Rants tag

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Zabrak Twins

You'd think I'd have enough SWTOR toons by now. After all, prior to the two you see here, I had thirteen on The Ebon Hawk, and another four spilled over onto Begeren Colony. The "problem," of course is that BioWare has created a-cheese-ments for taking one of each race all the way through a story, which also unlocks that race for hitherto inaccessible classes. For example, thanks to Silverleaf the Bounty Hunter, I now have a Rattataki Jedi Knight. For the most part, though, I have stuck to Humans, Cyborgs, and a couple Mirialans. Since I have pretty much all eight classes accounted for, do I really need to complete more races? Which brings me to these two. Ionanthe the Knight and Ukunga the Agent are my two Zabraks. (Just yesterday, I spent a little coin to change Ukunga into a waif and altering her face a bit. But these pics are from last week.)
Ionanthe (a Greek word for "Violet") is a Zabrak from the southern continent of Iridonia. After training on Ossus, she traveled to Tython to undergo the Trials necessary to become a full Knight. This coincided with the uprising of the native "Flesh Raiders," led by the fallen Jedi Bengel Morr. Ionanthe was instrumental in quelling the Flesh Raider threat, including the first recruitment of a Force sensitive Flesh Raider shaman into the Order. She later stopped the Sith Lord Tarnis from launching the Planet Prison weapon over Coruscant, which would have trapped the capital of the Republic behind a ship disabling ion field.

Ukunga (from a Swahili word meaning "fog" or "mist") is an Imperial Agent, originally from the eastern continent of Iridonia, trained at the Imperial Academy on Dromund Kaas, and initially assigned to Nal Hutta in a bid to gain support for the Empire from the Cartel, represented by Suudaa Nem'ro. Following her first assignment, Ukunga returned to the Seat of the Empire and assisted in foiling a terrorist plot to destroy the generators powering Kaas City. Unfortunately, the terrorists had a secondary target in the form of the Imperial Dreadnought Dominator, destroyed in a the skies over Dromund Kaas, with the loss of 3,000 people aboard and a number of the planet's inhabitants on the surface. Thereafter, Ukunga was promoted to the rank of Cipher Agent and given the assignment to track down and dismantle the Eagle terrorist network, who claimed responsibility for the Dominator attack.

I  know, I know, these are basically the Prologues of the class stories. There's not a ton of stuff on Wookiepedia about the Zabraks, and and I created these two to occupy a little time when Scooter is otherwise indisposed. As it turns out, Zabrak are the only race besides human who can be any class. On the other hand, I am curious to see if the red and purple tattoo pattern of the imperial Zabrak and the earth tones patterns of the Republic will translate to the other faction once I have completed these.

On an unrelated note, despite this only being my third post this month, I have been getting a steady heartbeat of traffic—perhaps influenced by the upcoming Warcraft movie—making May 2016 my most heavily trafficked month ever, as of some time last night.
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If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Audiobook Review: Durotan

On the recommendation of the MMO Gamer Chick, I picked up Durotan on Audible to listen to on my daily commute. Despite any misgivings I have about the evolution of World of Warcraft gameplay, there's no denying that Chris Metzen and the Blizzard creative team have built an epic world with nuanced depictions of characters and cultures. More nuanced, I dare say, than Tolkien or many other greats of speculative fiction. Christie Golden's fleshing out of Metzen's story is no exception. And Toby Longworth's excellent narration and portrayal of the characters kept me in rapt attention. I have never been partial to Orcs in Warcraft, but hearing the tale of how Thrall's father guided his Frostwolf clan through the hardships they faced leading up to their entrance into Azeroth was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Changes and retcons, both intentional and unintentional, are common in the Warcraft universe, and Durotan is no exception. For exampe, the "bromance" of Orgrim Doomhammer and Durotar is given a different backstory. I noticed a few people doing Amazon reviews were critical of the changes made the "their" story. But the story changes a little with each retelling, and this not necessarily a bad thing.

Draenor (the world of the Orcs) is dying, and the spirits guiding the five elements are in pain. Life has always been tough for the proud Frostwolf clan of Frostfire Ridge, and it's only getting tougher. A Warlock named Gul'dan comes with promises of a land where fruit and grain is plentiful, and wild prey practically throws itself at Orcish arrows. But the promises come with a price. Are the Frostwolves prepared to pay it?

I listened to Durotan as an audiobook featuring Toby Longworth. His crisp narration helped whisk the story along, and I don't remember it dragging anywhere. A few of the accents he used seemed out of place to this amateur linguist, but served the goal of distinguishing the dialogue of multiple characters. Having recently listened to two Star Wars audiobooks, I had become accustomed to sound effects and music accompanying the narration, of which there was none here. However, through Mr. Longworth's delivery of Ms. Golden's words, I thrilled at the Frostwolves' proud moments and shared their heartbreaks. I grew to care about Durotan and his proud followers.

I had been anticipating the upcoming Warcraft movie already, being a lover of lore and history. But listening to this book has excited me for the potential of this story on the big screen, and even tempts me to return to Azeroth myself, which is Blizzard's hope, I am sure. Well done.
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This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ARPil Badge

Another busy week, with me taking a class at work and my daughter preparing to move back home from the college dorm tomorrow (I helped her move a bunch of crap today). So I haven't had a chance to feature the ARPil badge that Pizza Maid and Ravanel Griffon prepared for those of us that participated in PM's 30 Days project. I only got about halfway through the the questions, but I feel like I got a decent mix of superficial and deeper ones out of the way.
I've said it before, but while I have been enjoying my return stint in SWTOR—now going on more than a year—I don't feel as much attachment to my characters as I have with other MMOs. There's just less opportunity to develop a unique story when I am running through BioWare's. I think of SWTOR as a slightly more interactive movie. I mean I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I am not attached to Captain America or Iron Man either. Not the way I am to Samantha Hawthorn or Rowanblaze. This ARPil helped me think a little bit more about Morrenia and her background and motivations, but I still feel like she is more BioWare's character than my own.
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This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, April 29, 2016

DAW2016: BioWare

Considering how I myself have promoted Developer Appreciation Week in the past, I find myself ashamed at my own poor showing this year. Then again, I feel pretty detached from the bloggin community in general. Unlike folks like Belghast, I been almost exclusively playing a single game for over a year now. So while I may still have fond memories of games like World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Rift, and The Secret World, I don't have much new to say about the companies behinds them. Although I certainly appreciate the efforts of the folks working on those titles.
Which brings us to SWTOR and BioWare. Looking back through my own DAW posts, I realized that I never really singled out the Austin-based division of EA for their contribution to my MMO gaming pleasure. I thought I had talked about the writers more recently, but it was not in connection with DAW. The single reference I found to the "storytellers" was way back in 2012, only a few months after SWTOR launched.
Perhaps needless to say, the storytellers and everyone else involved with SWTOR have kicked it into high gear with the recent Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. The cinematography and story are top notch, though I have criticisms I will save for another day.
Maybe because I myself have relaxed and have adjusted my expectations (and by that I do not mean "lowered my standards"), the game is much more enjoyable than the frustrating spring and summer of 2012. Also, while I may dabble from time to time in other games, SWTOR is enough to scratch my itch. Scooter loves playing it, and I love playing with her.

And so, many thanks to the BioWare team for SWTOR and all the games you have worked on and continue to develop.
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This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ARPil Day of Favorites!

[OOC] This was more of an exercise in Wookiepedia research than anything, since I had never thought of any favorites for Morrenia (or any other character). And many of the items are my own favorites, transposed to Morrenia. Feel free to guess which ones.

[IC] Before we begin, I must include an erratum regarding a previous question. I was reminded (with a quick zap of force lightning) that, when asked about surrogate family, I forgot to mention someone near and dear to me: Glember, who always has my back in a fight. She was with me on Korriban even before Vette. We helped each other make it through the trials and then had many more adventures together. She'll always be my favorite. Anyway, on to the others.

Favorite color: Maroon

Favorite outfit: The battle robe you see in the holo image to the right.

Favorite song: Run Kessel Run

Favorite flower: Rominaria

Favorite time of year: Autumn; crisp mornings, brilliant foliage

Favorite holiday: Naboo's Festival of Glad Arrival

Favorite comfort food: Shaak Pot Roast

Favorite hot drink: Caf

Favorite ice cream flavor: Juna Berry

Favorite vice: Lieutenant Pierce

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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.