Saturday, April 19, 2014

An Addictive Personality Manifests in Many Ways

I'm going to go ahead and say I've "won."


Back to my primary addiction.

79 comments:

  1. But where's the GIMLET?

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    1. 0 points for game world
      0 points for character creation and development
      0 points for NPCs
      0 points for encounters and foes
      1 point for combat. It takes some imagination, but you can regard the tiles smashing together as such.
      0 points for equipment
      0 points for economy
      1 point for quests. It's not much, but I always like a game that lets you keep playing after the main objective is achieved.
      3 points for graphics, sound, and interface. You couldn't ask for an easier interface.
      3 points for gameplay. It's extremely replayable.

      That gives us a grand total of 8. It's officially the worst RPG I've ever played--but only by 2 points.

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    2. So, if you went and added some sort of powerful the first time you hit a new level of block, say one that turned some or all 2s into 4s, you'd then have an inventory.

      Then add some cutscenes like in Puzzle Quest.

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    3. This shit needs some cool back-story.

      "Long time ago, a young Vector-Paladin by the name of Hex was called upon by the PrimeLord of The Universal Order to perform a seemingly endless and daunting task.

      'Young Hex...', the PrimeLord said, his frail yet regal frame sat atop a black-silver throne of memory-carbonium, shifting towards the young initiate, 'you have learned most of what our Order has taught and I am pleased.'

      Hex bowed humbly and kept his gaze on the floor for the list of his trials to come.

      'Unlike what is expected of the Matrix-Knights who are tasked with slaying dragons and saving damsels-in-distress, Vector-Paladins are destined to engage in challenges of a less menial and more cranial nature, which you well know from the nightly calculus duelings and daily logarithmic exercises... of course, the cheetos and Mountain Dew as well.'

      Hex, fought the urge to shuffle his feet as he was reminded of his gut being shoved unceremoniously and uncomfortably into his chainmail garter.

      'Your time has come, young Hex. Time... to prove that you, yes, you... you whom had shown much promise... that only you can reach the mystical and beautiful figure of 2048 and beyond. Go where no one has gone before, live, and come back to us with your insights... not as a mere Vector-Paladin, no, not as PrimeLord, you little sonofabitch... but as... a f*cking addict.'"

      Delete
  2. What... the...?

    I did a search on "Gabriele" plus "Cirulli", and found what I *think* is the home site for whatever the heck this smartphone game is (apparently it's called "2048').

    The website warns that there are numerous 2048 derivatives and fakes out there, too. Poor Gabriele. If anyone out there is playing along with the Addict, please make sure you get the real app.

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    1. Actually, 2048 is the ripoff. He cloned someone else's game within a few days of its release and made a killing, unfortunately, while the original game fell into obscurity.

      http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/28/5557840/threes-creators-express-puzzlement-sadness-over-2048-and-rampant

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    2. I believe that warning was given because some of the "apps" out there are malicious, or charged for, neither of which applies to 2048. But in no way did he "make a killing" -- 2048 is completely free, and moreover he made the source available which is why there are so many variants around (my personal favourite being the 4D version, with the Numberwang one a close second).

      The creators of Threes are understandably disappointed that 2048 has taken off in a way that Threes did not. My personal opinion is that 2048 is rightly the more popular game, precisely because of the differences that the Threes creators single out as making their game "better". Namely, Threes requires a lot more strategy and thought in order to do well, and is not susceptible to the corner-piling strategy that 2048 is. Threes is a game with more depth as a result, but 2048 is much better for casual enjoyment.

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    3. Cirulli has a "donate" button, so it's probably he's made some money off the game (though maybe just enough to cover his hosting fees given the game's popularity), but Geoff is otherwise right. He also didn't rip off Threes directly, but rather an existing copy called 1024.

      When you look at Threes, it looks like it SHOULD be a more interesting and challenging game, but I've yet to find a single person who prefers it to 2048. Maybe just because it's not free.

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  3. Hehe, I've played and still occasionally play that one. Even though I think that I know the trick, I only managed to win once. Googling 2048 should find this game.
    In related news, just 5 minutes ago I defeated the Exile, formerly known as Joneleth, for the first time. Summoning pets (and devas) apparently is a bit overpowered. I even defeated the demi-lich Kangaxx in the laziest way possible: by repeatedly summoning monsters close to him. With a cleric, a druid and two mages Kangaxx was too busy imprisoning them. It almost felt like cheating. Well, now it's on to chapter 8.

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    1. Congratulations. I agree about summoning. The enemy spellcaster AI in the game is very bad. They all cast their most powerful spells, in descending order, the moment they see an enemy, so if you just sit out of sight and send in summoned creatures one by one, they'll suffer all the destruction. Once you see "Melf's Acid Arrow" hitting your allies, you know it's time to charge in and pound them. By then, their buffing and protection spells have probably worn off, too.

      Still, my recollection is that Kangaxx is capable of "imprisoning" as an ability rather than a spell, which makes him almost impossible unless you have a "Protection from Magic" scroll, of which there are only a couple in the game. Is that right?

      Are you going right to Throne of Bhaal?

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    2. I've never actually played ToB, despite owning it since it came out.

      The one-by-one summoned monster cheese remains one of my favourites to this day. The bit I don't like is that when you rest, enemy wizards don't replenish spells. Kangaxx does have infinite imprisons, but I think he targets whatever is closest, I also think some of the high-level summons (like the deva) are magic resistant.

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    3. Well, I fought him down in his ordinary form and then simply left the room during the transition. I had already failed to beat the demi-lich a couple of times so I thought I better wait until my party is more powerful. So I returned to him just before killing Bodhi (and finish the main quest) and he was sitting in front of the sarcophagus ready to announce how powerful he has now become. I had checked the internet in the meantime. Someone said that he has 15 imprisonment spells, but I don't know about that. Other things they said on the internet (Cleric with Sunfire, Keldorn with Carsomyr, spell immunity, these scrolls) didn't work for me, so I don't know how correct they were. In the end, I "only" needed hasted charcacters with +4 weapons, a couple of monster summoning spells, the horn of cerberus and the other horn that summons a warrior. He went down without me losing a single hitpoint.
      Yes, I have started ToB. Since I definitely want to play through Watcher's Keep I guess that it's going to keep me occupied a while.

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  4. This exact same thing happened to the person who sits to my right. He counted himself as one when he is 2048, left it for weeks.

    Then one of his friends got to 8192 and well....
    I think he is back to not playing once he beat his friend though.

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    1. Oh, that burns me. Do you see how close I was to 8192? Technically, the tiles on the screen were enough; the arrangement just got all messed up at the end.

      I'm NOT playing it any more. I'm NOT.

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    2. Damn it, Canageek.
      If we never here from Chet again, I think we know who to blame.

      Delete
  5. It's such a shame that this clone of "Threes" is more well-known than Threes itself.

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  6. Ouch, so close! I had a similar game where I had the 4096 and a 2048, but not as close as yours! It is such a simple yet addictive game.

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  7. The real question:

    Do you spam up left to begin, or down right?

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  8. You have a move left..... :-)

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    1. Yeah, the screen you get at "game over" looks ugly, so I decided to take the shot when I saw that I was only one move from losing.

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    2. At least three more, but the end is definitely nigh: press left, then the 2s become 4 and the two 8s are vertical neighbors. Then press up and the 4s become 8 and the 8s become 16. Then press up and the 8s in the left column becomes a 16. I guess it might be possible, depending on where the new blocks spawn, that the two 16s can become 32s and then there are two 32s that can become 64s. But then that's definitely the end because the only 128 is two blocks away from the 64.

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    3. I'm pretty sure I went right and it was only one more.

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    4. Yeah, press left, not right. But it's just another dead end and it starts to look really ugly.

      Delete
  9. It has stat building but its unclear what this stat actually does, other than inflating the player's ego.there are no npcs or role playing choices.

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  10. Hey Chet, I found some software you might like: Grid Cartographer 2, mapmaking software. LIke what you do in Excel, but looks better. http://www.davidwaltersdevelopment.com/tools/gridcart/

    Had it saved for 4 months since I saw it in the reddit thread http://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/1tbrmg/i_asked_the_creator_of_grid_cartographer_if_hed/ but insisted I not bug you with it until I caught up on your blog, so it has been sitting open in my tab list, telling me to make time to catch up.....

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    1. I appreciate the thought. Maybe some other people will see this and like it. For me, it solves a problem I don't have. I really like my Excel-based approach.

      Delete
  11. There is also variation called Fe[26]

    http://newbrict.github.io/Fe26/

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    1. What an interesting little game. At first I just mashed tiles together, with no goal or method, while thinking to myself "this is too easy, everything combines with everything". Then, after a while, I started to notice the increasing number of Magnesium[24] tiles that didn't seem to combine with anything. That's when I bothered to examine the Fusion Guide below the game, and realized Magnesium[24] is a dead end. And then the true scope of the game showed itself: you aren't just trying to combine every tile all the time, because that'll lead you to Magnesium[24] and, eventually, to a failed state. There's a bit of strategy and luck involved, and the tricky part is to be able to combine two Oxygen[16] tiles to get Silicon[28] while avoiding to combine the Oxygen[16] with the all-too-common Helium[4]. At that point the game has been virtually won, more or less, because you just have to keep adding Helium[4] until you get to Nickel[56] and wait until it decays to Iron[56] and victory.

      http://imgur.com/Nhlsa1T

      In the meantime, I've actually learned some stuff, like understanding why the percentage of iron or other metals is so low inside stars. Thanks for the link, Teknefer Keterfet.

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Here's another one that has displayed enough intelligence to beat Captcha. F*ckin' robots trying to take over the world...

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    2. Wait... I failed my first input attempt on Captcha? What, I'm dumber than a goddamn robot now?

      Delete
    3. I'm dyslexic and if they have letters or words I almost always fail them three or four times before I get them right. I really hate them. I often don't comment because I don't want to deal with them.

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    4. This is why Captcha is largley worthless (not to mentionannoying too!)

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    5. I used to deal with captcha-s on LJ for big active posts so much that it became almost second nature to fill 'em in. We used to collect the funny ones.

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    6. I'm not convinced it isn't someone manually logging in and pasting the comment.

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    7. And I don't think Captcha is largely worthless. Some things get past it, but I get easily three- to four times the amount of spam if I turn it off.

      Delete
  13. I won! Hey, it's the first game that I played along with you so give me my thirty seconds to be pleased...

    It's been a few days without a post. I hope all is well in the Addict's world and that you have been eaten by neither tunnels, nor trolls.

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    1. I just can't seem to find time to post and play these last few weeks. Usually, I end up "finding" the time even at the expense of my real work, which suffers, but since early April, I've been too busy even for that.

      Now I've been out of T&T: CoK so long that I probably need to restart, and I'm no closer to figuring out how to reach the end of E:A. When I do re-boot, it'll probably be with a new game just to prime the pump.

      Delete
    2. I still think you should reach out to Ken St. Andre when you do find time.

      Also that we need to clone you, so we can have you doing work AND playing games at the same time.
      Wait, then you'd need two jobs.
      hmmmm. OK. So we do a radical cloning and surgery and turn you into an Ettin-like monstrosity with two heads.....

      Delete
    3. I still maintain the opinion that this blog needs a Donate button somewhere.

      I've spent a lot of money on video games over the years and with very few exceptions none of them have been nearly as entertaining as this blog. Given how much work doing all this must be, I personally would be perfectly okay with throwing some money your way. Time is money, right?

      Oh, and Ettins traditionally have only two arms. We would need two heads and four arms to work two computers. I think cloning is the best bet here.

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    4. How about if we cross a Girallon and an Ettin..?

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    5. Option A: Train him use use a corded keyboard where caps lock swaps left and right side (idea from XKCD)

      Option B: Morblot's idea

      Option C I simply call the "Doc Oct"

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    6. Once we hit more modern games I suspect people will be able to help Chet out by buying him Steam games, or whatever service has replaced it.

      Delete
    7. I don't know how much Chet makes in his line of work, but I'm pretty sure we could potentially supplant his income if 1000 of us signed up to pay $15 a month for him to dedicate full time to this endeavor. Although, I may be greatly underestimating his worth since I'm not really sure what all he does for his day job.

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    8. Calling forth the Avatar of Nezha!

      http://photocdn.sohu.com/20100402/Img271292356.jpg

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    9. Zenic: I think you might be vastly overestimating how much some of us make....

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    10. I can cover your $15, Canageek. ;)

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    11. Canageek: Judging from Zenic's reply, I think you might be vastly underestimating how much some of us (me excluded) make....

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    12. I doubt this blog has 1,000 readers that would contribute monetarily, I'd say the amount of readers that would donate is probably 5% of the subscribed readers, say twenty or so, plus maybe another ten readers who simply have the blog bookmarked instead of following it via Blogger.

      So 30 readers times $15 (an optimistic amount honestly) would be $450 a month. It won't pay the bills, but that's not an unhealthy amount.

      I dunno. I brought it up because I believe hard work should be rewarded in some way. This certainly has been work and work well done at that.

      Plus I can't see the Google Ads anyway, due to my HOSTS file squashing them out.

      Delete
    13. I'd say he should use Patreon instead. Then we can have a standard donation every time he completes a game or something like that. Although I haven't actually supported anyone through Patreon yet I really like the concept.

      Delete
    14. Matt Barton (of "Matt Chat" and "Dungeons and Desktops" fame) is an example of someone who uses Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/blacklily8

      He currently $259 for each video he posts.

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    15. I appreciate the discussion, but there's a couple reasons this isn't going to happen. First, my "real" work is important, and I wouldn't want to substitute it for even MORE game-playing. Second--and no disrespect to the other bloggers; it's just personal preference--putting up a "Donate" button just seems cheesy. If I ever get a book together, I'll be happy to offer it for sale for anyone who wants to contribute money, but until then, things are going to continue as they are.

      Delete
    16. I just hit January 2013 and was thinking Patreon during those comments. I would be willing to put money in on not the "donate fund" but the "take the wife out for dinner from the readers fund" button :)

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    17. I had a brainstorm for funny things he could offer: He could tell you if one character was in his real name or not. Limitation: You can't guess English letters. So I'm seeing at the bottom of the post: "No, my real name does not contain the symbol @, the Greek letter pi or whatever the heck Canageek sent me this week." Me: "It's a pilcrow!"

      Delete
  14. Might and Magic 3: Isles of Terra is coming soon, right? I don't think I saw it in the upcoming games, but I heard it was a 1991 game in a retrospective on Hardcore Gaming 101. I'd recommend it to you, but it has spoilers ahoy. Wait... Aren't we going in alphabetical order by year, and T&T is a "C" game? Darn it. I don't know if my favorite thing about this blog is how you get to see all sorts of games that slipped through the cracks of history, or how you revaluate the ones that everybody does remember.

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    1. I don't go alphabetical by year. I basically choose a random game from the current year when a slot opens up on my list. But we still have a lot of 1990 left.

      Delete
  15. After reading this blog for a quite a long time I've gotten a feeling that not all RPG's are meant to be passed just progress as far as you can, live the experience and then move along.

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  16. Hey Chet, I randomly googled Wizardry II today and came upon an LP of some guy who beat Wizardry II using all level 1 characters. You think it's legit and if so what kind of achievement is that?

    http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=34746.0

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    1. I thought you meant he FINISHED the game at Level 1.

      It's certainly an achievement, though not as impossible as it sounds, I suppose. You'd have to get lucky with the first few encounters or with your "retreat" option, but as I noted in my own post, the Level 1 spell KATINO ("sleep") works on high-level monsters. If you were lucky enough to defeat the first few parties and get your characters to Levels 3-4, things would stabilize pretty quickly. You'd have to get up to a high enough level to cast MALOR on dungeon level 1 (I think that would be character level 15) before moving on, at which point, as I mentioned, the game isn't that hard.

      Delete
    2. In my own post on W2, I said, "If played 'straight,'" a party slain in Wizardry II was permanently dead and the player--I'm completely serious--would have to win the first Wizardry again (or at least build up the characters to high enough levels in that game) before trying again in II."

      Clearly, I was a bit wrong about that. I maintain that it would be easier, and safer, to do your grinding in W1 before importing the characters to W2, but it's not impossible to achieve success starting at Level 1 in W2.

      Delete
  17. Since Chet is away, let's talk magic systems in games.

    I have been thinking about a usefulness rating for magic in CRPGS. In the last couple of months, I've played through a bunch of the games on Chet's Top 20 list and I realized that many of the magic systems are just broken.

    Take Ultima 4, for example. Lots of spells, carefully described, but you only need 3 or 4 of them to beat the game. Ultima 5 needs more, but still a small fraction of the whole.

    The Gold Box games are perhaps the worst case where you have so few spell slots and yet a number of the spells simply have no function in the game except that they copy an AD&D rulebook designed for a tabletop experience.

    Hero's Quest is probably the gold-standard in that all of its spells are useful in game-- and yet there are so few of them.

    What is an ideal ratio between spells that are useful in a game, spells that are helpful but not required, and spells that simply exist for decoration? Do you like games to have massive libraries of spells or smaller numbers?

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    1. I'd say I prefer a large library of spells, but only if they do something in the game. Ultima 5 may have had a lot of spells that were not required to beat the game, but they all did something interesting. On the other hand, the Gold Box games have a lot of spells, but also lack any sort of environmental interaction, so there is no opportunity for less-utilized spells to have any function outside of combat, so they remain pointless.

      Quest for Glory's magic system makes playing a magic-user seem more like playing a 'trickster' who has a small repertoire of spells to change his environment in very specific (and mostly small) ways to achieve his goal. The spell library grew as the series went on, but it was easily managed, with the exception of QFG5 where everything was pretty much a mess except for the music.

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    2. Shin Megami Tensei and the spinoff Persona do spells well: There are a lot, and you need all of them. You also need to learn exactly who is strong and weak to them.

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    3. I enjoy exploring a large spell selection, but many games fall into common pitfalls:

      - Improvements to ranged damage spells increase only damage without additional properties cause low level spells to fall into disuse.
      - Debuffs and other spells that miss (wasting a turn) will often go unused.
      - Situational spells that are quickly forgotten as they go unused most of the time.

      Add in a limiting factor to spell use or selection, and it's just easier to bank on (less risky) guaranteed damage or healing.

      Quest for Glory did something a bit different by having no healing spell, and a damage spell that's outclassed by just swinging the dagger. Add to that the slow recovery of MP, and the need to solve puzzles with spells, then you have the player saving spell points for the puzzles.

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    4. BG2/NWN have a ton of spells, and there are interesting tradeoffs at most levels.

      Delete
    5. Just one point, the Gold Box games were designed so you could take your character out of the video games and use them in the pen and paper games.
      As far as magic in video games, I don't think there should be a number, I think magic needs to be used as another tool set with which to interact with the world. More the way the Jedi use it in the Star Wars universe. Throwing switched, closing doors, putting up shields, etc.. some of this could be psionic and some elemental, with specialty magics like Necromancy and Healing. To often in video games it is just a combat tool, or it replaces things other classes do, like lockpicking.

      Delete
    6. VTM: Bloodlines did it very well with their Vampire Disciplines (to me, that is) as well.

      I don't need a huge repertoire but I love variations and creative usage on each power/spell. For instance, the "Hold Person" spell could also double as a pressure plate trigger (by pushing the affected victim onto the plate) if you do not have a "Create Rock" spell at hand. A "Prismatic Spray" could be used to trigger crystal switches that are powered by bright lights.

      Delete
    7. I like it when you have a few spells you can focus on, but lots of scrolls and things, so when you get down a bit and need to fall back on items you are forced to experiment with new spells that might not be optimal, but you have to force them to work.

      For example, in Icewind Dale I hit this one fight with the rolls that I couldn't handle, so I looked at my scolls and fournd a skull trap, a glyph and a bunch of buffs, sent my rogue down, got the trolls to notice her, then she ran away while my casters dumped all the traps into that hallway. BAM, crispy troll. Not something I would normally do, but I love it when a game forces me to work with what I have, not what I want.

      As a side note, this is also how FPS and action games should work. Using the same, best, gun all the time is boring. Running out of ammo and having to use a flame thrower or gravity gun or something is interesting. Call of Duty and Halo both fail at this.

      Delete
    8. Also: I think the D&D system forces low level spells to stay relevant. You can't spend 2 first-level spells to get a second, so when you are out of 2nd level spells you have to use the 1st level ones, and so on. Therefore as damage for that level gets outdated I'm more likely to use buffs and environmental effects that stiff help at higher levels.

      Also I'd totally write an RPG with an overcharge system, were you could put more mana into a spell to having it do more, so you only have one attack spell, but as you level up can put more mana into it to do more damage. Then you can spend more time on spells that do other things.

      Delete
    9. Shadow Hearts had an interesting system: There were separate special powers and magic. Magic was conventional, but special powers used special points. Should a character run out of special points, he would go crazy, become uncontrollable and lose all his experience for that battle. It also leads to awesome fucked up music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If2pXI5mKbA

      Delete
  18. Chet certainly deserves a break from gaming and posting. I hope it's not completely filled with work.

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    1. If you look at his posting history, this seems to happen in April/May pretty much every year.

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    2. Yeah, it's the start of the financial year. So...

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    3. I don't reveal what I do for a living for privacy reasons, but I would never want anyone to think I do something as pedestrian as accounting. Anonymous is right--this does happen in April/May pretty much every year--but I honestly don't know how to explain it. If my workload balloons in those months, it's not for any consistent reason.

      Delete
    4. It is pretty obvious what you do for a living Chet: Spring is when the seas become safe and the winter backlog of goods are shipped.

      Prime piracy season!

      The real reason that Chet isn't here this time of year is that he is gripping a rope, dagger clenched in his teeth, ready to swing onto a Spanish galleon!

      Delete
    5. @Canageek:
      I see. So that's why he played Pirates! even though it's not really an RPG.

      Delete
  19. So, we've talked about what to do when Chet reaches the MUD era a few times. I found at least one he can review: Specifically the first one. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/02/mud1_open_source_release/

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  20. Hope to see you back soon Chet. Your blog is a big inspiration to me and a fantastic read!

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    1. The best blog on the internet. Almost one month without a post. I miss him :(

      Delete

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