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Juan Carlo

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  1. [[Note: Minor spoilers about Silke] So I'm near the end, close enough to have seen the romance play out, and I found it kind of silly. Silke is barely in the game at all, so you have zero chance to get to know who she is as a character, yet she's supposedly in love with you? It seems kind of tacked on and pointless. If there was going to be a romance they should have had it with one of the main characters so the romance would be a bit more plausible--at least that way you could spend enough time with them that it would make sense why they like eachother. As it is, I just found Silke really annoying. She makes constant demands of you (in fact, she only ever shows up just to ask you to risk your life for something she needs), yet she also plays the love lorn innocent, which I just didn't buy. I wanted to kill her the moment she turned traitor. But I'm an achievement whore, so I kissed her just to get the achievement, but then I reloaded and raised the entire rebel base to the ground. I know the romance was there to try to add drama to the game and make you somewhat more conflicted, but it was so shallow and poorly developed that it actually had the opposite effect on me. Which I think is a major difference in this game. In Avadon 1 the rebels were really sympathetic, to the point that I had a hard time not siding with them. But in A2 they are all pretty awful. And especially now that there's a great evil like the corruption in play, I find it really hard not siding with Avadon (or at least just the pact, anyway) just because there's no way the rebels are organized enough to keep the corruption at bay. I still have the last 2 missions to complete, though, so maybe my alliances will change.
  2. I did it on torment with a melee tank, the tinkermage, and my main character (mage). It works best to have your tank haste your party and have your tinker mage set up an ensnare turret and a frozen turret before you enter the room and trigger the cut scene where you talk to the demon. When you are teleported to the next room with Miranda after the cut scene it will teleport your pre-made turrets along with you, which saves you the two rounds of having to create them once the battles started. Anyhow, you don't have to target Miranda, you just have to survive for several rounds. So ignore Miranda and target the minions that she calls in for each room and try to kill them before you teleport to the next room. Honestly, this fight was pretty hard for me so I ended up using a battle potion on my Mage to get him to regen. A couple health potions too. But if you keep everyone alive past the first round (which is the biggest onslaught and when you tend to die), the rest is pretty easy.
  3. It picks up a bit once you get to the corruption stuff. There's some nice "mouth of Sauron-esque" stuff that I won't blow, but the way the corruption is treated is probably the most interesting thing so far in the game.
  4. Tinkermages seem slightly overpowered to me. You can easily build them into melee tanks with few discernable downsides (provided you have a healer as they can't self heal), or, better yet, a shadowmaster style Dex focused ranged fighter who can stay out of range and dodge. Then you also have the uber-powerful turrets on top of this. It might have been better to make their turret power governed by either Dex or Int. That would probably make them slightly more fragile in combat. Although, I am thinking that since the turrets disappear when he dies I should probably start pumping endurance to give him more longevity. Tinkermages might be the first class in a spiderweb game where it makes sense to focus on endurance since their main means of inflicting damage isn't governed by attributes.
  5. Played through the first few areas. So far it's alot like Avadon 1, only bigger and more. Plus, the beginning is more exciting than the first Avadon, which is nice (the opening hours of Avadon 1 were kind of tedious). So if you like Avadon you'll love this, but if you didn't it probably won't win you over. One thing I noticed, though, with the insta-regen health it's really easy to cheese battles by having one party member run away, regen, then come back. This is probably the same in Avadon 1, but I haven't played Avadon 1 in ages and I've played pretty much every other SW game since then, so it kind of makes it stand out. I didn't remember doing this much in the original, but maybe I've just gotten lazy. Plus, I actually kind of think the 3 party member limit is a fun change of pace. It breaks up the monotony of the usual 2 tanks + priest + mage party structure of the Avernums. It's kind of fun trying different party builds. My main character is a mage so I was rolling with 2 mages + 1 shaman for a while which was kind of crazy. I'm playing torment, but my main character is actually pretty durable for a mage (kind of surprising), which is how I can manage this. But I haven't really gotten to the hard stuff yet. RE: Music I've been listening to alot of Philip Glass' Opera "Akhnaten," Also Arcade Fire's new album, which doesn't fit "Avadon" at all, but I've never cared much about making music I'm listening to fit the games I'm playing.
  6. Depends on where you ask. In certain areas of the internet where more reactionary minded RPG aficionados congregate, bashing Avadon has kind of become just a way of looking cool and hardcore. Avadon's not well liked at places like RPGCodex, but go other places (like the steam forums, or RPS, or PC Gamer forums, etc, etc) and people either tend to be more favorable or offer a much more clear eyed perspective on its positive and negative aspects free from hipster posturing. Personally, I don't think it's anywhere near Spiderweb's best game, but it's also definitely not a bad game. It was the first game of theirs I ever played, so when I first played it I actually liked it a great deal for what it was. It wasn't until I went back and played all their other games that I realized the ways it was lacking in comparison (its linearity, limited scope, relatively limited character build options, etc, etc), but I still think it's a good game with some interesting and challenging boss fights (I do think that Avadon has maybe the best combat design of any SW game...at least when it comes to the "challenge" fights. The trash mobs can get a bit much, but that's true of all their games). Plus, while I don't think its setting is as interesting as Geneforge, I do think it has potential and like its more mundane focus on politics. So I'm really excited to see where things go for Avadon 2. In terms of my impressions of Avadon 2, though, I bought it but haven't started it yet so we'll see.
  7. I almost always turn off music and play my own when playing video games. I don't do it for adventure games or stuff where there's lots of dialogue, obviously, but part of the appeal of playing strategy games or grindy RPGs has always been that it provides an opportunity to listen to music. And in Spiderweb's case especially, I don't see how anyone could stand playing these games for long stretches and hearing the same ambient noises over and over. If I didn't provide my own soundtrack I'd go crazy. Most video game music is awful, though, so unless you can get someone really talented who will do something that's worth listening to in itself, I say don't bother. Lots of big budget RPGs spend tons of money on music and it all usually just ends up sounding like generic, fantasy, epic, pablum.
  8. Germany actually closed that tax loophole a few years back. Boll's still churning out unprofitable films like there's no tomorrow, though, so maybe he found a way around it.
  9. I hope not. I want the first 30 minutes of the film to be nothing but killing giant CGI rats in a basement. Seriously, though, I don't see the point of adapting Avernum. It's too generic and I've always found its plots to be not the reason to play those games. They are adequate as far as RPGs go but not much material there for a movie or TV series. I mean, obviously a good writer could make it interesting, but why bother paying for the rights to the games when you could just as easily set it in "generic fantasy universe number 2,457,876" and achieve the same effect? Its only distinctive or unique trait is that it's set in an underground world of convicts, but I don't think that's distinctive or unique enough to be worth paying for the rights to adapt it (not that the rights would be expensive or anything). Geneforge, on the otherhand, would make an awesome serialized TV show (animated or live action). It's a unique universe with an interesting premise and there's lots of material there to mine for content (slavery, the ethics of creating sentient life, warring factions with distinct philosophical ideas, all the politics you could want). Someone like Ronald Moore (who did the Battlestar Galactica reboot) could do amazing things with a Geneforge TV show. Or, if you want to make an animated show, the people who did "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Alternately, if Jeff ever wants to make 100 million dollars all he has to do is turn Geneforge into a series of young adult novels where a group of teenagers attend a school for shapers and slowly begin to question the ethics of what they doing, eventually becoming entangled in the faction wars/rebellion on various sides (pro or anti shaper). YA novels are huge right now and GEneforge has a brilliant universe within which to set them (with all the hard work of universe building already done in the games, so writing them shouldn't be that difficult). If the book was written at least half way decently publishers would be in a bidding war over it.
  10. I think large demos are more likely a casualty of the rise of digital distribution. Games are so cheap these days that people barely have time to play the games they own, much less massive demos to games they don't own. All a demo really needs to do is demonstrate how the UI and combat work, and then set up the story line just to give people who are curious a sense of how the game plays. I don't think there's really need or demand for massive demos in this day and age as the cheapness of games (especially indie games) has replaced the demo.. Example: a whole boatload of people just bought the entire spiderweb catalog for 5 bucks. I doubt most of them bothered with the demos, just because it's only 5 bucks. If it turns out you hate the games you really aren't out much, so most people are willing to risk without bothering with the demos.
  11. In my experience, "Avernum: EFTP" is the longest. Although, I played it on torment, did basically everything, and it was the first Avernum game I ever played, which might all have slowed me down some. But it took me over 100 hours to finish. Second longest, was Avernum 5. Which, again, I played on torment, but it has so much hitpoint bloat and trash mobs that it was endless even though its area doesn't seem as big as some of the other avernums. I finished it without lowering the difficulty out of sheer determination, but I seriously don't recommend playing that game on torment just because it's insanely tedious. It's not so much challenging as it is boring as it doesn't make the game harder, just longer. Avernums 4 and 6 were both under 100 hours on torment, though, so they aren't as long. I did all the Geneforges on torment as well, but they were all in the 30-50 hour range. In fact, I played through the first three Geneforges in the time it took me to finish "EFTP" alone, which again might just be because I was a relative Spiderweb newb when I played EFTP, but even despite that, there's no doubting that the Geneforges are waaaaaay shorter. Not only is travel quicker via the overland map (so no endless and repetitive back tracking to towns on foot to heal), but the Geneforges tend not to have the 30+ minute boss battles of attrition that the Avernum games have and there seems to be less hitpoint bloat on harder difficulties than the Avernums. Playing on torment seems to add at least 20 hours to any Avernum playthrough, but doesn't seem to affect the length of Geneforge playthroughs that drastically.
  12. I thought GAmebanshee's content was fan generated (like most game guide sites). Perhaps to get on there someone just has to take the initiative and put it on there? The geneforge games are listed on there, for example, but they don't have much as far as content goes.
  13. edit---woops, didn't mean to post in this thread. Mods can delete if they like
  14. Yeah, so it launched unexpectedly this afternoon. So all beta invites have magically disappeared.
  15. I actually found Avadon to be one of the better Spiderweb games when it comes to hitpoint bloat (the final redbeard fight being the major exception). If you really want to get angry try "Avernum 5." Every single enemy you fight, be it rats, wolves, or chitrachs, has tons of hitpoints, and there are endless trash mob type enemies so it's super repetitive (get used to fighting wave after wave of chitrachs in the middle section, which are just a prelude to the 10,000 hitpoint wolves in the later portions of the game). Plus, it's the most linear Avernum and has next to no plot (it's more or less just "Kill the bad guy!"), yet will take 100+ hours to beat on the harder difficulties. I still consider "Avernum 5" to be far and away the worst game Spiderweb's ever done. I'm a big Spiderweb fan, but I would totally agree with this. I think most of the Avernums could knock 20 hours each off in trash mob combat and not lose much as games. But generally, "less combat, but more challenging when it does happen" is a rule that 99% of all RPGs could stand to learn from, not just Spiderweb games. It's part of the reason why I like the Geneforges so much--most are in the 30 to 60 hour range and a good deal of the combat can be skipped entirely depending on your skills or if you stealth.
  16. I've got some too and really can't give them away. I know because I've tried. Everyone who wants one already has one and the game is officially releasing in August, anyway, at which point it will be entirely free to play, no passes required. I remember a year or so ago when a DOTA2 pass would sell for 60 dollars, now though they sell for 3 cents on the steam marketplace (which is the lowest amount anything can be priced at). But, yeah, I got 1 or 2 left to give away as well if the demand is so great that Closer Yell runs out.
  17. It'd have to be Geneforge for me because I'm lazy and get bored easily. Geneforge is the most technologically advanced society. Most of the other games would be like being transported back to the middle ages (albeit, with magic), which would be awful.
  18. "Love in the Time of Cholera" is good. It's not Marquez's best, but it's worth reading if you haven't. "100 Years of Solitude" really is brilliant. It's one of those rare books that I think everyone needs to read once before they die. And his most underrated is "The General In His Labyrinth," which is also worth reading. I'm kind of sick to death of magical realism just because for a period in the late 1990s, early 2000s, it seemed like every single novel had to have at least a dash of magical realism....but I don't blame Marquez for that (who I really do like).
  19. Grapes of Wrath has a really memorable ending. The movie didn't touch it, but I saw an opera adaptation of it a few years ago that kept the book's ending, which was nice as the final scene of the book is kind of beautiful/sad/but-also-slightly-optimistic-in-a-perverse-way and more or less the perfect way for the story to go out. But yeah, I'd recommend "Grapes of Wrath" over "Of Mice and Men." I haven't read "East of Eden," though.
  20. I wouldn't worry too much, honestly. The Avernums don't tell their stories via cut scene or anything like that, so you could probably get the gist of things just by looking back in your journal of completed quests. Likewise, in EFTP most main quests will orient you somewhat in terms of the grand scheme of things repeatedly through out the game, so just talk to everyone you meet and you'll get caught up in no time. And people tend not to disappear, too, so you could always go back and talk to people again. Avernum 5 should be especially easy, though, as it's more episodic than it is one grand narrative. The only main story line is "Kill the bad guy!" and the game consists of a fairly linear progression from area to area, each having its own story and not much to do with the rest. SO you could just continue on in Avernum5 and not miss much as the later parts of the game will only very rarely reference the earlier parts (And, honestly, Avernum 5's story kind of sucks anyway, so if you concentrate on the main storyline you are going to be super disappointed).
  21. I'm wondering this too as this is the second time I've heard about the Malazan series in as many days.
  22. I can't get into episodic drama, which is maybe why I've never liked Star Trek. Any drama that resets from zero every episode bores me (I absolutely loathe procedurals like "Law and Order" and "CSI" as well). Plus, the federation is just so goody-goody and squeaky clean, even when I was younger I always found myself wishing they'd fail just to break the tedium of the formula. I did like the later seasons of Deep Space 9 just because it was slightly darker and less episodic, but otherwise I'll take the BSG reboot over Star Trek any day. I liked the new movies fine as mindless action films, but they really aren't Star Trek anyway. They are more just mindless summer action films done up in Star Trek drag.
  23. I listen to everything. EVERYTHING! There's no genre that I don't like something from, but if forced to choose, my top 10 albums would be something like: Tom Waits: "Frank's Wild Years" The Magnetic Fields: "69 Love Songs" Leonard Cohen: "Songs From a Room" Neutral Milk Hotel: "In An Aeroplane Over the Sea" Antony and the Johnsons: "I Am a Bird Now" David Bowie: "Hunky Dory" Kurt Weill: "Threepenny Opera 1954 Off Broadway Cast Album" (the original German one is good too) Benjamin Britton "Peter Grimes" (the original 1950s recording) Sufjan Stevens "Seven Swans" Velvet Undergournd "White Light/White HEat" Of course, this list would change depending on the day.
  24. I'm not so sure that it does provide us the tools to distinguish "reality as it is" from "reality as we know it." I tend to think of "reality as it is" as being entirely and radically outside of culture/language. So I'm not sure if we can truly "know it as it is" in any real sense, even if I would never deny that it doesn't have an effect upon us. It may have brute effects upon us, but it's a very difficult thing to talk about as we can only approach it through the lens of culture/language (or, if you want to get more specific, "Science," which I see as a subset of culture/language). I realize, though, that this does turn me into a bit of a negative theologian. And in that sense, I'm not sure what practical purpose such a radical distinction between "reality as it is" and "Reality as we know it" might serve. But, honestly,the whole point of philosophy is to kind of split hairs like this.....so, yeah. All that said, though, I do think science has worked out a great system for attempting to distinguish between "reality as it is" from "reality as we know it" according to its own internal logic. But, as I said, I don't think science ever finds a way to move beyond its status as a cultural artifact, so I'm not sure if science has satisfied the problem in terms of the way we are outlining it here. Which, like I said, doesn't in any way discount science, it just sticks a philosophical footnote on it. Which I only repeatedly emphasize because so many people have seen post-modern critiques of science as being attempts to invalidate science entirely. Which is just dumb (and which, I think, gets to the heart of why the whole Sokal affair was an instance of people just talking past each other about entirely different things, more than it was people talking to each other). It reminds me of people who read Nietzsche's statement that "God is dead" as meaning that the Christian God is dead. He wasn't talking about God as a religious deity as much as he was just using "God" as a stand in for absolutist forms of reason in philosophy. He wasn't attacking God or religion any more than people who point out that science is a subset of culture are attacking science.
  25. Unless he's an idiot (And I don't know, maybe he is), I doubt he was saying that culture has power over nature (or at least not power in the sense that cultural belief can defy the laws of physics). Just that we can only approach nature through the prism of culture. Thus, I think he's entirely correct to suggest that "the laws of physics" are cultural. Which isn't to suggest that there isn't a brute thing which we would call the "laws of physics" that acts on us regardless of culture. Just that we can only approach this thing and have "knowledge" of it through culture (and it's primary vehicle of knowledge: language). It's a slight distinction, but a very, very, important one I think. It's why I suggested before that the biggest problem in philosophy shouldn't so much be "subjectivity" vs "objectivity" or "absolutism" vs "relativism," as much as "language" vs "non-linguistic agency." As far as "knowledge" is concerned, we really can't approach anything outside of culture. This doesn't at all discount science (only a fool would argue that humanity hasn't benefited from science or that science isn't a good way of trying to understand the world--I think science is the best method we have of understanding the world), it just sticks a footnote on it. Culture isn't an entirely clear lens through which we can see the world "exactly as it is,"rather it's always slightly tinted. So our perception of the world will always be inflected with this "tint," whether we realize it or not. And I personally think that the proper object of philosophy should be attempting to identify and understand this "tint" (which may be an impossible task in the end, I don't know. It's a bit like trying to identify the smell of cow crap if you grew up on a cow farm. The smell of crap is masked by its omnipresence--you can't really smell it because it's always been present. The only way to truly identify it is if you leave the farm and smell something else, for once. And I'm not sure if humanity as a whole can, "leave the farm," so to speak).
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