Elf In Real Life: “Speeding”

I canceled my World Of Warcraft subscription, and I quit playing Hearthstone yesterday. I love the game, but you have to “attack the face” of the other player to win.

I used to play tournament chess, and attempting to “beat” someone made me uncomfortable even back then. I always took a draw (tie) if the opponent requested it.

It’s a common play if you’re losing–to lamely offer a draw, hoping the opponent is an idiot and accepts, despite the fact that you deserve a loss.

I gave away important games at least three times, to the detriment of my team and our tournament score. Some of those opponents assumed I was an idiot, and I was by their value system.

No, I’m just an elf.


Elf In Real Life: Week Two


This week I went back to the lake on my Gnomish mecha-roller (bicycle). I resisted the urge to take a photo at the place where I had the vision of all-life-as-one last week. Elves treasure memories, not photos.

So I was going very fast, and I had a “flat tyre” as the gnomes call it. A passing Wood-Elf (Latino guy) tried to help, but his gnomish re-inflator didn’t function, and his Repair skill was a fat zero just like mine.

So I walked home.

I’ve always considered transportation failures to be ominous portents of your life’s journey. Like a dead bird in your path, a mechanical failure isn’t a good sign.

I chalked the problem up to speeding. I was moving too fast, as Simon And Garfunkle would say.

In the 1970s, not long after Simon And Garfunkle’s observations on life, the prodigious Buddhist lama Chogyam Trungpa came to the United States to teach. He coined a spiritual term called “Speeding”.

Speeding is what we Americans do. We speed from one goal to the next. We always need something to fill the time and emptiness, which is how video games become an addiction. That’s my super-simple novice interpretation.

So how do we cope with speeding? This week I tried a stillness meditation. I just stopped, like a child’s game, and remained completely motionless. The faster you give up and start moving again, the farther you are from basic sanity. I’m pretty far.

So how do we deal with speeding? Here is a quote from p. 163 of Trungpa’s The Lion’s Roar. Note this was transcribed from a lecture that took place forty years ago.

Student: What influences you to slow down if you find yourself speeding?

Trungpa Rinpoche: Hopelessness, obviously. The more you speed, the more frustrated you get. So there’s no point in speeding. It’s hopeless.

Student: Could you distinguish between hopelessness and despair?

Trungpa Rinpoche: Despair is still hopeful, and hopelessness is utterly hopeless. There is no ground to hang on to. You are completely wiped out, therefore you might hang on to your basic being. Despair is a resentful attitude. You…have a sense of retaliation against something or other. Hopelessness is a genuine, beautiful, simple act. You’re hopeless–it’s a fantastic thing. You really are hopeless then, you know. There’s no trips about it. It’s clean-cut.

Student: Rinpoche, does this mean that a person has to experience a lot of suffering before he becomes really hopeless? Or could it just happen on the spot?

Trungpa Rinpoche: Both.

Trungpa’s lecture transcripts are extra entertaining because of his efforts to “get down” verbally with the alt crowd at his lectures. I always have to be accomplishing something, and I’ve noticed and interesting pattern. I’m more relaxed, more in the flow, and more productive, ironically, after I give up.

“No deeds to do, no promises to keep.” This is a nice place to be, just watching the flowers growing. Plants have to make a tremendous effort to survive, flower, and reproduce, of course. So do I. There are practicalities of life.

I can cancel my subscription to Pandaria, but not to my soul-sucking job for the corporation. On that note, here is some “elfspo”. Here is a lot more.

plants and brand names


Elf In Real Life: What Do Elves Do

elf listElder Scrolls Online released their launch trailer, and it’s about full-on war, featuring an elf-maid chained up and electrocuted.

Why would I want to live in this world? I noted the Warlords of Draenor preview material has the same look and feel. War engines. World-ending monster mashes.

I’m tired and literally sick of the violence, as well as the game monetization, ridiculous pre-order bonuses, and general game industry evil.

So I’m driven to psychosis.


Elf In Real Life: Day One


You can see my to-do list for today. This morning I worked on art, wandered the forest, and went to the lake.

I wandered on my bicycle and metaphorically, since I live in a concrete urban jungle.

At first, I was seeing real estate and business signs as if they were pretty flowers, and then a black bird came and flew directly over my head for several metres before stopping on a fence and looking at me. Maybe it’s one of the hungry birds I fed chips to last week.

Approaching the lake, my mind melded with the plants and birds, and I realized the entire living world as the work of a goddess. I felt my stress melt away into a sense of connectedness.

I saw two black boys with their pants hanging low off their asses, which is rare in this area. Maybe there was a gay convention somewhere. The lake front was all blocked off for a triathlon, which I considered symbolic.

The humans had taken over with their ego, their muscled bodies, and their urge for winning and victory. The air was thick with the odor of dead fish. Maybe the birds were hungry because so many fish were dead. The ducks were flocking to the humans to get fed.

This afternoon, I working more on my new piece of art, The Cross-Cultural College Of Biomechanical Life. I was reading a book called Shadows of the Sacred by Frances Vaughan. So far, it’s very good.

I’m a little behind schedule this evening. I missed the sunset, but a lot of the remaining elf list items can be done simultaneously. I feel more peaceful just thinking about it, really.

There are two things on the list that are making me pensive. The first is food. What do elves eat? I also realized after I made the list that I’d already failed at being a vegetarian. There were eggs in my banana nut bread for breakfast.

The second thing is meditation. Ideally, every act should be a meditation, but I’m far away from that. So that’s what the kitty is doing instead of playing video games. Nothing to see here. As an elf, I shouldn’t be here publishing my diary for attention. By writing this post in the first place, maybe I’ve failed.

I say “maybe” because certainty is certainly a human failure.


Tumblr Gaming Blog Of The Week


I Blame The Dice. Chances are you’ll like it.


Weekly Wyrm ~ April 1, 2014

This week I played WoW and Hearthstone. No big surprise. Hearthstone’s popcorn play of daily quests works for me. After several months of this, I might have some playable pro-level cards if I’m lucky.

So. We’ll see if that happens.


Elder Scrolls Online


The ESO headstart was a complete disaster as many predicted. The servers were down most of today, and many players complained about a certain gender-swapping frog in Morrowind whose curse became permanent.

In response to angry tickets, the game-masters were quoted as saying “screenshots or it didn’t happen.”

Ok, that was my lame April fool’s joke, but this crazy idea is the sort of immersion that fantasy RPGs need instead of logging in and paying cash for special account services.

I preach immersion, but no one ever listens to me. Frog. Curse. Kiss. Win.

In truth, by most accounts the ESO launch so far is near-flawless. The Storm King (from LotRO) even made his first infamous “I hate this game” post.

I watched some Twitch TV of ESO power-levelers and wondered what possesses these guys to play that way, speed-clicking through everything. I suppose it’s their self-appointed duty and goal in life. I have no idea.


The Tumblr Game Blog Of The Week


I abuse Tumblr every day, but I haven’t seen many game blogs lately.

Build A Dungeon From Me is a young blog with some nice fantasy art, including the revamped cover of Naked Doom as shown below. Naked Doom has a lot in common with Elder Scrolls–you start off as a prisoner, with rags for clothing and no weapon.

Tunnels And Trolls (pen and paper) was the first RPG I ever played. I preferred T&T over Dungeons And Dragons due to its choose-your-own-adventure style solo modules. The AD&D rulebooks did have a random dungeon generator to play with.

Naked Doom (the original cover) was one of my favorite modules due to the beautiful artwork by Rob Carver, later eclipsed by the spectacular art in City of Terrors.

Other posts at Build A Dungeon From Me include old art covers for Talisman, AD&D, White Dwarf magazine, and Steve Jackson’s Sorcery, another game I explored a bit, although by that point I was playing Ad&D with friends.

Naked Doom Tunnels And Trolls Cover Art


Where Are The Vampire Video Games?

bela lugosiLast week TAGN reported that CCP revealed financials involving an unspecified loss of 21 million in game code assets last year.

This week CCP is pushing the hype for Eve Valkyrie featuring Sony’s VR (virtual reality) headset. CCP just fired a bunch of World of Darkness staff, but they clearly have money to invest. They are putting it elsewhere.

Blizzard kicked World of Darkness in its pointy whities by grabbing its acronym for Warlords of Draenor. Bullyzzard also announced pre-orders for Draenor several months in advance of its launch, conveniently right before Elder Scrolls takes the stage.

Bullyzzard also threw Hearthstone and their Diablo III expansion onto the short bus of corporate blood and diversionary hurt. Vampires love blood and hurt, just like most Americans. So where are the vampire games?

According to a report I found online, Hollywood earned $7 billion on vampire-related entertainment in just two years between 2008 to 2010. That was mostly Twilight and True Blood.

Meanwhile, the list of vampire video games on Wikipedia is a forlorn tomb of outdated no-names and barely profitable games. Are game developers afraid of this difficult history, even after Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries? Are the fan bases for vampires and video games that divergent?

I don’t get it. This unhappy vampire fan is seeing CCP pouring money into VR shortly after slashing and burning the World of Darkness staff. So to be continued, I suppose, when CCP gets around to giving real news to passionate fans who have been waiting nigh an eternity for this bloody game.


The Challenge 15 Picks Up Steam


In other news, it was so nice to see TAGN pick up the 15 theme from my last post. Some other intrepid bloggers have jumped on the challenge, including Isey at I Has PC today. Thanks again to lvlinglife for getting it the idea going. I’ve really enjoyed reading peoples’ lists.


Blizzard Bully Tactics Whiplash


My Druid has reached L85. She is now grounded in Pandaria.

At first I felt forced to buy the Draenor pre-order for the L90 boost, but then I realized I already paid $42 for three months to level my characters the old-fashioned way. Also, why wouldn’t I spend $50 on ESO or Wildstar instead?

Decision made: no pre-order until after the competition weighs in. ESO supposedly has a vampire skill tree if desperation for blood afflicts me.


Elder Scrolls Online: Launch Looms


ESO head start is coming this Sunday. I was reading the MMORPG forums last night, and someone linked an epic post by a blogger and longtime beta tester who has now bailed on the game.

The cited reasons are the whole shebang of my objections and concerns as well, in well-documented detail–all the reversals/lies, the UI failures, the crushing of the hopes of the modders by gutting the API, etc. It’s all there, and it’s decent reading if you are interested.

The best forums rebuttals to Isarii’s criticism, in my opinion, are the ones accusing burnout after months of beta testing. I can refute that by saying I only played three betas for a handful of hours each, and I agree with most of the points.

Note the mention of bugs as well. ESO announced today that they squashed three progress-blocking bugs at the last minute. Wonderful. Good luck with the launch, which is guaranteed to be polished and lag-free.

All of that said, I hope the launch goes wonderfully for them, and I hope ESO is a success. I will certainly be joining sooner or later at the right time and price point.

Ok, time to play Hearthstone dailes. If you made it this far, happy gaming.


Challenge 15

15 ballThis week I played Hearthstone and WoW. My Hearthstone Mage is almost level 20, but I’ve discovered a Warlock strategy that I really like, so I’m trying out the evil side.

I still can’t decide whether to buy the Draenor pre-order. I might wait and see how the new stronghold (housing) NPC crafting situation works out before making a decision on that.

15 is the magic number today, as lvling life and TAGN are both rolling with a 15 theme. 15 is the atomic number of Phosphorus, which can glow, burn, and explode. So here are my 15 most incendiary video games.

Honestly, phosphorus is a lot more exciting than this blog post, so if you’re a chemist and/or meth cook by profession, I’d suggest playing with chemicals instead.

1. Pong (1972) Long hours with a little console and a black and white TV, pushing ball control beyond the ken of mortal man. It was more fun than playing with barbie and ken.

2. Space Invaders (1978) I never owned an Atari. I had a Magnavox. My friends had the newer Atari consoles. This game was a much-referenced bombdiggity in its era, tense and creepy, and spawned sexier and prettier bottom-shooters like Galaga.

3. Wizardry (1981) This was the first RPG I played. You could create your own party and go explore the dungeon. I didn’t own this game until later. It was the domain of my friend who had a computer to play it. I eventually got an Apple IIc and played Wizardry up to the Legacy of LLylgamyn module.

4. Ms. Pacman (1982) This doesn’t need any explanation. Girls can swallow pills too, and this remains a seminal influence. I wouldn’t mind having a Ms. Pacman console in my living room as a stress-reliever.

5. Diablo (1996) This was a period when I didn’t have a proper computer, so this was a hand-me-down from my brother. I want to say I liked the original more than Diablo 2, but that would be crazy, right? I liked the gritty, haunted atmosphere and music of the original. Diablo 2 was a classic, but it was also more trudgey and gamey with the item sockets after the LoD expansion.

6. Fallout (1997) This was a wonderful little RPG and another recommendation from my brother. I also enjoyed Wasteland, its predecessor, on the Apple IIc. I enjoyed Fallout 3, but it seemed to end quickly, and the open world was too obviously just a big rectangle, which didn’t do much for immersion. The imagination is bigger than any game map.

7. Neverwinter Nights (2002) I played this game for years, including all of the expansions. I also played online in a “persistent world” called Grim River created and hosted on someone else’s hard drive. This could be my favorite D&D-flavored game ever, certainly in terms of hours played. The sound, music, and especially the animations were fabulous. The companion system was a little lackluster, but set the stage for better things to come, and still allowed for more complicated gameplay.

8. Baldur’s Gate 2 (2000) This remains one of the all-time great RPGs. It offered great characters and art, along with party romance, including lesbian flirtation with the drow elf, Viconia, and the druid Jaheira. I created an all-girl team.

9. Morrowind (2002) This was another recommendation from my brother, still a bit before I was proactively looking for video games to play. I loved this game, and it remains my sentimental favorite in the Elder Scrolls series. I didn’t like the instant teleporting around the map in Oblivion. It hurt immersion greatly, just like in Fallout 3. More recently, I’ve struggled with Skyrim and TESO because of the non-interface.

10. Vampire: Bloodlines (2004) This was a fabulous RPG that I followed up to launch. WoW released at almost the same time, but I played Bloodlines first, and WoW the next spring (I think). I was more interested in story and characters, which Bloodlines provided. I enjoyed Planescape:Torment, but I liked Bloodlines more because I could create the character I wanted and still experience a strong story with different endings.

11. World of Warcraft (2004) This was the first MMO I ever played. My brother-in-law played Everquest, but it just never looked interesting to me in terms of playstyle and game goals. WoW offered beautiful graphics and animation with responsive controls. I was overjoyed exploring Elwynn Forest and taking the candles from the kobolds. I played paladin and mage to cap in the original game, and since then I’ve played occasionally but never at the edge of the expansion progression.

12. Lord of the Rings Online (2007) I was browsing games at Best Buy and noticed this on the shelf. It looked good and had just released. I decided to give it a try, which was a good idea. This is my favorite and most-played MMO and RPG. I started blogging to just keep track of LotRO links and my add-on projects. LotRO also taught me the meaning of hating a game developer, since they despoiled my favorite game ever with F2P and store buttons all over the interface. I’ll be unlikely to do mods for a game ever again, or get so involved.

13. Dragon Age: Origins (2009) Lots of love for this game. It’s one of the all-time greats, offering unique racial starting zones and stories that touch the emotions, among other things.

14. Rift (2011) This was the first MMO where I got involved in the community and wrote a guide, which was insanely successful, and remains so, with over 35000 views in the last 10 months alone since I updated it for F2P. I really wish Rift were in a better place. I’m hoping their coming expansion will be something great. Rift re-inforces the concept of not getting too involved in any one game, since the game can change drastically or fail at any time.

15. Saint’s Row: The Third (2011) The more I hate Rockstar for misogyny in GTA and disallowing its games to be played as a female, the more I love Saint’s Row. This is the equal opportunity driver/shooter, the anti-GTA, and I’ll continue to support and enjoy every installment of this brilliant franchise. In Saint’s Row 3, you play a charismatic gang leader. I enjoyed the DLC that turns you into a vampire.


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