Enric Darkstone

Ahoy hoy

I think I should have passed on the Cantaloupe

Posted by Enric Darkstone on June 2, 2010

I just got back from getting my haircut and figured that, while I wasn’t hungry I should probably eat something to tide me over till the stomach growls to make its existence known.  I checked out the fridge and the only thing that would really fit as a snack was the last slice of a cantaloupe I carved up about a week ago.

Now, I’m not going to name any names, but I will say it was not my idea to place the post-sliced cantaloupe into a plastic bag you get from the grocery store.  For starters that just sounds unsanitary, and I think it only helps to speed up the process of this fruit’s deterioration.  Cantaloupes have a nasty habit of growing mold a day after they are bought on that odd, circular-basket weave-like exterior they posses.  Starting out mostly whole and intact, I can see, barely, letting the fruit stay in the bag (for reasons still unknown).  But after about half of it is gone, its time to put that orange sphere of seeds onto a paper plate or something.

There was a wedge of cantaloupe about two and half inches across by…whatever length wide (like seven inches in a curled shape) wrapped up in that plastic bag.  And it was juicy.  So juicy that the bottom half of the wedge was soaking in some sort of liquid.  Apparently, that juice had mingled with the cantaloupe for probably a good day or two before I got to it this morning.  The first sign of trouble was that said liquid was a twinge of brown.  I know for a fact that one of the major discoveries of mold being made into something beneficial to man came off of a cantaloupe’s hide, and that stew in the bag wasn’t earning any favors at that point.

I seeded what was left still attached to the flesh of the melon, and washed the entire wedge under running water for a good thirty seconds to free the fruit of any of the murky slurry that it was swimming in.  The first scoop of it proved to be the second sign of trouble, as the taste was… something off.

I’m going to assume you know what fresh cantaloupe is like.  It was like that, only, if you can imagine, first dredging that piece in a thick pile of pickling salt, then allowing it to melt into the surface of the orange flesh before consuming it.  It was mostly a cantaloupe taste, but always lurking just behind it was a salty bath of…strangeness.

It could have been just that one piece, of course.  So I *had* to have a second taste to make sure it wasn’t just an odd brain synapse or something.  But, no.  I was correct with my first testing that it, in fact, does have an incredibly strong yet light taste of salt that never takes the forefront, but is constantly letting it’s presence known in the background.

I could have very well eaten something that might just mutate me into the first of a immense zombie legion that brutally takes over the Great Midwest, before naming it any every town within it to the great zombie warcry of “Braaaayy-nnnnzz!”

So just in case I made sure to let my father have a bite as well.  What?  We could totally do that whole Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader ‘rule the galaxy’ bit.  Only undead.  And one planet.  But hell, even if all we did was stare blankly at the movie cameras I bet we’d show more emotion than anything in movies 1-3.

Probably better storyline, too.

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“Extreme” Gamers…according to Yahoo!

Posted by Enric Darkstone on May 27, 2010

Think you’re a big gamer? According to a new study from market research firm NPD Group, to be considered among the real hardcore you’ll need to play an average of 48.5 hours a week — nearly seven hours a day.

Yahoo!’s Plugged In

Oh my!  Seven hours!  What feats of tenacity will those unparalleled exemplars possibly surpass in the future?!

Seven hours?  *Only* seven hours?  I did that on my off-days on WoW when I didn’t even want to raid.  Seven hours.   Make it mandatory to spend that time in an actual, physical Arcade (if you can find one still standing) and then that becomes something worth attaching a positive-sounding adjective to.  But at home?  Sitting comfortably, choosing whatever game you wish to play at the time?

Christ. 

I, along with almost every other gamer I know online probably already qualify for some Guinness records.  Seven hours…that’s like a wanna-wanna-be gamer.  Damned kids these days, can’t even play games without slacking off.

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Ruby Sanctum, Halion the Philospher

Posted by Enric Darkstone on May 18, 2010

Just checked out the Ruby Sanctum preview off of Mmo-Champion and saw the final boss (Halion) has this one incredibly good line he says during the battle:

“You will find only suffering within the realm of Twilight. Enter if you dare.”

I, for one, think every single book by Stephenie Meyer should have those exact words stamped on both the front and back covers.

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Tim Blehrton

Posted by Enric Darkstone on March 16, 2010

“Burton said, “France has such a special place in my heart and I feel much more at home here than I do my own country and I always have,” after accepting his award. Tim Burton is the reigning king of the box-office for his directorial work on “Alice in Wonderland.”

omg! blog

That explains a lot.  I’m a bit rusty on my customs, but is common for French people to constantly reuse their wife in every film they make?

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade Shenanigans

Posted by Enric Darkstone on March 12, 2010

Based upon the weather, if you are able to watch (on TV) the St. Patrick’s Day parade going on in Chicago this Saturday, do so.  They are predicting some nasty wind gusts.  If you cannot see the comedic potential in giant plastic bags filled with helium smacking, scraping, or if you’re lucky popping and / or flying away, then I just don’t think you have any comedic bone in yer’ body.

Aye…odds were low that they’d even have a single balloon going on for such a mild holiday, but still the thought is genius.  If not for the wonton mascots flying away, but for the miniature armies walking the predetermined path, intent on holding the strings and weigh down the floating giants…only now forced to march on, foolishly.  Their main purpose at this event nixed before it began, yet still they march onwards towards their pointless and ever shortening parade crusade.

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I have viewers now? o.O;

Posted by Enric Darkstone on March 8, 2010

Well hot damn!  I log off contemplating posting my thoughts on the Metal Gear Solid series after seeing Diverse Woman made mention that it’s one of her favorite series, I check my (dead) blog tonight and *BLAM*.  Looks like one of a very few hits I got the other day caught someone’s attention.  (Thanks for the linkage…syp?  The Syp?  SYP!  Dude!  Been awhile!  Oh, so the pingback is how my post got noticed haha Nice.  Still got a link to your original blog on the right!)

Well dang, now that makes sense.  Wow, I’m still surprised. 

Anyway, let’s see.  To clarify, the Warhammer Online:  Cataclysm post, admittedly, wasn’t that polished.  At the same time I wasn’t really expecting anyone to notice lol  Lemme see if I can clean up my side of the argument a bit better, since a few are already weighing in their thoughts.

Since just a few months before WAR’s release, a lot of shifty ideas started getting pumped out of Blizzard.  I linked to Syp’s original post about this two years ago in my previous one. At the time the main ones were:

-The Tome of Knowledge -vs- Achievements
-The sudden emphasis on PvP that was ever-present at blizzcon which instantly triggered flags on the field for similarity to RvR Lakes in general, but especially the entire point of WAR, being capturing/sacking Capital cities
-Other crap I can’t remember…though one random thing that does stick out is I remember seeing a video that said a Black Orc would be able to physically punt a teammate away/pull an enemy towards them to help themselves tank.  This was later dropped from WAR (or at least I never leveled up that high) but a certain new tanking class to WoW certainly had a similar ability.  Death Grip if you can’t read through the subtle sarcasm is what I’m trying to say.

Before I even begin to go over some of the details, let me begin by saying that all of Warcraft would not even exist if it was not for Warhammer.  Most of you all probably (should) know that Blizzard dudes made a cool RTS some fifteen years ago and tried selling to Warhammer folks, but for whatever reason the deal fell through.  Instead of just scrapping a game they invested time on, they changed a few words (namely swapping “hammer” with “craft”) and shipped it out. 

Spare me the “zomg tolkien made orcs firzt!!!11!!” and similar rants.  Case is point is from it’s very conception Warcraft has been based upon a stolen and bastardized intellectual property that no one from Blizzard originally created.

At. First.

Now it’s completely different.  Warcraft III and Frozen Throne utterly blew me away for (if nothing else) it’s massive, deep story that was told flawlessly. (Sadly none of this carried over to Wrath, but whatever.  No one plays WoW for lore anymore, right?)  WoW took some getting used to, but once it’s hooks got under my skin, they sunk deep and bunkered down.  My account’s been mostly active since pre-BC, so again, spare me any Francis-personified fanboy rage or claims of favoritism.

The fact is Blizzard, especially now more than ever after it’s hook-up with Activision is in it for profit. (Since that whole MW2 fiasco has nothing to do with money at all.  At ALL.)  This can be seen positively or negatively.  Positive thinking shows that Blizzard is only taking the best into their game and branching it out in their own way.  The Negative thinking notes that, but adds “just like how they stole everything else.”

I’m somewhat on the fence; truth be told.  I was very willing for WAR to wipe the floor with WoW…but remember this was back in BC.  My main is *still* a prot warrior, but back then I couldn’t even kill anything.  I remember getting Netherwing rep and watching holy pallies and priests run circles around me in terms of killing speed.  But then WAR shows up and announces tanks can actually do something.  Doing more in pvp than waiting to tank Drek or Vann?  Count me in. Everything that was wrong in WoW at the time, was not wrong in WAR.

Sadly, WAR had a few problems of it’s own.  Server lag was pretty bad at launch, but what sealed the deal is when Wrath came out and gave tanks something fun to do instead of stand around as DPS classes air humped their keyboards as they constantly one-upped themselves on damage meters.  (Hell, even healers had meters they could link to one another.) 

Wrath released, got my attention, and has kept it since.  (Though ToC did get old fast, which is somewhat universally accepted.  I mean, when your options are:   A.  Wipe on the pvp encounter all day or B. Blow through the place in under an hour and have nothing left to do all week…it’s a rough spot to say the least.)  But, the main aspect of this all is simple: 

Did WoW ripoff WAR?

Yes, in several ways.  Depending on which side of the ‘debate’ you are on will generally reflect which game you are more of a fan of (which almost guarantees Team WoW a default victory), but all in all there’s really no argument here.  Warcraft was a Warhammer clone.  Starcraft was a Warhammer 40k clone.  If they didn’t mind swiping everything from the very beginning, why bother to stop now?  Again, I’m not blaming Blizzard for improving their game by taking the best of everyone else’s work, I’m just making mention of it.  (That they didn’t even bother to change the Mastery name was just salt in the wounds though.)

For WoW’s reign, constantly adding new things that they hand-pick from other games is a good thing (well for WoW anyway).  Blindly shaking your head “No” while the obvious is glaring at you is just silly.  To use a non-WAR based comparison: Addons. 

How many addons do you generally use?  OMEN, Damage meters, DBM, Auctioneer, Peggle, so on and so on?  Did you ever use Quest Helper, or something similar?  Do you still use it now?  If not, could it be because Blizzard noted it’s popularity and made their own official version in 3.3?

“Woah, woah, woah!  Easy, Enric!  They’re just adding that stuff because it was popular and they don’t want their players to accidentally download hacks while looking for addons!”

That’s sounds well and nice, but I’m sure the bigger part of it was to ensure people continue to play their game instead of getting lost, annoyed, and /ragequitting their account.  Keeping players happy and busy is not only good for players, but great for business.  Yet again the gray area settles upon the game and it could provoke someone to ask “Didn’t I see that same thing somewhere else?” to which a passer-by would respond “It’s here now.  You complaining?”

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Warhammer Online: Cataclysm

Posted by Enric Darkstone on March 2, 2010

There were quite a few “similarities” from Warhammer that started popping up in talks about Wrath about the time that years Blizzcon.  The first time an entire zone would be dedicated to PvP, various quests you could complete in the area, and even an instance that would open up that you could raid while it was active.  Not to mention coins and honor that can be exchanged for items that you could only buy from activity in this area. 

Somewhat of a wildly new addition to the game, oddly similar to what WAR was promoting and beta testing all over the place months before that.  Even more strange is that Wintergrasp in WoW is the *only* actual place with  pvp going on while the developers have been harping about “putting the War in Warcraft” for about two years now…

But tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar:

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level.”

Looks like something Warhammer’s been doing since Beta and beyond, again.  Let’s not forget the Tome of Knowledge.  Aye, Warhammer Online wasn’t the first to do it, I’ll admit to that as well.  But did you hear a word of it out of Blizzard *before* WAR?  No, you didn’t. 

Since the very beginning WAR said it was in their game, hell it IS their game.  Every time you check the map, a quest, stats, bestiary info, item sets, check to see how many times you’ve killed a certain class, or any time you join a scenario, you are reading out of your War Story from the Tome of Knowledge.

And the one that really seals the deal:

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.”

Mastery?  Really?  You even had to steal the same NAME?   You too busy counting subscriptions to think up anything else?  Amazing.  Let’s compare the WoW Mastery with the WAR Mastery.

In WoW you will put points into Talents.  The more points placed in a certain tree will automatically increase your character in certain ways based upon what spec it is.  Holy pallies will probably get a boost to healing (spell power) while Ret pallies will get a boost to strength or holy damage.

In WAR it’s the exact opposite, but since both combine in the end you get the same results.  In Warhammer you put points into your Mastery tree and depending on which spec it is, those particular abilities will do more damage/become more helpful to you by a certain amount per point.   Once you spend enough points per tree you unlock the option of putting a point into a new ability, talent, or morale ability.

In short, spend points on talents in WoW and increase your abilities.  Spend points on your abilities in WAR, and gain access to new talents (skills). Here’s a link to a Warhammer Online version of a talent calculator.  Notice when you add points to the tree of your choice, the core abilities listed increase in power and become stronger automatically.  This is a preview as to what specing is going to look like in WoW come pre-Cataclysm patch.

Mind you I’m still going to play Cataclysm, I’m just beefed that they have such gall to steal it so obviously.  Based on the little trash talk between WoW and WAR bosses at WAR’s release I wouldn’t doubt that this is a not too subtle jab at Mythic on Blizzard’s part.  Almost a “Well, we gave you a year…looks good…so we’ll be taking this, only doing it right.  Thanks a ton!  Totally saved us sixty hours of testing and troubleshooting!”

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Wrath/Cataclysm: Stat Changes Released

Posted by Enric Darkstone on March 1, 2010

Yet another sign Cata’s a-comin’.  Those interesting yet radical Cataclysm stat changes they mentioned back at last year’s Blizzcon are finally coming out.

Brief recap:

  • Everyone is getting more Stamina.
  • Intellect also grants spell power (as Spell Power is gone from the game, minus on caster weapons to prevent stupid people from rolling on them…though we all know otherwise.)
  • Spirit is only going to be on healing gear.  MP5 has been removed.
  • Attack power is going to be taken off of most items.
  • Agility might give hunters 2 attack power per point, but it won’t give as much crit. (Hinted at.)
  • Haste will allow melee to hit buttons faster, apparently lowering Global Cool Down time.
  • Resilience only affects player vs player damage.  No longer affects dots, mana drains, or crit chance.
  • Defense is being taken out, as well as Weapon skill. 
  • Parry will no longer avoid an attack entirely, but nullify half the damage on the attack parried, as well as half the damage of next attack.
  • Block will reduce damage by 30% for each successful block.
  • Dodge is the same as it currently is.

There’s a lot more, but that’s the meat and potatoes of it.  All the other stuff was pretty much covered at Blizzcon…and in case you missed that:

  • Hunters will not use Focus instead of mana, think of a ranged Rogue.  They’ll build up their Focus faster if they use Steady Shot.
  • If you play an odd style of a class that is hard to find gear for (Elemental Shaman, Boomkin, etc.) there will be talents in place to convert the gear you acquire into actually decent stats for your spec.
  • As mentioned above, tanking will be a bit different, as well as healing.  A steady stream of damage will be given to the tanks instead of large, sometimes constant, burst amounts.  They will now take a relatively steady amount of damage, which healers will need to heal steadily as well. This will prevent the need to keep a tank fully healed or risk an instant-wipe which current gear ‘required’ according to the developers.
  • A renewed emphasis on wearing the right gear will be in place.  IE: No holy pallies in cloth or warriors in leather.  Haven’t really said how they will manage this other than Plate = Strength/Stam and Leather = Agility.  Looks like they are going back to their Warcraft III model of Heros. (Great timing considering they just killed off WC3’s poster child >.>)

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Endless Trial: Less Inventory For Trial Accounts

Posted by Enric Darkstone on February 27, 2010

Not only has my favorite Scenario, Khaine’s Embrace been laid to rest in patch 1.3.4, but now further stuff is being ‘taken away’ from the Trail accounts:

“Well, in 1.3.5 we’re going to be giving you new options to increase your inventory space by opening up more bank room for each character and adding another tab to the guild vault. You will have to purchase this additional bank space with in-game currency, but we think they’re worth the cost! Players below Rank 40 will no longer have inventory space grow with leveling, but will be able to purchase the space as soon as they have the money to do so.”

Carrie Gouskos

Not an earth shattering change for the Trails, but one worth mentioning.  This shouldn’t really affect ‘us’ too much, unless you have Scavenging, in which case you’ll want to hit the Rank 10 level cap ASAP:

Don’t worry all players will be grandfathered in to the new system, so you won’t be forced to purchase bags you have already rightfully earned.

So get whatever toons you plan on playing for a while level capped, people!

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“Warhammer Online: Seeds are indeed, not dropped

Posted by Enric Darkstone on February 27, 2010

Only way you can level up Cultivation to max, be it 200 retail or 125 trail account cap, is by buying the seed(s) from the nearby vendor after you train for the ability in Chapter 2 of your choice of pairing.  Then just make the heck out of it until you hit Cultivation level 25 and are also lucky enough to get a Special Moment and get the next rank of seed. 

Repeat ad infinitum.

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