Status: SW TOR

Gone fishing gaming


TOR - All Caught Up

See: found some time to write ;)

Some things i've noticed today while playing TOR:
- my computer plays the game, encounters little lag, but chugs.. I need an upgrade to my pc

- I love crew skills and sending my companions out on missions while i'm doing other things (handing in quests, organizing); its like a little mini game and very satisfying

- I panic when my sniper is overwhelmed by melee enemies... dunno if this is my class..

- I like the idea of a lightning magic caster.. but I don't do as much damage as i'd like.. maybe its the drawback when you can heal as well

- why can't I craft myself? I'm too good to sully my own hands with crafting!

- I miss public quests; even with Heroic areas, people don't really group or work together.. i'd really like some better gear

- Sith Sorcerer at lvl 14, while my Sniper is lvl 12..

- Slicing (stealing & thievery it seems), is really cool; getting stuff for my future ship; though Cybertech (the making of modifications for equipment) isn't that interesting b/c not many gear can be modded so far

Its a bit hard to see, but I looooove Biochem.. a REUSEABLE health pack!
BUT. You can only use it IF you have the Biochem skill...
Totally didn't read that part :(

Merry Christmas everyone! =)

Catching Up - TOR Day 2

SW:TOR Day 2 Impressions

Had my bro run my Sith Inquisitor through the two Heroic instances.. the loot was good, but not outstanding. The cutscenes when handing in each quest makes you feel like you're part of something really important. Its a double-bladed sword b/c it makes me think that there is something special I may be missing out on if I don't do the heroic instances. It was unfortunately not the case and just some blue loot. I'm guessing at higher levels, these heroic quests will be chained and lead to better rewards.

Got my first follower, a tank, which I can equip with gear. I love that; the ability to equip my companion. I got to customize him too by picking a custom skin for him... unfortunately.. I picked red and the game gave me green instead. RED MEANS STOP! I guess alot of people will pick red anyways... so my guy will still be unique.

I found my Inquisitor would run out of mana/Force after fighting 2-3 enemies at a time.. so when I picked my advanced class of Sorcerer, I was surprised that somehow my mana/Force had increased 5fold. So it was a bit disappointing when I realized I may have wasted my initial talent point in getting 50 more force (can't find the screen/area that tells me what my total force was).

Travelled to and got lost in the capital city of Kaas City. An initial quest sends you to each corner so you know where certain things are (cantina, vendors, trainers etc).

Picked up crew skills of bioanalysis, biochem and diplomacy. My tank failed at his diplomacy quest, but brought back some nice biological compounds that I used to make medpacs. Reverse engineered one (to get mats back and to get something special).. just got mats back.. dunno if i want to spend the time to reverse engineer it. BUT this is the best time in the game: when you don't know whether reverse engineering the medpacs will yield something special. Most people don't know that answer without them trying it!

I found.. that once you left the starter planet, there was very little direction as to what you're supposed to do and where you're supposed to be. I knew I had to get to my Sith Lord in the capital city.. but there was a space station, a town and a heroic area between there. I got so lost, I just took a speeder to the capital city when I hit the heroic area b/c it was too dangerous there!


My Twi'lek Sith Inquisitor confuses me. 
He's supposed to be evil but is nice to mostly everyone. He normally doesn't provoke people, but does lose his anger and kills without thought. He's supposed to be on the Empires side... but actively does things that undermines it (ie. telling a brainwashed jedi that its a trap).
I can only imagine he does this because the Sith treats him badly, always calling him a slave. What they don't know is while one hand is entended in friendship, the hand behind his back holds a dagger.

The game at first seems pretty linear and doesn't reward you for exploring; I decided to prove them wrong and investigated an elevator in the dig site of Korriban. As it climbed, I was disappointed to not see any people on the platform, but THEN excited to see an openable chest. Inside the chest, a magic item. Nice.

When you "hearth" in TOR, you actually pick from any save point that you've located in the area. VERY useful. No longer do you have to go to the original 'inn' to save.

An acolyte was spared force lightning interrogation with kind words.

Somehow got Lightside points by sabotaging the research of a Sith lord.

This Inquisitor helps everyone.. even if the task can be considered 'evil'. Because of his past, he'll normally try to minimize any pain inflicted on others.

Realized mid boss-battle that this was a Heroic quest requiring more than one member and saved myself by putting a medpac in my hotbar. Ressed a player that was trying to run in and out of the instance instead of getting help.

Helped a new player discover the way to collect artifacts is by right-clicking on them.

My Sith Overseer has it in for me; so while his pet sith apprentice is sent to the library in the next room to translate a manuscript, I'm sent to a deathtrap. Even when I bring the holocron back to him, he insults me, suggesting that I stole it from somewhere else.

He's on my naughtly list.

SW: TOR Catch up 1

My SW:TOR Day 1 Experience

My brother picked the game up for me while I was at work (thank you thank you).

Came home.. took an hour to install the game; the problem stemmed while talking to my girlfriend on msn, RIGHT when I pressed enter to send a message to her, the pop-up screen came up telling me to enter disc 2. By pressing enter, it made the pc think I just put the disc in and it forever reason couldn't proceed further. Had to turn off the pc fully. 

No problems making my TOR account.

Tried to log into the Launcher... annnd it kept giving me an error that I wasn't in a registered country... I know some Americans don't like us, but come'on we have Canadian bacon! 2 beavers are better than one!

When I finally got that working (somehow), it went to the opening trailer, which i've seen a few times, so I pressed the Escape button.. wrong move. The game crashed.
Ok. Lets reload, but no skipping the opening cutscene.
Crashed before it even got there.
My skin was turning the same color as the pureblood Sith.

Ok. Canyourunit.com
Tested it... and its all the way to the right. Thats a good thing.

Run as administrator?

Repair button/function?

Turn off anti-virus temporarily?
Crash. Crash.

Turn off need for pc to notify when doing updates?

Install newest version of Quicktime?
Requires a restart...ok.
About.. to .. crash..
EULA and Terms of Service in the launcher.. well thats new.

And thats how you fix a crashing Launcher!

Oh wait... there is my server...

Annnnnd i'm in queue... with 990 people infront of me. WoW

Over an hour later i'm still in queue, but I eventually get in, get ALL my names for my characters with no funny spelling (actually, I won't make a character with an altered name). Happiness meter is filling up.

Playing. Taking Screenshots, because everyone likes screenshots.
Enjoying zero lag, no crashes.

I stop when I tell myself to stop (playing)... instead of when I tell myself to stop when I'm playing Skyrim.

Dreams of SW:TOR.

Three Days of TOR

I have tons of entries saved up and it would be nice if I could post them, but its that, or finish off the gifts for my co-workers for Christmas...

Coworkers win.

But I know you're all too busy playing the game anyways. Entries to come today after work!


Secret Weapon

Normally MTGMintCards.com is pretty good with their shipping to Canada. Normally only 1 week, even though they say 1-2.. but come Monday, it'll be going into 3 weeks.. hoping it comes before Christmas..

Got to try a bit of TOR on my brother's pc today. Not bad... saved 2 names which is one of the most important things when playing any game.

Love the cut-scenes whenever I talk to npcs and hearing my voice when I choose my dialogue. Looking forward to playing on Tuesday when it releases. 

Though, i'm not looking forward to the 15 min queue I was in...


SW:TOR Quick Question

Once again, will be joining the hordes (if i can get two copies) on the 20th to play TOR, had a question for those currently or soon to be playing:

1. The specializations(say Sith Juggernaut and Marauder); is this a one time only choice and you can't change your choice, or is it similar to the soul system of Rift, where you can easily switch souls?


Skyrim: Exponential Power

Money at the beginning of Skyrim is a bit hard to come by, even if you used my Halted-Stream transmute trick. I think the most important thing is to get a base of operations that is in town and not part of an actual guild. Sure the Assassin's Guild or the Mage Guild has alot of amenities, a house in town will generally have a blacksmith or vendors in convenient proximity.

Purchase-able houses are only found in the major towns, so Whiterun, Riften, Windhelm, Solitude and Morkath. Get that house. Once you get that house, furnish it a bit so that you get a few more containers. Open them, empty them, and use one for:
- craftable mats including ore, ingots, hides, leathers, grand/greater soul gems
- another one for ingredients
- useable weapons
- stuff you want to enchant
- stuff you need to sell (but don't have the time)

Making money in Skyrim, is all about inventory management. Even with a follower, its a bit hard to just loot everything. And then there are 3 ways to loot:
1. Loot everything
- fast in the sense that you'll fill up faster, but slower in that you'll be taking much more time completing quests
2. Loot things with the most face value
- steel chest pieces.. have a weight of 30 but sells for only 275... so about 9 gold per weight
3. Loot things with the best weight to value ratio
- a scroll of fireball has a weight of 0.5 but sells for over 200, so like a 400 gold per weight 

There are a few ways to increase your effectiveness when making money:
- put point into stamina which will increase carry weight by 5
- use the Steed Stone which increases your carry weight by 100
- get 50 skill in Pickpocketing, which has a perk that increases carry weight by 50
- get 50 skill in Speech to get the perk which allows you to sell any item to any merchant
- enchant your gear/get gear that increases carry weight

Talking about Enchanting, I reached 100 in Enchanting on Sunday and with the perk that allows 2 enchantments at one time, my power level jumped! I was able to not only provide enough resistances to take the risky Apprentice Stone (100% increased magicka regen, 100% more damage FROM spells), I decreased the costs of Destruction spells to the point that I could cast 5 times as many spells.

Having troubles with Giants? Double enchant your follower and prep your maniacal laughter when you watch them cut a Giant down in 5 seconds.

How do you increase your Enchanting?
First: Ensure you have selected the Mage Stone. For faster results, sleep in a bed for a Rested bonus.
Whenever you're at a general trader npc, buy all their petty and lesser soul gems.
Once you have about 30 soul gems, go to either the rivers of Whiterun area or Winterhold sea area. The Whiterun rivers have mudcrabs which are easy targets, while the sea area of Winterhold(or even Dawnstar) has Horkers (think: Walrus).
Keep capturing souls until you get the message that you're out and then go an enchant any of your miscellaneous trash gear.

If I ever DO get the PC version, i'll be increasing my Enchanting and Speech asap. 


Whats your Title?

Got your attention? Good.

There seems to be a correlation between fitness and the hardcore gamer. It feels like we spend so much time gaming, that we ignore many other areas of life. Whether it be social or physical, the time we put into our games could be spread out into other activities. I'll be the first to pleading guilty of letting my games *cough-Skyrim-cough* take priority and conveniently forget everything else. Why today, I was busy listening to the rebel leaders talk about the importance of Whiterun instead of hearing the timer go off to let me know that my baked potatoes were done. Every night I make it a point to stop playing at 11 to get a good nights rest and wake up early before work to study or workout; instead I end up playing past 2 and waking up with enough time to run out the door.

I love my younger brother; he's incredibly smart and talented. Able to master anything he puts his mind to, he's unstoppable (like his older brother) when motivated. But right now, he'd rather spend 10+ hours a day just playing games *cough-Skyrim-WoW-cough*. It has been over 4 months since his contract at his last job ended and although that 'economy is tough,' it isn't impossible to get a job. Although people tend to pooh-pooh on job agencies, my friend's contract job ran out last Friday and got a new job (with Kobo, no less) in less than a week!

Everything takes effort. Anything worthwhile requires sacrifice. We're not talking about sacrificing a follower so that you survive a quest. We're talking about diverting our time and resources into something else.

So here comes the reason for the good-looking woman above; exercise is important for all of us. Its hard and requires dedication but isn't impossible. Exercising on a consistent basis doesn't mean we give up our hardcore gamer title (I prefer my gamer-photographer title instead). We don't need to become muscleheads, and abandon gaming (I probably won't ever), we just need to add some variety to what is the spice of life.

Anyways; if you're interested in exercising but don't know where to start, head over to Bodyrock.tv which has a pretty good website. Alot of videos that show you techniques, both beginner and advanced. It doesn't hurt that the people in the videos are easy on the eyes ;)


We only need to wait 3 days..

Getting mentally prepped for TOR; just finished Star Wars, episodes 4-6... been watching the animated Clone Wars series.. and here are some official vids to keep up going up to the 13th (for early access people) and i'll probably see you (& blog about it) on the 20th!


Challenge Accepted!

I enjoy challenging games. Not necessarily 'hard' games, but ones that provide a challenge.

Per Nerfnow's comic, that is the reason why I don't like WoW; they did a great job catering to those that have never played an mmo before and want to jump in, feel like they can get great loot, but they made it too easy. I see my brother, who granted is able to play any game and master it, but come on, there are people that have so many mounts that there is an actual book to select the one they feel like using. In the 'good ol days' you had your mount and that was it. It elevated you from the crowd; you tamed a dragon and brought it into town, now that was impressive. 

I enjoy in Skyrim how creatures level up as you do, so you can't just expect to use certain loopholes in the game to level up and then overpower bandits by your sheer level difference. While you're lvl 25 plus in elven armor.. your bandits may be wearing orcish or even ebony gear now.. much stronger than yours. Even worse if you're leveling non-combat abilities (pure thief), you will be in a world of hurt when needing to fight.

Did you know, you can't just run up point-blank into a dragon and blast spells/shoot arrows at it? It clearly has a defined mind to take a chomp out of you. Maybe the weaker Blood Dragons won't do that, but when you're higher levels, the game plays better and those ancient dragons will eat you and you'll be reloading that fight again.

An efficient and safe way to level your destruction skill:
- summon a flame/frost atronach
- blast away
If you take too long, your atronach will turn hostile on you, but I haven't seen it retaliate. This is a much safer way to level your skill (although, very boring) versus fighting strong monsters or alot of weaker monsters.

A safe way to level your restoration skill:
- do the College of Winterhold quest where you learn the spell Equillibrium (alteration spell)
- the spell is similar to a warlock's spell that switches health for mana
- cast it until you have near full mana and nearly depleted health (don't kill yourself!)
- then cast a healing spell
- you'll be gaining both restoration and alteration skill 
Once again, a boring way to level skill, but if you're set on leveling particular skills and not wasting contributions to your overall level, it has to be done.


Skyrim Lullaby

I've made the right decision: instead of playing Skyrim at the dead of night (and probably ending up accidentally playing til 5...oops!), i've decided just to do this entry instead and provide fantastic fan vids of the music from Skyrim.


TOR and Mirrored Classes

I don't have any real SW:TOR beta experiences or blogs b/c I didn't apply nor got into it and could only talk about what I saw briefly from watching my younger brother play. That being said, I have been reading your blogs and something I read was unsettling: Mirrored Classes.

Something I detest is classes that are shared against enemy factions. Especially when there are only 4 classes in TOR. Yes, there are specializations, but aren't they mirrored too? Once again, haven't done much research and haven't really read it on any blogs, but i'm quite sure its just another name for another class. If you have mirrored/shared classes, make sure you have 7+ classes. It was a bit odd to see my brother in Flashpoints/instances that consisted of just one class.

I did enjoy the fact that although there was class mirroring in WAR, Mythic did it right. The racial pairings had different class mechanics, so technically 10-12 different classes. Even then, the talents were unique (thinking about Pounce).. the pets were unique..the armors were different. You knew your opponent was a Black Orc, or a High Elf Swordmaster. Similar but not exactly the same.

Before I nitpick about Skyrim, lets just put it out there: Its a great game. I would seriously argue it is a GOTY. If I had it for PC, I would be able to tell you how many insane hours i've logged in just two weeks, but i'm guessing about.. 50+ easily.

That being said: I don't like how there is a high amount of invincible npcs in the game.

There should be some way to determine whether a character in Skyrim is killable or not. I'm already pretty paranoid (due to initial 360 data corruption issues) and save often, and this has saved me lots of fines and prison time, as i've found out the hard way that some seemingly innocent npcs are unkillable. It feels like a good 25% of them have this VIP status which takes away from seamlessness of the environment.


Skyrim Success

Follow these simple tidbits for good results in Skyrim:

- spend a bit of money at the blacksmith/fletcher and buy arrows; making sure you have around 150+ on any adventure
- level it as soon as possible, being able to slow down time to get that headshot while zoomed in will make ranged combat viable and easy
- raise your level easily by attacking mammoths and giants and using the terrain (rivers, rocks, buidings) to your advantage

- Halted Stream Camp; for the Transmute spell which converts any iron ore to silver and silver to gold; FYI, it doesn't convert ingots only ORE
- alchemy is a cash cow; just spend your time gathering materials, when my skill gets high enough, I even buy out all the ingredients from the vendors b/c I know ill end up with more high value pots
- don't loot everything; Iron has a poor value:weight ratio while steel has a better ratio; gloves, daggers and helmets generally have a better ratio as well. Unless you are CONSTANTLY going back and forth to every single town and vendor, you're better off looting high value but low carry weight items
- join the Thieves Guild to be able to steal and then sell frequently to the fence who can have anywhere from 250-500 more gold than normal vendors

Raising Alteration, Restoration, Illusion
- cast an armor (alteration)spell and letting wolves (something weak) attack you, casting a heal spell when health gets low, and possibly casting a fear spell to make them run away
- buy iron ore cheaply from vendors and casting Transmute for skill and profit
- once you get Invisibility, casting that with Muffle will EASILY get you to 100 Illusion 
- if your goal (which we know it is) is to get 75 Illusion for Invisibility, the easiest (but cheap) way to level is to get a follower and then cast Courage over and over

- do alot of hunting, turn those pelts/hides into leather and make a billion hide bracers; its the cheapest item and it gives a big chunk of skill increases, the only drawback is that it sells for very little
- coupled with Transmuting your iron ore to gold ore, you can then turn the gold ore into simple gold necklaces which is an easy way to increase your skill and money

- same thing with blacksmithing; save your greater soul gems and use your petty and lesser soul gems and just enchant everything to increase your skill
- many dungeons will have a few soul gems as it is a bit expensive to buy from vendors (both empty and filled gems)
- join the College of Winterhold (mage guild) and steal from them as there are alot of gems here


A Skyrim Thanksgiving - Spoiler Warning

I dislike dungeons in Skyrim... so unnaturally dark.. everyone must be Khajits in the world as they must have the Nighteyes racial ability. Oh but wait, its all Nords.. The guards have the right idea and patrol at night with torches.

Happy American Thanksgiving everyone! Although in Canada, i'm off b/c our department mostly does financing in the US, so if they're off, we're off! Yay!

Some things i've noticed in Skyrim these days *spoilers*:

It seems like all guild leaders are corrupt and will be the traitor.. convenient for you to take their place. I guess everyone wants to be the GM for the Dark Brotherhood, or Thieves Guild, but sometimes its nice to know there is leadership in place and you don't have to worry about day-to-day humdrums.

Invisibility + Muffle = Almost always invisibility.
I say 'almost' because animals can still smell you and will take a bite out of your invisible form. Try to stay atleast 3 meters away from them. I haven't tried crouching while invisible and muffled... but i don't think that is the point of the two spells.

Halted Steam Camp. Insta money. Find as many iron ore mines as you can and spend your time Transmuting all of it into silver, then into gold. Using Smithing, you can then easily turn them into gold jewelry for very high profit.

Near the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline, you get the most powerful horse in the game. Shadowmere. Black sheen. Red eyes. Regenerates when damaged and is an aggressive horse. Still afraid it will die though. And how are you supposed to pick reagents on a horse? You can't! Its like free money on the ground with some of the best weight to value ratios.

Make sure you don't keep any valuables in the Dark Brotherhood and make sure you pick anything you want up b/c at the end... it burns down and nothing is recoverable.

I find that backstabs doesn't always work. It for whatever reason only does normal damage. Be careful!

Also, there are alot of npcs that are apparently critical to the game and cannot be assassinated.. sad.

Besides the Shout that causes dragons to land, there has got to be a better way to bring them down. When you have melee weapons drawn, they will just land on houses. I find when you draw a bow (don't need to shoot them), only then will they drop to the ground.

Skyrim - Ultimate Thief

I love it when web comics draw about games that i'm so passionate about... unfortunately unless it is an mmo, it is only for a few weeks until the next big game.

So per the comic in the previous entry, I've played ALOT of Skyrim. I've reached the point that i'm no longer addicted and need to play every day and am unable to stop. Its all more about testing things out, in particular the Invisibility spells, sneak attacks and how it works. As I wait to get it for the PC (b/c everything is better on the PC), i've developed a build I intend on using. Similar to D&D, I find if you plan ahead of time, you can make a very powerful character, and though you may not gimp them, not having a plan can result in a weaker character. Below is what i've partially tested (I have all the skills, just didn't do it in the right order that I intend) to be the Ultimate Thief build in Skyrim:

Objective: To be invisible most of the time & for devastating backstabs


Primary skills:
Illusion - to be invisible and navigate easily via Muffle & Invisibility Spell
One Hand - to increase dagger damage
Sneak - for assassin blade perk for 15x backstab damage
Enchanting - decreased illusion spell cost, increased dagger dps and increased money

Secondary skills:
Speech - to sell
Alchemy - poisons, pots and money source
blacksmith - to make better daggers and improve gear

Perk choices (starting racial value - skill - needed end value - perk):
15 illusion 75 - expert illusion
25 Sneak 50 - assassin's blade
20 one handed 80 - armsman rank 5
20 alchemy 80 - alchemist rank 5, poisoner
15 enchanting 100 - enchanter rank 5, 2 effects

Shout: Ice Form/ Throw voice

Enchantment slots
Head - Illusion
Chest - illusion
Hands - one handed
Feet - one handed
Ring - Illusion
Amulet - Illusion

First steps:
Join Dark Brotherhood - gloves that provide double (so at the end 30 TIMES) damage!!!

Join Thieves Guild - to sell stolen items, and put money towards Soul Gems, bribe guards
join Mage Guild - to get access to many alchemy and enchanting things (must steal)
Do Daedric Quest for Azura - rechargeable black soul gem for enchanting
Join Bard College - for quest reward perk for 15% faster Speech gain


Skyrim - Easy Money

Think leveling your Illusion skill to 75 to be able to cast Invisibility is impossible?
The solution is a rather simple one:
Get a humanoid follower and cast Courage over and over. My level 9 mage has 50+ Illusion already.
Don't feel like being so cheap?
You technically could find one/two wolves in the wilderness and take turns casting Fear on them.

I found the location to the best way to make money in Skyrim:
Halted Stream Camp.
Almost (a bit west) directly north of the city of Whiterun; the actual location given to you as the second bounty quest by the Innkeeper at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun.
After defeating some bandits (and it's leader), inside the mine there is a spell tome of Transmutation. This amazing spell converts one piece of unrefined iron ore to one piece of unrefined silver. And then cast it again, and it will convert the silver to GOLD. Best thing is, the mine is filled with iron ore deposits.. when I left the mine, I had 34 pieces of iron ore in my backpack!
Don't mind/want to level your Smithing?
Smith that gold into gold jewelry for even more profit.
Every single character from now on will be going directly to that mine.


Skyrim - Hey I Know You

There is great profit in lockpicking houses/shops and stealing in Skyrim, in particular pickpocketing their jewelry and then fencing it.

Steel daggers (vs iron) and certain helms and boots are generally more profitable in a gold per weight ratio than other loot you'll generally find. 

The strategy guide suggests that if you pair the Khajit's unarmed damage perk with the Heavy Armor perk Fists of Steel that you'll do more damage b/c they stack.. not sure about that as I've tried it and haven't done as much damage as I thought.

Pure thief(no archery, very little melee skill) + melee/combat + lvl 20= death

Found Meeko the faithful dog who survives his master who died of a crippling disease, only to die hours after it joined my party... damn bandits..

Whiterun guards wanting to arrest me when I only have a ONE gold bounty.

Lazy thugs sent to kill me and ambushing me in a beggars house.. and not following me out the door.

Followers have a very hard tiem following you, even when you're not sprinting..

But you can sprint into followers to make them move out of the way when they block the doorway.. the radiation in Fallout makes for better thinking.

As a melee stealther, it is easier to see your surroundings by being in third person view. Make the camera zoom out more by unsheathing your weapons.

The Nighteyes racial perk of the Khajit is very useful, both for thieves and just in general if you don't like the dark. It replaces your shout and can be used as much as you like per day.

I can't figure out what skills level your character faster or slower. I found with my pure thief (sneak, lockpicking, pickpocket) that if he leveled his Smithing it would provide a smaller contribution to his overall level than if he leveled his lockpicking.

I miss using a mouse-keyboard configuration when playing Skyrim; it is incredibly hard to target and steal the correct items when using a controller.

- became the College of Winterhold Archmage and when fully geared up, my mage character has 233% increased magicka regeneration
- my Khajit pure thief finished the civil war storyline, helping the Imperial Legion defeat the racist Stormcloaks


Skyrim: The Enabler

An improvement that i'd like to see in Skyrim:

Granted it is more realistic never knowing whether that shadow is a bandit or a guard, it would be nice to keep track of allied units and horses. I watch my brother play and he loses sight of his horse all the time. With the glitching of the game, your npc followers will constantly get left behind and you never know where they are as well. Ain't good when you encounter a group of enemies and backup is nowhere to be seen.

Because Skyrim is such a huge game, hours just fly by and it feels like you're not accomplishing much when in actuality, you are. Here are some interesting things that happened yesterday:

Became Thane of Winterhold by assistng 3 villagers:
1. Making a delivery
2. Stealing another villager's staff
3. Giving the village drunk some mead

Bought my house as holding bones and scales of dragons are too much for my housecarl to hold onto. Also bought many tomes of magic to level my other areas of magic instead of just destruction.

Leveled my blacksmithing to learn and create a whole set of dwarven (shiny!)gear for my housecarl.

Found and corrupted the Star of Azura and turned it into the Black Star, a re-useable soul gem which uses the souls of humans instead of creatures.

Disenchanted everything and brought my enchanting up. Discovered although it may say "Gives 15% Fire Resist", if you use a petty soul gem, it will only give you 1% Fire Resist instead.

Drank all my magicka pots and needed to make and buy more.

Although my housecarl was under constant threat of being singed by my fire and lightning attacks, she never died.. which was a good thing.


Skyrim: 2 Quick Questions

1. Does armor (heavy in particular) affect spell casting in Skyrim like it did in Oblivion?
- everywhere I look online it looks like it doesn't; just mage robes tend to give bonuses whereas Heavy Armor normally doesn't cater to mages

2. Are there Doyens in Skyrim which can be used to decrease your bounty? And if not, are there any ways to decrease your bounty once its been applied to your character?


Just Enough Time

..to write something about Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

Buy it.

Must I say why?

If you love your crafting in games, they did it in spades in Skyrim. Don't want to buy the plentiful materials from various (blacksmiths, traders, alchemists) vendors? Go out into the world and forage for them, whether its plants, hides (for leather), or ore. Go back to town and convert it into useable materials. Then craft armor (including shields), and weapons (including bows!). Want it to be more powerful? Use the Grindstone or Workbench to improve your newly made gear. Want it even better? Enchant the gear afterwards! Skyrim is a crafter's paradise.

A few things to nitpick on crafting; you can't craft arrows... which really sucks, although you'll find alot off enemies and can buy them from most appropriate (blacksmiths, fletchers) vendors. No spears... I love spears (trojans and helenists[from Immortals]).. just give better reach... slowest attack?

Never fight alone
I can't really remember how Oblivion was like, but its very easy to get followers in your party to travel. There are over 30 npcs that can join you in Skyrim. This includes a faithful hound as well. Npcs will join you in quests as well making your party even bigger, if only temporarily.

Problems: Friendly fire. Unlike Fallout: New Vegas, you can accidently kill your followers. It isn't hardcore mode where they die normally, as in a normal battle, they will just fall to the ground and only get up when combat is done(enemies will then concentrate on you). But if you accidently attack them when they are in this vulnerable position, you will end up killing them. There is no resurrection.. just need to get another follower.

Problem #2: Bland followers; there is nothing really special about these followers.. just a basic template.. or meat shield. No background story for them, development, personal quests while they're with you. I loved Fallout's character system, which made you really care about who went with you.

Problem #3: Dumb followers; I think in New Vegas, there were less cramped environments, but my followers are constantly getting in my way in Skyrim. My tank should know if a monster is in their face and use their melee weapons instead of using their bow. I could also tell my follower what to do: stay close, stay far away, use melee, use ranged, etc more easily.

Out of Mana
In Oblivion, mana was a scarce resource that made playing a mage very difficult. Unless you had alot of mana potions or liked to wait around in the game, it was very hard to be a mage in Oblivion. NOT in Skyrim; mana regens at a very nice rate with many early armor/robes that increase mana regen rates.

No drawbacks that I see so far.. being a mage is great! Watch your aoes tho, its an easy way to kill your followers.

Look Ma! Two Hands!
YES. Finally, can you dual wield weapons AND dual wield SPELLS! Like to freeze an enemy and then burn them but not have to switch spells? Don't. Right hand will freeze, while the left will burn. BEST. THING. EVAR.

Problem: dual wielding melee weapons do not allow you to block... which doesn't make sense as we've seen countless movies where characters are able to block. Maybe instead a dual wielder cannot block power attacks..

Thats it for now... fantastic game.. easily GOTY for me..  


Support Movember

Support my friend and coworker Dapinder who is growing a moustache for Movember.
I'll be posting photos each week showing the progress. I'd do it myself, but have a serious problem growing one.. being asian and all ;)

If you're being super generous, you can also donate to my friend Marco who is also participating, but don't have any photos yet.


Race for your life

THAT is a good catch phrase.

I normally never get/play racing games.. but avalanches.. explosions.. city street racing and gun firing helicopters? Yes please!


Wedged between a rock..

Had a biopsy on my tongue on Tuesday.. BIG mistake, should have done it Thurs/Friday as its taking it's sweet time to heal. Its hard to talk and hurts to swallow... I had a grand total of 2 potato wedges for dinner before I gave up from the pain.

Thank goodness for pain killers.

I've installed and tried Fallen Earth the past two days.. and i'm pleasantly surprised; its fun. Kinda annoying to gather mats.. not see any use for them, sell them and then a few quests up the road require them, but then buy them from a merchant instead. Its not very efficient that way, but it feels like you're cheating (in a good way) when you can just buy the materials for a quest. Imagine completing quests in less than a minute: you need 10 pieces of scrap steel? No problem... I already have 7 in my backpack and ill buy 3 more from the npc vendor right below you.

I would post a screenshot.. if i knew how to, but its ok b/c its unfortunately kinda drab and a colorless place.. even with the sunsets.

Still, there is a great crafting queue system and I don't mind the real time combat/shooting.


Skyrim Live Action


Happy Halloween everyone!

This is what I should have gone as... theres always next year..

Follow this link for some gaming-inspired Halloween costumes.. and this one.


Small Burst

Heroes 6 strategies

Not much to write about these days; I've been consumed with home activities, editting photos from my photoshoot and been watching the Staw Wars: Clone Wars animated series.

When I have time, I do play Heroes 6: Might and Magic. I'd say the game easily out-performs all of it's predecessors.

Here are some strategies I employ:

1. On the first turn, I normally build a tavern and purchase a hero with the same two units that comes with my initial hero.
- this gives you a stronger hero to tackle early monsters in the first week and allow to you take less casualties

2. For the next few days, depending on the resources you have, I'll try to make as many Town Hall improvements as possible.
- building a creature dwelling only gets you that creature and no additional benefits for the rest of the week
- building a Town Hall upgrade will give you more money for the rest of the week

3. Normally around the 4th or 5th day, I'll start building creature dwellings
- i'll never upgrade any dwellings and concentrate on different dwellings, possibly using the Marketplace to purchase crystals when needed

4. Don't forget your initial hero comes with a skill point!
- spend it on your first turn before you do anything
- I like to spend it on Enlightenment; a stronger hero makes the army stronger

5. Save skill points when you are about to hit lvl 5 or 15
- by saving a points, you get get 2+ tier 2/3 skills at lvl 5/15 instead of only 1
- tier 2/3 skills are usually much better than tier1

6. Use your second hero as a mule
- concentrate your army in one hero for the first few weeks, and have your secondary hero be the mule which concentrates solely on picking up loose resources
- your main hero should only pick up artifacts and treasure chests for experience
- when you have 2+ towns, should you have 3 heroes

7. Initial trait: resources, tarot card or money
- I normally always go the 5 extra resources; money is always plentiful, and the tarot card doesn't seem to make a big difference

8. For those that don't read (which is moot b/c then they wouldn't read this), the "Mass" spells or abilities are normally 1/3 the strength of single target spells.
- normally I only cast "mass" spells when there are 4 or more creatures it will affect otherwise it isn't really worth it


PvE Scenarios

I was reading (yes! Its been a busy month or so) Hunter's entry and he talks about WoW's own interpretation of public quests. I personally haven't read up too much about WoW's new expansion, mostly b/c I don't intend on playing it and thus don't care, but the descriptor of "PvE Scenarios" piqued my interest.

Instead of having PQ's that was an amazing way to tell a story and get people to work together without knowing it, (that eventually dwindled due to high emphasis on pvp in WAR), what happens when you make it something you queue for in an instanced situation? It adds a new layer to the game that creates a fun, engaging environment; I loved PQs in WAR and am very glad its being translated into all MMOs now, but was disappointed when they werent being used in higher levels.

By making people queue for an instanced PQ, you get the necessary amount of people that can do something they enjoy doing. The drawback being is that it is instanced and not part of the game world and that you need to possibly wait a few minutes for one to pop is a small price to pay. Countless times in WAR, when you're in even tier 3, the pve area is deserted; everyone was in the pvp area where the rewards were much greater.

I believe in most mmo's these days, the rewards are greatest in pvp closely followed by raid rewards. Although PvE Instanced (PQ) rewards would be quite lower than either of those, I would still be greatly interested in taking part in that and would be my main source of recreation


Serenity Now

I had written a huge paragraph rant of all the unfair things that are frustrating me to all hell, and then I look at that photo of mine.. and can't help to feel better. Thanks. 

I was a bit saddened when I realized that these great photos of my first photoshoot cannot be printed and displayed prominently. Because its of a pretty girl that isn't my girlfriend. And must be relegated to a portfolio instead. I wanted to display is proudly like a CEO that framed a dollar of their first sale of their new business.


Does Not Compute

This is why I don't like the growing trend of needing to be connected constantly to be able to play PC games.
There is nothing wrong with my internet, and there is nothing programmed wrong with my settings (firewalls, virus protection)that is causing me not to enjoy a game that I rightfully paid for. Its the companies server that is down (pssst this isn't an mmo). And the user suffers because of that?


Heroes 6 by the way is amazing, but not liking the constant connection requirement.


Jasey Rae Photo Session

Had a fantastic day today. Had my first official photo shoot.

7+ hours.
595 photos.
Strobes, umbrellas, lights.
Makeup, curling irons, heels.
Countless outfits.

I learned a few things today:
- you should know your model; special features, tattoos, personality
- lighting is so critical; without it, you shouldn't waste your time (or your options are limited)
- have a large mental repertoire of angles and posed you want your model to do

- clean your surroundings; no loose pop cans or containers that distract the eye
- watch out for loose backdrops; they tend to get rumpled and will be a distraction too
- bring snacks and drinks
- bring a fan; to cool you, your model and provide an air source for flying hair
- extension cords are important
- bring all your lens; I found zoom lens were much more versatile than prime
- get that 'ladder-box' so you can change your angle of shot
- bring music! something to get your model going
- be vocal, give praise loudly and coach your model in doing positive things
- use the time when the model is being prepared by the makeup artist to get the lights and next set ready

Will be posting more photos here, but the bulk on my Deviant Art website.
Hope you're all having a great weekend too! 


Matrix Pre-loaded

Not much happening these days... tried to pre-load Heroes: Might and Magic 6 last night... woke up this morning to find it somehow stopped and was downloading at a blazing fast speed of 30kb/s.... And when I tried to resume today, it had forgotten I downloaded 4gigs and started from the beginning. Fannnnntastic

Hopefully will have good news on Monday; will be doing a studio photoshoot with a model and makeup artist on Saturday.. ill post some good ones.


Insomnia part 2

I gave Deus Ex:Human Revolution an honest attempt but I've found out that its not my type of game, and that is unfortunate, b/c it is a great game. I imagine that if you like games such as Splinter Cell or Assassin's Creed, it would be up your alley. It made me realize, and my best friend reminded me of it, that i'm more of a berzerker than a ninja.
A kamikaze!
I may have light footsteps and am quiet but the similarities stop there; I don't have the patience in Deus Ex (and maybe games in general) to wait and just watch an opponent. I want to run in there and get my hands dirty. It also sucks that when you do trigger an alarm in the game, you need to be extremely precise and not go wild with you ammo. I'd come in guns blazing, ready with a melee weapon when everything is exhausted.  
I totally understand this comic now.
I didn't like how the game guided you to expand your skills to be stealthy and a hacker, while there were boss fights that required you to have alot of toughness, big weapons, or play very craftey and wear down the opponent. Its funny; even on the easiest difficulty in DE:HR, you will die after being shot about 5 times, and about the same for normal (armored)enemies. But then you face the boss, which just means they are more augmented (see: less flesh, more metal) and they will take 10+ shots to the head of a shotgun.

I think ill just stick with waiting for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.


I was reading Bronte's article on heirlooms in WoW and it got me thinking..

1. Do you like the idea of heirlooms in games?
I think its a cool idea but a character shouldn't be fully equipped with them. One or two pieces, per character, max, should a character have. It would be better if we could start with a heirloom item right from character creation.
My Heirloom
2. How would you like it implemented?
Quest-based. Every milestone (5/10 levels) you'd need to do an interesting personal story quest that would enable your heirloom to contine to grow in strength.
Experience-based. Wearing the gear while gaining experience would be tracked and would increase in strength. Experience could be meeting certain requirements (kill 10 bears while equipped, or completed "named" quest, defeat boss of this dungeon). Being that alot of us are achievement oriented, this would be something we'd do.

3. If you had a choice, would you heirloom a weapon or armor?
I would heirloom... a weapon.


The Last Day

Since it feels like I haven't blogged in ages.. another one..
When I went to the Toronto Fan Expo a month or so ago, it was the same day that my girl friend ended up in the hospital. It wasn't life-threatening, but still pretty serious. I wanted to get her something that would cheer her up ... and I ended up getting fleeced. You think its a good deal, but then you go to some Chinese strip mall and they have the same thing for 70% cheaper... guh.


(Woah look at this; a non-MTG entry! There should be less now that it released and I tried Deus Ex, so maybe ill write about that later)

Reading Spinks' article on grinding and it made me think of my gf who simply, has played more mmos than you and me (its a really high number). In these mmos include both free to play and subscription-based mmos. I've never liked the FTP ones as i've found it incredibly repetitive and grindey.

What was triggered when I read Spinks' article is the allure of grinding: its constantly winning.

Think of it; if there are no 'greater' purposes to the game (say questing, or pvp)other than grinding your levels, then making sure you survive and get to high levels is basically winning.

I now understand grinding.