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Everything posted by filk

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. The Wolf Among Us

    Just wrapped up episode 3. I liked it a lot more than episode 2. Spoilers time:
  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?
  16. I was going to wait for the PC Version, but cracked and picked it up on the 17th. I've played about 12 hours (my poor girlfriend and thesis) and downed 9 bosses. I'm sure the changes have been discussed to death, but I find most of them quite good. I like the return of a person to level up with, I like access to fast travel, and I like that you get punished more for healing. I do think the return of consumable heals makes it too easy to heal through some bosses. So far the main disappointment to me has been the zones. I am one of the people who thinks Dark didn't live up to Demon in terms of tone, and I'm kind of thinking Dark II doesn't live up to Dark I. You guys above are talking about the stories in the Forest of Giants and the Bastille, but I found both pretty surface level? Maybe I'm missing something. Also, I completely failed to note that Hiede's Tower of Flame is actually on fire. That said, I love Majula. I'm really interested to discuss what people think are the best bosses once it's not spoiler territory. I think the boss design is at least as good as Dark I and it definitely introduces more difficult fights earlier.
  17. Sonic & Allstars Racing Transformed

    How does one learn about these community game things in advance anyway.
  18. This is kind of the status quo when it comes to first person indie games. I like them, but I wonder if the vague genre that's being established of exploratory first person games will ever reach beyond the prerequisite of you being alone in an uninhabited/abandoned space. It's like, Gone Home is a great game. It is also a game with a setting and plot that are extremely informed by the technical and development time limitations of Fullbright, and they were smart to make the decisions they did. I just hope it's realistic to expect that some day indies can do these kinds of games without assuming things like an empty home, recently moved into (and thus populated with repeat boxes), non-interactive records of others' souls (audio logs). *yet another edit* It does sound like your relationship with your superior in Firewatch is dynamic though, which is a step in the right direction. Here's for getting to a point where we can have games about being in a space inhabited with other people you believe exist.
  19. I'm amazed none of us leaked the name in advance after the podcast slip-up.
  20. I'm fired up about this. Hope there will be a trailer to watch.
  21. What is the value in subtlety?

    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, describing how I was having difficulty re-reading one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, The Wheel of Time, because after dipping into contemporary fiction, the writing style of even the best fantasy seems blunt and crude. The friend described how, in interviews, current fantasy all-star Brandon Sanderson said that when accused of shallow characterizations or lack of subtlety, he took it as a compliment, as he was not writing for that audience. Furthermore, my friend questioned the value of subtlety at all. As I get older, I find I ascribe more and more value to what I would call subtlety, potential for inference, respect for the reader, etc. However, these could easily be recast as obfuscation, vagueness and poor communication. I know I enjoy their presence in a book, and I find too much explicit revelation of, say, a character's motivations shatters the illusion of reality for me. But these do not seem very strong arguments. I used to be fine with the "simple" representation, and given enough fantasy books back to back I can still sink into that mode. I wonder, given that the Idle Book Club and most of the top topics here refer to contemporary fiction and its swathes of subtlety, what is the value? What do you think subtlety contributes to the experience of being a reader? It seems to me to be uniformly considered a positive, but is its purpose merely that we work more to reach the same conclusions? Does it allow us the room to delude ourselves into a more favorable interpretation of a piece of work (as with the Cloud Atlas discussion re: reincarnation)? Is the effort required to understand developing us more as people, or just more as critical readers? I would like to think it is the former, but I am not a very social creature. Often, contemporary fiction challenges assumptions I make about my relationship to the world in ways that serve only to destabilize and perhaps even tear down my sense of self. On the other hand, there is a mechanical delight in the puzzle of these books, in feeling truly in the mind of a narrator who does not even know themselves and to try and do it better, knowing that you can at once never know yourself as well nor get the same bird's eye view of another human being. Subtlety serves to make prose sing, and the hanging implication can often be the trigger of a massive dopamine reward when you, clever girl, manage to put it all together.
  22. The Yawhg

    My girlfriend and I played a round of this on the weekend. The comparison to Tales of the Arabian Nights, which we also recently purchased, are spot on. I struggle with the disconnectedness between adventures in both games. This may be informed by my love of tabletop RPGs. You have to put active effort into constructing a cohesive narrative for your character, and it gets harder the more players they are. However, the epilogue week in The Yawhg goes a long way to rectifying this, as you can at least see your skills pay off in some meaningful way. Weirdly, I find the Yawhg much too short and Tales much too long. I think there has to be room for some sweet spot between them that also links your adventures in some way. Tales has the concept of quests, of which a player will complete 1-3 before the end of the game. I can imagine a game where progress is defined in terms of quests completed, quests have some influence over adventures encountered, and quests introduce or pay-off in new mechanics which are character-specific instead of tweaking stats. But maybe I really just want to run more tabletop games. I don't mean to come off so negative. I often focus on negative tidbits instead of broad positive experience. The Yawhg is still beautiful and the adventures hit the just right spot between familiar fantasy tropes and an element of the unexpected and unreal. *edit* Reading Bjorn's spoilers surprise me a lot. I don't think we experienced any resurfacing narratives. I look forward to going back to the game, then.
  23. So looks like Campo Santo does hold the trademark for the term that was accidentally unbleeped. Cool!
  24. Oh, so I guess we're all being very quiet and respectful about the slip up on ***.com.
  25. Thi4f

    I think it's mainly me realizing that adding options to a game to enable a certain gameplay experience is not the same as designing for that experience. It can get close, but there are going to be humps.