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Liberal arts fairs and less officious forms of procrastination

Today, I've been stressing out over an upcoming school project and consequently paralyzed into procrastination in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and City of Heroes. That probably won't interest many people, but it's what's going on.

Well, I've successfully mixed business with pleasure: I'll be doing a exhibition, "Progress of Massively Multiplayer Space" down at the university on Friday. I'll be presenting using HTML and a collage of various MMOGs and how they brought new features to the table. I don't think it'll impress anyone that knows anything about MMOGs, as it is geared for those who do not consider them a credible textual medium. Considering this project counts for 40% of my grade, I'm crossing my fingers it meets and exceeds the instructors' expectations.

First, however, I have to generate the motivation to finish my presentation. That's been proving a bit difficult for me lately because I'm depressed. Why? Because I haven't finished my presentation. That's mental cycles for you. This ends up on my Blog entry for the day because the resulting procrastination is driving me to whine about it. I'm only about two or three weeks from vacation, and thank God for that - confidentially, I seem to have mentally checked out before spring break, some four weeks ago. This has not been without regret nor efforts to correct.

A few interesting topics to Blog about did cross my mind lately, but I seem to have forgotten them and didn't write them down. Sorry about that: a moment of my negligence and the progress of the gaming world has been temporarily halted. So instead, I'll just Blog about some stuff I did recently in games. For old time's sake.

I decided to reroll an unmodified Spellsword in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Heavy armor isn't that much more interfering with spells than Light Armor, and Blade is more elegant than Blunt. Also, I decided to let go of my asinine belief I need to fully use up my training allocation before I level. I can raise skills just by doing them in Oblivion, so there's technically no need to train, ever. Training in Oblivion is a shortcut and a gold sink, nothing more.

The experience left me with a good idea to add to my Oblivion plugin: Classify all two-handed weaponry as "Blunt" and all one-handed weaponry as "Blade". Then, if possible, rename those skills to "Two Handed Weapon" and "One Handed Weapon" respectively. I think that, in terms of game balance, that's a great improvement over the existing system which basically had you choose between two flavors of identically performing skills. However, I may not actually add this to my plugin as I'm keeping a theme of minor optimizations that do not noticeably change the play of the game at this stage. Besides, it might break a lot of vital NPCs.

On to the City of Heroes front. Max Overkill, my Assault/Electricity Blaster, has pulled level 20. This completed the requirements to pick the Stamina power, giving him a lot more endurance to throw into his attacks. He was already pretty fun to play before, but now he's ludicrously so. I look forward to when I have Build Up and Stamina three-slotted with single origin enhancements. He'll be a real "Force of Nature"... that also being the name of an ancillary power I'm looking forward to.

I tried briefly going back to my newbie Martial Arts/Regen Scrapper, but discovered that there really isn't a point to play a Scrapper if you're good enough to play a Blaster. (Bad news for my level 33 Spines/Dark Armor Scrapper.) Scrappers are basically Blasters with half the attacks but better defenses. If I'm so good that I can use the extra attacks a Blaster possesses to make having better defenses unnecessary, then there really isn't a point in playing a Scrapper. The only thing Max Overkill lacks over a Scrapper at this point is a resistance to control powers, but that's only really a problem if the enemy possesses such powers and can survive to use them on him. Such a combination is rare.

Just like that, the face of City of Heroes archetype balance has changed for me. It now seems to me that there are two power choices, Controllers and Blasters, and which one you choose depends on your preference for defense or offense respectively. Each gives you maximum potency in either fascet, with the trade-off being their lack of hitpoints which basically translates to a margin of error. This leaves Defenders, Tanks, and Scrappers as choices for those who have not placed power as their first priority. Defenders and Tanks are primarily team players, focused on protecting others while lacking the damage to really solo, and Scrappers self-sufficient heroes for those who don't want to sacrifice anything. Kheldians, as before, are more of a novelty than anything else.

Well, clearly I don't have a fear about writing, so I should really get to work on my project. Whatever happens, in less than 48 hours it will no longer by my concern. Then, I'll move on to another big class project: A City of Heroes update manual I'm creating for my Technical Writing class. Ah, mixing business with pleasure is the way to go for the liberal arts major.

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