When D&D Fourth Edition was released, there was a huge backlash from the player community. The game that they had known and played for years had been changed completely, and there was no denying that it shared a lot mechanically with modern video games. In an attempt to gain new players, Wizards had alienated a portion of their player base; never a good idea in the niche hobby market. Paizo Publishing – a former partner of WotC – even went so far as to continue adding rules and modules for D&D 3.5 under the name Pathfinder, and it’s still one of the most popular RPGs being played today.
But as I went to bed that night, so very alone, I couldn’t help but think that D&D Next might bring a lot of those die-hard 3.5ers back into the fold while keeping their 4th edition audience as well. Is WotC having their cake and eating it too?
After the jump, more food metaphors Continue reading →
With the intro fight thugs dead, James got the pre-written adventure provided by Wizards of the Coast into full swing. The mayor told us how his town had been harassed by a Medusa and her loyal band of kobolds, but it had recently stopped (which was great!). Unfortunately, it had been replaced by a evil cult who had been uniting all types of baddies in a uneasy alliance with the goal of destroying the town outright (which was not great!). They also want to bring doom to the world because blah blah evil cult blah.
The point being: we had to stop them. With murder.
After the jump, how it went down Continue reading →
“Roll initiative?” Vegas asked. “But we aren’t even fighting!”
“Yes, you are,” James corrected him. “You’re all in a tavern having a drink when a group of thugs bust down the door. ‘Give us all your gold,’ they sneer.”
James is big into voices. One time we played a game online through Google Hangout, which allows you to put silly effects on yourself that sync up to your face on your webcam. He also downloaded a program that alters the pitch of his voice. For every NPC we encountered, he put on a virtual mask he had drawn and used a different voice. It was both really cool and incredibly surreal.
“I draw my sword!” Vegas exclaimed. “Let’s fight!”
After the jump, fighting! Continue reading →
“I’ve never played D&D with a girl before,” James confessed when I first told him that Audrey would be joining us. “I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable or anything; it can get kind of juvenile.”
“Are you talking about that one time you farted?” I asked. “You apologized like twenty times.”
“I, uh, well, we do other guy things.”
“You mean when Alex and I talk about UFC? You always tell us to be quiet and focus. One time you threw pretzels at us.”
“Yeah, well, good. Who wants to hear about dudes just laying on each other?”
“Listen,” I said, plopping a bag of dice on the table. “It shouldn’t be an issue at all. She owns a 360 and has a Live account. She even asked me if I play Call of Duty.”
“Yeah, I know, but still. It doesn’t sound like she’ll be the judging type.”
“Fine. But she better bring snacks.”
After the jump, oh she brought snacks Continue reading →
I dig tabletop RPGs. More specifically, I dig the tabletop RPG: Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah. So? I like D&D. Don’t look at me that way. Unless you want a fight on your hands. Brah.
Honestly, most people are more curious than dismissive when I mention playing D&D. I always explain it as an interactive story that you tell with your friends, but with rules for combat. And when your friends are actors, or improv comedians, or writers, you can tell a pretty neat story.
Recently, Wizards of the Coast released their newest iteration of the rules (called D&D Next) for public playtesting. Over the years, countless Nerds have attempted to court Nerdesses while using this ever-evolving social game as a backdrop. Last weekend, I joined those hallowed ranks. Jealous? Cause you, uh, totally should be. Seriously though: I will fight you.
After the jump, an explanation Continue reading →
I’m sitting on a bench outside my local MMA gym. My brother just knocked me out in sparring then drove off and now I need my mom to come pick me up. I’m pretty sure all I need now is Michelle DeStefanis – my eighth grade crush – to show up and declare that I’m a loser and I’ll have a new lifetime low.
After twenty minutes, my mom rolls up in her minivan and honks the horn at me, drawing even more attention. I can’t wait until I’m a parent, so I too can have the ability to make an awkward situation even more embarrassing for my child. I don’t turn around to check, but I’m sure the entire gym is now watching as I get in.
After the jump, why I (sorta) deserved to get beat up Continue reading →
“No, not gonna go to class tonight. I’m going to stay home and raid,” I tell Alex.
“Tonight’s not a scheduled raid night,” he says.
“Yeah, I’m going with another guild. They could use someone to try Soa on nightmare with them.”
“Hmm. Okay, I guess. Oh, actually, I’m not going to make Thursday this week. I want to try no-gi and they only do a class on Thursday. Chad is going to give me some one-on-one time.”
“Missing the raid again? And who’s Chad?” I ask.
“Remember that guy who asked us about WoW my first time at the gym? He’s actually pretty cool.”
“Ah. Geez, I haven’t been there in a couple weeks, have I? Hey, that’s kind of funny. It’s like we switched who plays games and who goes to the gym,” I say, turning back to my computer.
After the jump, an IRL duel Continue reading →
Despite my intial reservations about the guy Alex and I have nicknamed “Hot Tamale” (who actually goes by Doom Patrol), he’s turned out to be a great addition to the guild. He has a lot of knowledge about MMO mechanics, is familiar with all the SWTOR classes, and is willing to jump into some of the toughest situations without any of us asking him. For example, the fourth stage of Eternity Vault – one of SWTOR’s two operations – involves a one-on-one duel for every member of the party. There are three possible enemies: one with low HP, one with a considerable amount, and one with a ton. The first time we did it, Tamale immediately volunteered to take one of big dudes. Even more impressive is that he was the second person done with his fight, finishing just seconds after Alex.
He’s been with us for about six weeks now and he’s been a pretty great fit overall. We even considering making him the guild recruiting officer until he started something no GM ever wants: guild drama.
After the jump, trying to avoid a lose-lose resolution Continue reading →
PvP! It’s a thing. A thing some people are surprisingly passionate about; before my guild chose our server, there was some hot debate on whether we should go Player versus Player or Player versus Environment. Eventually the fear of being constantly killed and corpse camped in open world PvP was too valid an argument, and we decided PvE.
But just because we aren’t throwing down with the other side all the time doesn’t mean we’re deprived of killing us some Imps. This is war, man! Republic (or as I like to say to annoy everyone, Rebellion) versus Empire! Good versus Evil! Freedom versus Oppression! And it’s awesome, when it isn’t being terrible!
After the jump, the high highs and low lows of SWTOR PvP Continue reading →
Every game genre develops its own language and terminology over time. These words make no sense to anyone outside of fans of that genre; your mom isn’t going to know what turtling is, unless she’s one of those cool moms that plays RTS games. Of all the genres I’ve played before though, MMOs seem to have the most exclusive and complicated words and phrases.
Some people have an ear for foreign languages and can pick them up with relative ease. I had a friend in college who spent a summer in Italy – when he came back, he was speaking Italian to my grandmother, an immigrant from there, better than I had ever been able to despite having taken five years of Italian classes. Not surprisingly, I had absolutely no idea what the hell everyone was telling me to do when I started SWTOR.
After the jump, confusion abounds Continue reading →
We’re raiding! Or operating, I guess, as Star Wars: The Old Republic’s end game instances are called operations. So, we’re operating! And it’s great!
Every aspect of it is satisfying for me: the required teamwork, the pressure not to let the group down, the elation when the boss is reduced to zero health, the sense of camaraderie between my fellow operators and myself. I even enjoy when we wipe because it leads to group strategizing on how to do a better job. There’s only one thing that I truly hate about operating: the loot.
After the jump, what the hell is wrong with me Continue reading →
“So how do we do this?” I ask Alex. We’re driving home from his second MMA class, which was on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, a cardio intense grappling martial art. It left him pretty exhausted.
“Water,” he demands. “You give me water.”
I hand him the bottle, which he begins draining.
“How do we do what?” he asks in between gulps.
“Find our eighth member for the guild. You said it would be hard?”
“Ha!” he lets out a derisive laugh. “That’s not just hard. That’s impossibllllle!”
I think he was doing Luke, but he still has some water in his mouth and it comes out as “impwossable.”
After the jump, Alex and I go on a recruiting mission Continue reading →
“We need another DPS,” my brother, Alex, tells me, as he wraps his hands.
We’re at our local mixed martial arts gym. That was the deal we had made – I would help him run his Star Wars: The Old Republic guild, but he had to start taking classes with me. I figured the two would balance out our social lives.
“Which are those again?” I ask, adjusting the straps of my gloves.
“Pretty much everythi- Ow. Am I doing this right?” he holds his left hand out to me.
I take my gloves off and check his hand. He’s wrapping it too tight – I loosen it for him.
“Are you guys talking about World of Warcraft?” some little guy who overheard our conversation asks. When I say little, I mean height wise. His arms do not look little.
“No,” Alex sneers. “We’re talking about Star Wars.”
“You sparring?” the guys asks him. I can sense malice in his voice. “I need a partner.”
“No!” I say, quickly. The last thing I want is for my brother to get his ass kicked at his first
class. Especially by some World of Warcraft player.
After the jump, raiding for dummies Continue reading →