Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just When You Think it's Over the Top...

Ok, this really has nothing to do with MMO's, but I ran across this about people of the Loess Plateau in NW China:

Like millions of other Chinese, Li Zhanjun lives in a dwelling that is fireproof, noise proof, warm in winter, cool in summer and the epitome of an eco-friendly design. Moreover, it's cheap.

Li lives in a cave.


Some of the caves have been passed down for generations, with hard-packed earthen walls, electrical wiring, piped-in plumbing and other modern conveniences, including cable television.

In Tolkien, Bilbo/Frodo's house, Bag End, is quite specifically described as dug into a hillside and extremely comfortable and dry. Just like these Chinese caves.

This is reproduced in Baubleshire, where several of the hobbit residences and one inn are dug into a hillside. And in LOTRO, Bag End indeed goes into the hillside, though I'm not so sure about the one in the recent movies, as the window outside of which Sam is listening certainly seemed to be one in the back of the house, not the front.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Ugly PUG, part 2

Everyone has horror stories, I'm sure. My latest was in LOTRO last week. By the way, I was on vacation last week, but still able to play games. That's why I didn't post much though. Battling snow and relatives meant less attention to gaming and posting. And when there's a conflict, gaming wins over posting.

Anyway, I was in Angmar, just north of Aughaire. (I love that name, sounds like something from a hirsute Neanderthal.) Anyway, I get a ninja invitation. But what the heck, it's Christmas. I'll give it a try. The inviter did not communicate much, but led us around. He was a lore-master, like me. For those of you not up on LOTRO, that means we both are cloth wearing weenies. I got ambushed by an orange signature named -- the equivalent of an orange non-heroic named. I died quickly, but my partner managed to beat it, mostly by kiting it, using a slow to very good effect. I was impressed. Maybe this guy knows what he's doing.

Then, bizarrely, he posted into group chat what appeared to be a cut and paste description of the quest he wanted to do. I don't mind doing stuff I don't have as long as I get experience. So we train to the spot he wants on horseback. That worries me a bit, since we got dehorsed (the mount takes damage, not you, but if it takes enough, you drop off it). But we got there. Then we get a kind of bad pull and a couple adds. But we are both lore-masters, we have mez! And pets! This should be no problem, right?


He proceeded to try to kite all the monsters, I think there was some mezzing mixed in there, but the kiting attracted lots of adds. He said "run" in chat at just about the moment I died.

Those two chat tells were close to all the communication I had from him. I'm thinking maybe he wasn't much of an English speaker.

I revived and logged out, begging off on account of RL issues. It was mostly true, too.

So, this gives me cause to renew my policy of not accepting ninja group invitations. If they can't be bothered to communicate with me what they will be doing and where, then that's a very bad sign.

It's easy to see why people avoid PUGs like the plague. There are bad communicators, Leroy Jenkins', afk parasites, and people who like to engage in offensive chat and behavior, such as running around faking copulation with every character in the group. (Ha ha, you're cracking me up. Really. I mean that.)

I will, however, continue to do pickup groups. Some of my longest-lasting friends in gaming came from a pickup group. And I have had some good experiences lately too. I grouped with a couple of guys from Australia in LOTRO recently. We got in, out, did what we needed and didn't die, while having some nice conversation on voice chat.

So, I'm going to keep doing this, and you, my lucky readers, get to read all about the most special case.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Prettiest Christmas of All

Santa was good to me. Last night, he left this leaning against my monitor. I found it this morning as I came in fool around while waiting for the rest of the family to wake up. It was a struggle not waking up the neighbors, but I managed it.

What else can I say but, c'est moi!

P.S. If you haven't seen it, this is my forum .sig

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Question of the Epoch

Hey, I'm 3000 years old, I can't ask a question every day...

Anyway, I thought I would repost a question Karaya asked on our guild site forums, because it's so fun. The question is: What fictional character would your MMO character be in an alternate universe?

Here's my answer:

[Howl comes running out of the bathroom, screaming. His hair is now orange]
Howl: Sophie! You, you sabotaged me! Look! Look at what you've done to my hair! Look!
Old Sophie: What a pretty color.
Howl: It's hideous! You completely ruined my magic potions in the bathroom!
Old Sophie: I just organized things, Howl. Nothing's ruined.
Howl: Wrong! Wrong! I specifically ordered you not to get carried away!
Howl: Now I'm repulsive.
[slumps into a chair]
Howl: I can't live like this.
[starts sobbing, head in hands]
Old Sophie: Come on, it's not that bad.
[Howl's hair changes color to purple, then black]
Old Sophie: You should look at it now, its shade is even better.
Howl: [inconsolable] I give up. I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful.

Ahem. When we watched this movie, my beloved family started snorting and poking at me and pointing at the scene quoted above. "It's Toldain!!" they insisted. "C'est moi," was all I could reply.

What fictional character are you?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tell the World

Recounting her experiences in Dream of Mirror Online (DOMO), Tipa tells us of an NPC in that game who has an unusual function:

There are some seedy NPCs in Eversun City. This old lady stopped me as I was passing and told me that just by looking at me, she could tell me my *cup size*. Because, that’s a service I really needed? “A-”, she told me. And, turns out there’s a quest I can do for a title so I can tell the world (in NA, that title is “-A-cup Abuses Alcohol”, apparently).

So yeah, I’ll be rushing right out to do that one. Strangely, I don’t see one for penis size for male characters. Maybe next patch?

The thing is, if you give guys a title that announces their penis size to the world, they will use it. Unless it says, "Gnometool Grinds Gears" or something.

There's an experiment I'd love to run in an alternate universe. How much would people pay to have a title that announced their prodigiousness? Something like, "The Horse Shamer". As in "Falco, the Horse Shamer".

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Willow Wood Weed

Marijuana was found preserved in the pouch of a Chinese shaman buried 2700 years ago in Turpan, in China's far west.

“The cannabis was presumably employed by this culture as a medicinal or psychoactive agent, or an aid to divination. To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent, and contribute to the medical and archaeological record of this pre-Silk Road culture,” the abstract says.

No pipes, bongs or rolling papers were uncovered in the tomb of this wild and crazy guy.

I figure there's got to be plenty of weed in Norrath. C'mon, don't those wood elf druids seem like they should have beads and tie-dye to you? And hobbits. I mean, just look at them, don't they always seem to have the munchies? Come to think of it, try going in The Perfunctory Philosopher in Starcrest Commune sometime (but don't inhale). Doesn't the name Oolimeminoso Pindiliana just scream "weed" to you? As if the name Starcrest "Commune" wasn't a dead giveaway that the whole place was weed-infested. Those Erudites babble incessantly about expanding conciousness, now we know what they mean. I don't get a big weed vibe from Dwarfs and Barbarians. They'll never let anything take over ale's central place in their hearts, though an occasional fat one with the beer doesn't hurt.

The Frogloks as a rule, have a stick up their hindquarters about these kinds of things, not a day goes by that one of them doesn't lecture me about chivalry. Besides, I'll guess that the smoke drys out their skin.

Kerrans aren't so prudish, but they are just as likely to eat the weed as smoke it, since it reminds them of catnip. And we High Elves, well, weed just doesn't project the right image for us. It's pretty hard to be snooty when you're toked up, after all. Not that we don't do it sometimes when there aren't any humans or half-elves around.

Weed isn't technically legal in Qeynos, Antonius Bayle got a stash of really bad stuff back in the day, and its been outlawed ever since. But there are lots of loopholes, including "medicinal use" and "research" purposes. (We illusionists are keen to learn more about anything with "psychoactive" properties, you see.) Really, the Queen doesn't like the smell, and doesn't want the smoke wafting through the castle.

In Freeport, it's a different story. Lucan D'Lere will tolerate no weed-induced slackness amongst his citizens. They must be lean, mean and ready to fight at a moments notice. Can you imagine the raid leader calling "Pull in 10" and the defiler going, "Wow, that demon looks just like this little crease on my hand, I never noticed that before. Anybody got any flying fish casserole?"

A stroll through Big Bend should convince you that most Ogres indulge themselves regularly. I mean, the big guys practically define mellow. But they seem to be able to not let it affect their work. Trolls, I am told, think weed spoils the taste. After all, they say THC stays in the bloodstream forever. The thought of Dark Elves toking up gives me nightmares, though lord knows they could stand to mellow out a bit.

Now in Kelethin, I think they keep little weed incense sticks burning on the platforms. I mean, have you ever looked at the wings on the Fae? They look like they are the inspiration for Peter Max.

Which leaves Gnomes. Who could tell if they were using psychoactive drugs? How would they be any different? Although I'm guessing they don't use weed much. In my experience, people who smoke don't launch pies off of catapults at other pies launched from catapults, they eat them.

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