Falling in love with Dark Souls

The main character staring at the horizon
Praise the Sun!

I am not the type to be attracted to brutally hard games. I am just not the type of person to get a thrill off beating an uber difficulty challenge. It is just not how my brain works. But then I started to watch this Let’s Play of Dark Souls. It not only made me fascinated with the game, it almost made me a bit obsessive about it. Since it is a game I could potentially hate though I didn’t buy it right away, instead I was going to wait for a sale so if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t lose too much money. And it just happened that the latest Humble Bundle had Dark Souls on it. As you can imagine I bought that Humble Bundle and have been playing the game for the last few days. Much to my surprise I am enjoying the game a lot!

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Embracing the ADD

Montage of Batman, Lara Croft and my characters from The Sims 3 and Everquest 2

Until recently my usual tendency with games was to binge on them. That meant playing a single game to the exclusion of any other games. This had the advantage of having a higher chance of me finishing said game, which considering my ADD and history of unfinished games is a big deal. The downside is that there is a high chance I will instead burn out of the game and only coming back to it months later when I don’t remember anymore the controls or what I was going to do next. Not the best of positions to be in.

I decided then to try something different. Instead of just playing one game to the exclusion of all others I’d instead try to mix things a bit, playing a bit of one game then playing a bit of another the other night, just mixing things up to see how it goes. Initially I did it with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Tomb Raider. Then decided to add The Sims 3 to the mix. So far it has been working well. I found that Batman and Tomb Raider are excellent games for this style of playing games as I can just finish a zone or getting to a certain story point and stop for the night, feeling fullfilled. I also keep getting a nice progression through both games. The Sims 3 is a lot more tricky. Since there is always something I am planning to do, to build or to see how the game reacts to it I just find it harder to find a good point to stop. I have to actually make take a look at  the clock and decide to stop rigth there otherwise I will keep playing without noticing how much time has passed. :p

Now I am thinking about adding Everquest 2 to the mix just to see how a MMO would work with it. I am also wondering if having a rotation of more than 3 games would work out well  for me. My concern is that I might ran into the same issues with The Sims 3, of always having something to keep me busy on it, that I will return to my bingeing tendencies. If it does I will have to come up with a better way to do this. We’ll see how it goes!

Collecting trophies in games

Last week Ravanel made a post about the trophy she got from beating a raid boss and some of the loot she got out of it. (Or at least that is the impression I got. Sorry, I don’t play SWTOR so I might have completely misread it!) At tthe end she asked readers if they showed off their trophies too or special mounts they earned. So I thought about making a post about my trophies collecting habits in different games. I think this can be an interesting topic as different people have a tendency to collect different things in-games where that makes sense. Perhaps it will be more clear what I mean during the post.

It all started with a sword…

Back in Morrowind there was a sword called Umbra that had a pretty infamous story about being made to trap souls and her creator being executed for creating such an evil item. The sword was also known to be very picky about its owners. So far, not anything all that original. What I think stuck in my mind is that in Morrowind it was held by an orc  wearing a very neat set of armor and who called himself Umbra too.

If you talk to him he tells that he basically lived a very intense life of combat but at that point he was just tired of it all and wanted to die. Since this is an orc we are talking about he obviously wanted to die in combat, which the player can accept or not (You can read the whole dialog here). It was a very tough fight but very worth it for getting Umbra. Since then I sort of started getting in the habit of trying to get Umbra with every one of my characters, regardless if they would use it or not. It would just be a memento of an NPC I was fascinated with.

Umbra, the orc in Morrowind

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My recurring games

Last week Ravanel made an interesting post titled  “The games I love to play” and then she asked her readers what games they love to play. I decided  that instead of doing my usual and just making a gigantic comment on her blog, I will instead make a post here as an answer. Specially because the games I am going to list aren’t necessary the games I love to play as much as games I tend to go back to when certain moods hit me and I just don’t have the energy or patience to try something new. They are kinda like comfort food for me, they are familiar, they keep me distracted and help to recharge my energies, so to speak.

I will also list what kind of mood I tend to have when I decided to play these games for the millionth time as that will probably give it a better context.

Everquest 2

Rakuno flying near Harla Dar

Mood: Social Butterfly, Building

Nowadays I don’t have much reason to play MMORPGs anymore besides chatting and doing something fun with my friends. But even with that I can be pretty picky about the games I am willing to play. As I always say, there is only so much good friends can compensate for a bad game. And Everquest 2 just happens to be the only game we can all agree to play without anyone complaining (much) about it.

When I am not out in the world pretending to be an adventurer I am most likely inside an in-game house seeing if I can build something cool. I can’t say I succeed at it but I have fun nonetheless!

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[IWD] I see dead people

Spoiler Warning:  This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale’s story. If that bothers you then you might want to skip it. If you want to read this series from the beginning you can check the “Let’s Play” section up on the top menu.

When we last left our heroes, they had just retrieved the McGuffin (also known as the Hearthstone Gem) from a bunch of snake people in the mountains. Then they went back to Kuldahar to give to the only person, Arch-Druid Arundel, who could use it to find out the identity of the great evil that has been plaguing the region. They almost got fooled into giving it to a doppelganger of Arundel but fortunately they were able to perceive the deceive before that. Unfortunately the real Arundel was dying on the floor of his home and only had enough strength to tell the party there was actually someone else who could use the gem, someone called Larrel. There was only one small problem… Larrel was as prisoner in a place called “Severed Hand”. Also, apparently all of them forgot that at least two of them could cure wounds (Hansel with Lay on Hands and Snow White with her Cure Wounds spells) not to mention all the healing potions they were carrying. Or maybe they just thought this would make for a more dramatic story for when they release their auto-biographies later on.  Who knows?

We finally get to the start of chapter three! Like the start of any chapter we get a nice background artwork with some written and narrated description of the events.

The narrating screen for chapter tree

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My Skyrim Mod List – Part 1: Utilities

My Skyrim Mods List Banner

Intro

A long time ago I did a list of mods that I use while playing Skyrim as a sort of recomendation of good mods. However that list quickly became outdated so when I pulled it down with the intention of making a new, up-to-date and improved version. Due to a suggestion of Ravanel I decided to post it in parts instead of just releasing one gigantic list at once. This will break the work in smaller chunks (making it  easier for me) and allow me to gather some feedback about how to make the list as we go. Eventually I will copy the info in all the posts and make a page out of it that will be linked in the upper menu.

Now here is how it works: I will try be providing the mod name, a link to where you can download it on the Nexus and Steam Workshop (whenever possible) or some other site. So you can pick your own poison of where to download it. Screenshots whenever possible too and obviously a description of the mod. All the screenshots will be taken by me. So if they suck that is purely my fault. I suggest to look at the ones provided at the author page as they are usually ten times better at least. :p

Also, keep in mind this is not meant to be a “The Best Mods of Skyrim” list as much as a completely biased, personal list of mods I’d recommend to anyone who wants to make Skyrim more interesting. Another thing to keep in mind is that I am not a strict lore purist. I will use any mod that I feel fits enough with Skyrim or just amuses me. That means that a mod that adds Lord of the Rings weapons would work for me as they fit well enough. One that adds stuff from Legend of Zelda, not so much. So if that bothers you feel free to ignore my choices.

The Utilities

To begin with we’ll won’t be dealing exactly with mods but with some 3rd party software that makes playing a modded Skyrim easier. Next time it will be some real mods though!

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Skyrim Pictures

I am not much of the type to take screenshots but recently I’ve been trying to capture some good moments for something I have in mind. So here is a  few that I thought were interesting. 🙂

Sofia and Lydia resting a bit while my argonian mage, Fingers-on-Fire, tries to solve a puzzle in a draugr tomb. I should have done a better job of hiding the UI there!

Lydia and Sofia just chilling inside a dungeon

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[IWD] Interlude: Of Game Mechanics and Strategies

So, in a previous post I said I would try to explain some of the mechanics in Icewind Dale so folks who are unfamiliar with the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition (AD&D for short) rules which the game is based on. This is just so they can have an idea of why I have been having so much trouble with fights lately. Well, besides being a terrible strategist that is.

Now, before I begin, there are a couple caveats:

1. I never played AD&D in its tabletop, original form. The little I know of the rules has been by playing computer games that use the AD&D rules. So my explanation and analysis of the rules may be off. Also I am not going into any deep detail about them. Just a very superficilal explanation to understand my current situation in the game.

2. Like I said, I am a terrible strategist.

Oh, keep in mind these rules apply only to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. For other editions of D&D things are different and anyone curious enough about it should just seek the books for those.

With all that said, let us begin!

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[IWD] Creepy Little Girl

( Spoiler Warning for Icewind Dale! If that bothers you, skip this post. If you are starting now wit this “Let’s Play” you can find an index of it on the archives on the top menu. )

When we last left our heroes they had just killed a bunch of snakemen pretending to be priests living a peaceful life deep into the mountains. They also saved another group of adventurers who were prisoners from said snakemen. Those adventurers were even cool to watch over our heroes while they rested. Once they were fully recovered it was time to explore what lied beyond this farce of a temple.

The first thing they found is something really unexpected: a weird little girl delivering some cryptic message!

An odd little girl greets the party with some cryptic message

Before they can ask anything the girl just teleports away. As the party cuts their way through snakemen, the girl appears a few more times doing the same thing. Each time though the message becomes slightly less cryptic and more like “get out of here unless you want a very painful death.”

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[IWD] How To Serve Man

(Spoiler Warning about Icewind Dale! If that bothers you just skip this post. You can also find an archive of this Let’s Play series on the top menu.)

When we last left our heroes, they were standing in front of another door which is turning out to be an horrible trope for this series as well as a convenient breaking point for each post. Anyway, it was time to find out what was behind this particular door. It looks like it is some sort of temple and the party is immediately greeted by someone who looks like a priest, concerned about their well-being. Hansel, however, having sensed the evil aura of the “priest” tells him to drop the act and reveal their true nature. The “priest” is glad to oblige, does some trash talking of his own and then almost the entire place comes swarming to attack the party. Good one Hansel!

"Priest" Albion pretending to be concerned about the party

Now to be fair for Hansel, if you don’t have a paladin in the party, the “priest” will give some excuse about how they are able to have a temple deep down in some caves even though they are surrounded by trolls, giant spiders, lizardman and undead and the party would just go with it. Eventually they will poke around,  either stumbling on an area they shouldn’t be or finding things that don’t match up with the priest’s story. Then they will have to fight almost the entire place too.

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