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The Smell of the Banana Is Potent Indeed

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Monday, November 10, 2008 02:50 PM
Hi! Have you met my undead minions?
 by Fëanor

Not being editor of Phillyist anymore means I have these weird moments every once in a while where I have nothing in particular to do. It's a little disturbing. I spent some of those moments this weekend playing Diablo II. I love that game, but it is crazy how much easier it is playing as the Necromancer than it was playing as the Paladin. When I was a Paladin, the game was often a truly frightening and nerve-wracking endeavor. I had to be careful not to wade into a group of enemies too far, or they'd surround me and I'd be dead in a moment. I had to keep my stamina up high so I could run far and fast at a moment's notice, in case I met a group of creatures too tough for me. I was often killed and, in order to get my good items back, had to sneak back half naked to loot my own dead body.

But as the Necromancer, quests and enemies that I remember being brutal and terrifying are now a breeze to defeat. At this point I'm walking around with a veritable army of helpers: three skeleton warriors, three skeleton mages, a golem, and a human archer mercenary. And I'm not even through the first Act yet! If I get distracted for a moment examining the treasure that's hit the ground, they'll often kill everyone in the area for me before I even get to lend a hand. Which, I won't lie, leaves me cackling with glee. Having that army of guys is just awesome, so I'm concentrating all my skill points on the raising spells, so I can make it even bigger. The only thing bad about it is that sometimes I lose track of which monsters I'm fighting, and which ones are fighting for me, so I'll end up clicking on a skeleton two or three times, trying in vain to attack it, before I finally realize he's one of my own guys.
Tagged (?): Diablo II (Not), Video games (Not)
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Thursday, October 16, 2008 12:38 PM
(Last updated on Monday, November 10, 2008 02:39 PM)
 by Fëanor

I would so much rather be playing Diablo II right now than trying to figure out how to translate insane test-scoring logic into SQL.
Tagged (?): Diablo II (Not), Video games (Not), Work (Not)
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Thursday, September 11, 2008 03:51 PM
(Last updated on Monday, November 10, 2008 02:40 PM)
 by Fëanor

This past weekend, my brother and sister-in-law were good enough to help me fill in a gap in my geek experience by having me over and letting me use one of their accounts to play World of Warcraft. (Thanks again, guys!) I chose to play as a Night Elf Hunter named Fëanor (natch). I found the control scheme a little awkward, but learned later there are other ways to play that probably would have fit me better, and that I think I would have gotten used to over time. As a game, it's actually quite similar to Diablo II in many ways. I found myself nodding in recognition at a lot of the things I was seeing. Of course, there are many differences, as well. Item and character management are a little easier, in that you don't have to be constantly playing Tetris in your inventory, and you don't have to stop and make a bunch of complex decisions every time you level up (although I kind of miss that a bit, as it means there's less chance to craft your character - but I understand that later on there are skill trees similar to those in Diablo II that actually do provide that kind of experience). From talking to my brother, it sounds like what you do in the game changes a great deal as you continue to advance in it, with more of the world opening to you, and more options, abilities, and items becoming available to you as you hit different level plateaus. The part of the game I saw involved me walking from one person to another and receiving quests of various sorts from them, which I could then complete in any order I wanted. Some involved finding items, one was timed, and most involved killing monsters. I didn't go much beyond the early tutorial-type part of the game, so it never seemed particularly challenging or even all that exciting. In fact, it was a little repetitive. But, like I said, I understand that it changes a lot as you keep going, and there are lots of things I didn't try.

I don't believe I've ever really played a massively multiplayer online game, so it was interesting and a little eerie to be roaming this huge world and very often running into other players doing their own thing, which would sometimes affect me. They might kill a monster I had planned to kill, for instance, or help me by casting a spell on me - or I might find them lying dead by the side of the road (not very encouraging!). My brother and his wife's sister logged on, as well, and I met them in the game. My brother killed some monsters for me, and Claire was good enough to craft some items for my character. I found it very difficult to keep track of, and participate in, in-game conversations while also playing the game, but I assume that's a skill you pick up as you go. It was also a little weird to be talking to my brother in the real world, and in a virtual world, both at the same time.

I feel like I understand WoW slightly better than I did before, but there's still this whole culture and language there of which I barely scratched the surface. It's fascinating to me, but more as an abstract thing than as something I really want to dive into. As I believe I've mentioned before on this site, I was a little afraid that once I played the game once, I'd become addicted and lose my life to it, like some people do. But I think I'm safe. It's been a number of days now, and I haven't experienced a crushing desire to log back on. I definitely see the attraction of the game, and if I had easy access to it, I'm certain I would keep playing. But given that it would suck up a lot of my money and time to get into it... I think I'll stick with Diablo.
Tagged (?): Diablo II (Not), Video games (Not)
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Sunday, August 3, 2008 09:15 PM
(Last updated on Monday, November 10, 2008 02:40 PM)
Almost Warcraft
 by Fëanor

I did many fun things on vacation this past week: swimming; eating lots of really tasty food that was really bad for me; introducing my niece to one of my favorite films, Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful My Neighbor Totoro (I'm pleased to say she gave it a thumbs up; in fact, we lent her the DVD so she could watch it again on the car ride home); hanging out with a bunch of my favorite people; and almost playing World of Warcraft.

My brother and his wife (and her sister and her mother) are all really into WoW, and my brother especially talks to me about it all the time. And of course, in my general adventures around the internet, I hear and read a lot about the game. But I've never played it. Not because I'm not curious - I love fantasy RPGs, after all. No, it's because poppy is afraid that if I do play it, I will become obsessed with it and lose my soul to it. And to be honest, I share her fear to a certain extent. Also I generally avoid games that involve interactions with other players online. Something about that just freaks me out.

Anyway, at the shore house this past week my brother and his wife offered to let me create a character on their account and try it out. poppy agreed to this on the condition that if I did begin playing the game, I would give up Phillyist. Sadly, just as I had decided on the type of character I wanted to play (a Night Elf Hunter), the internet crapped out, and by the time it came back up, my brother and his wife had to go. D'oh!

I'm sure I'll get to try World of Warcraft one of these days, but in the meantime I was left with an unsatisfied hunger for fantasy RPGs. So when I got home, I dug up my copy of Diablo II, which I hadn't touched in a very long while, fired it up, and started a new game as a Necromancer, a character type I'd never played as before. It's fun having undead minions! I'd forgotten how addictive Diablo can be. Hopefully I won't lose my soul to it...
Tagged (?): Diablo II (Not), Video games (Not)
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