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About filk

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    Horticulture is a Good Word

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  1. Morrowind

    Made a little more progress over the last couple days, finishing up my fourth quest in the Fighter's Guild and about halfway through the pilgrimage for the Tribunal Temple. Definitely starting to run into money problems, though. After hitting the initial windfall of Dark Brotherhood armor (thanks, Tribunal) and buying myself the best equipment I could find, I now am struggling to come out ahead on quests after repairing my gear. The only reason I haven't done my pilgrimage yet is that I don't really have extra money for all the offerings... I'm very torn about going quest sleuthing through the cities I've visited. I've already been in Seyda Neen, Balmora, Caldera, Vivec and Suran for varying durations and if I'd gone through those cities with a comb looking for every side quest I would have quit by now. I don't trust conversations with regular NPCs to be worth my time, particularly because you end up clicking through rumours, advice, Background, my trade and so on, all of which takes time. How do you guys approach it?
  2. Morrowind

    Phew! I kind of ended up that way by accident, as I chose a pre-built class Pilgrim. Medium Armor is the only major skill I'm using a lot. When I played Morrowind as a kid, I never cared about this stuff. I just learned to use the terminal to cheat if I wasn't strong enough to do something.
  3. Morrowind

    I have been keeping up with OpenMW developments. I just finished my Master's thesis, and I was actually thinking of getting involved in the project in my upcoming month off. As for the other mods, I think I'll stick to vanilla for now outside important patches. Particularly when it comes to graphics and sound mods, I have found that old 3D for me has passed into the realm of looking "classic", and I actually get a unique and valuable visual experience in low-poly worlds. I appreciate the recommendations, though. Besides, as I said in the OP... ...I didn't *want* to spend half my time installing mods this time around!
  4. The Wolf Among Us

    Just wrapped up episode 3. I liked it a lot more than episode 2. Spoilers time:
  5. Morrowind

    I'm playing Morrowind again, giving it a real go for the first time since Oblivion was released. Over the past several years I've often tried to start this game again. Traditionally, I dig out (before I had a Steam copy) and install the game, then spend about a day mod hunting, another day mod configuring, and two hours playing. This time, I've decided to play vanilla. I installed some bug fix mods and nothing else. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I wasn't tired out before I even started and have managed several hours so far. Many thousands of words have been written about what Morrowind does well, but I'd like to comment on some of the things I've run into that feel anachronistic playing in the modern day. The default movement speed is incredibly low, and you run out of stamina almost immediately. This works completely against the desire to explore and engage in non-quest driven activities. At the time Morrowind was released, I thought complaints against the dice-roll combat were absurd, but the degree of missing and miniscule damage done in this game makes the first ten hours of Baldur's Gate feel brisk. Furthermore, you level at a snail's pace; it seems impossible that I should reach a useful level by the time I have put in ten hours. That said, everything that was good remains good. I love that I've joined a church that is a) unlike any institution in classic fantasy and b ) my first quest for that church is to go on a pilgramage to holy sites. In the days before quest markers, completion meant engaging with and living in the text. You cannot complete Morrowind without at the very least understanding the nature of the Tribunal and some history of the relationship between the Empire and the Dunmer. Finally, and most importantly, Morrowind is subdued. It can be heard just listening to Nerevar Rising compared to Reign of the Septims or Dragonborn - this is not a world of Imperial/Nordic anthems, but of poor woodwind players sitting by the river. Anyway, I imagine I'll want to talk about it loads more as I continue, so here's a thread.
  6. Full admission of guilt, I haven't read the episode or caught up on the thread. I think an important element that was missing from the Rausers discussion is time. Nobody cares if you appropriate Roman, Egyptian, Viking, Mongolian, etc imagery without unpacking the destructive or amoral nature of those societies. This is not to say that Naziism should be treated the same way today, but only that it inevitably will be. This might only happen when the society is so foreign and distant as to seem fantasy, but there is an argument to be made that that already is the case for Naziism. Outside of a few fanatics, Naziism seems to most(?) people an impossibility enabled only by the insanity of another time. Which is to say, I don't think every creator will always be able to carry the sizeable baggage of all history. I err on the side of Naziism having passed into the realm of free appropriation, even as someone whose family came from Nazi occupied Poland. On the other hand, it's cool to e having the discussion. In the end though, the appropriation of imagery will be completed simply when the culture of creators distances itself enough, and I wonder how much any discussion will change that timing.
  7. Feminism

    Up front, I am sorry for coming in here and posting something that is non-sequitur and really just a rant. Over the last year or so, I've really tried to internalize the kinds of privilege and stratification that exist in our society. I do this mostly in the microcosm of the gaming community, keeping up with people like Anita Sarkeesan, Anna Anthropy, Cara Elison, Emily Short, Christine Love, and others. After the most recent cast, I started following Danielle on Twitter. Shortly after, I saw this tweet, with the associated image: Intellectually, I get that this is probably satirically taking something to the ultimate degree that belies healthy feminist intent. But when I see it, I just immediately react in a defensive and hurt way. My mind whirs in ways that I know would make me look the pig if I voiced any of it. Because, I am a white male middle-class university-educated tech person, whenever I have this reaction to something in the circle of feminists I follow, I just feel like I'm part of the problem, the ultimate dickbag, and carry this huge weight of social guilt to the point where I shut down and stop reading social justice stuff altogether for weeks. I don't know why I find it so difficult to represent my intellectual views emotionally so I can engage with feminism in a better way. I don't feel justified to call myself a feminist or an ally. I've always struggled with empathy (by the time I reached adulthood I was extremely pragmatic and logical to the frustration of friends and family). I don't get angry or indignant when I read about inequality. Beyond that, I feel like (and I get that this is ironically empathy) my voice is useless because we are already inundated in voices like mine, and therefore as an individual by speaking out I can only take away bandwidth from groups of people who don't have it. The episode 152 thread made me realize that this is a forum that is a) filled with people like me demographically and b ) more socially literate and emphatic than I am. I guess I'm just wondering if other people found this journey difficult, or some assurance that I'm not the ultimate dickbag.
  8. I haven't caught up on the thread yet, but I wanted to echo the sentiment: Danielle is the probably the guest who is the best "fit" the cast has ever had. When she's on, she both meshes with the existing tone and style and contributes something unique to herself.
  9. After your stories, I can't wait for the PC version so I can play online. I was just at Drangleic castle in my second playthrough (lightning slinger) when someone responded to my ad to buy the disc off me. A very sad day. Now I can't decide if my first playthrough on PC will be redoing Faith, trying a raw build, doing all the NPC sidequests and aiming for NG+7, or doing a covenant of champions playthrough.
  10. The thing about bosses melee attacks is definitely true across Souls games. In Dark 1, Qualaag's sword strikes don't hit you if you're by her front, 4 Kings can only hit you with their hilts when you're up close, Taurus can't melee you when you're between his legs, etc. The hitboxes are definitely qualitatively different in this game though. It also matters where your weapon hits, so if you are slightly further away you do less damage. I think it serves to make the game even more about knowing your moveset. The one thing I dislike is that some boss attacks have a hitbox larger than the animation, which is a big no to me.
  11. I wonder how much of the lack of memorability in Dark Souls 2 is really just an artifact of increased skill because people have played 1. I finished 2 in 29 hours, which is half what it took me to finish 1, and 2 is larger by landmass and number of bosses. That means, just because I'm good at the game and know how to play, I spent at most half the time in each area. Not coincidentally, the areas that I feel were best in 2 are the ones where I struggled enough to spend more time in them. That's not even taking into account the fact that I've put hundreds of hours into Souls games and am pretty inundated with their tonal and artistic elements at this point. When Dark came out, I and many other people felt that its world was much less memorable than Demon's. Is this just the same thing happening again?
  12. Finished the game today! 29 hours, SL 120 or so, Wanderer's Garb and +10 Ricard's rapier. All bosses except for the 3 "most optional" ones. Game was pretty easy having plenty of previous Souls experience. First playthrough of this felt a lot like my 3rd or 4th playthrough of DaS. I tried to dual wield a lot, but never seemed to find a combination where the extra stamina cost and attack time wasn't dominating over the increased damage. It was my first pure dex build though, so I am happy that I didn't chicken out and just do the same thing I'd done before.
  13. Yeah, that white knight is also confusing me. He must be an NPC though, because I've run into him twice now (he didn't talk the second time either).
  14. I'm definitely doing miracles for my first run when the PC version comes out. I always intended to do a miracles playthrough of Dark 1 but never got around to it. Is it true that From removed all the changes they made to magic for this game? I never knew what changes it was supposed to have, but it sounds like magic works exactly like Dark 1.
  15. Thi4f

    I gave up on the game last week because it was too stressful to play as a break from thesis work. Master difficulty + modifiers really would push me to the edge when I died too many times, and some of the deaths are really stupid. Now that I'm a little further from the game, I find that my fondness is fading and a more negative take is sinking in. I really hated the city between levels. It's broken into multiple maps, with 1-2 ways to get between them, and it's totally impossible to navigate and find the little gaps through which you're supposed to move between maps. What is the point of having an "open world" section between missions if you're going to constrain movement so tightly and make the joins invisible to boot?