Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Halloween, Jackholes

Today we'll be giving out candy to little beggars that come to our door. We only give out little candy bars so that next year we won't be swamped. On halloween, usually all the kids get equal candy treats, but I've always wondered what would happen if you didn't give everyone the same thing. What if you made them earn it.

I envision the idea of the man on the bridge in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Ask each kid three questions. If they get any of them wrong, they get a small candy bar. Get them all right, and you give them a full sized candy. You could make up your own questions, but these are the ones I'm throwing around in my mind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things You Shouldn't Do

And with the good comes the bad. Last post, I was singing praises about the guild, people doing better, and generally happy thoughts, but last night the guild did a big no-no. Our GM had a computer issue, and so while he was working through it he had our officers set up the run. It was planned to have a ToC10 run on Tuesday and Thursday, and our raiding starts at 7:00 (ends up being 7:30 because we have no sign-ups).

Last night, we had half the raid together, and we were waiting on the other half, for about half an hour. What was the hold up? They were doing HH runs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Love Improvement - A PSA

As blunt as I might be, I really do want to see others improve.  That's probably why I'm so blunt when people do things incorrectly.  It's not hate. I'm not being a dick for the sake of being a dick.  I just really want people to click on things and I love to see them do better.  This is a PSA about helping your fellow raider and fellow mage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gearscore, Gearscore, Gearscore

This gearscore thing is crazy. Many people have posted on this phenomenon, so telling you about it won't give you any more information. What I am telling you is don't let it stop you from applying to the group. Give them your best info (achievements) and reasons (alt, off-spec, etc) but don't sound pushy or pitiful. If they're a decent player, they can get past it. If they can't get past it, you probably wouldn't want to be part of the group anyways.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Epic Fail

Have you ever had one of those days, where you had absolutely everything planned out but due to a small typographical oversight, everything is completely FUBAR? Yeah, today was one of those days.

We decided to visit my Wife's parents this weekend, because we had a wedding to go to in Vienna, OH and they live pretty close to there. We were all hanging out, doing our thing, about to get ready, when my Wife re-read the invitation.

Onyxia is a Mage's House

A while back, Jong at Forbearance wrote about how Kologarn is a ret paladin's fight. Even once I had living bomb for multiple targets, I still couldn't match our melee on that fight. However, I'm glad to say that Onyxia is unequivocally a mage fight. When Zombies and the Fat Kid walked into do Ony 25 with 22 people, the three arcane mages dominated the fight. Here's why we rock so hard.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Mole Day Bishes

Being a complete and utter nerd and engineer, I think it's only appropriate that I wish every a wonderful Mole Day.

A mole is a quantity of 6.022x10^23 often used in chemisty to determine the number of atoms of concentration in a substance or object. This is called Avogadro's number, and is celebrated every October 23rd, since children can't be expected to respect science for the sick awesome power that it is. So instead of taking a belt to them they gave them cake.

Either way, here's a fun little video you can watch to celebrate mole day. Then you should get drunk and vandalize something, so you don't feel like such a nerd.

LARP Plot Tips: Failure != Death

A common misconception in writing LARP modules is that the only way the characters lose is if they die. This makes me feel like I'm playing Dynasty Warriors, where the victory objectives get very monotonous. Mix it up a little bit, and make other failure mechanics.

Say character A has a contact that they tend to use a lot. Put a crisis on that contact, forcing character A to do some sort of quest in order to save them or recover the contact's trust. You don't even need to make the contact die, so if the character fails they can continue to try and gain their contact's trust back from over several events.

This also gives plot a means to make a difficult situation without overscaling a module. Make modules that the PCs can lose without massive consequences (everyone dies). That way people will actually go into modules wondering if they can be successful instead of the normal faceroll-or-decimated results that come from standard module design. With less on the line, you can put strict time limits on fights and actually create multiple levels of success. Add in some excellent roleplay elements, and you can have people talking for years about the module they lost, but still had a great time.

And don't make it so the PCs can't win. That's not what I'm endorsing. Just don't be afraid to challenge them to perform at their best, and if they don't take it seriously (since they may know it's not life or death), then they might not be successful.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cleveland Playhouse: Young Frankenstein

Last night, my wife and I got to see the first show of our season pass at the Cleveland Playhouse. I know, you're thinking the theater is for old people and primadonnas. Well, you're right, and I got to meet all of those wonderful people in the complete CF that was getting out of the parking garage.

However, I must say, Young Frankenstein was possibly the most entertaining thing I've ever seen. And I've seen Alice Cooper in concert. Alice Cooper was great, but the experience lacked because he followed this horrible Canadian band that had the word "Electric" in damn near every song title.

On to the review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Arcane Haste

I've finally broken 800 haste unbuffed on my mage. With talents, that puts me a little over 30% haste. I've followed the thought process that Euripedes at Critical QQ brought up and started gemming hard for haste.

I'm talking about using Quick King's Amber for yellow, Reckless Ametrine for red, and Intricate Eye of Zul for blue (when bonuses are appropriate).

Here is what I've seen so far with ridiculous haste.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 4 A.M. Breakthrough : Parataxis

My wife got me a present - The 4 A.M Breakthrough - for our 3 year dating anniversary.  This book is a bunch of exercises in making you a better writer, and it would be a waste for me to just keep all the exercises I do to myself.  The point of writing is to practice, have people read it, criticize it, and move forward.  Here is one of the exercises.

Write a narrative in paratactic style concerning a 19-year old man leaving messages for the woman who broke his heart - 500 words.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

LARP Plot Tips: Change the Basics

Anyone who's ever run plot at an event knows that it's much harder than it looks. When running games like D&D, spur of the moment and larger than life plot maneuvers that don't require physical setup, props, and player's physical limitation. Here's a tip for writing a LARP module, stolen from the guys at Exiles (give credit where credit's due) for their end of the year event.

Changing the Basics
Every player has their role. They know their skills and they know what they can or can't do. But what happens when you give them a completely different set of skills?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Practice your Elevator Raid Pitch

One of the worst things that can happen to a raid that has a lot of momentum is a long explanation of the next fight. People who already know the fight lose concentration. People who don’t know the fight get overwhelmed. Either way, it makes it very hard for each member to keep their steam from the last boss. This can be an issue with low end guilds on progression content, where it’s very possible to clear several bosses for the first time in one night. Because of that fact, the RL needs to be prepared to give the explanation of the new boss. This is where the elevator pitch comes in.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Exiles

This weekend, I will be attending a LARP called "The Exiles." The game is based somewhat on Deadlands, inasmuch as it is a wester/steampunk/horror type setting. This game is a rush. It's finishing it's 4th year now, and while it's a small game, it proves to push the boundaries of what can be done in a LARP.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Robe or Reverse Robe?

I had stepped away from WoW for about a month, but the release of patch 3.2.2 with the massive changes in how Arcane played brought me back in. The problem is, a month off can seem like an eternity in game. I have to catch back up with my guild as far as gear goes. The way I plan to catch up is to snag myself these two crafted gems: Merlin's Robe and Bejeweled Wizard's Bracers.

Vene always made quick insightful posts about gearing up, even when it came to bags. Looking at both of these items, you will definitely get your money's worth working up to get them. As an Arcane mage, these items are amazing. Lots of Haste, low on hit. Just what you need. You can probably find the recipes on the AH (or find a tailor in trade) and then it's just a matter of amassing the materials needed.

And if you don't like the way it looks, you can always wear Merlin's Robe backwards to get this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

State of the Blog

In case anyone hasn't noticed, the blog has been very quiet over the last week and a half. There are three reasons for this.

1. I got married. Call me a sucker, but something about a beautiful woman in white controlling everything I now say or do (like she didn't before) makes me happy. Mucho time was dedicated to keeping her from hyperventilating pre-wedding and thus was the biggest reason for my absence.

2. WoW patch 3.2.2 put the crack back in World of Warcrack. My Mage's DPS is higher than ever as arcane spec and we've been raiding a lot more consistently which makes me a happy (and if I ever get rid of this tunic, well dressed) blood elf. With working 8 to 5:30 and raiding at 7, not much time for blogging.

3. Content gaps in Champions are dreadful. I hit said content gaps on both of my main toons, and I would be able to grind through it, were it not for points 1 and 2.

For these three reasons, I have decided to revamp the content for the blog. I've had a lot I've wanted to write about that was not necessarily Champions related, so I could get more content if I made it a general gaming/writing blog. I will still be writing about champions online, but I'll also have posts associated with other computer games, LARP, writing or fiction. I hope everyone enjoys what is in store in the new blog, The Gaming Diaries.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Basics of Tanking in CO

Tanking in Champions Online is very different from tanking in World of Warcraft. Most of this has to do with the way the designers made Champions less like the holy trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS), and made everyone random. However, a lot of it has to do with the unavailability of information on how threat works in this game.

The trick is not to compare it to World of Warcraft now, but to Vanilla World of Warcraft. Here are a few tips to keep you in charge of threat in this game.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Devs Pls Respond! - 7 Helpful Tips for Getting a Positive Forum Response

Since Champions Online is still a new game, there are very few resources out there to get information. I've made it very clear that I tend to read the forums. When I do, I stick with the Combat and Powers forum, because it has a lot of great information in the game and helps people think about things that haven't been done before.

But it is just as much win as it is whine. And the problem is that it becomes very difficult to discern the good from the bad, even for a Developer/Community Leader standpoint. It's got to the point that Goryus posted a thread about the uselessness of the forum, since Dev's don't respond.

Daeke got involved and put a stop to that and started doing a (not quite) automated response saying "I got it, stop yelling." So we know they're out there. Here are a few tricks in order to get Daeke (and the other CLs) to extract your posts from the noise floor.

1. Do a Search for your Topic
Someone may have already hit the nail on the head in another post that got buried 3 pages back. By responding to that post you not only bring it back to the front, but you add ammunition as another witness to what's happening.

2. Be Clear and Concise
If you have a true concern, write the statement clearly and be to the point. Talk about how a power is not working or overworked. Don't tell us how many games of BASH you won with that one skill, don't tell us how many people use it in duals, don't tell us how you are going to quit the game if we don't deal with it. If it's just the facts, it's easier for people to respond intelligently rather than them flaming you and telling you "Pics or it didn't happen."

3. If you Have a Suggested Fix, Wait to Post It.
This may seem counter intuitive, but this way others can see your bug and test it and report. If they don't see the same thing, maybe your travel power was on, maybe something was unequipped, etc. Better yet, if someone comes up with the same fix, then it's two independent people who came up with it. Much more power (even though you won't have credit should they use the fix). You want a better game, not a bigger f-peen (the F is for forum, you animals).

4. Avoid Immediate Bumping
Stuff gets lost when the forum updates faster than people TP out of holds in PvP. If it's been 10 minutes and no one has responded, give it a second. Wait at least an hour and say something intelligent like "I didn't see any other posts on this and it may have been lost in the noise. Has anyone seen this?" instead of "I GUESS I'M THE ONLY ONE THAT WANTS THIS SKILL FIXT LOL." Once people get used to searching, this should be less of a problem.

5. Avoid Ad Hominim Attacks
Trolls live under bridges, but there's nothing to do down there. They will inevitably rise up and visit your thread. Don't get smarmy, don't get angry, just ignore them. They are complete attention whores, so ignoring them is the best thing you can do. And if your original post was kind of smarmy, it's kind of justified for them to come back at you. Remember, it's the internet and odds are good the other guy lives in his parent's basement.

6. Compare Situations Intelligently
In this game, you need to use 'like' powers to give credence to scaling. Do not say Circle of Primal Dominion is fine because the rest of the set is trash, because everyone can cherry pick. Don't say Ego Blade Breach is better than Reaper's Caress because they're not in the same tier. Don't say Gauntlet Chainsaw is all around better than Beatdown because Gauntlet Chainsaw costs way more energy. Just keep everything in perspective.

7. Be Thankful
If your thread becomes a positive environment for people to post input on a power/power set, thank everyone for reading and contributing. It keeps trolls away and makes everyone involved feel better. You can bet that Daeke will be more likely to read your next post if he actually feels invigorated by your last thread that had 50+ responses, rather than wanting to turn the computer off and go outside to keep him from slamming his head into the keyboard.

If you stick with these 7 tips, you may see some positive actions taken to improve CO, and you'll avoid being one of those people who post "OMG I'M QUITTING EVERYONE CRY NOW."