5 on Friday: Character Class Themes

When I had an in-game guild site up I’d done a little musical tribute to the four character classes in The Elder Scrolls Online: Templars, Nightblades, Sorcerers, and Dragonknights. With the addition of the Warden class, introduced with the Morrowind / Vvardenfell chapter, I decided to update this post for my scheduled “Five on Friday.”

Another new class might be introduced soon, as many have been screaming for it and discussing it in forums. I think a necromancer class is fitting and goes along with the Elder Scrolls storyline and the accompanying lore. Unfortunately, the devs seem more inclined to listen to their favourites and their followers and those people aren’t really playing the game. It has been obvious of late, with all of the glitches and scheduling issues ZoS has been wrestling with since the beginning of the year. “Never mix business with pleasure.” That is a rule which many forget or deliberately break, and it shows.

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First, the Templars: they are the healers, radiating the light of life on their comrades – but don’t mistake them for gentle, pious souls! They will bring down the power of the heavens upon their enemies, crushing them with the gravity of the sun. Another skill they possess is referred to by all in the game as the “Jebus Beam,” and it is potent against many! The Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” was the best tribute I could think of.

Next, the Nightblades: the assassins, cloaked in the shadows. They stealthily creep up on opponents unawares, thrusting knives or swords that weaken the enemy’s stamina and armour. Some sap the very life-force from foes, taking it for themselves or sharing it with group members before sidling off to scout the battlefield by themselves. I felt that “Midnight Blue” by Louise Tucker was most fitting.

Now, the Sorcerers: the mages are versatile, wielding blades, bows, or staves. Their powers are formidable when they utilize the destructive power of flame, frost, or storm, given the appropriate staff, then summon a familiar from dark depths to fight at their side. Beware of the storm-callers! They dish out quite a bit of damage when equipped with proper mage-robes, too. I figured that “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth was the perfect tribute to the versatile might of the sorcerer.

The Wardens: they are the Druidic class and have control over aspects of nature, including animals, plants, and the element of ice. They can summon screeching raptors from the sky or send ravaging beetles tunneling underground to target enemies. Insect swarms can be sent to harry and sting, and a spiritual bear is often seen at the Warden’s side. Plants are used to heal and protect your allies, while ice can be used in all three ways: damage, healing, and protection. My Warden is an ice-mistress, so the song “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner came to mind as a dedication to the druids.

Last, but certainly not least, the Dragonknights: my favourite class in-game! Fearless warriors with the heart of a dragon, they charge first into battle wreathed in flame, using the very stones of the earth to smash foes down – or protect comrades with a shield of spinning rocks. They flex their wings, holding enemies fast with mighty talons, or lashing them into submission with a whip of flame. Dragonknights dominate with whips and chains, so the song “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)” is ideal!

Good News

With all of the shit news of Baby-Hands McDrumpf and his mindless, racist thralls being shitty to everyone else, it was heartening and uplifting to see the report that all of the kids and their football coach have been safely extracted from the cave system that they had been trapped in for 17 days. From BBC News:

Divers in northern Thailand have rescued all 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves, 17 days after they got trapped underground.

The plight of the group and the massive, dangerous operation to free them has gripped the world’s attention.

The first of the boys were brought out on Sunday but the last of the group were only freed on Tuesday evening.

They got stuck deep inside the caves on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding and cut off their route out.

Aged between about 11 and 17, the members of the Wild Boars football team had entered the Tham Luang cave system in the province of Chiang Rai during an excursion with their coach.

After they were found by British divers last week, huddled in darkness on a ledge and cut off from the outside world for nine days, the race began to get them out before the weather deteriorated even further.

Finally, a bit of good news. There is still good happening in the world, even if it’s difficult to see.

Gives me a bit of hope.

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Popa Chubby

PAX West 2016

Holy shit on toast, Batman…I survived my first convention! Damn, was it crowded – but it was hellaciously fun. Meeting the Bethesda ESO team was a kick in the pants! I got some free game codes to hand out to my niece and nephews; there were some awesome costumes and displays to take pictures of, and I got a few nice T-shirts. One was free and two were not, but the free stuff wasn’t bad at all!

All four days went by very quickly, which means that I had a great time. Time flies when you’re having fun, after all! The crowds bothered me far less than I thought that they would, and I was happy to see hand sanitizer stations everywhere: outside of the restrooms, near the elevators and escalators, and right outside of the “Arena” – the place in the convention center where consoles and PCs were set up for anyone and everyone to jump on and play whichever game they wanted to.

There were four consoles and four PCs set up in the Bethesda room, all loaded up with the ESO North American (NA) client and the Public Test Server (PTS). The newest update at that time (12), which introduced One Tamriel and the dueling system, was a ton of fun to test out while they streamed LIVE ON TWITCH for all four days! I got completely rekt by one of the gaming designers on the live-stream, and my smiling face can also be seen by those who know and love me. It was all too awesome!

Time for me to test out a few new in-game settings and recording settings! My new webcam also arrived and I plan on hooking it up to see how it performs, but only after I get the pictures downloaded from my phone for future posts. I took quite a few so I hope that they turn out!

It’s Friday and I’m in a fantastic mood, so enjoy this bit of random silliness to get your weekend started off right.

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Too Funny

I was laughing at the ridiculous ‘referrals’ in the WordPress Reader. Whatever algorithm is used, it appears to be broken because the referrals make no sense.

For example: I have no need for pregnancy advice, yet the first three ‘referred’ sites involved pregnancy and childbirth. I can definitely give advice on those subjects since I’ve experienced them personally, but I’m not in need.

Hilarious, ridiculous, and tedious. I found the best way to get rid of that bullshit, though. Time for some site cleanup.

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Back to the Classics

I read many books per year. Reading has always been a relaxing and enjoyable thing for me. I learned to read at a fairly early age and love how it spiked my imagination and creativity ever since.

With the current atmosphere here in the States and around the world, I figured it was time to dust off some of the classics for a refresher. These include Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and every novel written by the late, great Octavia Butler.

Reading is fun. It can be very educational as well, depending on what you choose to read. Choose wisely.

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Bonus Fives

This bonus “5 on Friday” post is about my five favourite British comedies. I figured an extra post was due on this final Friday in June. They are listed in reverse, from fifth to first.

5. Red Dwarf. This sci-fi-based comedy was accidentally introduced to me by my two older brothers during a Friday Dungeons & Dragons game-night. We had the TV on when there was a break in the action and were dealing with the minutiae of experience points, levels, and divvying up of treasures. One outburst of “Oi, you smeg-head, get me a smeggin’ curry!” from the television speakers made me whip my head around to see what the hell was going on, and I was promptly hooked! That show was hilarious, and I wish it would get the re-airings that it deserves.

4. One Foot in the Grave. This sitcom was about an elderly gent who was forced into retirement. Curmudgeonly Victor Meldrew drives his wife, Margaret, to distraction as he wanders about the house and tries to stay busy while she goes to work and keeps up the bills. He’s a decent enough sort, but never seems to get on well with others, try as he might. An Aussie friend of mine introduced me to this show about 15 years ago and I’m quite glad that he did. I have the whole series on DVD so I can watch it at my leisure, and enjoy it just as much now as I did when I first watched it. It’s funny, poignant, and deliciously dry – perfect for my sense of humour.

3. Absolutely Fabulous (AbFab). Most people here in the States only know of the show because of the movie which came out last year, but I first saw AbFab on Comedy Central just before Y2K. Blame my Aussie buddy for turning me on to this hilarious sitcom about two boozing, drugging, party-hearty broads who hate the idea of getting old! Patsy and Edina act as if they’re high-schoolers getting up to all sorts of antics, driving Edina’s straight-laced daughter, Saffron, mad with their shenanigans. That series will be the next one purchased on DVD, as soon as I’m able to do so.

2. Blackadder. I had been a fan of Mr. Bean, but knew nothing of the conniving and cunning Edmund Blackadder until a co-worker at one of the radio stations I worked at introduced me to that series. He lent me the first two seasons to take home and watch and I was in stitches the whole time. That show was only aired on PBS during their annual fund-raisers, so I didn’t get to watch it as much as I wanted to. I have that entire series on DVD to view whenever I wish.

Finally, the number one spot on my list goes to The League of Gentlemen. This show shouldn’t be confused with the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as they are completely different animals. It aired on Comedy Central not long after AbFab was taken off; again, my Aussie buddy encouraged me to give it a chance. I’m glad that I took the time because it was well worth it. The little town of Royston Vasey has a unique population, to say the least. The only answer to the question “Are you local?” is “Yes!” This show was warped,dark, demented, and insanely hilarious – emphasis on “insanely.” I even recorded one of my favourite lines from it on my phone so that people hear it if they call me and get my voice mail. One of my sisters had called the other day, and all I could hear was hysterical laughter on the voice message. She wasn’t expecting to hear what she heard, and it definitely took her off guard.

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least one clip from each of these shows. A bit of laughter is perfect for this fun Friday, and the best way to start the weekend off with a smile.

Scams & Bots

Scams: those have been around for as long as humans became “civilized.” Various Saturday-morning cartoons have spoofed them from time to time and entire television shows are dedicated to them – Catfish: The TV Show being one.

When the Internet was nothing more than a conglomeration of online forums and message-boards, with only a select few knowing about it or even interacting on it regularly, online scams seemed to be few and far between. After everybody and their mother, grandmother, and great-grandfather’s dog suddenly had access to the World Wide Web, the scammers followed and online scams became the new threat.

As scams became as obvious as Doctor Stanley’s Snake-Oil Cure-All and his wife’s genuine imitation pearls, they ‘evolved’ to circumvent security programs and firewalls. One must always be aware of the means others use to scam people online, and there are many. In this post I speak specifically about ‘bots’ and the ways that they are able to mimic a real person.

For lay-people, a ‘bot’ may or may not be a hijacked computer: one that has been programmed and coded to do specific things without the knowledge of the user. Bots are quite common in MMOs, and my online game is no different.

In the halcyon days of The Elder Scrolls Online, bots were everywhere and incredibly obvious! The in-game bots were of three different types: spam-bots, ‘train’ bots, and ‘collector’ bots. The spam-bots are almost always seen at dolmens or in delves, right on the spot that the boss will spawn at, and they are always using the same ‘ultimate’ move over, and over, and over again.

Spam-bots may or may not be accompanied by the ‘train’ bots. The name is self-explanatory; you might see a ‘train’ of four or five characters running in a circle. The train runs…well, like a train! You have the ‘engine’ doing the main action, then the bots in the train do the exact same motion / action as the ‘engine’ does, only a nanosecond or three later. These types of bots farm bosses for loot, and / or nodes for materials.

The ‘collector’ bots are the most difficult to see, as they have been programmed to do one thing: collect a certain material from a certain node. In-game, there are materials which are valuable to the crafters who make armour, weapons, and other things for their friends and / or guild-mates. The collectors basically ‘farm’ these nodes unfairly, flying through the air at hyperspeed, or sliding underground out of sight, taking the nodes and everything on them and making it impossible for the regular player to harvest these materials fairly.

During the evolution of TESO, the programmers / code-writers behind the bots have evolved as well. The bots are currently as big an issue as they were when the game was first launched, but a bit more difficult to spot. It isn’t impossible, but it takes a bit of observation on the part of any player who spies them. The sad thing is that they can’t be reported on anymore, and even if you do report them the likelihood of them being removed from the game is slim to nil. Customer service is no longer of importance to Zenimax or Bethesda, which seems to happen when a game has become overrun with bored time-wasters who are less interested in playing said game and more invested in trying to spoil it for others.

Thankfully, those types are easily duped and distracted. They will move on to their next target sooner or later, leaving the adults to have our fun.

Patience is a good thing.

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Three Tunes on Tuesday

Here are three great songs I love hearing when they’re played on the radio. I picked the long, original versions of them. The DJs need to do so more often.

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Five On Friday: Celeb Spotlight

Today’s “Five on Friday” post puts the spotlight on my five favourite living celebrities. They are the people who I always enjoy seeing when they’re being interviewed on the few late-night talk-shows that I watch.

1. First off, Whoopi Goldberg. She was hilarious when she first started her comedy career back when I was still a wee kiddie, and she’s funny as all get-out when she sits down with Conan O’Brien or Stephen Colbert. She pulls no punches and speaks her mind, similar to yours truly. I don’t watch her on “The View” because I’m not really into daytime shows of any sort. She was excellent in her role as Guinan, the manager of Ten Forward on the starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I also enjoyed her performances in The Color Purple and Serafina.

2. Next, there’s Wanda Sykes. What can I add that hasn’t been said already? She does a bit of everything and does it well. I first saw her on the Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, and liked her recurring role on the Drew Carey Show – she played one of Drew’s love interests. I have her book and enjoy reading it from time to time. She’s funny, talented, and has a distinctive voice that stood out on the Comedy Central show Crank Yankers. Look that show up sometime if you need a laugh or ten.

3. Ricky Gervais: he cracks me up whether he’s being interviewed by Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, or Trevor Noah but his interviews with Conan really stand out. I think that he’s the only person I’d follow if I had an Instagram account. The selfies he takes are fucking hilarious, and I think the selected image illustrates it well.

4. Terry Crews: he’s just awesome! I thought he was great in the role of Chris’s dad in the series Everbody Hates Chris, which is based on the life of actor / comedian Chris Rock. He wasn’t bad in The Expendables either, and his last interview on Conan O’Brien had me falling over with laughter.

5. Finally, Jeff Goldblum: he plays many serious roles but manages to interject his own personality and sense of humor into them. I loved him in Jurassic Park, Independence Day, and his brief role as detective Zach Nichols on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I also look forward to seeing him as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok. Whether he’s sharing the stage with Conan O’Brien or Stephen Colbert, he is so off-the-cuff funny he can take you by surprise at the most unexpected times.

Finally, here is a funny video starring Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, and Stephen Colbert. This is the infamous “Late Night Wars” from a few years back. I would apologize for the poor video quality, but it isn’t mine so I’m not responsible.

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