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Saturday, August 4, 2012

I am currently listening to an apparently significant gaming programmer/celebrity guy who I've not heard of babble about so much technical stuff that most of it is flying over my head. And now I'm typing here, so listening and forming words in my head make for a rather confusing experience. But he has said some interesting stuff. I wanted to listen it mostly for the virtual reality stuff, because I don't really care about the games his company does. It's still a long way off just now, but this new piece of equipment he was demoing is apparently a big step forward. Sounds great, though I have to wonder about movement with a virtual headset. Would I have to stand the entire time I played a game so I could turn 360 degrees, or would I still have some kind of movement control with a mouse? Dunno. I'm not interested in all that hand recognition stuff like Kinect does. That would be too exhausting for long gaming sessions and I don't see it matching the responsiveness of pressing a button. Still, having a view of a world in front of my face without any visible view of the real world would be fantastic for immersion. It was a big enough difference going from my old 4:3 screen to a 16:9 screen. That slight increase in peripheral vision made a big impact in immersion.

Right now the guy is talking about stuff I don't understand and don't care about anyway. OpenGL... I'm aware of the name but don't know what is actually is...

What I really wanted to blog about is unrelated to his babbling. Had a bad dream last night (yup, it's a dream rant post). Another dog dream. This time one of the he's been abandoned ones, not the I accidentally injure him. Not sure it's better though. That sudden return of loss as soon as I wake up can be as bad as it was at the beginning.

It started, I think I was supposed to be going to a job interview, and I was staying in a hotel. I was supposed to sleep in a bed with 2 snakes. One of them I was told if it bit me I was to take these 2 pills (that looked more like coins). The other one was apparently more dangerous but wasn't told how to handle it or even what it could do. I then realised that there were 3 identical cats in the room, when there were supposed to be only 2 (lots of 2's... could that actually mean something? XD). I opened the door to try to get one of the cats to leave. And then I saw the dog poking his head round the frame of a door at the other end of the hall. He looked miserable. So I go up to the room. He'd retreated back inside the room and I have to shove another dog out of the way to get to him. I could tell he was lonely, despite being in a room with loads of other animals (mostly dogs, but I think there were other animals, can't say I paid much attention). So I gave him a big fuss, chattering away at him until he perked up, and started wagging his tail. He'd been tied up with his lead, and I knew he was supposed to stay in that room, but I thought, Screw this, he's coming with me and we're leaving! Then I woke up...

For a slit second when I opened my eyes I thought my duvet was the dog and I was holding him in my arms... Then I woke up completely and immediately burst into tears. At first I thought I'd get back to sleep after a few minutes crying, but as soon as I settled back down my mind started going over the dream and then memories of the dog and I was crying for a good half hour. Watched some Youtube videos on my phone to try to entertain me for a while (I was entertained), but as soon as I stopped it was back to dwelling and crying again. Just had to pull myself together so I could go downstairs for breakfast.

But I am exhausted. Glad I had a random small bottle of Lucozade lying around, it's given me the energy to keep going through the day. Played Skyrim this afternoon rather than the MMOs I've been playing lately since I didn't want the social interaction and MMO gameplay is largely too mundane to keep me awake. Didn't help I had a bad night the last few nights because my shoulder was really sore (must have slept bad, or maybe it's part of the sore muscle side effect of the skin pills I'm on).

I blame yesterday and all the dog references for the dream. Went to see Brave with my parents in Glasgow (alright movie, soundtrack I liked, but not quite up to other Pixar big titles). One of the trailers beforehand was for some Tim Burton movie about a kid who brings his dog back to life (called Frankenweenie I think). So that hit pretty hard for me. I'd also seen a random article about how dog thefts has apparently increased by about 30% in the past year, which is a terrifying concept. It also had a picture of Christian Bale with the dog in that scene from Equilibrium. That scene was horrific for me. What is it that somehow makes it justified for the viewer to wish for the protagonist to commit murder to save an animal?

Rant done. This guy is still talking. Moved on to questions from the audience now, so some of it is a little interesting. So much tech babble... I think that's why I like listening to it even when I don't understand what's being said. Tech babbling is just soothing on the brain for me. Going to listen... Oh wait, guy just asked about movement with VR, which would be my question to him... Ok, the concept he's envisioning is standing while playing, so you turn for the 360 degree world. But movement would be done with a controller. Since I don't like a controller and would prefer to use a mouse and keyboard, which kinda needs to be used sitting down, I'm not sure how this is going to work as I'd like it. Either way it's a long way off, but I wonder what kind of thing will come out of this development.

Oh, by the way, as I'm sure anyone could guess, after my last rant I did end up paying for The Secret World. I'm glad I did. I've enjoyed what I've done so far. I took a break when Lord of the Rings Online started their new festival and now it's a bit too much of a leap to go back into that social situation again. But I will after I get some rest, I'm sure. Though I also loaded up Star Wars: The Old Republic and have made a couple of characters in their current free-until-level-15 offer, mostly in anticipation of it going properly free to play later this year (not sure on the exact date). While playing it again I remember why I wasn't too bothered about not getting to play it because of the subscription fee, I do want to remake my imperial agent character and take her through the story. The other stories I've tried I've found them all kinda meh (though to be fair I haven't got that far). And the locations are even more meh. It's like they didn't even try to make it a living, breathing world. Enemies spawning on the corpses of their previous versions' bodies, carefully placed at vital locations with limited roam. I know Lord of the Rings Online is guilty of the same issues, but somehow the combat in that feels more connected, and variable between characters. Never mind I'm much more interested in the lore of Lord of the Rings over Star Wars by a LONG way. What I've felt with the various classes I've tried is many skills have different animations but ultimately do the same thing. Like the similarity I felt between the Sith Inquisitor's electric shock attack and the Republic Trooper's... uh... 'no reload'? attack. They both were channeled abilities that did a set amount of damage. I clicked a button and my character stands there doing damage to the enemy. Maybe things get more varied with more advanced skills at higher levels. Or maybe it's just the difference between presentation. I love watching the numbers jump off enemies in Lord of the Rings Online, and the slight 'punch' effect you get with a critical always makes me go "Ooooo, nice!". I don't feel like I'm really hitting enemies in The Old Republic, it just happens that their health bar is depleting. Funny that those combat issues were things people said about The Secret World but I never had a problem with that game's combat. Then there is the dialogue in The Old Republic. After playing The Secret World, I just feel like whoever was writing the script for The Old Republic wasn't even really trying. I can see a quest decision between helping one person or another coming a mile away, and yet I don't care about any of the characters so it's all a question of light or dark side points. It's all very 'clinical'. Yeah, it's definitely not worth a subscription. Free to play is just fine for me. I'm just wondering what the 'limited access' is for the character creation for those who don't pay. Which is why I am holding off on creating my imperial agent until the full free to play version is released. Don't want to have to remake her with some modifications just to play her.

Time for supper and some Youtube videos, then I need my sleep.

Xilmin visited the elves at 11:30 p.m.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ok, I need to rant to set my thoughts in order. Should I buy a game for 200?

What game could possibly be worth that kind of money? It's an MMO called The Secret World and that's the price for the game + lifetime subscription. I don't believe in a subscription based payment. I don't rent games, I buy them. So my options here are either pay the 200 and never pay an actual subscription and be able to play for as long as the game is active, or I don't play it at all and silently hope it goes free-to-play in the near future.

Which leads me to my first concern: I think it will go free-to-play in the near future. Whether that is a year or two or three I wouldn't dare to guess, but it will at some point I'm sure. Aside from the history of the makers of the game, who's two big previous MMOs have gone free-to-play (never mind the majority of MMOs are going free-to-play these days), The Secret World is not a game for the mainstream MMO player. I wouldn't even say it's a game for the majority of gamers. It encourages you to take your time, and think outside the box to solve puzzles. Puzzles don't typically grab the traditional gamer's attention. Those I had the opportunity to do in the beta I found tough, and one of them I wouldn't have gotten the answer without hints. Even the main storyline quest required a bit of thought, and judging by the pleas for help in the chat even that was too much for some. Most MMOs these days tend to have 4 sets of quests they recycle with contrived but irrelevant descriptions to explain the reasoning behind doing those same 4 activities again and again: 'delivery this item to so-and-so', 'kill x mobs', 'kill mobs and loot x items' or 'collect x items off the ground (which are surrounded by mobs)'. I'm not saying those quests were missing from The Secret World, but they were fewer and interspersed with the more interesting quests that really appealed to me.

I've lost my train of thought in my own incoherent rambles.

So, I see the game going free-to-play in the future, but I'm not sure that is enough to say not to buy the game at all. After all free-to-play always has limitations, and in almost all cases those limitations can only be unlocked with money. I would hope that any free-to-play model follows Turbine's model in Lord of the Rings Online since I think that's the best available, where almost all unlocks are possible through either the spending of time or money. I have put some money into Lotro now (primarily to unlock something that wasn't available in the store), on top of all that time I spent unlocking other things, so I'm mostly free of limitations I actually care about. Funcom (the company behind The Secret World) however haven't made quite as generous a free-to-play model with their other games, making lifetime not completely worthless. Still it's a lot of money if all I get is a few extra character slots, more dungeon options and some bonus cash in the store (for example).

To counterpoint that, why do I want to play this game so much? I've already mentioned the puzzles. I haven't had a good puzzling game in a long time (except Legend of Grimrock, though that's very different gameplay). While playing I was reminded of Uru, the originally-online-but-now-single-player-game set in the Myst universe (I'm sure the development of that game was more complicated than that but can't be bothered reading up on it), and this game is much more alive, and of course the combat is something no Myst game had. I do adore Uru. Just wandering around, observing and pondering what came before. I imagine it had a great atmosphere when it was an online game, though I'm not surprised it didn't get the support it needed to survive. I would hope The Secret World could have that kind of feeling, only everything is so much more alive... including the dead... The game also has lore that are 'items' you can discover in game to learn more about the area you are in, or a faction, or some event, or whatever. For my explorer + completionist style of playing I see that keeping me busy for some time. Because the world has such a wonderful atmosphere, exploring and discovering are rewarding in and of themselves, never mind that you might stumble across a quest on the ground you would never have seen otherwise.

To counterpoint my counterpoint... The atmosphere could be detrimental in the long run. Yes, very spooky, very dark, creepy, horrifying, everything it's going for. But that's not something I want to endure for too long before I want to get out and into the light again. Admittedly I only got to experience the first two zones. Even so it takes a long time to get through those areas and get the gear and points you need for skills, and that's longer than I want to spend in some dark and creepy location with no respite. I also hope the later areas have more variety in enemies. There were some interesting mobs, and the design of the mobs are great. But the majority of them were undead in various forms. And given the other two locations I know of (though I don't know what is actually in them) are Egypt and Transylvania, I foresee a lot more undead creatures.

Yet I have to admit it had me laughing at times during cutscenes. People complain about the script and the voice acting, but I like it. After the voice actor who plays Tuvok in Voyager made a Star Trek reference, they couldn't really go wrong as far as I was concerned. There are the lighter points, even if they are few and far between. It's the cutscenes that I think really grab me. Unlike the cutscenes in Star Wars The Old Republic, these actually feel like they matter. Even if SWTOR was going on and on about choices and consequences, it still felt like at least the side quests were just a case of voicing those same empty words to explain why you need to kill x mobs like any other MMO. Admittedly I only got as far as level 16(?) during the beta weekend I took part in, but the universe of SWTOR felt so bland while your own character was bursting with life. The Secret World actually does the opposite, your character standing in silence and in most cases refusing to interact with NPCs, while they babble on with such vivid personalities. The Secret World characters are certainly more memorable that those I met in SWTOR.

Have I come to any conclusions so far? No. I really like the game. Is it worth 200? I still don't know. The free-to-play discussion is probably irrelevant since I'll still be better off as a lifer than a free player, though how much better there is no way to know. I really like the world of the game, the puzzles and actually requiring my brain. Could I kill mostly the undead in some creepy locations for a couple years to justify the price? Is this just a desire to play this game NOW or is this really something I'll be playing for as long as I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online?

Why do I like Lotro so much? Lore. Read The Hobbit earlier this year and I'm reading the Lord of the Rings series again. I can't believe how many references are in the game I wouldn't have picked up on without going through the books. Even things like skill names have some source. I love exploring the game. I still vividly remember my first exploration of the Shire. Getting all exciting over 'knowing' the locations. Then there are the places that take my breath away (and I don't just mean because of graphical prettiness, but in scale and concept). Any of the dwarven architecture in particular, really. And certain instances, fighting amazing things, discovering twists in the main story. And then there is the community, which is for the most part mature and welcoming.

Will Secret World have all those things. Lore I think it has covered. Exploration also. Draw dropping locations also also. I did one instance with a group during the beta for Secret World and it was fun, even if we barely talked or coordinated. With a good group I'd imagine it would be better. Which leads to the community... And I don't think there is any way to be sure on this one. I've been looking around the forums, gauging people's opinions of the game while I try to work out my own, and there are obviously good people in there. I'm concerned about the level of elitism. On the one hand a subscription-only game will keep out the lazy trolls, I do feel it breeds a more arrogant kind of gamer. There was a discussion about the free-to-play issue last night on the last day of the weekend beta and many players were saying how if it went free-to-play they would stop playing it because that somehow made the game unplayable to them. They used Lotro as an example about how bad free-to-play can make something, and I really wanted to pipe up and say "Hey Lotro is awesome now!" but I felt like I couldn't judge having not been there during the subscription days or the change over to free. I know in the Lotro forums people talk about how when it went free there was a big deal with gold spammers and such. I've played Lotro for over a year and not seen one. I tried out Aion recently... If that was what the gold spammers were like, then I can understand why people might leave. But ultimately I can't really judge a game's community before it's even released. I shall assume those attracted to The Secret World are those that feel similarly to me, that thinking in an MMO is a good thing. I certainly don't want to worry about spoilers being broadcast in the general chat (like they were over the beta weekends).

But the final thing The Secret World has to offer is PvP. I've never bothered with PvP (or PvMP, player vs monster player) in Lotro, all the more so because that is what gets people in an uproar in the main chat channel. So much drama occurs because of PvMP it's ridiculous. I did however try the PvP for The Secret World and I enjoyed it. I didn't feel like I was that good at it, but for the two areas that did rounds rather than a continuous battle, I was at least the best for one round and the second best for another in my group, even if we got our asses kicked ultimately. I can see people getting obsessed with PvP, and there may be some balancing issues. I know I need to get some better skills to take on other players since my traditional mob fighting technique certainly wasn't effective against real people. I would hope though that it wouldn't become unwelcome for the occasional casual player to jump in for a bit of fun even if the 'professionals' are having a game.

Have I come to any conclusions yet? Of course not. 200 is still a lot of money. Final issue here is that it is actually more expensive just for being in the UK rather than in the US (where the price of the game + lifetime works out as 160). It's the same for the subscription price. Naturally there are some angry people in the forums (Europeans have a similar problem, though it's not quite as big a price increase for them). But there is no official word (not surprised), and I'm guessing the prices are here to stay for at least the first 6 months. A little part of me thinks maybe I should just buy the game and use the 30 days free I get with that to wait to see if the pricing thing is set in stone, but then I think what if the lifetime offer disappears since there is no word on how long that will be available.

Uuuugh... I have been agonising over this decision for just over a week since I first played the beta a couple weekends ago. I've been swinging wildly from the 'don't play at all' to 'go all out with the 200'. I've been reigning in my impulsiveness that says "Yes I like it give me it NOOOOOW!" and trying to think about it objectively (hence typing all this). And I still can't come to a conclusion. Admittedly it doesn't help that money has become rather irrelevant right now. I occasionally buy food when my parents don't get what I need or when they disappear on holiday, and other than paying for my phone contract that's about the total expense I have right now. But with the monthly income from working for my dad, I'm definitely making money here. Never mind I'm sitting on a very nice sum in my ISA with it's awesome interest rate (for the current economy). Yes, 200 is more than I make in a month, but not much more. If I was really desperate I'm sure my dad would be delighted if I did extra hours... But nothing could make me care that much.

Yeah I think I am leaning towards the 'buy it' conclusion... It's gonna hurt though, and it really better be the game I got the glimpse of during the beta weekends or I am going to be pissed off! Still I shall continue to think about it some more, haunt the forums. This is not a decision to be taken lightly...

... That's a lot of text I just wrote... Why is this the largest dilemma in my life right now? XD

Xilmin visited the elves at 11:17 p.m.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last post in March... I really don't use this much these days, do I? Don't have much to rant about. That's probably a good thing since it means nothing is bothering me too much. Today though...

Social interaction is HARD! I am a stressed out wreck and I need to take a break from Lord of the Rings Online for a bit. Probably partly because I was doing the same thing on 9 different characters, and it 'had' to be done before the spring festival ended. Can't miss collecting those completely pointless decoration maps that I probably will just leave in my houses' chests if not sell them. Stupid OCD tendencies demanding I complete everything possible. But mostly there is me agonising over every little thing I do in that game, worrying about how people perceive me. One time I was doing a series of instances with a group. They start bickering among themselves, one raging over everyone not doing their job right and messing things up, another taunting the guy for being angry over seemingly nothing. And then me in the middle trying to communicate the tactics with the group so we could actually get stuff done while desperately not trying to take sides (even if I did want to). Why do I so often end up leading these instances, even when I'm not the one that organised them? Ugh... so stressed out...

Been trying to play Kingdoms of Amalur today, and as much fun as I have in that, I just can't focus and I find myself staring off into space and then obsessing over stuff...

... Which I just did again... Can't focus to type. Going to watch Youtube videos to try to alleviate this stress. Bye bye blog for probably another couple months!

Xilmin visited the elves at 11:59 p.m.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I finished Mass Effect 3 today. Hmmmm... It was a really good game! ... "was"... That ending though... The game thrilled me. Engaged me. I cried at moments. I got giddy with excitement at others. I felt dread and hope in equal measure for what was to come. But what came had no connection to what I had done before. Before I finished the game, I knew there was outrage over the ending but I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt if it worked story-wise. It doesn't. The ending demands I accept that organics and synthetics can never live in harmony... Never mind that during the game I, on not one but two occasions, forged bonds between organics and synthetics. I ended a centuries old war between the Geth and the Quarians, and also helped EDI develop her programming so she could be in a romantic relationship with Joker. The game flings that to one side and I'm forced to make a choice... and that choice apparently has no significance since I've since learnt that the only difference in the endings are the different colour of explosions. After what was a truly compelling game, it builds to an unfulfilling, confusing, nonsensical, anticlimax. I mean there are other issues with it, including the fact that Tali was with me down on Earth but in the final cut scene she shows up on the Normandy, and what was the Normandy doing flying at full speed away from the battle anyway? After all that effort, I don't get to find out the consequences of my decisions? Hmmmm...

People are even raising money over this in a petition to change the ending. I wouldn't go that far, but I wouldn't be against the idea of a FREE (very important that bit!) DLC that provides some closure and an explanation. I'm not sure if I want it to turn around and say "It was all a dream, now here is the real ending", but on the other hand given there were dream sequences in other parts of the game it wouldn't be out of the question. Hell, even a Dragon Age: Origins-style text blurb epilogue would be better than nothing to know what happens in this galaxy I had become so involved in.

But what I found even more baffling was after the credits rolled, I was dumped back on the Normandy at the galaxy map. I immediately quit the game, terrified if I talked to someone they would make some comment on the defeat of the Reapers and invalidate the supposed ending where my Shepard sacrificed himself with the only option to gain universal peace that the ending actually allowed (at least I think it was the only option, though I didn't pick up on if the 'control' option would provide permanent peace or if it was as fleeting as the 'destroy' option). If Shepard did die, I don't want to play him any more. His story is done. If they want to bring in a DLC that explains what he did as some sort of "vision" or "virtual world" then I'll happily play on... And imagine my Shepard going off with Tali to build a house on her home world. XD

I was ready to immediately play it again with my 2nd Shepard, and see just what changes my previous decisions make in the galaxy, but now I'm not sure I want to... Well it's bed time now anyway. I shall contemplate. And try to remember how awesome that 40+ hours I put into the game before the ending was. I wouldn't mind doing that again. I just might not do the final mission...

Xilmin visited the elves at 12:55 a.m.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Was at the Roaccutane clinic today... only to be told I was there are the wrong time of month. Apparently they demand to have the pregnancy test done during my menstrual period because that is the only reliable way to get an accurate result. It's all just absurd to me, but they can't issue the prescription without that information.

But it was something else they said that makes me want to rant here. The nurse asked if I'd ever been depressed. So I had to explain I had taken anti-depressants, even although I never thought I needed them. Now she's going to have to go off and check with the doctor whether it is ok to give me the drug in the first place. If next time I go they turn around and say "No, you are too high risk" I'm going to flip out. This is the only option left. I can't stand my skin any more. I'm fed up looking in the mirror every morning and going "What's wrong with my face today?". I'm fed up enduring pain, having something swollen and red taking up prime location on my face. I'm fed up feeling like a leper. Of course if I reply "On or off the medication, I'll always be high risk for depression and potential suicide" that probably wouldn't go down well... I know I'm emotionally unstable, always am, always have been. But I manage my insanity. Mostly with isolation. But this is forced isolation because I feel hideous and don't want to go outside. Even just walking past someone on the way to or from the shops, my self image plummets. I expect to be ridiculed. I know I cringe and hunch up particularly when I go past groups of people, kids especially. I still have comments echoing around in my head that were flung my way several years ago, even from back during school days. I need to be free of this acne. I need it gone. And this is the only option left that might work. I need it! Of course I go into some rant like this, I will burst into tears over it, the nurse will say "Roaccutane is definitely not for you. You need other kind of help, go see a psychiatrist." To which I say "Piss off!"

Xilmin visited the elves at 07:15 p.m.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hello world. If you look to my last post, can you guess what happened the following day? And many many days afterwards. Yeah... I played a LOT of Skyrim... until it broke (they've patched it now, but I haven't gone back... yet). Then I played Portal 2 (great, but too short), and some of Fable (liked it a lot, but needed a change so didn't finish it). Now I'm mostly playing Lord of the Rings Online again. I have 13 characters now. It's a bit of a handful. I have a spreadsheet to keep track.

But what I'm really here to rant about is other stuff, since I'm feeling a bit 'off' today. Probably hasn't helped I didn't sleep well. Doorbell. Phone. Parents talking and moving around. And I had weird dreams. I'd killed someone. An old woman I think. But I'd managed to dump the body so the police didn't know. And then I was making my way through a field of nettles in the pitch black, only my night vision was really good for some reason. There was a child playing on the other side of the field who couldn't see in the dark, and got freaked out when she bumped into me but couldn't see me...

But what's really getting to me right now was my dad suggesting this morning that I up the number of hours work I do a month for him. And of course my mum was all for that idea, saying I barely do anything right now. I know 24 hours in a month isn't much, but it feels like a lot to me. Even at that, sometimes I would rather not get up in the morning knowing I have to do stuff for him. Coming back from the doctor after talking about my skin problems, I could not have walked slower if I'd tried, and part of me just wanted to turn and around and not go back. I only work afternoons (I sleep mornings) so at most I do 4 or 5 hours a day, and often less than that. No way I could do more in one day anyway. I watch the clock, counting down the minutes as it is. The 24 hours takes over a week to do at that rate, and I'm desperately looking forward to getting back to doing absolutely nothing afterwards.

I just feel like I did nothing but work for almost 20 years, straining to achieve what was expected of me, but never any real joy at reaching that goal, just relief. After all when everyone expects you to do the best possible, there is nothing greater to achieve to make me feel better about myself. There is no 'aim for a B but get an A and feel fantastic'. There is only 'get an A or fail'. I'm done. I'm spent. I don't want to use my brain any more. And my dad is teaching me programming, explaining database structure and such, as if I'd be getting a job in this some day. No. Just no. I doing this to appease my parents, so they get off my back and leave me alone. If I'm employed by my dad, they aren't pressuring me into getting a real job. If I wasn't doing anything, they'd be pestering me constantly, wanting to 'talk' about how I'm 'feeling'. Basically saying I need help and should go to a psychiatrist. The thing is I may need help by other people's standards, but I don't want to change. I don't want a life. I don't want a job. I don't want a future. I merely exist. And most of that time is spent in my head, or using games, movies, tv, books to get somewhere else. It's good there.

And guess what, I've decided to take Roaccutane, the incredibly strong drug that is supposed to clear up acne. And in it's millions of side effects, some of which are truly horrific, is mood changes, and potentially suicidal tendencies. Goody! Because that will go wonderfully with my current state of mind. Though really, I may still change my mind, not because of that, but because they won't prescribe the drug without a pregnancy test (they won't risk the possibility of a malformed baby). If it's just the sort of test I can take privately in a bathroom, that's fine. But if a nurse is involved... just no. For the same reasons I won't go for a smear test. I'd rather die of cancer than be touched. Yeah... I have issues. XD I'm currently waiting for an appointment with a special Roaccutane clinic which does the tests. The doctor also took my blood which they need to check as well. Not sure why but I panicked when the nurse tried to take the blood. I'm fine with needles and I usually watch out of curiosity. Perhaps it was just all the descriptions of the many horrible things this drug might do to me, coupled with the nurse getting too close for comfort. Thankfully she took my panic, close to tears state as a sign I was going to faint, rather than just freak out. Somewhat less humiliating.

... I should stop reading Wiki pages on personality disorders. But yeah... I probably am crazy on some level. And proud of it, damn it. Will never submit to being 'treated' by some psychiatrist. I will never give up the fantasies I live in. Far more important than reality! NEVER!

Time to play a game. I'm not up for the social interaction of Lord of the Rings Online, so Mass Effect 2 will do (with Steam community offline). Mass Effect 3 comes out in a couple weeks. Preordered the collector's edition. About 60. It has some extra content and the soundtrack, the rest of the bonuses I'm not too bothered about. Better be worth it. Had to get it from Ireland, since it was sold out in the UK by the time I got around to ordering it. Was pissed off for a while thinking I'd missed the opportunity, until people on the forums suggested looking there for it. I was avoiding almost everything to do with it, not wanting to stumble into spoilers, but I've lifted that restriction a little now to get myself properly psyched for it. This trailer certainly did that. Yeah, time for more Mass Effect 2.

Xilmin visited the elves at 03:45 p.m.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It hasn't arrived early. It better arrive on time! I may get up early tomorrow and lurk in the sun lounge with my laptop so I can watch the front door. Just one more day...

IGN did their review of Skyrim, and from the sounds of it, it's exactly what I've been expecting. A UI that is a pain to use with a mouse and keyboard (I fear it might force me to use my scroll wheel which doesn't work properly...) but worth putting up with for the immensity of the world it presents you with. I just hope my graphics card can cope with it since I saw somewhere that my card was listed as the minimum it will run on. It was the same for the Witcher 2 but I could play that on high detail because my quad core and 8GB of RAM clearly picked up the slack. Here's hoping Skyrim will run similarly. And here's hoping someone will make a mod quickly to improve that UI. Apparently you can't even use numbers as quick keys. Hmmm... My one big worry about the game was justified, but I shall need to wait to see just how annoying that is going to be...

Just one more day...

Xilmin visited the elves at 03:43 p.m.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I want Skyrim so bad I feel like my head is about to explode. AAAHHHHHH!!! But even if it does arrive early, according to others on the net who have got it they can't play it because it needs to be activated via Steam. I'm playing Lord of the Rings Online again instead of Oblivion in the mean time. It's less of a reminder of what I'm not playing and somehow I spend hours doing the most meaningless things. Time flies when my brain has shut down. Just let me play that for another day and a half and then it should be here. It BETTER be here! And the post man better not do what he's been doing these past few months and not bothering ringing the doorbell. If I have to wait an additional 24 hours before I can get it from the post office I will go insane! And I will sound like this. I adore that cat.

And just before I go, while I'm linking youtube videos, here's an Oblivion one. I can't stop watching it, and singing along. The Silly Adventures of Mr Mochi.

Anyway back to Lord of the Rings Online.

Xilmin visited the elves at 07:51 p.m.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Such a cruel morning... The doorbell rings, I LEAP out of bed, thinking "It's Thursday! It's here! Skyrim is here!" and desperately rummage through the clothes on the floor to find my dressing gown so I can answer the door... Only I hear my mum answer it and greet a friend. Such disappointment. I look at my phone: Tuesday. Damn it! Not only is it another 2 days away, but I had to work for my dad today. Ugh. 5 hours where I did next to nothing. Stared blankly at the screen waiting on things and got into a couple of pointless arguments with my dad. One of those was on the nature of gravity. How did that even come up? Bah. Also argued about jobs just being jobs versus jobs as a means to promotion and advancement. I guess I just have no ambition, proven by my lack of interest in getting a job in the first place I suppose.

Anyway dinner is going to ready soon. I just wanted to mention the morning... so cruel. Such excitement to be instantly vapourised into nothingness. Skyrim really is the only thing I'm excited for right now. Want it NOW! As if I haven't said that enough already... And now I think about it I don't even know why I've been thinking it will arrive on Thursday. The 11th is a Friday... Even more disappointment. Though it was shipped on Saturday so I can still hope it will arrive early...

Xilmin visited the elves at 06:48 p.m.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My mum has broken her wrist cycling...

You know what, I'm not going to rant about that... Just not... It makes me sound like I'm accusing her of doing it on purpose. But my dad gets to escape to Aberdeen later this week. I know he's been getting annoyed too (just from tone and subtle comments). Lucky.

In better news Game has apparently already shipped my preorder of Skyrim. Is it just going to sit in a warehouse for the next few days or is it going to arrive early? Where is it? I want to know!

So for the time being I'm back to playing Oblivion. Completed the Knights of the Nine story line, which was actually rather short, but interesting enough I guess. Some nice equipment though. Now I'm in the Shivering Isles, the realm of the Mad God Sheogorath. He is awesome... except when the Irish (with a hint of Scottish) accent drops and you hear it is the same guy who voices every Imperial in the world. Though I think I'm enjoying his... manservant?... Haskill even more. He appears to loathe everyone and everything but is ever so polite with a large helping of sarcasm. Hopefully there will be enough quests to keep me occupied over the next few days before Skyrim arrives.

Xilmin visited the elves at 03:58 p.m.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Well, today was my birthday... But I never really felt like it. Did I do something different today? Sure. Was it time well spent? ... uh... no. I mended jeans. Well I guess technically that is more constructive than what I usually do but it's not exactly entertaining. It's something I've been meaning to do for the last 10 months. Why 10 months? Because last christmas I got new jeans and I've been wearing those same jeans without washing them for those 10 months as I didn't have any other jeans without holes in them. Only took them off because I got them covered in paint after repainting the front door (parents have had the outside of the front extension redone and the door no longer matched). Got jeans for a present today too and that resulted in me patching my current pairs to stop my mum chucking them out. So it was a fun day...

Sure I did some other stuff. Checked into a couple of Lord of the Rings Online characters. I've won various seasonal lotteries on all but 1 of my 10 characters now, so I'm having to log in to get the mail or it will disappear in 2 weeks. Still got another 2 I need to check on that I haven't logged into in about 2 months, but because the kin is so close and everyone knows everyone, I feel I can't just sneak in, check my mail and leave again. I don't want to have to have to explain my reasons for not wanting to play extensively. Even just pretending to be civil and asking how everyone has been seems like too much hard work. ::sigh:: But I might have won some points which can be put towards getting the Moria expansion, so I can't not log in. Or... I might have just won a couple lumps of coal. Trick or treat indeed.

But I think more than anything the reason I don't feel like today was my birthday is because my real present to myself isn't released until the 11th. Still haven't preordered Skyrim yet as I don't actually have enough money in my current account (for the collector's edition that is), but once I put my cheque in the bank tomorrow I can finally get on with that. God I really want that game so bad it's ridiculous! Listening to the theme repeatedly at the moment. Why can't I have it yet? I WANT IT NOW! I just wish I could live in isolation while I played it, store food in my room and block the door. I do not want to be disturbed!

Just over 1 week now... I can cope... Somehow...

Xilmin visited the elves at 12:59 p.m.

Monday, October 24, 2011

4 nights in a row, 4 nightmares. Thanks subconscious. You've definitely compensated for the nice dream, you can STOP now. They're just getting worse though, that's the problem. First two were just jump awake dreams. Waking up with a heart attack isn't exactly pleasant but it's easy to get back to sleep afterwards. Third one was more subtle. My mum has some mental disease where she couldn't even go to the bathroom on her own. As disturbing as that is, it was the stupid smile on her face the entire time that was truly creepy, I just wanted to run away. Last night was terrifying. I think I was supposed to be in some kind of horror game (though in the game such that it was actually reality if I knew it wasn't real). I had just used a room as some sort of transporter, and could hear on the other side of the door something breathing. I go into crouch mode and wield my lead pipe or whatever I was carrying. I go to open the door and sneak attack... only the thing opens the door itself and comes at me. I flail wildly with the pipe, pushing it down the corridor and into cupboard where I kill it... Only to have to kill a possessed mop as well... I step back... and then it gets a bit weird. I knew I was dreaming at that point, and I guess it was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy to then think about how my subconscious likes to scare me. Down the corridor comes this ghost, only not just a transparent person type ghost, but one that's rotted, skin hanging off bones, and yet insubstantial so my pipe did no good against it. Only now I know I'm in bed, and I'm trying to kick it since it is looming over me. I'm desperately trying to sit up and open my eyes but it took too long to actually manage it that it was almost on top of me... Had to put the light on and listen to music for a while to help me get back to sleep since I was terrified of shadows, never mind the sound of my parents sleeping sounded too like the ghost breathing. I'm praying for a peaceful night tonight...

In more amusing news, I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online again. It took 10 characters but I've finally made a character based a little on myself. Not named her Xilmin... Instead she is Saelwien. Sounds a bit like it, but fits the Elven naming form. She's a version of me, but not me. I've grown rather attached now, even although she's only level 15 and she isn't the first champion I've made. Was looking forward to getting all the titles for not dying up to level 20... Only last night I had that ruined by some mental guy in the crafting hall in Bree. Most people spend their time crafting going afk or chatting or generally not paying attention. I wasn't paying attention... only then I noticed someone just died. What? Then a giant bog-lurker shows up off to the side of my screen and attacks someone next to me. I'm confused and can't work out what is going on, thinking maybe the person did something that caused the thing to appear and get revenge or something. Only then it attacks more people and I get hit my an area of effect attack. Only then do I realise I'm in trouble. The thing is max level 75! I try to run for the door only to discover I'm rooted in place. The thing is busy focusing on someone else so I'm still hoping I can get out of there. I'm finally released and head for the door... I don't even get half way... One swipe and I collapse to the floor. Goodbye Undying title. ::pout:: I refuse to revive since I know the thing will just kill me a second time and force me to retreat which I don't want to do because I'm curious what is going to happen. I watch people come in and fight it... and die. It took a group of people to take it town a few minutes later. Thankfully one of those people revived me so I got to watch the whole battle. I cheered. Victory! I ask where it came from and make some comment about losing my chance at the title. A guy sends me a tell saying sorry he didn't think of that. I wanted to be angry. Should have looked around the room for him so I could at least emote a slap at him. But truly I wasn't that angry because the experience was so unexpected and interesting. Livened an otherwise rather dull activity quite successfully. I'm just confused how he was capable of summoning something that was actively aggressive to other players. Didn't think that was possible... Oh well, was entertaining anyway.

Xilmin visited the elves at 12:46 p.m.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I had the most wonderful dream last night, especially considering my... state last night. Parents are away until Saturday, leaving me with my paranoia. I got stuck in the bathroom last night for 20 minutes or maybe longer because I was too terrified to open the door. The dream was just what I needed, to feel safe and secure and protected. And to be able to express my affection for someone my way. I keep laughing remember whacking the guy in the face. Such intimacy from me, so rare! XD I don't even know what he was saying, I just enjoyed the opportunity to hit him. Don't misunderstand, that's as much physical contact as there was, which was just perfect. The point was I felt safe. Of course I wasn't exactly me, and whoever I was was completely insane. I don't even know if I was actually capable of speech, or speaking anything other than gibberish. I think someone accused me of taking drugs at one point. Don't really remember much else. Just the whack! It makes me smile. Surprising dream considering my subconscious normally likes to torment me, dreams of the dog filling me with guilt and everything lately involving water which freaks me out enough without whatever else the dream involves. Waking up with a smile on my face (and being able to keep getting the smile back whenever I remember) makes a very nice change... Whack :D

Xilmin visited the elves at 1:13 p.m.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why isn't Skyrim out yet? I want it NOOOOWWWWWW!!!! One more month... One more month... Too long to wait... :( I'm just hoping that when the inevitable "what do you want for your birthday?" question comes from my parents that they will accept preordering the collector's edition. Considering last time they refused to endorse my gaming obsession I'm not entirely hopeful... But my dad has now officially employed me (mostly just tidying and doing a little helping with his accounts), so technically I could just spend almost my entire month's wage on one game... I want it damn it, just for the awesome statue really. It's going against my normal principle that preordering is a waste of time if I don't get extra content. The game still remains the same, but the statue (and map and making-of stuff) is apparently worth about 100. :S I just want the game so much that I can't NOT preorder it, and getting the extras would make the early purchase feel more worthwhile rather than the normal bland box it would come in. ::sigh:: Want it NOW though... :(

To continue what I was babbling about last time I bothered to blog, I've now completed the main quest of Oblivion (well except for getting the reward armour which takes several game-days). Was pretty awesome... but far too many babysitting moments (aka escort missions). Glad I'd lowered the difficulty (though I had increased it slightly from last time I blogged, but not back to the default). I also became the grandmaster of all the guilds (before I even moved on to the main quest). The Mages Guild was rather anticlimactic I thought, but the others had some interesting developments, especially the Dark Brotherhood. Still got the expansions to do though, but I needed a break from the game. Played it a bit too much I think. Really want to explore the Shivering Isles though. I briefly wandering in there, got through the introductory bit, followed the northern road to the capital, talked to everyone then took the southern road back to the portal out. I got ridiculously excited about the place just because it is quirky. But instead of feeling the like the realm of the 'Mad God', it just feels like Morrowind! Giant mushrooms, weird creatures... Oblivion feels too traditionally fantasy-esque. Shivering Isles had a more interesting vibe from my brief exploration of it. Got a feeling I won't get around to that before Skyrim comes out though. One more month...

Lately however I've been playing something entirely different. An indie puzzle game called SpaceChem. Some real chemistry is mixed into there, but it's just ridiculously complex. I like it so much just because every level has so many methods of completion, limited only by your imagination. My levels tend to work out ridiculously complex, perhaps because I only have a rough idea of what I want, then try to pull it together bit by bit without much planning. I'm usually amazed I actually get things to work. It has options to record videos of your solutions so I've put some up on Youtube (Every Day is the First Day and No Ordinary Headache). I've got more on my computer I haven't uploaded yet. Had to give up part way through a level this evening because I just wasn't getting anywhere. Since every night while I sleep for the past week I've been contemplating techniques of increasing efficiency and such, so maybe tomorrow I'll have figured out a solution to it. It's definitely possible. It's just figuring out how to organise the thing and not run out of space for commands. Part of me though just wants to complete it for the story that you can read between every other level. I want to know what happens! Which means tearing my hair out for another couple of worlds as things get even more complex...

Any other news? Nope. Still spending as much time as possible on my own in the room. Bliss.

Xilmin visited the elves at 11:34 p.m.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello world. Been a while. I'm just here because I had an epic and freaky dream that I want to write down. So...

It was supposed to be the first ever apocalyptic sci-fi movie ever made: Skyway. Either made it 1917 and set in 1942, or set in 1917 but made in 1942. Anyway, it started out in black and white. The Skyway was a massive road junction that not only had roads going in 3 directions on the ground but also one going directly upwards. Don't know where that was supposed to go since all the 'camera shots' pointed downwards. It had been built using technology left over by aliens who had long ago disappeared. Only now they were back... and angry apparently. Destruction and death followed. The main character of this movie was special somehow though. An alien sliced his throat open but it didn't bleed. When the alien turned its back, his neck healed itself and he killed the alien. Cut to him running through the traffic, cars flying overhead, explosions and fire. He finds tanks sent in by the government. He yells his name as he's a scientist who knows about these aliens and they would be looking for him. One of the tank commanders points him to a car that will take him to their headquarters.

He has to jump in the car as it's moving, heading straight into a wall (literally). He closes the door but the other people in the car panic saying the door isn't shut properly. The car is entirely inside the wall now, everything is pitch black outside. Bubbling can be heard around their feet as if something is seeping into the car. He opens and closes the door again (with no resistance to anything outside, as if they are surrounded by nothing), but again it's not shut right and the bubbling continues. One more go with opening the door wider and slamming it shut seals the car and the bubbling stops. They come to the end of the journey. Light comes through the wall ahead of them, but the car stops just after the bonnet has gone through the wall. A message pops up in the car saying that the 'magic' has run out. I don't know how they got out of there, as it then cut to an overview of the skyway again, everything breaking down, cars falling from the vertical road, lights going out all around, etc.

Next thing I remember he is in their headquarters carrying around his notes with him since he is paranoid someone will steal them, thinking there is a traitor somewhere. Others start doing similarly. They have diagrams that they have drawn based on what the aliens have left behind, of their technology and of the aliens themselves. Though they had trouble with the scale in some cases, one of the aliens they worked out to be the size of a skyscraper that floated above ground, but could still house people inside it. They have one of the smaller alien types in a cage. It is child-sized, but it is pitch black so you can't define the shape of it as you can't see any shadows on it. You can see it's the whites of it's human like eyes around a red iris. And you can definitely see it's wide mouth filled with sharp teeth, similar to a piranha. This alien suddenly starts screaming and shaking the bars of it's cage. And then everywhere these aliens suddenly appear, as if they had always been there but now decided to show themselves. They unwrap themselves from tree branches. Even a couple lying on a settee watching a movie suddenly find there are 2 of these things with them. I woke around then... and I could probably have gone back to sleep again... if I hadn't been wearing my sleep mask (I'd already been woken by the door bell at a ridiculous hour so put my sleep mask on to get me back to sleep despite the sunlight coming through the curtains). I wake up and all I see is black... and I think one of the aliens has it's hands over my eyes... jzsdh;bvoahiod;fnhagjkopfauih... Yeah didn't get back to sleep after that.

I suppose I should say something else while I'm here... I completed the main quest of Morrowind! Yup, that's what I care about! The final battle was even a bit of a struggle even with my level 46 character that could kill almost every enemy in Morrowind with 1-3 hits. Mostly just because I wasn't entirely sure what I should be doing. Do I hit this thing now or that thing now, with this or with that? Epic without question though! Still have other quests to do mind you. Got to do more temple quests while I wait for my Redoran stronghold to be built. And I have a number of quests to finish on Solstheim too, and pretty much everything in Mournhold since I've barely done anything there. Never mind that I made a new character as well, a 'spellsword' (my main is an archer) since I added some mods to have regenerating magicka and quick casting like in Oblivion to make a mage character more reasonable. That's about the only thing I think Oblivion improved on Morrowind. Morrowind is without question one of my favourite games of all time, fighting for top place with Dragon Age Origins (I'll ignore the sequel since the more I think about it the more I hate it. Tried to mod that into something more like Origins but it just wasn't possible).

Now I'm mostly focussed on playing Oblivion though. I really do want to try and complete the main quest before Skyrim comes out. I know it doesn't really make a difference, but I'd just feel better if I know more about the Oblivion plot line. Got a long way to go since I started yet another character, trying to get something that works with my playing style and Oblivion's ridiculous levelling system. After trying (and failing) to protect a couple of guys from goblins I finally relented and decreased the difficulty by 10%. Everything since then has been a breeze but we'll see what happens when I reach level 5 and trolls start cropping up in the woods. That's usually the point I rage quit since I can't hit enough and keep myself healed while they regenerate and have to leg it back to the nearest town to get a guard to help me kill it. I'm still doing a lot of stealth and archery especially when dungeon delving, but I specifically chose a class that has as many melee skills as possible. No more levelling based on stealth and marksman and then finding I can't handle a proper fight. This way I level slowly but know that I'm levelling based on the best skills for survival. I'm just praying Skyrim has a much better system... and more voice actors! Morrowind may have required reading text but least it didn't constantly break the illusion of a real world. You talk to a beggar with an 'old woman' voice, then you ask for rumours and suddenly she sounds posh. Though my wanting more realism is limited since I hate having to wait around for shops to open and the like. Hanging around the mages guild because the person who sells the spell you want has decided to go for lunch and isn't offering his services. ARGH! But I've now modded Oblivion out fairly extensively too. Better textures, better nature/weather systems, some unofficial bug patches but especially the most important mod of all, a redesigning of the user interface. Blasted evil consolitis infected the original interface so everything was needlessly massive. Now all the text is smaller and things like the skills screen don't even need scrolling any more. DarNified UI - highly recommended.

Enough ranting about games. I'm going to go play some. Don't talk to me about real life though. Not interested. :p

Xilmin visited the elves at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Just archiving and clearing those previous entries from the main page. Let's just pretend I didn't write those, eh? I feel fine... avoiding most human contact, sure, but that's fine as far as I'm concerned. Mostly just been playing Lord of the Rings Online which I consider to be social interaction. I have 7 characters now, over 4 servers... That's probably some kind of MMO schizophrenia. ;) But now Steam have got their summer sale on, so I've been dragged out of the woodwork to at least join the Steam community a little with the promise of cheap games (bought 3 already) and the possibility of free ones.

Meh, got nothing else to say so away I go again... for another couple of silent months here I'm sure. :p

Xilmin visited the elves at 06:25 p.m.


Name: Xilmin Nerrar (might as well be when I'm on the net ;) )
Nick: Xi (I have more, plenty more!)
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Birthday: 1st Nov (gimme a pressie! :P )
Sign: Scorpio
Home: Scotland
E-mail: xilmin@gmail.com


Food: Ketchup (or anything with ketchup! [I mean anything])
Drink: Irn Bru!
Colour: Red, Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Green (depending on my mood)
Time: Morning (I just don't like getting up)
Season: Summer
Activity: Computers, fantasy, sci-fi, anime, drawing, writing, reading, dreaming and thinking. Oh yeah, and looking at rocks (if studying hasn't ruined that)
Music: Epic rock, Anime/J-pop, Classic rock, Metal, Classical, Folk. I used to say 'anything but boy-bands and opera' but strangely some opera stuff has grown on me. So perhaps it would be more accurate to say anything but boy-bands and 99% of the stuff in the charts
Author: Terry Pratchet, Tom Holt and Robert Jordan
Movie: Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Star Wars (there's loads more)
TV show: Red Dwarf, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Lost
Game: Dragon Age, Morrowind, Prince of Persia (Sands of Time), Mount & Blade
Anime: Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu, Jubei-chan, Full Metal Alchemist, Planetes, Juuni Kokki, Bleach, Ouran High School Host Club, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, School Rumble, Honey & Clover, Blood+, xxxHolic, My Hime, Eureka Seven, Ergo Proxy, Azumanga Daioh, Kyou Kara Maou, Samurai 7, Konjiki no Gash Bell, Melody of Oblivion, Fruits Basket, Excel Saga, Hoshi no Koe, Figure 17, Samurai Champloo, Chrno Crusade, Read or Die, Full Metal Panic, Stellvia of the Universe, Shadow Skill, Macross Zero, Hyper Police, Matantei Loki Ragnarok
Manga: Houshin Engi, Parfait Tic, Menkui, Demon Diary, Boku no Futatsu no Tsubasa, Koi wa Itsumo Arashi Youni, Koori no Mamono no Monogatari, Love Mode, Sakende Yaruze, Soshite Haru no Tsuki, Eternal Sabbath, Tokko, Shin Angyo Onshi, Paradistar, My Name is Zushio, Apocripha, Midare Somenishi, Chrno Crusade
Seiyuu: Okiayu Ryoutarou, Koyasu Takehito, Ishida Akira, Hoshi Souichirou, Miyano Mamoru, Miki Shinichirou, Matsumoto Yasunori, Konishi Katsuyuki, Fujiwara Keiji, Hayami Sho, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Paku Romi, Sugita Tomokazu, Sakurai Takahiro, Seki Tomokazu, Yamaguchi Kappei, Miyamoto Mitsuru, Inoue Kazuhiko, Morikubo Shoutarou, Midorikawa Hikaru, Seki Toshihiko