Evil and Phones

Diablo III 2016-05-05 22-37-36-15

Society and Cell Phones

This morning I am going to talk about something that I have been kicking around in my head for awhile, but haven’t really been able to shape into a full fledged commentary.  It feels like each week there is some new alarmist piece of media talking about the degradation of society, and placing the blame squarely on the cell phone.  For awhile I have had this working theory, that these articles for the most part are written by extroverts, and I am sure for that group of people the landscape has changed in a very scary way.  I use my cell phone as a cloaking device, and what I mean by that is I am fiddling with my phone in order to create just enough social friction to convince you that it isn’t worth the time to engage in small talk while standing in the elevator next to you.  For years I’ve been frustrated by the fact that apparently standing in the same vicinity as someone is passive consent to be deluged with a bunch of conversation that I have no interest in.  Having my smart phone at the ready has greatly cut down on that unwanted interaction, because they see that I am engaged… or at least LOOK like I am engaged.  It is the same cloaking device mentality that I apply at work by wearing headphones every single moment I am sitting at my desk.  I may not actually be listening to anything, and honestly often times am not.  However the act of wearing the headphones stops a lot of “drive by” conversation.

More so than that I feel like access to the internet and social media allows me to engage people safely.  I’ve had to learn how to be “normal” but face to face conversation with someone I am not extremely familiar with is a massive anxiety ridden trap.  While talking I am actively trying to be normal, running through a checklist of things and constantly aware of how much or how little eye contact I am making.  When I am hanging out with someone I am familiar with most of this goes away, and I can just let my guard down.  The thing is…  non face to face communication lowers all of these barriers for me.  I can be a social butterfly in a text only interaction.  When I first stepped foot onto IRC back in 1994, it greatly broadened my horizons and introduced me to a world of new people and new places to learn about.  So for me, as an introvert… it allows me a certain measure of extrovertedness because it hacks my brain into thinking it is perfectly okay.  However for the Extroverts out there… I have a feeling that this does in fact seem like an epidemic.  They no longer have all these passive participants that they can forcibly engage in dialog, and instead have to seek out other Extroverts who are equally hungry for that interaction.  What I think is happening is that finally introverts are getting a vehicle where they can express themselves more comfortably.  I might be wrong, but this is my working theory.

Return of Thorns

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The last couple of days has seen me completing my Invoker set for my Crusader, and gathering up most of the items needed for the build I have been working towards.  I am just not a fan of the Akkhan’s set and I lacked a handful of the pieces really needed to make it a viable option.  A big part of the Season are the Seasonal rewards, and the last major bottleneck for me was the set dungeon for Akkhan.  In spite of having tried it numerous times I simply could not stay alive long enough to complete it.  However with the Invoker set I was able to muscle through that dungeon and come damned near close to getting “mastery” on my first attempt.  The thorns set just feels better to me and as such I have been testing the limits to which I can push it.  I am still missing a handful of items, but last night I managed to solo a level 50 Greater Rift without much issue.  Earlier in the evening my friend Grace and I who are similarly geared… managed to complete a Greater Rift 60 together.  In theory I could probably do the 60 right now solo, but even as a duo there were some pretty sweaty moments.  The big problem for me are still a handful of mob types that can straight up one shot me, or come damned close to it.  I think that is the sort of thing that only improves with slightly better gear and more paragon levels.

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I am still in a constant search for the goblin that drops pets.  Some of my friends have found one but so far neither myself nor grace has seen one.  Last night we burned through two of the rings that summon the goblin realm thinking that there are three to four goblins in there.  However we still had zero luck, but I did fine a cute easter egg.  Notice the name of the boss I am fighting in the above image.  Essentially right now I need to spend a significant amount of time running Torment X bounties with the hopes of getting the rest of my gem patterns to drop.  I think that would go a long ways into improving my overall survival and output, by upgrading to the highest tier of gems available.  I am also still in search of the best in slot main hand, and I need to get a shield to throw in the cube.  For optimum performance I also need to get another Aquilla chest, because right now I have those reversed with the Aquilla in the cube and the Heart of Iron on my person… when it really should be in the cube.  In any case I am just happy that I am functional at Torment X and above.  Now begins the long wait to get just the right items to drop when I need them.  I also need to start working on the various conquests if I hope to get the extra bank slot for this season.  This honestly is a point of frustration for me…  I hate that you can ONLY get the slots through conquests.  I think that they should sell the extra stash tabs, but also allow players to do the conquest to get one as well.  That means if you are doing conquests you are getting the new cap twice as fast.

Crusaders and Guardians

Diablo III 2016-05-01 11-14-05-01

Season Six

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While I greatly enjoy the concept of the Developer Appreciation Week… I am always somewhat happen when it is over.  During the week I feel like I have to be making posts along that them, so when things happen that I want to talk about…  I end up pushing them down until the week is ultimately over.  Now as I sit here for the first unfettered post in awhile…  I am finding it super hard getting started.  The biggest happening of this weekend is that Friday evening at 7pm my time the newest Diablo 3 season began.  For season six I opted to roll a Female Crusader, because I had so much fun playing as one last season.  I have this general goal of getting a male and female of each class eventually, but that also means that someday I will have to finish playing that mage and attempt to play a witch doctor.  The only problem I am running into is that it feels like what made the crusader so amazing last go round… was the fact that the Invoker set was just phenomenal.  Now that I have my six piece Akkhan set, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as powerful as I did last season.  In fact while the set dungeon was a breeze for me last go around, this one is only causing chain wipes.  Granted I am not nearly as geared as I was at this point last year, in part because I am not getting drug by Carthuun.

When the season started we ended up with six people on the guild discord, and as a result we split into two three player teams.  Ultimately ending up with me and Grace playing together, with Solaria and Kodra joining up for short periods of time.  Towards the end of the evening Kylana was with us as well as the other three player team ultimately disolved with Ashgar got pulled away for work, and Callalil went to bed.  I myself only lasted through level 60, because that was ultimately the point at which I was starting to fall asleep at the keyboard.  So I went to bed around 11pm and the rest of the group pushed onward.  Yesterday morning Grace and I ended up playing together, and she helped me get the rest of the way to 70, and unlock my gear set.  She was sitting over 100 paragon levels, which means that more than likely Carth is sitting around 300ish.  At some point I will join in his Torment X shenanigans because I really need some gear.  All in all it was a great start of the new season, and at some point I will sort out my spec and with gear should be able to solo more stuff.  Right now the challenge is finding thorns on gear, and I have ended up burning through all of my materials trying to enchant away useless stats and turn them into thorns.

Banana Split

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Another awesome happening this weekend is that yesterday while waiting on folks to show up for the AggroChat game of the month show, I managed to push my Hunter to rank 5.  This is the first month that I managed to get to characters to rank 5, and I’ve since started working on getting the warlock there as well.  My hope is that after I finish knocking out this blog post I will head upstairs and work on that.  Iron Banner has been really damned good to me, letting me amass a lot of gear and weapons that will ultimately either get used as is or serve as infusion fodder.  In theory I should probably be doing matches on my Titan with the hopes of getting more 335 items, but it feels good actually working on my other characters.  After playing the hunter I can absolutely see why they do so damned well in the crucible.  Throwing knives are amazing, and I had so much fun yesterday finishing off people with them.  I still feel like golden gun however is the least exciting of the supers, but I am getting used to using it to optimal efficiency.  There was one point where I managed to get three kills in a row with it and earned the way of the gun trophy.

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Over the course of the week I have picked up so much gear, with the latest acquisition being a 335 Tormod’s Bellows.  The only challenge here is that I am not sure if I will keep it or infuse it into one of my heavy weapons.  I could really use a 335 sword… just saying.  The funny thing is… I got the 335 drop on my absolute lowest level character while working on the Warlock yesterday.  So I am wondering if maybe the buff in faction that you get for pushing up additional characters does something as well to the chances of getting max light drops as well?  In any case another Iron Banner has come and almost gone, and I have loved every minute of it.  I finally sorted out why I like PVP in Destiny and never have in other games.  There is something about getting real loot at the end of matches, as opposed to a currency in lieu of loot that can maybe someday add up to be enough to get something interesting.  I love random chance, and I love being rewarded with interesting stuff.  More so than that… I love getting not quite perfect items… and then trying to figure out how to use them to my advantage.

Please Mind Spoilers

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Spoiler Town

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Last night was the second half premiere of Season 6 of the Walking Dead, and man….  was it a roller coaster.  I am not however going to talk much about the show, because I don’t want to give anything away for those who have yet to see it.  This seems like a sensible position, and it also tends to color my reactions on twitter…  because just like Star Wars Episode VII I didn’t want to be the one to rob the magic of the moment from anyone.  With a big show like this, there is always talk on Twitter about the inconsiderate nature of some, who start emoting about specific events on a show or a game immediately.  For me personally…  spoilers don’t mean that much and if I was going to watch a show or play a game in the first place…  I am still going to play said game/show even if I know the entire plot.  However I realize most people are not like this.  There are a lot of folks who love the thrill of not knowing if our team of stalwart heroes will survive the episode, or if they really can get out of this jam.  For the sake of the people who are not me, I’ve learned over the years how to share my excitement over something… and emote freely…  without actually giving much detail away.  So this largely involves focusing on my feelings, or the overall experience and not necessarily plot details.  Once I got used to it, I honestly find it a much more enjoyable way to share my experiences.

The above tweet is an example of something I said last night while watching the show.  It helped me to get the jitters out that were building up inside of me, but at the same time…  gave away nothing.  What Walking Dead episode doesn’t have a bunch of ups and downs… and while everyone who was also watching knew exactly what I was talking about…  it didn’t do anything to spoil the folks who get the show two full hours behind.  This isn’t just Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, or whatever else happens to be the hot “It” property.  I would love to see this same logic applied to almost anything.  Games like Final Fantasy XIV, Elder Scrolls Online, and The Secret World all have deep story content… that involves the same sort of ups and downs and plot twists you might expect from a novel.  In the guilds I have been responsible for, I have always tried to stress keeping guild chat as a spoiler free place so nobody had to accidentally log in and get all of that build up spoiled.  Some however are always careless, and while you can scold someone….  once the spoiler is in an open channel it is impossible to remove.  Mostly what I am asking for is for folks to be more considerate about the shared space we have be it Twitter or the chat channels in games themselves.  It is lovely that you don’t mind spoilers…. because largely I am in the same camp as you…  but be thoughtful of the folks who really do.  Is your few minutes of excitement really worth ruining someone else’s entire experience?

RWBY Season 3

 

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Another event from yesterday that could have been spoilerific… was the public release of the final episode of RWBY Season 3.  There is so much amazing stuff happening in this show right now… and a lot of stuff that also makes me super sad inside.  For similar reasons to Walking Dead, I am not going to go into a bunch of detail since I know folks are still catching up.  Over the last few weeks I have gone through this interesting evolution of not actually knowing what RWBY was really, to getting interested…  to binge watching my way through the entire series run to this point.  This means that I actually got to watch the last three episodes with the rest of the world as they were publicly released around noon on Sunday.  Now for sponsors they get access to the show on Saturday, and I honestly expect that come next season I will be counting myself among this number.  It isn’t often that I find something that I literally want to tell people to stop everything they are doing and “watch this thing now”, but with RWBY it definitely falls into that category.  There is just so much to love here, that it is going to be hard to cram it into a blog post.  Basically RWBY takes all of the parts of Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Naruto that I truly love…. and gets rid of all of the parts that annoy the fuck out of me. On top of that… it is populated with tons of awesome women characters….  who are not simply there for gratuitous eye candy.

There are a lot of aspects of Anime that are just lost on me, mostly because I don’t understand the Japanese Cultural references… or at least not all of them.  I’ve called RWBY an American Anime… but in truth it is more than that… it is a global internet Anime because in truth… the references and reactions that it draws upon could be understood by pretty much ANYONE using the internet and social media.  The most impressive thing about this show is how watching it compressed like this… has made me realize just how damned impressive the improvement from season to season has been.  The first season… while really good… was cludgy as hell, and it quite literally felt like they were using poser to do this (which they were).  From that point on however… they started to master the tools and by season 2 it was already feeling more like traditional animation.  Season 3 however skyrocketed that quality bar, and I would pretty much put the show up against anything in the air.  I really look forward to seeing just how much improved Season 4, because they are teetering on that edge of what traditional animation can provide…. but with motion capture and 2D rendering.  If you are already indoctrinated into RWBY, we need to talk… because so much shit is going on.  If you are not however… I highly suggest you catch up… this playlist has through S3 E6 but it is the best playlist I was able to find on YouTube.  Once you are hooked then it is time to go to the actual source and the Rooster Teeth RWBY page.  Most of the episodes are 12-16 minutes long, and it is well worth your time even if you squeeze them in between other activities.