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Oct

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About Oct

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    Alorael
  • Birthday 06/20/1949

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    Male
  • Location
    Elsewhere
  • Interests
    Skribbane and sniping pedestrians.

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  1. Neither of those are tests, exactly. I will be taking boards, the 9 hour marathon test that says I'm a doctor. Well, no, I already have an MD, but boards let me be an independent doctor. Well, not that either, because I've already been independently licensed for a couple of years. So, uh, it lets me say I'm boarded. That's good, I think. —Alorael, who has only two things to lose by failing. The lesser is the financial cost of having to sign up and take this thing again. The greater is the emotional toll of having to sign up and take this thing again. There's little practical consequence.
  2. Economic Left/Right: -6.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.59 —Alorael, who has been stable over time. He's drifted less than one point on each axis from what he remembers as his position when he first took this test years ago.
  3. It's been a long time, but I recall So You Want to Be a Wizard being a good trilogy that then kept going with extra books that were fine but not quite up to the standards of the initial ones. I'd put the Black Company in that list, too, actually. —Alorael, who has had all non-academic reading on hold recently while cramming for his big test and also trying to get some academic writing done. On the plus side, if all goes well, no more big tests for him for at least a decade!
  4. I think the rise of non-forum social media is the major contributor to the lack of new faces, while the older members have other things going on in our lives, so there's an overall slow trend towards less activity. We'll see if there's a substantial reversal after Queen's Wish is released, even temporarily. I've felt like recent releases haven't created as much General activity as was once the case. People come to ask game questions, if they don't just stick to Facebook, but not to talk about their political leanings or form meme cults. —Alorael, who also thinks it's self-perpetuating. Many people, him included, are more inclined to respond than to initiate discussions. If the first posters (not first reply "FRIST POST!!!" but real beginners of threads) aren't around, nothing gets started and no number of potential participants actually make a discussion in which any can participate.
  5. Multivac Ken Burns 227 chitrachs wearing a human suit King Arthur The Doctor of Doctor Who (any or all) Benjamin Franklin An arbitrary Mind from the Culture Lord Havelock Vetinari Cardinal Richelieu (real or Three Musketeers) —Alorael, who doesn't belong on this list and asks to be omitted.
  6. Oct

    Happy birthday, forums!

    I think we are talking about the same Dark Castle, just not here. —Alorael, who isn't talking about Dark Castle at all, or at least wasn't until just now.
  7. Spiderweb's first Ikonboard first opened on March 24, 2001. Today marks these forums' 18th birthday. We're grownups now, and it's time to put aside childish things and focus on the important stuff, like escaping from caves, fighting tyrannical regimes, and optimizing character builds. —Alorael, who will take a moment to remember some good threads long past and some people, now moved on to pastures with better themes, who are hopefully doing well.
  8. Queen's Wish is actually the origin story of the Empire. —Alorael, who now understands that the Empire isn't only nameless because there's no reason to name the only game in town. It's also because it's named after a PC, and of course there's no way to accommodate all the names. Thus, its eponym is lost in the mists of time and myth.
  9. Just to throw off your groupings, I'm going to say that it didn't really do much for me. I'd say I disliked it more than I liked it, but I didn't hate it. —Alorael, who fears this will simply have him removed from acquaintance pools entirely so as to maintain clarity.
  10. "Fiction" is mostly used to mean "writing" here. Playing a roleplaying game with D&D as the rules set in the Dragonlance world is obviously fiction, but it isn't writing. And that holds up generally: we all know that video games aren't real, but Avernum and Geneforge are rarely described as works of fiction. Even movies usually aren't, exactly, beyond the "all characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious" disclaimer. Fiction just is, without any modification, assumed to mean written literature. —Alorael, who won't go into the possible layers. "The Tearing of the Bodice" in Exile/Avernum 3 is a work of fiction that is, itself, fictional, as it exists only within the fictional universe of Exile/Avernum. Which is a good thing, really, because it sounds abominable.
  11. I think there's a difference between good hub design and bad, or lazy, hub design. In E3/A3, you can go about your business quite freely, and dealing with plagues will get rewards from surface towns, but you also have reason to go back to Anaximander for the big rewards. Which makes sense, since he's nominally your boss and it's worth having some tie to make you remember that you're an Exile/Avernite, not just a random band of adventurers. In Nethergate, you again have a boss, and interestingly a largely open world with a linear plot. You need to check in with your boss to do new things, but again, it's not forced. You can go wherever, and even do many different things, without any return to the hub. Starting in later Geneforges, and even more noticeable in Avadon, the quest hub merges with the gatekeeping function. You have to complete quests to access new quests and also new stuff. The two get inextricably linked, which makes the mechanic of going home, trawling for new quests and content, and then heading out again become, well, mechanical. I think that's much more of a problem than having a hub in the first place. —Alorael, who actually likes the design idea of having places that you return to rather than abandoning all old areas in favor of new ones. Avadon doesn't always do it gracefully, but it does it, and that produces more of a sense of investment in a place (both Avadon itself and the areas you visit and revisit on quests). A home base and a home cast of characters are useful plot elements. They just need to feel like plot more than mechanics or the game loses story and starts feeling like a return to town in Progress Quest.
  12. To me it looks like a medieval map made by people who have inexact measurements and inexact cartographic skills. Quite a few of those are oddly blocky and distorted. —Alorael, who at least doesn't see any forking rivers. The world-building powers that be will brook no bifurcations.
  13. Please don't reply in threads that are six years old! —Alorael, who has no objection to your comment except timing. But the discussion is long over and most of the participants are long gone.
  14. Hi, MagmaDragoon! It's been a long time. Over a decade! Romance in video games was interesting when they first appeared because they were something new to games. Then they became an expected Bioware game element, just another design box to tick off. I would rather not have perfunctory romance put into a game unless it serves a storytelling purpose. A well-told romance can be its own purposes, to be sure, but I don't think that's where Jeff Vogel's inclinations or writing talents lie. —Alorael, who also thinks doing this well requires a lot of words and a lot of contextual changes. That's the kind of thing that's much easier to pull off when you have a stable of full-time writers for your game rather than a one or two person operation putting everything together. Just like Spiderweb can't compete in the pretty graphics space, it probably for surprisingly similar reasons can't compete in the romance space without substantially giving up on the parts of the games that have been the main draw to its games for twice as long as MagmaDragoon has been gone.
  15. Guess who finished his homework! Just kidding. Glad to see you and Aran still here! Kudos from Italy mate.

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