Lounge L33ts Episode 5: The Horned God

     I've been playing The Secret World off and on since it officially opened up, and so far it's been a lot of fun. It has it's faults, though. Every time my friend Barry comes over, I have a brief moment of fear that he'll ask to play the game with me. Lately he's been picking Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I don't currently have installed and have informed him of this fact last three times he's been over.
     I'll get to SWTOR again in the future. Right now my plate is already piled high with my friends' latest surge into LOTRO, trying to find solace in that sweet bosom before the closure of City of Heroes. Have I told you yet how Ran-san (aka "Namiru" in earlier posts) pledged to never play LOTRO? Have I mentioned that he just bought the Riders of Rohan expansion and is currently marching his way through the Lone Lands on a level 30 toon? Of course, Matt, Sarah, and I have been there with him.
     But to get back on topic, it's not that Barry is a bad gamer. He's saved my skin quite a few times. It's not that TSW is a bad game; I've been enjoying myself. It's just that certain teams of people work better in certain games. Barry and I work pretty well together in Champions and City of Heroes. However, get us to try to work together on even the most straight forward of TSW's missions and we're usually slaughtered at least once. Usually from some misinformation gleaned from a website, or faulty memory. When I teamed with Matt and Eric, I didn't die once.
     What I enjoy most about this game is the immersion. It sounds silly, but I'm the kind of person who loves to approach random NPC's and see what they have to say, read their back stories, watch practically every cutscene, and follow every dialog tree I can for them. I want to know the whole story, explore the entire city without leaving any trace of fog of war, gather all the exploration badges, and do as many side missions as possible to unlock further information about the world I'm playing in. It comes down to a love of miniature things. I used to love collecting dollhouse furniture and stuff like the original Polly Pocket and Littlest Pet Shop toys. Maybe it's a craving for control over something. Maybe it's a creative outlet for building my own character's backstory. Either way, TSW satisfies this curiosity in a way that CoH, AO, and even LOTRO haven't. The illusion always seems to wear thin in those games, but not so much in TSW.


The Way to Kumas Part III

     The breath of the travelers came heavy now. It felt as if they had been running for days, although the night sky had yet to lighten to dawn. Flanking Growgash, the two older men struggled to keep pace. Finally the one with beard turned to shout across to her.
      “This jaunt is not for me!” The other looked across from the other side of the half-orc.
      “Indeed, cousin, 'taint for me, either. What say we make our stand here?” The one with the scar over his eye answered. Jaxom pushed them on with Growgash at the rear. She glanced back and saw their shadowy pursuer rise up upon the two men and over them. Then there were angry shouts. The darkness seemed to rush over the two only to leave them standing astonished, but unharmed. They turned back to glare furiously at their escaping comrades, soundless curses on their lips.
      The half-orc turned to look ahead of them, and her eyes met the priest’s.
      “If it catches us, we will be dead,” he said with certain fear in his eyes. “We make for the temple. Once there we will be...” And he continued on with redoubled speed, as if Hell itself were at his heals.
      “We will be what, old man?!” but her scream was lost as all five dashed haphazard through the thick undergrowth. Beside her, she saw the young soldier go down, and leaping a broken tree, she scooped him up and flung him over her shoulder. “Stop struggling, little pig, or I'll throw you to the wolves behind us.” And indeed, there were wolves behind them now. The half orc could hear the familiar snarling growls, but she dared not look back no matter what fantastical shape their pursuers took.
      Ahead their salvation loomed in the form of a stone door built into the side of a small overgrown knoll. The priest and his boy stopped short, just long enough for the former to slice his thumbs and press them into the stone on opposite sides of the entrance. Then they were greeted with darkness ahead and from behind, but to Growgash, the entrance to the tomb was a bit less animated than their enemies. She regretted this thought with a last push into the stifling blackness. Safe but not safe.
With a thud, she dumped her load upon the warm stone floor and approached what looked to be the silhouette of Jaxom. The bag the priest carried glowed blue with just enough light to guide their way.
      “What is this place?” the man asked their wards, his eyes flashing angrily in the dark. “And what of the others left behind?”
      The apprentice boy turned to them, “Worry not of them. They were dead before, and are still now. Their shares are yours. If you live. If we live.” He turned to his master and the old man nodded.
      “What do you mean? They looked alive enough back there,” Growgash heard herself say.
      “Yes, the trick is to convince them they are alive.” With that, the boy and his master turned to move further into the tomb. “This is the place of our gods. We will not be safe here.” His young, high pitched voice echoed through the passage. Behind her, Growgash felt the hand of the young mercenary grope at her shoulder.
      “Wh-Where we goin'?” his voice wavered.
      “Forward,” the half orc turned to follow the others before the light could grow much dimmer.


Lounge L33ts Episode 4: The Prancing Pony

We manage to get Randy to play LOTRO, Sarah Bloy joins us to bestow some Tolkien wisdom, and we hear the Tale of the Bag of Devouring (it involves a dragon).


Breath Deep

"Okay, you're going to feel a small pinch..."
There was a small pinch. And another one, and another one, and another one. Then time seems to skip.
"Okay, you'll feel some vibrations and hear some noise. If there is any sharpness, please let me know."
"Have yous tarted the gas already?"
The assistant smiles and nods. Everything is very floaty and I giggle a bit. Breath deep through your nose, not through your mouth. Your legs are shaking, try wiggling them or they'll cramp up. The doctor doesn't use a very good razor does he?
"Okay, can I have the sharpie?"
It's really loud. Boy that light is bright, bright enough for me to see the weaving on the doctor's scrubs. The stubble stands out on his jaw and neck like tiny black tree trunks on chocolate.
"Okay, and now the bee."
More noise. I can't hear myself think. You're breathing through your mouth again, breath through your nose. Long, slow breaths. The legs are shaking again. Seems to happen every time with the noise. My knees and wrists feel heavy, maybe that's why my legs are shaking. Long, slow breaths.
"Okay, now the sharpie."
This low pitched squealing is going to deafen me, if the oven in the coffee shop doesn't. The weaving in the scrubs stands out. I must look goofy, with my tongue lolling around in my head, my eyes rolling upward to stare at the small blue mounds of the weaving. They are like tiny blue foot hills leading into a brown and black forest.
"Okay, Erin, now you are going to hear some crunching and popping noises."
Breath deeper. Sounds just like when you got your braces in. Breath deeper, long, slow breaths. The mask is annoying as it lays against my cheek. It's bigger and more clumsy than I thought it would be.
"Now the large."
I wonder where we'll head off to after this. Maybe out to dinner, but I won't be able to have much. I can't wait to play on Lord of the Rings Online. I need to make a dwarf Guardian. I feel floaty again, but at the same time, my wrists and knees still feel heavy.
"Okay, now Erin, we'll have to ask you to close your eyes for this part."
I do so, and feel dry spaghetti being pulled across my lip, once twice, thrice, and then a short tug.
"Okay, we're all finished. Let's get you into the oxygen."
Breath deep. Everything is numb on my left side.
"Well, I was expecting it to be a difficult extraction, but it went much better than I thought." The doctor crosses his arms. "We'll probably look into taking the upper two out, then later at taking out the lower right. We'll go over some rules for when you get home, and get some prescriptions ready for you. I do not want you to go home and go to sleep. You need to pick up the medications and take them with some food on your stomach. Are there any questions?"
"No doctor."
"Okay, we'll schedule you for a followup exam to see how everything is coming along. Have a god day." He smiles and leaves as the asssitant turns and starts going over a lot of the procedures that I can't remember.
"Don't worry, I have everything I just said written down here," and she holds up a piece of paper.


Liunge L33ts Episode 2: The Ski Chalet Part 1

     I think we spend more time reminiscing about City of Heroes/Villains, than we do berating NC Soft for...well...being assholes and shutting down the game in late November. I'm sorry if you're tired of hearing the CoH community voice their disapproval over the game's closure. I disagree with Ran-san (aka "Nomiru" in previous posts), I know the game wouldn't have been around forever. Eventually everything ends. This was not the way to end it though, and NC Soft has only themselves to blame for the bad PR. However, even after all that, I'm still going to play Guild Wars 2. I figure I paid for it, there's no subscription, and I'm pretty sure I can enjoy the game without paying into the cash shop, so why not? I've only managed to log about 2 hours of gameplay, but it was fun enough to make me want to return.
     This episode, I also introduce Eric "Setzer" Craig, the current Head of Registration for Geek.Kon 2013 as one of our guests. He's been playing CoH for quite a while and I hope I can have on in future episodes to discuss other MMO's.
     We wind up touching on a wide variety of topics this episode including Tabula Rasa, Korean Grinders, esports, The Secret World and other Funcom games, etc. As always, polite, constructive criticism is welcome, as this show is still very much a work in progress.