I’m Like Long John Silver – Owning Seafood ALL DAY!

It started as an ordinary patrol.

Mistake was pretty new to the game, still learning his way around. I was all to glad to bankroll his starter ship – after all, I’m usually pretty broke, but even I could afford to outfit his starter ship with some decent gear. Which I did. I even went so far as to equip a repair beam that I’ve had forever (back when they were just introduced to the game, I got one for an RP event and somehow never had to give it back). So I throw my repair beam in one of my gun slots and launch with Mistake in tow. The plan is simple: he’ll sit there and duke it out with the enemy Flux whilst I repair his armor damage as needed.

Of course, the more observant of you might’ve noticed that I said I put the repair beam in one of my gun slots.

What was in the other slots? Why, massive guns, of course. After all, they are gun slots.

Now as you might expect, this caused Mistake a bit of alarm. Everything was going fine; he was sitting and picking off any Flux foolish enough to close with him, and I was waiting for him to take enough damage to wear down his shields and begin hitting his armor. Since we were getting used to working together, I had suggested we work right outside the station, so that we’d be near to a safe dock if the need arose. Error number 2, in case you’re counting.

Now, as to the alarm Mistake felt – well, it came about when he actually got damage. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Okay, you’re getting low on shields. Ooops! There they go. Armor’s getting hit – lemme kick in the repair beam now. Don’t worry about the noise – it’s loud.”
Mistake: “Heh, this is great! I can’t wait till SWEET MOTHER OF GORD, WHAT’S HITTING ME!”

Being the ever alert pilot I am, I of course instantly spun around, looking for the threat. Then I noticed the small crosshairs and sword on my display screen, indicating there was a bounty on my ample posterior.

For those of you not in the know, a bounty comes about when you attack a ship that is not flagged as Honor Guard. (Honor Guard is PK, fyi.) When you fly Honor Guard, you’re free to engage other Honor Guard-flagged ships. However, if you engage someone that is not so flagged, you gain a little bounty.

Which I had just done. Yes, in my rush to show off my repair skills to Mistake, I failed to notice the fact that I hadn’t turned off the other guns. So while the repair beam fired, so did my cannons… Whoopsie…

Now, normally this isn’t a major concern (provided the other pilot lives, of course). Merely hitting someone only gains you a temporary bounty. That is, a bounty that is cleared the next time you dock. Had I actually blasted Mistake into bits, I would’ve gained a permanent bounty, which wouldn’t be resolved until someone had collected on that bounty. And I don’t mean delivering me in a chunk of carbonite to a slug; I mean blowing-me-out-of-the-sky collected.

Now, being the ever-alert pilot, I decided that I wouldn’t really worry about this bounty. I didn’t see anyone else in the sector on my radar, and I figured I was close enough to the station that if I saw someone bearing down on me, I could scurry into the dock with my tail tucked between my legs in plenty of time.

What I didn’t figure on was the fact that stations tend to look down upon bountied pilots being near them, and will launch attack drones after such pilots.

So I’m sitting there watching Mistake slug it out with the little jellyfish, and I’ve got about five seconds of thinking, “Holy cow -some of those jellyfish are hitting me really hard!” before my ship promptly explodes in a nice flash of light and shrapnel. How about them drones?

Now I have to spend the next 30 minutes shuttling from station to station, attempting to locate equipment good enough to take into battle. I’ll tell you one thing that this game needs: more truckers! Yeah Phil, I’m talking to you! There’s never enough supplies anymore. Finding a decent power plant can take a REALLY long time. But I finally manage to scrape together a decent load-out for my fighter, and now Mistake and I decide we’ll try and complete his mission.

Missions in Jumpgate came in a variety of flavors: shipping goods, patrolling, combat, scouting – nothing real unusual there. What is unusual is the amount of hatred Octavians have for their new pilots. Why else would they give lowly Mistake a mission that would take him into heavily infested flux space?

I’m not bad at fluxing, but I was rather intimidated at the prospect of jumping into flux-heavy space. But Mistake had some good pilot ratings, and I’d hate to see them get loused up due to his unfortunate mentoring by a coward. So I sucked it up and drove on. All the way to flux country…

We worked pretty well together on the way out there. Mistake had a number of sectors to patrol, and the first two of these went off without a hitch. Some smaller flux showed up, but between the two of us we made short work of them. Then we sat facing the portal to Dark Crossroads, our last destination.

We said a few prayers and jumped in. Immediately my radar lit up with all sorts of horrible pink dots. I could practically hear the flux yelling “Kwip season!” and loading their guns as they came a-runnin’. I screamed a number of things – prayers, cries for my mother, and general purpose curses, but somewhere in that mix I must’ve gotten a warning out to Mistake, because he quickly jumped out with me hot on his tail. Of course immediately on the other side we were attacked by flux, but they were little ones, so we were able to handle them.

This scene would repeat pretty steadily for the next ten minutes. We’d jump into Dark Crossroads, spot a bunch of super bad-ass flux heading right for us, and immediately jump out, crying and shaking. Yes, I know, if the flux were smart they would’ve just sat and waited for us on the other side of the gate and blasted us as soon as we jumped. However, you’re talking about creatures that are bright pink in a sea of black space. If these guys were smart, they’d have painted themselves black a LONG time ago. And c’mon – when’s the last time you were outsmarted by calamari?

Finally, I jump in and spot our chance: a lone Manta Ray. I hate these guys because they move so friggin’ fast and turn on a dime – the whole while blasting you with nasty lasers. But I’m thinking that working with Mistake, the two of us can paste this guy. So I call Mistake in, fire off a couple of seeker missiles to buy me some maneuvering room, and launch myself at him.

After our first pass, I’ve definitely put some hurt on him, but he’s returned the favor. I was hoping to do much more damage to him, because your first pass is usually the best time to do the most damage. Mistake is still working up to cruising speed to close on us, and Mr. Manta and I begin circling each other. My job is to try and keep up with his turns and not let him get behind me. Allowing the Manta behind me is a death sentence – he’s much faster than I, and I’d have a lot of trouble shaking him once he gets there. So I keep my nose right in his face, firing away with everything I’ve got. The whole time I’m praying that all of this swooping and swerving won’t bring Mistake across my line of fire, because as hard as I’m slamming my trigger, I’d doubt I’d be able to pull short in time to keep from getting yet another bounty.

I’d like to think my missiles have a pretty good guidance system. I’d also like to think that writing for a website is someday going to make me very wealthy. And both of these thoughts hold equal amounts of validity, I’m afraid. My missiles don’t really serve any purpose other than to give me something else to crash into. Well, that and something else to accidentally shoot Mistake with. But Fate smiles upon idiots this day, as I manage to slip a missile past the Manta’s dodges and it does a decent job of kicking the crap out of his shields. At almost the same time, Mistake comes streaking in from above him – the absolute best line to nail Mantas due to their weird shape – and lands a vicious volley that destroys what’s left of his shields and taking his armor down enough that my lasers finish the job. The Manta explodes in a lovely crimson ball of flame, and as I’m bouncing up and down in my seat pumping my fist like an enthusiastic school child, Mistake is screaming bloody murder over the com.

Oh look, another one of the damnable things is closing on us. Fast. And me without a single missile to send it to slow it down.

Fortunately for me – my shields were practically gone at this point and would need some time to recharge – this guy seems much more interested in getting close and personal with Mistake. Neither one of our ships can outrun this bad boy, but with a head start Mistake can “tow” it behind him in a straight line long enough for me to line up a shot. We had no other choice – the dog-fighting had moved us far enough away from the Jumpgate that it would’ve been suicide to just make a break for it.

I scream “Line line line!” over the com and Mistake obliges, turning tail and punching his little shuttles’ engine up to the red, trying to pull ahead of the pink death screaming in on him. My ship’s slow to get started at the best of times, even with the afterburners punched, but I swing around and kick the hamster’s powering my engines for all they’re worth. I’m barely halfway to my max thrust when the Manta shrieks by beneath me, quickly pulling ahead. I can practically see the drool dripping from it’s mouth at the sight of the little Oct shuttle as it closes on Mistake. Without time for a prayer (and not knowing who the patron saint of killing seafood is anyway), I begin my dive at the Manta. 

At this point, Kwipette walks into the room and asks if I’m going to help pack.

I love my wife. I want you all to know that. This woman puts up with so much of my crap – even during my best moments – that would drive Mother Teresa into a homicidal rage. Also, she’s fully capable of kicking my ass, and has let me know on more than one occasion that the only thing preventing her from killing me in my sleep is the fact that I haven’t made out my will yet. And now she has spent the past two weeks completely packing our apartment in preparation for our upcoming move. Time that I’ve spent trying to level as rapidly as possible to better kill flux, of course. And now, she needs help. What could I do?

Pretend not to speak English, of course!

“Yo no hablo!”

She wasn’t amused. However, if there is one thing that sets Kwipette far and above every other woman that’s ever been a part of my life, it’s that she is also a gamer. Yes, it’s true. The other night, in fact, while reading my copy of Computer Gaming World, she saw an ad for a game she thought sounded cool, downloaded & installed the demo and was playing before I could say “FPS or RTS?” Yeah, she’s that cool. (Woah. I’m a little turned on now.)

Anyway, the point of that blathering segment was to demonstrate to you that she understands gaming. So after explaining that if I didn’t help her pack at some point I would find new and exciting objects being forced into my eye sockets as I slept, she then looked over my shoulder and said “What’s that big pink thing you’re about to crash into?” Which caused me to turn back to my screen with enough force to briefly shake the Earth out of orbit (yes, that’s really what brought us closer to Mars, in case you’re wondering).

I spun back in time to see that while my attention was diverted I had gotten as close as my dive was going to bring me to the manta before it began to pull away, even with my afterburners chugging. Yanking on the trigger for all I was worth, I tore a wonderful arc across the Manta’s back as my heavy lasers tore into it’s shields, almost dropping them completely in one pass. As he banked away from my fire, I burned on past him – I knew I couldn’t match him turning away. I hoped to get turned around and fire a few shots in his face to keep him from shooting at me right away.

Unfortunately, my luck was worn a bit too thin at this point. His return fire hammered my shields. I was hitting him too, but barely, and not steadily enough to keep him from pulverizing me in short order. At this time Mistake came screaming back into the fray, catching the Manta in a tight burst that weakened it enough for me to once again drive home the killing blow.

This victory came at a heavy cost. My shields were almost gone and Mistake’s armor was below 50%. And then the BIG flux showed up. Two of them, bearing down on us fast. Mistake was already pointed towards the gate and at full throttle. I saw the vapors from his damaged vessel trailing after him, leaving a line of dots in space that the nearest Eel was making like Pac-Man and gobbling up as it bore down on him. Neither of us would be able to handle just one of those things, not even together, and there was no way that Mistake could outrun it. Even as I kicked in my tired afterburners and began lining up my shot, I knew I was doomed. My only hope was to pull it off of Mistake long enough for him to make the gate.

Screaming my battle cry (“WHY IN THE HELL AM I DOING THIS!?!?!?!”), I dove after the Eel, lasers licking along it’s massive flank and barely tickling it’s shields. It was between me and the gate, and as it turned back to face me, I saw Mistake’s flash as he made the gate. Expecting to feel the bucking of my ejection pod any second, I braced and dove forward….

…only to pass completely over the Eel as it attempted to turn to track me! It spun around again to give chase, but it had badly mis-judged my (admittedly slow) velocity. It’s plasma bolts shook my battered fighter as they rocketed past and I slipped into the bright embrace of the Jumpgate. Jumpspace had never looked so beautiful.

I came through to Mistake screaming. Sure enough, a wonderful pink glow lit up my radar as soon as I returned to regular space. But these were little flux. After what we had been through, I was ready to eject and just kick these guys to death.

My bravado was fairly short-lived; I was low on fuel, Mistake was low on armor, and neither of us had any missiles left. Even low-level flux can be dangerous when there’s a lot of them. I knocked out several of them as we made our way to the gate, then Mistake towed the rest and I picked them off one at a time. Bigger flux might give us some trouble, but give me a flux I can catch up to that’s being towed by a good pilot, and I’ll climb up their tailpipe and detonate a hand grenade. We mopped up the leftovers. After the fight we had been through, we were terrified to risk going back to Dark Crossroads again. But after such a fight we also couldn’t just give up, either. We jumped in, hands poised over our jump buttons, ready to beat a hasty retreat.


Mistake decided not to wait around for any flux that might be lurking outside our scanning distance and streaked off to hit the beacon he needed for his patrol mission. A tricky maneuver even when you’re not nervous about getting blasted, Mistake nonetheless slipped through the beacon as pretty as you please and was streaking back towards me before I realized he had made it to the beacon.

We jumped back out to another Flux reception party, but it was obvious these guy’s hearts weren’t in it. Er…if they have hearts. Whatever they have, it wasn’t enough. We cleaned them up, plus a couple extra that had locked onto to a freighter passing through, and then limped our broken selves back to Octavius Core where Mistake relayed his patrol info to the mission computer and collected a fat TINY! little reward. I can’t believe we risked our butts for that little…ay yi yi…

Afterwards, flying out to Great Pillars station, we reflected upon this night. It was a night of heroes! A night of action! A night of derring-do! A night of unparalleled bravery! A night of…

“Kwip! Look out for that asteroid!”


Couldn’t You Just Wear A Hat?

Let’s just get one thing straight here, okay? They’re not hair, they’re not a funky hat, they’re not even colorful scarves.

They’re tentacles. On your head.

And unless you’re sleeping in the sunken city of R’lyeh, that’s just wrong. Very, very wrong.

Look, I’m not one to tell you how or what you should be running around as. If you want to play that you’re a cloned human bounty hunter – hey, great, have fun. If you want to be a reformed Tuskan Raider that’s on a quest to clear his people’s name, okay, sure, I’m with you. Heck, you can even play a short Wookie Dark Jedi that thinks he’s an Ewok. Cool beans.

But just because I don’t pass judgment upon your preferred choice of looks doesn’t mean you’re free to approach me and strike up a conversation about how attractive your blue tentacle-headed body is. Because, I’m sad to say, my interest in your anatomy is likely to stop at right about the time I notice you have extra appendages growing out of your skull.

Xenophobic? Well, no, I don’t think I am. I mean, I’ll sit down with you and share a tasty beverage. I will laugh and high-five you when we toss onion rings onto the horns of a nearby Zabrak. We can even giggle like schoolgirls as we swap Nair for a Wookie’s shampoo. But I’m not going to sit down and watch you gyrate, okay? Not even if the music is REALLY good.

Look, it’s nothing personal. I don’t hate you, your species, your planet, or what have you. I just don’t find you attractive. And if you approach me and begin telling me how incredibly sexy you are, you rapidly go from ‘unattractive’ to ‘downright annoying’ faster than an Ewok on a speeder.

Alright, I will accept that you have boobies. However, so do Wookies. I rest my case. Here’s your player-granted badge of “Most Dissillusioned.” Have fun.

Personally, I think it’s a shame that we’re living in an age of clones, and I’ve yet to see ANY armies of Gillian Andersons running around. I mean, honestly, people. What good is cloning if you’re not going to do something useful with it? I think all of the NPCs should be fired and replaced with Gillian clones. THEN we’d actually have a reason to hang out at Cantinas!

Don’t give me that crap about existing in another Galaxy or a time long, long in the future; if the Force can make some goombah able to block blaster shots with a flashlight, it can damn well go fetch me a couple of hairs from the future!

Now THAT would’ve been a worthwhile race: Gillianites. Yeah. Instead, we’ve got Octopus-heads. And they’re supposed to be sexy?

Alright, someone raid Raph’s house and take away his copy of the Necronomicon right now!

Could We Have a REAL Code of Conduct? Forcibly Implanted in People’s Heads?

I would like to think that this is a whole new breed of people behaving in such a shameful manner.

The other night, I was running around Darktide with some old friends, really having a great time, and watching as they ambushed a gang of Bloods outside a town. It wasn’t that big of a deal – there were four of us (three high levels), so jumping a group of six people (mid levels) unprepared for a fight was not some big battle. My friends made quick work of them while the Bloods either recalled, tried to run, or put up a fight. I didn’t think much of it until we all started getting a ton of tells. 

Sniveling Brat tells you, “fag – lesse u tri that agin when we r rdy”
Sniveling Brat 2 tells you, “omg that was bs – why dont u fight sum1 ur lvl”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
You squelch Sniveling Brat 3.

I’m not trying to single out Bloods here, but out of the dozen or so encounters that we had, they’re the only ones that spammed all of us with such messages. I couldn’t believe they included me in the blame – I mean, they saw me spending most of the fight just trying to pick a target. And the funny thing was, I didn’t do anything effective. I got off a few shots for maybe 12 or 13 points of damage, but most of my shots missed or lodged themselves in my own foot. And yet they needed to include me in their sniveling? What’s up with that? I dunno, I mean, maybe they thought I’d write a story about what great wusses they were for getting their butts kicked by fully-buffed people twice their level or something and felt the need to defend their position with such cleverly-written defenses like, “OMG USUQ” and the like?

Now granted, there have always been whiners on Darktide – every server has it’s share of them. And lately, I’ve noticed what seems to be an increasing trend of people that just can’t handle loss. I watched a fight between two 100+ level PK’ers on FF last week. It was fairly typical – first the debuffs, then trying to land a shot on each other. One of the players then did what I thought was kinda a crazy move and ran up to the other guy to fire off a ring spell – but crazy or not, it actually worked, and he won the fight. When the second player came back, instead of complimenting him on his bold move, he instead asserted that “rings r 4 pussies.” And the other guy didn’t loot him, didn’t say a word to him – nothing! I don’t know, maybe I didn’t see the winner sending the other guy tells of “MY RING SMOTE YOU AND YOU SUCK BECAUSE RINGS ARE THE GREATEST!”

I just don’t understand this sort of behavior. Is this like some secret Folgers’s commercial or something?

“We’ve secretly replaced all of the people on Kwip’s server with dipshits that have the maturity of three-year olds. Let’s see if he notices!”

It’s not everybody, of course. And hey, I’ve certainly had my moments of outrage with perfectly legal behavior.

Of course, legal behavior isn’t always the most acceptable behavior. In my instance, Elle ran up whilst I was placing items in the transaction window to buy the house and managed to put them all in before me. (S)he got the house. It was perfectly legal behavior. I hadn’t completed the transaction, and was taking long enough that (s)he managed to run from wherever (s)he was and claim it before I could get all the items in the window, then promptly kick me out and take all of the items the previous owner (who had been holding the house for me – we had it all planned out so it would go perfectly smoothly, ha ha). (S)he ran up, dumped all her items in the transaction window, and promptly kicked me out and took everything in the house. Completely legal-like.

But what an asshole.

There wasn’t anything I could do. I sent (her)him a message to tell her(him) exactly what I thought of them, but then had nothing left to do except go about my business and take comfort in the fact that had it been on Darktide and not Frostfell, (s)he would’ve not only stole my house, but then PK’d me and looted the items I was going to use to buy it.

And as ticked off as I was (and still am, as you can see by the fact I won’t stop whining about it!) about the whole affair – what they did was completely within their rights. They didn’t exploit, they didn’t cheat, they didn’t even send me taunts afterwards about what a swell house it was.

But what an asshole.

Everyone gets all up in arms about people doing things like PK’ing you. They want to tell you why you got lucky killing them this time, or how you’re a wuss for not taking them on one on one, or how they weren’t buffed, or how your tactics/method of killing are weak or some such rubbish. But really, getting PK’d is such a small matter – sure, you might lose some equipment, but if you’re worried about that, then you’re playing as the wrong color. If somebody gets a kill on you – and they don’t use an exploit or hack, of course – then they’re not doing anything wrong. They simply have won that round. If you can work off the vitae, buff up, and go back and kill them, then swell, you won the next one. But I sure hope they don’t act like as big an asshole as you and send you non-stop spam whining about how you won unfairly, how you suck, blah blah blah.

See, what gets me is that if someone does something that’s rather par for course (PK’ing you when you’re red, for example) and doesn’t make a big deal about it, then you turn around and go ballistic – then YOU are much more likely to be wearing the Asshole Hat then they are, let me tell you. And truth be told, I’ve known a lot more people OUTSIDE of the PK’ers to act like this than PK’ers themselves. When PMS Rage and Isaac used to blow through Uziz and mow everyone down and then bail out before the high-levels got back to get them, they weren’t being assholes. They were being smart. If they had gotten those kills and then sent bragging messages to all of their victims, that would be one thing. But I never once got a message from them, never heard them say anything nasty about anyone; they just came in, mowed us down, then ran away. It wasn’t very brave, sure – but it wasn’t being an asshole. And in fact, I went on to be friends with those guys – Isaac even became a vassal of mine and produced some pretty insane experience for me. So yes, they killed people weaker than themselves – but they weren’t assholes about it.

Sigh. Does this make any sense?  

I guess it’s like this: so many people go on and on about PKs, and UCMs, etc, etc. I’m more worried about PAs – Player Assholes. And while I find that it’s great that we have some rules in place that are going to prevent people from exploiting bugs and such, I wish there were a way we could establish some sort of code of conduct that covered basic decency towards each other. Yes, I realize that this would be a nightmare to enforce, and I hear all of your arguments “Well, who’s to say that behavior X is unacceptable, but behavior Y is fine?” but honestly – I don’t care. I know it will never ever happen. It would be great if some MOG out there actually had the manpower and desire to have “Conduct Police,” but I recognize what a slippery slope that is.

No, what I wish is that the players would police themselves. That it wasn’t a matter of following rules that forced you not to behave like an ass, but rather, common decency. Kill me all you want, that’s not an issue. I like being ‘at war’ with various monarchies and whatnot. I accept that we can’t all get along. But that doesn’t mean we have to be jerks about it, does it?

I’m All About Helping the Role Play!

This new RP-ing filter thing is a killer idea. I don’t know how simple it was to code, but I’m amazed nobody’s done it before. It allows someone who’s a terrible role-player (ie, me) to not so forcefully intrude upon people that are devoted role-players (ie, everyone that appealed the name “Bottom”).

Okay, I think that’s about enough seriousness. Let’s get silly, shall we?

I’ve got a couple different filter profiles set up that I use. For those days when I’m feeling sad, I have the “Different Strokes” filter, that substitutes such humorous phrases as, “Wha’choo talking ’bout, Willis?” for benign comments like “Pessum stop drawing aggro, jerk!” Then there’s the X-Files filter, which substitutes “Agent Scully loves Pessum!” for phrases like “Pessum has died!”

Another fun thing to do is substitute “wants to give you a long tongue bath” for “is a member of an enemy realm.” Think about it – the world’s difficult enough to deal with when you think of anyone as an enemy. Wouldn’t it be nice if you thought of them sexual deviants with a fixation on you? Of course they’re still going to try and kill you, but hey, that way you can feel like a celebrity for a day! Instead of standing on top of a keep wall and looking out at the horde of Mid barbarians ready to smash through the gates and make all your bases are belong to them, you can instead look out upon an entire army of adorers, all of whom want to reward you in most naughty manners!

You can also make for non-stop hilarity with CSRs. Instead of their boring, “Kwip, if we have to warn you one more time about broadcasting the “I’ve lost my pants and I’m feeling naughty” song, your account is going to be banned,” you can make for THIS enjoyable message:


Now I ask YOU which is the more fun reality to play in? It’s as if the entire world is taking my medication with me! It’s glorious!

The problem with /rpfilter is that it doesn’t go far enough. Oh, sure, you can change the way you hear things. But I think they need to make the filter so that you can change the way EVERYONE hears things! Well, no, maybe that wouldn’t work. Yates’ filters that change the hateful things everyone says about him to praises of his manhood would no doubt interfere with my filters that change people yelling at me to people offering me pints of Ben & Jerrys. And that’s not even taking into account Alem’s filters that change anything said by a female character into some sort of rude sexual proposition…(Yeah, that’s right, I know all about Alem – you just wait till I publish “Alem: XXXposed!”)

Maybe they could make it so that whoever has the most RPs or something gets to have their filters take effect. No, wait, that wouldn’t work – I’ve got fewer RPs than anyone (yes, despite being the Alb RvR TL). Hrm. Well, tell you what, let’s just make it so that MY filters override everyone present. Hey man, you don’t like that? Think of how bad the alternatives could be…

Now come on – wouldn’t you rather listen to non-stop hilarity of my idea of role-playing instead?


I know, try and contain the laughter!

Go Flux Yerself

Jumpgate is trying very hard to dislodge AC from my “Mostest Favoritest MOG Evah” slot. As if PuzzlePirates wasn’t enough.

The thing that really has me loving Jumpgate so much more than other space MOGs is the fact that you really do fly the ship. It’s not EQ in space; when you go into combat, you’re not just clicking buttons and reading the action as it scrolls by on the screen. You’re really controlling the ship, aiming the guns yourself, launching your missiles, and crashing into asteroids.

Oh, wait, that last part only seems to happen to me.

In Jumpgate, the big bad enemy consists of bright neon pink space creatures called Conflux that look more at home in the bottom of the ocean. No kidding. Squids, snails, manta rays, krakens – I keep waiting for a neon mermaid to swim by my ship. Meow! These invaders from a neon dimension are sent here to… erm… well, nobody’s really sure what they’re doing here. Killing me certainly seems their main focus. And they’re pink, Kaigon – that should be reason enough for you to get in this game!

There’s all sorts of intrigue and espionage going on surrounding them, though. The lore of Jumpgate is perhaps more interesting than any other game I’ve played, only because so much of it is constantly being built by the players. The great thing about JG is that although there’s a smaller player base, that allows just about everybody to get involved (perhaps because it’s a smaller player base). And the quasi-real physics of flight make flying such a cool thing – actually, I could probably go on for quite some time about how many cool things are in this game, but I’m sure you’d rather hear about how often I crash.

I think I’ve pointed out before the fact that JG uses more realistic physics than other space sims. That means if you’re heading over that way at 400 meters per second (or whatever the measurement is, I have no idear), and suddenly flip around 90 degrees and start going this way, you’re still going to drift for a while until your momentum is counter-acted. Someone like Wi can explain all the technicalities of that stuff if you’re really interested, I’m sure. Basically, it just means that if I’m heading towards the docking ring and realize that I’m actually heading for the command section of the station – more importantly, their big window… Well, I’m about to make things very interesting for everyone inside the station. Decompression sickness, anyone?

Thankfully, stations are made of much sturdier stuff than my ship. Instead of doing any harm to the station, I merely splatter my ship over the window like some crazed juice-filled bug on your windshield. Nice analogy, huh? So I splatter, my ejection pod shoots off, and I’m back at the station, watching my insurance rating get worse and worse. I think I’ve clocked in more time flying my ejection pod than any other ship. I should just figure out how to put a gun on that thing and go for it. At least I haven’t crashed one of them yet. That could be because I’m so good at flying smaller ships…or it could just be you don’t actually pilot the escape pod. I tend to believe it’s my own skills, though. I feel better that way.

I think I’ve talked about the Conflux, or “Flux” as us cool kids call them. The Flux basically show up each time someone jumps into a sector and try very hard to blow that person up. If that person jumps out of the sector before the Flux get to them, the Flux will then attempt to go after another ship that’s in the sector. So you could be mining asteroids peacefully, and some doofus will jump in and out of your sector a few dozen times, ensuring there’s about a billion Flux in the area, and then leave completely. The Flux will then come play with you, and if you’re far away from the jumpgate with nothing but mining lasers to defend yourself…well, your life is about to get very interesting.

However, one of my most memorable nights I spent in that game was a time when Phil and I did nothing but keep Flux off of a miner’s back. He’d then reward us with a cut of the very pricey minerals he was mining – a win/win situation for everyone! Well, maybe not for the Flux, of course. Silly Seafood. That will teach them to taste so delicious with tarter sauce!

The new thing with the expansion is the whole pirate scheme. It used to be they were in abundance, but all they would do is PoD you  – that is, Pay or Die. Give them money, or they really pod you – as in, escape pod. Of course they’d know nothing of value was ever coming off of my sorry broke keister, so they’d usually just ignore me. But now there’s some new technology on the scene, and it’s making for mischievous pirates.

Now they can pull up behind you, take something from your inventory, and scoot on off into the sunset. Or, uh, something like that. They never get anything of value from me, really – I think they just do it to be funny. Or maybe it’s some sort of dare in the pirate gangs – like, see if they can get close enough for me to freak out and try and fly away from them – which could very possibly result in my crashing into them. After all, I certainly can’t predict which way my ships going to go when I start screaming and jerking on the joystick, why should anyone else?

I’ve also got some really cool missiles. You know the ones straight from Top Gun, that lock onto a target (say, Tom Hanks’ face) and head straight for it? Yeah, them. The problem is my targeting computer. Well, some people would say the problem is me, but they’re liars. Obviously it’s my targeting computer that hates everyone and wants us all dead.

You see when I’m flying, I routinely cycle through targets on my radar. When I’m out fluxing with a squadmate, I try and keep track of where they are. But when a couple of Flux pop up on my screen, I fire off a deadly Purgatory missile or three at one of them to keep them busy while I focus on shooting down their buddy.

Only…I forgot to switch targets, and now my wingman is zooming away in his escape pod wondering when the hell Fluxes got missiles that are so powerful they give someone else a bounty…

Through Good Times, Through Blood Times…

So, Darktide.

It’s this place, right, where basically every other person’s mission is to make you miserable. And folks? When I say they are good at their job, I really mean it. Sincerely.

The great thing about playing on Darktide is that I’ve got 40% vitae, no-drop armor and a no-drop bow. Oh, and a no-drop dagger. So, that whole death thing? Yeah – it doesn’t really come as a shock, you might say. What does come as a shock, however, is the fact that the most excellent guild, The Fremen Knights, are still around. Some of you REALLY old-timers that read my stuff back in the day might remember them from my almighty defense of Uziz.

Death says, “Wait a sec…Didn’t Kile call you ‘the worst thing to happen to Uziz since the sticky patch’?”
You say, “Uh…no… That was… erm… the other Kwip.”

TFK was one of the ‘good’ guilds. They didn’t just randomly attack people. They have this whole code thing they stick to, about not attacking someone that they’re not at war with or who didn’t attack them first or something. Anti (Randomly Player Killing), is what we called them back in the day. Which meant I couldn’t really join them. I didn’t randomly attack people, mind you. I just held it as perfectly acceptable grounds to attack someone for the offense of being Stupid in a No-Stupid Zone. Or if it would be funny. Or if I had the sudden urge to die. And you’d be amazed at how often I did.

However, some of my best memories of DT is long nights spent waiting for those naughty PK’ers to come charging into Uziz, where I waited in defense. Everyone else, of course, was out busy leveling. But hey man, I was level ten. I didn’t need that sissy leveling nonsense NO MORE! So of course, the evening would end about as you’d think. I’d spend two hours bored out of my melon, only to have PMS Rage and Isaac come charging in and kill me before I could get my bow out of my pants, where I’d been using it to scratch a very unusual itch…

But now I was BACK! And I was no mere child of level ten, by golly! Now I am a full-grown awesomeness of level FORTY-TWO! FEAR!

Granted, everyone else on the server is like 126, but there ya go…

The first thing I needed to do was to get to Uziz. Now many of you can no doubt plug in some nancy-boy decal thingy and know a shortcut, but for me, the only possible way to get there was that LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG-ass run from Al-Jalima. No problem! I figured I haven’t made that run in years, but come on – how bad could it be, right?

After my twelfth return to the Lifestone, I had a couple new observations:

  1. I hate Skeleton Captains.
  2. 40% vitae REALLY screws up your melee defense.
  3. I REALLY hate Skeleton Captains.
  4. Armor Self IV isn’t really enough to keep a Skeleton Captain from shoving a spear up your keister if he’s really determined.
  5. Skeleton. Captains. Hate. Got it?
  6. An inch on the map is a looooooooooong-ass run.
  7. Skeleton Captains tend to bring a lot of friends to their parties. And they bring a lot of pointy sticks. Sticks that just happen to be the perfect fit for your face.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the Lifestone outside of Uziz was surrounded by bad-ass skellies. Yes, I know, I hear you muttering that they’re wimps, but remember who’s telling this story, okay? And to make matters even worse, there were some unattended combat macros running there. I would have reported them, but I figured I’d just tell Ken Karl when I saw him on Tuesday Wednesday Tuesday Thursday NEVER! Yeah, that’s right, Ken – we all know you were scared of the butt-kicking I was going to deliver unto you. Use whatever excuse lets you sleep soundly, bud. We all know the truth. I’ve already ass-hatted Asheron. You were next. You got out barely in time.

Normally I don’t mind UCMs on DT, because they’re usually higher level than me, and I can get some easy xp off them. And if I sit around killing them all night, that’s less hassle for anyone hunting in the area, right? Unfortunately, the people hunting in the area instead killed me. No sense of teamwork, I tell ya. Plus, with this uber vitae of mine, I was lucky if I could handle a Drudge Robber. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of them got me on the run down, too.

So yeah, it was time to bust out my ninja skills. Except there wasn’t really much I could ninja here. It wasn’t like I could hide from a macro. Not to mention those damn skeletons. Fortunately for me, one of the macros chose that very moment to go completely insane. For whatever reason, instead of charging the nearest target to die, the macro took off for town. I was perching on the Meeting Hall roof, so I figured this was as good a chance as I was gonna get. I leapt for the lifestone…

And bounced.

Here’s a fun little twist that Darktide has apparently adopted as its own: lagtastic fun! I’ve played on just about every server, and I’ve yet to see the amazing feats of lag that DT suffers. I think that they’ve given up on punishing UCMs and just decide to lag the hell out of the entire server as revenge. Like remember that time in second grade when Clyde threw that HUGE spitball at the substitute teacher, and she got really mad, but nobody would admit who did it, so the whole class had to sit inside during lunch? It’s kind of like that, only without Billy to steal lunch from.

So anyway, suddenly I find my shoes soled with that wonderful, magical invention of Flubber. I bounce all over the damn place, inventing all sorts of wonderful new physics whilst doing it

Kwipetian Theory of Relativity: A Kwip in motion will only come to a complete stop once there are sufficient skeletons to pound him to death before he can use the Lifestone. Then they will stand around and snicker.

Another trip to the Lifestone. But behold! A glitch! I have lifestoned HERE! AAAAaaaaaaahhhh! In your FACE, Skeleton guy! You can try and position that skull of your into whatever contemptible pose you’d like, but right now I’m making my flesh into an arrogant sneer. Also, I’m putting my tongue out. So THERE.

I think the real fun of Darktide comes from having friends visit you there that aren’t that familiar with it. They think it’s a crazy place full of childish immature people that would as soon kill you as look at you.

They’re right, of course. But the fun comes in showing them that.

I think we should just get a bunch of n00b’s together. Then we can all camp outside the Blood mansion and spam beg them for buffs and powerleveling.


They Must Have Good Benefits…?

I’ll tell you right now: I’ve worked with some stupid people.

I’m not bragging or anything; I’m just telling you that there are people, sometimes called co-workers, that are pretty stupid. They’d do things like stick floppy discs to their filing cabinets.

With magnets.

And then they’d call me because the disk was ‘corrupted.’

So yeah, I’ll admit, I feel just a twinge of sympathy when I see those poor Reaper bastiches standing around with a pack of zombies. You know why they’re standing around, right? They’re hoping some hero will come along and pound the hell out of the zombies so they won’t have to finish working with them. In fact, some of them enjoy watching the zombies get the crap pounded out of them so much, they actually re-animate the zombies, just so they can see them get pounded again.

I’m not saying I condone it; but I understand it.

For starters, did you ever notice the clothes those poor bastiches wear? Filthy, right? Well, that’s what happens when zombies do your laundry. You thought getting your colors and whites mixed up was bad? Imagine someone dropping a few fingers into your load. That’ll leave a mark, I tell ya.

I can only imagine what a day in the life of one of those guys is like.

And then, you finish up your grand ‘crime wave’ of stealing all the hot pants in Paragon City, and you come back to find some leather-bound Crow-wannabe barking orders at you.

I’m telling you, when they launch City of Villains, I’m going to just take over. THIS is the competition? Please. I’ve known parking meters that were greater villains than those guys. Besides, I figure I’ll just promise them clean clothing and the option of NOT working with dead things every day to get them to come over to my side, and I’ll have my own army, right off the bat!

What Makes A Cleric Tick (A Fuse, Maybe)?

So at the start of the evening, I was all excited. See, I had THIS fantastic story to tell you about:

Yup. No photoshop trickery there – I really did kill him! He was a level 49 Shadowblade, down in DF ganking Albs. But with my superior firepower, I brought him down!

Okay, okay, I’m pretty much lying: although I did kill him, there was a couple other guys beating on him already. If it had been me alone, I would’ve gotten killed before I even knew what was going on. But still, the fact remains that “Pessum just killed Rakin” spammed throughout DF. Can you imagine how much humiliation that guy had to face when his realm mates heard about it?

“Pessum? Ain’t that Kwip?”
“Dude – did you just get killed by Kwip?”
“/appeal I think something’s screwed up – someone just got killed by Kwip. Could you check that out, please? We think he’s cheating.”

I mean, think about it – if I got hundreds of appeals about my name alone, can you imagine how many people appealed me getting a kill on someone? Well, if you’re one of the people appealing it to Mythic, please stop. I assure you, it was merely a glitch, and it won’t happen again.

Now then. The rest of the night.

I was pretty happy with that whole thing. So happy, I made the terminal mistake of thinking I might actually know what the hell I’m doing in this game. Which of course was a sin in the eyes of the Gord, and he had to move swiftly to punish me for such arrogance.

The trouble started when I joined a group. Normally I have this speech prepared: “Hi, I’m Pessum, I’m going to get your entire party killed multiple times and do things of such staggering stupidity you will want to blame them on a computer glitch. However, if your party is really good, you might survive long enough to use my pbt. Highly unlikely, but still possible. If you don’t want me in your group, I understand.”

But tonite, with my new-found confidence, I somehow overlooked warning everyone. So now this group of unsuspecting goombahs thought they had just signed on a competent Theurg who was going to actually help them. Sigh. Poor bastiches. Never had a chance.

We descend into Darkness Falls (they had to come get me – that should’ve been their warning right there). Enroute, I got to meet Elrawen, whom some of you might know from the N3 boards as having the best introductory post ever. Now she has stated before that she is a Cleric, and that she will gladly rez anyone.

However, I don’t think she’d ever met someone of my… talents… before.

So my group starts hunting. We’re in the next room over from Elrawen. So she’s close enough to hear the screams when I get my whole party killed the first time.

“Pessum, what the hell are you doing?”
“That’s going to bring ALL of them!”
“Look out!”

Like a good sport, she comes over, rezzes us all, and chuckles at my ‘zany antics.’

After about the twentieth time she had to do that, she was forcing the laughs, I’m pretty sure.

Honestly, I’m someone that’s used to screwing up horrifically and dying often. But even I was amazed at the amount of death I wrought that night. I mean, sheesh, if we start hitting half a dozen, I’m in rare form. But I died six times in less than an hour. Do the math yourselves, kiddos. That’s once every ten minutes. Impressive, huh?

The experience really revealed a new truth to me: people that play Clerics obviously have some seriously deep-rooted guilt they need to work off. Well, no, not Smite Clerics – they’ve just got a lot of pent-up frustration and self-righteousness (just kidding, Phil! Put down the hammer!). But think about it: to spend all your time following idiots like me around, only to pick up the pieces of my own personal catastrophe? How much bad karma can you really have that needs worked off?

I know I couldn’t do it. No way could I follow someone like me around all day and save him from his own stupidity. I mean, I want to choke the heck out of myself now. How do Clerics not spend all their time gloating over corpses? Someone would send me a tell, and I’d be like, “Oh-ho! And silly me, I told you that you were all going to die if you kept trying to fight those big monsters, didn’t I? Guess what you and the career of Winona Ryder have in common? THEY’RE BOTH DEAD AND NOBODY’S GOING TO BRING THEM BACK!” and then I’d gloat over their corpses.

In fact, this makes me want to roll up a cleric and just follow the dumb people around who regularly get everyone around them killed. I’ll make a big point of spec’ing my rez skill. And then I will simply choose not to resurrect their sorry butts!

Death says, “Uh-huh. And you’ve been playing like what, two years now, and are still only 39th level? Yeah, good luck with that plan.”

Hrmph. Well, okay, maybe not. Besides, nobody would deserve that treatment more than myself, so that’d be pretty hypocritical.

Of course, like that’s ever stopped me…

Love Thy Neighbor. With A Big Stick.

So there’s these occupiers. And they’re, you know, occupying the city. Avalon City, to be specific. The story goes that these guys moved in and killed the entire population or something. Or maybe they found it deserted. I don’t know, really. The fact is, they are there now, and nobody else is.

Well, nobody except about a billion Albions.

I think you all know about my previous experience beating on the Darc… er.. Drak… Drac… sleestaks that live there. Yeah, at the time, I felt kind of guilty about it. I mean, there they were, trying to settle in this new town, and we come charging in, stabbing them in the face.

However, that was before I learnt that the sleestaks are terminally stupid and deserve to die.

Yes, it’s true. The sleestaks are just inherently stupid. I’m afraid it is our Gord-given right to drive them beneath our heels. I know, I know – you’re surprised to hear me talking like that. But let’s just take a moment to look at the facts, shall we?

I’m not any sort of siege expert. In fact, the only way I’ve ever managed to survive a siege – either defending or attacking – was to pretty much not be there. And even then, it’s a risky thing. The other day I was shopping in the middle of Camelot when a boulder launched from a catapult in the frontier smashed me in the face and killed me.

So yeah, I’m not exactly the best guy to ask about these things. However, I’m going to really go out on a limb here and propose the following idea: if we, as a species, ever take over an entire city, MOST of us will react when a party of interlopers enters our city. Especially if they begin stabbing some of our neighbors in the face.

It’s not like I’m Mr. Rogers or anything. I don’t have a clue who lives next door to our guild house, despite having run through the place about twenty times already (not my fault they leave the door unlocked!). But I like to think that if I was standing out in front of my house, and some trolls charged out of the woods and began stabbing one of my neighbors in the throat, I might actually do something. It might only be run out and die, but you can bet I’ll be screaming such bloody murder everyone in the entire landblock will be sticking their head out to see what’s going on.

And look, we might have our own Yellow Rat Bastard (whom we all know and love as Yates), but let’s face facts: even he would get involved if he saw an Albion getting stomped by an invader. It doesn’t have anything to do with being noble or brave – it’s a simple matter of, “When they’re done killing that guy…who’s next?”

Look, we’re not being stealthy or anything. It’s not like we have a scout hiding in the bushes sniping or an infiltrator back-stabbing people. We don’t even TRY and be subtle about it. We run around, a huge crowd of screaming maniacs, stabbing and thwaping pretty much at random. And yet… the sleestaks just sit there watching us. Granted, it’s been a few years since they had to chase Marshall, Will and Holly, so maybe the whole concept of chasing after the foolish warm-bloods is a bit confusing to them, but you’d think after we pounded the crap out of the tenth one of them or so they’d get the picture.

Maybe I’m reading it all wrong. Maybe it’s not that they don’t know what’s going on, maybe it’s just that they secretly hate each other. Or hey, maybe it’s not even that secret – do YOU speak whatever kooky language that is of theirs? Maybe they’re busy telling each other to bugger off and die or other such colorful insults. Maybe they delight in seeing their neighbor’s get their scaly butts kicked.

Come to think of it, HOW many of our relics do we have right now? None? Yeah, I’m not too sure we have room to criticize the sleestaks after all. Sure, they ignore their fellows that are screaming bloody murder for help.

But… ah… I hate to admit it… But I do have a tendency to turn off Alliance chat. It does get pretty annoying, all that whining about our keeps getting sieged. And hey, I’ve been known to giggle a little when I see the death spam of Yates. So…yeah, I guess these guys aren’t all that bad.

Where Do I Stand?

So everyone knows about the Line of Death, right?

No, I’m not talking about any geo-political boundaries or any of that nonsense. I mean that line that you do not, not even if there are a bazillion Mids charging up behind you, go past in the party. That line that the one person in your group who knows where they’re going declares at the entrance of the dungeon, “Okay, NOBODY GO PAST ME!”

But you just know you’re going to go past it at some point. You might blame it on a misunderstanding, or your cat jumping on your keyboard, or demonic possession, or even repressed anger at all those lines in four square that seemed to conspire against you to make YOUR square smaller than everyone else’s through some geometry trick… 

And once you’ve crossed that line, you know the only thing left to do is to draw every single monster in the dungeon down upon the heads of your party and then blame the entire thing on lag.

Yeah, that would be the Line of Death. You might call it something else. But in my guild, that’s what we call it. Well, no, we call it “The Line You Never Ever EVER Let Kwip (Or Pessum – ESPECIALLY Pessum) Go Near!”

I really don’t know what the danger is. I mean, look, let’s be honest here: I’m just as likely to draw a thousand screaming ogres at us from the back of the party as I am from the front of the party. In fact, I’m liable to have things breaking down walls or jumping out of holes just to attack us. Or even spawning in such ridiculous places as my back pocket. All eager for the chance to smear me (and anyone around me) on their boots. So what difference does it make where I’m at? Personally, at least if I’m in the front I can see what’s coming. And look at it this way: not only will I spot what’s coming from in front of us, but when I turn around and run screaming back to the rest of the party, I’ll see what’s behind us, too! It’s like two birds with one stone! And another thing: the person in the back is supposed to be acting as some sort of “Rear Guard.” Aside from the crude jokes that immediately leap to mind, let’s talk about how effective I just might be at this.

For starters, my reaction time. While we all know that my reaction time is somewhere roughly between that of a garden slug and moss, I’d say that even the slowest of us can react when a ten-foot behemoth of a ogre is heading for the party. The problem is how we “react.” Some of you with really quick reflexes might shout a warning. Some of you really REALLY quick goombahs might actually shout a warning and get off a spell or two.

But this is me we’re talking about.

Considering that I do any complex action with roughly the same grace as say, an epileptic hippopotamus, we can probably assume that I’m going to cast the wrong spell. That means that not only is a monster ogre heading for the party, but now it’s heading for the party with theurg buffs, thanks to my stupidity. That’s if I actually manage to get off a spell, mind you. Normally, I’ll be busy trying to scream in a oh-so-funny Three Stooges tribute.

I think the most productive use of my many talents is to send me screaming into a dungeon ahead of you. Oh, I won’t kill a single critter or land a debuff or do anything remotely productive. But hopefully my pitiful shrieking and screaming for my mother will accomplish one thing: it’ll throw the monsters into such a state of confusion that even the largest party can make it in mostly unnoticed.

Just be careful where you step. I tend to die in really messy ways.