Belghast and The Ark

Horribly Sidetracked

eso 2014-02-16 13-11-46-68 Saturday when I wrote my little impressions piece on the Elder Scrolls Online, I managed to get horribly sidetracked in the process of explaining the questing section.  At one point I said “Generally speaking the side quests serve two real purposes” but only actually managed to give you a single purpose.  I managed to get myself on a tangent and forget what I was saying.  So let me take another stab at explaining the questing system.  Generally speaking when you go into an area there is a critical path that you can take to go through it with the least number of quests.  If you want to piddle around and carve your own path this is a good thing.

For example in Stros M’Kai the Daggerfall Covenant starter zone, you are asked to find one of three crew members before continuing on.  You can literally just find one crew member and be just fine, and the game will allow you to continue forward.  However you can find all of the crew members, and each one will do something for you in the final quest before leaving the desert island.  Additionally your choices matter going forward.  If you choose to kill someone, or fail to save someone… they won’t be there later on at a critical time when you could use your assistance.

That is one of the things I like most about the questing system.  It works much like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, in that you get introduced to a character that keeps popping back up in later quests and even later zones.  Failing to save a character, means they will no longer exist in the later stages.  Occasionally the game will force you to make a hard choice, between two sets of NPCs.  When this happens one of those paths will forever be sealed from you.  I you choose to help this person, the other person will either die or be so infuriated that they will never help you again.

Basically your decisions matter, and they matter a lot.  So while it might not seem that the immediate consequences are all that bad, they will have future ramifications.  So while the first purpose of side quests is to get gear, the second purpose is to unlock future story points.  You never know when a person you have helped will show back up and lend assistance later.  Often times this is in the form of making a future quest a little easier as they lend some unique ability to the fight.  However in a few cases this means you may have missed out on a really cool quest chain because the NPC was not there to give it.

Turret Orchestra

portal2 2014-02-16 15-13-06-97 After my little write up yesterday about Portal 2… I got a whole lot of responses that amounted to “no wait, you haven’t even gotten to the good part”.  Then that they apparently couldn’t tell me about the good part without massive spoilers.  Sure enough I managed to play through to the beginning of chapter 5, and the game has changed once again ever so slightly.  Now I think I want to know what is going to happen enough to continue playing.  I have my assumptions of the end result, but who knows they might be completely wrong.  For the most part I have managed to stay blissfully unaware about the ending of the game to this point.

There were a few really annoying levels, but now I am in a part that is more freeform.  The coolest thing I have seen to date is the Turret Orchestra.  While roaming around in this new free form area, I kept hearing this music playing that sounded kind of like a bunch of accordions.  Finally I was able to see what it was, and it was several of the turrets playing in unison.  I have a feeling that I will somehow be freeing the various robots under the control of GlaDOS, or at least that seems like a potential subtheme for the game.

Like I said right now I have no real idea where exactly I am heading apart from following what seems like an obvious path carved out for me.  I am sure at this point I will plan the game to its conclusion, so it managed to get its hooks into me.  While I am not sure if I would call it a truly great game yet, it is enjoyable.  I am sure there is some grand reveal to happen down the road, that will make me shift my opinion again.  However I stand by my original assessment.  Fun game with a cool gimmick.

Belghast and The Ark

It will come as no real surprise to anyone who has ever followed me on the various social media platforms that I use… that I am a pet person.  That said there are probably few people who really know how deep that particular rabbit hole goes.  As it stands right now, neither my wife nor I plan on having children.  My wife swears that teaching high school is the strongest form of birth control known to man.  This is not to say we don’t have children, they just happen to be covered in fur.  I personally have always had a close affinity with pets, and even if it is something I would not want for myself… I seem to be able to befriend animals quickly.  While I would never have a bird, each time I went over to a friends house one of his birds would hop up on my shoulder and stay there until I finally placed him back on his perch.

kitties_sunningCurrently we have three cats, all of which are pictured above sunning themselves in the afternoon light of our stairwell.  On the left is the mammoth monster cat Chloe, in the back is our mostly black Calico Allie, and if you have been reading these factoids you have already met little shit.  Each of them is a rescue, because I believe all animals deserve a second chance at a great home.  Each rescue especially has its own personality, and comes with its own quirks.  These “quirks” can be frustrating at times, but they make up the complex personality of each animal… so even the annoyances you come to love.  Chloe for example obsessively licks anything and everything…  which can be sweet at times until she hops up in bed with you at 3 am and licks your arm.  Seriously there is nothing freakier than waking up to that.  She however is the most amazing snuggler, when you can succeed at the complex game of keeping your arms and hands away from her mouth.

threeheadsinablanket Similarly we also have three ferrets, and they are some of the most adorable animals you could ever have.  Here they are snuggled together under a blanket in their playpen.  At this point I have woken two of them… and moments later they will be bouncing around the cage like mad.  This is the problem with ferret photography… you get one chance to take a shot before they go super sonic.  From the left we have our old man… Smokey that came to us as part of a rescue pair of littermates.  His sibling Bandit passed away some time ago, and he himself is nearing the end of his journey as well… but we are trying to make him as comfortable and happy as we can while we have him.  Next to him is Shiloh, that was a returned to a local pet store and put back up for adoption.  I cannot fathom why anyone would ever return her because she is so adorable, and has a little badger face.  Finally we have miss “Bella” which is short for Bellatrix, the name her original mommy gave her.  She had a much older ferret named Judah that Bela apparently upset regularly, so it was with many tears that she gave her over to us.

Over the years we’ve had lots more animals, including a hamster, a guinea pig, and a pair of sugar gliders.  All of them have been our babies while they have been with us, and we have sought to give them the best home we can.  Often times it is these little guys that are the reason for me getting a slightly later start than normal.  When one is begging for attention… and they are damned good at giving you a guilt trip… how can you possibly say no?  The best at begging has to be Bela.  She will run over to the edge of the playpen and press her body against the ground sticking out her snout in his pouting “poor pittiful me” look.  You would think she NEVER got played with ever.  The moment I reach down into the playpen she will bolt over to me and wait to be picked up.  All she really seems to want is to be picked up and carried around for a bit before finally going back into the playpen and snuggling up for a nap.

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