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Sara Pickell
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Mechwarrior Online is having the Battle of Tukayyid as a weekend event. Details in the link.

More Importantly they're having a giant sale with 20% bonus MC and 50% off all Hero mechs. This means you can maximize your downpayment and get one or two hero mechs which are good gaining C-Bills. In essence this means my primary reason for not recommending MWO before is, at least temporarily, off the table. For now prices are reasonable, and you can get a decent bump up in your C-Bill farming.

Overall, the game has changed alot. There's Faction Warfare implemented, the meta-game is much richer due to the larger selection of mechs. Clan tech is bullshit, but so far it hasn't driven the IS mechs out of the game. MWO is very much a pay for entry game and poor choices in mech selection will haunt you, so do some research before you buy any of the mechs. OTOH Pilot skill is still the deciding factor in games once you've met the minimum levels. (I was doing fine in a trial Raven so if you're careful you may find a trial you can dominate with due to pure skill) MWO requires you to pay money, make no mistake, and the Mechs are frankly overpriced, but it is not Pay to Win.

If you were interested before and just waiting for a good moment to really jump in. Now is probably that time.

I hate those stick figure family bumper stickers. They just strike me as really obnoxious.

One day a young novice studying under a famous wise man was struck by a rather odd question. Why were they living on top of a mountain? In fact why did all wise men seem to live on mountains?

Solitude didn't seem correct, since the wise man had a steady stream of visitors and many novices. Nor did the novice feel the air was particularly better, and often seemed rather thin to them. For all the novice tried to find an answer none seem to fit.

Finally choosing to admit their defeat in favor of sating their curiosity, the novice caught their master soon after breakfast and explained their question. The wise man listened carefully as the novice worked through all their proposed reasons and gave their reasoning for all their many conclusions.

When the novice had finally stopped the wise man chuckled and shook his head. "Child you have much to learn about the world yet... The reason why a wise man lives on a mountain... Is because shit rolls downhill." And he laughed as he walked off, leaving a blushing novice behind.

I really wish people would stop acting like Dolphins and Whales are intelligent on par with Humans. They're not. Their actions support this.

Just because something is smarter than we assumed does not make it smart.

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was working on this for practice and for some reason just fell in love with the effect of the finished parts right next to the unfinished parts. Maybe I'm just going nuts...

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I'm going back over the assets for Laired and trying to reimagine them for a different version. This is a portrait for Dibbs. I like the face, but the rest of it turned out kind of meh, imho.

There are so many people in the world capable of nigh unconditional love. It truly breaks my heart to know so many children grow up knowing or believing that they may lose their parent's love in a second. Or even worse never knowing love at all.

Can someone plus this so I can show my sister a bit about how G+ works?

Random thoughts about games from the last week. (I will warn you now, I won't even pretend to claim that I am any good at any of these games.)

So many mods! I love it, but I'd love it more if i didn't have to wait at the loading screen for it to check each and every subscription for an update. That should really be handled as part of the Steam interface since it is their workshop after all.

Other than that... Over a hundred hours of playtime since release and I still can't help enjoying the occasional trip back to Skyrim. Unfortunately it also carries heavy feelings of beating dead horses as well. Sadly the thieves guild will never have an opening that doesn't leave me wanting to punch an imaginary GM for railroading, the Companions are still off limits if you're perfectly cool with just relying on your armor and swords to fill your BAMF quotient.

It's still a great game, but I think I've worn it beyond all limits.

... I really want to love this game. I don't. But I want to. It's not even the difficulty or anything like that. It's just that by having it be pretty much random when and where you get options, rather than just random which of the appropriate options you get, the game tends to spend a lot time rubbing your face in the fact that it's not letting you win.

It's not even frustrating. It just feels like the whole game is just a single dice roll and I'm just going through the motions to find out what that was. I feel like I'm just a function the program calls every now and then to give it a semi-random input. Ah well, I'm still glad I spent some time on it.

AI War: Fleet Command
The total opposite of FTL, this game is only fun when you aren't winning. In fact, I really think they could afford to remove the concept of winning altogether.

AI War is at its best when you're making hard choices and solving the immediate issues facing you. When you're barely keeping your head above water the little details of the design shine through. That's also the time when the game really teaches you and forces you to interact with and learn its deeper mechanics.

If the difficulty level is low enough for you to win with any regularity the later game always becomes a slog to reach your inevitable, baring blatant stupidity on your part, victory. Also the late game, at least at my level play, is sort of the weakest part of all as you really lose any semblance of tactics to the sheer numbers of units being thrown around.

All in all though, it gives me lots of design insights and food for thought.

X3: Albion Prelude
Albion Prelude tried very hard to solve the 'beginning a new game sucks' problem. Unfortunately they just beat their new players with a new and actually somewhat worse stick.

The problem they have is that their gameplay follows a very particular flow and it does so glacially. All of their long standing systems come together to support that flow. Missions help your standings as they give you starting cash. Bounties pay crap but they up your standings and reward you for learning your ships (A very necessary step for the later game). Early stations are surprisingly cheap but if you rush for them they push you nearly to the red forcing you to learn how to manage them efficiently.

This is all important because you cannot buy fully kitted out combat corvettes and capital ships. If you want to run your own little pseudo empire you MUST know how to field kit a ship, what its racial weapons require, what its weak against, which ship or ships you need in the battle fleet to cover that weakness, how to kit them AND build and keep running your own manufacturing complex to actually have on hand the equipment necessary to outfit the vessels. (Which requires good standings or you can't even buy the factories to make the parts in the first place.)

Stock exchanges allow you to short cut the early money gathering section of the game but its absolute crap for earning standings. It eclipses the benefits of running your own station preventing you from growing that infrastructure organically as needed. And worst of all, you can't even buy a combat fleet worth the name so you simultaneously have too much money to spend on in comparison to what you can use and not enough money to really do what you want.

X3 is still a great game, don't get me wrong. It's just that rather than solving a problem it just made a brand new one in the exact same area. Even worse, it hurts people trying to learn about the game from forums and online areas by giving experienced players a canned answer that actually leads new players away from learning how to play the game better.

As you get more experienced the problem smooths out since you don't need all those learning opportunities anyways. I guess I'm not completely against the mechanic because of that... Still it has almost as much clunk to it as the Terran faction as a whole.

Dwarf Fortress:
Note to self: Picking a peaceful area mostly just leads to wanting to strangle the immigrants. Next time lets be bolder.

I have sometimes found insight in one hundred forty characters or less, but I have rarely received it in less than a thousand words.
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