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Another Weak [pun] Ends

At four hours a day over six days, my twenty-four hours of on-the-job training is considered complete.  Of course, this left plenty of time for me to try to figure out how to spend my free time.  Yet, even knowing that message boards are a colossal waste of time, I'm finding it hard to commit to anything else.  Maybe I'll have something more interesting to do when my first paycheck comes in.

I did, however, manage to commit briefly to a couple of games:
This Millenaire village in Minecraft seems to be growing nicely.  I'm probably going to have to do some
landscaping soon, however, as all that water and mountain makes it challenging for it to expand.
Revisiting Minecraft

I've got a rather nice custom mod balance going for Minecraft 1.2.5 that looks something like this:
  • Minecolony rc19 - Among the best "build your own village full of NPC workers" mods out here.  It's almost a cheat having all these extra hands to help you out.  I should probably get rc20, I wager it doesn't break anything.
  • Mo' Creatures v3.7.1 - Adds significantly to the variety of Minecraft creatures to be found.  I wish there was a version that did not add item bloat, but it's a small price to pay.  Also dangerous to use in hardcore mode due to adding more mobs that set you on fire in the nether.
  • Rei's Minimap - Creates a nice mini map display for Minecraft.
  • Somnia v24 - By default, Minecraft does not simulate the world when you sleep.  Somnia fixes that.
  • Better Dungeons - Spawns a bunch of additional nasty death traps for you to explore and recover loot from.  Fun mod, but slightly problematic to use with Hardcore mode enabled due to the ease of death and access to rare materials that the dungeons may be made out of.
  • Craft Guide v1.4.4 - Lets you craft an item that allows you to see all the recipes in the game.  Considering what a pain it is to have to look them up in an external source, it's very nice to have.
  • Ingame Info 1.2.5.d - This creates that neat little text in the upper left corner.  Could be configured to show the condition of my gear and some other things, but I'm currently not doing that.
  • InvTweaks 1.41b - This allows me to sort chests and my inventory at the push of a button, as well as reloads pickaxes and whatnot when I use them up in my hotbar.
  • Keep Items On Death - Simply prevents my character from spewing everything in their inventory onto the floor when they die.  Little wonder I find death without any consequence.  Considering I'm playing Hardcore mode, which deletes the world when I die, it's not going to do anything for me right now.
  • Millenaire 2.7.8 - The last of the Minecraft 1.2.5 versions of this mod, and probably the one that works the best of all versions, Millenaire is also among the best "build your own village full of NPC workers" mods, but has a more external focus of being an outsider of the villages that spawn without you instead of doing everything yourself.
  • More Stackables - Makes more inventory items stackable.  For example, signs, saddles, boats, doors.
  • RopePlus - Adds a bunch of unique kinds of arrows which do things like extend ropes, explode, ect.  I find this to be an ideal ranged weapon supplement mod that does not break things overmuch.
  • StatusEffectHud v.1.12 - Shows a little status effect icon on your screen if you are, for example, poisoned.
  • Thaumcraft 2.1.6d - A fantastic building extension mod that allows you to transmute energy and mass into useful items and enchantments, repair items, put up sigils that defend yourself or automate farms, and much more.
  • Optifine - A graphic engine overhaul for Minecraft, it does indeed beautify the game while simultaneously improving performance.
I consider Millenaire and Thaumcraft to be essential, and that Thaumcraft does not have a compatible version for Minecraft exceeding 1.2.5 is a large part of why I don't run a more recent version of Minecraft.  There's others on here which have yet to update.  It's a pity, as I understand later versions of Minecraft have largely done away with the need to update mods with every version while simultaneously making mods multiplayer-compatible.  There's even a multiplayer version of Millenaire now!  (A pity it's probably bugged with something show-stopping, as most Millenaire versions tend to be.)

The central of the three floors of my base of operations, just outside (and underground) from the nearby
Millenaire village build radius.  The initial plan was to only keep this hideout until I was able to
afford huge, opulent housing with the local village, but it has since grown into something else.

I'm currently playing a game in hardcore mode, and considering whether or not I should be attempting to do a Let's Play of it.  That might be fun, but not effortless.  I imagine I'd want to do a lot of video editing to make me tooling around in Minecraft look remotely interesting.

Courting Skyrim

At the time of this writing, I've ditched the previously mentioned idea of having multiple characters in order to try to focus on a single character.  The idea of this character is, "The Dragonborn, As I Envision Him."  After all, the goal is to complete the game, and what better way to do that than to build a character specifically with the idea that he is the Dovahkiin?

So, what does it mean to be a Dovahkiin?  Well, he's basically a man (or woman) born with the soul of a dragon, right?  So here's the route I went with this new character, Theus Drakeson:
  • Feeling uncomfortable in his soft, fleshy form, he's going to wear heavy armor, making up for his lack of armored skin.  Like a dragon, he moves around in it fairly freely, which means he'll be getting the Steed Stone early on, later made unnecessary by the conditioning perk of heavy armor.
  • He's a Breton (as most my characters are), giving him the "Dragonskin" special power and some magic resistance, which seems right. 
  • Feeling uncomfortable with his lacking giant claws, he uses heavy, two-handed swords.  Honestly, I'm having doubts about this, because two-handed weapons are so slow and ponderous to use that it's nigh-impossible to block with them.  Also, it makes just as much sense I could be dual-wielding two one-handed swords if I'm looking to emulate having dragon claws.  If there were literal martial arts claws in Skyrim, this would be a shoe-in.  Oh well, I suppose a two-handed sword sort of expresses a general sense of dragon-trapped-in-a-man's-body inadequacy.
  • His preferred method of magic is shouts but, possessing a dragon's intellect and magical inherent nature, he's free to dabble in the arcane as much as he wants.  Conjuration, alteration, and restoration seem the most likely as being genuinely useful.  Illusion is not terribly necessary, and destruction is only really needed for straight-up mages (which he's not).  So far, I'm sticking mostly to conjuration, but I'm rushing the magic resistance perks from alteration.
  • Although it makes no real sense for a dragon, he carries a bow (or crossbow) for dealing with foes that are out of range of his sword and shouts.  I probably won't bother dropping much (if any) perks in archery because I doubt that will happen very often, and I might even switch to a bound bow at one point.  I just find this a more interesting method of ranged damage dealing than destruction magic.
  • Enchanting, Smithing, and Alchemy remain something he can invest as much time in as I want.  It's ultimately going to come back into juicing up his gear, and that's fine.
Then along comes Bethesda with a trailer for DLC called Dragonborn which is apparently going to center on you coming face to face with the original Dovahkiin, and he's a weird-looking fellah!

Ugh, I don't know, I could easily change my mind here again.  However, I do think that a single character focus is more likely to work out, and that this character is quite close to what I want to do.  My heavy experimentation over the past month in Skyrim has narrowed things down fairly well:
  • The majority of combat should be toe-to-toe melee.  This will address my initial dissatisfaction at dispatching whole forts worth of enemies before they can even see me, as my first archery-based character did.  My recent experience with an indirect combat character (who keeps out of combat with illusion and conjuration) showed I don't want to do that, either.
  • Armor does not matter.  Heavy and light armor both will hit the armor cap by end game.  No armor at all works fine for characters who are able to avoid getting entangled in melee combat but, considering I'm choosing to go toe-to-toe, I'm best off wearing something.
  • The three forms of melee combat each have their ups and downs.  One-handed and shield is best, defensively, and permits the widest range of enchantment potential, but is sort of boring in the ease of survival and the slower speed of dispatching foes.  Wielding two one-handed weapons is the weakest defensively but strongest offensively, you simply wear down foes with a 135% attack rate once you've picked up both the Dual Flurry perks.  Two-handed melee offers an interesting medium, as they can block (unlike dual-wielded weapons) and offer a base damage increase over one-handed that only widens as end game skills, perks, enchantments, and potions come into play.  However, this comes at a cost of the slowest swing speed, which can be offset somewhat by a certain dragon shout.
  • I've played all the magic schools up to at least expert level spells, and can say safely enough that only conjuration is massively powerful in the end game.  Illusion is largely a stalling tactic that is rendered unnecessary if you can kill things immediately.  Destruction is just another way of doing damage - all damage types can stagger reliably.  Alteration has its uses, but feels tertiary to me.  Restoration would be more useful if there was not already ample damage mitigation and healing potions to be found.
  • Aside from sneak attacks and archery, the thief skills have little bearing in combat effectiveness.
So what choice is left, really?  All my characters are basically just a means of doing damage (archery, one-handed, two-handed, or destruction) plus a means of damage mitigation (light armor, heavy armor, illusion, optionally block), and everything else is just fun little frills.  Little wonder I decided to go for a "concept" character, it's really the only way I have a chance.

Put enough time into a single character, and does it even matter which way I go?  The first 30 levels are spent maxing out your preferred means of winning combat.  Then, you can pretty much max out all the other skills at your leisure.

The Ponies

Season 3 of Friendship Is Magic debuts this weekend.  I'm working on revisiting all of Season 2 before then, just to get a good feeling for the show and how it's changed as of the new season.  Considering how heavily I'm over-thinking my gaming, to simply lay down and watch a family-friendly cartoon is soothing to the nerves.
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