Archive for July, 2012

TOR could spell the end of gaming for me as I know it …

July 31, 2012

So, I’m up to level 32 and going on level 33 on my Sith Juggernaut (who’ll flatten you) and am looking forward to finishing his story. But since I am almost done, I’ve started thinking about what I’ll do when Ji’ark ends his run, and right now what I’d like to do is:

– Do a Michael Garibaldi ex-pat as a Gunslinger.

– Do a Galen ex-pat as a Sith Inquisitor/Sorcerer

– Do either my Corran Horn ex-pat or a Jeffrey Sinclair ex-pat.

– Finish my Imperial agent.

– Do the other of Horn or Sinclair

Since it’ll take me at least a couple of months if not longer to do one of these, depending on when I play, if I only play these this could keep me busy for about the next year or so. When will I play all the other games I’m supposed to be playing [grin]?

Ji’ark Diary: Unexpected

July 30, 2012

So, at last, we returned to Nar Shadaa to retrieve the relic and return it to Twi’lek hands. Before doing so, we met with Vette’s old group, and the leader — clearly taking on a big sister role for Vette — seemed to scrutinize my and my intentions deeply. Of course, I myself am not certain what my intentions are, and so there was little for her to read, and yet I could not escape the conclusion that she knew more than she should … things that Vette seemed utterly oblivious to and that I, perhaps, didn’t even know myself.

At any rate, the contact was overconfident and totally unprepared to face a Sith Lord. Retrieving the artifact was an easy task, and it was returned to her companions so that they might return it to its rightful home. Which I approved of; there is an order to things.

After this, we were invited to celebrate its return with them, which I did. It was fun, although many of their stories were not really my sort of humour. But there was a nice, easy camaraderie to them, formed from long assocation and a loyalty built on trust, on knowing that each of them would put their lives on the line for the other. This is the sort of loyalty that I want to build among my crewmembers, and that I hope I have been able to convey so far.

After, Vette was — as expected — invited to return to the group, and I left the choice completely up to her. No threats, no manipulation, just a simple choice. And she decided … to stay. She said that she felt she had a thing going on here, and wanted to see it through, which is a rather vague reason. I suspect that she herself doesn’t realize why she is staying. However, at this point I’m not overly concerned. I’m happy that she is staying, and that we might see all of this through together. After that … who knows?

Ji’ark Diary: Rationalization

July 28, 2012

Vette had asked me to help her retrieve a relic that she felt should be back in Twilek hands, but I felt that I needed her to complete my mission with the Jedi padawan, and so promised to do it later. She, it seems, understood, and was willing to wait. However, as I spent my time on Tatooine I started to wonder if I was really being honest with myself over this. Did I really need her for this mission? Quinn is a very competent combat officer, and so I’m certain that he could fill her role reasonably well. While I would need some help, did I really need her help? Probably not.

But I fully expect Vette to leave with her friends … no, her family once they reunite. And I will miss her. I like having her around, I enjoy her company, and I don’t want to lose that. And because of that, I rationalized my decision to not meet up with her compatriots, justifying it as being for my mission. Instead of facing my fear of losing her, I instead let it rule me, let it push me into doing what it is not fair for Vette to do.

And so, I will face my fear. I will return to Nar Shadaa and I will retrieve this relic for her, help her return it to her family, and let her go on her way if she wishes.

And I will miss her.

I’m Cured!

July 27, 2012

The latest Not-So-Casual Commentary is up.

Level 30 on Ji’ark. Maybe I’ll hit level 50 with him …

Ji’ark Diary: Jedi

July 27, 2012

I had not had much experience with Jedi, other than directly in battle, and so there was always a little doubt that my assessment of the order and their philosophies was correct. But after tracking down Master Yonlach, I am now convinced that both the Jedi way and the Sith way are massively flawed.

Now, as a Sith, I would of course expect that Yonlach would be skeptical that I had any intentions towards the young padawan beyond simply killing her and ending her threat. But he did not express skepticism, but arrogance, a complete confidence that I had no interest in talking to her at all. He set up a test and a combat that was, essentially, two against one, a far cry against the fairness that Jedi espoused. He did this by simply paralyzing Vette and leaving her to watch. When his compatriot Yun-Li would give me the information to spare his Master’s life, Yonlach was again peremptory, shutting his off as well so that he could not. And then he was ultimately shocked when I refused to kill him, but simply told him to deliver my message.

Both the Sith and the Jedi want to control emotions. The Jedi do it by suppressing them, refusing to even acknowledge them. However, this does not eliminate their influence, and do not allow them to control their emotions. Instead, for the Jedi these emotions underpin their actions, and thus still control them; they spend much of their time rationalizing the actions that their emotions are suggesting as if it was a dispassionate consideration. But it is not. Yonlach was concerned about the padawan. He liked the padawan, and wanted to ensure her safety at any cost, and he justified that cost as being for the greater good, as if it was a rational decision. But it was, in fact, a rationalized decision. By suppressing rather than confronting their emotions, they blind themselves to the influence their emotions have on them, and thus let them guide their decisions in ways they simply do not realize. If Yonlach had not been following his unexpressed emotions, he surely would have had a better read on my intent than he did, nor would he have acted so egregiously against Vette and Yun-Li.

The Sith, on the other hand, revel in their emotions, claiming to use them as tools for their own power. But this is merely them giving in to all the demands of their emotions and claiming that that is what they really should do. There is little rationalization because the emotions are considered to be the be-all-and-end-all of all that matters. And so, again, while they claim to harness their emotions to their own ends they allow their ends to be what their emotions dictate them to be. And so they as well are controlled by their emotions.

Looking at the flaws of both, it seems to me that the key is to control your emotions and not let them control you. Only then can one do what needs to be done, and that is what I must strive for.

Ji’ark Diary: Walking

July 26, 2012

Arriving on Tatooine, the harsh desert called to me, demanding to be explored. Unlike some of the others who decided to get their speeder licenses and use various pods and the like to move around on it as they did the bidding of the Empire, I eschewed such trappings. Other than using the normal taxi and shuttle services as required, I instead spent my time treading over the surface of Tatooine and its forbidding desert wastes. Such is the proper way to travel, to walk and experience everything as you go, to test yourself against the harshest conditions possible, and to improve one’s physcial prowess through vigourous exercise.

After doing so, I felt completely and totally invigorated. It was well-worth the extra effort and time, and gave me a real connection both to the planet and to myself.

And I’m certain that Vette, who accompanied me, felt exactly the same way, despire her constant wistful gazes at those who had speeders, her comments about heat stroke, exhaustion, and sunburn, her glares at me as I strode purposefully over the desert, her constantly talking about needing a long bath, and her expression of hatred for Tatooine in general. I’m sure that those were just comments meant to avoid having to admit that this was a great idea and not the really stupid one she said it would be when I proposed it.

Somebody stop me …

July 25, 2012

Okay, so I went into “The Source” looking for a USB drive. I passed their bargain bin. I saw L.A. Noire in there for $10. I bought it.

Add one more game to the list of games for me to finish along with The Old Republic. Yes, I know it’s hard to say that you’ve finished an MMO, but finishing the character arc with one character should count, and I’m up to level 30ish already and so well on my way.

The list was started to give me a push and track how well I was doing playing and finishing these games, but it keeps growing and growing. And part of that is me wandering into stores that sell games and coming out with stuff that’s cheap so worth trying, if I ever get around to it. This is becoming a trend, and it all started the day I wandered into Best Buy and came out with a whole bunch of old TV shows on DVD that were cheap and that I wanted to watch. It’s getting so that I can’t go into these places or else I’ll come out with a lot of stuff that I might never use.

Well, with it being cheap it doesn’t really blow my budget or anything, and I’m sure that someday I’ll find the time to sit down and watch and play them. Right?

Ji’ark Diary: Turning

July 25, 2012

Darth Barras has sent me to eliminate Nomen Karr’s apprentice. However, I suggested that she might possibly be turned. He agreed, assuming that I meant to turn her to the dark side. But that is not what I intend to turn her to.

Instead, I intend to turn her to my side, whatever that is. I am more convinced than ever that the Empire cannot survive if it allows the Sith philosophy to guide it. The Sith philosophy cannot sustain a stable and orderly society, as it demands too much competition while not allowing the freedom that would allow for peaceful competition. The Sith compete for everything, and think that killing is the only way to settle such competitions. The Sith must either change that philosophy, or accept that they will always remain in small numbers, at a competitive disadvantage to outside sources.

In my view, the inability of the Jedi to see the use of proper passion and competition is also wearing down the Republic. By denying desire and competition, they allow themselves to be corrupted by it. At least the Sith openly acknowledge competition and passion, even if they allow it to rule them far too much.

This is what leads me to believe that there is a third way, a middle way, and that is what I wish to explore with this Padawan, if she will allow me. It should be an … interesting conversation.

Ji’ark Diary: Loyalty

July 24, 2012

When I commented in my entry about how keeping your word can protect you, I wasn’t thinking that if you are simply nice to people and treat them fairly, that you would never have to worry about any attacks on you or your power. That, of course, would be naive, and I am not naive. There will always be threats. But the goal of being honourable and keeping your word is to limit those attacks, to make it so that one can recruit people who will at least require a great motivation to betray you.

That is what keeping your word allows. For those who are only interested in rewards and their own benefit, it forces the choice between certain rewards and uncertain rewards that might be greater. Of course, there will be some who will choose the uncertain but greater rewards, but at least it drives the price up. For those who actually do have honour, they will remain loyal and honour their commitments … unless you give them reason to abandon them. Such as, for example, not keeping your own commitments. And those who serve out of fear will still do so as long as you can command enough respect to still instill that fear in them … and since you always live up to your agreements, their fear is not random, nor need they fear being executed just for sport.

Those Sith Lords who are not honourable can only compel through fear or by appealing to interests. But, for the most part, these things do not, in fact, promote loyalty. As soon as someone comes along that they fear more or who can offer more interests, these Sith Lords’ “loyal retainers” will quickly abandon them … usually at the worst possible moment. And that is when they die.

If I am going to die, I would rather die honourably, as the person I am, than cut down because I couldn’t pay enough to prevent it.

I don’t get it …

July 23, 2012

Stephanie Zvan over at Almost Diamonds is talking about a comment made by someone on a post that right now I can’t read because the site keeps timing out. Anyway, this is it, from her post:

Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?

Post by Pappa » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:46 am

Not for sexual gratification or power or anything like that, just because they’re so annoying.

I’m really torn on this one. :dunno:

This is the sort of comment that, basically, I roll my eyes at and ignore, and likely start to think about ignoring the commenter as well. I don’t really say much about it or often bother to reply to it. I would, as you’ve seen, certainly comment on other comments and I think Zvan would like to ask why:

…think about what it means to be one of the people telling the Skepchicks they just need to stop whining about the situation in which the last year has placed them. Think about what it means to be someone who tells the Skepchicks–not the kind of assholes who make this sort of “joke”–that they need to shut up. Then drown any impulse along those lines you might find yourself having in a shallow bath and count that as your contribution for the day toward making the world a little better.

And the reason is … I don’t take that sort of comment seriously. No, I dont mean in the “I don’t think it would really happen” way or that “It’s just harmless fun” way, but to me there’s absolutely no academic content. There’s nothing to talk about there; it seems to be nothing more than a simple, random, idiotic comment. And so no one should take it seriously; it’s saying nothing. And everyone should see that, right?

But for some of these comments that I consider egregious, some people might actually take it seriously, and agree with it, which I can’t really fathom. Why would anyone think that saying that it’s even debatable whether these women should be raped for being annoying is in any way a reasonable argument that someone should take seriously? It’s obvious … isn’t it? But it seems to me that a lot of these comments go over my head not because I’m too misogynist to get it, but because I’m too egalitarian. I don’t think of men and woman as being unequal. I am perfectly willing to work with either as long as they can do the job. As far as I know, I treat them identically; I don’t talk down to women more than I talk down to men. For me, it’s literally “Just the facts”; I’m interested in the arguments, not the person (well, okay, I’m interested in women for other things, although having good arguments does appeal to me [grin]).

So when people introduce these racial or sexual differences, they tend to strike me as being obviously unfounded, and that everyone should see it. And so I’m more likely to attack people to defend them — even by reinterpreting them — than the original commenter, and it’s also why I let them slide. I think they’re just obviously wrong and want to get at the points that are respectable. I don’t get what this comment is supposed to do for the issue, and so don’t really care about it. I guess I treat it more as being mean than as being intelligent, and I’m only interested in the intelligent stuff.

Which may be why I’m an accommodationist.

To be honest, I don’t really have a main point with this; I don’t really know what this all means. Make something up if you really need one, I guess.