Good morning you happy people… I am being forcibly cheery because my body doesn’t seem to want to fully function this morning and I am falling back on the whole “fake it until you make it” methodology. May is a horrible time for me for so many reasons. Firstly the world seems to come alive and fill the air full of pollen and seed pods and all the wonderful things that make life happen. As a result my body tries to kill me as my allergies come into full swing. Additionally with our constant regiment of walking… you would think that at some point I would stop being sore, however that doesn’t seem to be the case. I hit 10,000 steps again yesterday and this morning it feels like every inch of my body hurts. Being fat sucks, but at least I am a much healthier fat that I used to be.
One of the other huge negatives about May is the fact that it is also when the end of the school year happens. Any spouses of educators will agree with me that the two worst times of the year to be their spouse… is the beginning and end of the school year. My wife no matter how much I love her… has been an spastic little monkey in a frantic rush to finish all the things that have to be finished. As a result she is prone to fits of irrationality at 10 pm at night when things are not going like she wants them to, and not much help in taking care of the household chores. Also as a result, I’ve kind of said screw it myself… and our house is a pit right now. So today will be devoted to the cleaning of all the things and trying to get more domicile into a more livable state. Mostly it has been my inner sanctum that has been bothering me… I have been stepping over Amazon boxes for weeks that need to be broken down and taken to the recycling bin. We are considering joining in with a neighbor in a few weeks for a garage sale so some consideration needs to be made about what to actually sell.
Farewell to Coldharbor
Last night my wife was working late yet again, which has been a regular occurrence for most of the month on Friday nights. She had intended to get home earlyish and we had planned to go for our nightly walk and then walk over to Taco Bueno on the way home. At some point during the evening she messaged me saying that she would be working late and to go ahead and eat without her, but at that point I was so heavily into the storyline of Coldharbor that I figured I would just wait. I’ve been Veteran Rank 1 for most of a week now, and have simply not spent enough time in game to push through the main storyline in Cold Harbor which supposedly unlocked access to moving into the Aldmeri Dominion content. Last night I did just that, by finishing not only the end of the main Cold Harbor story but also finishing up the level 50 harborage quest that gets unlocked immediately after that.
I have to say the “end of the game” is equal parts beautiful and epic, and I am trying really hard not to give any unintentional spoilers for those who have not arrived there yet. I figure Coldharbor screenshots all look blue and brutal, so I am trying to pick ones that don’t exactly give away major plot points. There are some interesting choices that happen as you play through the zone, and the game seems to revel in making you choose between bad options. There is a point where you have to pick between a rogues gallery of formerly vanquished enemies, and I am guessing your options are limited if you did not actually finish the quests in the zones they are involved with. I feel like I made the right choice… but you never really know. I still was dealing with a bad bad person, but overall it did not come back to bite me in the butt like I thought it might.
While I have finished the story, I will still be spending quite a bit more time in Coldharbor as I finish the parts of it I skipped while rushing through the storyline. After a point you get tired of everything being blue, purple and grey. I needed to have the ability to move on, especially since I wasn’t really seeing much veteran experience before the Craglorn patch. It seems as though they shifted things around so you could get veteran experience in Coldharbor. I have technically been to Craglorn, but only long enough to zone in and get the wayshrine. I saw mostly Veteran Rank 10 players there, so I figure I have a very long time to go before I am adequate to kill much of anything there. At this point I have a purple VR1 sword and shield, and a full VR1 blue set of armor, so I am doing okay in the Aldmeri Dominion content. Though even with all of that, getting jumped by too many mobs at once becomes a fight for my life in a way that never happened in Coldharbor. I approve of the ratcheting up of difficulty, and it should be fun experiencing the Aldmeri content.
This weekend I accomplished very little of what I had planned, but I did log into a nice surprise over in Elder Scrolls Online this morning. One of the cooler things about crafting are the tradeskill apprentices… I am using the EQ2 term, because quite frankly I can’t remember the in game name for them in ESO. Once a day they send you a care package of goodies along with a great note about what they had to go through to obtain it. The notes alone are worth the skill points, because some of them are absolutely hilarious. When I opened my care package this morning I noticed that I got a Tempering Alloy, which is the metal temper used to take a purple item to a orange quality one or a legendary. This is still one of the best aspects of the game, the ability to upgrade an item to whatever tier you might want.
Granted this is my first legendary temper, and I am sure it probably takes six or so to get 100% chance of upgrade, but I will squirrel this one away until I manage to get more. I had grand plans of dinging 50 and completing Coldharbor, and while I made progress on both fronts… it simply did not happen this weekend. I blame Ashgar for distracting me with his Final Fantasy 5 draft idea. I would love to say I will ding tonight, because I am maybe 1/5th of a level away from 50. I have a few rather epic quests that I am currently on that I want to see the completion of. Mostly right now I am suffering from too many things I want to play, and too little time to play them. I might have to start bringing my laptop to work and getting in some playtime over lunch again.
Yesterday was somewhat fragmented, in that we had to attend a wedding that evening. I have to say it is one of the more interesting weddings I have been to. The pair are both former students of my wife, and the mother of the bride is another teacher. I knew absolutely no one there, so the entire occasion felt extremely awkward. However it was made significantly less awkward for me when the bride started walking down the isle to a full orchestral version of the Legend of Zelda Fairy Fountain theme. So obviously at least one of the pair was a serious gamer, and in theory they both were, but it made a fairly nice processional theme. At the end of the wedding they queued up the Imperial March, so I feel like I could get along really well with the pair.
One thing that I did accomplish this weekend was to play through the rest of the Crimson Isle campaign in Wildstar. My hope was to play the engineer enough to determine if this was a class I could get into, and as the gameplay progressed I enjoyed it more than the Warrior. I know without a doubt that I enjoy the Chua far more than I did the Cassian so in theory I guess I have my race and class. I am still not terribly sold on the game, but it is starting to grow on me. Surprising enough I found that I really enjoyed the explorer path. Normally I am not one for jumping puzzles but these felt okay to me. I am sure late in the game they will be as insane as some of the things I did to get SWTOR Holocrons, but even though those were painful… I enjoyed doing them. They gave me something to look forward to in every zone, so I am hoping the explorer path will do the same thing for me here.
Soldier path seems an absolute natural fit for me, but all of the “holdouts” felt extremely forced in that it did not feel like there was a lore reason for starting a ruckus at a specific location. Whereas with the explorer path in Crimson Isle you are helping the Chua scientists place monitoring stations high on the rock cliffs, and this felt cool to me. So far the thing I dig about the Engineer is that it is very much a “kill them all” class as well. You can circle strafe around gathering mobs up and shotgun blasting them down with impunity, or at least that is what it feels like right now. I am sure as the gameplay moves on, there are far more consequences to this gameplay style but I can see it might be fun to tank an instance this way.
Yesterday I officially progressed through the roughest part of the game for starting as White Mage. How I did it… is that I basically ground out enough levels to make it easier on myself. Getting to the Water Crystal was a challenge but when I did, the entire game got that much easier. Now I have a party full of Mystic Knights, which while not the best thing in the game are certainly far more offensive than the White Mage. Mystic Knight is a class I have never played in previous plays through the game, and I am kinda digging the way spellblade works so far. It gives me access to elemental attacks, without having to have a true spellcaster. Supposedly the Rapid Fire combo with Spellblade is a super powerful way of delivering elemental attacks later in the game.
I streamed for quite a bit yesterday afternoon as I pushed through the water temple sequence and gained the Mystic Knight. Last night I did not stream since I was mostly hanging out on the couch watching my sequence of Sunday night television shows. I found that watching tv is the ideal time to grind out levels, and that is why I am level 19 currently and have just now finished the fire crystal / karnak castle sequence. I think I did mostly okay in Karnak Castle and got all of the big name items, that I may or may not need later. The only thing I missed was the Main Guache, but since I have no use for daggers with my fixed party comp, I did not worry about that too much. I did pick up Esuna, Ribbon and Elven Mantle so should be fine moving forward. At this point I will have to consult a guide because I cannot remember for the life of me what comes next. I know that I do not get my ranger job until a bit later, so that is really what I need to do next.
I find myself enjoying ArcheAge far more than I had really expected to. I have not really even gotten to the “open world” aspect of the game, but I find the questing and combat systems really enjoyable. At some point I managed to pick up the animal to the side of me that is some sort of a fox-wolf-thingy. I am not sure if it was from a quest or if I looted it from a mob, but in any case I have a pet now. My friend Errn informed me that this is my battle pet, but I had reasoned that much by noticing that it was fighting for other players. Thing is… when I got it, it was already like level 30. This means the thing probably kicks more ass than I do to be honest. One of the weird things about the game is that you can either have a mount or a pet out, but not both.
As a result I tend to run around with my battle pet out, and then use the glider poorly to manage to get around quickly. I really have no clue what I am doing when it comes to the glider. No matter how I try and control the thing, it seems like I am just falling through the air gracefully. I’ve watched various streamers be able to control where they want it to go, and I am completely in awe of their skill. Right now the closest I can get is to hover over the area I want to go and then fold up the glider by hitting R, causing me to plummet through the air. Obviously this works grand if you are close to the ground, but not so much when you have leapt off of a huge cliff with it. In the later case, I end up cursing the screen as I seem to flail around in midair on the glider.
I feel bad that I have almost entirely ignored anything going on with any of the quests. Since all of the cinematic are in Korean still I just end up skipping thing, which has lead me to feel like the quest dialog itself is completely meaningless as well. So I have zero clue what is going on in the world other than I am helping a series of villages defend against all sorts of things, and I am perfectly fine with that. The more killing I get to do in the course of the leveling the better, and right now I am really enjoying the “Over Achieve” and “Hidden Quest” options gained by going on a murderous rampage. While I seem to be swapping out gear pretty frequently, it doesn’t really feel like I am progressing my character along that easily. I’ve yet to figure out the rhyme or reason behind getting skill points, but I could really use a lot more of them.
Firstly I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression from this title. I love Themepark MMOs, for what they give me… a carefully curated trip through an interesting world. I find that I enjoy both Sandbox and Themepark MMOs equally, at least generally speaking. However there is just something about Wildstar that maybe takes it a step too far. While playing this game, I literally feel like I am at Six Flags with so many things fighting desperately for my attention. When I walk into an area that I just explored and hear the “Challenge!” sounder it reminds me too much of a midway barker trying to get my attention. I’ve compared the visuals of the game to the Vegas Strip before, but really it reminds me a lot more of an actual real world Themepark. Everything is bright and polished to a shine, with every single inch of space covered with something designed to get my eye to look there. The above screenshot is of one of the rare sparse moments, and when the game is like this… I actually enjoy it. However I had to wait for a few minutes to take this shot for various mobs and players to move out of the way.
I am basically in the same place I have been for a couple of months. I recorded the above video on March 13th and I have had zero forward momentum since then. I’ve gotten on each beta weekend so far to play for a bit, but just found the overall experience lacking. There is a lot about the game that I think I would like, but something just doesn’t sit right with me each time I sit down to play it. The last game I felt this conflicted about was Guild Wars 2, and the end result of that experience is a game that even though I have free access to play it… I never have any desire to do so. With Wildstar I put in my pre-order in part to lock in my goodies for if I ever decided that I DID want to play it. Each day I consider cancelling it, because I am just not “feeling” this title. It isn’t the setting or the races or the goofy character models, but something more deeply set into the game itself. The funny thing is, I have been back playing Star Wars: The Old Republic and enjoying the hell out of it… but Wildstar that is a very similar experience just feels really odd to me. Time will tell if I shun the internet zeitgeist and sit out of this one.
Blue Water Land
I am still working my way through Coldharbor in Elder Scrolls Online, and last night I hit 48. The quests out here feel more epic than the ones leading up to them, in part because everything in Coldharbor seems to be absolutely dripping in lore. One of my joys in any Elder Scrolls title has been killing the various Daedra, and here I have an entire zone full of almost nothing but them. What is interesting is finding all of the inhabitants of the zone that have been tricked into the service of Molag Bal in one fashion or another. Last night I had a really cool moment where I helped out some Argonians and their Hist tree, and another where I gained the trust of a feral pack of Bosmer. This section of the game feels very much like Mass Effect 3, where I am wandering around this zone building an army to fight the daedric prince.
I am trying to decide if I am going to hold out with my level 44 gear until I ding 50. I have a really good daedric shield that just dropped, as well as my prismatic weapon that I am unlikely to replace until I leave cold harbor. Wondering if I can limp along until 50 and then craft an entire set of nice gear then. As of the close of the night I managed to make it roughly halfway to 49, and I still have large swaths of Coldharbor that have been completely unexplored. Still very much loving the experience of the game, but I am definitely finding that I need breaks from playing it. The gameplay towards the end of the game gets really intense, and if I am not feeling 100% I end up taking a lot of un-needed deaths. As a result I have been perforating my long play sessions with trips into ArcheAge, SWTOR and now a little bit of Wildstar. So far I really seem to be enjoying this mix.
I just thought I would start the post off with a picture of two ducks. These are the ducks that we encounter quite often on our evening stroll around the neighborhood. I guess they have decided that we are not really a threat, because shortly after snapping this photo the male duck decided to come up close enough to almost touch. Granted he might have just been putting some distance between me and his mate, but I would like to think we are a recognized thing by now. Now that you’ve had a lovely vignette, let me tell you about my day. My nephew graduated from college today, and being the loving family we are… we attended. This was an experience in both vertigo and insanely uncomfortable seating. For starters the basketball stadium it was held in had some of the steepest seating I had ever experienced. When they asked us to stand for the singing of the national anthem… I literally felt like I was going to topple over the “cliff” and down into the stands below me.
All in all it wasn’t really a bad day, but it was most definitely a tiring one. I did however manage to top 10,000 steps on the fitbit, instead of my usual 8,000 to 9,000. This was in part because we parked four blocks away from the stadium and walked it rather than fighting for parking. The whole side effect of today and what will inevitably happen tomorrow is that I simply do not have the “oomph” to stay up late enough tonight to do a Steampowered Sunday. In fact as early as we are going in the morning to see my mother, I won’t really have a chance to write a blog post in the morning either. As a result I am writing this one Saturday night, and will publish it in the morning. I hate when I have to “cheat” like this, but it is far better to do that than to miss posting something at all.
Podcast That Almost Wasn’t
This morning I talked about the little family of robins, that had nested in the white rock. When I came home tonight there were two chicks poking their heads out of the nest until I got close enough to investigate. They instinctively ducked down to try and remain hidden but I was able to get my phone up enough to snap the photo on the side. I feel like each of these photos is somehow softening the blow of what I am about to say. This week you damned near did not get a podcast. Admittedly this is one part miscommunication and one part poor planning on my side. It was Friday during the day when I realized that I would not be home in time to record the podcast. Originally for some reason my wife and I thought my nephews graduation was early in the day. However upon further investigation Friday, we realized that it was at 4 pm in the afternoon. That meant in a best case scenario figuring 2 hours for the graduation, an hour for anything after the graduation, and another 2 hours drive to get back home… this put me being back around 9 pm, and hour after we normally record.
To make things more interesting it seemed as thought both Ashgar and Kodra were not able to record at all this weekend. Ashgar had a similar situation to me and when I spoke with him Friday it was from an airport as he was flying home for his sisters graduation. Kodra on the other hand, I am not really sure what was going on, but he was neither available Friday or Saturday evenings. He would potentially be available very late on Sunday, but that didn’t really give me much time to get things posted, since I normally post our new episodes Sunday. After some scrambling, it seemed as though Tam was also not available. As the day went on Rae and I discussed whether or not we even wanted to record with two people down. I was of the opinion that we would just take the week off, but I guess Rae was really gung ho about going forward. She thought in a worse case scenario it would just be the two of us and we would do a relatively short podcast.
Doctor Hannah to the Rescue
While my wife and I were walking Friday night, Rae was able to get ahold of a good friend of ours Dallian and he was able to fill in for us. I had long thought that Dal might be a really good fit for the show, and him being able to do it on such short notice was almost serendipitous. So we almost did not record the show, but in truth it ended up being one of the more enjoyable ones to make. We talk about a number of gaming topics from Wildstar, to ArcheAge and the obligatory Elder Scrolls Online discussion. We also dip our toes into the world of comic books and Magic: The Gathering and Dallian tells us the riveting tale of how he created the @Doctor_Hannah twitter account. Hopefully the amount of fun we had recording this one translates to our listeners.
Hopefully next week things will be at least partially back to normal. We should have Ashgar and Kodra back, but I believe Rae may not be available. Dallian is coming into town to visit us, and either we will have both Rae and Dallian or neither of them. In any case next week should be interesting as well. At this point I am going to close off this post and crash, as I need to get up super early to make my Mothers Day visitations. I want to wish all the Mother’s out there a very happy day, and I will see you all Monday morning for another early morning post.
As a rule my two favorite times of the year as Spring and Fall, in part because I love how alive the world is during these times of transition. This morning I got up, threw on some clothes and a beanie to disguise my cowlick and get breakfast. On the way back I stopped in the drive way for a bit as I listened to something on NPR wind down. I noticed out in the lawn there were a couple of bunnies and two robin parents out foraging. Our house has an external shell of rock that has been painted white over the years. This leaves huge shelves and little nooks, and apparently this year a pair or robin parents have decided to nest there. Were a proper home owner… I would probably be concerned about this, but for me… I think it is pretty awesome. Robins have always been one of my favorite birds, so the fact that I get to see them on a daily basis makes me happy.
I’ve noticed they have a little chick beak sticking up from the nest so it is going to be awesome to watch the little guy pop out at some point. For having lived around birds all my life… I really don’t know much about them. I am just happy to start seeing songbirds again in the neighborhood. There was a time where I tried to put up a feeder in the backyard and no one seem to notice it. Maybe I will make another attempt at that, because I’ve noticed a little cardinal poking around the bush on the other side of the house. I am also sure someone in the neighborhood is probably cursing our bunnies, but seeing them scamper about the yard makes me happy. I just fear what is going to happen when we open our pool. There was one long hot summer that I had to fish a half dozen of them out of the pool… because they kept trying to get a drink and falling in. Hopefully that won’t be the case this summer.
So first off I want to preface this with that I really did enjoy playing ArcheAge and if I get time this weekend I will completely play some more of it. However last night logging into Elder Scrolls Online after playing quite a bit of SWTOR and ArcheAge, felt like coming home. Everything felt so comfy as I moved around the world. It is funny how in such a short period of time I have gotten used to the way that world feels and controls, and I guess have come to prefer it. The world just feels right to me, and I guess that is a good sign. I know for a lot of my friends the non-traditionally MMO control scheme was a deal breaker. They were looking for something they could control with WASD, Mouselook and the traditional hotbar combat. However as a long time FPS and Elder Scrolls player it was more a shift in mindset than anything else. I was so used to MMOs controlling a certain way, that I just had to shift the abilities that I picked up from other single player games and adapt them to the multiplayer space.
There are so many reasons why people wanted ESO to control differently. Some people mentioned that it was impossible to play the game while holding a child, or doing this or that… and that is totally correct. The reason why I had been playing SWTOR and ArcheAge is that they didn’t require the precision and focus that ESO did. Over the course of this last week my allergies have been horrible, and as a result I have come home after work completely drained and “out of it”. I knew if I booted up ESO, I would die often and die horribly. I love everything about the game, but there are times it just takes too many of my already limited mental resources. My fear was that after being away for awhile that I would get back into the traditional MMO control scheme… and the game would feel odd to me. Thankfully however everything about it still felt right.
The last time I played I accidentally followed a quest chain into Coldharbor, so at the beginning of the evening I worked through my backlog of items to deconstruct and then set off for Bangkorai again. I wanted to at the very least finish out collecting the Skyshards and getting zone exploration achievement. At the best I had hoped to make everything black on my map turn white showing that I can completed it. There were still a few issues with some of the world bosses however, so I realized early on that I would not be getting close to 100%ing the zone last night. What I did however do is explore every nook and cranny and find a number of really slick things. The picture in the section above is from this little hidden area that turned out to be a crafting shrine. You have to push through this disguised tunnel in a rock wall, and along a little river, past a waterfall and over a rickety rope bridge…. and then finally you are at the crafting shrine. The whole experience felt very “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to me.
The above image is from some Dwemer ruins that I stumbled into. It ended up that this was the public dungeon for Bangkorai and as I was seven levels over the content… I was able to solo most of it. That said it was still really damned challenging, and for the boss battles especially I had to hang back and wait for another player to get to the same area I was. Thankfully the dungeon is still very well trodden and I was able to complete both of the quests inside. Awesome thing about this dungeon is that at the end of the quest chain, you get awarded a really awesome Dwemer spider cosmetic pet. So if you were wondering where those come from… it is the public dungeon in Bangkorai (and I am sure the other equivalent factions). I managed to collect all of the skyshards and got my achievement for exploring the zone, so I can be happy enough with moving on. At some point I will pop back into the zone when the bugs have been worked out and complete the last few dots.
You can watch the entire adventure in the video above. Shockingly this is the 31st video I have recorded on twitch/youtube for The Elder Scrolls Online. While I would never suggest watching all of them… you can literally see most of my leveling process on the Dragonknight. Having MOSTLY finished Bangkorai I feel okay about moving on into Coldharbor. At this point I am about halfway into 47, so I feel like the journey to 50 is going to go extremely quickly in the higher level content. So far the quests I have done in Cold Harbor seem to be significantly more involved than the ones from the previous zones. Everything about the zone feels epic, as I lead this fight against Molag Bal and his forces. I am going to be really thankful that I have my faction up with the Fighters Guild I feel, because everything I see… is a Daedra. Additionally I am super happy I have my prismatic weapon… that does insane amounts of damage to Daedra and Undead.
This morning I am struggling to get my act together and actually start writing. Why you might ask? Well I have been sitting here dwelling on just how much crap has to get done this month. My wife is a school teacher, which means there are two absolutely hellacious times of the year for their spouses… the beginning and the end. Right now I am trying to make myself available for whatever she might need to be done, which means I am going to miss a lot of regularly scheduled playtime. Additionally we have several landmines in our schedule throughout the month as we are expected to attend various weddings, graduation events, and mothers day all lumped into the mix.
This weekend for example I really deeply need to crash hard in a vegetative state on the sofa. However instead we are going to run all over half of the state as we attend a big graduation event on Saturday, and then attempt to juggle our Mothers Sunday… making sure no one feels slighted in the process. Thankfully I already have my Mother taken care of gift wise, but at some point soon… likely tonight we need to go shopping and figure out what to do for my wife’s two mothers. I expect to end up a rather grumpy man by the time everything is said and done. Right now I am just hoping that I am back Saturday night in time to record the podcast.
Take on the Trinity
Yesterday I spent some time chatting with Syl and among the many topics was scattered in a brief discussion about roles in MMOs and more specifically the trinity. I have long been a defender of the trinity, but even I fully admit that it is deeply flawed in a few ways. The problem is that the game that try to completely remove it… end up with a chaotic mess when it comes to group based combat. Games like Elder Scrolls Online have tried to blur the lines a bit, but it still very much requires a handful of things to get through a dungeon successfully. We have not really landed on an ideal solution to replace the trinity with something else. The moment you replace it however… you more than likely end up with a new kind of trinity.
Somewhere in this conversation I had an idea. In a game like the Elder Scrolls Online you meet along the way a cast of really interesting and varied characters. What if you collected these a sort of unofficial followers within your sphere of influence. Games like SWTOR do this sort of things, but very much in a subservient “pet like” manner. What would happen if you could call upon them for assistance, but instead of them following you around in a zone… you assumed control of them. The idea is that basically you would be able to become any of these characters temporarily, assuming their abilities and hot bars and by extension the role each of them fills. Where I am getting at is if the party needs a tank, you just rummage through your NPC contacts and summon the spirit of the one that is a tank.
In Everquest 2 they have a very similar system to this, but it was put in place specifically for the dungeon maker system. It allowed you to collect a series of avatars by adventuring out in the world and then run player created dungeons as these characters. This would take this same concept but apply it to every place you might need a specific kind of character. The idea is that each of the avatars would be a balanced but not quite optimized version of that role. Essentially just “good enough” to get by with, but nowhere near as good as a player could craft the same role. But it would serve a lot of purposes. Firstly anyone could truly take over and heal, tank, crowd control or whatever role happened to be missing from a party. Secondly they would serve as a kind of “try before you buy” for interesting mechanics.
For players familiar with the MOBA genre, this would be very similar to the Champions that you collect or purchase. Each one would have unique strengths and weaknesses, and be able to fill specific roles in the party. However the idea is that each one of these while interesting to play can be easily improved upon by the player. However each one would be able to showcase a specific game-play mechanic or style, allowing players to see if they like that sort of thing before going through the lengthy and expensive process of recreating it themselves. You obviously would need to have a smattering of character to tail to different player tastes, but it would almost become a new meta game as you go around the world influencing NPCs and collecting them into your “stable”. There is a moment in the original Rift cinematic trailer where they visualize a player switching specs… and I figure switching avatars would have a similar look and feel.
I woke up this morning and saw an email waiting there notifying me that I had been added to the ArcheAge alpha. I have been watching this game evolve with great interest, but have been on the fence about taking the buy in plunge. Right now I have lots of games that I want to be playing, firstly I still have so much that I want to do in ESO. However now that I am in I know I will be playing this as my “off night” game. For awhile I had been dabbling with the notion of joining the Alliance of Awesome people in their Dominion Wildstar guild, however with this new game being piled on I doubt I will at this point. In related news… the transition from Reddit to Anook for the Alliance of Awesome community site has been pretty seamless. Folks are slowly starting to pick up momentum and trickle in. I have done a piss poor job of promoting this on the Stalwart site but that will be changing.
For a bit I was considering just trashing Stalwart Online entirely and going to a Nook for our site, however I have backed away from that notion. For starters I think it might be a bit too traumatic for people to have a second forum ripped away from them in a year. It was around this time last year I think that I made the transition from the original Stalwart forums to the new Vanilla based one. Secondly… I really want people using Anook, but all directed in the same place. As a compromise we have considered carving out guild specific areas on the Alliance of Awesome site, that way we are all in the same shared space and not fragmented off on a bunch of individual sub sites. The big step in unifying the guilds will still be to transition to all using the same voice software… but that has been a hill I was not ready to die upon. However it is still very much one that I need to address.
ArcheAge definitely gives me something to look forward to tonight when I get home. If you are in game and playing, ping me and let me know how to get a hold of you. I feel like there is already a significant population of people I know in game right now. I have severe reservations about the game, but after reading Liores post about what exactly can pvp flag you yesterday… I feel a bit more at ease. I am still a damned dirty care bear, and as such try to stay the hell away from PVP. That said I still very much enjoy my time spent in Cyrodil and want to get more of that happening soon. Now that we have this handy dandy event calendar… thinking maybe about penciling in next Wednesday night for a grand Cyrodil excursion. In the mean time I will be horribly conflicted as to what game I will be playing on a given night.
This one in particular is extremely difficult for some reason. I guess it could be the fact that I fell asleep at the keyboard last night, and as a result ended up getting to the actual bed far later than I had intended to. Now as I attempt to jump start my brain with caffeine I am realizing how frustrating the act of a morning can be. More than anything I am finding myself extremely easily distracted. Of late several of us have been slowly migrating to Anook.com as a social site. Primarily this is for the fact that it is ideally suited for a multi-guild meet-up site like the Alliance of Awesome. At this point I am wondering if I could simply transplant my folks from the House Stalwart forums to the site as well making the whole experience more fluid.
For those who don’t remember… or were not reading my blog at the time, the Alliance of Awesome is a weird experiment that we have been running. With the launch of Landmark alpha, several of us realized just how many different overlapping groups we were a part of. So we proposed a grand alliance, and since then many of us have been laboring to make those efforts successful. Right now the AofA as we call it, is a combination of Combat Wombat, Dark Religion, Mercy Gaming, Multiplaying and House Stalwart. Elder Scrolls Online was the first game we really went into as a large amalgam guild and so far it seems to have worked extremely well. I have been shocked at just how little drama has been involved, but I guess that is to be expected when most of us are “thirty somethings”.
Shores of Oblivion
Last night was an odd sequence of events. Firstly I was supposed to be doing a pen and paper thing with several of my friends. However I did not want to get into anything too deep because I knew I would need to go do things with my wife when she got home. As a result I ended up piddling around in Elder Scrolls Online while waiting in a holding pattern. As the evening went on, the time of her arriving home kept slipping backwards, so in grand total I ended up playing and streaming my gameplay for a few hours. The mission of last night as always was to finish up Bangkorai. I have finally reached a point where I think there are just two objective areas left in the map. However completely by accident I seem to have moved past the zone and into Coldharbor by following the storyline.
At some point soon.. or at least as soon as I can find a wayshrine in Coldharbor I will be venturing back to Bangkorai to finish up the last few things on my map. I find it almost impossible in this game to “skip” content. It drives me absolutely insane that there is still a black skull on my Alik’r map from a world boss that was bugged out. I feel like I have to explore every corner of the map before I finally and reluctantly move on to the next area. At this point I am just a stones throw away from 47, so I figure that I will ding 50 well before I even come close to finishing Coldharbor. That zone looks equally huge as compared to Bangkorai. When I posted the above picture on Anook, someone commented about the Mudcrab. That is “Butter” my faithful companion that has been with me the entire journey. I am not sure why I bonded with the brown mudcrab pet over the Monkey, Bantam Guar or Red Mudcrab… but I did and he has been at my side throughout all of this.
Crush the Resistance
I love the Elder Scrolls Online with every fiber of my being, but the game requires a lot of focus. This past weekend and the last few days I have struggled a bit in trying to maintain that focus. Wandering around the world requires you to be constantly aware of your surroundings, because an afk in the wrong area can end up with a hefty repair bill. As such I need a game that doesn’t quite matter so much. For a long while this has been landmark, but I have reached a point of builder burnout there for the moment. On a whim this weekend I decided to fire back up SWTOR and I have been piddling around on my Caithar Sith Juggernaut. I never really got to see the Sith side of things, so overall it is pretty enjoyable. I opted to go Light Side Sith, which seems to be far more my style anyways. I am this island of honor and nobility in a seething mass of evil.
To be truthful… this specifically is the reason why I logged in over the weekend. On “May the Fourth” they gave everyone that happened to log in an adorable astromech droid pet. I could not pass this up, because of my friends… I am the only one who ever seems to be nostalgic enough to re-up a game subscription and revisit games the guild has moved on past. So while it started out as “get this thing while it was available”, I am actually finding myself enjoying the game again. It is no real competition for ESO, but it scratches the itch that most everyone seems to be satiating with Wildstar beta weekends. Additionally… after all this time I finally have a machine that will run SWTOR on maximum everything. This client is so poorly optimized that even on my laptop with dual video cards… it runs like complete shit. No clue how long I will piddle around with SWTOR, but I might even stream some of my adventures.
From the Desk of Doctor Hannah
Another good friend of mine decided to enter the Newbie Blogger Initiative fray. Dallian, otherwise known as Doctor Hannah from twitter… has had a blog for ages, but for the most part it had lived in a dormant state. I think both the blog and the twitter account started as a joke reference to the now infamous Tabletop episode where Felicia Day creates this massive backstory of Doctor Hannah while playing Last Night on Earth. So while the blog started off as a joke, at some point during its life it morphed into being Dallian’s personal space. With the NBI he is taking the step of rededicating himself to blogging more regularly, and about his gaming side as well. In this post on the forums he mentions wanting to do at least a post a week, but so far he has made like four posts this month. I will do whatever I can to help support this effort, but in the meantime you should totally pop over to his blog and check it out.
I am getting a super late start today, or more so I am sitting down to write my blog post this morning later. I dropped the dry cleaning off yesterday morning, and then shortly after decided I felt entirely too bad to exist in the real world. So I went home and took breathing treatments throughout the day, in an attempt to convince my lungs to stop being assholes. It has mostly worked, but this meant that I needed to get up relatively early this morning and go pick up the dry cleaning so we would have it for Monday morning. I still have plenty of shirts in the closet to cycle through, but my wife had reached the limits of her wardrobe.
It seems like at least once a year a new social media technology is released, and the internet zeitgeist all flocks to it. I generally sign up for these the moment they happen in an attempt to stake my claim flag and then they sit dormant for years until I finally decide that I want to start using it. One of these is Anook, and I asked a very simple question last night on twitter.
While I was expecting someone like Maeka who has been posting on the site for a good deal of time to chime in, I did not expect to be drawn into a length conversation with the Community Lead. As you can see, we talked a lot and I started to buy into the vision. The problem that they see it is that there are all these services, that you load up with content once… and then forget about. Facebook is this way for me, I have a profile because I know that certain people would rather be notified of my content through that vehicle… but I don’t actually USE facebook. I hate the service, I hate the way it feels, so I feel bad each time someone sees the content that somehow got set up to syndicate from twitter… and thinks I am actually using that as a means of communication.
I know going into this that Anook is not what I have been longing for. I would love to have a gamer focused site that acts as a social glue for everything else I have content on. A single point of syndication for G+, Twitter, Steam, Raptr, Battle.net, Glyph, Playstation Network, Xbox LIve… whatever services I happen to have accounts on including my own blog and podcast. I think this is a niche that if someone fills it, will be amazing. What Anook is instead is trying to focus on creating a community with the ability to talk about disparate topics. I see this as trying to be a social network, but almost from a guild website type of approach. In the short time I am going to start populating it with my content, be it youtube vids, the podcast or my daily blog posts.
In the long term I could see maybe starting to try and use this for some of our other ventures like Stalwart Gaming or the Alliance of Awesome. When I first signed up for the site at launch, it felt fairly primitive, and I really did not grasp the concept. It just felt like Raptr or Steam without the nifty automation and game tracking functionality. Now I can see what it is trying to be, and while I may not be 100% sold on it, I definitely appreciate their goals. More than that I appreciate the kind of specialized attention this Community Lead gave me in trying to win me over to their vision. Hell that along is going to make me loyal to the cause more than anything. I will always reward amazing service with my patronage.
A Path Not Taken
This morning is going to be a bit “gaming lite” again, but with the hustle and bustle of the Newbie Blogger Initiative I’ve sat on a tale for a few days. I wanted to make sure I got the posting underway proper before taking a lot of screen real estate for something personal. My wife is a teacher, and this year her schedule aligned just right to allow her to attend the junior assembly. This is one of those deals where someone inspiration comes and talks to the kids about the dangers of the world. This is the sort of thing I as a teenager used to ignore, taking a sketch pad and doodling up in the bleachers instead of actually listening. I am sure for some of the kids there this will definitely be the case.
As the speaker was introduced, my wife thought the name sounded familiar but shrugged it off. Then he started talking about living in a town of 3500 in Northeastern Oklahoma. At that point she started to wonder if maybe he lived in her hometown. Finally when he started talking about his son… it hit her like a sack of bricks. Growing up I was best friends with two other guys, and for the most part we were inseparable. The man on the stage telling his story was one of those two boys father. He had been almost a surrogate parent to me, as much time as I had spent over at their house throughout Middle School and most of High School. When we first got together in College I was still telling stories about him and his son with fondness.
The thing is something changed along the way, and his son was getting into some pretty bad stuff. Alcohol changed to Marijuana changed to Cocaine binges… and eventually I had heard he was even dabbling in Heroine… not that you can actually dabble in that. Two things happened my junior year, one I started distancing myself from him… and two I got really sick. The combination of the two ended up with me picking up some new friends, ones better for my well being… and while we had no falling out or anything… we just faded apart. At some point after graduation we had managed to get back in contact. He was running a record label out of Ohio, and prided himself in sending me lots of indie recordings of the bands he was working with.
Every so often he would call and we’d end up talking for a few hours. When he moved back to town he got married, had a couple of kids and settled down as the director of an area Arts festival. I thought that things were going pretty well for him, or at least on the surface he seemed to have gotten his shit together. I visited him at least once at his office, and we went out to lunch, and then at our ten year reunion we of course hung out. So it was with complete shock that a few years later I hear that he was not okay at all. At some point the drugs had returned, and one day while driving home at lunch to get a fix he hit a special needs kid who had been riding his bike along a busy thoroughfare. The report is that my friend didn’t even stop the car, and the cops followed him to his house an arrested him on the spot.
They say he was going fast enough when he hit the kid, he practically exploded. They had to cremate him because there simply was not enough to bury. So as my friends father was retelling this tale, my wife is sitting there in shock because she knows the other side of a lot of the tales he is telling. She has this cold realization that had I not made a change and distanced myself… that it could have very well been me. I hung in the same circles, but there was just a point where their behavior was getting a bit too risky for my tastes. My friend deserves his fate, he did not get there over night, but over a course of multiple years of bad decisions. However I feel horrible for his parents, because as parents go… they were awesome. They were always so good to me, and treated me like another member of their family.
Once the assembly was over, my wife rushed up to the stage and introduced herself to his father, and apparently he just gave her a huge hug. Then asked how I was doing and how things were in our lives. He really was like another parent, and I feel like I need to get a hold of him. He lost his son, in ways that he will never get him back, but maybe I can reach out and be a little closer to him and his wife. They were always so good to me, that I want to be there for them however I can be. So what makes the whole situation that much more odd, is that I was one of those kids who didn’t pay attention to this sort of thing. I ignored more than my fair share of drug assembly, and ditched them whenever I could. However I am living proof that changing the path you are going down can make all the difference in the world. I could have easily been my friend, and that alone is pretty sobering.
Bangkorai is Huge
Last night I spent most of the night streaming some Elder Scrolls Online gameplay. Bangkorai is freakin huge. Each time I feel like I might be nearing the end of the zone, I keep finding a pocket of stuff that I have missed. At this point I am extremely overleveled for the content at level 45, and the highest mob I have found at all has been 43. This is a thing that keeps happening to me, I seem to move extremely slowly through content. My whole general approach to Elder Scrolls Online is to kill every single thing in my way. This means I probably kill far more badguys than the average gamer. I have watched my friends play through content, and they go out of their way to skip combat. This game gives you really good ways to skip combat in the form of “disguises”, however I NEVER use them. The only time you will actually see me wearing one is when the quest literally cannot be completed without one.
A good chunk of the night was spent working on a series of quests in an occupied town. I could have skipped almost all of the combat entirely by wearing the disguise. However I ignored the fact that it was in my inventory and proceeded to lay waste to everything with a red diamond on it. Which is a big funny considering my character is racially imperial… but apparently I like killing my own kin? I am still enjoying the hell out of the game, and while I am super interest in ArcheAge I keep telling myself… to wait until I reach a point in Elder Scrolls Online where I am not quite so in love with it. The game keeps giving me sufficient reason to log in every night and play, so until it stops doing that I will keep playing it. ArcheAge will always be there when things start to get dull and I want to do some full on sandbox… however as time consuming as it seems based on the few streams I have watched… maybe I am better off with Themebox or Sandpark.
Toward the end of the night Rae pulled me over into Landmark. She has been working on the big contest that they have going on and wanted some feedback on her building. So far I think it looks pretty great, but this has been where she has spent all of her effort of late. Personally I still have so much to do on my temple complex that I am almost mired in a building funk because of it. Towards the end of the video I end up traipsing back into my own claim. I am not really sure where I am as far as the game is concerned. I like the game so much, but right now there is not something about it making me to want to log in regularly. I think maybe once there is combat or something other than “Lego mode” I might feel more strongly about the game. Quite truthfully lately I have enjoyed Trove more… and it is far more primitive. The reason behind that seems to be that there is more to “do” in trove. Definitely going to be active in the Landmark community, but right now past the initial rush of wanting to build something… there just isn’t much “stickyness” to the community.
Now that we are officially underway in the Class of 2014, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see just how well the fruits of our efforts with the 2013 have paid off. I have to say based on past experiences I was expecting to see about half of the blogs either no longer resolving or not having been updated in months. However it appears that the class of 2013 was one of the most productive to date. Looking up my blog post from the close of NBI 2013, I counted 23 blogs that finished the event. Out of those fifteen are still updating fairly recently, or have at the very least had a blog post in the last few months. A handful have even been updated semi-weekly for the past year. I think this is pretty cool that the Initiative was able to create some really dedicated bloggers.
Here is a quick rundown of the folks who beat the odds and have kept up with their blogging habit on a regular basis.
All of you out there that are still updating your blogs regularly… take a well deserved bow. There are some massive lapses in posting in the history of this blog, so the drive to keep making content is something I truly respect. Last year seems to be the most successful year to date, and here is hoping that going into 2014 we can top that.
Class of 2014
It is still pretty early in the process but I wanted to get some link loving started already to the folks who signed up right out of the gate. I expect as the month rolls on we will have significantly more participants, but already we have an extremely impressive crop. So if the group we have gathered already are any indication for what we are likely to see in 2014 as a whole… I feel like this is going to be a really great year. One of the big challenges when the Newbie Blogger Initiative was rebooted last year, was to not only get new bloggers into the community, but also to retain them. It seems to be working and I tip my hat to the folks who have been making sure this happens. Without further ado… on with this years list of blogs.
A few of these folks I have already engaged with via Twitter, and I am hoping to be able to do the same for the others as well. If you are not already there, twitter is somewhat a vital too for maintaining the sense of community as a whole. Generally speaking that tends to be how the majority of the gaming blogosphere communicate with each other on a regular basis. My contact information is at the top of the right side bar and I welcome anyone to approach me in any venue I happen to be using. If there is anything I can do to help make your blog more successful, please let me know.
The last few days I have been all over the place as far as gaming goes. I recorded a new Trove video the other night as I tried to figure out all of the changes… which are pretty massive. Adventuring now seems to revolve around the creation of portals that take you to various tiered worlds. Additionally there seems to be a system now that prevents you from equipping too high of level of a weapon. I end up screwing myself over by upgrading the one set of weapons I could equip… too high to actually equip them. So now I am back at square one, working on leveling up my Knight and finding weapons to do so with it. The pace of the game seems to be significantly slower, and I am going to have to figure out exactly what all has taken place since I last played. I still really dig trove in that it is a funky and friendly little world full of random adventure.
Another random thing I did the other night was decide to record a walkthrough of our guild hall in Rift. I still love what she did to the place and how awesome it looks. I have been pining for Rift lately, so I will likely start poking around over there again. I wish I could get some elite groups honestly, but the random dungeon finder queue is insane. I might end up working on my tank spec and doing some streams of me tanking for random pugs. I am just not sure if I really want that kind of stress. Surely as long as the queues are… folks will be appreciative of tanks right? At least that is the theory and I hope they don’t rip me to shreds. There are a few other streamers that I might be able to connect with that also seem to want to do elites, so maybe I can get that going. Right now both my Warrior and my Rogue are geared almost entirely through the free patron chests that we get every week.
Lastly I am still playing a ton of Elder Scrolls Online on a nightly basis. I streamed for about an hour last night as I wandered around in Bangkorai trying to finish up objectives that I still have out there. I ended up completing a few major quest steps, and generally faffing about killing lots of imperials. I show off my new armor and my new fast pony. I finally gathered up the 42,700g needed to buy the +25% speed mount, and while it is not necessarily the color I would have chosen… I am happy enough with it. It seems like the campaign against bots is actually working, as the few places I went last night with bosses… the traditional gathering of bots was absent. I feel like Zenimax is trying hard to combat the gold spammers and botters, but it is a constant and ever changing battle. Right now they have shifted almost entirely to using the email system… which is a bit more manageable. I am religiously reporting each and every spam email I get, hoping that over time they can lock down on these accounts. I am super interested in ArcheAge, but right now honestly I am still having a ton of fun playing ESO.
Living in Oklahoma is absolutely insane sometimes. We have been having a string of 80 degree days lately, and it has been fairly glorious. When we went for our walk in the evening it would be in the high 70s and absolutely wonderful outside. Last night the temperature dropped again and this morning it is 48 degrees outside. I don’t like turning the AC and Heater off and on, especially for a short cold snap like this, so instead last night we simply piled the blankets on. I am so thankful for our cats , because Chloe our fattest and fuzziest cat somehow managed to squeeze between us and under the covers keeping us both nice and toasty through the night.
Yesterday I happened to snap the photo on the side on a whim. The previous day I had gotten some new glasses, so I snapped a photo to send to my wife to show her. Well yesterday morning we had some absolutely amazing looking skies. When I went to snap a photo I noticed that the camera was still turned the wrong way, and using the front facing one. At which point I noticed that it looked pretty cool to see my head surrounded by the halo of clouds. This is the first photo I have seen of myself in years that I actually kinda like. I have had a lot of issues with the way I look and in part it has been due to the weight issues I have had. Just like I am starting to get used to my own voice through all the podcasting I have been doing… I am starting to become more comfortable in my own skin.
The willingness to try something new as far as glasses go is probably just a side effect of this. I have literally work the same hair cut, and same glasses for damned near two decades. While they aren’t always the same frames they are as close to the same thing as I can get at the time. I like to keep things simple, and I have always reasoned with myself that this is in part because I am trying to not have to think about things. In part I think it is this lack of comfort in my own skin that had lead me to simply think it didn’t matter what I wore or what I looked like. I kind of dig the new glasses, my friends have been giving me shit about them. When I like something they say it is because I am being “ironic” or if I dislike something they claim it is “too mainstream”. That however will fade, and each of them has begrudgingly said that they like them as well.
Nerd on Nerd Violence
Since getting my fitbit I have done all sorts of little things to hack my life and try and add in more exercise where I could. While I have always parked on the roof, I’ve begun walking up and down the ramps from the 6th floor to the 4th floor where the skywalk is. As a result I have started noticing various vehicles and one of them has stood out. There is a green Honda “something” that has a cute little demon skull and cross bones on it and a “twilight girl” sticker. My feelings about that sticker have evolved over the last few weeks as I have passed it. I think we can universally agree that the Twilight series is pretty horrible. My wife had been given the books by a student, and she read them… then when the first movie came out we struggled through it. We both agreed it was a horrible idea and one we would never repeat again.
Thing is… somewhere along the line this morphed in culture from “twilight is horrible” to “people who like twilight are horrible”. As I have spent the last weeks walking past this car I had a revelation. This person is a geek, and they have proudly emblazoned their vehicle with something they obviously care about. While we might not like it, we have to respect the fact that they stepped up and announced that they loved something… anything. This is no different than my Doctor Who lanyard, or my co-workers collection of my little ponies, those things are just “socially acceptable” geekdom. At one point or another throughout our lives we have been picked on for those same geeky traits, and if you have not… then you’ve lived a truly charmed life. It just feels like picking on someone for liking a horrible novel, is fairly hypocritical.
The other night I friends and I ended up having a fairly epic discussion after I had stopped recording the podcast about the decision to completely jettison everything in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. As we started discussing it, the initial reaction was “how dare they” and it faded more into a “makes sense” as we started to recount the various aspects of the Expanded Universe. For each thing that we loved we managed to pull out five or six fairly horrible and badly written constructs from the comics, novels or video games. Most of it was no less “horrible fan service” than the Twilight novels. As much as I loved Dark Empire for example… you have to admit it is a pretty dumb story arc when it involves the fact that there are millions of clone emperors hidden throughout the galaxy. Not to mention the fact that while Luke spent an entire series of movies fighting the Dark Side, he decides to give in within a couple of comic books.
We are all guilty of loving something completely moronic that has no literary merit. So I say to the “Twilight Girls” out there… rock that shit and ignore the people who will hate you for it. To the rest of us… we need to realize that this person is a geek just like we are, they just happen to like different things. Geekdom is not a thing we own, there are no rules of entry. While I might rage on “Brogamers” and what they have done to my beloved gaming community… they have no less right to be there than I do. For us 30 and 40 something’s, who spent our lives getting excluded from pop culture… it really is not cool that we try and do the same thing to others. I am proud when I see anyone let their geek flag fly… even if it is not something that I particularly care about.
Prophet Loves Jewelry
I was all over the place last night gaming wise. I popped into Trove for a bit and streamed it, and I decided to do the same for Rift and show off our awesome guild hall. When I finally settled on a game and played for a bit it was once again Elder Scrolls Online. Over the course of leveling I seem to have completely ignored the main story. This is in part because you keep having to go back the harborage to keep accepting the next step, and for whatever reason I have simply not taken the time to do this. As a result I spent a good chunk of last night trying to play catch up and do both the level 35 and 40 main storyline quests. My big takeaway… is that at some point during his history The Prophet managed to knock over a jewelry store. He seems to have this endless supply of necklaces and rings.
At this point I am a stones throw away from 44 and I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of Bangkorai. Normally I do a pretty bad job of following quest chains through the zones in Elder Scrolls, but this zone… I have done worse than normal. I have objectives scattered all over the place some of them completed, others still dark and unfinished. I am getting cursed quite a lot because I cannot stop myself from charging packs of werewolves and vampires. I’ve had the “Sanies Lupinus” curse more times than I can count, but it seems to just go away on its own rather rapidly if you do nothing about it. I had one guy rather mad at me the other night named “Raper of Souls”, which was convenient since I had already paused to report his name. Yes I am one of those people… I report bad names, and do so on a nightly basis. I am not going out of my way to troll people who are trying to turn into a werewolf or a vampire… I am simply playing the game as I always do. Namely I charge first and ask questions later.
Thankfully we have plenty of werewolves and vampires in guild if someone needs to get bitten. Personally I would far rather choose neither and be a hunter. In fact I have already morphed my silver bolts attack to also effect werewolves. I’ve always had a love of werewolves, so in theory I would totally become one were it not gimped. Right now werewolf seems a bit underwhelming, considering all of its buffs only actually take place when you are in Crinos form. Yes I just called it Crinos form… I played a lot of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, so it will always be known as Crinos to me. Vampire on the other hand has all sorts of passive benefits that are active all the time, but the weakness to fire seems far more problematic than the werewolf weakness to poison. As a result… I am just walking the line between and hunting both equally. Though oddly… I seem to be going out of my way to save both werewolves and vampires in the storyline.