Tag Archives: vampire

Elder Scrolls, Bloodlines 2, Hearthstone, Game Project, Gaming Stocks

game artFour months without a post. That’s crazy. In the last four months, I got a new gaming PC. It has a NVidia 2060 and 16GB of RAM, with a 500GB SSD boot drive. I want to keep it clean and free of garbage. Just games.

So I’m ready for Cyberpunk 2077 and Bloodlines 2. Right now I’m playing ESO with ultra graphics, which is nice. I’ve leveled from roughly 20 to CP 125. LotRO also has an anniversary patch out this week. I want to see LotRO in ultra as well. I installed last night.

Vampire: Bloodlines 2

Announced! Let us all dance in mad ecstasy under the blood moon at the mere thought! Thank you to the people who are financing this and making it happen. This is one of the very few times I will pray for business people to get stinking rich.

Some new info came out in the last day or two, including a peek at skill lines and story. I am worried this could be an overhyped train wreck and/or a 10-hour gameplay cash grab.

That can’t happen right? Right? This is the vampire game of the decade. It has to be right. The announcement keynote and developer interview were comforting to the lost vampire souls out there. We’ll see.

Hearthstone World Champs, Rise of Shadows

Hearthstone 2018 championships are this weekend on Twitch. I’ve watched several hours of the first round so far. I scored a free viewer payoff pack from Blizzard.

The crowd on Twitch is solid at 50,000 on a Friday night.

We are still waiting for the adventure pack coming soon. This is the first time in Hearthstone history that we will pay for both a card set and an adventure at the same time.

Blizzard is spacing out the content so they can milk another $20 per player for this particular 4 month segment of the Hearthstone calendar, instead of releasing it all at once.

The fanfare of the championship is a distraction. They postponed this World Championship four months (i.e. normally the 2018 champs are in January), to use it to sell their new expansion. Yeah.

Even if the adventure is incredible, we are getting no free hero portrait as normal for Rise of Shadows.

You have to pay $80 dollars to get a female priest portrait. The portrait is ugly. And you only get a fraction of the card set for those packs for $50 or $80.

Honestly, I don’t care what the adventure is. Hearthstone is a money gouging bank-fest. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone until Blizzard gives more value. The more the game struggles, the more they will give away, until it’s an acceptable balance.

Giving paying customers more cards, or even the whole set for $50 wouldn’t kill them. Instead, you get a sad fraction of the set for $50. You pay full price, and you can play competitive decks for three classes, more if you did all of your dailies for months.

Gaming Stocks

Let’s see how my picks did from my last post. I said I was buying the crash.
I woke up first thing on Christmas Eve morning after my last post and followed through. I bought stocks. Turned out that was the exact bottom.

We’ve seen a monster rally since then – A totally absurd, straight-up monster stock rally that can’t possibly hold. Four months later, it is still holding. So overall, theoretically, I did well.

Pick by pick:

SQM (Socieded de Mineria, Chile), has been trending down, but with dividends I’m even on that and my REIT, which are lumped together as my dividend stocks. I also initiated only a half-position. I will double down on SQM after a breakout from the huge mult-month pullback. If the breakout doesn’t hold, I will be out.

I sold my cloud ETF (SKYY) during this rally, but I sold too soon. So I repeated my biggest mistake yet again – getting jittery and selling. So I really haven’t done that well on this really, because I just couldn’t believe it. I’m 40% invested now, down from 60%.

I gave up on JPM, especially since Trump is taking a crowbar to the fed to lower rates. Banks need higher rates.

My full-position Valero purchase (VLO) is up 15%, but so is the market. So ok.

My Tencent purchase, which I spoke at length about in my last post, is up 30%. Blizzard (my non-pick) is about 0% since December.

My goal this year is to do less selling, less trading, and buy dips. Currently I am watching Blizzard (ATVI), Lenovo (LNVGY), and the ROBO ETF.

Lenovo had surprisingly strong computer sales in the last quarter, and is soaring on that. If it gets hit hard by China news, I might add it for more China exposure.

Yesterday Intel announced some woeful chip news, and NVidia is down 5% today. I’ve been in no hurry to get back into NVidia after scoring a double on my last trade last year.

NVidia is worth watching this summer for a buyable bottom. The industry trend remains towards proprietary chips and control of technology, whether it is AI cars, AI networks, or whatever. Without going on and on about it, this is a huge headwind for NVidia.

Sony is talking more lately about a new Playstation in 2020. So that means a production ramp-up requiring AMD chips, unless those millions of chips are already bought, fabricated, and paid for. I don’t know. That would be another possible trade this year.

I could potentially be a re-buyer of Acti-Blizz (ATVI) on a summer swoon. The new console cycle should help quite a bit. I would like to wait for some upbeat news and outlook, but by then it will be too late.

If I am making big moves back into video game stocks in the coming 6 months, I will make another post.

Right now my only video game exposure is Tencent.

Video Game Project

I’ve been weekend warrioring hard on this. Last week I implemented interface support for multiple dialog speaker portraits in conversation.

In Elder Scrolls, you talk to one other person at the same time. Imagine three-way dialogs. Maybe the person in front of you wants to turn and say something to someone else. What a concept.

I’m working on three different PC’s now depending on the situation, so this week I started using my web server more to transfer files.

This led me to realize a lot of content on my game is broken online. This is because my new web host is not treating lower case and upper case the same as my old web host.

So whenever I was sloppy with upper and lower case in my crap code, things won’t load. I’ve also had other stupid server-side problems this week related to minified JS files introducing semi-colon parsing errors. I think I got that worked out.

So this weekend and going forward, I’ll be moving towards file-sharing and play-testing on live, instead of locally.

Yes, I could create a test folder on the server, but no one is playing my game. Maybe partly because it was broken, I don’t know. But things will be greatly improving.

My two dating modules are playable, module 4 in the main story should be uploaded and playable this weekend.

Module 4, Serpents, Curses, and Flirts introduces the “evil” storyline. You can move towards joining the character equivalent of Draco Malfoy’s squad (pictured above).

There is definitely not enough meaningful choice and branching storylines in my game modules. It’s sad. I’m getting old. My imagination and brain are getting crusty. I have a full time, low-paid job slowly killing me every day. So.

Basically, I’ve always considered pre-writing fiction in every detail to be a huge chore.

I like to make things up as I go along. This can work in a novel format. It doesn’t work in a video game format. It’s bad. Branching paths are also incredibly time consuming as an investment for a single developer.

Cheers, happy Friday, and happy gaming.

Down Deep Inside: A Novel Trilogy

Tonight is Samhain, or Halloween, when the veils between the Earth and the Underworld are said to be thin and penetrable by all manner of uncanny travelers.

This seems like the perfect time to quietly unleash my dark fantasy trilogy on the unsuspecting human public. It’s the middle of the night, and I have all sorts of concerns. This was an enormous amount of work.

The Amazon uploads will be processing for 12 hours, and the more restrictive Smashwords (publishing distributor) uploads will take at least a week for full vetting and human review, since Apple has the highest standards.

The links to the novels are available from my website hub, which also contains a cornucopia of lore, maps, and character summaries. I wish I had more images.

The novel titles and direct links for the trilogy (if the WordPress free hosting censor will let me post them) are as follows:

  1. Down Where The Blue Violet Beauties Bloom (138,000 words).
  2. Deep In The Wild Dire Columbine (134,000 words).
  3. Inside The Dark Heart Of The Garden (131,000 words).
  4. Secret Diary (pending publication, a supplementary additional book to the series, written in first person) (125,000 words).

While the publishing hamsters are percolating, I wanted to provide a forum for any informal feedback from readers. Please note that Smashwords offers free previews of my prose. Ten percent of these epic novels is three or four chapters.

So if you have any comments or questions about the novels, please leave them here.

My main concern is that the first chapters of my first novel are non-representative of the books as a whole. It’s like the Fellowship of the Ring, where you’re wanting the hobbits to leave the Shire and be on their way to Mordor.

Readers today have less patience, but my first book is my personal favorite. Give it a chance, or if you want a more saucy sample of where you’re going, have a sneak peek at book three.

The cover for book one is shown below. Here is a collection of tags for my novels, as a final Halloween offering to the cruel gods of SEO before I succumb to sleep. Good night, and blessed be.

angel, witchcraft, pagan, bdsm, bondage, heaven, lesbian, succubus, Aphrodite, vampire, magic, fantasy, underworld, swords and sorcery, devil, shifter, incubus, Lilith, werewolf, war, Dante’s Inferno

book cover down where the blue violet beauties bloom

World Of Darkness: Risen From The Grave

vampire bite vintageOne year ago this month, the World of Darkness MMO project was cancelled by CCP games.

Today, Matt Firor at Zenimax Entertainment announced they’ve purchased the rights to make World of Darkness using their Elder Scrolls Online platform.

“We’ve always loved our vampires,” Matt was quoted as saying. “We’ve decided to devote 100% of our resources towards making a great vampire MMO. All development content from our current Fallout Online project will be converted into just one vampire zone: the sewers of New York.”

This makes total sense, because the sewers of New York are probably radioactive anyway. And who needs another post-apocalyptic survival game, really.

The zombies have eaten up the genre, and it’s time to move on. Modern corporate culture resonates instead with sex, violence, and profiting from sucking every drop of life out of anyone you can oppress for your benefit.

So it’s finally going to happen, and this kitty is quivering in her collar with excitement. Finally an MMO developer with real chops has seen the light in the Darkness, and a seraph will rise from the epitaph.

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.

Playing Saint’s Row 3 As A Vampire (Roleplay)

Did Not LoadI’ve jumped into four new campaigns in single-player games over the last few weeks: Vampire Bloodlines, Torchlight 2, Saint’s Row The Third, and Dungeon Siege 3. Saint’s Row emerged as the surprise winner of my free time after I discovered the Bloodsucker DLC. I can play Saint’s Row as a vampire while waiting for Riders of Rohan.

I know. This sounds like absurd silliness for an over-the-top game, but a vampire character can explain all of the aspects of Saint’s Row 3 that are silly, making it perfect for a zany roleplayer. Bear with me. I’ll explain in the bullet points below, but first let me explain the origins of the idea, and why I bought yucky DLC in the first place.

I’m not a fan of DLC. If I buy a single-player game, I want to play a discrete, “complete” game. I almost never play DLC. A little extra chunk of content often isn’t worth the inflated price, the download, the install process, and re-playing the game.

For Saint’s Row 3 though, DLC works because the next sequel is coming next year, and the SR3 DLC is mostly over at this point. You can get it now all at once. In fact, their most recent mini-expansion content, “Enter the Dominatrix” is being rolled into the next game instead of being released as DLC, and THQ is now releasing a new complete/GOTY edition titled “The Full Package” this November.

I downloaded Saint’s Row The Third from Steam a few weeks ago and played the free promotion. I played the standard game a few hours, and I was thinking all the while–this would be a great vampire game! The scrolling city street on the start menu screen even has a tribute to Troika’s Vampire: Bloodlines–a “Smiling Jack Diner” on the left side. (Bloodlines is a classic older game that I’d recommend to anyone, if you can get it to run.)

So I decided to buy the game because it was full of guilty sub-machine gun pleasure, and I noticed in Steam that they had a vampire DLC called the Bloodsucker Pack. You can also purchase werewolf and zombie costume-type DLC, but the vampire deal is a little better because it gives you a feeding power. You can grab a human shield and suck their blood to heal.

To be honest, I’ll be the first to mourn the conversion of the Saint’s Row franchise from a gritty gangland roleplay into silliness with shark guns, vampires, werewolves, and pink ninjas, but they are letting me create and play a female character, and that’s almost mandatory for me to play the game in the first place. The Mafia franchise has a lock on gritty realism and integrity anyway, almost like Saint’s Row’s schizophrenic opposite.

The great thing is that in Saint’s Row, you don’t play some man-hunk that the devs have selected to tell their story like in so many other games these days. You play the character you want, and people just call you “boss”, which is brilliant. I like that respect from my underlings. Saint’s Row character creation is also better than most MMOs. (The breast slider of course is par excellence, as the French say.) You can also choose your character’s voice actor and animations, which is a very rare roleplay-friendly feature.

On that note, let’s talk about playing Saint’s Row as a vampire, and how roleplaying a vampire can completely explain game mechanics that otherwise makes no sense, even bad AI from the NPCs. I’ll just make a list and prove it to you! Prepare yourself for a hailfire of roleplayer imagination, a vampire gang manifesto.

Saint’s Row Mechanics, A Vampire Explains That:

This is a big immersion-breaker in Saint’s Row. Your character regenerates health like a D&D troll on crack, as long as you can get some separation from the heat of combat. This is supposedly a feature to increase fun at the expense of realism. You just need to hide behind a dumpster and rest, then you’re good to get back in the battle. Guess what? Vampires regenerate like trolls on crack.

Ability To Absorb Enormous Damage. This is another immersion-breaker in Saint’s Row. You can take a lot of bullets without any ill effects. You can even purchase more raw damage resistance as you level up! As with regeneration, playing as a vampire explains that perfectly. In fact, the ability given with the Bloodsucker Pack allows you to heal up in combat if you play very well, without having to run, hide, and wait for regeneration. Vampires rarely have to do that. They suck blood and commit mass violence, just like your character in Saint’s Row.

Immortal. You can take dozens of bullets and a grenade and hit the floor in this game, and your homie (follower), if alive, can simply “revive” you. You get back up and keep fighting. Obviously the enemy didn’t take time to put a stake through you.

Not-So-Smart Humans. The hostile NPCs in Saint’s Row sometimes stand there and hesitate before they pull the trigger, or they’ll end up a couple feet away from you and not react to you immediately. Vampires widely have a power of Presence (awe), that can compel humans to stand and drool, at least for a few seconds. Human AI behavior in Saint’s Row can be explained this way.

Your Businesses Are Safe Zones. It’s silly to be able to run into a business you own and erase all faction hate/aggro, including that of the police, but that’s how Saint’s Row rolls. They don’t have much surround-the-house or search-for-the-suspect programming. Since there is no way to roleplay a Masquerade in Saint’s Row, the concept of a vampire code of morality is out. After all, feeding on humans kills them, which is unacceptable in itself. The only explanation is that you’ve built secret safe rooms under your businesses, and entering the buildings effectively hides you there thanks to your complicitous, mind-influenced employees. You learn very early in the game that the police are corrupt and bought out, anyway.

The Lore And Environment:

The Saint’s Row 3 campaign is similar to its predecessors in that you go to war against one gang at a time, defeating gang leader bosses with the progression of the storyline. The story fails a little bit, however, at making it feel like there is much at stake. It doesn’t make it personal enough to your character, which is the golden key to a good story.

The answer is to re-frame the gang leaders as your personal rivals. They are immortals just like you–trying to beat you and rule the world. Yes, that’s Highlander, the movie. It works. Why are all the humans crazy in this game anyway, mindlessly roaming the sidewalks and crashing into you with their cars? Because one of your rivals is sowing chaos through mental realm, of course, causing the city to descend into madness and dementia. Yes, that’s a Malkavian vampire power. Are we there yet?

There is no visible clock in Saint’s Row 3 to manage day and night, but the times of day do change. There is no night cheat either, and of course you’re not going to die or burn in sunlight. To daywalk, dark glasses and a hat should be mandatory at least, or you can use a weather cheat, entered via the phone: “overcast”, “lightrain”, “heavyrain”.

Your car windows should all be tinted dark, with no sunroof, and “The Blood” radio channel is recommended. There is a kinky/bondage shop in the game that sells some appropriate Gothic-style clothing, because vampires are sexy, darling, like Vodka. And that’s all she wrote, because this blog is rated “T” for teen. Saint’s Row The Third is not.