Monday, February 22, 2010

Massively Mean Out-Raged Pissy Gil

een somewhat busy these last couple of days. The Job That Feeds has needed me for more than my regular hours, and the wife and I have undergone a bombardment of roller-derby-related chicanery in preparation for the new season.

Ah, derby. We love you, we really do. But those of you outside the phenomenon may be unaware of its participants' need to talk about derby and talk about it and talk about it and talk about it and talk about it and talk about it and talk about it AND TALK ABOUT IT and I just need to keep reminding myself that you are roller derby, and not a mass multiplayer online role-playing game. Which was our previous activity that burrowed its head in our lives to suck away precious hours and expand... and expand...

I got The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for Xmas from my dad, because it's his favorite game and he wanted me to enjoy it too. Heck, gives us something to talk about, too. When I can put away a few hours a night to put some time into it, I really do enjoy it. But my wife wants to know why I play Oblivion after leaving Final Fantasy XI Online back in April (and officially in December) in a cloud of torn-out hair and ferocious expletives that would make Satan beg The Pope for forgiveness. Likely I'll be sleeping on the couch tonight for posting what I'm about to, which sucks because the couches haven't arrived in the house yet. Deep breath... flame shields up... buy my figures, please.

I got us FFXI Online as an engagement present. For my PC and for my PS2, so we could play together. After all, I had burned a like number of hours of non-online games, so what would be the problem? And for the first year or so, I had a ball with Final Fantasy Online. She was a warrior, and I was her back-up mage. We made a lot of decent friends in the game as well- some of whom we met in person- and had a great time some evenings. The world was gorgeous to run through. And no horseshit, Wang- the Japanese make some of the coolest-ever monsters. The Yagudo, the Quadav, and the Evil Weapons are all well-designed and exotic beasts, and a welcome change of pace from the wolves and bats (bad example, FFXI has bats too) we Westerners have been encountering over and over again in our RPG's for the last decade or so. I enjoyed my time as both Dark Knight and Bard, and got to Levels 70 and 45 in them respectively. Shadowspawn, Siiri, Tolilli, Vrrlyrr, Lakina, Valkeira, Ravenna, Tyvin, Kasandaro, Clanmira, Wendie, Dyunami, Thecheat, Zzane, Neobubu, Piedimus... and I know I'm forgetting some folks, and I'm sorry about that. But I'm happy to have met and to know all of you.

NOW THEN: factor in a sub-job system that sounds great on paper and blows chow in the game world (TRY getting into a party as a Warrior/White mage). Real-money traders. Spending a real-life hour walking from your character's house to the Auction and back. "Easy prey" monsters that cost you 95% of your hp, your mana, and your once-every-two-hours-get-me-out-of-here! power. No way to find out who you're supposed to kill or where you're supposed to go without a hint book or a website. Only one dedicated healing job- party formation is a bitch. An over-reliance on buying expensive potions in order to sneak and hide your way to EXP camps- excuse me, this is a dungeon crawl. I myself want to hack and kill everything in sight. So sue me for growing up with Gauntlet.

The inability to do anything by yourself after Level 20 (playing a job you like, beastmasters). Spending 50 levels learning to fight as part of a unit only to square off against a final boss you ironically must fight alone. Fighting crabs for damn near that whole time, because they're the easiest species for a group to fight. Links. Trains. Linking trains. Postponing real-life engagements or sleep because either you can't conveniently log off, or someone in your party needs "just 3000 more exp". Unforgiving drop rates- and not just the notorious monsters. The weenie rabble you see everywhere are no less stingy. I once spent two hours in a party trying to get "anima" or some dumb shit off mobs in Promathia to no avail, and my wife got angry with me when I got up and started cleaning the house. Which reminds me: a notable increase in arguments with my wife. Are games supposed to do that...?

Deleveling. Losing experience points when you die and having to get them back. More than once, I'd nod off from the repetition of one-click combat, and a Burnt Steak Tough Ogre Warlord would tiptoe up to my character, crush him in two hits, and steal away that 400 xp I'd spent three long hours pounding out of bats and goblins. Some of the worst dungeon designs ever- seriously, Square Enix: drop-offs...? And not tall ones, either: small ones which only come up to your character's waist that you can't see until you've fallen down them. And the only way to get around them is to return to the start of the dungeon. My Dark Knight had a Strength of 90, but he couldn't hoist himself up a ledge the height of a dry bar. He just helplessly runs at it because he can't jump and there's no spell in the game that lets you do that. Oh wait, my bad: there's a Tractor spell. No wait- you have to be dead first. "Oh, you walked off the curb of the aqueduct, and you can't walk back up?" I wish I was goddamned kidding. "Well, shit. The five of us can't pull you up. Your best course of action is to go find a giant death moth and let it kill you. It's only right that you lose experience points for such naivete and recklessness."

And of course, other players in the game who- unaware of what good games are- think that these are all exemplary examples of state-of-the-art gameplay. And they aren't afraid to tell you so. I realize you guys ejaculate over the idea of experience point penalties (I think I just came myself) and that you believe doing whatever one wants to do in a ROLE. PLAYING. game is to be stringently enforced, but gosh Davey: having to repeat what you just spent three hours doing through no fault of your own is SHIT.

...Sit down. This is not your cue to recommend to me World of Warcraft, or City Of Heroes, or any number of over-populated time-sucking internet circles of Hell. I am done with MMORPGs. Between both AMPUTHEATRE, Chenille Macabre, and something called a "life", I do not want to play another game I am powerless to turn off when I need to. The only thing I want to hear about MMORPG's is if you have a character from them that you would like me to build for you. THAT, I will happily do.

In the meantime, I will play Oblivion and make FFXI players jealous as I swing at a goblin, and step back before his sword connects with me. Wow, such shitty gameplay.

Come back, roller derby- all is forgiven.

Etsy Dark Teammate Emme Toaye suggested that the Death Addict Mini I built a few weeks ago needed a girlfriend. So here she is:

The Chaos Grrl Mini with Straight Razor is now available in the store! She wasn't easy to build. so I gave her the "Deluxe" moniker. Ladies are trickier than guys, of course. Buy her today!

Gonna go sign up for a few more shows. Thanks for listening to me vent. Can I borrow your couch?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


ell, that's all set. I've just signed up for five time slots at SIMCON 2010 at the University of Rochester, which is going down on March 26-28. My time slots are Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm, and Sunday 12:00pm to go the hell home you pipe cleaner-weaving idiot and take these blood-starved buffoons with you. So come on down. (I'm also holding a game this Friday (Feb. 12th) at Millennium Games, starting at around 7pm or so.)

By the time SIMCON rolls around, I hope to have a decent set of figures, cards, boards and pieces for it. I'm making everything slightly smaller to accommodate the wonderful, generous souls who have purchased my AMPUTHEATRE figures from the Etsy site. And you as well- all you gotta do is shop there. Bring your figures on down, and join in the fracas!

I'm putting the finishing touches on an all-new AMPUTHEATRE board. It's called The Green Inferno (a Cannibal Holocaust reference, but you knew that) and it's an arena of General Ghebembwe's design. The evil vampire dictator forces his captives into a large jungle plain, replete with poisonous frogs, spitting vipers, and siafu- lots AND LOTS of siafu. Then the General surrounds the field in fire. Pictures forthcoming, once I build one more Device Trap for it.

Okay, gonna make more crap now (twenty-four Slashers and counting!) See you at SIMCON!