Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

QOTD: Warrior Races

Borrowed from http://www.gatesofstovokor.com
Sci-fi is full of stereotyped "warrior races," but the fact is that a "warrior race" makes about as much sense as a "bus driver race."
~~Christopher L. Bennett commenting in the ST:TNG Rewatch on Tor.com
I have often thought the idea of all Klingons being warriors was silly (or all ancient Vulcans in the discussion that inspired the quote). Perhaps they might have compulsory military duty or some such for a time in their lives. The Swiss (a decidedly un-warlike country) have such a system. But by and large you can't have an empire made up of "warriors." Now, that's not to say warriors and a warrior culture might not be venerated by such an empire.
We're a nation of warriors, and most of us don't have a war.
~~Robert Brockway speaking of Americans on Cracked.com.
This post is not a comment on gun control, I am only highlighting a tendency in fiction (and some MMOs).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Year Come and Gone

It's that time again: the day where, like many others, I congratulate myself on the fine job I have been doing blogging for all you wonderful people. IHTtS has gone through quite a year. In January of 2012, I was knee deep in Star Wars: The Old Republic hype, still loving the stories and the worlds of a galaxy far, far away. I loved exploring new, yet familiar, places and themes with my newlywed bride, known here and on Twitter as Sctrz—pronounced "Scooters" or "Scooter-zee," if you're curious; though I usually address her as Sweetheart or some other sappy pet name. :D

In March and April, I wrote several posts in a series called 20 Days of Blogging; though it stretched out over more than a month. And I only actually got to Day 15 on the list. I should finish that off when I need inspiration to write. In May, I had the privilege of participating in Syp's Newbie Blogger Initiative, posting seven entries related to the project.

Events I will not rehash dampened my enthusiasm for SWTOR; and by July, I was ready to just finish Versteckt's story. The Secret World was my new hotness, and I love it still. For the first time, theorycrafting and the progression system of a game truly interested me, and I wrote quite a bit about it in July and August. Sctrz was not so enthralled, but loves Guild Wars 2.

GW2 dominated my gaming time and my blogging this fall. I like the game just fine myself, even posting a couple Engineer builds earlier this month. Throughout the year, I branched out into other areas of interest though, discussing books and movies I've seen, gender politics in gaming, even reassuring a friend of his journalistic integrity. I highlighted blogs I like, and said farewell to a great blogging friend.

I reached some blogging goals I'd set for myself, averaging a post every 2.9 days in the past twelve months, and bringing up my average to 102 posts per year. I hope to be able to continue these trends.

After hitting a record near 4700 hits in December 2011, IHTtS settled into a nice average just below 4k for the first part of the year, with a nice little boost in May, mostly from the NBI. July saw a huge boost in hits, thanks perhaps to my theorycrafting posts about TSW. The hits per month have not dipped below 5k in the second half of the year, peaking in December with 9,637 hits. I have received 92,600 visits since Google started recording back in June of 2010.

My post about the movie Cloud Atlas carried me to that December record, becoming my most popular post ever with 5,698 hits (Hello, Thailand!) in only 2½ months as of this writing; though it wasn't the only star. The two most active comment sections (including my own) were on a self-pity post at the end of August (37) and my tribute to my ever-lovely bride, Sctrz (26). Thank you, my loyal readers. You may be few, but you are mighty.

I'm a little behind in posts already this year. I sailed to 80 on my "Engy" late last week, but failed to announce it here on the blog. I need to fill out the backstories of both my GW2 characters and my TSW characters. I also have reviews of Les Misérables and of the novel Cloud Atlas in the works. And the gamer couples survey results languish out laziness on my part more than anything. Hey, I made it three years, you've got no guarantees from here on out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Theory Crafting the Engineer for PvP

My friend and guildie, DoubleUnder, also has an Engineer that he loves to run sPvP with. He went a different than I did, which is the beauty of a versatile class. He wrote up his build on our guild forums, which I have reposted below, with his permission:

So when I started GW2, the last class I wanted to play was the Engineer. This was simply because of the learning curve to understand how to use all the elixirs, turrets and kits worked seemed like a lot, and it seemed like a difficult task to mesh all the utilities together for a good build.

What I found using the Bursty Roamer Spec was that I had good CC and a some burst, but in no way would I be able to hold a point, or go head to head with a 100 Blades Warrior. Most of all......those damn thieves.....always spamming the Heartseeker or Backstab. The Bursty Roamer had no place in a fight against a thief.

So I set out to Theory Craft a build that could not only deal damage, but could go head to head with the DPS classes.

While Theory Crafting this build, I wanted it to be simple, yet potent. So I focused on Elixirs as my utilities. Not only do they provide great buffs, but they can make you immune to damage and remove conditions.

The ability to convert thief conditions and necro conditions into your own buffs is huge. Just let your opponent stack them on you (while burning their own cooldowns) and now you have the advantage, your opponent basically making you stronger.

I put 20 points into Alchemy for the +20% Boon duration and the 20% increased cooldown to elixirs. This is especially important to getting your heal off as fast as possible.
I took 20 points into Inventions for the added toughness, and the 20% increase cooldown to the shield abilities. (The Shield will be your best friend against thieves and warriors).
I put 30 points into Precision to get the Pistol ability increase cooldown, pistol range increase and piercing shots with pistol (allows you to hit your target and whatever is behind it).
(We need another screenshot here, DU.)
For my runes I took 2 Runes of the Monk and 2 Runes of the Water for +50 Healing and another 30% Boon duration.

My Might buff now lasts twice as long as the Elixir B cooldown, allowing me to have permanent might and stacking it in duration. This also extends my other 4 buffs a great length.
For the last two runes I took Rune of Dwayna for the +20% health regen duration.

And don't forget, throwing your AOE toolbelt elixirs helps to maintain buffs and heals when your main utilities are on cooldown. They also give buffs to your allies during a group fight.

I took the Soldiers Amulet for the added power and toughness. Because this build is all about staying alive, so toughness is important. And toughness is my highest stat on my character, allowing me to survive a long time (buffs help a lot also).
This is not a high crit or DPS build. But you will live a long time once you grasp the rotation and understand how to be defensive. I can outlast a toughness spec warrior (if I play it smart) and no longer do thieves ruin me in 5 seconds. The full build is here. It took me hours to theory craft this build, and comments and criticism is appreciated and welcome!

Monday, January 7, 2013

My GW2 Engineer Build: PyroChem

A call for Engineer builds by @Gazimoff on Twitter prompted this post about my Engineer, Heide Uhrmacher. I neither claim full credit for it, nor have I researched its effectiveness vs. other builds. It's a build I have fun with, though, nothing more. I started with mostly turrets, but found them inconvenient, and since I am F-key happy (phat lewtz!), I would often pick them them up in the middle of a fight, with the long cooldowns that involves.  I'd mostly been using Grenades until I read Syp's ode to Pyrotanks. Much of this build is borrowed from him. Coupled with that is the suggestion I got from some now-lost corner of the Innerchoobs that Elixir Gun might be a good choice of weapon kit.

My Action Bar
As you can see from my action bar, I've equipped dual pistols, though I typically use Flamethrower, with Elixir Gun for ranged attack and 5) Super Elixir AoE heal, and grenades. Using Engineer kits negates the stats on weapons, so what you equip in those slots becomes less important. My Skill slots are:
  • 6) Prayer to Dwayna
  • 7) Grenade Kit
  • 8) Flamethrower
  • 9) Elixir Gun
  • 0) Hounds of Balthasar (Human Racial Elite, mostly just trying it out right now)
These skills give me the following toolbelt skills (Just like Batman!):
  • F1) Blessing of Dwayna (minor ground-targeted AoE heal)
  • F2) Grenade Barrage (extra ground-targeted AoE damage)
  • F3) Incendiary Ammo (only useful with my elixir gun or pistols)
  • F4) Healing Mist (character-centered AoE heal)
My current Traits
I've maxed out my Firearms and Alchemy trait lines, giving me an extra 300 Precision, Condition Damage, and Vitality, with an extra 30% Boon Duration. Besides the Defaults, my chosen traits are:
  • Firearms IV: Rifled Barrels, for the increased Pistols and Elixir Gun range.
  • Firearms VIII: Fireforged Trigger, 20% faster recharge on both Flamethrower and Elixir Gun.
  • Firearms XI: Juggernaut, +200 Toughness with Flamethrower equipped, plus stacking Might.
  • Alchemy VI: Protection Injection, damage mitigation if I'm disabled.
  • Alchemy VII: Deadly Mixture, 15% extra damage with both Flamethrower and Elixir Gun.
  • Alchemy IX: Backpack Regenerator, perpetual HoT with all kits (stacks with other "regeneration" boons).
Not Quite Done
I'm still just 75 so I have a few more points to allocate. My plan at 80 is to get Inventions IV: Stabilized Armor, which will mitigate 5% damage when my endurance (the ability to dodge) is full. I'll also have 100 extra Vitality and Healing Power, and I already have the default Low Health Response system that grants a HoT if I am hit while below 25% health.

So that's my Skills and Trait build. I haven't covered underwater combat (USE GRENADES), or Gear/Runes, because I haven't looked really closely at that, other than staying at or close to level. I hope this was helpful to people. :)