Tag Archive for gaming

Werewolf of Gold

So I’ve had an idea bouncing around for a bit, regarding the Elder Scrolls Online werewolf, and my werewolf character in specific.

First, a bit of history – you can skip this if you want, as it’s mostly just to give an idea of where I’m coming from. When I started, I made my usual Khajit and Argonian characters, which covers two of the factions in ESO, but I needed something for the third one.  I also wanted to make a dedicated crafter, and due to the way the racial styles work and the rarity of it, I also wanted to make an Imperial character as that gives them the Imperial racial crafting style for free.  So I hit on the idea of making a werewolf to give myself a “furry” type character without paying to unlock the ability to make any race on any faction. Looking at classes, I jumped at the Templar class, as the idea of a werewolf paladin presented an interesting dichotomy.

Once I actually got my werewolf bite, I found out there was a timer on werewolf form, and it was fairly short at first, though I quickly maxed the skill tree out, which does add some extra time – usually enough to last through a boss fight at least. As a paladin archetype, I was looking at white and gold armor, and I wanted to get some armor that hinted at her status as a werewolf in human form as well, and there happened to be a crafting style available that does just that as well.

As I was looking at making basically golden wolf-shaped armor, that actually reminded me of another franchise I enjoy – GARO!

Garo is a Japanese live action series, that was originally aired at midnights and advertised as a “Hyper Midnight Action Drama.” It was very clearly intended for adults, and focused on a main character in our modern world who battled what were essentially demons with just his skill, his sword, and a set of golden mystical armor he could summon.  This armor is made from the same stuff as the demons(called Horrors), and he could only wear it for 99.9 seconds before it starts devouring him, body and soul. And it just happens to have a wolf motif.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

The creator of Garo stated that he sees the armor as the equivalent of Ultraman’s Specium Beam – it is supposed to be a finisher. The main character will often fight without the armor until it is actually needed, and in one of the seasons it was literally used only as a finisher except when they had a real “boss fight” on their hands.  This actually mirrors how I treat werewolf form on my character – I only pull it out on bosses and tough fights, since it can only be activated as a “finisher,” which is another part of what got the gears turning.

In the Elder Scrolls universe, werewolves are considered a curse by the general public, though followers of Hircine(including PC werewolves who go through the questline usually) consider it a blessing. There’s a questline in ESO which talks about losing reason and the beast taking control, and they found their own unique way to address that.  The NPC involved in the quest seems to lose a lot of his reasoning capabilities, but the PC obviously never does, and at least in ESO you can still communicate with NPCs while shifted(though that could just be a conceit due to the fact it is a MMO).

The parallels just seemed to jump at me when I was driving, and  I could totally see her using the werewolf from the same way the armor is used in Garo, and the timer is actually there for a reason, to explain why she can’t just shift and stay shifted unlike other werewolves in ESO.  Like the armor has to be removed before it devours the user, she has to shift out to keep the Beast from fully taking control.

Now as I said, there are ways to extend the timer, and I can see ways for those to actually make sense as to why.

  • Devouring corpses – This can’t be actual devouring, as it works on mechanical things like Dwarven machines. (I know, gameplay > lore, but bear with me.) I see this as taking the “heart” to honor Hircine, and Hircine, being pleased by this, interceding to grant additional clarity and extend the transformation time.
  • Taking damage – I can see this as the pain is helping her stay focused.  Each stab of pain from the hits reminds me of who she is, and when she is not being hit, the bloodlust of the beast starts to grow again.
  • Running with other werewolves – Normally I don’t get to do this much, but this could be a similar thing to method 1.  All the PC werewolves are servants of Hircine, and when they run together this magnifies his power/presence, allowing them to control the beast for much longer, and extending more for each werewolf manifesting their wolf shape.
  • Feral Pounce ability – This one is the one I’m least clear on as to how it extends the shifting. Since you land rather hard, perhaps it’s just the shock of landing acting just like the pain from taking damage?  Or perhaps focusing on the target for a precise leap requires enough concentration that it pushes back the beast slightly.

Even being force-shifted out in combat makes sense, as in Garo the protagonists have had to shed their armor a few times when they’re still technically in combat due to the timer.

But just like the protagonist of Garo, as a servant of Meridia I see her as a “mamorishimono” or “one who protects” as the translation goes. She honors both Daedra, acting under Meridia’s auspicies to serve the Light, but using the methods of Hircine in his aspect as the Hunter.  I don’t know if there is a lore explanation for the limitations on werewolf form in ESO, but the above approach is my headcanon now on why it works for her the way it does.

Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns.

But by the blade and claw of knights, man and mer are given hope.

(Side note: the production company for Garo did license the armors to Final Fantasy XIV, so you can actually earn them and use them in that game – but as far as I know it’s just for appearance and cosmetic use and doesn’t have any of the limitations etc the canon armors do.  Especially since in the Garo-verse women can’t become Makai Knights, but that’s a whole other thing I won’t go into here.)

*Blows the dust off*

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I updated this.  that’s the problem between meaning to do something and actually doing it I guess.  While I haven’t had any deep writings to warrant writing about here, I have gotten some art since.  Then I finally get an idea for something I want to write about, but when I came back to check on it, I found out I’d already written just about everything I was already planning to write on this!  So I guess I’ll make this a more general update post then.

Rolling the Dice

Still haven’t found a new gaming group and the LFGS I used to go to closed earlier in the year so no way to find a game that way either. The play-by-post Pathfinder game I was in with Jasmine died off as the GM had life issues, and the 4th ed D&D play-by-post has basically been on pause since December – funnily enough the only people still responding right now are the GM, me, and the other player that I had my initial intro thread with. Not sure what’s going to happen there yet, as the GM has not clarified what he wants to do as we were about to go into an encounter.

I got back into WoW with a female Tauren frost death knight using the white and blue skin – I mean it was just begging to be Frost in those colors! I got into a raid guild my dad was running with already, and when I actually started raiding with them I was blowing up the charts DPS-wise a lot! Cleared a lot of content and raids, and even got the challenge appearance for the Frostmourne swords on her, but raiding fell apart near the end between people wanting harder progression, a few folk who couldn’t do mechanics, and people showing up.  I did part of the Antorus raid, but I had to move WoW to a VM because it kept crashing in WINE for some reason I couldn’t figure out.  This of course made it significantly more annoying to do anything with, but performance was still great, despite it stressing my 5-year-old computer to the max.

Black Friday weekend though I saw that Elder Scrolls Online was available with Morrowind for 50% off.  I’d heard that it ran fine in WINE now, and had been eyeing it, just waiting on a sale like this to pick it up.  So I bought it, threw it on my 1TB SSD, and tried it in WINE.  Once I got past the launcher patcher sucking and redownloading many many GB again, I found it was working great, with the only glitch being the first and water textures glitching a bit, which was unsettling at first but something I could live with. While it took me a bit to wrap my head around how the skills worked, as it was fairly different from any other Elder Scrolls game, the rest of it felt like a legitimate TES game, compared to everything I heard about how it was at launch.  A double XP event started shortly after, and away I went!

As a side note, ESO is largely to blame for why I’ve been quieter in all my other channels, Twitter, Discord, and Telegram among them. There’s just SO MUCH to do! And I mean beyond just the daily stuff, though that’s a time-eater too.  I’ll actually probably come back to this later, or make a separate post about it.  Probably the latter, since I’d like to talk about my characters and stuff.

Funnily enough, I haven’t felt the urge to go back to WoW at all since I picked up ESO, and it was right after I paid for 3 months time.  Too bad you don’t get anything beyond access in WoW, like how ESO gives cash shop currency so unused time isn’t wasted.  Ah well.

Being Social

My social life is fairly unchanged from where it has been as well. Thanks to that WoW guild I finally had a reason to get Discord running regularly, and I got sort of involved with the draconity.org Discord.Iv’e been less present there due to the previously mentioned ESO eating most of my free time, but I’m keeping a claw in.  I also joined a “server for dragon singles” but honestly haven’t paid any attention to it – first due to the D.org chat being more interesting, and then due to ESO. Still single and open though for any interested dragonesses!

As far as meatspace, as I said, with no gaming group I don’t have anything besides work and shopping that gets me out of the house.  Would like this to change eventually, but with no FLGS there’s not much out there to get me out of the house, and as I mentioned in a previous post I have to keep furry/dragon stuff on the DL around work folks, and I’m finding I did enjoy not having to tone that down around friends when I did have the group of local friends I hung out with.

Department of Post Corrections

Finally, there’s a couple addendums and updates I’d like to make or add to existing posts.

Buried Seeds of the Future

http://starfox.net/remembrance-of-days-gone-by/ )

It’s a Transformation Revelation!

I did eventually get that commission I was pondering, leaving Swiftwind out of it due to how shi became her own thing and how shi didn’t really fit thematicly.

Gender Changers

http://starfox.net/trans-is-not-a-gender/ )

I’d like to re-address this more contentious post as well. Since I wrote this a year ago, I’ve seen a different slice of the trans culture, so to speak, by way of Twitter, and the perspective there seems vastly different from what I saw on the Transformers forum I mentioned. While there no doubt are trans folks who just want to be their target gender, and do NOT want to be called trans, just man or woman, there is a segment of non-binary folks that have adopted trans as a way of describing their gender rather than relying on any of the (fetishized) other descriptors of the in-between states.

So yeah, some trans folks don’t want that to be considered their gender, while some do, and as a self-chosen label, it is their right to ask to be called that, and in that respect I was wrong.  I suppose it’s all just a bit of a mess.

In general, genderized descriptors and genders themselves seem to be in major flux as the english language and Western society tries to figure out how to handle the long tail of gender expression. Gender constructs have been useful to a society in general as it allowed folks to get a quick grasp or mental picture of someone when discussing or reading them.  Men have a certain general look, as do women, and pronouns have been standardized over hundreds of years to take advantage of it.

Now, with gender being looked at as a spectrum, some folk just try to find the standard pronoun closest to where they fall, wile others have revived the singular “they” for a neutral approach, while still others sought to create one that tries to express themselves rather than using any of the standard ones, expressing in language what they are already expressing physically and mentally.  This sort of breaks the entire purpose of pronouns however, as it’s a coin toss whether anyone outside certain circles can even make sense of the many pronouns out there. It’s no more informative to those people than the singular “they”.  Heck, I’ve had people confused by my use of “shi/hir” in referance to chakat characters in furry circles, and that’s been in use for many many years among furries for herms! (Also the lesser used sie, but I always preferred shi as sie is also a pronoun in German, thus room for confusion.)

As I see it, eventually things will standardize out, either by the lesser used pronouns dieing off from lack of use much like ‘sie’ did, or being slowly adopted by the general population via general knowledge.  Until then, all I can say(and do) is be flexible, respect people’s choices in self-expression whether you think them stupid and offensive or not, and just do you.

‘Kats Gonna ‘Kat

http://starfox.net/chakat-thoughts/ )

Finally, I want to wrap this up with some more self reflection on my own alternative gender self, Chakat Swiftwind. Pretty much everything I said previously still stands, in that I acknowledge shi is indeed a reflection of myself, but not the primary “me.” As I put it not too long ago, I am a dragon OS running on human hardware via driver emulation, and said dragon OS is also acting as a hypervisor for a chakat VM that tends to crash due to missing libraries. (The missing libraries in question are the chakat traits I do not possess myself, which “breaks” the chakat presentation a bit.)

I was actually reminded of the latter part when I did a bit of RPing with another chakat. Shi was a lot more of a snuggler than I tend to be these days, tending towards those things rather than discussion, though some of that wasn’t so bad.  Especially when things got intimate, though our interests diverged far enough in that respect that it seems to have died out pretty fast after that.

While I still haven’t really been able to do much with hir, I did finally, after probably too many years, get hir a real reference sheet!

Yes, there is an uncensored version too

The corset and leather jacket have already sort of become hir “default” outfit, but as shi is or was Star Fleet in the chakatverse for a time, I got a bust shot added as well, since I didn’t have any pictures of hir in that. The handpaw shot is for artists not familiar with chakats, which was a lot more than I realized – but then chakat numbers have been on the decline for years.

Funnily enough, right before I got the “real” referance sheet I was able to get an image by the artist I consider to be the defining one for chakats, Kacey Miyagami! She was doing an experimental flat color sketch, and it happened to fall within my budget range, so I jumped right on it.

Lookin’ sharp

Even though the only judge of what is “official” is Goldfur hirself, it still helps me feel a bit more “official” just having been drawn by Kacey, at least among the community.

Speaking of “Official,” I’m still of two minds about how Goldfur is integrating hir MLP fanfic-verse and the Chakatverse.  The Chakatverse started out as an imitation Star Trek, but quickly became it’s own thing to the point where Goldfur retconned some earlier stuff that had fanficc-y, for lack of a better word, ties to other things. Shi also explained hir own take on certain tech concepts which were fairly different.

Hir MLP fics on the other hand, while they do their own thing, specifically use canon characters such as Twilight Sparkle. They are undeniably fanfic at this point, and with hir current crossover story, they’re also directly tied into the future of the chakatverse. If it wasn’t for the canon characters being involved, I’d probably feel better about it, but it’s hir creation and shi can do what shi wants with it anyways.  The bit of story I wrote with chakatverse Swiftwind however was set in around the same time period… shortly before everything went south, but if I write any more I have to factor that in now as well, or just plain go my own way.  Since I’m playing in hir playground anyways with a chakat, I’m obviously going with the latter – though I’d prefer otherwise!

Probably my other disappointment is that I can’t really do much with hir outside of online – with the fur-friendly group I was hanging with gone, and work not really a good environment for it, I’m stuck with expressing hir online. Since dragons are fairly common and I’m among old school gamers, I can get away with putting up a few of my tame pieces on the wall at work, and I’ve even toed the line by using my dragon icons for avatars on a few programs. Can’t do that though with Swiftie.  Even if it was fairly neutral to fur, chakats would have their own baggage of sorts that a generic furry wouldn’t have to deal with.

 

That’s probably enough for now, so I’ll leave it at that.  Maybe my next post will come a little sooner than six months later!

Furry does not always mean Good

Been a while again, but life happens.  Still looking for a gaming group, though I got into a Play-by-post game with a gnoll druid, and I’m waiting to hear back on two other games(one also PbP) that I submitted Jasmine to.  I’ve also come up with a couple other characters I’d like to play in the future:

– A cheetah-styled catfolk faux-jedi that follows the Elements instead of any version of the “Force”, using a polearm wuxia-style.

– A cowardly kobold who fights with summons, and is bonded to an Outsider that acts like a personal Google search engine for anything he needs to know.

The cheetah girl is the one I’m more interested in at the moment, even if I’m still torn on names between Rahna and Kivarra.  The latter is one I was toying with originally, but I keep mentally changing it to Kitiara, which wouldn’t work because then every one would call her “Kitty.”  Rahna on the other hand is, like Sharilar used to be, a name I used before for certain types of characters(Sharilar was always a vixen, Rahna was originally a feline name) but never had a solid character to link it specifically to.

Anyways, to get more to the point of this post, while looking for games to try to join, I came across someone’s homebrew of Pathfinder, replacing all the normal races with Furry races.  When I went to glance through it though, I was left feeling kinda bored with it all.

You’d think, given the fact that if any RPG allows furry-style races, I’ll gravitate towards them, I’d be all over that.  Heck, the chakatverse could be considered an all-furry-verse, given no rubber forehead aliens or truly alien aliens have yet to show up(Side note: that’s begging for a story along the lines of the Star Trek TNG precursors one), and Ironclaw built an entire system around it, and I have no problem with either of them.  Why?

They’re not bland.

True, Chakatverse does have bog-standard furry animal people, but they’re alongside other stranger creatures and baseline humans, and there are repercussions to that.  They aren’t just treated like humans in funny suits, with no hook.

Ironclaw took the stereotypes and inclinations of each species they feature, then tried to figure out what a society built on that would look and feel like.  Again, there’s plenty of hooks here for plot and character, rather than a bunch of ordinary animal people doing people things and no influence from what they actually are.

Basically, if you could take a wolf furry character and replace it with a kangaroo furry with no impact to the character or plot, what is even the point?  If you can replace a zebra with an elephant with no impact, why are you even using a zebra?

It’s like the criticisms of a lot of standard fantasy.  You got your pointy-eared human, your stocky bearded human, your short furry-footed human, and your green-skinned fanged human, and if you just add animal human to that, is there any real difference?  Why play something different if it’s exactly the same, but with a different layer of paint?

To put it another way and borrow a comment from the twitter comment I made on this, one of the essences of furriness is queerness – and I don’t mean in the sexual way.  It’s something different, a different approach to things from the standard human way.  Again, if there’s no difference between the wolf-man and a normal man, then the wolf-man may as well be a normal man!

I also don’t mean throw in *Nuzzles* and *Pants* and “OwO wats this” and have no other difference apart from a few cutesy quirks.  To play off the above example, you have both the stereotype of the “lone wolf” and the social/pack/loyalty trends of wolves – so how would either of those impact the character or race in question?  If you took a actual wolf and uplifted them, what would they actually be like?

I look back at the characters I made, and each of the ones I’m proudest of would have lost something if they hadn’t factored in the uniqueness of their races.  Jasmine for example – physically, she’s a tigress with dragon wings, and if I wanted to compromise to get her in a lower power setting, I could make her as a catfolk, or just have her look like a tiger.  But she is rakshasa still, and doing any of that would sacrifice her story and what makes her unique and herself.

Sharilar also works as an example.  She could be just another black-furred vixen gypsy, but she is kitsune.  That has certain implications within various settings, and even more so for one who is also gypsy. (Side note: I know it’s a stereotype, but this is Fantasy and drunken Scottish dwarves are a thing too, so.) This not only affects her worldview, but also (and more importantly) how the world views her.

And my most recent character, Dusk.  She’s a gnoll, which carries just as much weight as the races above.  Gnolls are more bestial, supposedly have a touch of demonic blood, and are known for eating the flesh of other sapients.  They are also known for slaves and laziness in some settings.  They are born, grow quickly, live brutal short lives, then just as quickly pass away.  An anthro hyena girl would have none of that, yet all of it helped form who she is, even if only by going against the stereotypes.

Basically, just because something can be described as furry, or considered furry doesn’t make it automatically good.  Especially if it commits the cardinal sin you can commit in a game:

Be boring.

Worlds of Whimsy Addendum: Makai Knight and Makai Priest

Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns.

Yet by the blade of knights, mankind was given hope.

So, a while back I got most of my IRL gaming group interested in a live-action show called Garo and it’s sequels.  The concept is basically modern fantasy – if an object becomes infused with enough negative karma, it can act as a gateway for demons from the Makai, which is basically an alternate plane of magic and evil.  These demons then come through and possess or replace people to feed on humans.  There is an ancient order of protectors that then fight them in secret to send them back where they came from: the Makai Knights, who fight them with sword and armor, and Makai Priests, who use magic and hand-to-hand combat.

If the explanation seems confusing, here’s a short music video done using footage from one of the movies and the original opening song, which should give an idea of what goes on:

Side note, the original series was recently licensed by Kraken Releasing so give it a buy when it finally comes out!

Anyways, they were interested in actually making a Makai Knight character and put a bug in my ear about a homebrew class for Pathfinder.  Inspiration struck, and I sat down and worked out the mechanics for the Makai Knight, drawing on all the various series to attempt to cover all the capabilities they’ve shown, and break it down into a meaningful progression, and in an at least hopefully somewhat balanced way.

Like the Black Blade archetype for Magus, a lot of the class’s power are tied into the sword and armor that they essentially get for free – however, there is a time limit on usage of their full power.  In-show, if they wore the armor for over 99.9 seconds, it would attempt to devour them, and I tried to simulate that in-game as well, as a limiter on the power of “free magic items.”

As the Makai Priest is tied so strongly i concept to the Knight, I then worked out a class to try and properly represent the priests as well, borrowing heavily from the Witch, which they were thematically close to already.

For purposes of this post, I’ve put them into PDF form, to preserve formatting and allow for printouts for use at the game table.

Enjoy!

Makai Knight class for Pathfinder/d20

Makai Priest class for Pathfinder/d20

Honnou Kakusei! (Instincts Awaken!)

Among my various geek interests, I also have a distinct like for toku aka live-action Japanese superhero shows.  One of the long-running franchises, Super Sentai, gets brought over to the US as Power Rangers, but the others haven’t had much success.

This year’s super sentai actually has a furry theme, but funnily enough while the fandom talks up Zootopia I have yet to see any mention of Dobutsu Sentai(Animal Taskforce) Zyuohger outside of the usual toku circles.  While ZyuEagle is human, the other four are actual anthros, potentially with human disguises(they have human actors, need to see how that plays out).  We’ve got a male Lion with dreads, a male Elephant with a bit of a Indian flare, a female Shark who has a mature woman vibe about her, and a female Tiger who so far seems like a feline copy of Amy from Kyoryuger.  The music is hype too, the first 30 seconds of the opening were released, and I can’t stop listening to it!  About the only thing I don’t like is the mecha this time around are minecraftish.

This is probably the first sentai I’ve been hype about actually since Kyoryuger, and that took me a bit to warm up to because of how over the top it was.  Go-Busters was probably the last one I was hype for before it started.  ToQger I skipped entirely after watching the first episode, and Nininger has been just okay.

Speaking of toku, I’ve actually got a few other folk I know in RL watching it now, after using Garo as a gateway series.  I started with using Halloween as an excuse to marathon it, and they were hooked.  SO far they’ve watched everything except the two Ryuga seasons and the recent anime, but for a bit of a break I’m showing them Kamen Rider Gaim,  Turns out the main guy that was watching the stuff actually remembered the US adaption of Kamen Rider Black RX, just called Masked Rider over here.  I had Agito as a safer backup, since Gaim is a bit OTT to start also, but he was good with both, and I kind of want to rewatch Gaim – I’ve rewatched Agito maybe twice already.  Once those are both done, it’ll probably be time for Ryuga’s Garo seasons, then I might try either Gransazer, or Go-Busters.  Given most of those are 48 ep series, and we go through about 10-13 eps a night, that should provide enough for the next few months.

Game-wise because of said people I also re-subbed to WoW using in-game gold about 2 weeks ago. I’ve already made that gold back with alt garrisons, and I’m just a few Apexis dailies away from Draenor flying, so I’ll finish that this weekend probably.  After that, I’ll see what I need to roll to run with them, as that’s why I resubbed – though I also am runnign LFRs to finish my legendary.  I kind of don’t want to do real raiding anymore still, at least for now.  I got a server first on a Mythic raid end boss with a hardcore guild, and as far as I’m concerned I won WoW.  Doing that though killed my interest in raid, which is partly why I let WoW sit while I dabbled in Star Trek Online since April.

I am still playing STO too, just there hasn’t been anything much new since before the holidays.  There’s a anniversary event coming up though, and a new story episode focusing on the Temporal Cold War time shenanigans, which’ll be interesting.

Looking at WoW also reminded me that there was a pet in it linked to Heroes of the Storm – turns out you need to get to player level 20 for it.  I’ve started playing it, purely against low level AI and it’s actually kind of fun that way.  So far I’ve liked most of the heroes I tried, except Stiches.  Guess I’m just not a melee kind of guy in this game?  I didn’t expect to like Tassadar though, since he is support.

I also finally got myself a set of Telegram stickers, though it’s only part 1 of 2.  I didn’t have an idea for a full 22, so I only got 11, and now I’m just waiting for the artist to clear her queue so I can get the second set.  I’ve got enough of an idea now to get the rest, even if a couple of them are a bit weaker.  Even if I don’t use them all regularly in Telegram, in a way it’s like a bunch of smaller basic pictures for a decent price, so it’s not a bad thing at all.

llewelyn sticker set

2015: Running in Place

I knew it had been a while since I really wrote anything, but I hadn’t realized it had been three months!  Honestly, I just haven’t really had anything much to write at length about lately.  Most other quick thoughts either haven’t been worth sharing, or dumped on Twitter where they are a better fit.

Anyways, welcome to 2016, we made it another revolution around the sun without the world being blown up.

Looking at my last post, I did finish that story, and you can find it at several different sites:

Take your pick.  In addition, I did get that piece of art of M’Rel, the Captain from the story(and styled a scene after it a bit):

Captain M'Rel of the FSS ExcaliburI’ve got the next story featuring them in mind, but considering it took probably 6 months to get the last one written, don’t expect this one done any time soon.

Related to this, I actually have been considering doing a sort of character compendium, though I don’t know where the best place to do that would be yet.  Basically, my list of characters that I had in different RP universes mostly, with the stories and/or ideas I had for them.  On thinking over who is on that list, they’re pretty much all female too I’m realizing.  Heh, go fig.

I’m also on Telegram now, though I’ve mostly limited that to just a few RL friends.  May change in the future at some point though.  Anyways, I’m looking at getting some stickers coming up here for it, which I may share here, since it’s more little arts.  I’ve also got ideas for a couple adult pics that are looking like they may never happen, and at least one idea I kinda want from watching the new Star Wars.

It was a good movie.  I avoided pretty much all the spoilers successfully, and heck, even skipped most of the trailers leading up to it, so I got some legitimate surprises.  It was also a good Star Wars movie.  I will say there’s no after-credits scene, which I found out the hard way. I also ahve to say that they picked the right trailers to go with it, as I’m at least mildly interested in all but one of the trailers attached to it – the exception being that “Chicago in a cage experiment” one. In IMAX 3D, one of them even did this awesome effect at the end with cinders(I think it was Warcraft) where it actually seemed like it was coming from behind me and I started to turn my head before catching myself.

Lately, I’ve been less in STO, though I got a pilot ship for my Romulan engineer.  Those things are wicked fun to fly!  I had so much fun actually that my Christmas gift to a couple people that play was gift cards to buy a pilot ship(or 3). I’m also sorely tempted to move my other Romulan into a pilot ship too, but I really like the design of the veteran Heavy Destroyer, and kinda want to keep her in that Skyhawk DD descendant.

The reason I’ve not been playing STO is I’d been plowing through Shadowrun.  I needed a bit of a palate cleanser as I was starting to burn out, so I tried Dragonfall, and got hooked this time.  I liked the story and characters enough I ended up playing through it a couple more times with different builds to get all the achievements as well, and see the different endings.

After that I got Shadowrun: Hong Kong during the recent Steam sale and while I like the expanded options, I didn’t feel it as much this time.  Partly from how they limit your background I think – my usual dwarf rigger/decker was a semi-poor fit for their story.  After the first playthrough I then went through again with a mage/face more tailored to teh story and while it worked well, the endings all blended into each other more than Dragonfall’s did.  I did get a kick out of the references, cameos, and callbacks to the previous game, but Dragonfall had a better story I think.  I did complete all the achievements on this game as well within 2015, though I got the last at 11:58 or 11:59pm!

Playing the Shadowrun games got me thinking about an old character concept I never got to realize for that universe – a werefox technomancer.  During the one(and only so far) Shadowrun campaign I played in, I ended up doing a variant of this character due to a rule conflict i found, and I didn’t want to look for a house ruling, so I turned her into a face/sneak using pistols – and then of course our first run was to an underwater wreck.  Plenty of wandering and combat opportunities, but no fast-talking or sneaking required. The party got split three ways too, but then the game got put on indefinite pause.

The idea I had was that since Resonance behaved a lot like Magic, maybe a fox shifter who was born Awakened in a urban area might have tapped into that instead, and become a technomancer.  In 4E shadowrun(don’t know if 5th changed this) you couldn’t have both a Resonance stat and a Magic stat and shifters were required to have a Magic of 1 as I recall, which put the kibosh without house rules. Her Matrix avatar would have been a fox, kind of a clue to her identity as such.

Now if I got the chance again, I’d see if I could get that rule bypassed a bit as I still think it’s a neat concept.  If I re-envisioned her again now though, I’d be tempted to make a couple changes. The slight twists I have in mind are that she’d have a drone “pet,” and that her avatar might instead be a female foxtaur, to combine both aspects of her Awakened nature. Technomancers, from how they should be played, sound like a good fit for a trickster archetype character too.

The main problem is I’m not sure if I could make her good with the drone and with doing Matrix things, or if that would cause her to not bee good enough at either.  There’s also the matter of how to make her drone “pet” work as a pet – having a sprite inhabit it or something.  It’s a concept I like, if I could make it work.  I only have access to a 4E book right now though, and I haven’t read up on the 5e changes yet.  Some incarnation of her would make my “memorable characters” list I mentioned earlier though.

Overall, 2015 hasn’t been bad at all – quite a lot of running in place in various aspects of my life, with only a couple changes here and there.  I dropped World of Warcraft(though I may pick it back up later), got heavy into Star Trek Online, wrote a story, got a few pieces of art, finally got a tablet, got a lot more Transformers(thanks to Combiner Wars being awesome), and changed roles laterally at work.  Oh, and allergies worked hard to kick my butt through large swaths of it.

Whether it’s good or bad that things changed little, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader, as some old books used to say.  We’ll see what 2016 brings, and if I have more to write about here or not!

More Trekkin’, More Writin’

So I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I wrote something, but I haven’t had too much to write about… at least on here.  My role at work did change a bit, making me busier than before, but not really anything worth sharing.

I did finally max all my Star Trek Online alts, giving me 8 characters at 60, and 1 empty character slot.  I actually have a character in mind for it, but since there’s no appropriate ship yet for her I’m holding off and working on filling out my alt builds completely.

I do like the fact that each one has a different build and ship type, with different armaments.  On paper this means they all play differently, but in practice there is a some overlap between my Romulans, as they both use forward-facing setups with narrow arcs. The same applies to my Federation ships, as despite one being a DPS focus, one a tank, and one a drain boat, all three are broadsiders and thus are piloted somewhat similarly, despite the difference in what and how they handle things.  My KDF toons are probably the most disparate, as one is a carrier with a focus on fighters, one is a siege-style ship based on sitting in one place and broadsiding, and the last one is a torpedo/Wave Motion Gun type build with very little pure energy weapon damage.

In the case of all my STO toons, the ship is as much a part of their character as the toon itself, extending to their bridge officers as well. At the moment, I’m finishing the bridge crew and away teams of a couple captains, then it’s on to ground gear and upgrading everything.  In some cases, I’m not quite as happy with the actual bridge crews, but I’ve been able to justify them so far, with a bit of creative thinking:

  • My Caitian Federation captain has a melting pot of the “best” space and ground boffs.  Federation inclusiveness is a go, even if it is a bit of a stretch.
  • My Draenei Fed captain runs an all-Draenei ground crew.  The bridge crew is 2 Draenei, a Dwarf(using the Alien race), 2 semi-Night Elves(using Romulans) and the Heirarchy officer from the Delta stories. 1 non-Warcraft race is probably fine, I feel, as I could see them allowing a token representative to observe the Alliance in action.
  • My Borg Fed captain has a ground crew of 2 borg, a borg-looking Android, and a hologram, and most of them are on the space crew, plus a couple Romulans as it is originally a Romulan ship.  One of the easiest to justify and have good boffs.
  • My Gorn KDF with the carrier has an all-Gorn away team and an all-Naussicaan bridge crew.  In my mind they’re not truly KDF, so the Nausicaans are probably rebels as well. They do look similar in some ways, as well.
  • My Talaxian KDF is a pirate, with a Orion(looking) ground crew and Nausicaans above, though I’ll be adding a couple Romulans and a Hierarchy.  Pirates explains it all!
  • My Ferasan KDF is actually loyal to the Kzinti/Lyran state(noticing a pattern?) and will have an all Ferasan ground crew when I’m done.  Space crew is again the ubiquitous Nausicaans-for-hire.
  • My Fed-aligned Romulan is a Romulan supremecist and has a pure Romulan crew, apart from a Romulan-looking android and hologram, both fo which I consider Romulan-programmed.
  • My KDF-aligned Romulan was originally based off of Clan Jade Falcon from a different franchise, but I couldn’t really make a theme work on that so he’s another “Rebel” of sorts, his ship being crewed by Romulan and Gorn. (Which amuses me since they were enemies in Star Fleet Battles and it’s derivitaves.)

Setting aside STO somewhat, I’m also finally getting my first piece of art in several months – a picture of the chakatverse version of my STO Caitian, M’Rel, as she is the star of the chakatverse story I’m writing.  Originally she was created in STO as a stand-in for Swiftwind, as I just couldn’t see the chakat as a starship captain, but she’s grown into her own and the story that originally was going to focus on Swiftwind pivoted around to a slightly different concept and crew.

Now, the original story idea I had may still ahppen after this one, but I’ve been writing on and off on it since April or May probably.  I’ll write a bunch, then let it sit a while, then come back to it again.  It’s back to slow writing at the moment I’m afraid with my focus on STO and not being in a writing mood, but hopefully I’ll finish it within the next few months – I’m hoping the picture may help my inspiration.

I’ve also been sorely tempted to post it part by part on this blog, which may help in getting me to finally finish the thing.  My one fear in doing that is that with how long I’m taking writing it, that I may not pace it appropriately, or for that matter if I don’t actually finish it.  I am close enough to the end though that that should not be a concern.

Either way, we’ll see what lies ahead, especially with a new STO “season” starting in two to three weeks, which is also when my picture will likely be finished by…

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!