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New subheading! Lore.

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Dear Admiral,

Just because you've never seen or heard of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist-and it's certainly no excuse to call the person who said they do exist stupid.   Take black swans, for example. They're a very real bird, but you might not have encountered one.   I quote:       Now, for reference wooden buckets are things that exist in real life. You do see them. You see, wood has a couple of properties that make it appropriate for making a bucket out of. Firstly, it swells to stop water leaks (that's why wooden boats work). Secondly, it's fairly easy to treat to make sure it won't rot (various saps, I believe, are used for this). Finally, it's a common and easy to shape material.   In comparison to this, Iron isn't such a good material. While it does prevent leaks easily, it's heavy, it rusts, and it can be very brittle if you don't make it properly...coldsmithing is not making it properly.   Guitarguy didn't exactly say it was a dumb idea, or one that was stupid. He helpfully pointed out that perhaps it was a little unbalanced. I think he's right. What I don't think is that it's idiotic because wooden buckets don't exist.   In order to perhaps prove that wooden buckets do exist, I thought I'd have a look at some of the internet. Perhaps the first, and most obvious, thing to draw on here is Runescape, a common ground for everybody here.     Oh look! The buckets are made of wood!   Then, the next place to look is probably google. I actually went to Wikipedia and searched "Wooden Bucket" though, just to see.   As you can tell, wooden buckets certainly exist, and are in many cases used to hold water.   Of course, next stop is the actual Wikipeida article on buckets. We are presented with an image, below, and a quote about leather and wood buckets too.     Note that the bucket has water inside.     Then we go to google images. You'd probably need a lot of people to fabricate all of these clever photoshops! (I'll accept some of the pictures are not of real buckets).   I decided to look up the context of one of the pictures. You'll find it's for Phillip Gregson, a craftsman. He makes and sells wooden buckets (among other things). I don't think they rot or leak as much as you might think.   (Yes, they are bound with iron. A chest has a metal lock on it, and shears have wood handles-what gives?! Notice I've already accepted the wooden bucket is not the best of ideas.)   Then I checked Yahoo answers, for final proof. Here's a site search. No-one was silly enough to pop the question...and there are some very silly questions up there.   Why did I write this post? Because you offended me by saying it was a stupid idea that never happened in real life. I'm afraid it does, even if wooden buckets don't work as well as modern plastic and metal ones.   What particularly strikes me is the contrast between Guitarguy and your answers. Guitarguy was polite. He could have even said 'I'm not even sure wooden buckets exist). You weren't.   Yours Sincerely,   Helm Cheimon Lardar

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

The Way Ahead

Fansites. What are they? Well, more or less I'd define a fansite as a community of people with a particular interezt in accumulating knowledge on a particular subject, and thus refining their ideas about that thing.   Zybez, for example. A superb example of a runescape fansite, it's regularly updated with new information about new RS content, contains a guide on every skill and quest, contains several incredibly useful tools, a regularly updated front page with events and other things going on, it looks pretty, and curcially it has an active forum.   Does Sal's have all of those? Does Sal's have any of those? Well, no. Basically, there are none of those things to whcih it might say "We have that!".   The weird thing is, it used to. But it died. If I look in guide forums, do I see ready made quest and skill and other guides waiting to complete the site again as soon as the site is updated? Well, no.   I would like to say something else. I don't want a Sal's realm that has a guide for every quest and skill, I don't want a Sal's that tells me where the penguins are, I don't want a Sal's realm that lets me know what the patch notes were. Why not?   Because the Runescape Wiki amply and quickly supplies that kind of information. I don't use the item database on Sal's, and I don't know who does, because very few items are on there and RS Wiki has almost instant and perfectly clear details on everything.   But what doesn't the wiki have? A sense of community. Individual guides. Interesting information. You see, that's where Sal's can step in. We have enough of a community for people to make personalized, clear and useful guides on how to perform activities the runescape wiki is bad at. Graahk nature running. Frost Dragon bone collecting. Runite mining.   That would be much better, I think. I might continue this if I feel like expanding.   Can anyone tell me the current price of an Ancient Ceremonial Mask? I'm considering saving up for some of the ancient ceremonial peices, which seem to be relatively cheap, but RS Wiki has not recently updated their mask price, it's still at the starter of 100M. Currently I can't acess Grand Exchange on Runescape.com   And there's another classic example of where I wouldn't even think about using the Sal's item database. No, it's not on there I checked just now. Indeed, all the items with the ancient tag have been added quite a while ago.   Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Ensiferum

I don't care if you guys are still ardent slammers. Sal's forum is less and less used, so I've joined tip.it and am enjoying the forums there. [For your information, I'm still posting in Sal's forum, and when the site gets updated (and if traffic increases) I might well come and post more often. As it is, the forums are not nearly as lively as the ones at tip.it, where in about 30 minutes on a sunday evening you can have had 7 more posts on a popular topic.]   In any case, whatever fansite you predominantly use, you need to read this article and then the thirteenth citation. Jagex plans to replace runescape in the next 3 years. [Read: Jagex plans to scale down input on Runescape, if their new fantasy MMO is doing well by then.] You should be following the tip.it times anyway, it is the best runescape blog in existence (other than Merch Gwyar's and Vaskors, obviously).   [Runescape is becoming dated and I think it would help the developers if they could start again. Many of the skills and principles behind the game don't make a lot of sense, and require a lot of time, money, and clever ideas to fix. Despite the quests being some of the best in the genre, many of the core mechanics behind that (combat, skills) don't actually function particularly well. Some do, but some don't.]   I've been watching videos from "Kids in the Hall". Go look them up, there's a particularely good video called something like "Are you on your period?" where a bunch of guys playing poker discuss casually how they would all like to be women. That sounds creepy once I say it, but it's a funny vid.   Here's a superb fantasy novel for you to read on the minecraft forums. I have abandoned the castle, the curse of fire and the realisation that smoothstone is a shockingly poor choice of building material hit me badly.   Hopefully when the new Fantasy MMO comes out (or Stellar Dawn if it's any good) then I will have acheived my endgame RS goal: Enchanced Excalibur, WGS complete, and full bandos-in that order. [so obviously I'm still going to be a keen player of Runescape and blogger here until I get distracted by a different game, potentially one of these two.]   Helm Lardar   [Edits to make this more understandable are in square italics.]

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Skyrim, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the stupidly weak and easy dragons that break the plot and ideologies of the game

I got Skyrim. I'm amazed, but happy that it runs. There is a little lag. I want to point out what could have been improved, because you already know that this game is amazingly fun and that it's got lots of cool stuff, etc.   Dragons and the Thu'um   I'll start with dragons. They're a bit of a joke. Supposedly, they're this great threat, they enslaved the world, everyone's terrified of them, and their new arrival means doom for Skyrim. The problem is, they aren't. All you need to take down a dragon is (a) a bow and arrows, and (b) a bit of patience. Then if you go a bit through the main quest, you get hold of an old dragonslayer sword, dragonbane, which means you can kill a dragon after it lands.   Yeah. Dragons land. Their greatest strength is that they can fly around you breathing fire/frost/lightning/whatever other type of magic from the air, and they land: they are big beasts that you could start skipping around before their mouth will touch you, and hitting the ground makes them incredibly vulnerable, not to mention that with dragonbane if they land I skip around their head and barely get munched, and with a bow I'd attack from a distance and they'll sit there. Sometimes they'll breathe fire.   I'm level 18. That doesn't seem to be very high.   Speaking of dragonfire, what happened to the whole "language of the dragons" thing? Like, you're a dragonborn so you can use Thu'um and that means you're awesome? And dragon battles are fierce and epic debates?   No. Dragons use magic, like frostbite and flames: those aren't shouts, you can't hear words. When dragons do speak those words it's obvious, like when Parthurnax tells you about Alduin and when Alduin's chatting to you. Why don't they have that, instead of breathing fire? It'd be different, but it would work, as shouts are varied and useful enough to be better than dragonfire, potentially.   I mean, the whole point of the shouts system in general is that it would rationalize dragon hunting. Dragonborn can shout, so they're miles ahead of everybody, right? No. Shouts are a bit like potions: they're nice every once in a while, but they're more like a sort of panic button. At the moment I use shouts, but I don't have any that would be particularly helpful against dragons. It's more about a 1-hit fire breath kill or slow motion against 2 tough enemies.   This means that shouts aren't an advantage. If they were more along the lines of a little and often, I might be more interested, but that has problems too. What it really comes down to as far as I can see is that they want the dragonborn to have epic power for story etc, but don't want the game implications of that, which would make things a pushover. I'd prefer it if they'd gone for one or the other: the halfway house doesn't   Shouts aren't an advantage, which means that 4 bandits can kill a dragon, or a few guards, or even a giant or mammoth. Look, those things are the most stupid ideas in the game. Hey, I'll have an NPC that looks to be about medium strength but he's got the club of the ancients, 1-hit melee kill. If people were actually worried about alduin, I tell you what they'd do: they would bribe the giants to guard all of the ancient burial places and kill the remaining dragons. The problem would be solved in days. Mammoths, too: it might have been funny for 5 minutes of testing, but having these weird invincible NPCs just dotted around the landscape is supremely odd and, in a way, immersion breaking.   Anyway, dragons aren't a pain to kill so the dragonborn isn't really necessary except to absorb dragon's souls, which also seems a bit unecessary. Like, nobody did it last time and that worked fine. People just killed them (easy enough) and buried them. Alduin's the only one who can ressurect. Why don't they just kill him, he can't be that much better than all other dragons? Ah, here we go, the "Elder Scroll". As it happens, the greybeards know and understand the principles of dragonrend, and the blades get the principles of killing alduin. Sounds good, right? Okay, well maybe the greybeards won't say it, in which case we'll get someone who is equally good at the voice. Ulfric Stormcloak is your man: he uses it regularly in combat, shouted the high king to death ('cept it was really his sword) shouted the forsworn off the walls at Markarth, etc. He gets thu'um as a combat tool better than me and is the ideal man for the job: he's also a nord, which means he'd jump at the chance of killing alduin.   What's the companions stance on this issue? Well, they're pretty nationalistic, so I'm sure they'd stand up for Skyrim against another dragon threat. They've got the warrior skills to actually take skyrim and put Ulfric on the throne, so that means his time would be free to kill Alduin. I'm sure some people at Winterhold will be happy to provide info on the dragonrend scroll, so that would work.   In other words, the dragonborn is unecessary. Just kill alduin properly and bury them all again. Hell, at the moment the transformation between "soulful dragon" and "not soulful dragon" seems to be that one is a corpse and the other is a skeleton. So strip the corpse, people. Dragon steak makes good eating, and their brains can be used to make candlewax and other magical things.   Alchemy and other skills   This is a bit of a waste of time. Lots of potions, lots to carry, not much to do with it all: as Yahtzee said, necking health potions and swinging wildly is better than anything else, unless you have to kill some unecessarily tough boss for a quest or whatever.   Smithing is fun, though I'm not sure where to sell my jewellery. Enchanting's good too, although if I could disenchant a weapon to make it better I'd be even more keen on it. My frosty blades sword could really do with a healing enchantment, say, or perhaps one that gives me magicka.   Lockpicking is fine, but expert locks are more punishing than anything else. Works fairly, I'd say.   Sidequests are great, and sometimes more fun than the main one. Like, a dwarven ruin with falmer and those horrible horrible insects are terrible but a nice quest to restore the gildergleam is decidedly not. I'd love to delete quests so that I don't have a note reminding me to really try out cannibalism (it's great!) or burn down someone's honey mansion.   I've rambled long enough. No I'm not interested in modding, my game is slow enough, unless it's a mod that makes everything really quick. If it is, please tell me about it and make sure it isn't on steam.   Yours,   Helm Lardar   P.S. Most of the new armour looks great! Looking forward to seeing a better Torva, though: it looks worse than initially.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Slammers, I Need Your Help!

Someone sent me this email this morning:       I clicked on the "I didn't send a recovery, what?" link to get to:       Legit or not? I have to know, this sort of thing makes me nervous.   ~Helm Lardar~   P.S. But what if this is just the first time I've visited the account recovery section? Starting to lean towards sneaky scam attempt:  

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Dear Jagex,

I know the bot update hit you hard...but 6 advert/plea for free advertising/plea for more money things on the same page, not counting the huge background image that I blocked?     Don't do that. It makes you seem greedy, and that's not cool. You only need one share button, not two. You don't need two continued membership promotions at the same time. You don't need two 'exclusive item' promotions at the same time.   Don't go overboard. Money is nice, and I gather you're desperate for it to keep the heating on this winter, but...you are trying to get rather a lot.   I'm also locked out of getting my final peice of rogue armour until 75 thieving/agility. Not particularly cool. But hey, I'm looking forward to seeing new interface etc.   Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Dwarf Fortress: not a story, but a detailed update. Histories of avarice and mettle.

Those of you who wanted another Dwarf Fortress story may have wondered why I didn't post another. My excuse is that they take a while to write, you have to constantly think about pasting screenshots into a word document while you're playing, and I am perhaps a bit too lazy to do it. I can, however, give you a running idea of what those of you who signed up for a dwarf nicknamed after you did in Guisemined (Rurustavuz).   Reepicheep died (but you knew that), because a bunch of undead goblins, humans, and dwarves mobbed him. Later, a vampire migrant came out with a spear and killed them, one by one, because zombies ignore vampires (they're both night creatures, so they assume they're friendly).   Fabis was killed indirectly. A little context is needed before an explanation makes sense: a while ago, a weretapir came across my fortress and attacked a few people. One of them survived, and was locked away in a room to be my bookkeeper (noble in charge of keeping a record of stocks). He spent his days transforming, drinking booze, and updating the records at his desk. One day, he escaped through two sets of locked doors (probably because he somehow came up with the idea, while in Tapir form, of breaking them down). He then went on a rampage and killed several people before being shot down by one of my fortress guard, a chap with a crossbow who gave him a few good bolts to the body and then, when he transformed back into a dwarf, shot him again a few times until he died. The other dwarves weren't happy about this murder (this is known as a 'loyalty cascade', when your military unintentionally kills someone in their own faction and is thereby declared a 'hostile'), and the offender was shot down by other marksdwarves. I believe Fabis was one of those injured by the crazed bookkeeper, but rather than hulking out himself, he simply died of his wounds in the hospital: not because of blood loss or poor surgery, but because he got infected. After that, I stocked some soap there (soap is surprisingly complicated to make, which is why it wasn't there before).   Micael Fatia has gone from strength to strength. She (the dwarf is female) has become a legendary engraver, and constantly makes masterful engravings of different stuff. Having a well engraved room makes dwarves happy, so she is an important part of the fort. She's also the broker (noble in charge of assessing the value of everything in the fortress and trading). Caravans of human and dwarf traders come along, and she gives them old clothes, well-prepared food (which is ridiculously valuable) and bits of metalcrafting in return for large wicker bins full of leather, massive piles of meat, the odd interesting drink, and all the merchants' gems, metal bars, and so on. However, until recently she wasn't a good trader because she had a 'very trusting' personality. This meant she wasn't even a 'novice' at the 'judge of intent' skill, which tells you how keen the traders are (it's possible to offend them by offering bad deals to the point where they won't trade, but if you can make them happy they'll accept generally worse deals...but they still need to make a decent profit). In the last trade, she at last become a novice in the skill, which has all the benefits as regards trading. This makes her replacement as broker entirely unnecessary, which is nice because I didn't really want to replace a nicknamed dwarf. She is one of the most useful citizens in Guisemined and has a personal war dog assigned.   Tigerwing was organizing the militia, and acted as commander for a good while. He worked out a system of chaining up caged prisoners for target practice (a little inhumane, but for context these were thieves, spies, and child snatchers, along with good old-fashioned invaders/ambushers). This trained up his marksdwarf squad, "The Stoked Vestibules", and has made them all very good at shooting enemies: a relatively recent undead siege saw them calmly line up on the battlements and take out almost every single undead (once there were about 5/40-60 left, I sent out the hammer and axe dwarves). Tigerwing also commissioned 4 more squads with 3 dwarves each, who wear some of the fortresses' newly produced steel goods (generally speaking, steel mail and weapon, the rest is iron with leather leggings). They've trained up nicely (having everyone operate pumps in a 'dwarven gym' to become exceptionally strong beforehand was a very good idea) and fight very well indeed, dealing with several goblin ambushes and even a recent goblin incursion into the heart of the fort itself very respectably. So far they've taken a couple of losses, but do well regardless. It's a pity there isn't a better stocks screen for assessing what armour we do and don't have. Sadly, Tigerwing suffocated after being shot in the lungs in a recent ambush, so it seems he's dead too. A pity, but he's set up a military (well, I did, but I'll credit the militia commander) that will endure mightily.   Other objects of note: Guisemined recently became a barony, and the only member of the seven founding dwarves to still be alive, Cerol, has become the Baron. He's a legendary miner, but I've retired him from all labours. The baron doesn't do a lot: back in the day, he used to start the 'dwarven economy', where dwarves were divided into social classes, shops were built, and everyone had to pay for what they wanted (apart from nobles), but because that was horribly broken it's been temporarily removed. Dwarves now permanently live in a socialist commune, which is...fine. The baron's only function, therefore, is to enjoy himself, participate in labours assigned (which he didn't do back when he did the economy), and appoint a 'champion', a secondary noble who trains the military (so you want to appoint a dwarf who has high skills and is good at teaching). Cerol has been given a set of beautiful rooms, as befits his position, and should be very happy (I want a count and duke to come in the course of time). At the time he was recommended to the liaison (a diplomat from the mountainhomes who manages things) he was outside and got ambushed by goblins: I feared for his life, but like the badass he is he fought them off with his pickaxe (this is a dwarf with no normal military skill at all) and gave himself time to allow the military to show up and bash all the gobbos in. They were delayed by various situations, but Cerol got away with mild bruising, which will heal in time (unlike the goblins...you can imagine the damage a pickaxe can do to a goblin body if used by a legendary miner).   From now on, I am going to nickname people from Sal's anyway, regardless of whether they comment or not. If it causes offence (I probably won't put Merch Gwyar into the squad that regularly violates the Geneva Convention), I can withdraw nicknames...but it should be fun! Having said that, if you want in say so! It's boring to have so few people nicknamed after epic dwarves.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

"Elf city will be available to everyone"-regardless of requirements-says Jagex

Edit: panic over! The new Q&A, set up in the 'power to the players' section of the RSOF, has mandated that 'Within the Light' will be a requirement to access some of the city, with access to more of the city coming after another Grandmaster Quest. Which will be released soonish. Like Priffidinas was. MEP2 was released in 2005. Just think about that. It will probably take 9 years to reach MEP3, the new quest's 'working title'.   http://services.rune...       -Mod Balance   Screw. That. This is a repost from reddit because I think it's essential in understanding the poll. Elf City, apparently, doesn't require quests. So, uhh, all the stuff you did to get to the forest? Meaningless. Not cool, Jagex. I don't even play any more and somehow the thing that annoys me the most turns out to be this.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Veteran And Classic Capes Aren't F2p, Despite Promises From Jagex.

So we’re getting some new capes in Runescape? Cool. I think I’ll try and get the 50s cape. I’m not eligible for the veterans cape.   IN all seriousness, though, the way Jagex have suddenly sprung the P2P requirement is disgusting. Havingly explicitly stated in both a developer blog and a behind the scenes article that everyone who visited classic and that everyone who ahd an account over 5 years old could get these capes, they added two pay-to-play capes. I wouldn’t perhaps have minded if they’d said they would be p2p from the start. Or even if they’d said in the BTS “Sorry, but we’ve decided to make them p2p”. But no. Just straight out bullshizzle and double standards. I am a paying member who enjoys that membership. However, I’m also a strong supporter of the f2p community and to go against a promise without even explaining why (something Jagex does irritatingly consistently-they seem not to understand that people would like obvious explanations with the update, rather than a week later) is just plain infuriating. ‘F2P don’t give anything back to Jagex.’ Well, actually, yes they do. The servers are run on advertisement revenue, with the other catchline being that Runescape is called f2p and has their advertised account number based on this. Jagex got a world record and several awards, which would not have been achieved without the f2p community. Although they do ignore this. I remember watching a trailer back of many marvellous and clever things you could do in runescape. Every single one was done in a member’s area or was a member’s skill or in some other way was obviously only available to members with anyone who had a brief knowledge of the game. The closing slide? “RuneScape. Free to play.” Why am I annoyed? Because Jagex explicitly said they’d do one thing that I supported and appreciated as a gesture of goodwill and then forgot on release day that they’d ever said such a thing. People in f2p worlds are rioting, and quite right too. I’m sure Jagex will say that they feel the cape’s stats unbalance the f2p game, and that they can’t allow this. That would be fair enough, if they’d promised stats. A sincerely viable alternative is quite simply to have f2p versions of the capes that don’t have stats.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Another Castle Pic

So: another inspiring minecraft picture. I can't wait for the update to GOP, if it comes out this week. If it doesn't I'll be less impressed.     P.S. What's wrong with being a fan of tip.it? So far as I can tell, salmoneus.net has nothing in it I can be a fan of. Not even the poll. The only bit worth visiting is the forum/blogs section. Whereas tip.it has a bunch of useful guides (e.g. Wilderness fully annotated map, co-ordinates locator tool, and so on).   Tip.it had 6 guides added or updated in the past 10 days, while Sal's had none. Tip.it also had 2 editions of the 'times', which was interesting to read as ever.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Star Wars!

I've just finished watching all 6 Star Wars films, from 1-6. They've been thoroughly entertaining, and since it's such a long time since I saw any of them (and I never saw 2 and 3) they've been very interesting too.   One thing that's struck me is that of the films George lucas directed (1-4), only 3 was well-done. I thought 1 and 2 were clumsy, with needlessly childish dialogue and events, including the irritating jar-jar. Even episode 4 had a spectacularly poor lightsaber duel and some rather un-emotional emotional scenes-that felt clumsy too, which is probably why Lucas didn't direct 5 and 6, which were much better done.   5 and 6 are classics, and they're extremely entertaining, balancing intense action with some light-hearted moments and characters. Fortunately, they're never silly. But my verdict of the best film goes to number 3.   Revenge of the Sith is absolutely spectacular. Building on both the excellent plotlines of all the other films, and the brilliant special effects of episodes 1 and 2 is an absolute joy, with beautifully choreographed lightsaber battles, exotic new worlds, and a poignant ending. If you were put off by 1 and 2 and never saw 3, I urge you, go and watch it. You should enjoy it thoroughly.   Now, let's see if I can't get that lego star wars game from somewhere <_< .   Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Dwarf Fortress: pt 3, Guisemined, even more characters! Sobend makes a fantastic artefact! Vote for somebody to become Count!

So what’s been happening in the fortress? Well, the military is properly up and running now, and has seen off several threats with some casualties. If a dwarven fortress is a mountain range, then a well-run military has to be one of the peaks: it requires a great deal of different mechanics to be carefully thought through and meshed together: civilian cross training with unattached pumps to get some rudimentary strength training, mining for useful minerals, smelting of ores and creation of fine weapons and armour, and of course training the squads themselves to be as useful as they can be.     With that in mind, some of your dwarves are taking part in the process. Egghebrecht, for example, is the house weaponsmith, and one of his masterwork steel swords (masterwork, behind artefact, is the highest level of normally producible quality) was used to slay an exceptionally dangerous beast recently, and was thereby given the name Dolil Thukkan, the Lock of Amber.     Army of One and Big Tree are both military dwarves, and some of our best fighters. Big Tree and a couple of other dwarves (including the wielder of Amberlock, Nish) slew a forgotten beast called Damid. Unfortunately, while the sword was named during the process, all three of them shortly melted afterwards. Damid had a ‘deadly gas’ attack which got under their armour and activated a few minutes after his death. While this is obviously a great pity (losing three of the force’s best fighters was an annoying blow) the subsequent success (in attacking a different forgotten beast) of the recruit team, known as The Crazed Trainees, means that they are replaceable. Though they will remain forever in our hearts, and in a pool of forgotten beast extract at the bottom of the underdar, a series of caverns that stretches below the world and is currently thickly forested. Lots of dwarves die in Dwarf Fortress, as has already been seen. It’s a pity Big Tree had it, but that’s life. Or death, if you prefer.   While Big Tree melted a few seconds after killing Damid, Army of One wasn’t covered in deadly forgotten beast extract, so he went and slew a Jabberer single-handed in the caves with three strokes of his axe: one to a foot, one to a leg, and one to behead it. He might also have bit it in the chest: I can’t quite remember, but he was pretty quick with his attacks and it didn’t last long. He is my military ‘Champion’, appointed by the leading aristocrat to train all squads, not just the one he’s in. A very useful noble and fighting dwarf. For an explanation of what a Jabberer is, read on!   Architect Reepicheep II as captain of the guard (best described as justice secretary) has been having a rather boring time of it. There was a murder, but for some reason he decided not to prosecute: perhaps he thought there were mitigating circumstances, or that no foul play was involved? All I know is that a dwarf was found dead, but not drained of blood, and without any recorded fights. Either he died of old age or of self-inflicted injury, but whatever the case we know it’s not a vampire, which is quite a positive.   Chief Sitting Bull started his tenure as an animal trainer. Caged creatures (which are obtained through a series of traps) can be fed to gain their loyalty, and he has slowly been improving his skills in that area. Our fortress has a training programme for Keas, a type of parrot that occasionally flies by to thieve, and Rhesus Macaques, an adorable sort of monkey that produces a reasonable amount of meat and leather. We also have the more standard war dogs, which are useful for guarding the entrance from kobold thieves and goblin snatchers. However, Chief Sitting Bull had his time enlivened by a sudden mood, with which he produced an artefact rock coffer, Ancientjudged the Cross Ripper, which has a fantastic picture of a single moment in a siege (a moment I watched! Amazing!) recently, where a macedwarf (now sadly departed) decided, even though he’d just had his hip fractured, to take down a full-grown troll on his own. It was an awesome moment, and it’s such a cool thing to see captured in stone. There’s also a couple of other pictures: one of the foundation of the fortress in 257 (we’re at 265 at the moment), and another of a different troll-slaying, this time with a human shooting a troll with a crossbow. Perhaps he’s making the point that while humans mess around with crossbows, real dwarves do it up close and personal? The point is slightly spoiled by the fact that in the next siege my marksdwarves shot all the trolls instead of charging into them (there were more and I’d improved my defences), but either way the choice of imagery and the usefulness of this, despite its relatively low 40,000 value, makes this one of the best artefacts I have ever seen. Well done! Chief Sitting Bull became a legendary miner through this (making an artefact gives a big experience boost in the relevant skill).   Seer, another miner, has been keeping the books. Nothing exceptional has happened, but the miners did collectively help create some tunnels to cavern edges to gain a more complete idea of the size and shape of them, as the engravers carved peep-holes into the sides once the tunnels reached the area. They also expanded the hospital from 6 beds to 16: each bedroom has a door which can be locked to prioritise the treatment of particular dwarves if necessary, or to keep one patient locked away until death in the event of serious risk (they might be a werebeast, vampire, berserk, etc).   Fabis II, with the masons (and mason-mechanics, a general class of unskilled dwarves who do grunt labour like reloading cage traps, shifting stone into fortifications, and so on…Fabis is one of the most competent masons, which excuses him from mechanics duties), has been helping to massively expand the surface defences of the fortress. Along with walls that stretch almost to the edges of the map, two layers of battlements have been made, so that marksdwarves can intercept enemies both from a curtain layer of fortifications on the ground and an upper layer. This gives them maximum chance to shoot at the enemy without the enemy shooting back: a worthy improvement for the fortress as it faces larger and larger sieges of goblins.   Dr Amber Pyre, high master wound dresser and diagnostician (thinking of making her Chief Medical Dwarf) has, in a stupendous twist, been working at the hospital and hauling stuff around generally. She’s the most skilled in the medical team and has helped fix up the odd dwarf injury, generally from combat. Dwarf medical treatment, while free, is not simple: dwarves with injuries constantly require evaluation and must then go through a complex series of stages for any given wound. For example, a recruit was recently lashed in the hand by a goblin with a silver scourge, causing him to temporarily lose the ability to grasp. He got to the hospital and had to be evaluated (diagnosis skill), cleaned (no skill, but soap making is a task in itself and must be done to help avoid infection), sutured three times (suturing skill, with diagnosis inbetween), have the wound dressed (dressing wounds skill), and then evaluated again before he could go. Depending on the wound, he could have also needed surgery, bone setting, being fed or watered, being given a splint, a crutch, or a cast, being secured in a traction bench, being hauled over to a table to be operated on, etc etc. It is complicated, but when it works it is beautiful, and Amber Pyre is a part of that.   With Chief Sitting Bull making an awesome artefact and taking up mining, I’ve hired another trainer. Guitarguy, otherwise a legendary gem cutter and maker of Foldedache, a bracelet made from a single amethyst (it is beautiful, and pretty valuable too), isn’t employed with that work all the time so he helps with the animal training. Description of what that involves is above: I think it also includes chaining up prisoners, which is important for helping the military dwarves get trained up: live training is best training. Like I said, a mountain peak. Domesticating dragons would be another one, but you need dragons for that. Perhaps if I’m lucky I will be able to create a herd of tame jabberers, giant war birds that live in caves (think Spirit Terrorbirds, but twice the height of a human and even more beaky). Frankly, most cave creatures are tough enough to provide either really good training or pretty impressive pets, or useful siege accoutrements (blind cave ogres vs trolls, who will win?!).   You know how Egghebrecht’s been making the weapons? Well, Sobend is in charge of the armoursmithing. There are 5 specifically forge related jobs: furnace operating, weaponsmithing, armouring, blacksmithing, and metalcrafting. My count (yeah, my Baron’s been promoted now) keeps mandating battleaxes, and my mayor keeps asking for mail shirts, so I’ve been making those out of steel. Conveniently, this also lets me expand the military at a fairly organic pace, so there’s that too. None of my smiths are legendary yet, but they’re training fine.   Bwauder, my bone carver, hasn’t had much to do. In the past, we culled a lot of badgers that came in, so he made scepters and crowns out of them. They were all masterful or exceptional, and we sent them off to the mountainhome for the king to look at (presumably part of the reason the count was promoted from Baron).   Micael Fatia has carried on with engraving masterfully, trading wonderfully, and being cool. Not much more to say there: the latest project of the engravers was of course carving the peep-holes into the caverns and engraving the tombs (there’s a big series of catacombs for this, as we have quite a few dead dwarves).   KAMIL has been part of our local team of 3 brewers. He’s in the middle of the group in terms of skill, but it’s a decent job he’s doing, as an expert brewer. Dwarves don’t drink water unless they absolutely have to, ie are hospitalised, so running out of booze can mean a tantrum spiral that results in the destruction of the fortress. As such, the job is important. Most of the fortresses’ booze is wine, made from pressed plump helmets (baby’s first plant, a purple growth that produces a fresh crop underground every season and makes tons of produce as a result). We also buy in booze from the caravans that’s rum, ale and beer…and it’s possible we make some of it ourselves too, but I haven’t paid a lot of attention there. We certainly grow some of the ingredients. Human plants allow other drinks, like river spirits, sewer brew, and so on, which are surprisingly popular, while elves (hated by the dwarves, and which I so far haven’t seen on this world) grow the ‘sun berry’, which can be brewed into Sunshine, the best alcohol in the game.   If you’ve read this far, please nominate a salmon to become the Count, currently Founder Cerol, the only surviving founder, a legendary miner (by hard work, not an artefact) and meeter of diplomats. You can’t nominate yourself, and you can’t nominate someone already in this fortress.   The humans recently paid us a non-caravan visit, sending us their deity, a giraffe twisted into human form, to come as a diplomat. He had his guards, and although I kept my guards in the same room as the count in case of an altercation, nothing happened. He constantly made threats of torture and death, while at the same time noting that “it’s such a pleasant place you’ve carved out for yourselves”. The conversation was short, but worthwhile: seeing a giraffe demon deity first hand was something not to be missed. All deities in Dwarf Fortress are demons, I think that’s just the mechanic of it, and they lead human civilizations sometimes (it depends on the randomly generated history of the world, which I really must look into in Legends Mode, I want to know more about the Barbs of Sand all the engravers keep referencing). Although I wanted to kill the human diplomat, since they never bring anything interesting to trade and another war would be quite fun, I’ll wait until they come round again before I do that. Demons might be tougher to take down than I expect.   EDIT: Dammit, I missed Dr Mitchell. Sorry about that. Would have been a perfect fit for the medical team.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Featured: Awwwww Yeeeaaaaaaaaaaa

So yeah. I got featured on the friggin' tip.it times. Read by thousands. They know my name. Damn right. I'm cool.   No pic no proof? Bring it on. I did the tip. On tip.it.     http://www.tip.it/runescape/?times=all&date=145   So yeah, eat that. Maybe one day I'll write an article for that site-I've always considered it one of the best of Runescape blogs, second only to Merch Gwyar/Vaskor, but for now I'm very happy with being someone who has contributed something genuinely helpful. I think.   ~Helm_Lardar~   P.S. Progress on the castle is going okay. I'm progressing. It'll be cool when it's done, I'm planning on making a slime farm and then hiding a nether portal with pistons, somewhat similairly to ArchmageMelek, then maybe making a room for a skyland portal whenever that comes out. I will not install the Aether mod.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Why Citadels Are Worthless.

It's so true. Citadels really aren't a particularly good or interesting update, let alone the update of the year. The fact that the only interesting part, the battlefield, is available from tier 1, and that the rest is just an opportunity to grind to make an area that, ultimately, will be the same as everyone else's, is no incentive. It's not fun, and it's not that fancy. It's just slightly disguised grind.   Oh, the clan citadel has one other use. Not meeting and talking, you have the cc for that. Meeting on a mutual world for an effigy or whatever. Like that really matters, given w117 Daemonheim is the perfect place for that.   Bonus xp in woodcutting? Meh.   At the end of the day, we can always go to the top clan's citadel if we really want to see anything exciting. Hell, they'll probably let us into the keep just because they want to show off.   http://services.runescape.com/m=forum/foru...63069771,goto,1   ~Helm Lardar~   P.S. Found some gold, diamonds and redstone: now that I'm equipped with a compass, it's time to go and find some clay, and then mine obsidian to get to the nether.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Reffering Is A Good Thing!

So yesterday, Jagex released a new scheme they've got. Similair to the member's loyalty programme, this is the refer a friend programme. Lots of games have programmes like these, and I'm pleased with how Jagex did theirs: not only does it benefit the referee (if they get membs) but it also gives the newb a bonus starter pack and double xp in skills up to level 30. Equally, you can only do it 5 times a year so manipulating it for bonus xp by making neww accounts and email adresses is a bit of a waste of time.   However, some people saw fit to think that this was a bad move by Jagex. Here are 5 reasons why it's not.   1. Jagex need the money. Not only are they a business, attempting to make money, but Jagex have 2 or 3 new games going at the same time, none of which are making money. The increased drive on getting Runescape players to spend money is not a new thing (see membership loyalty programme). If Jagex can't get enough money out of RS in the short term, they will hit big problems. In case you're wondering, the games are: Transformers Universe, Stellar Dawn, and an un-named fantasy MMO, potentially a vast upgrade to runescape (a la runescape 2) or maybe something different.   2. This doesn't really help bots. Lots of people think it does, and the two main lines are this: (a) it gives existing bots bonus xp. Most bots are focused on moneymaking. The training bots get poor xp anyway, and a 10% difference never makes a huge impact. If anything, Jack of All Trades gave bots much more bonus xp: this can only be doen 5 times a year per account. The second argument is that (b) it helps new bots train up faster. Yes it does, no it doesn't matter. Getting to level 30 was never a particularly long stint in any case. It was certainly never a problem for bots.   3. It's been done before. Why are you complaining now? It was done with Jack of Trades, anyone who's a member for x months can get bonus xp now. Big deal. Everyone gets just as much benefit out of that, if not more, than this.   4. It should bring new people into the game. Runescape has good stickability, customers don't go very often even if they say they will, so brining fresh newbies into the game will really help things along.   ~Helm~

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Birthday Time!

It's my Birthday! Merch Gwyar is faster than an email bot, so...I have to say, that's pretty impressive. Go Merch!   And now, ladles and gelatine, it's time for a video:     It's also Kyra's birthday (if he/she put his/her real birthday) so go be nice to them too!

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

RuneScape: the grind is bad, and a change would be good.

What does Runescape need? That's a good question, probably *the* good question that Jagex should and are asking themselves. At the moment, the answer is 'filling out all the skills, adding high level content, expanding graphical capabilities and the evolution of combat along with doing a good marketing job'. And it's a sensible, well rounded answer, the sort you'd expect from a company that's done a lot but never been able to succeed outside their flagship product for very long. I'd agree with pretty much all these points (they're also redeveloping quests, which is good but not frequent enough to suggest they think it's a priority-this might be mistaken).   However, they are missing a real problem with this game. A few years ago, you could have asked any gaming forum why more people didn't play runescape and the answer would have been 'graphics, combat, and grind'. It looked terrible, click and wait was boring (even if the best of the best bosses and PvP offered something rather more interesting) and it takes hundreds of hours to get to what most would think of as a 'decent level'. Today, graphics aren't the major issue and combat is vastly improved (oh, and the free trade/wilderness thing reversed a lot of bad PR and then provided further marketing opportunities on how Jagex were resolving their bot problem-now that's clever press work). But the grind is still there.   Runescape has a lot of skills, and all of those skills are to a certain extent critical to getting to the most interesting parts of the game. Most skills feed into combat (increasingly so, with things like Player Owned Ports) and they are also a requirement for doing some of the most interesting quests-the only area Runescape is actually seen as an industry leader in, and something which it is rapidly slipping from being so significant in. Skills take 10s of hours, most of which ends up being a mindless grind, either in accumulating the money for that skill or moving through the xp itself. This is a lot higher than most MMOs and while it has some benefits (specifically, longer subscription times and less people getting bored at the level cap) it's not at all fun.   But Cheimon, you say, "the grind is the game! It's not the same without the grind!". No. The grind is what you do to play the game. The gameplay is the game, the grind is what you do to get to the game, and while it makes you impressive, it's not entertaining and it's rubbish gameplay in and of itself. Take cooking, one of the most popular skills: you go back and forth to a bank, turning more valuable commodities into less valuable ones and spend most of the time browsing other things or chatting to friends. Take agility, where many people would take any route in the game rather than train it with its mindless clicking patterns and inevitably eventually boring animations. Take smithing, where you spend vast amounts of cash in order to get masses of worthless pieces of equipment which you then sell quickly and cash in on a single, actually decent set of armour. Nobody finds this fun, at least not for any length of time, and certainly not for the lengths of time that people, you know, *complete* other games in. A playthrough of *Mass Effect*, a campaign in *Medieval 2: Total War*, or a finished playthrough of the storyline of *Age of Empires III* (all older games, but eh) can all be shorter than grinding to a 'decent level' in this game and are all certainly infinitely more entertaining.   So what's the solution? The current one is that Jagex has reached out to the 'efficiency' community and ideal, with the opportunities of bonus xp, enhanced xp, distraction xp, holiday events and so on attempting to break up the monotony of core skill training and also aiming to make the eventual process shorter. However, this ultimately misses the point: the main way of training this skill is not fun, and it isn't intuitive.   The answer to the problem lies in the essential training of skills. What runescape needs is a fundamental shakeup in how people gain their levels in such a way that they no longer see it as a grind but as a fun and interesting part of gameplay. This means less of a focus on alleviating grind (through xp bonuses and add-ons by training the skill in a way that wasn't originally intended) and more of a focus on making the grind interesting. Perhaps by encouraging players to vary their skill training (but still keep focused on what that skill does) or simply making the gameplay...well, more fun. Dungeoneering is a good example of how it's done well, and so (to an extent) is slayer, because it offers a genuine variety of training, even if that skill still takes way too long.   Runescape needs to change the way it grinds. Do that, and it'll be a better game, not just for mid levels but for everyone.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Bank Organisation?

What's bank organisation?   Currently my bank is a complete mess, as it has been since I started members. At some point I realise I'm going to have to clear out all the junk, but until then, I won't. Whenever I hit max space, I clear out a bit, then once I have 100 spaces free I forget it.   Of course, everyone's bank is arranged differently. Krazy Karl, whose bank post made me think about my own bank, has his tabs set with things he regularly uses: Currency and food, Summoning, Melee equipment, Ranged equipment, Magic and teleports (inc runecrafting), Farming and Heblore, other skills, costume parts, and quest items.   So given that last post I gave three things that typified my runescape gameplay, I started to think of what categories I need.   Firstly, Currency. I do use currency, but not too much, and in any case I think that it would be useful to have a relatively clear first tab.   Secondly, Magic, runecrafting, and teleports. I already have a runes sort of tab, but recently I've come to enjoy magic more after desert treasure, even going as far as killing bork so that I could get my Dagon'hai robes! . With this in mind, I could have all these things like jewellery, dramen staves, runes, etc.   Third, I'd put my non-magical armour and equipment into the tab. This includes my dragon scimitar, my blue d'hide vambs, and my helm of neitiznot.   The only real problem is that I have no idea where to go from here, because there are some things I use a lot and some things I don't use very much at all, and some that fit into several categories I could make. It would be great to have a situation where I know where everything is, and can acess it quickly by just clicking on the relevant tab. That would be awesome...but I don't know how it could ever happen.   EDIT: Just downloaded the Ruenscape Game Bar. I thought I wouldn't want it. I was wrong. It is amazing to be able to see your GE offers and who is online without having to load up runescape.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Five Items:

Well half term is over, so it's back off Runescape for me. I thought I'd summarise five items that are important to me, for whatever reason, and why.   Let's say that you had to pick an outfit to show off your acheivements. What would you take? Remember, this isn't about stats, or anything like that. This is just five items that would make up your outfit and show everyone what you think your greatest sucesses in Runescape have been. here are my five:   Firstly, the Dragon Scimitar. Not only is it a good weapon with a solid reputation, but it also requires several gnome quests to complete, and is generally accepted to be...well, just not perhaps as newby.     Secondly, the Cape of Legends, or perhaps the Dragon Square shield. Getting into the Legend's Guild is something of a rite of passage for medium-level questers, I'd say-and the cape symbolises this. It requires a good deal of other stuff to be obtained, and shows a base level of a few stats.   (The image for the cape of legends was irritatingly big.)   Third, the Void Deflector. I got this today, after playing conquest to get my ranking up (thanks to this guy, whose name I can't remember, that happily let me boost on him to get the required ranking), by playing pest control. On a side note, I really enjoyed the minigame, and will definitely be coming back to get a few more peices for my void set, such as a void magic hood, and perhaps void gloves. However, currently I have four peices for a void melee set. So what's good about a deflector? Well, firstly, it shows that I can play conquest to a reasonable degree. While I might have boosted, to acheive this peice of kit, in fact I only did so for the last 100 ranking points. That was because I was frustrated by champion-scout setups that were ruining the game-see my older post which was actually featured by Vaskor :D (ty Vaskor), which is actually no longer an issue. What a relief. So yeah, the deflector shows I can think and is also a useful shield with a natty colour scheme and fairly balanced stats.     Fourth, I would take my Dagon'hai hat. Apart from looking cool on it's own, it shows that I have killed Bork, which I think is an okay acheivement. And that I have the money to buy the hat, of course :P .     Lastly, I would take my ring of visibility. Obviously I can't wear my ancient staff and my dragon scimitar, so I'll take the rign because, well, it's useful. I mean, I can see into the shadow realm with it, can't I? Into the lair of Damis, under the legendary fortress of the family picnic spot by the wubbly waterfall? Yes, it's...well...handy to have around. And it shows I've done DT, even if no-one can see it but me. Unless I'm going down and climbing up the ladder into the shadow realm. Yeah.   (The ghostly cape, one of the rewards for having one of these things.)   What would your five items be? I just named a few there, and I'm sure some of you have much grander aspirations. Like a Soul Wars cape. Or perhaps you'd rather keep your sturdy rune plate, and your skull sceptre. After all, you never knwo when they'll come in handy.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Minecraft-anyone Interested?

Would anyone like to see some blogs about minecraft? It's a block building game where you...well...mine and craft. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to find out more, like watching ArchMageMelek's Let's Plays.   My style of play is that I currently play on peaceful, and I'm trying to build a really cool outpost tower thing while burrowing out halls below. I'll include picturs if people are interested in blogs about this-currently I've made a small tower near the sea, and last night I managed to get some lava falls working on one side to illuminate it. There's a little moat, and on the entrance there is an enormous arch. Currently I'm trying to get something to act as a gate so that if I ever switch on easy difficulty (monsters) I can stop them getting in. I've also built a small underground farm, a dining hall (I really hope Notch, the developer, adds furniture one day) and a little outpost turret. The general idea is that all bits near the main tower that lead to the dungeons have a little turret to show it.   I saw a really cool mod the other day, it introduces a new type of block called a bridge block that can rotate blocks connected to it. Apart from it's use as a bridge, it can also be used to make panic rooms, incinerators, secret passageways, and so on. Notch said he thinks it looks veeerrry interesting.   So, yeah, if you think that sounds interesting leave a comment saying so! If I get more than, oh, four comments saying so, I'll go ahead :) . Or maybe I'll just do it anyway. And there will be pictures. At least at first.   Helm Lardar.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Water, Beer And Wine! #minecraft

Drink. Drinkedy drink drink. As one of my favourite commentators said when, while playing Deus Ex 3, found beer: "Ooh, beer. Hang on. Drop everything. Let's just get reeaaaaallllyyy drunnkkkkk"   But minecraft doesn't have drinks. It's got water. It's got lava. It's got fire. It has melons and pumpkins, bread, beef, pork, chicken, raw wheat (you can actually eat the stuff raw-fun fact, eh?)...well...some of those are coming in 1.8.   However, i was saddened to see there are no liquids. Why not? Doesn't steve deserve it? There are three ideas I have which should be easy to implement drinks but would bring a lot more fun to the table.   1. Water. You can have it in a waterskin or maybe a glass. You get it from water sources. It's refreshing. It doesn't do much, but perhaps you have to have it if you're dying of hunger? 2. Beer. You farm potatoes, which can also be eaten like potatoes, and then you brew it in a vat with a mushroom, and then you can drain it into a barrel. This gives you an extra room: the brewery! Beer probably restores energy or something. And you can drink it from the keg, or in a flask, or in an iron tankard. Or a wooden one. 3. Wine. You farm grapes, which grow up a wall. You then put them in a press, get the grape juice out, put it in a closed vat with a mushroom, wait a bit, and then drain it into a barrel. You drink it from a glass bottle or a glass itself. A wiyn glash.   ~Helm Lardar~   P.S. This is more important than adding more food. Except potatoes, potatoes are important because our only carbohydrate is bread. And we need fibre, because at the moment when they introduce toilets steve is gonna be constipated as fudge. And if they don't add thirst, he'll be dead too!

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Microtransactions? *gulp*

First, off: thanks for the help. It was clearly a fishing attempt, I still don't know how they got my email (presumably the tip.it fiasco) but thanks for the help-especially D1D, who explained that recov.me was the true website adress, not secure.runescape. Most interesting-I'll know for next time!   I wish I could learn dwarf fortress, but the graphics and rumours about the UI really put me off.   Reddit.com/r/runescape spotted this thing on an image (on rs media). And someone said microtransactions, which seems the only likely way.     Please don't, Jagex. It will ruin the game. Unless the items you bring out are purely cosmetic (which I understand your stance on, that this is fine and dandy, you said that years ago), then this will have serious problems for the game. Largely speaking, it will encourage a player dynamic where the best players are the richest players, and success is measured not in effort put into the game and skill in executing actions, but in wallet size. It might not even be pay to win, but pay to boost is bad enough.   ~Helm Lardar~

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

The hell, Britain?

Several countries have created logos for the celebration of Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee:   There's Canada:     New Zealand:     ...and the UK:     Why is it appropriate that we have a crap logo just because a child drew it?

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

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