Law and Disorder – 2015.01.20

So it turns out that Bishop-the-Human-Ranger has competition for biggest a-hole of the Sword Coast. Shao’s court-appointed defense attorney is an elf wizard named Sand who adheres to every stereotype of the more-intellectual-than-thou trope. And he refuses to stay behind while Shao goes out to collect evidence for his defense. Nope, Sand is smart-assing his way over hill and dale to Port Llast and beyond. I’m sure his ruthlessness and lack of sympathy will come in handy in the courtroom, but if I hear one more time about my plebeian dull-wittedness, Shao is going to introduce him to the Longsword of the Gods.

But having survived the assassins that interrupted Shao’s Squire’s Vigil, it was off to find out why the Luskans thought they could convict everyone’s favorite criminal cleric for murders that he hadn’t actually committed.

(Shao has murdered a metric ton of people, but not the ones in Ember.)

The Shadow Dragon Triad is now Shadow Dragon Private Investigators – with a client list of one. Basic intel-gathering techniques include a healthy dose of Neverwinter street diplomacy, which is like regular diplomacy except with more beating the shit out of people who don’t respond to polite questions. The menagerie of contacts reads like a zoo list from Abeir-Toril: a village girl, a vengeful dryad, two gnome werewolves, a tavern drunk, a solemn boy with creepy ESP, a tribe of underground goblins, and a magic spider. Well, the magic spider was more of a side-questy thing, but he’s hella cool.

But after acquiring a solid collection of conflicting testimony, Sand deigned to acquiesce that we’d gathered a decent defense and Shao trundled back to Neverwinter for the trial.

Cue railroading.

So the Luskans start their prosecution. Sand has a few choice dialogue comments – and it’s nice to see someone else as the focus of his excoriations – and Shao uses his influence to tip the scales and rip the Luskan arguments a new one. It looks like acquittal is in sight. Lord Nasher’s judgement is fair and true. Shao did not murder the people of Ember.

So the Luskans get all pissed off. And then they call for a rite of trial by combat – regardless of the fact that Shao has been found innocent.

SO WHY THE EVERLIVING FUCK DID WE EVEN HAVE THIS TRIAL?

Now we have to go mano a mano with a hulking barbarian shithead named Lorne. He’s apparently a Harborman like Shao and a rival of some paragon who came from the swamp-town too. This is a connection that was only tenuously expressed in the plot thus far, although maybe if Shao’d thrown in with the Neverwinter Watch instead of the criminal element it would have been more noted.

A bunch of the Shadow Dragon Triad volunteers to fight on Shao’s behalf, but he is a professional and decides not to step down. The masses gather. Will the Luskans triumph, weakening Neverwinter’s political position on the Sword Coast? Or will justice finally be served on the tip of a flaming, acidic longsword?

(Oh yeah, we figured out how to enchant weapons. +1d6 fire and +1d6 acid damage on hit. Eheheheheh.)

Battle commences. A few spells land and Lorne is hurting. He hits his Berserker Rage Button, though, and he’s immune to death until it wears off. Cue a massive human roaring and running full-tilt around the arena, swinging a two-handed falchion after a cackling dwarf. But then rage ends and Shao shoves two feet of dwarven steel through the asshat’s face.

EAT IT BITCH.

And that’s justice, Neverwinter style.

Intro — 2015.01.01

This marks the first entry into my new Alt+F4 Playthrough Series. It’s been a dead year here on the blog, due to life circumstances and a slew of other shit. When I add that the fact that reblogging news is no’ as much fun as I hoped ‘twould be, it’s apparent I need a bit of a change. Therefore, I’m heading back to the roots of my experiences in video gaming.

Namely, actually PLAYING them.

I’ve probably referenced the fact that my gaming hardware is – shall we say – less than cutting edge. Several years less, to be frank. So instead of trying to get access to the latest MMO beta test or dashing off to drop upwards of fifty smackers on a new FPS, I’m going to be dialing the clock backward.

Pretty far back, most likely.

My vaguely-retro library holds a few PC titles that this crappy desktop can handle, so we’ll be dipping into the archives for our first entry. Most of the games are RPG-heavy, and the current winner is no exception. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the misadventures and mayhem to follow

Without further fanfare, we are happy to present:

nwn2

WildStar Beta Weekend, Ep. 1

So what’s WildStar like?

It’s fresh. After several years of MMOs that seem to rehash the same mechanics, WildStar is the only one that seems to be willing to raise the bar. The game doesn’t treat you like a novice. The designers know they have a number of new systems and mechanics, and the game seems aware that much of the sequences of combat and exploration will be new to the players. They’ve put the effort into teaching new players how to work the systems and the environment, and while I was by no means an expert, I felt reasonably proficient fairly quickly.

If you’ve read anything about WildStar, you probably know about the highly mobile combat and the telegraph system. As I am more used to the stand-and-fire elements of World of Warcraft combat, I felt like the stereotypical redcoat faced with Native American hit-and-run warfare. ((Note: I am well aware of the historical inaccuracy of this metaphor.))

It’s at this point that one becomes fast friends with the Dash button.

Eventually you find your rhythm and begin to dodge most of the enemy telegraphs, and despite fights being a bit on the longer side, you have more health at the end of combat. Adds make life exponentially more complicated, but honestly, the frenetic pace is very enjoyable.

I’m a huge fan of the housing system as well — it unlocks at level 14, so I only got to play around with it briefly. Which brings me to my very first photo-journal!

This is Christoph R. Croake, Scientist, Spellslinger, Relic Hunter, and Technologist.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 16.08.50

Christoph just got an offer to visit the housing sales center by visiting the Protostar Sales Rep!

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One purchase later, and Christoph has his own sky-island.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 21.40.28

And starts building a house. Just a small one.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 21.41.54

This is where the mad science parties will happen. 

Screenshot 2014-03-23 21.42.10

After a few purchases, Croake has a viable living space…

Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.10.04 Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.11.05

… and a tiny picnic area.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.16.32

Oooh, neighbors! Croake will invite them over for experimental chemistry dinner.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.18.52

Off to the auctioneer for some more property improvements. Where did he go?

Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.22.02

Whoops. Going to need a few more levels before Christoph can install his medical facilities.

Screenshot 2014-03-23 22.29.21

Will Christoph ever be able to have his own home research lab? How safe is it when you’re living several thousand feet in the air? Come back next beta weekend to find out!

Resurgence

Well, lasses and lads, it’s been almost a full year since my little game-blogging experiment went on hiatus. Life is a many-splendored thing (or are those the wrong lyrics?) and I’ve got my writing chops back. Besides, I just got in on the mother-effing WildStar beta, near as I can tell. So that’s hellaciously awesome.

Sad bit is, I don’t think I can play until after work tomorrow, assuming my semi-outdated system can even run the game. Fingers crossed.

So I’m going to tip my hand for you folks a bit and let you in on one of my favorite parts of game prep: Character Planning! Hopefully the names I want are available.

My first character is to be Christoph Croake, a Mordesh Spellslinger of dubious pedigree. I love the futuristic Victorian elements that Carbine’s applied to these Grismaran natives, and the tropes of Guns Akimbo and Omnidisciplinary Scientist blend together nicely. Since his planet was decimated by alchemy gone awry, a potentially-limiting class-based society has gone the way of the dodo (or whatever harmless alien bird species have been extinct-ified in a similar fashion), giving Christoph a fair option at making himself more than a working stiff. That’s a bit of a pun, for those who know their Mordesh lore.

Still not sure what he’ll look like, but there’s tons of options if you want to check them out.

So when/if I get WildStar up and running, expect a chunk of updates on what I like the bestest.

Ta!

WildStar Videos Revealing Inhabitants For Nexus

With the latest release of videos from the gang at Carbine, we have gotten a nice introduction to both factions that will be warring across (and above, and below) the surface of the planet Nexus. While still keeping a few surprises under wraps – the identity of one race per faction has yet to be revealed – the videos give a great representation of how each faction views itself and the others with the characteristic WildStar humor. The Exiles, a plucky gang of freedom-seeking independents, swear that the Dominon is a ruthless bunch of planet-pillaging despots, while the Dominion consider the Exiles to be a plucky SHIFTLESS gang of freedom-seeking UNWASHED independents and claim themselves to be a ruthless STYLISH bunch of planet-pillaging SOPHISTICATED despots.

Tomato, tomahto.

The WildStar website has also had a subtle facelift, providing more info on the individual races, paths, and classes that are currently planned. It’s a bit brief, but definitely worth a look. And if you haven’t seen the Protostar Housing Initiative video, you are missing out – so we’ll include that here as well.

Meet The Dominon:

Meet The Exiles:

Nexus Housing: