Too Many Games!

Or not enough time?

Long time no write!  I hadn’t had anything really to sort out or talk about that couldn’t be summed up in one or two 140-character posts, and this takes more time than tweeting all the things… though if I’d realized I’d probably have written something last month.

Anyways, I was going to tweet this too, then realized I wouldn’t be able to get all my thoughts out easily on the tweetscape, and the blog was a better location.  Then I saw how long it had been since I wrote something and figured now is as good a time as any!  But on to the actual topic…

This morning I found out that WoW patch 6.2 is due out on Tuesday.  My first thought, unlike patches past, wasn’t “Finally!” but “Wait, now?  But I don’t feel ready for it.”  Where I looked forward to other patches with anticipation, this time I just felt trepidation and disintrest.

The past couple months, despite my original plans to log in once a week for the garrison, I actually haven’t touched WoW at all.  I’m still having fun in Star Trek, though I admit I’m settling into a grind a bit or alt-itis, which I think may have been part of my problem with WoW in the end.  I finally got to experience the full hardcore, er, experience in WoW and it was killing my enjoyment of the game trying to keep up with all the alts and garrisons and everything, on top of Mythic raiding. (As a side note, I was surprised to find the guild I had been running with is still 8/10M… I thought they would have cleared Blackrock by now.) On top of that, I’d been playing WoW for 6-7 years straight, and not touched other games much during that apart from my last break during 5.4’s year-long content drought.

My plan had been to go back to WoW on 6.2, but a bit more casually, but now that it’s here, I kind of don’t want to.  At the same time, I kind of do just so I don’t fall too far behind.  I also don’t know who I’ll want to run with – I’m not interested in Mythic this time around really, but I’m already kitted out pretty much at Normal level.  I know my previous raid team is probably going to hit Heroic, plow through that, and start Mythic, while from what I see the other guild I was running with hasn’t made much progress on Heroic Blackrock, so they’ll probably be running Normals.  There’s folks I like running with on both teams, but one is more hardcore than I’d like(and I’m bound to be rusty anyways after a couple months off) and the other doesn’t seem like it’d be too worthwhile if they haven’t made that much progress by now.

Basically, I get enough stress already from work and life in general, and adding the Mythic Server First lifestyle just kills my enjoyment.  It’s not the competition, so much as progressing my character and running with folks that I like.  Given that, Clearing Heroic is about the right speed I think for me, and any Mythic fights after that are just bonus. the problem is one guild is higher than that, and the other is lower, and there’s folks I like in both, and no other guilds really out there.  I do like the two day a week raid schedule for the weaker of the two though.

There is another guild or two I could probably run with, but I only know a couple people in them, and I don’t know their schedules.  They’re on other servers too, so Mythic would be out of the question without forking over cash for transfers.

I’ve got a lot I want to do still in Star Trek though!  I have some tweaks to do to my main’s build, and I got a lot of stuff to do to get my Gorn’s carrier built out.  I’ve also got a planned build for my Romulan Dinaes HDD, but I kind of want to do that on a different toon I just created recently.  On top of those, I just made a Talaxian pirate queen that I want to level up, and the summer event is still going on.  Besides gathering resources for all those, I’m also trying to save up so I can get an upcoming ship 3-pack that was leaked, as well as a pilot ship for my Romulan character that’s currently flying the HDD.

Adding to that, there’s folks I basically only see once a week now in Second Life, and land that I used to share that I’ve barely been able to fund in-game.  I’ve barely touched it as I haven’t been spending time there like I used to, and have been thinking of letting it go.  Would be nice to poke on there a bit more, but first WoW, and then Star Trek has eaten my time for that.

To add another activity to the pile, I just found out there was another official campaign released for Shadowrun Returns, and I still haven’t played through the second one yet!  I still need to do that at some point.

I also meant to play Civilization: Beyond Earth at some point because of fond memories of Alpha Centauri, but have yet to buy it.

Add all this on top of work and my weekly gaming group, and there ain’t enough hours in the day!

I think my main issue at this point is how I’m going to break down time between Star Trek and WoW mostly, since the rest is all stuff that is already in limbo pretty much.  Going more casual with WoW will help with that, and to that end I’m probably going to have to neglect most of my alts, and set limited goals for WoW to keep it contained. Basically focus on things like unlocking flying and checking out the new Garrison Campaign and Tanaan Jungle. See if that rekindles my enjoyment of WoW while I zoom around the galaxy.

There’s only one problem then.  How, with all of this, am I going to find the time to do any writing on the stories I have bouncing around in my head?

All we need is time, time, time…. time is all we need

So I’ve been trying to get this written for the past several days, but kept pushing it back since I didn’t have enough time with all the other things going on.  It seems to be something you can only ever have too little of or too much of; and once it’s spent, it’s gone.  All sales are final, no refunds or exchanges allowed.  As we only have a finite amount of time in this existence, that’s why we have to decide on what we actually want to spend it on.  Thus, the concept of opportunity cost and so on.

While I didn’t plan this to be my original topic, I actually think this might be worth further expounding on a bit, as it leads into what I was originally wanting to talk about.

Basically, opportunity cost is something people will tend to ignore quite a bit, especially in MMO games, and almost certainly in F2P/microtransaction-based ones.  Heck, I’ve done it myself in WoW.

The Auction House in WoW is a living example of this.  I used to play the auction house for a while, and I know when I crafted something and tried to sell it I usually compared it to the cost of the mats when pricing things.  If it went below the cost of the mats, I sold the mats instead.  There are enough people out there that do not do this however that sellers have complained for ages.

You see, for some people, they might spend 5 hours mining(this is all pre-WoD) and gather a bunch of stuff, craft it, then throw it up.  They get undercut, so they super-undercut to try and sell their stuff first, with the end result of the market for that item “crashing” to the point the major sellers either leave it alone, or buy up all the cheap items to reset the value and resell them.  The original seller though?  He didn’t care, because he considers all the materials he mined “free” since he didn’t spend gold on it, so any gold is profit.  What he neglects to account for is the 5 hours he spent gathering it, when he could have been doing something else like running dungeons or old raids.  heck, beyond a certain point he might have made more gold just doing that instead of mining and crafting.

Until recently, this was less obvious as gold in WoW did not have a (legal) fixed value in real money.  With the time tokens available now however, that gold can be quantified against the money you actually make working.

Now working is something we have to do whether we want to or not, at least in the US.  We give up some of our limited time in exchange for the resources to do all the other things we actually want to do.  Still, say you make $15/hour working a specific job.  That means you can quantify an hour of your time as $15, just for arguments sake.

Now a month of sub time for WoW is $15.  Last I heard, a sub token costs around 22k gold, so there’s a rough equivalency there.  So, if you were doing it purely for gold gain and had other things you would have preferred to do with that time, paying real money for X that was around 22k might be a better deal than trying to farm and craft it yourself.  Of course, this also doesn’t factor in that there’s other competition for your work money, and that there’s still a limited amount of time spent working, compared to time spent doing something else.  If you work your MMO gaming like a job though(and not enjoying it) and aren’t making the equivalent of your work salary?  Well, you’re just plain doing it wrong, by the numbers.

Note also that you can’t get the money back out of the game(unless you’re looking at Second Life) – once it’s sunk into the game, it’s gone, period, and you’re left with whatever you got back from it e.g. gear, enjoyment, etc.

Now WoW has added the follower mini-game in WoD, which allows for offline progression.  For example you might spend 5 minutes logging in and setting up missions, and then spend 5 minutes later that day collecting 500 gold(or more, depending on follower traits).  There usually tends ot be little bits of dead time here and there in people’s schedules(such as eating breakfast before work) so you can take advantage of things like this without much of an opportunity cost.

Now WoW is sub-based, in that you need to pay every so often to keep access to the game, so if you’re not having fun, most folks would cancel their subscription or just stop playing. F2P games on the other hand don’t have that barrier.

Instead they have Microtransactions.  Little things here and there that can add up to the cost of a sub or (much!) more. Say there’s a “Gotta-have” item in the cash store.  Someone might look at it and go “$10?  Pff, this is a free game, I’m not paying that!” and then spend 10 hours grinding some currency to use instead for the same thing.  Without that initial barrier, many people won’t even look at how long something might take, but instead just grind it in an effort to keep it “free” while spending way too much time on it.  On top of that, some games(especially Korean-originated ones) turn that grind up to 11 to try to entice these people into paying instead without (quite) driving them off.

In other words, take a good long look at how long it might take you to get something in-game, and if you really want it, before trying to grind it out when playing F2Ps.  It might be a much better use of your limited time, if you can afford it, to reward the developers with a bit of cash, as long as you don’t go overboard and turn into a whale throwing their entire bank account at a game that could potentially disappear within a few years.

That said, it brings me back to the more personal part of what I was wanting to talk about, Star Trek Online.  F2P, and I started playing it a bit a month or two ago during some WoW downtime, as I believe I mentioned before.  Well I’m enjoying it enough and WoW little enough that my limited non-work time has gotten totally flipped around!

Before, I was spending most of my idle time in WoW trying to find things to do and doing my few-times-per-day/week “chores” for more resources.  A few weeks ago now I actually totally stopped logging into WoW except for raid nights, and the last couple I’ve actually not even done that – I just logged into the battle.net client to see if they needed me to fill out the 20 spots.

It’s kinda funny.  Raiding with Prestige was fun, but as we got deeper into Mythic, the pressure and stress just kept building to keep performing at peak constantly.  It was still a good rush to get a new boss down ahead of everyone, and even bigger to get a Server First on a Mythic end boss, but the push and pressure to try and get it down ahead of everyone were making me start to dread raid nights.  I could see that performance-wise, while I was never top material, I was getting towards the bottom compared to the excellent players already on the raid team.  While I’m fairly sure we’d still get them down with me there, there was an impression, whether mine or among certain people, that I might be holding them back from staying on top.

My mindset in raiding has always been to push progression, but at the same time to focus on our own and ignore what everyone else’s progression is.  Compete only with ourselves.  While when I started running with them that may or may not have been the main mindset, with how long we stayed on top of the listings it seems to have taken over in large part, especially among leadership.  That’s not what I’m playing for(though it is an ego boost) and I just plain wasn’t having fun with it anymore. Still, I was showing up because I knew we were short on players and I had implicitly agreed to be there.  Recruiting has been working out better recently however, which has allowed me to start stepping away from the game finally, especially since I have other things I can do now(like STO).

The main downside has been getting people I know to play!  With WoW, there’s multiple people there I know, but STO was a blank slate in that regard.  A large part of the game there for me is the story missions which are easily single player, but when I went in to try and pug for the first time I found myself missing having guildmates or othersuch on vent to coordinate with and learn all these instances.  I was able to stick with the easiest one since I was just farming it for marks, but eventually I’ll want to see the others.

At least there’s maybe 3 people I know RL I’ve gotten to give it a look, so if they like it and stick around that would be a start.

Either way, with STO it’s all still fairly fresh, and I’m mostly enjoying even the grinds still.  When it started to feel a bit annoying to do one(such as when I was grinding Tholian marks on Nukara) it’s easy enough to just hop over to do something else for a bit.  Since it’s almost all time-gated, once you get a certain amount of buffer you can just keep it to a minimum, or grind it out in one big go(like I mostly did with Nukara).

To bring my earlier points into this though, STO actually has a very leniant implementation of F2P.  Paying for just a race unlock(for cosmetic reasons – busty feline captain ahoy!) and using just the free stuff I was able to hit level cap and play though most of the content.  I could have kept on going, but I’ve taken a “time-out” from following the story to beef up my main’s ship and gear.

Needing pay content and wanting pay content, however, are two very different things, as shown by my race unlock.  Looking around, it’s easy to see how you can spend a lot of money in that game, even if none of it is required.  Cosmetic options, “gambling” for gear via the lockbox-key system, and the highest end ships are all behind the paywall, as well as unlocking additional slots for inventory, bridge officers, followers, and so on.  Skill respecs are even nominally behind it.

At first glance, it looks like a lot.  However, there’s a time-gated in-game currency that’s tradeable for the cash shop currency in much the same way as WoW’s time tokens – one person buys the cash shop currency, then trades it for the time-limited currency to speed things up(since it’s tied to a lot).  Most of the prices are low enough that you can get what you want after a couple weeks of just playing normally.You see, this currency may be time-gated in how fast you get it, but you get it from doing almost anything in the game, and you can buffer it up!  Right now I have enough that if I did nothing but log in for 5 seconds to refine it, I wouldn’t have to do anything else for 2 weeks to use up my stockpile.  On top of that, the limit is per-character, so the more alts you play, the faster you can get the currency and the less time it takes – although to be fair, at that point it might turn into more grind than fun beyond a certain point.

Pretty much the only thing that takes a huge amount of time is new ships.  Given this is Star trek, the makers know that’s the high demand item, and it’s priced appropriately – $20-$30 for a high end ship.  Using the exchange I was talking about? 3-4 months with only a single character’s limit. Obviously that scales down with multiple alts, but as I’m new and don’t have the “alt support structure” I have on WoW, that’s outside the scope of what I was looking at for myself.

They also have regular sales of 15-20% off, which helps as well.  So this past weekend I took advantage of that to dump around $60 into the game, since my “entertainment” budget for this month had barely been scratched.  In fact, the only other expense on it was paying for one month sub for STO, as it unlocks a LOT more stuff that you normally have to pay a lot more for separately. Even better, you get to keep almost all of it when you go back F2P, and if I resub later, the character-based benefits will also apply retroactively.

Basically STO, while it may have its own issues with power creep and has a lot of monetization, is also extremely fair to the casual player and nowhere near “pay-to-win” in my books.  I chose to give them some cash, as I was enjoying the game and helps make sure the game continues – and I shouldn’t need to spend any more in the near future as I get more established and better able to take advantage of things like the cash shop exchange.

As to what I’m going to be using the money I put in for?  I’ve got my eye on a couple ships, and last year around this time they had a 15-20% off ship sale…

Star Trekkin’

So there hasn’t been any posts in a while.  It hasn’t been because I forgot about it, but I haven’t had anything lengthy to pontificate on recently.  Twitter is actually covering a lot of my “Here’s this cool thing!” and “Random thought about X” and if you want, you can follow that at https://twitter.com/LlewelynDekafox/ . But what’s been going on since my last post?

Well, I hate to say it but WoW has finally fallen into “chore” mode for me due to a couple things.  One of those reasons is actually a lack of things to do, which is what a lot of people are complaining about.

First a little history.  From when I started playing near end of BC, I had an obvious main and maybe one or two alts.  Near the end of Cata however, there wasn’t a lot and it was so easy to catch up that the number of alts I had exploded!  basically, I finished everything on my main for the most part, so I was just doing achievements and alts.

In MoP I had to abandon a lot of my alts because with all the dailies it was very alt-unfriendly at the start, and that set the tone for me for the rest of the xpac.  The only alts that leveled up were my profession mules.

With WoD, I initially did the same, but I “finished” most everything I cared about by 6.1.  All 6.1 added for me were the new missions and some pets, and I had my followers set up and got all the pets on the first week.  We were working on BRF still, but there wasn’t as much to do outside raids.  With the heirloom changes, I figured I’d level up an alt or two, and kit them out for gold making.  With the new gold-making trait on followers, with enough you can make quite a bit that way.

Right now, I have 8 100s, 2 more in their 90s, and a level 30 paladin.

Playing in “alt mode” wasn’t something that was a thing for me until end of Cata, but I’m already there now.  Everything is done on my main except Mythic boss kills and I’m starting to get tired of that.. not to mention that we’re starting to hit bosses that may be beyond my skill level.  I’m doing fine with mechanics but I’m not hitting the DPS numbers of some of the other folk in the raid.

And speaking of that gold making?  I’m basically logging in 3-4 times a day just to do missions and keep my buildings stocked, on every one of those 100s.

I didn’t mind the garrison and alt stuff quite as much until I hit the second factor making me want to take a break: Star Trek Online.

About a month ago, right before 6.1 launch I checked again and found it worked under WINE finally, so I loaded up their version of Steam and installed the thing.  I started a Romulan and played part of the tutorial over the weekend, but dind’t complete it before Tuesday and patch day rolled around for WoW.  After that I was busy like I mentioned above up until this weekend.  I wasn’t feeling like playing alts on Saturday, so I started it up to let it patch and found out there was a deal going on for cash-store races and services.

Now part of what made me look at it to begin with was the Caitian race being playable.  The first time I found it was a pay-to-unlock race, and I wasn’t sure it’d run under WINE so I gave it a pass.  When I tried it that first weekend and enjoyed what I did of the Romulan, I tried to buy the cash shop currency and couldn’t.  Turned out you had to complete the tutorial first before you could.

Personally, I think that’s a very good thing, as it avoids issues with brand new players throwing a bunch of money, then bitching and leaving when it turns out completely different from what they expected.  Still, the promotion was to end Monday, so I had to finish the tutorial by the end of the weekend.

I picked it back up pretty quick and got through it, and found I liked it.  Some of it felt like Star Trek episodes, and others felt like Star Fleet Command aka Star Fleet Battles. So I threw the minimum amount of zeny on there and unlocked the Caitian race.

First thing though was I found myself disappointed in the lack of “hair” styles.  You either go pure fuzz, or tied back in one of three different ways, so I went with the one that was most hair-like as a “close-enough”  I then spent a little while crafting a uniform and look for her that I found I liked immensely.

Though Tactical was the best fit, I dithered a bit on making her because my Romie was already Tactical, and I wanted one of each.  I’d found as a pleasent surprise that Gorn were playable, though with the Klingons instead of on their own or with the Feddies, so a Gorn science captain was a no-brainer for me.  It took some tweaking through to get a uniform and build I was satisfied with.

Then I noticed I’d have one more character slot available, so I made another Romulan as a Engy captain, so I could make M’Rel as a tactical branch captain, like I intended since she was acting as a stand-in for my chakat character.

I only got a little ways into the Fed tutorial, but I’m finding myself excited to play STO and wanting to continue playing through all the story content.  I’m really liking M’Rel as a character(and may swap her in somewhere on the Chakatverse stories, if I can just get them written) and there’s still the Gorn character too… and playing the new Romie with the new Delta event stuff active.

And then I look at WoW and I’ve got alts that I don’t care for(since I’m scraping the bottom of the alt barrel) and the daily garrison chore, which actually feels like a chore now since I’d rather be cruising the galaxy with my busty catgirl captain.  Even my rogue alt, which I had been enjoying solo stuff with, I’m finding myself not wanting to go do anything with.

And then there’s the whole raid issue.

At the same time though, we’re still low on people on our Mythic team currently so I need to be there to hole-fill or else they may not be able to fill to make the attempts on the Mythic bosses we’re working on.  I also want to keep building gold for upcoming content, so I can’t totally abandon my garrisons.  Doing a mission check also makes a nice time-filler for the times when I’ve got like an hour to kill, since STO stuff is supposed to take 45 minutes to an hour(emulating Star Trek episodes) which would be cutting it too close on those time gaps.

End result is I want to play STO, but I don’t want to abandon WoW which means I gotta get the “chores” done.  I’ve already pushed back some farming that I needed to do to fill buildings since it takes an hour per character to get enough for 2 weeks, and I’d rather be star trekkin across the universe.

I also don’t see myself going full hardcore on STO like I have been in WoW.  With the F2P/microtransaction structure, it’s either heavy grind for certain things like some ships, or you pull out the credit card.  I unlocked the one race I was willing to pay for(though the Lyran knock-offs on the Klingon side were tempting) and I may buy a single ship or two at some point in the future, but to really min-max and compete you either gotta no-life-grind currently, or gotta go full whale, neither of which interests me.  Still, with the age of the game there should be plenty of story for me to see without doing that.

If WoW was considered my wife, STO would be the secret mistress in the condo that I sneak off to and try to break bedsprings with.

On top of that, there’s still Second Life sitting around too.  Unlike the last time I kinda left it, I’m still logging in weekly for the fishing and to pay rent on my(and formerly Kaitlyn’s) parcel.  I’m not really doing much with it currently, but between work, WoW, and STO, I’m having trouble finding time and interest to get to it.  I’ve got enough Lindens to keep it around a while still, even if fishing doesn’t happen to refill my wallet, and I get to see the folks again, but if my L keeps dropping I may need to find someone else to share land with.  I want to keep the kitties out, since Kaitlyn loved the little things, but there needs to be space for them to be out for that.

So that’s my gaming dilemma; keeping all these balls up in the air.  Once I get far enough in STO though, I may post a pic of M’Rel and her current command at that point. We’ll see.

My pen and paper group is getting close to wrapping up one of the campaigns we’ve been doing.  I actually got art of my character from that one a little while back, as I’ve used her in a couple Pathfinder campaigns now.

A kitsune gypsy, who uses the powers of the Great Old Ones against evil.

A kitsune gypsy, who uses the powers of the Great Old Ones against evil.

I would like to play her in Pathfinder Society someday, but the con we’ve gone to that runs it we missed this year, and the place here that runs it locally does so on a raid night.

I think that’s it for now.  Can’t think of anything else that I’d like to write about the moment, so signing off!

Best description of the US economy ever

I normally don’t write about this stuff, but this quote was posted on a private forum on a Transformers board I frequent, and it was too good not to share.  Since I can’t link to the actual post to share it, I’ll share it here!

The entire concept of trade, of capitalism, is the efficient allocation of resources. That it’s only marginally more difficult for me to build two or three tables than it was to build one, and that it’s only marginally more difficult for you to find and cook food for two people than it is to find and cook food for one, so I’ll give you my second table in exchange for you giving me a few meals. That’s barter.

But barter is a pain in the ass because trying to track down who’s willing to trade something you need for something you have a surplus of is really hard. So instead of barter, we had this rare, shiny stuff that we used as tokens to represent the nebulous concept of “value.” Which worked a lot better than barter, most of the time, but it had its own problems—sometimes there weren’t enough tokens to go around, or new tokens were going into the system too quickly and made the tokens everyone had less valuable, or people made fake tokens, or people tried to remove some of the rare stuff from those tokens and sell it separately while still presenting the token at the value it was originally set to represent.

So instead of tokens made from rare shiny stuff, or even tokens representing rare stuff stored somewhere, we figured out that it works better to just make cheap (but very, VERY difficult to fake) tokens that we can just make more of whenever we need more, backed by the credibility of the people who make those tokens instead of relying on the perceived value of a scarce substance. And we still try to ask for some of those tokens back, because making too many of them to pay for everything without trying to take any back hurts our credibility as the people backing them, devaluing the tokens much like too much of the rare shiny stuff devalued the tokens. Which is fine, that’s an easy enough system to manage (aside from where it’s really complicated and difficult to predict consequences of things)… as long as you know what you’re trying to accomplish.

Unfortunately, there’s a bunch of people out there with a lot of tokens who aren’t very nice. They derive their self-worth from the tokens, and not just how many tokens they have, but how many more they have than other people. They view how many tokens people give them as indicative of how much those other people respect them. They view the fact that they have tokens as proof of their inherent moral superiority to the people who don’t have tokens. They view their possession of tokens as evidence of all the hard work they’ve done, even though their parents had a lot of tokens too and that helped put them in a position to get all those tokens. They view anyone trying to take their tokens with suspicion. But worst of all, they use the fact that they have a lot of tokens as part of their resumé when they demand they should have the job of managing that token-making system, even though they’ve spent their entire life operating as though tokens are still that representation of a concrete scarce object and have no idea how to deal with it as an abstract representation of value.

So when one of those people gets into a position where they have a say over how the token-making is done… they tend to do very bad things with it. They freak out over the fact that we’re creating more tokens than we collect, even though a small amount of devaluation of those tokens over time helps to forgive people’s debts and encourage people to use their tokens more often. They freak out over the fact that we’re taking people’s tokens because taking things from people without giving them something they specifically asked for or doing something for them that they specifically asked to have done is mean. And they object to all the things we’re doing that benefit everyone, like making sure the roads are in decent condition and that people can go to the doctor if they feel sick, because they could just spend their tokens if they needed that and if anyone else wants those things, those people should have to spend just as many tokens as they have to.

Essentially, they forget that the point of those tokens isn’t to exist as their scorecard, their representation of self-worth, but to *facilitate the exchange of goods and services.*

So let’s all remember what the point of all these tokens are for!

Digital Doppelgangers

I’m actually in a rather bemused state of mind as I write this.  You see, I recently got some arts(which I’ll post at the end of this) and I usually make a habit of backtracking on people who fav or watch me on FA to see if they have anything favorited or submitted that I might want to fav and save.  Especially recently, when I was looking for chakat artists, and found not very many that had an artstyle I liked.

To digress, a good way I’ve found to find artists of a particular subject matter is find notable furries(or popufurs I guess is the slang) of that type and see who they commissioned.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t think it’s a bad thing that some artists give “popufurs” free art – it acts as free advertising!

Anyways, as I was about to close out, I saw a porn piece with a very familiar-looking chakat in it, so I followed it up.  On closer examination, it looked almost exactly like my chakat character, but the name was different!  There was no link to any account however, but now I was wondering if someone had taken my arts and rebranded them as theirs; especially since that chakat’s name was fairly close in nomenclature to mine.

This actually happens more of then than you might think in the furry world, though more often it’s someone claiming to be an artist that drew such rather than stealing the character, but character theft has been known to happen before.  Let me finish the story though before I get into what I want to say on that.

I tried a search on FA and found a couple other pics, but again no account, so as a last resort I tried google.  That led me to another DA pic that had been removed at some point.   Now the pic I had stumbled on was a very recent upload, so the chakat in question had to still be active somewhere, but I was running out of links.  Finally, I found a reddit post from a few months ago that explained it all.

Basically, the guy got in on a free art thread but didn’t have a ref sheet, so he pointed the artist at an old pic of mine and listed a few changes that were different about his.  It was just a case of the artist not catching everything(which is understandable on freebie art) and that just getting propogated.

That old pic he referred to was a bit off(though close enough and good enough at the time!) and since then I’ve made another small change myself; more an emphasizing of a trait on that character that I hadn’t before(and I don’t mean breast size!).

End result is there are two snow leopard ‘kats out there with purple hair and wind-based names – just one(mine) ties hirs up sometimes and has blue eyes and a stripe along hir back, while the other has a darker purple, purple eyes, and no stripe.  It just that at least one or two of the artists shi’s commissioned have missed that(mostly the eyes) and at first blush the ‘kat int eh picture could be mistaken for my character.

To be fair though, I haven’t been active much in the chakat online community for years; not since I woke to my inner dragon.  I only recently decided to revive and revamp my chakat character as an actual separate character, rather than as a ‘sona/identity at my internal muse’s prodding, hence the couple recent pieces of art.  That was aprt fo teh reason I thought shi might have been appropriated.

Anyways, like I said it left me slightly bemused. It could have been coincidence, but in this case it was more inspiration I think, and not that far off from what a lot of fan characters do: take some traits and file off the serial numbers.  And I’m fairly sure this chakat isn’t a helmsman on a Stellar Federation cruiser, and shi definitely doesn’t have a Starwalker stellar foxtaur mate, both of which apply to mine – once I can get the story written!

It’s just a bit of a strange feeling to be looking through pictures and find porn that looks 95% like you(or my character in this point), with a different name.  Not quite Rule 34 territory, but edging there.

It also brings to mind other issues, such as the fact some doppelgangers could end up out there by chance!  With how many red foxes are out there for example, it’d be fairly easy to describe one decently and end up matching at least a half-dozen.  If it wasn’t for the purple hair(which isn’t too common in and of itself) and the chakat community being so small, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it, or at least enough to track down why shi looked like my chakat.

Sadly though, I’ve heard stories of more popular folks having their characters or ‘sonas copied wholesale.  Usually this results in the actual owner posting something which gets the word out, and approaching the admin on the site of the copy.

I’ve also heard at least one story of someone trying to “buy” someone else’s ‘sona.  That didn’t even used to be a thing way back when, but then the idea of “adoptables” went big i.e. buying pre-made characters.  I never got that anyways, but there are some folks I guess who see a character design and jsut fall in love with it.

But as someone else pointed out, in regular society you get told who you are, while in furry you tell everyone else.  In a world where identity is that fluid, where does identity theft, as such, fall?  Just something to think about.

And now, I leave you with chakat arts!

Swiftwind dancing on the Rec Deck of the FSS Excalibur

Swiftwind dancing on the Rec Deck of the FSS Excalibur

Swiftwind in a fancy flight suit

Swiftwind in a fancy flight suit

Worlds of Whimsy Addendum: Cybertronians

As promised, here is a writeup of a Transformer-like race for use in Pathfinder!  I borrowed a bit from the IDW background, but otherwise tried to make it fit in a Pathfinder-style universe naturally.  For reference, this was designed around 20 Racial Points(excluding the alternate mode trait) when referring to the Advanced Racial Guide, and the costs of each trait are noted below.  This means that it’s built for higher power campaigns, but not to the level of pure cheese ideally.

 

Cybertronian

Cybertronians are a race of mechanical outsiders that originated when a portion of Mechanus was merged with a portion of the Prime Material Plane. While it is known what happened, the cause has been lost to the mists of time – whether it be a mage’s experiment, or the aftereffect of a clash between deities.

Physically, they appear much like metal men in armor. Each Cybertronian is different however, whether it be in color, or the design of their limbs and body. Some even do not appear to have a normal mouth or face, although in such cases they are still able to speak normally though other components inside their heads.

New Cybertronians are actually born from the ground of their homeland itself. Every so many hundred years, a portion of the landscape will light up with new sparks, which are then harvested and placed into generic bodies that they have nicknamed protoforms. The body will then mold to the unique characteristics of each spark, resulting in a fully formed and cognizant adult Cybertronian.

Currently they are governed by a Senate in name, but the Senate in turn unofficially answers to a faction calling themselves the Functionists. The Functionists argue for a return to the strict caste-based society styled after Mechanus, where every Cybertronian has their place and can never change it, barring exceptional circumstances. There are rumors of a gladiator and former miner beginning to gather an army to oppose them, but others have left for distant lands to escape the Functionists’ oppression.

Basic Racial Traits

– Ability Score Racial Traits: Cybertronians are strong and hardy, due to their mechanical nature, but this also inhibits their ability to relate to a degree. As a result, they gain +2 to Strength and Constitution, but a -2 to Charisma (1 RP)
– Size: Cybertronians are medium creatures by default, granting them no bonuses or penalties.
– Base Speed: Cybertronians have a base speed of 30 feet.
– Languages: Cybertronians begin play speaking Common and Neocybex. Additional possible languages are: Draconic, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Undercommon, Infernal, Celestial
– Senses: Cybertronians have Darkvision out to 60′. (3 RP)
Other Racial Abilities

– Constructed: For the purposes of effects targeting creatures by type (such as a ranger’s favored enemy and bane weapons), Cybertronians count as both Outsider(native) and constructs. Cybertronians gain a +4 racial bonus on all saving throws against mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, and stun effects, are not subject to fatigue or exhaustion, and are immune to disease and sleep effects. (2 RP)
– Metal body: Cybertronian bodies are made of a strange alloy that no smith has yet been able to replicate. Due to this. they gain Damage Reduction 5/magic, as well as Resistance 5 against cold, fire, and acid. However, the nature of their construction also causes Vulnerability to electric attacks. (5 RP)
– Spark: Unlike other construct-like creatures, Cybertronians have a soul, but it is not quite the same as that of most biological beings. This grants them 5 resistance vs negative energy and a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and spells or spell-like abilities of the necromancy school. They also do not lose HP with negative levels gained. (3 RP)
– Arcane Adaptation: Due to their origins in a magical experiment, Cybertronians are sometimes able to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise harm them. They naturally have a spell resistance of 6 + character level. (2 RP)
– Natural Weaponry: Cybertronians are able to tranform their hand and forearm into a powerful weapon as a free action. This allows them the use of “Scorching Ray” as an at-will ability based on their character level. (4 RP)

– Alternate Mode: All Cybertronians have an alternate form they can take. It takes a standard action to change between forms. At creation, choose one of the following options:

  • Vehicle: You take the form of a mechanical vehicle of some fashion. You gain either 120′ ground move, 90′ flight(average), or 120′ swim, chosen at creation, but are unable to attack or manipulate objects. You may carry one passenger of Small size or smaller.
  • Animal: You take on the form of an animal. Treat this as Beast Shape I, except that the choices are made at creation and cannot be changed. Also, all traits of this race are kept in this form except for the Natural Weaponry trait.

– Mode Rescan: On leveling, a Cybertronian may replace their alternate mode with a different one. However, this requires much focus and strain on the body, and takes a week’s time to complete. During this time the Cybertronian will be unconcious and cannot be woken while their body reconfigures itself to its new form.

 

Racial Feats

Additional Alternate Mode: Prereq: Cybertronian, BAB +10 – Gain an additional alternate mode.

Combat Vehicle: Prereq: Cybertronian, Vehicle alternate mode, BAB +5 – You may now use the Natural Weaponry racial trait while in your alternate mode.

 

Race Traits

Stasis Lock – Once per day, when you are dying you may automatically stabilize by entering Stasis Lock.

Beast Skin: Prereq: Animal alt mode – When transformed, you only count as the racial type of your alt mode.  e.g. if you have a leopard alt mode you count as a Beast in alternate mode, and no longer count as outsider or construct for the purposes of spells and abilities such as Bane.

 

Variants

Giant Robot: Increase size to Large, with all benefits and penalties.  Note that while this is closer to the actual Cybertronian concept, it carries with it drawbacks due to living in a Medium-sized world.  It is considered more powerful as well due to the combat benefits it provides.

Pretender: Add an additional alternate mode that must be a standard humanoid.  While in this mode, you lose the Natural Weaponry and Metal Body racials, and you can only access robot mode from this mode.  Similarly, you can only enter this mode from robot mode.

Fuzors: Combine traits from two animals into a single alternate mode.  Gain all applicable movement speeds, taking the best of each type.  Repeat for natural attacks. Note that you must be able to come up with a valid way to combine these, such as combining a wolf and an eagle to get a griffon-like wolf.  The end result must be medium-sized(or large-sized if using the Giant Robot variant above).

Minicons: If a Cybertronian gains a familiar, treat it like the Tumor Familiar discovery for Alchemists. Note that this does not apply to beast companions, which must still follow all standard rules for such.  The Familiar also receives the Constructed and Metal Body racial abilities as above.

Late-night rambling returns!

I’ve actually had a couple posts I’ve wanted to do in the pipeline, but various things have conspired to prevent me from following through on them.  Various things in large part being WoW. <..<

Anyways, there’ll still be a year -in-review post at some point, and I also have a Transformer-like race to use in Pathfinder to post, but this isn’t either of those.  This is a catch-up, and maybe some rambling on random topics, for the first time in a while!

If you don’t care about WoW, feel free to skip a few paragraphs. XP

First, the WoW situation has kind of sorted itself out.  The two guilds de-merged, and Chocolate Disco went back to a lot more casual schedule.  I’ve ended up on the regular Mythic team, but not quite made Core, which I’m fine with.  I know there’s better players than me – only reason to wish I was Core is so I would have a higher cap on guild repairs for progression nights!

Especially after I went and made myself broke.  I’ve basically completed the follower minigame on my main until 6.1, and there’s nto much to do towards raiding outside raids at the moment.  So, I finally went back to see what I missed in minipets, since I had that mostly done before my break, and was surprised that they hadn’t added that much.  I saw some TCG pets I was missing up for relatively cheap, and there was now ay I was going to go through Molten Core any more times to try for that pet, so I went and bought myself into brokeness.  Worse, I haven’t been able to engage the revenue stream I had been using as I needed to make some upgrades for myself for crafted pieces for my monk alt and for a piece where RNG turned out to hate me on my main.  End result though is that I just need to get about 8 more pets and I’ll have every pet I can get that’s not a CE pet, Blizzcon pet, or a pet only available in another country.  At least until 6.1!

As for why I -need- to gear my alt, originally I was planning on raiding with both guilds, with all the time sinks that entails.  There’s folks I like in both guilds and I wanted to keep running with both(not to mention it’s a bit of a rush to realize that I’m in the raid team of the top guild on the server!) so I was going to use my alt to run Disco raids.  Then it turned out they kind of raid on the same days.

I say kind-of because the second Disco night is the same night as what is supposed to be an alt run, but I’ve had a couple gear holes that have forced me to run my main in said alt runs for more gear.  That’s solved now though until Blackrock releases, so I’ll be able to roll with them for at least a couple weeks finally.

Aside from WoW, I’m moving into a different position that’s more internal facing and engineering oriented at work.  I’m still having to deal with some stuff here and there that isn’t, but that’s the life of a sysadmin, and my boss has a very healthy philosophy on outside-normal-hours work: keep it to a minimum.  It’s a philosophy I’m in heavy agreement with, as after some of my contracting I make it a point to grab on tight to my free time, including lunch breaks and only work on either if there is no other way.  I have pushed back on scheduling before because of workload, but that’s less of an issue in my new position.

My muse has finally spoken up again though, and revived one of my former identities as a separate character: Chakat Swiftwind lives again(sorta).  Where my dragon is me though, Swiftie is a separate character, more along the lines of my various RPG characters.  There may not be much distinction between the two for a lot of furries, but there is for me and that’s the important part.  Part of that is I finally have an idea of who shi is: a hotshot pilot, whether it be starship or starfighter… though given the chakat universe doesn’t have a lot of interstellar conflict, shi’s pretty much a starship jock at the moment in my mind.

I tried using Traveller to put together a background history for hir, but it left a bit to be desired, as there are some differences naturally between the two universes.  I also was a bit confused about the difference between StarFleet and Star Corps in that universe, so I had to do a quick rewrite to fit with my mental idea of where shi is in the “present” which unfortunately has left some parts of hir past vague now for the moment.

As to what prompted me, I had a strong mental image of hir in a cockpit, hands on controls and handpaws on even more controls.  Granted, as a ship’s helmsman on a long-range exploration ship shi may not get to do that, but there’s pinnances and such shi may have to fly for some reason; not to mention shi may be able to make that ship do tricks its builders hadn’t even thought of.

Part of that also gave me the idea and framework for a story, and it even fits well to the typical framework of a Star Trek episode!  After I fleshed out some identities of other folks shi’d be interacting with regularly though, I found myself without the time to actually start writing it.  There’s also a couple things i’m not sure about now because I want to stick to that “Star Trek episode” feeling, but I want it to be hir story, not a story about the bridge crew of the ship shi’s on.

Another thing is that my original idea necessitates some ship-to-ship combat, which is where I run into another issue.  In Star Trek’s universe, there’s other star empires to be handy antagonists.  The chakat universe’s Steller Federation on the other hand has no real enemies, just some pirates pretty much and everyone else in their stellar neighborhood is buddy-buddy with them.  On top of that, StarFleet ships in the chakatverse have people trained for First Contact and this is a Big Thing, as opposed to Star Trek where they meet half the new civilizations over laser fire, and the other half they try not to even make contact with because of the Prime Directive.

The fact that First Contact is huge, and that I’m technically playing in someone else’s playground, makes me leery of introducing a new alien race of any sort to be antagonists. Pretty much the only way to make it work would be for the alien race to be truly alien(which is hard) as most of the Federation races have been of similar mindsets, make the new race be scream-and-leap like the Kzinti, or have what attacks them be automated.  None of those are truly ideal, and with how big First Contact is, a botched one, even if nothing could be done, would be a huge black mark I would imagine.  So I’m stuck on that plot point and it’s a major one for the original story idea I had.

Back on the topic of mental images though, there were a couple others that came to mind that I wanted to see made real, so I’ve started getting art again.  I had a ton of Transformers come in recently, but thankfully it was end of December so technically it was part of last year’s budget.  I’ve already blown past my tentative marker for January’s non-essentials budget though with the two pieces I have coming, even with that.

I’d actually wanted to get art of Swiftwind last year, but I never really got around to finding taur artists besides Kacey and trying to get it done.  This time, I actually found a few artists, but was surprised how few good taur artists I was able to find, though I did stumble on another recently thanks to Twitter(and which prompted the second art piece I have inbound eventually).  Right now I just have nothing I really want drawn of -me- except maybe a new icon.  Problem there is I don’t have a theme in mind or a specific artist to do a dragicon, so that’s on hold at the moment.

I actually have a third piece in mind too, and the artist I’d like to do it is opening for commissions soon, so I’m waiting to see if I can snag a slot there.  As long as I’m getting pics done of my (other) characters, I figured I’d get a pic of a major Pathfinder character I’ve been trying to be able to play – my Dark Tapestry Oracle, who happens to be a black-furred kitsune with a gypsy theme.

I’ve actually gotten the chance to game again, which allowed me to bring her up again and play her, though this is one of those campaigns where the DM looked at the (non-MMO)Elder Scrolls games’ laughable attempts at balance and thought it was way too restrictive in power level.  On one hand, it’s letting me pull out the stops, but on the other it’s feeling more like a power fantasy than RP and I feel like I’m not actually really playing so much as waiting to see what the next huge power boost is.  On the other hand, they were already high level when I joined, but that doesn’t help when advancement is still this rapid.  I can always use her again in a different campaign I suppose that’s a bit more sane.

The other campaign this group is running though definitely isn’t it.  While they’re playing through an adventure path, the characters are more like a Marvel What If? comic instead.  Since restraint on concept was already thrown to the wind, I sat down with the Advanced Race Guide and figured out how to build a Transformer, and got the GM to approve it!  I’ll be posting it at some point, but I still need to make the actual character.  I’m thinking bomb alchemist may be fitting.

I sort of wish there was a Traveller campaign going, so I could see if I could slip in my conversion of the chakat race too and make Swiftie in that.  Of course, then I’d probably have to answer some questions about where hir race comes from.  I usually don’t flaunt furry stuff outside of the areas of the internets where its common or such, but the group I’m playing with again in RL would probably have no problem with it, considering what some of them are into.  Wouldn’t help though with other groups…

When I thought about getting the art of Swiftwind though, I realized I didn’t have any real good referances.  The only color drawn pic didn’t give hir a large enough bust(and yeah, my motives for hir having a large rack probably are less than pure if I actually sat and thought about it) and the rest were just sketches. I did have the Second Life pics form the last revamp I did to my SL av of hir, but hir upper body was out of proportion in that.  So, now that mesh bodies are a thing, I went looking to see if I could find a larger base body to use for the upper torso.

I didn’t find any that were just larger, but I found some that looked more natural and/or more shapely, and when I tried a demo I found to my delight that it worked just fine with my taur anims.  The first one though was no-mod and you ahd to apply to be able to make skin appliers for it so I had to look elsewhere.  I foudn another one that was almost as good, AND a lot cheaper, and was mod-friendly!  As a bonus, it also gave hir breasts a more natural shape and increased the amount hey could scale.  Of course, the slider setting I had needed to use before with the default SL body resulted in nuclear torpedo warheads with this body, so I was actually able to scale it down to get hir chest to be the right size I envisioned.

Since I was stuck in terms of upper-to-lower-body ratio though, I decided to try scaling the lower body down a bit.  I’d originally had the height set to max for scale purposes in SL, but proportions were more important now and scale is jacked in SL anyways.  It actually wasn’t too difficult to finally get hir body properly proportioned in general once I tried.  Then it was snapshot time!

While I was starting to put it together, I had the bright idea to go with a LCARS theme, and I ended up blowing an entire Saturday with putting together the template, coloring it, and retaking shots I found out were at bad angles, but it gave me a good ref sheet finally for hir, and it’s already getting used for the two new pieces I have coming.

Iv’e been tempted a time or two to take hir out for a whirl on SL, but I don’t know what I’d do with hir.  WoW and work keep me busy enough that I wouldn’t want to commit to a regular RP, and for my regular hanging out I’d rather be my dragon self.  I could go hunt up furry sex clubs, but that lost its appeal a long while ago.  If I just want word porn I can write it myself(and probably do a better job!) and for anything beyond that, well, that’s one thing relationships can bring to the table – and there it’s sex because of the love, not love for the sex.

Also looking back other than the sidegrade into a RP character, Swiftwind really doesn’t fit as an identity so much as a fantasy.  Whether or not I used to be more cuddly, I’ve found that I don’t really care as much for random hugs and snugglings and such anymore from strangers, and that sort of closeness is a natural thing for chakats.  Since they’re natural empaths they’re very informal and very sensual, for reasons which make a lot of sense when you look at it.

That also leads into the whole chakat style of mating and courtships.  While I like the idea of the different levels(Companion/Denmate/Lifemate) and think that could work well, chakats tend to have multiple mates and love everyone, and I’m serially monogamous.  Once I give my heart and loyalty, that’s it.  Maybe I’m jsut old-fashioned.  I could maybe see a threesome working if the other two were both female and some circumstances worked out, but in general I have one mate and that’s that.

Being a hermaphrodite also is integral to the even general idea of chakats, but not something I could see myself as anymore.  The idea may be fun to play with, in that you could RP either a male or female role with the same character, depending on mood and partner, but I am definitely not bi, which is almost a requirement for that to be part of your identity.  If nothing else, my (lack of) reaction to all the penis pics that showed up on my Twitter AD account’s timeline proved that to myself – and that’s ignoring the time I did try to use a chakat as my identity.

I supose, going back to what I said earlier about my reasons for hir chest size, that it’s in part a fusion of myself with one of the representations of my potential ideal mate.  Self and fantasy in one, so that either you can be the one doing, or you can mentally put yourself in the other person’s shoes while playing the female role when it comes to the more adult activities; and all without changing characters.

While I’m mentioning AD and dick pics, that’s something I’ve noticed a lot of.  People taking pictures of just their bits, which frankly gets pretty boring.  You’ve seen one, you’ve seen most of them, girls included.  Most of the actually hot pictures include more of the body, body language, expression and so on.

Then again, maybe it’s just because I’m older and have my sexual urges more under control, since most of said folks are several years younger.  I’ll admit I can think with the wrong head at times, but it seems like (effectively) going into rut isn’t that often an occurrance for me.  Heck, just look at when I’ve posted adult stories fairly close together, and you can get an idea.

I’m actually feeling tired now, and this is one of the longest entries I’ve written in a while so I guess I’ll leave you with the art piece I got most recently, from right around the new year.  Enjoy!

Lookin' Cute, Feelin' Cute

Thoughts on Raiding, Communication, and What It Means to Be a Team

Warning: WoW bitching ahead!

So last week we blew through 6/7 Heroic on the Highmaul raid.  Everyone was kinda pumped cause we were leading the server rankings by a lot.  Cue last night.

Our raid leader had made no secret about his wanting to jump straight into Mythic as soon as it opened since even before the expansion release.  Before the first night I recall him talking about how he was happy with the comp he’d put together for Mythic, since it’s limited to 20 people, but I never saw any word about who was on it, and at the time I didn’t know how many we’d have (once raids opened) beyond the 20.

Once raiding started it turned out we weren’t that far over 20 – we started at around 24 all three main raid nights.  The actual roster for Mythic never actually came up at all that week though, though there was a small group for an extra run on Friday to push progression a bit further, which I did get invited to since he needed more casters, and that group topped out around 15 I believe.

Coming into raid time last night, no one other than our raid leader apparently knew what the plans were, so I was there 15 minutes early outside the raid instance, waiting for invite assuming we were going to do Heroic.You see, I’d been following the early top guilds and found out they were all around 665 or so already in item level, while our raid was down around 650 or so – thus I assumed we’d clear Heroic this week and try our first push at Mythic next week like reasonable raiders, maybe with one or two shots to see what kargath was like on Heroic.

Then on Vent I hear “we’re doing Mythic?” from the main tank, and our GL confirmed it, saying we were gonna give it some tries see if we get stomped or not.  I start checking the raid roster trying to tell if all the invites were out or not to see if I was in or not, since he can be slow about invites, and we still hadn’t gotten an official list of the main Mythic raid roster.  Finally, they start, and I’m able to count 20 folks already in, and felt my mood dropping faster than Kargath did on Heroic last Tuesday.

AT NO POINT did he ever state invites were going out or finished, and he NEVER officially stated who was on the roster.  I freely admit the other S Priest in our guild is probably better, but he could have at least had the decency to let the rest of us know who was or wasn’t going to be on the Mythic roster rather than letting us figure it out after they’re in there poking the beast.  It killed my sense of being a team, at least as how I felt that night to be left out completely in the cold like that rather than at least be informed about what the plans are.  While I might now have been happy to find out in advance I wasn’t on the main roster, I at least would have known and had time to get used to it, or at least felt like I was enough a part of the team to be told about things like that.

It also meant I wasted time sitting outside the instance that I could have spent doing other things, and once he sent out the general invites to work on heroic instead that night, it felt like I was just going through the motions… and I’m still not happy about it either today, even after sleeping on it.

I’m also guessing that for now, loot is going to be funneled to the main Mythic raiders, so I’m probably not going to see any upgrades outside of bonus rolls or stuff form outside raids for a bit.  There’s been no official word, but considering the previous lack of communication, and that we run under a “loot council” of 1(said raid leader) there probably won’t be any communication on it whether that is the case or not.  It’s understandable, and would make the most sense for progression, but dammit, if we’re all a part of the same team(even benched) it would be nice to actually KNOW!

I’m also left wondering what’s going to happen when Blackrock releases.  Mythic Highmaul will still be going on, so what will happen with heroic runs?  Will he just jump straight into Mythic Blackrock and ignore heroic?  Will there still be Heroic runs on main raid nights in a few weeks?  How is he going to work bench players in, as if he just pushes and pushes, then when one of us comes in, we won’t be familiar with the fights or as geared, and that may cause progress to backslide a bit, and from what I’ve seen I believe that means he’d be even more likely to leave benched players benched then, so that we just end up twiddling our thumbs doing nothing the entire tier.

I’ll probably be discussing this with one of my friends(and one of the main healers) to see if he can put a bug in the RL’s ear to start thinking about letting the rest of us “mere mortals” know his plans and think ahead about some of these things and let us know – that way I can make plans appropriately, whether that means looking to raid heroic on different nights(if necessary with a different guild) once Mythic is in full swing.  As long as I don’t touch Mythic with another guild, I’ll still be able to come in if needed, as bench players are needed for when people can’t make it.

BUT DAMMIT, IF WE’RE PART OF THE TEAM TOO THEN LET US FRIGGING KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!

</rant>

As far as classifying myself, I’d say I’m probably Mythic borderline skillwise.  I still make small mistakes occasionally, but if I start screwing up regularly on a mechanic I do my best to find a way to succeed at it.  Mythic is usually fairly unforgiving, and the only time I’ve done full Mythic(old heroic) clears was post-nerfs typically.  Even in SOO with Chocolate Disco, we only got 4 or 5 bosses down before the 6-month break I took.

On the other hand Heroic(old Normal) is going to be too easy eventually.  I was 6/7 last week, and was around middle of the pack on the DPS charts, so I wasn’t getting carried either on these fights.  Even this week, on Butcher(basically a Patchwerk fight) me and the other Shadow Priest were neck and neck in damage.  I look at Tectus, and he outDPSed me by 4k there, but I had to run for the debuff 5 times and he never got a single Crystalline Barrage.

Thus, borderline, as I fall into the grey area between obvious Heroic hero and natural Mythic player.

And hopefully, our guild master will start communicating better and I won’t get left behind completely, lost in the void between what he dreams of and the reality of what we have.

Plotting Garrison Plots

I guess I’ll start off with the shocker.  Turns out that the reason I hadn’t been getting responses to those text messages is that my gf passed away a couple days after she had let me know she was going in.  Apparently they found her after the fact so she never even made it into the hospital.  We had our own online ceremony for everyone who knew her in SL back on Saturday, and we hit 73 folks in attendance at once point.  It was a wonderful ceremony that blew me over in how powerful it felt.  There was a video taken too, but I don’t know if it made it online or not yet, and I plan to find out when I’m a bit less busy.

Anyways…

I’ve had some interesting thoughts about Garrisons.  Originally, I was considering trying for an all-furry (or all non-human at least) garrison crew, and even picked up the 5000 apexis crystal Arrakoa follower(the most expensive escort ever, according to WoWhead!) but there’s not enough pre-gen furry types to pull it off.  At this point I’ve basically settled for as close as possible and speadsheeted out my followers to min-max the best team from who I have.

You see, it’s going to be a while before I can build an inn, where the other 200 possible random followers come from.  The first plot needs to stay a Trading post for now to fund everything, and once I cap out my resources my lumber mill will need to be replaced with a barn for savage bloods for gear, which doesn’t leave an open slot.  My alts however are a bit more free in that regard.

So I got to thinking.

My feral druid alt is a worgan.  There seems to be quite a few worgen in the follower list, and once you get level 3 barracks you can switch in racial guards… and I’m pretty sure she’s exalted with Gilneas.  So I’m thinking with her I’m going to try to build an all-worgen garrison, with the occasional furry-style filler that is too useful to deactivate, or if I can’t quite get enough Worgen.  Since I don’t need to maximize power, I can maximize for fun instead!

My red panda ninja gal on the other hand, I don’t have any theme ideas for yet.  I’m sure something will come to me eventually though.

Overall, I have to give props to Blizzard.  I was looking somewhat forward to this as a slice of Warcraft in Warcraft, and I’m enjoying it in its own right, at least so far.  A couple months down the road I’ll probably be less interested, as managing all the daily cooldowns will be more of a pain, but for now, I can’t wait to get home to check my missions and see if I nabbed any follower upgrades!

Worlds of Whimsy #3 – Transelvenism

The third universe I’ll spotlight was inspired by a comment I’d read elsewhere, about how Tokein-style elves tend to live as if they were in a post-scarcity society.  Said topic also pointed out that elves were sort of the ultimate expression of how a wizard might view himself:  Supremely intelligent and magical, but no one bothered to allocate for strength, and thus the idea blossomed:  a world where (almost) all the fantasy races are actually magically modified humans.

The world of Aureial

It all started with a small magical college hidden away in a forest enchanted for their protection.  Some wizard or other, whose identity was long since lost, finally managed to perfect safely using permanent alteration magic that did not require a pre-existing template, ie. you could actually make someone taller or shorter, without having to copy something else, and it stuck, even through dispels and dead magic zones.

With the possibility of transhumanism looking them in the face, they all got together and discussed not whether it should be used, but how.  Being scholars of the magical variety, they considered things like magical ability, intelligence and sharpness of senses, but gave the shortest shrift to physical needs apart from general health and longetivity concerns, eventually by consensus hashing out the template for what would become known as an elf, after the college’s original name.

And so overnight the college wizards and those of their families that were willing became the first elves.

As others interested in the procedure heard, a small town, then a city grew up around the village as more people signed up to be enhanced int he same ways, extending their lives and magical ability.  As the town grew, the council of elders that had been the first converted found they were having trouble keeping up with the demand for raw materials.  There was a nearby mining town that they had friendly relations with who had been able to keep up at first, but the men grew tired and weary faster trying to keep up the pace.  The cramped tunnels also led to issues with injuries slowing things down further.

One of the newer elves then came up with the bright idea of “well if we can improve ourselves for the life we wants, why can we not do the same for the miners?”  So decided, he traveled to the mining town and set up a doctor’s office there, and as he healed the people he examined the nature of the injuries and problems that they ran into.

It took the better part of two years for him to put together the template, whereupon without consulting with the council he took it upon himself to approach the mining company leaders.  Like the elven city, the mines were run by a coalition of elders, each representing a clan of highlander humans who had come here to try and improve their families fortunes.  After listening to the young elf, living proof that his plan was possible, they sent him away without a response.

What followed was a heated argument just short of a brawl among the greying, firey-beared folk.  They were a very earthy and practical folk, but some were uncertain about what they would be giving up in exchange for this “gift” of the elf’s.  Eventually, the decided to send a runner to the elven city, which was already starting to become the capital of a small nation as settlements were already beginning to take shape on the edges of the forest.

The council was at first aghast at what the young prodigal had come up with.  How dare he look at modifying others without permission!  After sending the messenger away they debated it for several days, only taking breaks for the restful meditation they had engineered to replace the waste of time called sleep.  Then, they called the young elf in and had him present his designs before them in each and every detail, follwoed by more discussion, with the designer included this time.  Finally, they came to an agreement that they would provide the changes, but only to the clans that would agree to supply them in turn with the materials for their new towns as payment.

When the messenger returned with this news, he was met with trepidation, as now the decision was firmly in the miners’ court.  Gathering once more in the mead hall, they spent the night in deliberations.  The elves had proved in their success thus far that there was merit in moving beyond the current limitations of the human body, but those who accepted the deal would have to live with the consequences, including this supply deal. In the end, but the time the sun rose to shine on tired faces, they had decided.  A couple clans were going to leave to start anew far form here, but the 8 remaining clans would accept the elven gift; making them stronger, hardier, and more suited to the world of the mines, under the earth itself.  They would become one with the rock in ways no unmodified human would ever know.

And so was created the first 8 Great Clans of dwarves, the ancestors of the modern dwarven race.

And thus the elven empire began to grow apace over the years in a slow but steady expansion, buoyed by the knowledge and magical might of the elves and the sturdy, hard-working dwarves toiling away at mines and forges, shaping metal and stone in the service of the growing nation.  There were even small villages of unmodified humans who sought safety within those borders, protected from the chaos of the human nations warring back and forth.  In a matter of decades however, the elves found their borders pressing up against those of an aggressive human warlord.

At first there were just minor skirmishes, but as the warlord took the measure of his inhuman rivals he began to send larger forces in to ransack and pillage the towns of anything not nailed down.  While the cost in human life grew, even worse in elven eyes were those of their own kind lost. While they were only maybe a generation removed from the first elves at this time, seeing the “base” humans be born, grow old, and die had lent the younger elves a sense of superiority, and the loss of one who would have lived as many as 900 more years was more harshly felt than the mayfly-like 60-year lifespan of their human subjects.  Eventually the local authorities demanded something must be done!

The elder council, mostly still consisting of those original elves, pondered the problem.  These bodies, while ideal in their eyes, did not lend themselves to fighting wars, and while the dwarves were stout and hardy, they were not well suited to quick offensive campaigns of this nature.  Something new was required.

The elf who had designed the dwarves had been awarded a council position for his earlier efforts, and once again was the one who brought up the idea of modification once more.  Just as elves were suited for strategizing and magical might, and dwarves for hardiness and endurance, why not create a design for combat as well?  Create an army that would break the teeth of this human’s offensive, then wash over him in a wave and end his threat to precious elven life?

While a few of the council who still remembered where they had came from dithered, the majority agreed with a minimum of discussion.  But where would they create this army from?

They put out a call for volunteers, but most elves were not willing to give up their gifts in defense of their homeland.  In fact, it was one of those rejecting the call to arms that brought up the solution:  convert he criminal!

Despite having been “improved” elves still had that core of humanity in them, try as they might to deny it, and so there were criminals.  Not as many, given that imprisonment and execution were far harsher to folk that may live hundreds of years, but they existed.  As well, the human population had those among them who would fight and steel jsut to put one up on their “betters” wherever they could.

With an actual source of manpower now, a small committee was formed to come up with the template for their new soldier.  Strong and quick on their feet, but ultimately not as intelligent to reduce the risk of them reverting to their original tendancies.  An inclination to loyalty would be helpful there as well, and given the terrain, a green skin would help with camoflauge.  They had to be tough, but should also mature fast, to replace losses quickly in any future wars.  It meant a reduction in their overall lifespan as well, but that would also help them to forget their origins quicker in favor of serving the empire.

A fortnight later, the first orcs exploded from the elven empire and wiped the uppity human warlord from existence, his name forever lost to history.

And so the great elven empire grew, displacing and absorbing the human nations surrounding it.  A ruling class of elves ruled over all, and under them the dwarves toiled and the orcs patrolled to serve their elven masters, while normal humans eked out an existence in the smaller farming villages and towns between the cities.

In the capital however, progress marched on, and further discoveries were made.  Over time, fewer and fewer elves were seen outside the great magical cities dotting the landscape as teleportation was perfected, as was the magical creation of materials from the ether itself.  The vilages along what had once been thriving trade routes found themselves in a increasingly dangerous situation as the flow of good and traffic dried up; eventually taking up trade directly with the dwarves in their underground homes.  With the absence of elven oversight, the orcs began to demand tribute from the villages as well for “protection,” more often from themselves than from any outside threat.  And the elves were oblivious to it all, in their figurative ivory towers of plenty.

It only took a couple human generations for the empire to collapse down to several major cities, protected by legions of orcs and swerved by dwarves, connected only by teleportation while small human fiefdoms sprung up between them of the former farmers and servants.

Ultimately it was the daughter of the elf behind the orcs and dwarves that shook things out of the tentative balance that had been maintained for a couple hundred years.  It was she that uncovered the secret of not just binding spirits to inorganic shells, but the actual creation of new life to inhabit it.  Her research had begun as a way to repair an old golem that had been created ages ago as a guard for the estate.  It had been badly damaged protecting her from a rogue orc, and she had been trying to repair it to it’s original state.

She was tired and getting sloppy near the end of her work however, and when she misspoke a word, instead of just energizing the dormant form, it awoke it as well.  When it spoke its first words, her fatigue was suddenly gone, replaced with wonder and a bit of fear of what she had just done.

The two spend the next several weeks sequestered as she ran every test she could think up, and finally could only come to the conclusion that she had somehow created life within it.  Troubled, she brought it before the city councilors, unsure of what to do with her discovery.

After sending her and the golem away, the council spent several more days debating what to do next.  The original elves had all finally passed, and the new ones were of a more manipulative bent.  Each had taken whatever measures necessary to place themselves on the council, as they’d all seen themselves as better than the rest.  As such, the first discussion was whether it would be feasible to move their selves to new bodies like these that never wore down and could always be repaired.

After another presentation by and dismissal of the creator, they decided against this, as it also meant a loss of the simple pleasures of the flesh, and they were too enamored of their current luxurious lives to risk giving it up yet.  However, another idea was then presented.  Rather than depending on the increasingly unreliable orcs for protection, they could replace them with an army of these golems, forged for war.  In addition, while most of the dwarves had left with the replacement of their services by magical means, eliminating the orcs meant the cities could be pure of all non-elves, and reach a perfection hitherto unimagined.

Thus decided, they brought the creator back in and charged her with creation of a great forge to create a race of these new “warforged” for their protection.  While she was hesitant at first to create a race of permanent servants, they played with her fear of orcs from that day long ago, and before long the green-skinned soldiers were forced out into the wilderness by crystalline and metallic bodies.

While some of the orcs form the satelite cities went full bandit, the orcish general of the Capital army managed to keep most of her army under her command.  Angry and prideful, she marched her forces to the gates of Dwarvenhome, the great underground city that had once in ages long past been a small mining town of highland folk.  To the dwarves’ surprise however, rather than attach she sent an emmisary, offering a truce.

While orc lives were typically short, she had heard tales form her father’s father’s father’s time of how the dwarves had been phased out in favor of magical appliances that ran themselves, forcing them to leave long-held craftsman positions and make a life for themselves away from the great elven cities.  This general was also more intelligent than most other orcs, a fact she had hid form her elven superiors, and now she envisioned a world where it was the elves and orcs who enjoyed the fruits of the elven society that they had been denied.

In the end, only about half of the Council of Ten Hammers agreed, but it was enough.  Deep below, arcane forges belched ash and hammers sung out the song of war approaching, as alloys the elves had never known were molded into sword and axe, honed to an edge fine enough to slice the remaining puppet strings dangling from elven fingers.

The war that followed of elf and orc, warforged and dwarf, was so destructive that any remaining records of it were wiped form living memory; even that of the long-lived elves and dwarves.  Int eh end, the great cities fell, and the magical knowledge that had allowed them to exist was likewise lost to sword and fire.  The very ground itself rose up, rearranging the face of the world. Dwarvenhome was likewise lost to the depths, taking with it most of the knowledge of dwarven forging, leaving the remaining dwarves with the hows but not the whys to allow them to advance any further until they could rediscover everything once more.

The orcish general’s daughter led the remaining orcs in the final battle of the war, her mother long since lost to old age.  When the dust settled, not a thing there stirred, the landscaped scarred and paved with bones and metal, unchanging to the present day.  Without a strong leader, the remaining orcs broke up into nomadic tribes, while the dwarves sought out new homes under mountains that had not existed a hundred years before.  The elves, shaken and traumatized as a people sought the forests and a more natural lifestyle, albeit enhanced by magic to present a shadow of their former luxury.

The warforged themselves were supposedly all destroyed in the great war, but about a human generation later new ones began to appear.  They had no memory of where they came from other than a masked humanoid of some type and a great forge, but as they seemed to have no ties to the old elven empire, they were gradually accepted by most of the other races.  Orcs were the one exception, as like the elves the war had traumatized the entire race, leading them to blame the warforged for everything wrong with the world as it exists now.

In the aftermath of the Great War other, new races also began to appear, possibly created by the fallout of the strength of the magic used and destroyed in that war.  The enigmatic gnomes, snivling kobolds, and the more compact halflings and goblins that originated from an area of humans and orcs caught in the backwash from a sudden release of great magical energy.

Other animals and creatures were changed as well, resulting in the magical menagerie that confounds modern magical scholars.  But history and life moves on, as it has a wont to do.  Groups of explorers now travel a changed world, following rumors of ancient elven fortresses that escaped destruction or tantalizing hints of magical artifacts from that lost age.

 

Yeah, I know, there’s no explicitly defined origin for Dragonborn or Tieflings, but it’d be easy enough to work in an origin if one was needed beyond “magic fallout” – especially if kobolds are tied to dragons.  Still, a Pathfinder/D&D-based world that explains some of the tropes without destroying the setting by following them to their logical conclusion – by the fact they already did once, and look where that got them!  The war also acts as a good place to slip any additions in, since it can act like the Black History of Turn A Gundam in terms of “this exists” without having to explain why.

Either way, I hope it was an interesting read, and someone somewhere gets a good campaign out of it!