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New subheading! Lore.

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Dwarf Fortress: pt one, Reepicheep (including fancy screenshots!)

Since Reepicheep died almost immediately, I though I'd post the account as a sort of short story. If you're interested in stories involving a dwarf nicknamed after you (if I can get enough Sals people it will read a lot better), post a comment saying so. See the previous blog post. Practically everything in the story is present in Dwarf Fortress, as it is strong in what trendy people call 'emergent narrative'. What's not there is a conversation engine or (for example) drinking from gold goblets. I've made gold goblets in the fortress, and all the dwarves (including children and babies) drink booze, but they haven't put two and two together. Combat details are fairly accurate, but I didn't take a blow-by-blow screenshot, annoyingly. Injuries can run from individual teeth, fingers, and toes to larger areas like guts, right thigh, left shoulder, major organs etc.   The older dwarf carefully took two finely crafted gold goblets and set them before the child, before reaching for the barrel of wine. Pouring two generous cupfuls, both dwarves drank long and deep. The child began to recline in his seat, and the older dwarf, glancing around the superb dining room, began to speak.   “Since you have requested it, I will tell you the tale of Reepicheep, one of our champions in Guisemined, a hammerer and a hammer lord, slayer of werebeasts and undead.   Reepicheep arose from the humble position of fish dissector. Our overseer and expedition leader was keen to have him enter a contraption of his that he called the ‘danger room’. Reepicheep was not a bold man, but he felt it reasonable to obey the overseer’s request.   This dangerous room was a somewhat fearful contraption, with ten wooden spears fixed up to a single lever. Reepicheep would be locked in for hours at a time and forced to dodge, block, and take the brunt of the blows from these spears at an astonishing rate, all while supposedly performing individual combat drills. Hard as this was, Reepicheep had no choice. As we dwarfs say, with stout work comes sustenance, and he was soon-much sooner than many had expected-superb at wielding his fresh-forged hammer and blocking many a blow with his gem-encrusted armour, delivered as a gift from the mountainhomes.”   “A gift? I did not know the mountainhome gave those.” commented the child.   “No, and perhaps it was in truth stolen, but that does not greatly matter. The mountainhome continues to send traders, and the armour was extremely useful. I believe the overseer has plans to give some goods back one day, but I do not know when.   In any case, Reepicheep became phenomenally useful. Promoted to the position of hammerer (who, as you well know, is in charge of distributing punishment) and militia captain of his own, personal squad of one, he became known as a hammer lord.   Reepicheep was used many times to deal with threats to the fortress: goblin snatchers, kobold thieves, and even werebeasts who invaded, all to great success. Such things threaten the fort and threaten us all.”   “So what happened? I have seen his memorial slab in the catacombs. Lover of rings, it says. Inkyair the Ace Brim of Fortifying. Slayer of two well known undead goblins…though how a goblin zombie can be that well known, I don’t know. How could a zombie kill him? How did he depart?”           “Sometimes, child, dwarfs receive messages from Armok, our god. They are short, and to the point: occasionally they celebrate victory, but more often they are portents of danger or foreboding. Armok is fickle and desires amusement, so perhaps that explains his message.”   “What message?”   “ ‘The dead walk. Hide while you still can!’. And then a horrible laugh.         Well, Reepicheep took no offence from that, and nor did anyone; Armok is as Armok does: we are his slaves, and he is a god of blood. The bold dwarf marched forth as all elsewhere burrowed down into the fortress proper, raised the bridges behind him, and prepared lest any of the zombies somehow get through.   Reepicheep quickly entered into a martial trance. He appeared as a whirlwind of iron, crashing through the battlefield that had been created, swinging the hammer –which he had created himself- to and fro, breaking hips, legs, arms, ribs, skulls, hands, feet, knocking a tooth out there, smashing his shield into a gut here. A hammer lord is said to be deadly in combat, and those who peeped over the battlements of our fortress report seeing that he was incredibly thorough in his kills. It is not unknown for a hammerer to break every bone in the body before he kills his victim.”   The child shuddered.   “Come! You are eleven, and when you come of age at twelve you should know that the price for murder is grim. Be thankful we have had such protectors. As I was saying, he was a titan of destruction. But they were too much for him.   Horde upon horde of zombie presents a unique challenge to the challenger. Each component of the army is weak, but together they are astonishingly numerous. Zombies jumped onto Reepicheep faster than he could destroy them. Eventually, one shattered his thigh with a superb kick, and he lost the agility that was a part of his strength.   With this chink in his defences made, they pinned him down and killed him.”      

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Secret Identity Of The Raptor Revealed

This guy: Is the raptor, one of the seven signature heroes. The wiki isn't sure of his identity, but today, I worked it out: this is fresh concept art that Kotaku have shown us here: http://kotaku.com/5874658/runescape-is-get...me-art/gallery/ (Runescape isn't actually getting a facelift, they don't understand how Jagex do things incrementally) but it did have one particular image that showed me who the raptor really was.   In the spoiler below.       In other news, if my Zaros guide gets accepted (see previous blog) I'll make some more. But those ones I'll need people to gather pics for. Oh, and if anyone can help on the Conquest guide Samsara and I co-wrote to finish it off (we need a map done, I think, and maybe some other stuff) then that would be really handy too. It would be just in time for the drive. Check guides-in-progress to see both.   ~Helm Lardar~

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

 

Jagex's new game, Ace of Spades, reviewed

Since I've posted about it here before, I thought I'd review the full version of Ace of Spades. Bear in mind that this isn't like a professional view and is literally just my unbalanced thoughts on the matter. I got £50 for my birthday, so I thought I'd spend a bit on this game (it's only £7). So far, it doesn't appear to have been worth the money, though I suppose it's fine. Jagex have utterly failed to make a new title work, so here's hoping this one will be good. It's practically unheard of, though, which doesn't bode well.   First off, the prototype version of the game is worth mentioning. It's still possible to play through BuildandShoot.com, and it's a mixture between CoD1 and Minecraft. The graphics are bad, but the gameplay rewards patience and strategy along with a careful mixture of building and shooting. Often compared to a trench warfare simulator, it's slow paced and can run on your grandmother's rig.   The finished version is completely different. Running is much faster, graphics are vastly improved, guns have changed completely, powerful classes have been introduced, and building has been radically altered. I'll go through the changes and see what works and what doesn't.   is a video of the gameplay. Just skip through different parts and you'll get the gist of it.  Graphics: they look good. Seriously. The animations for breaking blocks can clutter your view and the gun sights aren't particularly visually appealing, but overall the game looks far better. However, for me this has come at the cost of a very low frame rate for an fps (despite being above minimum specs) and severe latency issues. Neither of these are good, even if it does look pretty.   Likewise, the sound and music is fine. It does the job. I wouldn't expect much less, and I don't expect much more.   The graphics can also be tweaked, though I've never been one to get fussed about tweaking menus like some people.   Core gameplay mechanics: new gameplay modes have been introduced and thoroughly polished. What I've played has been good fun: team deathmatch is predicatable, but a 'demolition' mode where you destroy the enemy's base (and defend your own) is great, as it a 'king of the hill' mode with different hills. This is a massive improvement over the prototype, where everyone played capture the flag, but the flag was largely irrelevant and people treated it as team deathmatch because the flag was so difficult to acquire.   Running has been made faster and jumping takes you much higher. This is accentuated in a map that is on the moon, where jumping is suddenly very high indeed. One class also has a jetpack. This actually isn't such a good change: it massively speeds up the gameplay but ends up making building much less relevant and cover unimportant, something that's not good where half the game used to revolve around its minecraftian mechanics.   Instead of leaving a corpse when you die, players now turn into a gravestone which explodes. While it seems harmless, this pockmarks battle areas in a way which further reduces the impact of the building system and makes bigger jumping necessary, otherwise covering ground quickly would be an absolute pain. While dressed up as a fun nod to Worms (I assume) it actually greatly changes gameplay. Perhaps it's good, perhaps it's bad. I don't think it helps.   The map has been changed, and it no longer shows bullet paths or where enemies are if they shoot. That was a really useful function, even though the game no longer really uses camping.   Building now barely takes place on a block-by-block basis (that is possible, just not useful because of all the new projectiles). Instead, each class has different structures it can quickly and effectively place down, like a wall or a 3x3 tunnel or tower. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know when you can and can't build: often, your proposed construction (transparently rendered in front of you) is red for no apparent reason. This is confusing and again makes building much less practical as the rules aren't intuitive. Essentially, it's become a non-part of the game, despite a world that quickly looks more and more like the spawn of an 'anarchy' server on minecraft.   Surface gameplay mechanics: Each player now chooses between one of four very powerful classes: the miner, the marksman, the commando, and the rocketeer. The miner has dynamite and a drill rocket that creates vast tunnels, but only has a shotgun as a weapon. The marksman can deploy mines and has a sniper rifle with a very small clip. The commando can choose between a rocket launcher (that really needs to hit directly to hurt and does little area damage) or a minigun that must fire slowly at first before picking up speed, but the minigun is limited to 50 bullets at a time. The rocketeer has a low ammunition sub machine gun, but can deploy 1 sentry gun and can fly with his jet pack in short bursts.   The addition of the class system appears to be quite effective. Although the rocketeer appears powerful, it's a very vulnerable class. The real powerhouse is the miner, because of the drill rocket which causes massive fractures in any enemy base, along with a helmet that stops him from getting headshot.   Ultimately, classes aren't a problem, though the miner's drill gun might be. What really hampers the game from returning to its fantastic roots is the changes to movement of all classes and the change to the radar, along with the unreliability of prebuilt structures.   Verdict: This game is fast paced and class based. It requires a good connection, sensible graphics, and strong maps. Game modes are fun and well made, although the building mechanics are clumsy and don't seem to have had much thought put into them. Although it's completely lost the spirit of the prototype, it isn't as bad as it might be, and it's certainly got its benefits. However, if I want to play a fast class-based FPS, I'm probably better off playing TF2 than this. The latency issues and poor FPS are extremely distressing, particularly when as a UK player I can't get a ping below 140+ in a game published by a British developer (there are much better pings for runescape). It's okay, but it's lost the charm and fun that made the prototype so unusual and brilliant, and I think that's a great shame. So, to summarize:   The good: Classes, Maps, Modes, and Graphics.   The bad: low FPS, latency, building's clumsy and less useful, UI's less functional.   TL;DR This is the prototype on steroids. Building's been made clumsy and irrelevant, but the classes are alright. Lag is what's stopped me enjoying this one.   4/10, do not buy at this price and low popularity.   If it weren't for low FPS and latency issues, 6/10: don't buy if you prefer slower paced FPSes.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Review: The Void Stares Back

In preparation to getting the full available rewards for The World Wakes , I've gone and done a different grandmaster quest, The Void Stares Back. My only barrier now is getting the skill requirements to take part in the Ritual of the Majharrat. This entry contains my thoughts on the final void knights quest. It should be obvious that this will contain some spoilers, but I'm not certain this matters: unlike The World Wakes, spoilers will not (in my opinion) 'spoil' the quest.   'Balance is breaking', by Halfinger on the official Runescape Deviantart page.   First off, let's look at the story concept. It's a very strong idea: the void knights finally track down the source of the mainland void invasion, confront the perpetrator, destroy his weapon, and go home. On the way, they recruit the player to help them reach their final destination and also team up with the various knightly orders of runescape, including the mysterious and foreboding Kinshra. The final battle should be a tough boss fight involving all these orders teaming up to slay the Big Bad Monster. It's also got great potential for future quests, which may or may not be used: the idea of an elite council of the four knight orders for when particularly bad things happen (see: fallout of The World Wakes) is a really interesting one.   However, this isn't perhaps implemented very well. The void storyline is one I never felt a strong emotional connection with: Korasi is a distant and often forgettable character, while Jessika is a naive and irritating scientist. The villain, who turns out to be wizard Grayzag, is also revealed to be deeply mentally unstable, and almost accidentally trips over the potential to summon the Pest Queen. He himself is not threatening in the slightest, and appears in newbie's wizard garb halfway through the quest to make strange statements hinting he had a master plan while proving that he doesn't. So the emotional connection, somethng that can make or break a quest (see WGS for a brilliant example of an emotional 'hit'), was somewhat missed. The protagonists are not lovable, the villains are not scary, and the knights behave somewhat oddly. Lord Daquarius makes some humorous and even sensible remarks ("yeah yeah, I get it, we're all the balance...how lovely"), but seems to have little objection to working with his arch enemies.   The quest also suffers slightly from legacy issues, and I'll explain what I mean. One particularly jarring point is that in the first half of the quest, you are given rigged black knight armour to disguise yourself. You go to the fortress, only to discover they all wear the old armour, so you stick out like a sore thumb. However, despite looking completely different, everything is fine. All the traditional knights wear old armour, while void knights have a mixture of old and new. Finally, the boss fight suffers from some real confusion, as you have to kick or bash the queen while wielding a sword to activate the special attack, but this is not made particularly clear, especially since one 'stun' ability (barge) is disabled in the area. Pest's old, old graphics are once again highlighted.   Having said that, where this quest is fully up to date it looks great. The under-Taverley Black Knight's Fortress looks superb, while the Pest Queen herself looks fantastic and thoroughly dangerous (though rather more like a slug queen than I had perhaps realised from pictures). The security systems and puzzles also seemed graphically competent.   However, the graphics don't really make much of a difference to the overall feel of the quest. Runescape's graphics are constantly evolving and this won't be an issue long term. What was an issue, I felt, was the pacing. My big problem was that going through the Kinshra's security system felt like it wouldn't take long, but then seemed to be the meat of the quest retrospectively. The quest takes quite a structured order, so let me explain: Talk at Falador, walk to Black Knight's Fortress
 
Solve a weights puzzle to go through security check 1
 
Fight pests, and solve a crafting puzzle to go through security check 2
 
Solve a 'tetris' like puzzle to go through security check 3
 
Chat to some knights, grab a sword, go through the portal
 
Fight a game of 'conquest', which is rather strange
 
Choose for Jessika or Korasi to die
 
Fight and kill Pest Queen
My chief problem is that while the puzzles seemed like they were just security checks (something I expected to be over quickly) they were very tough indeed (contrary to expectations of the average black knight goon) and rather formed most of the quest. If the knights had teamed up before the puzzle section and we'd all been working through them together, it would have made more sense and built up the capabilities of Grayzag. The game of conquest, while interesting, also felt very strangely placed: its inclusion feels incredibly forced and it doesn't make much sense for you to use a chess-like system...or for the pests to abide by the rules. A second and tougher pest fight with Sir Tiffy, Lord Daquarius, and Korasi all fighting together would have made more sense.   The choice of who dies was interesting, and a strong inclusion throughout the series. It felt like a choice that had some weight, though I had no difficulty whatsoever in choosing to save Korasi, a strong and productive void knight, and kill Jessika, a naive and foolish scientist who got us into the whole mess and had barely been useful once in the series.   The boss fight itself was strange. Initially I was slightly confused, but the Valluta did explain things very well. I felt it was slightly buggy, but I think that was just my poor technique. It was something of a challenge, though largely because of its length rather than because of any actual fear of death. As such, it was a little more of a grind than I anticipated: I stood there and hacked away at the queen, stunning when appropriate, until she died. A lot more could have been made of the 'reinforcements' idea: given that we had already summoned a conquest squad (those are extremely powerful) and we were a few rooms away from a literal army of black knights, it was bizarre that they came piecemeal in equal numbers and barely contributed at all. If I'd had 20 black knights to take care of the pests the queen summoned and 2 conquest squads to remove the void drones and help me shoot the queen from a distance, we would have eliminated the threat in no time. It was almost a bit strange that the portal the queen used didn't stay open longer: you could have had a pitched battle with the queen and I locked in a deadly duel while the void, black, temple and white knights all struggled on around me to repel invading monsters, much in the way that The World Wakes involved a pitched battle with one particular army (goons) against another (elites) while I defended an objective. This struck me as a missed opportunity.   The aftermath left me with mixed opinions. While I was pleased to meet the Valluta, see Grayzag brought to justice, meet all the leaders of the knightly orders, and so on, it felt frustrating that they were forced to say that while Grayzag had caused the pest invasion everywhere, the void knights could not stop fighting pests (because the minigame had to continue to exist). This could probably have been handled better: you could give the void knights new employments, you could turn Pest Control into a training activity, you could say the scale of the pest invasion is vastly reduced, whatever. If I was commander Tyr and the pest invasion had been ceased, I would have a number of new duties for knights to fulfil guarding ancient guthixian sites, for example, lending assistance to the Burthorpe guard that fights the trolls invading Taverley, building a proper fortress, and setting up multiple ways for the void knights to be summoned from alarms. But that's just my personal fanfiction.     Finally, the rewards weren't bad. Korasi's sword, while I'm not certain of its use yet (stats of a level 68 weapon but requirements of level 78), looks badass. They've updated it for EOC, and it looks great. The elite void armour, while slightly less exciting, was nonetheless welcome as an alternative to the strain of purple that taints the original one, although in stats it's very disappointing: they have +2 prayer for each piece...and that's it. So it's essentially paper armour with the changes EOC has brought, and useless unless you're against a very weak slayer task. Having said that, the deflector is rendered more valuable than ever by it. The xp was welcome and felt suitably balanced (har har). I suppose it didn't have quite the 'oomph' I've come to expect from Grandmaster, something that could have been rectified by making the elite armour and sword much more powerful: certainly the sword used to be exceedingly dangerous, something that could be rectified by giving it a passive effect like the godswords, of healing, prayer renewal, or even magical damage.   So, my verdict? The Void Stares Back is a quest with decent rewards, challenging puzzles, an interesting fight, and a great plot idea. However, it suffers from poor pacing, an inability to make you emotionally connect with heroes and villains, a few legacy issues, and a lot of missed potential. As such, I'd rank it the least interesting of the grandmaster quests; however it is still a very worthwhile addition to runescape's quests as a whole.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Three Rather Cool Things.

EDIT: Teacuptime is back! Currently he needs votes for some music thing, but his blog link doesn't seem to be workign on Full of Pie's blogroll, so I thought I'd shout it out to any readers. That's a fourth cool thing, by the way.   Well, today I thought I'd show you another, admittedly rather crummy, photograph. It's badly edited (I did it on paint, as I have yet to come to grips with gimp), but I thought it would be nice to show it to you. While bad, it uses two peices of concept art of things that are now in-game, and demonstrates an important point...         Does anyone think they will ever change the wield postiions for weapons? They are so much better when held at arms length, not with the elbow crooked. E.G., excalibur is better than the Dragon Scimitar.   In other news, I'm thinking about the lastest dungeoneering update. There's something odd there, and I'll put my finger on it next post. Don't want to run out of things to think about, after all.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Dammit Mod Mark, Brink of Extinction is hard :(

I asked a question vicariously in w00ters, and Mod Mark responded.     "I find brink far easier than before tbh, use better abilities and different gear".   So, erm, looks like I need level 80 weapons then. Fine. 80 ranged shouldn't be too hard, and then I just need to work out killing QBD. Still, he should know that polypore/godsword/hand cannon won't do it, and they're the level 75 ones. I definitely can't afford level 80 armour, so I'll be sticking with what I have on that front. Brink of Extinction is nonetheless a rather hard quest, especially when you face more than one combat triangle side at once and can't realistically use melee.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

A Good Example...

Of why I'm so getting this jacket. It just looks so darn good, as part of a pirate outfit!   And 50 ranged isn't too far away, and then I just need a ringmaster hat. Which shouldn't be too hard to get, should I aim high and follow Gonza's guide, I stand a decent chance (I think). Although i do think Agility could probably do with training first, yes.   Amulet of Ghostspeak also looks very suitable to the situation of a pirate...arr....   EDIT: I'm also thinking about a possible idea of an event, which would be costume related. Anyone can brign any costume they like, so long as they brign another costume I set as well. The costume I set is as follows: Any black platebody (t), (g) or normal, and any black platelegs/plateskirt, and any shoes (that are boot-related. i say this because I don't want flippers in the pic). Other than those things, you can wear anything you like...and hopefully we can get some nice pics of the black knights ary officers (and the motley crew). I'd probably wear something like this:   Helm: Long and black hair, eyepatch. Possibly grey hair. Amulet: Amulet of glory. Black (g) platebody. Black (g) platelegs. Skeletal gloves. Any named sword I have, preferably darklight. Also a black shield-possibly a defender. Zamorak cape, if I can get, any other cape otherwise. Black boots.   Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

How Much Is A Fire Cape Worth?

$20.00, apparently. Searching for a video on YouTube about someone getting multiple firecapes, I stumbled across a service that will get you a firecape. Three entrepreneurs have made money selling firecapes for aroudn $20.00, via account sharing. They sell a whole bunch of products, and they are pretty much completely safe to do so as Jagex has no way of knowing what their accounts are.   I am not suggesting you buy stuff off this site, as it will very likely get you banned when Jagex notices you Account sharign. It's not worth the risk, OKAY?   It's been interestign looking at their pricing system. A blue partyhat is around $600, which is pretty good money for them. A firecape, as I mentioned before, is around $20. A set of full dragon is around $100. Full rune is around $2.00, whcih confuses me as I have no idea why it is worth it for them. What I was really interested by was that, as the site has been going for at least a year, it must be worth quite a bit of money to run a business like this. It would obviously be a full time job, but I'mm amazed that so many people would be willing to pay for that service! I mean, I'm shocked. But I'm intrrigued nonetheless. I'm also interested by the scale of the offers. The expensive stuff must be obscenely hard to get. And some of the other prices surprise me too. Godswords without the hilt are only a few dollars. (less then $5). A crown, despite apparently having a street price of 30M, is sold for only $1. I think that might change soon. Teh most expensive item is the Christmas cracker, at $900. I'm astonished they claim to sell it, without even a warning that it might takea while to buy inthe GE. I can only assume that, were they honest, they have a Cracker and are jsut going to pump the account to make enough "Junk" for a Cracker.   Here are some quotes from their website: Beware 1, If you don't receive a phone call or an email in 5 minutes after you've placed the order. Please Jump in our LiveChat with your order code to confirm your order. Correct Phone Number is required. Orders can only be started after it's been confirmed on the phone.   Beware 2, 100% Manual Service Guaranteed (It has come to our attention that more and more players are using bots to farm gold or do powerleveling, For a long term run of your account, Gold4rs highly suggests RS players to stay away from ANY kind of bots). We use VPN(Virtual Private Network) that's bought from US when we are working on your account, so there won't be any kind of local IP exposal and it's absolutely Safe   Beware 3, If you really have to login game during the service time, make sure to let our LiveChat know. An email will be sent to you right away when we have finished your order. Click here to Know More about Gold4rs. Join our QuickHit Contest and Win Free Gold! We Farm Gold then get items in GE, with levels (att, def, str, mining) up for free! and 100% Manual service Guaranteed! For some rare items it would take a little bit longer than usual to get it in GE! Please Beware before you buy!   Over the years Gold4rs has continued to evolve gently, it's an official registered company with a team of 136 professionals working for all RS players 24/7 by shifts, we have added several techniqual programs to enhance the security of accounts.   Since 2005 when we initially launched our website, we have received 1, 385,924 orders, 2,236,891 gold, over 800,000 customers, thanks for your patronage and thanks for all the supports provided by all our dear customers from different countries.   Here is a snapshot from their office, which is full of Asian "Professionals" .   I'm not trying to be an advertisement, I'm jsut interested by this. ~Helm360

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Dragon Defender? Prepare To Be Dissapointed...

Okay, dragon defender is coming out soon. A whole load of other stuff is coming in the same update, if everythign goes to plan, the update will come this week as facebook and twitpic hints have been released. Alongside the much awaited dragon defender will come a damage update that will show how much damage you personally do (compared to those around you) and also the type of damage you are doing, and what is being done to you. Tehy are also introducing something called damage soaking which so far seems a little confusing...but never mind that.   I suppose one of the most exciting things to people is the dragon defender. For a long time, Runescape has only had a rune defender, which is considered to be an excellent and important asset to offensive training. The defenders look great and have nice offensive stats, being considered important to get. The dragon defender will further increase the offensive power of one-handed weapons such as Chaotics and of course the Whip, however it will supposedly be a lot harder to get-potentially the Cycollossus may appear randomly, and we don't know the mechanics yet.   He'll also drop "new, eye themed clothing". Except he doesn't. It's a brown, ugly mask. I was thinking penance in the behind the scenes, nah. It's a brown mask, a combination of the acrobat hood and the witchdoctor mask. Either that, or you need to wear the thing to get the Cycollossus's attention.   It seems he also has interesting battle mechanics-he can stun you, and it may be possible you can only wear 3 items and your mask? Whatever the case, he won't be quite the same as the others, I'm sure.   And the defender is ugly...it's the same as the flameburst defender from daemonheim, but red (Jagex got lazy), and it currently looks like the next most recent dragon scimitar (not the new update...that blog was interesting, by the way, but the curvy one, shines), just smaller. Not a thing of beauty, and not a lot of work has gone into it. I was expecting a touch of black, perhaps, and spikes, but...nah. This is smooth and curvy, like a shield. Ugh. You disgust me.   Without further ado, here's the picture. I've cropped out the middle, as there's a cyclops between the two (perhaps the cyclops has stunned and pushed him back?), so here's a picture of what they look like:     I hope you found that interesting, if dissapointing. In another image they forgot to put damage control in, or maybe they won't end up releasing that.   Helm Lardar.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Now that I'm archmage, what?

As Arch-mage of the College of Winterhold, I feel it is necessary to make something of an announcement.   As leader of the College, I see my job to be less of a magical theorist and researcher, and more of a leader and organiser. I'm not the best magician among you, but I am certainly able to delve dungeons and solve problems: it was for my actions in the crisis surrounding the appearance of the Eye of Magnus that I became leader.   The College has several purposes: firstly, to provide a safe place to study magic and learn from other magicians, secondly, to supply court mages and occasional magical assistance to the people of Skyrim, and third, to prevent the misuse of magic to the detriment of the general population. It is my belief that the college should also strive to improve the reputation of magic in the country, such that it is not hated and feared but may be used to everyone's good.   Unfortunately, as an institution we have not always succeeded in these aims. Students have died due to lack of oversight, magical troubles have befallen much of Skyrim, and rogue wizards roam the land, with collateral damage all too clear to see. Finally, magic is no longer respected as it should be, perhaps most importantly because of the horrendous damage caused to Winterhold over the past few hundred years under my predecessor.   In order to resolve these problems, I request that the following takes place, under the direction of College staff and myself. I will attempt to be present among these changes, although my duties elsewhere may cause me to have to travel for some of the time (most notably, as Thane of Riften I must provide political help there).   All magical studies written up and posted in the Arcaneum.
The Arcaneum to be better organised and more relevantly stocked.
Active recruitment of novice wizards and greater oversight.
Research on the great collapse.
Better relations with Winterhold.
Midden to be made habitable and frequented.
Negotiation with all rogue wizards to re-affiliate with the College.
Two seperate sub-colleges to deal with especially dangerous magic.
Two new professors of alchemy and dwemer technology.
I have set aside a personal fund of 150,000 septims that may be drawn upon with my permission in order to make these changes happen. Using my extensive range of contacts, it is my hope that Skyrim may have a College to be truly proud of again.   Yours,   Arch-Mage Melchior

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

RuneScape: the Divination post-release AMA categorised

I'm doing this for my own purposes and for a sort of 'archive' ideal. I don't know if it's useful or necessary. Some of the answers are unclear enough to need the corresponding questions, but a lot of them aren't. If they have a question before them, they will start with a -dash before the answering mod's name. I hope this is useful. Please comment if you think which comment a question is answering is unclear, or if you believe an answer/question to be in the wrong category. Because Reddit's sorting algorithm doesn't necessarily give you a neat list of questions and answers, I think something like this can be handy. Also, it's hard to search for a reddit thread sometimes-this solves that problem too.     About release day and other fixes:   Ana: The most [hotfixes] we've done over the last two days are the changes to enriched wisps - these were spawning rather more often than we had intended, and it was possible to exploit their random spawns by hopping worlds. We also hotfixed out being able to spam click wisps for faster memories (sorry).   Hew: [on reclicking (?) and why it was hotfixed] Although we like to reward effort, we want to do so in ways that make things more interesting rather than those that simply add click intensity. Divination is intended to be the kind of skill that lets you chat with other players (or even watch some TV if you like), and that breaks down as soon as we allow unintended better XP because everyone will feel compelled to do it.   Ana: they weren't intended ways of training. I can more than understand your reasoning that more effort = more XP but we incorporated other features for this (enriched wisps without world hopping and chronicle fragments). I can only apologise that these things were discovered and hotfixed after release, as they shouldn't have been part of the skill.   Q: Also, can I suggest making something like a Portent of Ignore, that makes banners and avatars silent, invisible, and inherently non-clickable.   -Hew: Ana has changed things so that you can't put clan banners down too close to the crater, but followers and avatars are technically much harder to change so we'll have to look carefully about what we want to do there.   Ana: I think on release we are happy with the amount of content in the skill - it's supposed to be a gathering skill so we didn't aim for it to have the complexity of Dungeoneering, for example. It's also worth considering that other skills have had years of content added to them - something we hope to do with Divination in the future, so I'd really hope you can expect to see more ways of training down the line :).   Q: Is it a current bug that you gain so many enriched orbs at the start of a new area? It seems to drastically drop down to almost zero per inventory the next level and then picks itself back up.   -Ana: The enriched memories from wisps are given at random. Your chance to get them goes up as you increase your level within the tier (a tier being level 20-29, for example) - then when you move on to the next tier it drops down again. We've seen some similar feedback on the forums so we have been double checking that this is the case!     About the skill generally:   Ana: When you get a chronicle fragment it does actually only appear to you for a while, before everyone else can see it. This isn't very obvious - I think we may be adding a message for it in the near future, much like you get with birds' nests when Woodcutting.   Hew: Chronicles are person-specific: you can only see somebody else's fragment after they have had a good chance to get it themselves. The social focus of the skill is that enriched springs stay longer with more players, and that generally the core springs aren't competitive. The situation where you could 'share' chronicle fragments wasn't intended, it throws the balancing off and doesn't make much sense considering what the fragments are.   Ana: the locations of the wisps. I'd have to say it was mostly a case of finding empty spaces on the world map. We also put consideration into where lower level players may be, where higher level players may be, etc - as well as finding places that weren't quest locked or had other high skill requirements. We did actually consider a Wilderness wisp colony, but we didn't want to close anything off to non-PVPers. There's only one colony per tier and putting one in the Wilderness would be a serious barrier for a lot of players.   Hew: we were really hoping that the colonies/craters would be a nice chance for a chat, like some of the older skills.   Hew: I think it's a shame people see Divination [as RuneSpan 2.0]. RuneSpan is great content but it's not something we're going to be building into future updates, like we do the skills. Divination is the start of whole new things, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the stuff we can add to it, in ways that a minigame just doesn't support.   Hew: We're happy with the Divination that appears in Dungeoneering at the moment; perhaps it's something we'll take another look at later. I wouldn't bind signs: although they're not immediately consumable they're still the sort of thing you'd use up sooner or later.   Ana: The XP rates are actually pretty close to what we had planned, so from our side we are happy. We needed to leave a 'gap' for future content such as minigames, distractions and diversions, quest rewards, XP boosting items etc so the rates are deliberately a bit slow. If we started with them being higher, then the skill would become very easy quite quickly.   About the developement:   Hew: There were loads of aims. Among my top ones: Simple, old-school gathering skill, more like Fishing or Woodcutting than Summoning or Dungeoneering
Non-competitive: positively social where possible
A 'free' training option, with no waste products you didn't want to make
Tie-in with the new age and the evolving story of RS
Note that these aren't all goals we set ourselves: many of them came down from Mod Mark. There are always things I wish we'd had more time for, but I'm happy with the results. It's changed a lot as we went along, but it's difficult to point at any version and call it the 'original design'. At one point it was something completely different, and you can now look forward to that as part of the next skill. Main challenges were big design questions about exactly how we manage the stuff above and fit it all in with the way the game works. We had to ditch a lot of ideas for reward/product objects because they'd ruin something or other. We also had to think carefully about this skill was different to previous ones, because while it's always tempting to fall back on 'well Mining does it like this' but some of the things Mining does were ones we didn't want to replicate.   Ana: That's a really interesting question. We went through a really, really long design stage for Divination. I remember we thought transmutation would be a much larger part of the skill than it is now. We had all sorts of ideas for it, and they just didn't work out. We also had some ideas that when training you'd have to put more effort into finding wisps - so you'd have to track them across the world, but it was decided that this would be pretty tedious for a full skill from 1-99. There was also mention of wisps in crowns, which I think Mod Avatar is still determined to get in game!   Ana:
I've been working on the skill since the release of The World Wakes at the beginning of March. The design of Divination actually started before that (February or perhaps even January) but other mods were working on it at that point.

The XP rates weren't changed or adjusted in the run up to release. I'm afraid I don't really know any more about them being different on the wiki - just that nothing changed from our side.
  Ana: I think I've said elsewhere that the skill was in development from February/March this year. It was talked about a lot before that but didn't actually start production until then. I'd agree that the training areas are all very similar so I can understand why it would look like it wasn't a lot of effort! I think we spent the most time on design - this project had a massive design phase when compared to others. We knew it would be a high profile, important and much-anticipated release so we spent a long time just to get everything how we wanted it to be. There's also a lot of behind the scenes stuff which you wouldn't automatically think of - for example adding Divination to loads of interfaces and systems which show and use all the skill information.   Ana: The skill hasn't been in development for 3 years. It's been in development since about February this year :). Divination was intended to be a simple skill - it's a gathering skill, like Woodcutting or Fishing. Dungeoneering is a very different skill to compare it to - and we were never aiming for that level of complexity. Also, I think it's worth bearing in mind that all the other skills have had years of additional content added on to them - which Divination hasn't had yet. The most effective way of training is converting memories into XP (of course there are boons and enriched wisps and enhanced XP that allow for more effective ways within that - but basically you want to gather memories and convert them into XP if you want to train the skill). The items are there as 'rewards' - you don't get much XP for making them but they should be useful elsewhere. If you're only interested in XP then there's no reason to make the items other than the boons. It is planned that the energy from Divination will be used in the next skill.   Ana: The biggest challenge was probably the design - there were a lot of people involved because it's such a large project, and we spent a lot of time making sure everyone was happy. It was also very difficult designing a new skill that would fit into a 12 year old game with so much content in it already.     About orb colours and other graphics:   Ana: There aren't any plans [to change orb colours] at the moment. It was something we discussed during development and internal feedback - but as there are 12 tiers it's difficult to get 12 obviously different colours and it was anticipated that it might look a bit odd. In the end it was determined it would be better to differentiate them with size and shinyness, rather than colour.   Ana: There are no plans to change the springs currently. If we get a lot of feedback on it then we'd obviously look into changing it :).   Q: Why do all tiers have the exact same graphics/colors/animations as the previous camp?   -Hew: It would be nice if I had a graphics person here, but the principles are that: The animations are consistent, because they represent roughly the same thing each time. There's also a steady progression of models that look similar but gradually get more complicated, because they represent more complicated versions of a similar thing.
The colours do vary, but they're similar because it was hard to get a range that would make wisps clearly relate to one another while also fitting in with the game world.
There's a lot of things to consider when choosing colours and making the graphics for things like this, and we had lots of thought and lots of discussion. The cheap/rushed version could have clashed with things, been ugly, been hard to see or loads of other problems.   Hew: We thought long and hard about the colours and had lots of discussion about it with the artists. They're different because they have quite different requirements: the wisps are shades of blue because it goes well in lots of different terrains, without colour-blindness problems, while the energy varies more because you have more chance to need to see the difference of multiple kinds together.     About related quests/lore:   Q: Will there be any major quests to go along with div in the near future? because I feel like it needs it own story.   -Ana: I hope so! Perhaps Mod Hew would be able to say more on this one, but there is certainly some underlying story to Divination which I really hope will be explored in the future.   Q: When i train divination what exactly am i doing lore wise am i gathering guhtix memories or energry from his barrier? 2 if the answer to the above is guthix memories then why dont really learn anymore about the history of guthix like with the spring event.   -Ana: May in the skill hub has some dialogue about this if you want to get more information, but I'll try and summarise :). When Guthix died, his energy spread across the world. The edict 'shield' around Gielinor collapsed, and the power from this fused with Guthix's residual energy to become the wisps. When you gather from the wisps you are getting memories (Guthix's) and energy (edict shield power). Separately, the battle of Lumbridge has disrupted the life force of Gielinor - and the energy rifts around the world are a result of this. The memories you are gathering are made of the same 'force' (as Guthix drew his force from the earth) so by returning the memories to the rifts you are essentially 'healing' the world. For the second part of 1 - This is something we considered during development. It was kind of decided that lore should be kept somewhat separate from the training of a skill. If you want to just train and get XP then getting story bits pop up all the time would be really very annoying - especially considering the time it takes to level up to 99. That's why we tried to incorporate it with the chronicles, and hopefully it can be explored with future content too!   Q: Why can we only have ten chronicle fragments what is up with the messages we get while hand them in and why not just give us more guthix story?   -Ana: The reason for having a maximum of 10 chronicle fragments is to encourage you to hand them in rather than hoarding them. The messages are deliberately vague because once you've handed them in a few times, we anticipated many people would stop reading them and we didn't want those people to miss out on important story progression.   Q: where do the memories go when you put them in the energy rift   -Hew: Back to the world spirit (Anima Mundi, whatever you want to call it), which/who is very grateful.   Ana: I mentioned this somewhere else on the thread - but the reason [chronicle fragments] are short little proverbs is because we anticipated that players who just want to train to 99 are going to see a lot of them. If they were longer people would probably get bored or annoyed feeling they were forced to read them every time and we wanted to avoid that.   Q: Did Naragi diviners train divination?   -Ana: I wouldn't have thought so - as the Divination we know is only possible due to Guthix's death, and the events of the Sixth Age :). That is an interesting connection though - perhaps something we could use later on! About the economy:   Q: However, with the Sign of the Porter and a Pak Yak, players are able to hold up to 88 items before banking. How do you see this affecting the economy?   -Hew: Bank runs are pretty quick these days, so the economic impact of the extra inventory space should be relatively small. Porter also isn't free to make, so players will make their own decisions about which commodities are worth teleporting and which aren't. Another thing we discussed was whether we wanted to change the flow of gathering so dramatically: I wanted to make the change but was a little afraid of it, but Mod Mark was happy to give players that option and so we did.   Hew: At the moment we're happy that the value of transmutations will change over time with the market. It's more of a convenience feature than a direct money-maker, although there'll be times when it'll turn a profit in the right market (and if you're watching it so closely it sounds like you'll be ready).       About the companion skill and the future generally:   Hew: The new skill will use energy, but also plenty of other things. There might be some features where a Divination level is an advantage. So mechanically, there'll be that kind of link. But from a lore/narrative perspective but they won't line up like Mining and Smithing: it'll be a slightly more complicated relationship and I hope we can tell some interesting stories there.   Hew: 'Two weeks' [until the use of xp lamps] has been mentioned a couple of times, but I don't think that's a final decision. I'd expect more like a month.   Hew: We're not planning to change XP rates. To provide a decent high-score race of the kind that lots of players like and to give you a good feeling of continual improvement we made it the kind of thing you can't just burn through in short time.   Q: Will the rewards improve?   -Ana:It's still very early days, and I'm getting the feeling from the forums that the rewards haven't really been explored that much yet so hopefully people will find their intended uses :). Other than that, we're always watching feedback so if rewards are clearly under-used then that's something we'll look into - but I think it's worth waiting a while for the skill to 'settle in' first, rather than making knee-jerk changes. [Explaining 'intended uses'] Well, what I was mostly thinking of was divine locations. I've seen some feedback on the forums where people are making them, and thinking that's their daily use of divine locations up - when you can harvest from other people's in addition to that, to get a lot more resources. I also think that the Signs of the Porter may be prove to be more useful than feedback would currently indicate - especially at the higher levels when they teleport more items. In general, I think a lot of people are wrapped up in training at the moment so I'm hoping when that has died down we'll see more feedback about the rewards too :).   Q: Clan citadel divination?   -Hew: Not yet. We'll wait until there's some more work on Clan Citadels: we'd like to get more people using them but there's lots we'd like to do this year and next, so I don't know when that will be.   Hew: The idea of transmuting 'backwards' is really interesting; I like that. We might be able to do some cool stuff with that. When Mod Avatar originally came up with the idea (or a slightly different idea, which I stole and changed) he was thinking of transmuting across, and I'm looking forward to doing something with that too. At the moment there's a deliberate choice between portents of restoration and food. While it's possible that we could make new versions with other thresholds (or change the thresholds in certain level bands) we'd only do so if it didn't make the items too complicated and confusing.   Some recipes would be dangerous: I agree with your example. Maybe they're all dangerous, and I'd check before we decided to do any of them. But there are things here and there that might benefit from players being able to even them up a little...   Q: Will there be any more skills with similar combinations?   -Ana: I'm not really sure, to be honest (perhaps Mod Hew would be better to answer this one?). With Divination we had the challenge of releasing a 'supporting' skill to a skill that doesn't exist yet, so we needed to make it a supporting skill to existing skills, too. This challenge won't come with the next skill as Divination will already be out, but I don't think that would mean it would ignore other skills, either. Sorry, slightly vague answer :).   Q: Is there any chance that the wisps will last longer in the future?   -Ana: There aren't any plans to do this currently.   Q: Is there a chance for multiple enriched springs to spawn in the future or last longer?   -Ana: Again, there aren't any plans for this currently. The enriched springs will last longer based on how many people are on them. When you interact with an enriched spring, if you have any memories in your inventory it will consume one and give you an enriched memory automatically. This causes the enriched spring to last longer. Each player can only do this once, and the enriched spring does have a maximum duration (after 4 players have donated to it). If it's only you on the enriched spring it really won't last very long, but if 4 players have donated to it then it will last much longer :).   Q: add a couple of lines of code to allow Max to say random things? I've seen no end of players slandering him in front of his face- would be funny if he called everyone noobs ;)   -Ana:As for Max - Mod Chris L, who created him and updated him for Divination, was actually looking into this. He wanted to give Max a response if Max overheard anyone calling him a bot ;).   Hew: Remember that the extra training methods for other skills typically launch over time after the skill itself. As much as we'd love to launch something as broad and varied as Woodcutting with all the things that have been added post-launch, the game is bigger and more complicated than ever and the effort it takes to build a skill and safely plug it in everywhere has grown 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

 

Medieval II: Teetotal Claw

I haven't really been back on runescape since I beat nomad to just the thinnest sliver of health and then died after running out of brews after being unable to hit him after running around for ages.   Very frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that I hit the keyboard, freezing my laptop and forcing me to restart it, which meant I logged in next to my grave with 40 seconds left on the counter. Thank goodness for those things, note to self hitting the keyboard is never justified. It's easy to lose the mouse button, your hand hurts, and my computer is still its crap old self. One day I'll get a job, make lots of money, and build a computer that can play Rome II: Total War, which was recently announced and looks like it will be a fantastic game.   Instead, I've been playing Medieval II: Total War, and have just about finished the English Campaign, with many provinces but Jerusalem hasn't quite been taken. I'm currently assembling an army and fleet (well, the former now) to sail there and capture it, thus winning the game.   I went the 'dread' route, full of assasins and not caring about what the pope says. Scotland was the first to go, shortly followed by France and then eventually Milan. Once all those places were taken, the kingdom essentially reached critical mass, and so I swept across the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Portugal, and the rest of Italy, attempting to destroy the papal states and then finding out that no matter how many assassins killed the pope, he'd keep going.   If I had far more time, effort, and resources, I should like to attempt killing every single cardinal and the pope at once, and see where that gets me, but I don't think it would work. That would actually be pretty cool, as the entire catholic faith would be burned to the ground at once.   Once my army has captured Jerusalem, I hope to take up a faction with lots of pikes and head over in a more south-easterly direction, aiming to fight the timurids and mongols.   As far as I can tell, the key problem with Rome and Medieval is that once you've got to a certain size, you become something of an unstoppable war machine: so long as your core of cities keeps burning, you can keep churning out massive armies to take down whatever your opponent comes up with. Raising the difficulty only has two effects: 1, you take a lot longer to hit this point, and 2, a faction that's dying will be supplied with vast amounts of money per turn, allowing them to raise entirely unfair stacks upon stacks of armies instead of rolling over. Of course, this sends them further into debt, giving them even more financial aid, so they become progressively harder to kill as you get further towards their heartland.   Both games have attempted to counterbalance this, Rome with the senate and medieval with the papacy, to some success. However, Rome's 2 other factions turning on you at the end tended to have less of an effect than it might, largely because once you declared civil war, you were so close to winning that you only had to take a few cities, not wipe out the other Romans entirely. Also, the AI was totally bugged to the point that you could easily cap the other two faction's development by taking the cities they were programmed to take first: they didn't use boats except in special circumstances, so you could conquer a little of southern france and switzerland to stop the julii, western greece to stop the brutii, and various bits of sicily and carthage to stop the scipii. Once you'd done that they'd stop trying and civil war would be very very easy later on.   With this game, the papacy for all its fuss has little effect: being excommunicated is actually a massive bonus, because while this does cause widespread unrest, that can be effectively dealt with by lowering taxes, while you can eat up the smaller christian kingdoms. Non-Catholic factions also tend to be nicer, because you're the enemy of their enemy. Crusades also don't have too much of an effect if the nations sending them are utterly besieged by yours truly. With that said, I'd like to try the pious, chivalric route next game, to see if it works and to use crusades to smash my enemies.   Ta-ra,   'Elm.

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

 

Demon Mobs, Demon Slayer, and Retired Randoms: a review

Want to know whether Demon Mobs, Demon Slayer, and the relocated Random eventers are worth bothering with? Then look no further.   Demon mobs are a sort of combat 'evil tree': remote, but this time announced within the game window. You need to have the right combat level, but they're good fun: however, if you are planning a session of hunting, it makes much more sense to join a friends chat like SaintProdigy (I might have got the name slightly wrong, if I have google it): while you don't lose any of the rewards for doing so, you can still find mobs a lot faster.   If you want to do this effectively, you've got two options: risk a lot more by running around the wilderness (but the potential gains are higher) or go around the standard world. Most of the locations can easily be reached by lodestone, while fairy rings will take you to the Feldip and Uzer areas, and a charter ship can take you to the Poison Waste. The trick to doing well is to constantly hunt and to be communicative with your fellow hunters.   A standard 5 minute hunt works like this: you get a call out, such as 'w6 uzer spawn'. Replying 'omw w6' (on my way), you hop worlds and then lodestone to Edgeville, before taking a fairy ring to Uzer's ruins. You then run north, hoping you brought some water, and find the demon mob and lots of other players. A full battle involves 4 stages: first, you kill the imp heralds, then the lesser demons, then the lieutenant demons, then the general. The general will be different (in attacks) each time, but it doesn't really matter, and each tier is frozen in place until the previous one dies. It's a bit strange, because they're not aggressive or anything, but it's hard to see how Jagex could make them more threatening to the world without simply inconveniencing players who would world-hop out the way. As long as you get a hit above 500 on the general (you'll be notified when you do), then he'll drop some loot for you: this is why nobody misses out if they arrive with a group instead of alone. The loot is generally worth roughly 25-100k per kill, but if you get a piece of demon hunter equipment, that's worth significantly more, not on the grand exchange but worth a few million in street price. Depending on how quickly you can make the kills, you should make a perfectly reasonable amount of money, even if it's not a perfect money maker-those tend to be a lot less fun.   All in all, an excellent DnD and a fine way to make a little cash without any real preparation if you want to do so with combat.   Demon Slayer is a quest that's been around for a while: it preceded the slayer skill but nicely fits the tone of it, as you have to find a special sword. I'm reviewing it because it was recently revamped and is now a rather different quest. In summary, you meet a demon hunter in the Varrock Church, you go below the church and perform 3 quick/easy puzzle/challenges, you get the sword, and then you go under the Zamorakian Temple, kill some cultists (all enemies except Delrith are level 2), and then fight Delrith, a level 15 demon who periodically uses an AOE attack that you have to stop fighting and stand next to the demon hunter to avoid.   While I'm all in favour of revamping ancient quests, I don't think this was particularly well done. It was never quite explained why the demon hunter couldn't go and fetch silverlight himself: indeed, it was explained that this was his ancient right. The quest removed Wally, an established piece of lore that could easily have been kept, and also removed Gypsy Aris, a great character that wouldn't have been hard to fit in. The crypts under the churches are massive, purpose built areas that don't really fit into a wider context of what's below Varrock and why the sword is there, while the previous version (unlocking it from Sir Prysin) certainly made more sense to me. Sir Prysin is a nobleman, you are a warrior, it seems a fairly simple transaction. Finally, Delrith is strange: you fight him way below Varrock in a seemingly purpose-built arena, utterly disregarding the stone circle for no clear reason. He also fails to be powerful yet again. Given that silverlight is made to kill demons, functioning as a rune longsword against them, and is specifically made to kill this demon, why not have a mechanic whereby it counts as an even more powerful weapon, or explain that Delrith is only weak because he is freshly summoned, as happened previously.   If I was to revamp the quest, I would have kept the key mechanic and the idea that Silverlight has been treasured as a holy artefact. I would also have made the crypts, a nice idea, a bit more sensible, with smaller size but no less significance. Finally, I would have either removed the stone circle (perhaps putting it below the temple?) or had Delrith summoned there.   The quests did some things right, but it went for an over the top epic feel that disregarded plot and established lore in favour of pretty dungeons. As such, it was ultimately jarring, and I don't think it was as good as it could have been.   On a more positive note, the Relocated Random Events have been superbly done and are really worth checking out. If you've got time for nothing else, I recommend visiting Mr Mordaut and the Mysterious Old Man, to characters who became increasingly important as the game aged because of their role in the 'postbag from jagex', something that seems to have stopped now. Probably because players don't write letters.   Anyway, Mr Mordaut has an excellent office in the basement of the Varrock museum: go down the stairs, and enter the door on the stairway that bears one of the symbols there used to be in his schoolroom. He's all up for an interesting conversation, and particularly serves to give some new plot exposition on the dragonkin: I won't spoil anything, but he's well worth a visit if you've completed any relevant quests.   The Mysterious Old Man now owns the house in Draynor opposite Morgan's. He's fairly chatty, if just a little bit creepy, and also provides some interesting dialogue. Of real note here is that if you can get him to go away, you can go into his basement, which contains a variety of different random events items in a sort of workshop.   Various other previous events also exist. Leo the gravedigger, for example, has a spot in East Ardougne's church, and others can be found by talking to the mysterious old man.   Overall, this was spectacularly well done. Old characters have new and memorable dialogue, but it's done in a careful way that makes them fit into the world they are part of and seem like they could have always been there. If you're looking for a chat with some of them, the mysterious old man has all the info you need.

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

 

Dwarf Fortress: Anyone interested in some posts about this?

Here's what would happen: You guys would comment, saying "I want my name to be the nickname of a dwarf that does X".
I would go through the dorfs, nickname them after anyone who commented (significant dorfs, first, others later).
I would then play the game, and post updates on anything significant, obviously including anything significant done by a nicknamed dorf.
  For the most awesome example of how this can turn out, see the SomethingAwful lets's plays, like Boatmurdered, Gemclod, Bronzestabbed, Headshoots, etc etc. I'm currently playing a fortress called Guisemined. If you don't know what Dwarf Fortress is, think "Rollercoaster Tycoon, but in ASCII, with dwarves in a randomly generated fantasy world, and much more complicated". As an example of how the fortress is going, we've endured multiple recent ambushes and small flooding problem, but the legendary hammerdwarf has made short work of the underground shale fortress and the location in general is expanding smoothly. It's fun!   If you're interested (or just want to see what a sample post would look like) post, giving a nickname (I'd expect your Sals name), and a profession range (there are lots of jobs, but they fall into the categories of Noble, Soldier, Miner, Woodworker, Stoneworker, Ranger, Doctor, Farmer, Fisher, Metalsmith, Jeweller, Crafter, Mechanic, and Peasant Hauler). Or, you can give a migration wave number. And you can give a gender you'd like to be too if you want! I can't promise to honour any of these choices, but I'll try not to ignore them.   Please be interested.

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Botting: what about the community?!

http://www.reddit.com/r/runescape/comments/q70ec/the_second_bot_nuke_is_needed_now/   Things like this are interesting. Jagex has consistently commited to fighting bots since the nuke. They've been updating quietly, without flourish, but bots are popping up. Lots of people immediately say that this shows Jagex are in a losing race, that they can't win, and that botters will always be one step ahead.   They're wrong. Something like the bot nuke shows that's wrong. Bot makers were out for months. They were on the back foot. That hadn't happened before.   Jagex are cracking on with Optimus. They're working hard, they're carrying on, but the above link is still a problem. Bot makers can update constantly, and it's obvious that Jagex find that more difficult to do. They're doing well, but it's difficult.   So what's the solution? More staff, more money? I don't think so. There'll come a point where all Jagex can do is wait and see what botters come up with before they respond, and that means that they can't do that much. Equally, it's far more important for Jagex to rehabilitate botters (IMO) than ban them. You want a dedicated userbase who understand the problems associated with botting and don't want that in the game and you also can't ban every player. Apart from anything else, it's ruinously expensive. Jagex can't run the game, let alone fight bots and release updates, without money.   Bot makers are just as commited to making bots as Jagex are to breaking them, so the solution has to be different: the community needs to be able to help. Ultimately, they are the ones who this botting problem really impacts: for Jagex botting will only hurt in the long term, but for the player, it hits them hard immediately right where it shouldn't.   All of a sudden commodities go up and down, fluctuating in confusing ways, until basic money makers can't be used any more. Green dragons cease to be profitable as the spots are flooded: red chinchompas are no longer as expensive as they might be and are hard to get: herbs go down in price as they flood in from the sorcerresses' garden.   If I get the chance, I'll try to make lots of money and buy lots of chinchompas, but money making for me will still be hurt because bots are more efficient than I am and they flood me out.   Where am I going with this? The solution. We need a community wing against bots, not just a Jagex one. We need to instill an ethic in players that it is worth their time to go and report bots. Finally, we need to make reporting bots more possible.   Random events are designed to catch bots. In my opinion, they are where Jagex should focus a whole load of attention, releasing new randoms and reconfiguring old ones. They have done that recently to combat colour bots, but they still have a problem: once a bot is stuck in there, it doesn't move. It can't be seen, and it can't be reported.   1. Add viewing galleries to random events so that players can report stuck bots.   The second problem is that commonly botted areas are often hidden away from the average runescaper, so that a botting problem is hard to see. How many players notice that there are bots in South-East Al Kharid? How many of you regularly visit Turoths if you don't get them as slayer tasks? When was the last time you hunted chinchompas, or slayed green dragons in the chaos tunnels? All of these are botting volcanoes, with eruptions of automated players, but because they're quite far away from player hubs and sometimes underground or on a seperate plane, they aren't too noticeable.   Here's an idea: why don't we reward players that consistently manage to report bots that later get banned? Jagex could keep records of what players report who, and whether they were later banned. If a player consistently does this, they should be rewarded: loyalty points would be a great way to implement this with little development time involved. Report 50 genuine bots? 1000 loyalty points. Why are they loyalty points? You're being loyal to the game by helping keep it free of rulebreakers.   In order to prevent abuse, you'd probably end up needing a few tweaks: if you're the only person to report one bot, it might get more points, for example, to stop people crowding around one single, simple area.   2. Reward players with loyalty points for reporting bots that are later banned.   Finally, bots need to be targeted at where they are. I have been to green dragons and the summer garden regularly, and I have not seen these areas being updated in a way that might target bots themselves. The wilderness was graphically updated, but what if we could focus on the jungles, the dragon's drops, the sorcerresses' herbs? What if we could implement things here to deliberately confuse bots regularly, a la LRC portal? I can't imagine this takes vast amounts of time, but it would really help!   3. Target bots specifically at their areas much more often.   Well, those are my suggestions for getting rid of the bots with more than just game engine updates. In my opinion, they'd add huge benefits to the community-led fight against the bots with minimal Jagex time taken up: sure, it would take some time, but not nearly as long as the bot nuke! Things like this are simple but can be hugely effective, allowing far more people to take part. Besides, the game engine team is already really busy with the FPS updates, so things like this could help take the weight off their back.   I'd love to know what you think!   ~Helm Lardar~

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Waterbirth Wallasakis-a true story

The longboat gently dipped in the opalescent waters of the North Sea, gently moored against a rock on the edge of Waterbirth Island. Her lonely mountain stood proud against the grey sky, a solitary bush on its slope the only sign of perpetuating life here. As a friend and I walked towards the beckoning entrance of the cave, rocks sprouted legs and scuttled away, eager to avoid confrontation and potential eviction from their current homes.   A friend -let's call him J- and I had decided to try out a new method of training ranged: a method he'd heard of on RS Wiki. It was to be an ill fated trip, but at the time we were perfectly happy and had a nice idea of how things would go. The plan was to hunt Wallasakis; a kind of mage walrus, with our crossbows and pray to protect ourselves, using a cannon to speed things up further and lootsharing drops.   Into the disturbingly mouth-shaped entrance we went, down and down the stairs until we were almost under the sea itself. The cave was dripping with an ethereal blue glow: we didn't need any light sources here, although nothing hinted as to why not.   Dagganoths: these northern variants on the common Jadinko were aggressive and eager for blood. We headed past them as they slowly began to wake up, our armour protecting us from the worst blows as we reached the first door. Simple enough, two pressure plates were stood on and the door opened with a curious fan-like rotating mechanism.   The walruses were here most prominently, but we soon realised a problem: while in great number, they were in single combat and retreated far too quickly once damaged to make it possible to ever kill many at all. This wasn't the great ranged xp we'd heard of! In desperation, we moved further into the cavern and I got out a map. There should be more Wallasakis at sub level 4 or 5. Sub level 6, of course, contained the deadly Dagganoth Kings, so we had to be careful about how we approached the targets.   Exhibit A: A Wallasaki, native to the island. Exhibit B: A Dagganoth, native to goodness knows where.   First were a second series of doors: a bewildering metre-high obstacle blocked our progress. After some research, we realised we needed more help around the door, but another person popped through and quickly unlocked it for us without any prompting whatsoever!   Down that strange metal labber we climbed, down and down, until we reached Dagganoths. Where next? Along and down and along and up and through this tight corridor...to a distinctly smaller, multi combat spawn of 4 wallasakis. We killed them and continued: lootshare worked, although this group wouldn't really help us. I found a fremmenik, killing youngling monsters and asking for more armour and weaponry in return for sharks, an offer I could not take him up on.   J dashed down a ladder and I followed him along. A dead end! We were out of food and almost out of prayer. Lost in the spiralling, twisted depths of the dungeon, I ran back up the ladder to where I could protect myself from the twin ranged and melee attacks of the dagganoths, but J idled slightly too long and was caught in the back by a lizard's throwing spine.   Help me, his spirit cried. Bless my grave! I jumped off the ledge, rushed to his Angel of Death, and prayed to it before succumbing to my wounds.   Panic, as we respawned, was the reigning factor: I grabbed some sharks and armour and headed straight back down. Yet more delay as we went to a friends chat for help (burstinglobs), waited to get the door open, and my grave collapsed. I was stunned, and yet J's was still there, and he ran down only to die again, having only a falador medium shield as his protection against the waves of the undying dagganoth. Having forgotten to bring any prayer potions, I died shortly after as I could only eat sharks just fast enough to cover one combat style and had not brought a teleport. J's stuff was gone, and so was mine.   My last few words? By PM:   "Magic Walruses was a terrible, terrible idea. We are never going to Waterbirth again."   His quiet, PM'ed response:   "Agreed."   ~Helm Lardar~

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

 

Castles.

Congratulations to TeaCupTime on 99 Runecrafting!   I admire you, Tea. Now on to the blog post.   Minecraft. It’s a wonderful game. Castles. They’re wonderful constructs.   I could write a long-winded introduction about the two, but I won’t. What I am going to do is build a castle using the game minecraft.   Building one of these has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. However, several problems always arise: you don’t have enough materials, your world hasn’t got any appropriate places, you struggle to know the right rooms etc to place in.   What’s changed? I deleted world 1 and generated a new world until I hit something I liked (i.e. not a forest and not an island, and not a desert). It’s a bay with mountains behind. Idyllic, but also practical. Believable, and there’s enough space.   I’d like to build my castle realistically, so I found 2 schematics (many thanks to Will Kalif who runs a medieval website) that should help me. One is imaginary, the other is of Harlech castle. I’ll also try to use my own ideas of how castles work. What have I done so far? Well, I’ve found the world and kitted myself up with everything one man would need to build an entire castle by himself: excellent tools, torches, timber, stone…pretty much everything I need at my fingertips, thanks to the excellent tool that is INV-edit. I’m playing on peaceful, since most castles don’t have to fight off waves of creepers, climbing spiders, and zombies each night (I might switch on once I’ve finished more building) and I’m ready to start building.       The first thing I’ve done is worked out a base level for the main courtyard. Because my castle is in a steep valley, I have decided that things such as kitchens and servant living quarters can go in a sort of basement area that I’ll dig out properly. That means I can establish a “ground-level” of stone which I will build important stuff on.   Ground level of stone has been largely built and is one block thick for now. I’m considering hollowing the edges out to make it square, but it’s time for bed right now.   Have you guys seen Notch’s interview on Youtube? It’s a few months old by now, but I discovered that the little cc button on a video gives you subtitles, so I can now understand Mr. Persson’s Swedish! . Notch seems a really nice guy. It’s a shame the community loves to hate on him, call him lazy, and everything else, because all in all he’s done some great things.   What’s next in the castle? I need to hollow out the edges of the courtyard to make it square, add another block layer, and then establish zones where the important buildings will go. After that, I’ll dig out the servant’s quarters, then build a few important things and the harbour, then more important things, then address the issue of where the wall will go, and so on. I’m not suing fancypack because if I ever want to add non-modloader mods I will need to get rid of that. Unless Notch adds good mod support like he did for texture packs, which would be absolutely wonderful! I would really like to see an interface which can let me easily add or remove any mods I choose.     Morning again. I've got the courtyard made properly out of stone now, and built the room for a kitchen below. Then, realising the courtyard is pretty small, and certainly too small for any buildings, I've dug out a large area behind that. Hopefully that will work as a keep.     Hopefully I'll continue blogging about this. Should be a fun project .   ~Cheimon~

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

 

Space Station 13: first impressions of a free game you should ALL check out

I've recently been playing Space Station 13, and I thought I'd post my first impressions. Space Station 13 is a (free) multiplayer online role playing game in which you work with lots of other people to run a Space Station, protecting it from disasters (not very successfully) and making interesting things happen.   It's a bit different from a lot of games. Graphics isn't the focus (as with many good games) and it's presented in a simplistic RPG-maker style. The platform, BYOND, is fairly unheard of, and not that great, but the only possible way to play it. Role playing, as I mentioned earlier, is not optional: it's enforced. Multiplayer means just that: people have to, and are expected, to work together. And the amount of different jobs in the station is fairly staggering: here, have a look at a list. The first 3 of those blocks of jobs are absolutely essential: you'll need at least one of each, and with a few (like security) several. Many of them work best in pairs, and some are distinctly harder than others. You are encouraged to start in the 4th block of non essential civilians before trying other jobs, so that you can be competent when you take up a proper job: because in most jobs, you are expected to be just that. All in all, this gives a very different feel to the game than most: you genuinely take up the role you're given and grasp it with both horns, because to do anything else is to not only let yourself down but to let your fellow space explorers down too.     I should mention that lots of different things can happen: electrical storms, xenomorphs, traitors, revolutionaries, changelings, etc etc, often together.   I've tried 3 seperate careers so far on different shifts (which can last from 30 minutes to 3 hours and end with somebody sending for the emergency shuttle and not recalling it in time). Here are my impressions of each:   Cargo Technician is as lowly a job as you can realistically get. You're part of a big team that takes in orders from a console (or from people at the desk), hauls crates from the warehouse to a shuttle that docks periodically, and takes items from the shuttle to the warehouse, before loading them onto robots that take them to different departments (robotics might be sent a shipment of metal and glass, for example). You also need to check that shipments are accurate: if they aren't, you can send them back for a refund and points (which are also gained by shipping plasma away) These points are used to order more stuff. You report to the quartermaster, and you tend to work closely with the mining department. It's a fun job initially, and easy to pick up, but it gets a bit slow after a while as fewer people have the time to make orders and the ship becomes increasingly self sufficient. A great way to start work, but a bit stale after a while.   Chemist is similairly easy, but nonetheless fun. You're given a chemical dispenser and chemicals packager and work in a small office, making things people might need. Periodically, different staff come by the desk and ask for various solutions which are important in their work. Medicine are frequently requesting complicated stuff, but you'll also get lots of technicians requiring acid, and stuff in between. It's good fun, and initially extremely busy, but if you can't keep up it's easy for people to stop bothering you and for things to become very quiet indeed (or for them to demand entrance to the office and just start making the chems themselves). Overall, it's a step up and it's slightly more fun than cargo tech: you get a deal of entertainment from being at the entrance to the med bay, and people will occasionally ask for medical help and so on.   Roboticist is, I've found, a great deal more fun! You do lots of things in this role: maintain cyborgs, create cyborgs, build mechs, and build bots. Several people always queue up to have their brain removed and put in a man-machine interface, so that they can then be placed into a robot body (which you also queue up to be made). This job revolves between surgery for cyborgs, surgery on humans, building big mechs, and complaining to research and development that they haven't got you your circuit boards yet. I found myself striving to create a ripley (a big mining mech) but always hampered by this problem, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually. The constant brain removal was a little grimdark, but very fun.   Overall, the game is excellent and able to be played by players of almost any skill. It increases in fun as things get more challenging, and there's a lot going for a game in which role playing is enforced and jobs are genuinely specialised. For my taste, most rounds end too early to have as much fun as I'd like and to get as far as possible with the station, so I think banning the escape shuttle (if such a thing were possible) might make it much more entertaining. However, with what it is Space Station 13 makes for a fantastic game: one you should all check out!

Helm Lardar

Helm Lardar

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