?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Mon, Jul. 30th, 2012, 05:25 am
Huh.

This old thing still exists? Might as well make use of it.

Games I've currently been playing:

Lensmoor
World of Warcraft (raiding primarily as Chuckminster, dwarven warrior on Antonidas)
Amnesia (this game is TENSE)
Half-Life (stuck on the first boss, but no spoilers please. also, yes, this is the first time i've ever played it!)
Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer (retro!)

I'm also gonna play some Warlords Battlecry III. Love that game. Minotaurs have always been my favorite race to play, but I want to try getting good at other races too.

... and now I'm sitting here at a blinking cursor. I've become so accustomed to trying not to talk too much about myself that I can't seem to do it right even in a place that's designed for it. :p

The soul-crushing existence of sitting in one room for 2 years taking care of my grandmother doesn't help either. A lot has changed since my last entry 4 years ago. 2 years ago, we had a lot of bad things happen all at once. My paternal grandmother died of cancer. A week later our dog had to be put down. Another week later, my maternal grandmother fell and broke her hip. Instead of sending her to a nursing home, we moved in to take care of her. Then I started seeing a side of Grandma I'd never seen before. One that makes it very hard to love her. Slap some Alzheimer's on top of personality issues that have always been there and ... it really sucks living here. But my mom made a promise to take care of Grandma for as long as she possibly could, and I stick by my mom no matter what.

Have I mentioned I've consumed a lot of alcohol since moving here? 'Cause I have. :p

I've often worried about whether I'm an alcoholic, but my mom put it in very good perspective for me. She asked what I would do if she took the alcohol away from me (and, having no driver's license and no income of my own, I would be unable to get more). I wouldn't do anything. I'd be a bit bummed, but that's about it. The fact that I wouldn't get violent or even particularly upset is telling and comforting. The Alcoholics Anonymous website, on the other hand, says that basically anyone who displays three or more of certain traits (I display six) is a raging alcoholic :P

But yeah, that 'sitting in one room' thing I mentioned? Not an exaggeration. I sleep in the same room with my grandmother to keep an eye on her in case she tries to do something retarded. My mom comes down and sits in here for about 8 hours a day, and any time she leaves the room, Grandma calls her back in for something. If my mom is out of the room too long, Grandma gets upset, even if I'm in the room. And if the room is empty, she refuses to use the bedside commode (she's mostly bedridden, so can't get to the regular bathroom) because she's afraid my dad is going to walk in on her. This is despite the fact that my dad always very carefully makes sure it's okay to come in, and we've reassured her of this several times a day for TWO YEARS. And yet she'll still hold it if she doesn't get explicit confirmation that he's not going to come in.

Therefore, my mom and I sit. In one room. Forever.

Thank God for computers.

Wed, Mar. 12th, 2008, 12:24 pm
Characters

I heard a long time ago that the number one most important thing about creating a believable character is consistency. I've had an amazingly difficult time adhering to this, and I'm starting to wonder whether or not it really is the 'magic formula' for a believable character.

It sure isn't for the situation I'm in now. Let's start with some backstory. For the longest time, I created/modified characters based on stereotypes and 'wouldn't it be funny if...' type questions. The resulting characters were shallow, usually devoid of any respectability, and couldn't be taken seriously no matter how hard I tried. Modifications to try to make them more respectable were always subject to fanfare and ceremony, heralding a 'new age' for that character in which they would develop and show marked improvement. This occasionally worked for limited periods of time.

For those who are unaware of the concept of something I call BIFF, it goes like this. The acronym stands for 'Because It's Freaking Funny.' BIFF is a card I've often pulled to explain away the actions or the concept of a character.

Every character had numerous flaws and quirks. A Jen-Character without major, crippling flaws was no Jen-Character at all. They were designed to be funny, larger than life and very much over-the-top. I tried to give them certain virtues to counter-balance their inherent BIFF-y qualities. This never really worked.

For a while, it didn't really need to work. The people I RPed with tolerated, sometimes even admired, my characters. No one really does anymore. After enough time, I didn't even admire my own characters anymore. While this may not seem like that big of a deal - after all, it's just casual RPing - these characters were all temporary 'publishable' characters in my eyes. I wanted to write books about them. It took a while for me to realize just how shallow they were.

In the interest of hopefully authoring an actual book one day, I decided to start trying to get into 'serious RP' to practice developing my characters. After a while of that, I realized that it was very difficult and restrictive for me to do serious RP with these characters simply because I was having them do things they wouldn't normally do. Serious things. 'Normal' things. After so much time, I and everyone else expected my characters to do over-the-top things, like they had for so long.

So then I decided to take all of the BIFF out of my characters - those who I wanted to RP seriously, anyway. I thought it would be painful, but it wasn't. It was relieving.

Now my problem is two-fold. Firstly, I was so used to using BIFF as a crutch that even though I'm relieved it's gone, I very incorrectly gauge character reactions to situations. Characters of mine that are 30-40 years old seem to act like 17-20 year olds much of the time. It's somewhat reasonable for this to happen, considering I've had experience being 17-20 years old before, and I've never seen through the eyes of a 30-40 year old.

In addition to the miscalculation of reactions, many of my characters are left with scattered bits of strangeness in their pasts. Things that I used BIFF to explain away no longer have that crutch to lean on. Past flaws or strange actions that have had consequences to the present day are now seriously glaring, damaging inconsistencies that have no longer have a place there. To keep them means I have to jump through hoops and bend the character's mind into a pretzel to try to rationally explain something that was never meant to be rational.

Because of this, I'm going to have to make major, unexplained changes to my characters' histories and personalities. I know for a fact that Stan, Ross, Charles and possibly even Trent will be subject to this. Most of my other 'active' characters either haven't really gotten enough development for them to be screwed up, or they managed to luck out anyway.

These changes, unlike the norm for me, will have no grand fanfare; I'll mention them, but there won't be any big beams of light or dramatic deaths-and-rebirths involved. The characters will, for the most part, not even be aware of the changes. Characters belonging to other Authors shouldn't be aware of the changes either. It's the easiest, most painless way to manage the situation.

In the midst of removing all aspects that require BIFF dependancies, I'm probably also going to tune the physical, mental and magical powers of these characters. Chuck is the obvious glaring example. He's basically awesome at everything except things that require high dexterity. I'm going to have to reduce at least one of his areas of proficiency, regardless of how much it pains me to do so. I might take away his voodoo. It's leftovers from when he was LeChuck anyway.

The way I see it, I have to reduce one of these three things: His tanking, his ability to dish out physical damage, or his ability to use magic. The fact that he's a 6'5" monster means he's going to hit hard pretty much no matter what, so it would be illogical to reduce his physical damage output. Reducing his ability to take damage is simply not an option, in my eyes. The magic is the only thing remaining for me to do anything with. It'll hurt a bit to take it out, but at least he won't be overpowered any longer.

This is for his canon self, of course. Being the min-maxer he is in gaming, he'll still have all the most overpowered stuff he can possibly learn or get while playing a game, mostly because the majority of games don't really let you get completely overpowered. Except Elder Scrolls. Or Warlords Battlecry.

Taking away his magic means drastically changing his history. Drastically changing his history means drastically changing Ross's history. Ross's history was messed up to begin with, so that's no huge loss. I'm thinking of changing their country of birth and childhood from England to Scotland; they have a lot of Scottish blood anyway, with a surname to match, and I always kind of regretted not just making them completely Scottish.

If Chuck isn't a magic user, he's no longer quite the pure evil pagan heretic that Ross has always viewed him as. He'll still be the filthy pirate captain, however. Their past no longer involves Chuck killing Ross. In canon, Ross would actually outlive Chuck because of his vampirism, and possibly even kill him eventually.

As for Ross's abilities, I think it'd be cool for him to be as much of a DPS machine as Chuck is a tank. Many people have always known that it's a bad idea to engage Chuck in melee, but I would love for Ross to be so viciously dangerous that people tend to fear engaging him in melee even more. I'm probably going to take away whatever consciously-usable magic Ross had in canon. As a vampire, he's going to have some inherent supernatural things going on, but nothing overt. For a while, I had him able to wield some Matrix-ish abilities, but that was just silly and unnecessary.

Ross's zealotry may need to be revisited and toned down. The way I constructed his logic is so unyielding and so very rigid that it has proven almost impossible to truly develop him past that.

Stan needs all -kinds- of changes to make him a believable character. His past is easily the most varied and screwed up just because he's had so many different lives in games and I tried to piece them all into one coherent existence. I never really gave him a 'real-world' canon like I have for all three of the others. That was probably the main issue. Stan never had a 'native' existence anywhere after I made him an OC. Another big issue was the fact that he was originally meant to be the personification of obsessive-compulsive behavior. Certainly not someone you can take seriously.

The OCD thing no longer exists in his past. He doesn't remember being MI-Stan. His experiences in D2, WLBC3 and other games are no longer integral parts of his past, but alternate lives that he leads for fun, just like Threads - they don't generally affect him on a life-altering level. Things like meeting and falling in love with Qnzinuuq are exceptions, since those kinds of things can happen to real people while playing games anyway.

I'm going to say that the pride issues of the past no longer exist either. The present-day Stan is basically a new character, I think. This is a bit of a slap in the face to everyone who has tried to RP setting his flaws right, but I feel that cleaning the slate entirely is the only way to gracefully establish the new image I have for him without the lingering BIFFiness of the old Stan weighing down my efforts.

Stan has never had any outstanding, overpowering abilities in canon to speak of, so I don't have to worry about that.

Trent could use some changes to his past, I think. The whole 'driving around the country living in his truck and doing tech support' thing, while a cool idea, is odd and very unrealistic. One would have to be spectacularly lucky and consistent to actually be able to survive that way. Its very nature even messes with the story I was trying to write; the fact that he traveled so far all the time was actually a disadvantage to the story rather than the advantage I thought it was.

I don't even know if he should be an ex-convict anymore. I think the reason I put the whole 'thrown in prison' part into his past was because when I first created him, he was a mean, spiteful guy, but not too long after that, he mellowed. The two 'versions' of him didn't jive. I tried to fill in something that would connect them, suggesting that he decided to straighten up and fly right after getting out of prison, but there's still something strange and not-quite-believable threaded throughout his backstory.

Hopefully now that I've decided to get rid of all the exta crap that has built up in these characters' pasts, I can make a serious effort to develop them in a direction that I won't regret sending them in. Then I can actually be capable of doing serious RP with them, and I can more accurately play their reactions to situations.

The fact that I have to completely revamp these characters after removing the BIFF speaks volumes about how ridiculous they were, heh. Now I should be able to make them respectable and able to be taken seriously.

Thu, Jan. 10th, 2008, 01:12 am
Eggshells

Somehow, I have grown up with the idea that even admitting that I'm thinking about something - even if that something is not morally wrong - can make me very nervous. I feel like people might think less of me for it.

Tonight I asked the other officers in The Meaning of Haste (a LOTRO guild, for those of you not in the know) about extra things we might be able to do with our loot reward system, which is based on points earned for raids. I asked this because I currently have two times as many of these points as any other guild member. Due to the way our system works, the kind of things I mentioned would basically be defeating the purpose of the system. I pretty much figured that from the beginning, but I wondered if anyone could think of fair, balanced ways that high-point people could get some kind of extra benefit for going so many raids without spending any points.

The idea was discussed and ultimately we all agreed that we shouldn't make any changes to the system, and that I just need to live with the fact that I never took advantage of the points when I should have.

It's something I won't bring up again in an officer meeting because the issue is sealed and done, and I have no hard feelings over it. Sometimes I wonder whether things like this could cause other people to think less of me, though.

Is there a moral difference between wanting something and actually taking the action to cause it to happen? The Bible says that if you hate your brother, even if you don't do anything to him, you've still 'murdered him in your own heart.' Extreme example, I know, but if that's the way that thoughts and feelings work, then it can be applied to anything.

Does the fact that I wanted to see if we could make any changes to the system to benefit me make me selfish? Would people think less of me for it? Should they think less of me for it?

A few months ago I had a few teeth pulled and I had my first experience with noticeably mind-altering pain pills. It was awesome. Ever since then, I've wished that I could experience the same thing. I would not go out and buy illegal drugs to reach this goal, but does the fact that I wish I could have that experience make me as bad as if I did go out and buy them? Is it even bad to desire that state of mind?

I can't help but wonder if things throughout the Bible and history may have been misinterpreted and caused people to adopt a mindset that wanting things for oneself is, by itself, a bad thing. Or maybe that's only what I've had my mind skewed to think. I'm not sure why I think this way, but I know that every single request I make to someone is done with an inner fear that they will feel offended that I even expressed that I wanted something, because wanting is 'bad.'

I suppose to find the answer to this, I need to investigate where I got the idea. But for now, sleep calls me.

Tue, Jan. 8th, 2008, 06:15 pm
LOTRO

Can't seem to get over my addiction. I've been wanting to do more stuff other than LOTRO, and sometimes I just plain get bored with the game and log off, but there's so much I can do on there at the moment (I effectively have 7 alts, including monsters) that I always get ideas to go do something else within a few hours, or at least after some sleep.

I've been getting creative ideas flowing around in my mind, but I just haven't worked up the motivation to do them. I'm sure it'll come, as it always does eventually, but it sucks to want it to come sooner and be rather unable to make that happen.

A while back, I put a personal restriction on myself that I'd only play LOTRO after 7PM. That worked well, but it worked a little too well - I almost stopped playing the game altogether. I have to come up with a decent balance that ensures I don't get bored with the game but I also don't make it my entire life.

When I'm not on LOTRO, I'm reading or writing about LOTRO. Granted, there are a lot of things out-of-game that I need to catch up on in the writing department, like touching up the policies for our kinship and getting my two cents in at places on the forums that matter to me.

At least I can honestly say I'm enjoying the game and getting my money's worth out of it.

A list of things I still need to do:

- grind out the rest of Stan's needed traits
- get Stan to GM weaponsmith
- get Ross to GM jeweler
- get Q to GM armorsmith and tailor
- get Trent enough woodworker to actually matter
- get Ross to level 50
- keep leveling Q and Trent at a respectable pace after Ross hits 50
- continue on with Chuckminster (Jehrain needs a partner, after all)
- get Priscilla to rank 4 for Burning Blades
- ask about Burning Blades on the forums before I get too excited about it
- rank up my spider a bit to make her more useful (she's already very useful with that web)
- rank up my warg to make him more useful
- l2p warg
- grind up some of Ross's deeds
- get Ross his class quest stuff

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Getting Ross to 50 needs to be my top priority so that I can say that's out of the way. The fact that rested exp accumulates automatically means that if I don't take advantage of his rested exp when he caps out on it, I'm essentially losing future time by not working on him. I'm not losing as much time by not working on my lower level alts because what they 'lose' can be made up for in less than a day while losing future rested exp on Ross is the difference between taking one week or two weeks to grind out a few levels.

It's nice to know that in 9 more levels, I don't have to worry about him anymore. It's also nice to know that he can level up comfortably almost completely on mob grinding as long as he has exp. It took Stan a long time to get to 50 because he never grinded mobs, he just did quests, each of which could sometimes take an hour or more to complete and only gave 5k exp - you can get waaaaaaaaaaay more than 5k exp in that hour just by grinding mobs. Ross got like 50k worth of raw exp in a couple hours last night (double that for the rested), doing about 6 quests along the way, and got an entire level. When I had started, the exp bar was barely dented.

Anyway. Nap time.

Mon, Jan. 7th, 2008, 08:57 pm
Captains

People on LOTRO say that captains are pretty rare, and good captains are even rarer. I can't help but wonder why.

Captains are actually pretty easy to play, in my opinion. That opinion is probably very skewed by the fact that I've been playing since open beta. A lot of people say that champs are the easiest class to play. I disagree!

I find a champ harder to play than a captain simply because the champ has to seriously micromanage his fervor pips in order to maximize his DPS and minimize his power usage. When dual wielding, you also have to exercise self-restraint to make sure that your autoattacks go between your skill attacks so you're not wasting DPS. In difficult situations, you have to decide whether foregoing your autoattacks to get a specific skill's damage now is a good idea or not, and you have to make these decisions instantaneously.

I guess it's easily possible to muck your way through the game by button-mashing as a champ, but to play a champ well is a much different story.

As a captain, it pretty much is button mashing when meleeing because our melee skills, even after the Month of the Captain, are still somewhat limited simply by the fact that you have to wait at least 15 seconds between each chain. Our behavior in raids is based more on reaction than action. Buffing is preparatory stuff. Keeping the shorter buffs up is something that can sometimes be attention-demanding in a large raid, I admit. I sometimes forget to put my banner down. That's just me when I'm not paying attention, though. When I really get into the groove, I can find it interesting to establish a rotation of checking buffs and keeping them going, making sure my banner is down wherever we go, etc.

My best-known non-buff skills are only used when Something Happens. When a mob dies or when a fellow dies, or when a mob is trying to summon, or when a fellow is getting low on health. Champs, on the other hand, are constantly taking very active steps - they aren't just standing around waiting for things to happen, they're making things happen.

Both styles are fine and well-suited to the classes. The way I see it, champs are the fearsome death-dealers and captains are literally there primarily to look cool (thus boosting morale and keeping morale up in dire straits). I'm not criticizing either one - I've played both and I like them both. The point I'm trying to make is that it puzzles me when people claim that champs are so mind-numbingly easy to play, even going so far as to say that you can just sit and autoattack mobs while AFK.

People also claim the same about hunters, but I think I've done more strategic/tactical/whatever-you-want-to-call-it thinking on my hunter than on any other character I have.

It's just kind of weird. As a captain, I believe that I have the easiest job in a raid. I stab things sometimes, monitor buffs, and wait for bad things to happen.

Hunters have to watch their DPS, make sure they don't accidentally hit mezzed targets, make sure they don't use effects that would cause the raid an inconvenience (like bard's arrow'ing a mob into its yet-unaggroed friends or DoT'ing a mob that's supposed to be mezzed).

Champs have to min-max their DPS, doing just little enough to keep from getting aggro but also enough to down the mob fast. They also have to watch for people who need to be saved by Champion's Challenge and other aggro-management skills. They have to exercise self-restraint around mezzed targets, which is easier said than done because so many of the champs' skills are AoEs, and at least one of those AoEs adds to fervor if traited. They have to minmax the use of their fervor pips. All of their actions and calculations have to be done at great speed as well.

Loremasters have so many variables to watch in battle that it's mindboggling and amazing to see a loremaster tending to everything that he possibly can. Debuffing mobs, mezzing problem mobs, using tar to slow down mobs that are a big problem, watching for pet flank to proc, keeping their pet alive, keeping their pet on the right target in chaos, refilling peoples' power, crowd control, the list goes on.

I can't say much for minstrels because I don't know what all their skills are, but I believe that they have a few things to watch in a fight too other than just the health bars. Even if it's just the health bars, the minstrel does have to sometimes run around in order to reach their heal targets, and then deal with any aggro that comes up and starts hosing their induction skills.

Burglars have a number of things to watch similar to the loremasters, being debuffers and secondary crowd controllers, plus they have to keep up with their dps chains in a fashion that I imagine is not too different from champs micromanaging their pips.

Guardians have to watch all the aggro and pull it when needed in what I imagine can be the most stressful position in the game. I know that people say healers have a stressful job, but I feel that the guardian's is the most stressful simply because other players can so easily make things so hard for the guardian, either accidentally or on purpose. Simply put, if a guardian is not holding aggro on a mob, then he is basically useless and either not doing his job right or being outright prevented from doing his job by overzealous DPSers. Then they have to follow the mobs around in an agonizing chase where every second of not having aggro is just more of an indication that he can't seem to build up the aggro he needs no matter what he does. A guardian who's getting and keeping aggro is in his element and usually having a fun time. A guardian who can't keep aggro, on the other hand, is probably a very upset one.

And once again, where does the captain stand in all of this? Right in the middle, looking cool and just watching buffs, sometimes healing if need be.

Either my experience as a captain has made it feel effortless to play one, or I'm playing it badly, or captains are just plain an easy class to play. Honestly, why I don't see more of them is a mystery to me.

Mon, Jan. 7th, 2008, 07:59 pm
"Yes, me. Meeee, meeee, meee." "... Me too."

So, let's cut to the chase. I like to talk about me. Or maybe it's more like I like to talk about stuff that only I'm interested in, in ways that only I really understand. This is probably common to a lot of people. Maybe I'm not alone in feeling like I talk too much 'about me.'

I think the time that I started realizing I needed to keep much of my opinions to myself was when someone told me, in some random issue, 'it's not about you.'

And it really wasn't. But I always make things 'about me.' Because I'm me, I suppose. There's a difference between what is actual and what I feel. If I feel that something impacts me in a special manner, then speaking up about it will lead to me making it seem as though the 'something' is directly because of, or directly for, or otherwise revolves around me.

In normal conversation, I'll keep that kind of thinking to myself. In my journal, you will find all of my thoughts that are, in essence, 'about me.' Read it if you like. I like knowing when someone is interested in what I have to say. If you don't want to read it, that's also good, because that means this journal is serving its primary purpose - to give me a specialized place in which I can say what I truly feel, talk about the world how I see it, and ramble as much as I like without aggravating others with my ramblings.

Aggravating others is a bad thing. The act of talking about myself a lot is not a bad thing by itself as long as I have a controlled environment to do it in.

There are so many concepts I've ruminated about and so many things I've wanted to say lately, and I feel that their place is here. Thus, I created this journal. The stuff I write will run the gamut from abstract meanderings to even tiny stories if I feel the urge.

If you're one of those who will be visiting, I hope you enjoy.