I’m not sure how many of you may have played this wonderful gem of a game, as I feel like it wasn’t very popular, but it is one of the games that has given me some of the most fun I’ve had, ever. I used to play on the official servers and it was a glorious time. The thing about the game is that maybe it did shine so much because it was a rather smallish community. People knew each other, this led to scenarios where if you knew someone was online, they’d normally be out hunting one of a few people, so you’d have to be careful.
At the heart of Helbreath lies a simple concept, there’s 2 towns which are at war with each other. They each have a couple of zones adjacent to their city which would mean that those’d be safe zones (nearly totally). But then there’s a bunch of contested lands in-between of the 2 cities, and rather quickly after you’d assembled your basic gear you’d be heading into this contested territory. And frankly, there’s very few games which force confrontation as much as Helbreath. This ensured that you’d always be on your guard, especially considering the maps were small. You could run from 1 town to the other in 10-15 minutes, easily.
Then there’s some key systems which I really like about Helbreath, such as that you have to level skills up (Long Sword, Fencing, Magic, Magic Resistance, Mining, etc), for most of these you get something if you get the skill up to 100%. For most weapons you’ve mastered it which meant that you could now charge (run and jump) at enemies and use critical attacks; This meant that you could use a range attack with a melee weapon, which is super important. These would slowly recharge over time so you’d always be managing them in case of enemy players. And even as a warrior you’d oftentimes have some intelligence so you could cast simple spells such as paralyze and Protection From Magic which meant that you could stand up to high-level mages easier, or give yourself a possibility of escape.
Another thing I really like is the equipment/loot system. All enemies can drop some wonderful items, they’re just exceptionally rare. This meant that every single rare item had value and you’d be cherishing them. This could range from a simple wooden shield which would have +18% stamina regeneration, or health/mana regeneration. Or a weapon with for example +hitting probability, or one of the variants such as Sharp, Ancient, Righteous and more which had different effects. Normally there’d only be several of these around and they made a huge difference.
Then there’s the way the damage works, which is simply being displayed over the target’s head, which would normally in the case melee weapons be going by really quickly, assuming you’re hitting them. What makes it interesting though is the fact that little damage is shown as really small numbers, whereas bigger hits, and especially crits/flying hits (where you would send your enemy flying, sending them backwards several tiles) would be shown in big numbers, which was always exciting to see and it made you feel really powerful. That small fact, I think made a huge impact on the game, as you’re always striving to become stronger.
Many of these things are probably the reason for there being a Helbreath community that’s still out there. I still play the game sometimes myself, there’s just something about it!
This book is considered a classic, it’s near-impossible to never have heard of it, and so I figured that I should read it. So I did, and my thoughts on it are potentially controversial, it seems. I know some people who’ve read this book and claim it’s among the best they’ve read and I absolutely cannot fathom why this’d be the case.
The only strong case I can make for the book is that I detest it, largely in a story there’s some characters or moments that will at least give you something to enjoy. In the case of Catcher in the Rye, I have found absolutely zero. At best there were some side-characters who didn’t frustrate or outright annoy me. But by far the worst is the main character himself, a teenage boy who hates everything, and boy does he show it.
Holden is always talking about people and things around him, in that way you learn about him. Saying that you learn that he’s a whiny bastard that complains about everything, everything is shitty and nothing is fun or good. Everything annoys him and often I just wanted to punch him in the jaw to not be a little whiny bitch. You are supposed to relate to him as a teenager, or looking back to your teenage years, but I can’t do anything but despise him. Every moment I wanted to just drop it and the only way I got through this book was because I was urged to by others.
I really can’t say that I’ve read a worse book in my life, every second I’ve spent with this book has been horrible and miserable, the only good about it is that it’s meaningless and super easy to read through, so your misery shall be shortlived.
I love the Metro universe, metro 2033 was one of my favorite games I’ve ever played, so much so that I bought the book and now the sequel metro 2034. I was really stoked for the second game after seeing the first trailers of it. I thought it had crazy potential, so did it live up to them?
First off, I thought the start wasn’t memorable, it didn’t immediately grab me into the story as there were a bunch of people that I simply didn’t care about. I was doing the things I was doing in the first game, scavenging for ammo, hiding in the dark and shooting a bunch of creatures and people. It wasn’t until about roughly 2 hours or so into it that I really started liking the story more and felt immersed. But all in all, and it may be due to nostalgia, I felt more like I was playing a game than being truly immersed like I felt being in the first game.
The part where it really shines though is the part where you deal with the Dark Ones, that is truly wonderful. And this mainly kicks in from about halfway into the game, but man is it worth it! The last hours really were completely different and made me just want to keep playing and see what’s going to happen next. Though there’s some really dubious things that happen during the story, it makes for a wonderful experience, as long as you don’t logically think about it. And that’s where the game get’s the original book right, the metro is a living and breathing thing, not mere concrete tunnels.
That being said; what they also get really right is the atmosphere, playing this game at night, while you’re on the surface breathing through a mostly cracked gas mask and are running low on oxygen and bullets while big mutants are hunting you; it’s a marvelous feeling. There were moments for me where I was absolutely frightened, much like my pants were when playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Enemies are frightening, especially knowing that you might not have enough bullets, or even be out of bullets!
All in all I would say that if you like a good story and a bit of sneaking around in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a great game to play. You just have to endure the first couple of hours, it’ll be worth it, I promise!
I recently finished the third Bioshock game after hearing very good things about it. I never thought that after playing the second I would play another Bioshock game. I felt that they really should’ve left the original alone as it’s an outstanding game. The second was a real cash-grab and it bored me, because of this I never played more than maybe an hour or 2. So I went into Infinite being rather skeptical.
I figured I’d play this game on the hard difficulty as I never had a problem with the original on difficulty despite you really playing it for the engaging story. And first of all, it’s a very aesthetically pleasing game. Though I can’t say it ever pulled me into the world, I definitely liked looking at it, the initial moments of going up to Columbia are really gorgeous. Though I say initial, it really is something that remains for quite a while. These sentences do largely sum up the game for me in a way, because it was a pretty thing to look at and I had some fun with it, but I never felt part of it.
The combat was okay, but never felt special. I also felt that a lot of the vigors they gave you were pointless, such as the charge or bronco ones as they’d leave you open to attack because you needed to be in the open. On hard difficulty I felt that I was a real glass cannon, that was often very low on ammunition in the later parts of the game. I ended up using mostly the sniper rifle and carbine or hand cannon to do some quick damage and dive back into cover and take enemies out that way. This worked for most of the game until the final sequences, starting from the moment you are supposed to fight Elizabeth’s mother for the second time in the bank. She absorbed so much ammunition to kill, whilst also reviving other enemies that attack you, where there was no ammo at all. I simply did not have any amunition to kill them all with. Also the fights with a lot of people and a Handyman? Ridiculously tough on the ammunition-level, I often had to run around to pick up any weapon I could and ended up using all of the ammo available in every gun lying around to kill them.
The story was at least better than the combat, though I still much prefer the initial game. Though I do like that Rapture’s part of the game/universe, that part was neat. But I think the ending went over a lot of people’s heads and it really didn’t make it obvious that Comstock is Booker, though there’s a line which states it directly… I felt that it was poorly shown and it probably left a lot of people confused about it all. But the moment where you see the multiverse theory at work with all the lighthouses while going through the beginning sequence again is very well done.
All in all I’d say that Bioshock Infinite is an okay game, but over-hyped. I’m also not sure if I will be going through the “Burial at Sea” downloadable content because of this.
This past weekend my girlfriend and me spent some time on fixing our documents for her immigration, so now we know what forms we still require. We then also requested the documents I require, so those should arrive in the coming week or maybe 2 weeks. This coming sunday I’ll be driving her to the airport so she can fly to Ukraine and request her documents we still need and get them translated. Then a week later on the 17th of february she’ll have her dutch exam, I think she’ll make it just fine if the practice exams are anything to go by, but we’ll have to see how her nerves are at that point.
On the other hand there’s some fun news as well as we went shopping and I got her some new shoes and ordered some for me (as stores normally don’t carry my size). I also ordered 2 Kanto Field Guides for me and my friend & pre-ordered “The Baptism of Fire” of the witcher series and “Metro 2034″‘s english translations which release on 20 and 27 february.
Following Blood of Elves is Time of Contempt in the witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. It in fact follows the happenings directly, carrying on with Yennefer and Ciri leaving Nenneke’s temple. Ciri is being taken to Aretuzo to study magic and become an enchantress. While arriving at the town she’s being shown around town and ends up in a situation where she’s forced to use her witcher training, the entire thing is rather funny and it makes me love Ciri’s character and spirit.
Ciri is especially wonderful as she has a strong will of her own and doesn’t want to become a full enchantress and instead wants to see Geralt who she thinks is at a nearby town. She goes through the woods to reach that town after escaping Yennefer and some other sorceresses (among them Tissaia De Vries, which is a funny name to me as it’s Dutch). On the way she encounters The Wild Hunt which I didn’t expect at all, that part was really curious in the way that I didn’t know what was real at all.
The escape did lead to her finding Geralt and caused Yennefer and Geralt to see each other again. Afterwards they’re going to a gathering of all Sorcerers, which is full of diplomacy and gossip. Not a very interesting part of the story, although what happens shortly afterwards is. That is because there’s a coup among the mages that involves the Scoia’tael and Geralt got asked by Vilgefortz to join them. Geralt remained neutral as is his way. It ends in a mess with it being unknown what’s happened to Ciri or Yennefer and this really makes me want to know what happens next.
The next book Baptism of Fire is expected to be done translating into English on 24th of Feb 2014, so that’s still a little while.
The second book of the Witcher Series which is currently not available in a legal form in English, unfortunately. I had to read this book in PDF-form in a fan translation, this made it less fun and less comfortable to read. I personally just don’t like having to read a book digitally. However, this detracted nothing from the sheer excellence of this book.
This book introduces some great characters and carries on the story of Geralt of Rivia where again there’s several stories intertwined, it shows more of the side-stories where you learn why Geralt doesn’t like towns and much prefers out in the open as he deals with monsters in cities. Meanwhile he also gets into a conflict over Yennefer which I was really interested by, probably because it was very relatable to me.
The main story of this book was the one where he meets some old friends, mainly Yarpen Zigrin an awesome dwarf who kicks a lot of ass and is very… dwarfish. It was an incredible pleasure whenever Yarpen was involved. This story is also very interesting because it deals with a dragon, and if you played the games you may know that Geralt does not hunt them. I was really very happy with the outcome of said story because I really didn’t see it coming, though I had my suspicions.
Dragons, interesting characters and interesting short stories make this a great albeit quick read.
At the end of the afternoon my girlfriend told me she might go to see KoRn and Hellyeah tonight for half price. Hellyeah is a cool band and KoRn is one I’ve wanted to see at some point anyhow so I asked how and if she could get another ticket maybe.
Turns out it was through her housemate who was studying at the music academy. So she asked him and he would go get a ticket, but instead managed to get in for free due to getting backstage and on the guestlist after talking to KoRn’s drumtech. She ended up not going because she wasn’t feeling well.
Hellyeah was really cool, it was a shame nobody seemed to know them at all because their music makes for some really good pits. Their performance was great all around though it was a bit of a shame they opened with their best songs; War In Me and Drink Drank Drunk.
KoRn for me is a band I’ve not listened to in ~10years. To my surprise the first 30minutes were full of all their old songs which I actually recognized which made for a really wild and active crowd. After that came their modern djent/dubsteppy songs which were okay but seemed to blend together and the crowd died down. Still; good beginning and glad I saw that; but won’t see again.
After the show we went back to their place and everyone was sitting outside talking and I was immediately offered a beer. They were great people and ended up sitting there for at least 2 more hours just chatting.
Had a good day at work; went to a concert and spent time with my girlfriend and her friends. That day couldn’t have been better.
Time for another real life update kind of post. One I think has been overdue for quite a while; especially the way I have been feeling lately combined with a promise I’d made to myself which is to be more open and show the “real me” on this blog as well. I feel like I’ve been doing a lackluster job of that recently, so I’d say I’m due. So what’s been going on? Well, a couple of things actually:
First of all I’m currently in the process of seeing how I’m going to be paying for my upcoming education which I’ll be doing next to my work. In fact, it’s actually combined with my work which makes it a tad more complicated as I’ll be working full-time for 4 days and the 5th day I will spend at college. This however means that I’ll be earning less money while also having to spend extra for my school’s tuition. And considering I have a mortgage running, this is clearly a problem and one I’m glad my boss is willing to help out with, if at least it won’t cost him too much. If all goes right and I figure out how I’m going to be paying for this, I will be starting this 4 year course (Network Infrastructure Design, think CCNA, Windows Exchange, and some business structuring courses such as ITIL and Prince2) in September this year.
Next subject is a whole lot more personal already; namely I’ve never really felt that my good friends are actually good friends. I guess it’s my inner bitterness and mistrust of people that I always expect them to lie to me and betray me in some way. It was at a party a couple of weeks ago where all my good friends had made their way over to my place and I frankly got too drunk; as in, I hardly remembered anything, not even some big things that happened. As such I also happened to forget that 2 of my friends told me some real personal things to which I responded by telling them that however much they say they care for me I never actually feel that it’s meant. I then got slapped by all of them.
I have no complaints about that at all, in fact I’m glad I was able to tell them that, however it did make me wonder why I got so many hugs the following morning. It felt very weird having to ask why I got such a lengthy hug from my best friend who even initially said: “No reason in particular, because you’re awesome.”. She did tell me eventually obviously because my memory from that night has not returned, as it never tends to after such a night. But this sort of has marked a moment for me where I at least am beginning to realize that some people do actually give a shit about me. This to me is a huge thing, I don’t particularly feel it but I think I’ll get there.
Then on for the subject I’ve actually been trying to avoid the most: I met a girl I really like at a friend’ birthday party(weekend) about 2 months ago. We really seemed to hit it off and we kissed a couple of times. After the weekend we saw each other a lot and really liked being around one another and I developed feelings for her. However she didn’t know for sure about me and really couldn’t make up her mind on what she wanted. The way she initially phrased it was that she wanted to move to Finland(she loves that country) and that would mean that she wouldn’t want to start a relationship now as it’d likely break soon due to that.
However as it turned out she just wasn’t feeling “the fireworks” and rapidly kept me at a distance. This could be due to her not wanting to hurt me or me getting too close to her, as she was dealing with some things herself. Either way on monday she came over as she said we didn’t really know each other and we should really have some serious talk. However before she came over she was just offline, which was weird. The reason for this being was that when she got here she told me that she wanted to make it clear that it probably wasn’t going to happen and that I should not consider it an option anymore.
After she left I had myself a breakdown in which I actually fully cried, the last time being 7-8 years ago just after my depression started. You may remember last year when I shed a tear over the girl I liked at that time when it got made clear that it wasn’t going to work. At that point I hadn’t broken down the emotional wall enough to allow myself to cry (which is a real damn horrible feeling btw). Now I could though and I handled it the only way I could; through booze. I then figured I should let my colleague know that I wasn’t going to be in a good mood the following day, turns out that she had already called him. He ended up coming over and we talked a bunch until 3:30 at which point he went to sleep and I collapsed on bed and lay awake for at least some more.
That tuesday after work I pretty much repeated the same thing, drinking half a litre of vodka, some beers and passoa. I had nobody around me and that just didn’t go over well, the thing was/is that yes, it really sucks that she’s essentially rejected me, but what hurts me more is the outlook of being alone again for god knows how long. Considering how long it tends to take me to meet someone I’m interested in; it’ll likely be another year or more. The very prospect of having felt genuine happiness again when I was with her is something I’ve not felt for ~8 years. It’s something utterly terrifying and wonderful to me that is super new and now super depressing having it taken away from me. Anyway, I pretty much drank until around 3:00, only falling asleep at around 5:00, having to get up roughly 2 hours later.
I”m also very happy that I had a friend over on wednesday and we ended up talking a bunch which had me distracted enough to not notice or think of anything in particular, so this was great until I said I should go to bed at 3:00 and she at around 3:30 said something along the lines of “Sure sucks that she isn’t interested in you after all that waiting you did to give her time.”, that line just instantly made me feel like shit and again I was just lying in bed awake, just thinking and feeling miserable. I may have slept some in between 5:00 and 7:00 somewhere, but it can’t have been much. So for thursday you’d think I’d be pretty miserable, but strangely that wasn’t the case. I can’t say I was at my best; but I was feeling alright, considering.
After work on thursday I had my bike again and decided that I wouldn’t go straight home but would instead spend an hour exercising on the way home; and so I did. This made me feel rather good, there truly is nothing better than to push out your emotions while working out with some music on. For me it’s the best way to deal with things it seems, circumstances permitting. I then got home and my best friend who’d been avoiding me since that sunday (so she didn’t even know) sent me a message if we could talk. And so we did and caught up and mostly ended up talking about what was troubling her and then it was very quickly time to go to sleep at a normal time.
So today’s friday and I’m typing this all up on my friday evening as I had no plans and I figured I needed some rest anyway. Here I am sitting listening to mainly metal and ska, drinking some vodka mixes, thinking about the last week and just how emotionally taxing it has been, feeling bad and extremely lonely. It’s not only me that’s not had an awesome week; 3 of my good friends have had some bad times as well these last couple of days. At least my crying stopped; I however am afraid I may have tossed it all over the emotional wall instead of dealing with it directly which is something that I don’t think I want. Though it for sure made life a whole lot simpler.
If you read this wall of text, then you now know me better now than most people that know me do.