Rants tag

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Time is Mine

Syp is rethinking his gaming habits, which currently involve bouncing between several MMOs each evening. It was interesting to see in the comment section how different people approach their gaming time. In Syp's case, his game time is at least partly reflective of his status as an editor for Massively. For most of us, it's fully a leisure activity

In my case, given that it is my leisure time, I tend to devote myself to a game as long as it holds my interest. My posts reflect that interest, I am sure. So, for example, while I am still very much interested and involved with TSW, for the past week or so, I've been spending almost all my game time in Rift.

Why? Because of the shiny Dimensions. I promise not to turn this into a plug for those again. Suffice it to say that is what's holding my interest right now. I'm playing Barbie dream house. Eventually that excitement will subside, I suspect. I plan to return to TSW; it's been a consistent winner in my book.

So I binge on different games here and there. The point is I want to have fun. Therefore I will play (and blog about) what strikes my fancy—today. Tomorrow, it might be something different.

PotD: Filthy Agartha, or Dortmunder Clueless

Wow, the custodians look so tiny from here.
Scheiße! What is that—creature—doing here!?!
Wait, where am I?

Beyond the Veil Take 51: Issue #7 Wrap Up!

Beyond the Veil, Take 51 is now available for download on Holosuite Media. We chat about Issue #7's final mission (my personal favorite), sweet achievements, and a whole lot more!!!

You can also subscribe through Holosuite Media's RSS feed or through iTunes (with older episodes here). Be sure to catch the live show every Thursday at about 7p.m. EDT (11p.m. UTC) on Holosuite Excess.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

House Hunting

Whenever I think of house-hunting, I think of Eeyore.
So what else was I doing this past week? House hunting. In Rift.

Edge of Destiny, unmodifiedEdge of Destiny, heavily modified.You see, Telara has about a dozen different pocket dimensions that the Ascended can purchase and customize. Unfortunately, there's almost no way to really inspect a completely empty dimension. That is, one not modified by an Ascended. I lucked out and ported into one dimension just after one of my guildies had purchased it. I don't think she had even had a chance to see it herself. Just about every other one I saw had been modified in some way, some dramatically . . . unrecognizably. In deciding which one I finally settled on, I went through several instances, noting what was different in each, because that indicated a player modification.

So which did I decide would be my home in all my alternate selves? /Drum-roll . . .
Shoreward Island (I call it Fair Haven)
Initially—based on the name—I didn't think I would want this dimension, because I'm not really a seashore kind of person. Plus, I already have a copy of the desert oasis Faen's Retreat on each character, as a loyalty reward. (I wonder what people who had already purchased it got for a reward). But in fact, Shoreward Island is a nice grassy environment with a few trees; kind of a cross between Freemarch and Silverwood. Understandable, since it is located in the bay between those two zones, not far from the wrecked Empyreal warship and with views of both Meridian and Sanctum, not to mention Port Scion to the east.

On this island, an outpost tower was built, then abandoned with the fall of Port Scion (I'm assuming). I've made this tower my initial house since it's a convenient structure. There are a couple storage levels, a bedroom level, and the open-air parlor. I have also decorated a few garden areas and have set aside a cemetery plot, a makeshift dock, and an eventual workshop. I'd like to get a hold of another structure or two, and was even thinking of trying to "expand" the island using rock formations and other decorations. I may resort to scratch-building something, though I'm not fully confident in my abilities with the Dimension Toolbox yet.

One thing I did manage—and it was only temporary—was to build a scaffold of sorts in order to place some of the items on the tower. It seems pretty precarious just floating there, and I did fall off once or twice. But some time ago, the devs eliminated falling damage from the game, so it really only costs the time to get back up to the scaffold itself. The Toolbox is tremendously helpful, as was this tutorial I found through a Defiant computation device at "Rift Dimension Addicts." I certainly hope this dimension is free of rifts, though. Some haven that would be, fighting otherworldly creatures all the time!

Anyway, it feels like I've been at this report long enough, I took more pictures with the magic painting camera Larrea had left.  But they were dark, so I'm planning another picture session already. Feel free to embiggen these images or, if you are on Faeblight, feel free to visit Achillea's Fair Haven and have a look around.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rift: Party Time

Good Morrow, my friends!

My enthusiasm this morning is entirely fictitious, as I am suffering from a terrible headache, no doubt brought on by an excess of blood in my coffee system. Apparently, I am not the only one suffering slightly from a Rift hangover.

Here, we have Achillea (formerly known as Rowan, center) dancing on the bar of House Stalwart's Merry Gallows Tavern with fellow druid (cleric) Jessmyn (a.k.a the lovely Lady Jess). Wow, a lot of parentheticals in there.
Go whitegirl, go whitegirl, go!
So Rift went free-to-play a month or so ago, and while it was only mildly interesting news to me at the time, when Belghast strong-armed invited me and Scooterz to join him and some old friends from the meta-guild House Stalwart, we decided to get our feet wet. For the past week or so, I have watched somewhat from the sidelines as the guild has grown from just few people to over 35, many (most?)—like us—returning after a long hiatus, a few veterans, and a few newbies to the game. I gather the game is not as friendly to said newbies as I would have expected, though our return has been fairly seamless.

I spent most of my week messing around with dimensions, rather than questing or leveling. I'll have more on that later, partly because my dumb ass did not take pictures of my new work-in-progress. Well, I thought I had, but there were none in my screenshots folder.

In the meantime, Summerfest has started, with fun quests, scavenger hunts, etc. And this guy, strummin' some hot licks on his air guitar.
This is a nice milestone: as of this morning (maybe last night), this month is the third in a row as my best for visits to the blog not attributable to a single whale of a post. Things are only getting' better.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beyond the Veil Take 50: I Walk into Empty!!

Beyond the Veil, Take 50 is now available for download on Holosuite Media. We talk Issue 7 (SPOILERS ABOUND), creepy songs, and ongoing developments in The Secret World.
You can also subscribe through Holosuite Media's RSS feed or through iTunes (with older episodes here). Be sure to catch the live show TONIGHT and every Thursday at about 7p.m. EDT(11p.m. UTC) on Holosuite Excess.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?

". . . over-reaching plots like this that should have a greater impact on everyone irk me greatly."

You know what irks ME greatly? People butting into conversations they have no business in. So yesterday, I had an unpleasant experience wherein a Twitter TSW in-character (IC) friend was spinning a story through tweets. The scenario centered around a fictional disaster at a hospital in London. Someone responded out of character (OOC) that he didn't like the yarn for various reasons and felt that we should stop spinning it.
When several people defended the original poster OOC, the offended party refused to "discuss" it without resorting to Direct (private) Messages.

". . . I would not spread this stupidity any further. It makes zero sense."

As it turns out, the story my friend was spinning was based on RP activity that actually happened in The Secret World game environment, much like the Twitter traffic surrounding the encroaching Filth in Agartha. Who's stupid now, Mister Fussypants?

Much like my post yesterday about race/class limitations, this is someone telling the rest of us how "all good" RP is conducted. However, unlike Geldarion, this guy had no sense of humor. Beyond the Veil host Xander recently related an incident that occurred when he and some other BtV mates were sitting around the Horned God in London. He had his weapons displayed, and someone had the nerve to approach him OOC and say he shouldn't have them displayed. My immediate response was to ask if Xander had threatened the priss IC. I would have said something like, "How about I display these weapons on your face!"

I'm relatively new to this RP thing. I've never really sat around in a bar or tavern and roleplayed. I have sat and "listened in" on the conversations occasionally, like in Argent Glade in Rift. They are quite a performance. I still haven't really done it myself, though. I mean, if someone wants to chat IC while we're questing, I'm game; though generally I find it hard to type on the fly, as anyone in one of my guilds can attest.

". . . inconsiderate and ill-thought-out play . . . but I'll say no more on it."

There are plenty of guides for doing RP out there, if you and your friends want some pointers. If you think you've got it all down, maybe you should offer up your own guide. If, when you're roleplaying, someone tries to engage you in a manner contrary to your style, walk away. If a third party is doing something you don't like or maybe even offends, every game I know of has a /ignore command of some kind. On Twitter, you have the option to unfollow or block. If necessary, you might even get a GM involved. However, do not EVER approach a complete stranger unsolicited and tell them they're RPing wrong. They'll laugh in your face—at best. And well they should; for you, sir, are an ass.
RP can be a blast. The stories woven by RPers can really bring the game world to life—for some. Others don't care, or at the very least don't care to play YOUR form of RP. Trying to force it on them does not win you any friends, and it hurts the already dodgy reputation of Roleplayers.

What do you think? Should there be RP rules that everyone has to abide by? How would you get everyone to agree to them?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wildstar: Class or Race?

This post comes to you, as Harbinger Zero is fond saying, "because I just can't contain myself."

My aversion to race/class restrictions goes all the way back to the late 70s, when I was little, and my big brother—who had all the AD&D books—said that my Dwarf, Yoda, couldn't be a magic-using thief, and I had to change him to a halfing.

Apparently, there will be Race/Class limitations in Wildstar. That is, not every playable race in the game will be able be every class. I questioned the wisdom of this developer choice on Syp's Wildstar race poll and Geldarion, of The Fanatical Swordsman, responded thus:
"Most games have race/class limitations. All good lore-based games do. It doesn’t make sense for robots to use magic, now does it?"
I'll go on full Devil's Advocate and say, "Why not?" It doesn't exactly make sense for humans to use magic either, or for gnomes and orcs to exist at all. The only reason robots don't use magic is because the author said so. Which is acceptable, but completely arbitrary. And if the robot is either sentient (which a player character would be) or powered by magic—or both—why shouldn't the robot be able to wield such arcane energies?

I'm as much about Lore as the next guy. Heck, I care about it more than most. But when I have to choose between the race I want to be and the class I want to be, then the spell is broken; I'm only playing half a game. This boils in many ways down to the same argument about whether to have two factions locked in a cold (or hot) war. It's an arbitrary separation of players. Do I choose the race I want to be, or do I compromise that choice so I can play with my friends? To tell you the truth, most of time, I've seen in-universe "politics" strain credulity in the name of a game mechanic that many or most players couldn't care less about.

Geldarian's response contains the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, setting himself up as the arbiter of what constitutes a "good lore-based game." I happen to think there are several games that do not have race/class restrictions (or factions, in some cases), but still have great Lore, which I arbitrarily define as having a sense of history or depth, even if the IP is new.

That's not say that I think Wildstar is going to automatically suck if I can't make a magic wielding robot (I'm leaning bunny-eared spellslinger, myself). But I think it will be diminished.

What do you think? Should games have limits on what race can be which class?

The League of Extraordinary Knights

The Knights of Mercy did a bit of Elite dungeoneering last night, after a sort of hiatus where we killed oodles of Guardians in a mad rush for vanity items. Of, course two thirds of TSW is vanity items, so there is that.

First, the helicopter ride. I never seem to get fight pics anymore. It always starts with an innocent trip. Everyone's lost in their own thoughts, or tired . . . or slightly bored. For some reason, Thermic (Mr. GC) is never in my field of view. But look at those awesome outfits:
Laeyn Lafitte (MMOGC) and Dex-y Dieu-Le-Veut (Scooterz)
Chucho Arjan Singh (Tententacles), Sikh Red Agent Man
"No, Herr Eichenherz, I expect you to die."
"What? I can't even see her with this stupid eye patch on!"
Dancing in their seats.
One more gratuitous shot.
For some reason, the Elite Ur-Draug ("Cthulhu") kept hitting us harder and harder with every wipe. During the third encounter, we had him down to 5k health when disaster struck. And it only got worse from there. Right before the last fight (we finally downed him), MMOGC (the tank) left the instance and returned, which seemed to solve the issue for her. I still got caught in a cleave that hit me for almost 19k. That's about 15k overkill, considering my DPS-oriented glass-cannon build, and also about 7k more than any tank I've seen could survive. (Chucho was RIGHT, dammit!)
Buuuut, they clearly didn't need me, because they mowed him down while I was stuck in the penalty box. So here we are gloating over his carcass, while the Orochi'copter waits to pick us up. Either we're the most elegant group of Draug slayers in the game or a cadre of Bond villains:
The League of Extraordinary Knights

Now I'm FREE . . .

FREE FALLIN'!!~~Tom Petty

(You might be expecting pics from last night's Mercy Gaming run of  Polaris. Hold yer horses!)

I found out the other night that if I jump off the branches of Agartha with a weapon in hand, I get a different pose. Just some silly pics for you:
That first step is a doozy!
I'm somewhat reminded of SWTOR's Sith Warrior/JediKnight force leap. Or Sonic the Hedgehog.
On a more serious note, a much anticipated event looks like it be starting today. I'm calling it the Siege of Agartha:
Filth from Tokyo

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Housing Brings a Whole New Dimension to Rift

I know I'm totally late to the party, but I have of late become enthralled with Rift Dimensions. How late, you say? OK, OK . . . it was yesterday. I decided to claim the loyalty rewards for having been subscribed for over a year right after launch. And since the awesome folks at Trion Worlds are not complete buttheads like those over at EA/BioWare, I didn't have to pay additional fees to collect those loyalty rewards. One of the rewards is the awesome bowler hat you see my avatar wearing in the pictures below (Scooterz got one, too). Other rewards consist of the Faen's Retreat oasis dimension and some furnishings. This is on top of the much smaller instance, Warden's Point—plus furnishings—I received from the dimension tutorial quest I received in Freemarch. Scooterz didn't see the point of the wood planks she got until I showed her how scaling stuff up and sticking it out from an outcropping would enable something like the gravity defying patio you see below.
My blogging friend, Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut fame, formally organized his old WoW guild, House Stalwart, this week in Rift. He invited Scooterz and me to join him on Faeblight, and we connected last night. He's already got a guild hall going with an awesome dimension designer in the guild named Rae. Head over to his blog to see some of the great things she's already done with the place. And she's not even done yet.

Just seeing "half-finished" possibilities like that really stimulates my creative juices. I've always been fascinated by building and interior design; but, strangely, never ended up in a game where player housing was any kind of thing. When I first joined WoW, I would hearth (sounds like heart, not earth, btw) back to an inn at the end of every play session. But that wasn't my home, it was a place where I sojourned. Blizzard has for years ignored player clamor for housing of some kind. I'd had hopes that the ships in STO and SWTOR would be that. But Cryptic's efforts at ship interiors have been halfhearted at best, and BioWare offered no customization whatsoever. They even made a joke about it, with the ship's droid mentioning having repainted the captain's quarters the exact same color as before. In any event, I can see myself getting very wrapped up in the possibilities of having my own space in Rift. And so below, Scooterz and share the one thing I purchased for my home: a place to lay our heads.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tribbles in Ecstasy!

I'm not really involved in Beyond the Veil's sister show, Tribbles in Ecstasy, about all things Star Trek, but especially STO.
I thought I'd join the TXTC crew for a bit this evening, and a dance party broke out on DS9.

Revisiting the Use of Failure

Harbinger Zero wrote a post back in May about the Imperial Agent.

TL;DR: He didn't like it. A commenter named "depizan" who did like it wrote a point-by-point counter-argument last night or early this morning. While I had commented on the post before, I couldn't help myself and wrote a short novel in response to depizan. Though I thought about porting/adapting it for this blog, I decided to just direct you to HZero's post so you can read the whole thing if you want.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

TSW Anniversity Celebration

On Monday night, there was a little celebration shindig at the abandoned Taberna in southwest Shadowy Forest. The awesome folks who organized the #anniversity chat channel, which hordes of players used to get information on Guardians of Gaia appearances and get meetups to combat the threat, wanted to have a little celebration, and I popped in. There were many spotters who contributed to the success of Anniversity, but tons of credit go to "Wrong-Way," who spent her RL vacation in 15-hour days to help spot, provide valuable information—and most importantly—moderate the channel, keeping it focused on being THE spotting channel for the Anniversary event. Several people I spoke with initially thought Wrong-Way had to be a Funcom employee, but she did it all on her own time.
Cuttin' a Rug, in the Frost.
If you look closely, you can see her dancing in these pics. She's the one with pink hair and a HALO, bestowed upon her by Funcom at the behest of other players, for her effort. She and several other folks—including someone in the lower left foreground—got the halos. And they deserve them.
Beehive Techno
I've said it before, but TSW Anniversary Guardians of Gaia event created the biggest spontaneous community coordination I have ever participated in. It was phenomenal.

QOTD: Impressed and Damp

Bravo, Funcom, bravo. I am amazed and impressed (and I’ve wet my pants).
~~MMO Gamer Chick, in her recap of Mercy Gaming's run of "A Dream to Kill"

Theory and Practice: Running With Syp

After yesterday's post, and in preparation for tonight's webcast of Beyond the Veil, my lovely bride and I tumbled back into The Secret World in order to finish the main storyline for Issue 7, "A Dream to Kill" yesterday evening. I'll probably have some more RP-ish story related to that tomorrow or this weekend, but I wanted to discuss last night's run. Scooterz and I finished up the portion involving the Shadowy Forest and moved on to the Carpathian Fangs; where, just after picking up the mission "You Only Die Twice," we encountered fellow Knight of Mercy "Yeti," a.k.a. Syp, of Bio Break fame. He was one tier ahead of us and suggested we join forces, which we happily agreed to. And together we caught up to his tier in short order. Chatting through text, we got through the various tiers, fighting baddies along the way.
Boy! am I glad to see you.
Since the content was fresh for Syp, too, we didn't feel like we were being led through the mission, and discovered the various nooks and crannies at what I considered a good pace. Plus, there were a couple of occasions where Syp had to step away for whatever reason or we had to deal with dogs (our babies), and we all either took advantage of the break or waited patiently in place. What do you think, Syp? Did we waste too much time reading in-game computer monitors?
Yeti said, "Now that's not creepy at all."
The last part is a solo instance, and I was a little slow on the final puzzle. So Syp did finish a little before us, though much of the ending is covered in a cutscene anyway.
All for one . . .
All in all, a quieter, slightly creepier, evening. I've received a couple of responses from fellow guildies and others with similar sentiments. There are occasions for group play over TeamSpeak, where verbal coordination is essential. And when it's necessary, it is certainly enjoyable to laugh and have fun with friends. However, for me, those occasions are less immersive for a variety of reasons. I love to "lose myself" in the game world. I tend to be slightly off neutral on the introvert/extrovert scale, more extroverted than many people I know. But still I am firmly on the side of introversion where too much interaction causes undue stress in what I want to be a relaxing activity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

QOTD: Group Play, Theory and Practice

I am extremely gun-shy about committing to ANY organized activity. . . [E]ach time I join a group with friends, I have this fight or flight instinct kick in telling me to run.
Belghast, Tales of the Aggronaut
I have never been a guild leader nor a raid leader like Belghast, so I have an incomplete idea of the pressures involved. What I do understand is the dichotomy between desiring group play and experiencing it. Now what I am about to say is no reflection on my awesome guildmates in Mercy Gaming. They just have a different playstyle than my lovely bride and I.
On Monday night, Knights of Mercy got together in The Secret World to run the "A Dream to Kill" storyline from Issue 7. Most of us had not gone through it, but a few already had. We ran two groups, one of which was a few minutes behind the other. Scooterz and I were in the second group, but one member had already gone through the missions. I'm not sure if the other two were trying to catch up with the first group, but Scooterz and I started to feel hurried through the content. As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time could probably tell, this caused a bit of stress on my part. I prefer to take my time and savor the story of my MMOs, particularly TSW. Again, this is not a reflection on my cohorts; I spend most of my gaming time here and can "afford" to draw out the missions. Many of them are here maybe one night a week.

Another thing that complicates my enjoyment is the voices on TeamSpeak talking over the in-game dialogue. I don't have an easy way to mute TS (maybe there's a toggle I could keymap) and during these Issue missions, I can't always take time to mute TS before starting a cutscene. For me, it is easier if either the in-game dialogue or the guild/party chat are in written form.

Since we felt we were holding up our group and had no inclination to hurry and catch up, Scooterz and I bid goodnight to Mercy Gaming and slowed to a more comfortable pace. We ended up doing a couple more tiers (stages) of the storyline before calling it a night. We plan to pick it up again tonight and finish. The rest of the group finished very late, about 1 a.m. for the East-Coasters.

Something about the way the storylines for these Issues have been written does not lend itself to group play, at least in my humble opinion. Some missions designed to for stealth can be barreled through by a group like ours, defeating the intended feel of the mission. Others are made almost impossible because NPC triggers are alerted to everyone's presence by one clumsy player.

Xander of BtV had expressed interest in accompanying me on my first adventure through "A Dream to Kill." No offense to my worthy Holosuite boss, but I didn't really want to do it with someone who'd already gone through (didn't realize before starting on Monday that one of my cohorts was already a veteran). While I've often said I am not creeped out by anything I've encountered in TSW, I do still feel that any creepiness I do experience would be diminished by tag-alongs waiting to laugh when I touch the duck.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beyond the Veil Take 49: Lucky Number 7

Beyond the Veil, Take 49 is now available for download on Holosuite Media. We talk PvPvPvE, Issue 7, and a reminder about the dangers of ducks. (Minor spoilers, but nothing that wasn't in Funcom's official news).
You can also subscribe through Holosuite Media's RSS feed or through iTunes. Be sure to catch the live show on Thursdays at about 7p.m. EDT(11p.m. UTC) on Holosuite Excess.

Monday, July 15, 2013

QOTD: Cowboy Ramblings

Some blogging cowboys have settled down, perhaps started families, and become townsmen and farmers and merchants and businessmen.
~~Jeromai, Why I Game [Added link to KTR]
Almost a week ago, The Ancient Gaming Noob took up the topic of game-blogging community from Psychochild and flung it into a frenzy. I feel I'm more of a satellite to his community: orbiting, but only occasionally interposing my opinion into that stream. (Clearly, since I am reflecting on his post a week later, though I did post on almost the same topic at the same time as Psychochild.)

Looking through Wilhelm Arcturus' comments and pingbacks, several people have had plenty to say on the topic, including Jeromai, as quoted above. Indeed, despite the exaggerated rumors of Blogging's demise, Harbinger Zero discovered that a week away from blogging created quite a backlog in his reading list. (You can sort of blame him for this post.) My own rolling "Not So humble Opinions" shows that the ten most recent posts were all published within the last five hours as of this writing.

Now, like TAGN, I have seen a couple offers to join a community site (I'm sure he's had far more than I). Investigating some, I realized they actually only wanted me to boost their own content. Others genuinely think they are creating community with their forums and such. As I said in a comment on commitment in June, "my community is on [the relatively open platforms of] Twitter and G+."

I finally accepted an offer to be a regular on the Beyond the Veil talk show, which is part of Holosuite Media. That acceptance came with the understanding that I would be maintaining my own blog and any article I write myself for Holosuite media will appear here, as well. However, I do maintain an NDA on Beyond/Holosuite content until after it has been publicized there. Now, I might give up some freedom if I were provided some remuneration for said content.

In reference to Jeromai's quote above, I thought at first that I'd settled down, but I'm really more of a (high plains?) drifter. My posts tend to reflect the games I am playing. I guess that's a truism. After all, why would I post about, say EVE, a game I've never played? Or Age of Conan, which I have only tried out for a while. As you surely know, I also do posts about game news and topics that strike me as interesting. I hope you, Dear Reader, find them interesting, as well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beyond the Veil Take 48: Night of the Living Anniversary!

Well, crap. Egor failed to let me know recordings of Beyond the Veil, Take 48 have been posted on Holosuite Media. The audio version is now available for download. The video can be found here.
You can also subscribe through Holosuite Media's RSS feed or through iTunes. Be sure to catch the live show on Thursdays at about 7p.m. EDT(11p.m. UTC) on Holosuite Excess.

Lookin' for Lore: The Guardians of Gaia

The Lore behind the Guardians of Gaia is based on Jewish Kabbalistic folklore regarding Golems. (Kabbala is also the origin of the term "Cabal" used for player guilds in TSW.)

Let's define a few terms:
Shem (sounds like shame) (Hebrew):
Shem sometimes means 'fame', or renown . . . A more common meaning of shem in the Bible is "the essential reality of who someone is." Some theories came forth during my reading of this piece on Beyond the Veil Take 49 last night, that the shemot (plural of shem) we potentially receive as reward for battling the Guardians might be the actual essence of the guardian, that made the larger creature animate. In TSW, shemot are found contained in genizahs.

Genizah (gheh-NEE-zah) (Hebrew):
A storage area in a Jewish synagogue or cemetery designated for the temporary storage of worn-out Hebrew-language books and papers on religious topics prior to proper cemetery burial. In medieval times, Hebrew scraps and papers that were relegated to the genizah were known as shemot or "names," because their sanctity and consequent claim to preservation were held to depend on their containing the "names" of God. In TSW, the genizahs received as a reward for defeating each Guardian contain various items of varying value.

Golem (GOH-lum) (Hebrew‎):
While not part of the formal game, as a result of their Lore and connection with Kabbala, many players refer to the Guardians as golems (not to be confused with Gollum of Lord of the Rings fame). In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter, usually clay. In many ways, Adam, the first man, was simply a golem until God breathed into him the "Breath of Life." Holy men are able to animate golems by writing a shem (as a word of power) on parchment or a tablet and placing it inside the creature.
Altneushul—rear, with the ladder to the attic genizah visible
The most famous golem narrative involves the Golem of Prague from the late 16th century. The Lore Honeycombs mention this golem obliquely, conflating the story with that of a golem of Chelm, Poland. Though the folk tales vary, they generally agree the intended use of the golem was to protect the Jewish Quarter in Prague from antisemitic violence. The tales end after the golem has run amok and has to be destroyed. Its pieces are stored in the attic genizah of the Altneushul (Old-New Synagogue) in Prague.

"Golem" is often used today in Modern Hebrew as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him under others. The term passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow. These descriptions certainly fit the big, lunky, Guardians of Gaia, that the Council of Venice and the various Secret Societies feel are a danger not only to the Filth they are supposedly there to combat, but also the the human world.

As for the names of the Guardians themselves, apparently they have roots in Ancient Mesopotamian. "Nasiru" obviously means "Guardian" or something similar, and the individual names probably relate to their material, (e.g., Lava, Sand, Water, Ice, etc.) but I could not figure out what language they are supposed to be. I was unable to find translations myself, but it would be interesting to see the sources the Funcom team is using to establish the in-game lore.

QOTD: Rice Cakes

Every time I log in I’ll spend a half-hour going through the motions and then logging out feeling as though I ate a bag of rice cakes. I remember chewing, but my stomach doesn’t feel full at all.
~~Syp, LOTRO, the Wilds of Wildermore
I'm suddenly reminded of an entirely different quote:
When a house looks like that, it's time to find another one.
~~Eeyore, Winnie-the-Poo and the Blustery Day

About the time I feel that sort of ennui about a game, I know it's time for me to move on. What do you do when you feel like Syp? Keeping playing? Move on?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Different Kind of Glow

Since I've been whinging about it for a few days, I thought I should announce that, last night, I finally got the Glowing Green Eyes for my Dragon character, Poppyshock. They dropped from a Genizah of the Crawling Plague after fighting Erbu Nasir, the Guardian of Pestilence, in the Shadowy Forest.
This means I'm basically done with the Anniversary Event, though I will try to get into Fusang this weekend to get that last Lore object on each toon; and the XP rate for the fights is still pretty good at this point—if button-mashing drudgery. . .