Dragon, and the Phoenicians have three each. The others have one or two. The Council itself has its own neutral delegates. The mechanism is complex. It clogs so easily.

A Chief Councillor is elected every seven years. This Councillor cannot belong to a specific cabal, must abandon his or her allegiances. How very incorruptible. Eh, sweetling?

Initiate the secret war. When secret worlders decide to battle one another, it is the Council of Venice who sets the rules of the conflict. They fancy it a gentleman’s war, and make sure the factions act accordingly.

The Council was a fine idea, with some altruism in the proportion. It even worked for a while. But to us, dear sweetling, your meat memories are short. In the mayfly blink of centuries, Armageddon fades away, cooperation shrivels up, bureaucratic Alzheimer’s sets in. Impotency is a foregone conclusion.

Initiate the riddle: How can something be so mighty and so helpless?

All those opinions. All those agendas. The red tape forms a web that chokes all action. When a decision is actually made, it is respected, but those become more and more rare. Cue the farce and parody and slapstick show. The beating of gavels. The verbal sparring. Semantics devour truth.

Initiate the dark days.

Something ominous bubbles in Egypt and Transylvania. The Council deploys agents. See designation Amparo Osorio. See designation Carmen Preda.

The treaty over Solomon’s treasure is violated. When old agreements are breached, things turn serious. The farce ends. “Diplomatic crisis!” croak the storm crows. Murmurs ask if there is even a need for a council anymore.

Calamity compiles. The Council weakens. A worm slithers inside. We see the coming betrayal, for what is time to us? We stand outside. Everything has happened. Everything is happening. The echoes screech, “Ruin-ruin-ruin-ruin.” All that potential strength, and yet what can they do? It is like relocating a desert with a thousand forks. What will unite them? Perhaps something must go horribly wrong again…

We will be there, sweetling. Will you see us in the half-light?