Path of Exile is really freakin cool.

29 10 2013

Straight up, I have been utterly consumed by a new game which I’ve hesitated to Youtube for two reasons:

  1. it’s not really fun to watch;
  2. it’s so fun to play that I’ve been doing it to the exclusion of everything else during fun time.

I’m daydreaming about Don’t Starve (and still have a pending episode to encode) and just  picked up King’s Bounty on TB’s recommendation (and it’s on sale) as well as Saints Row IV (also on sale this past weekend) soooo I’ve got a lot of pending entertainment that I don’t expect to finish prior to the arrival of a certain game that I will no doubt be obsessed with. Seriously, every day I’m seeing previews and opinion pieces praising the changes made to XCOM. I am chomping at the bit to test how resistant EXALT operatives are to bullets.

That all said, Path of Exile has currently taken a hold of me. It’s the Diablo 2 successor that I wanted D3 to be, introducing some brilliant adjustments to the click-fest genre: namely the monumental customization and brilliant gearing.

The passive skill tree is over a thousand nodes and shared between the classes, and while each class has little nests of abilities that the class is angled at, you can in every single case detour around the close nests and bee line for whatever you want, building a character that’s unique to you. The entire thing is very overwhelming, but if you grow your character organically with careful forethought you can have a good time of it; and if you fail, building a new character is actually not as prohibitive as it is in previous games of this type. Their entire market is founded upon that, actually: they have these Leagues in which you create a new character that can’t share assets with your characters in the Standard league, but they Leagues have special events, mobs, drops that you can only get in there. You play the League and, after some amount of time (a number of months) that League merges with Standard and they make a new one with new content. It’s like Ladders from D2. Leveling itself is quick (at least for the first 30 levels) and fun, allowing you to prototype a new character in a few days. Skills themselves are all drops – socketable gems – that level up with you and can be linked with other gems for fun effects.

My current main is a Ranger (the archer class) that uses a 2H sword and pushes Attack Speed and physical damage, using Smoke Bombs and heavy armor to survive. (Here’s the build.) She is super fun to play because she fits my style and – more importantly – breaks the mold. I did something with the Ranger that she was not ostensibly designed for (giant sword melee combat) and it’s working very well. I’ve got her in Act 2 of Merciless mode and her hang ups right now are that only two of my three resists are maxed and being Frozen straight up murders me. (Hence my  pushing for that node cluster on the far, far right of the tree.) Smoke Bombs are a gem, and my Faster Attacks + Double Strike + Mana Leech + Life Leech + Melee Splash (all gems linked together) = I kill stuff FAST. (I swing almost 5-times a second. It’s awesome.)

Now, I say “not ostensibly designed for” when it’s obvious to me that she was tested with builds not dissimilar to mine, but I feel like I broke the mold which is the mark of a good game: this game let me go my own way, use my own approach to the game. Brilliant.

It’s a great game, which I recommend. It’s Free-to-Play and the right kind, mind you: you buy only cosmetic (glowy swords) and quality-of-life (more stash tabs) and no power at all. Try it! It’s free.

You should be listening to Leigh Alexander.

14 10 2013

Because she’s right.

“The most disappointing thing for me about “gamer culture” isn’t really that there are a group of vocal product-gobblers who think that an entire medium belongs to them. It’s that there are so few people who are willing to interrupt them in that perception.”

I mean, I’m a straight dude: I get it. It’s hard to do it. It’s hard to stand up to a crowd of self-righteous “gamers” and call one of them out for being a jerk, especially when you  (and they) know they can probably just drown you out, bury you under a mountain of stinky wet carpets woven of their baseless claims and decibel level, supported by what seems an infinite supply of supporters. But it’s time to start.

Half of the gaming community is made of up women and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise. Games that have stellar mechanics, creative settings, and beautiful emergent gameplay can and do have shallow, sexist portrayals of women. Why does Lara Croft have to be hyper-sexualized and whimper as she climbs to Hero? Why can’t she be like almost every male protagonist ever who starts out a bad ass? I don’t know, but I do know that we need to start talking about it. Tomb Raider had some great mechanics and looked great, but it and games like it still present women in lame ways, using old and insulting tropes.

If we don’t talk about the representation and perception of women in and around games, it will never stop being disappointing…and I don’t want that. I don’t want anybody’s daughters to grow up in a world where their parents can’t in good conscience share video gaming with them. Right now, how could you?

“Here’s this fantastic mode of escapism that many people enjoy which will constantly depict women in ways that are either underpowered or in roles where they’re easily replaceable with inanimate objects.”

“Here’s a scene where other players will viciously berate and chastise you should they learn that you’re not straight and male, or best-case demonstrate perfect insensitivity. (Though, to be fair, they don’t have to know anything about you to just randomly use derogatory language that’s aimed at females.)”

“On second thought, maybe you’d like to try books.”

Gah. If I have a daughter, I really want to share gaming with her because I love gaming right down to my core. There are games that have hit me in ways books only wish they could. The games need work though, and the community needs a massive reality check.

I wish I knew what that could be.

Anyway, watch today’s Errant Signal; it’s relevant (if not directly) and very good.

I’ve been burning time working, relaxing, and playing Path of Exile…which is fantastic if you have mega Diablo 2 nostalgia and Diablo 3 left you wanting for that. I considered doing a video for it, but other than a quick “Check this out” it’s not really worth the trouble I think. I’ve got another Don’t Starve episode on the bench that just needs me to pull the Encode trigger….but, you know, encoding means no Path of Exile so…. :) I’ll get there.


3 10 2013

Pre-order for XCOM:EW is up. Make no mistake, I fully support TB’s view on pre-ordering games. It’s a sign of impatience and totally unnecessary; bad even, since you can’t guarantee the game will deliver on expectations. (E.G. Aliens: Colonial Marines.) That said, I Kickstarted (pre-ordered) Torment, and I pre-ordered XCOM:EU. I believe in the Interplay-in-Exile team. And I believe in Firaxis.

My money is now where my mouth is.


This has been a Youtube-tastic weekend.

29 09 2013

Okay, so…this finally happened.

Also, more Don’t Starve.

And a really silly whim.

If none of these are good, it may be a sign that I shouldn’t do more than one in a weekend.

A scholar and a gentleman.

29 09 2013

Char42 on Youtube calmly and carefully dismantles every point (I hesitate to dignify many of them as “arguments”) made by Mr. Repzion; this video is very well thought out, researched, and presented.

I’m still not starving here.

26 09 2013

I love this game. This episode I get cozy in my camp, assert my undisputed dominance over the pigmanz, and shift to throw down mode when some dogs come to claim my face as their trophy.

Thade’s Starving his Youtubez.

25 09 2013


This is a thing. Are you hungry? Because this guy definitely is. Basically all the time. And despite his regular exercise and intake of obviously organic food, he always appears to be in poor health.



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