Second Winds and Diablo

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Desi Wonderfulness

Last night was a bit unusual as far as our Friday nights go.  Generally speaking we come home from work, and I play video games while my wife attempts not to fall asleep… always failing that battle around 9/9:30 ish.  Instead we went out for dinner with some friends, and I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants…  Desi Wok.  I generally refer to it as an “Indian restaurant” but in truth it is a “Desi” restaurant as the name implies, focusing on an amalgam of traditional Indian cuisine mixed with some more Chinese inspired dishes.  My wife got the always tasty Chicken Tikka Masala, and I went with my most recent favorite an ambiguous dish called “Chicken Desi Fried Rice”.  The dish comes out bright red and spicy as hell, pretty much the way I like it.  The problem is it is way more food than you can eat in one sitting so I always end up taking home about half of it.  My wife decided to order a Mango Lassi which she had never actually done from Desi Wok, and in my confusion I wound up getting one for me too…  but no actual other drink.  This meant I consumed a lot of water in my vague attempt to control the spice of my dish.

By the time we finally got home last night I was drained.  We made a stop off at Target, and all the while I was moving around the store at a snails pace.  I literally think my wife would have been dragging me through the store if I had a rope tied onto me.  She kept having to stop periodically and look back at me to see if I was keeping up.  I am guessing it was the beginnings of a tasty food coma.  But in all honesty it could simply be the weight of this week crashing down upon me.  Each and every day there has been some major crisis that I had to deal with.  We had a production database get wiped one day, and another day we were trying to diagnose why a piece of software built in Visual Basic 6 wasn’t working any more.  For starters I had no clue that anything built in VB6 would run on a Windows 7 machine.  Visual Studio 6 was the brand new technology…. when I was in college almost two decades ago.  All the while during each of the issues I acted as the manager and facilitator, which is a bit of a new role for me.  I am not used to being the one directing the action rather than the one with my hands buried deep in the guts of the software trying to sort things out manually.  Putting your faith in someone else to fix things for you, is way the hell more stressful than being under the gun to fix something yourself.

Second Winds and Diablo

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Yesterday was the beginning of the brand new Diablo 3 fourth season, and this time I wanted to get in on the ground floor instead of creating a character a few days from the end.  Earlier in the week I had talked about my plans on what exactly to create for this new seasons and I finally settled on rolling a Femme Barbarian.  I have an absolute love of Sonya in Heroes of the Storm so any attempt to recreate that character seems amazing to me.  However I spent the first half hour or so of gameplay complaining to my friend Grace about her lack of armor.  She was awesome about it and I am sure was just patting me on the head as I complained about something that every woman on the planet has complained about at some point…  the shitty armor options they give female characters in video games.  Yes I realize the male barbarian starts in essentially a furry diaper, but  that changes pretty quickly as you find gear and at this point at level 37 I am still wearing a bra of some sort.  I finally learned to ignore it mostly and got on with the game play.

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Grace had started her traditional Wizard earlier in the night, and was about five levels ahead of me by the time we both managed to get on at the same time.  We proceeded to spend the rest of the night running bounties and rather quickly I was able to catch up in levels.  I am not sure what it is about Diablo right now but it is really hitting the spot.  The only negative being that the Barbarian starts out in a fashion that I don’t really enjoy that much.  The first attack and the first secondary attack… are both not really my thing.  Thankfully you get Cleave pretty quickly, and before the end of the night I finally was able to pick up whirlwind which serves as not only a great group attack but also a decent way of getting out of things since you seem to ignore slowing effects when you are spinning.  My hope is that at some point today we can hook back up and start leveling again.  Other than that I am looking forward to tonight’s AggroChat show because we are finally going to talk about Birb boyfriends and why that game is pure madness.

Playing as Women

Chaos in Motion

ffxiv 2015-06-03 20-46-13-39 Last night I had no real intentions of doing anything serious.  I started off the night on my gaming machine upstairs, but had every plan to eventually filter downstairs to the sofa with my laptop for some more casual gaming while watching television.  For a period of time I was spending my Wednesday nights helping out the second free company static raid, but as they started getting more people interested I became scarce by intention.  I never really wanted to be part of two different raid groups, but was willing to help so long as my presence was really needed.  Last night however they had four absences, so while I did not intend to do anything I stepped in to help out as best I could.  What made last night all the more important is that it was the inaugural raid night of my good friend Wulf, the paladin tank from our World of Warcraft raid.  The only problem being that even with me being pulled in we were still sitting at only five players.

So we shifted around our sights on simply knocking out some early content and opted to queue for Garuda Extreme instead.  It is at this point I realize that while I know how to do these fights…  I suck at explaining them.  Wulf is very much a tank that likes to know all of the information about something before going into the fight.  I on the other hand tend to be very much an “adjust to things on the fly” player, and as a result I only ever have a vague cliffs notes versions of fights in my head.  There are a lot of things I “know” about a fight, but I don’t really “know I know them”.  This makes me the least reliable source of information for someone who craves to make order out of the chaos.  To make matters more tenuous we were pugging in three players on each attempt, and Wulf was being hit by the dreaded instance server lag that sometimes hits me in FFXIV.  All things considered we had a great night and managed to take down Garuda Extreme for him as well as Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn Four.  I am hoping he enjoyed himself at least a little, even though most of the night was pretty much unbridled chaos.

Playing as Women

johanna Over the last few months I have come to a bit of a realization, that apparently my brain works slightly differently than I thought it did.  For years now I have thought that I simply did not like playing female characters in video games.  When I attempted to do so I felt like I just could not get into playing the characters as much as I could the male counter part.  All this time I thought it was simply me favoring a character that was “more like” me personally, much the same way as I tend to create all of my MMO characters as some sort of idealized version of my self.  It turns out I am apparently completely wrong about the motivation behind this.  Granted when it comes to a character like Sheppard in Mass Effect I will always still prefer the one that is more like me.  I’ve come to the realization after a series of tests of this theory…  that I simply have a problem playing female characters with horrible armor and weapon choices.  If you give a female character proper armor and really good weapons then I seem to be perfectly happy bashing things in the face as them.

Zarya Admittedly the trend of placing women in video games in ridiculous outfits has always bothered me on some level, but I had no clue it was my actual impediment for enjoying playing women characters.  The realization of this slowly started creeping in when I found myself really enjoying the newest Tomb Raider awhile back, after never really being able to get into the original during college.  Since I am not really big into narrative game play, I was trying to figure out what made the difference all the sudden… and the only thing I could land upon was “because she is a badass”.  The original one always bothered me because it seemed to focus more on showing off her pointy polygon boobs more than anything else.  Then when I was presented with a character like Zarya, I immediately thought…  “I would  totally play as her, she is a badass” and I had a similar reaction yesterday upon seeing Johanna in Heroes of the Storm.  Give me a woman decked in armor and wielding a badass weapon… and I will happy play as her any day of the week.  Give me a wilting flower in what is essentially a bra and panties… and you can have all of my “NOPE!”.

Finding my Groove

HeroesOfTheStorm_x64 2015-06-03 22-03-50-29 Last night after the raid in Final Fantasy XIV I decide to poke my head into Heroes of the Storm to check out what Johanna looked like in game.  I had intended to do the “try” option to poke around as her for a bit, when Damai asked if I wanted to play for a bit.  Now I have been poking around in this game since alpha, and played a significant amount when the game went into beta and I finally had people to play with.  That said over the last several months I have not played at all, and was completely out of touch with the current state of the various heroes.  Previously my champion had been Muradin because I could build him tanky or I could build him extremely “murdery”.  The problem being that I was just “off” on playing him because it feels like maybe his survival got a whack from the nerfbat.  I was spending more than my fair share of time running back in from the nexus because I kept dying to stupid crap that I would have been able to survive when I played the game last.

HeroesOfTheStorm_x64 2015-06-03 23-26-08-94 Damai mentioned that he wanted to switch to playing support so that he could work on one of his quests… and I had honestly forgotten this was a thing that Heroes of the Storm had.  I had the quests “Play 3 Games as a Warrior” which I was already doing and “Play 3 Games as Diablo Character” so I opted to play some Sonya.  This was a champion that I got through a hero bundle that I purchased, and had never really spent much time playing her.  My god..  I think I have found my champion because upon switching over to her I started having a blast last night.  I went ahead and ponied up for the more armored “Wrath” set look from the store, and it is pretty badass that she is wielding Ashkandi in one hand and Quel’Serrar in the other.  What I like the most about her is that she quite literally uses “Fury” as a mechanic meaning you are not gated by running out of mana, but you are instead gated by having to earn fury through combat just like a World of Warcraft Warrior.  We played a half dozen games or so before I decided to head on to bed.  I could have easily stayed there playing another half dozen more.  The state of the game is extremely fun, and I need to grab Damai and do this more often.  At some point I am absolutely going to have to also pick up the Shatterstar themed skin since I am a sucker for all things New Mutants/X-Force.