They Grow ‘Em Big ‘Round These Here Parts…

Did you know there’s a new island to the East? And that statues aren’t locked anymore?

I didn’t.

I sign in tonite to harass Arlaine, only to find someone left the statue in Nanto unlocked! Mwuah-ha-ha-ha!

Arlaine tells you, “Hey hey! Where should I meet you?”
You tell Arlaine, “Wow! Meet me in the statue dungeon! This is great! It’s unlocked!”
Arlaine tells you, “The stat…aren’t you level one?”
Arlaine tells you, “So we should just meet at the lifestone then, eh?

You know, sometime I’d like a little RESPECT. I know how to play this game! I know when to dodge out of a dungeon, how to perch, how to snag monsters on corners, how to, um…

Death says, “Die in really interesting and unique ways?”

Yeah, die in really…shaddup! My point is, see, I know a LOT. Just because I go into a dungeon full of insane monsters with insane spawn rates and I’m only level one does NOT mean I’m going to die!

Arlaine tells you, “So…meet at the lifestone, right?”
You tell Arlaine, “Um…yeah. But I CHOSE to go there!”

I don’t really know what happened down there. One minute I was in pleasant warm portal space, the next minute, someone was vomiting acid in my face. I decided what I really needed to do was to go back down there – and THIS time, I’d go SLOWLY, making sure I CAREFULLY explored the entrance…

Death snickers.

So I get in, and sure enough, there’s a monster coming. But what’s this? It’s just a drudge! A tiny little drudge! And we all know there’s no reason to fear them… One drudge beat-down, coming up!

The rest, as they say in my country, is history. After a few attempts to wear my buttocks as a slipper, the Drudge Hulk contented himself with chasing the other statues around the dungeon and playing “Kwiptag,” which apparently consists of slapping another critter as hard as they can with my corpse. If there’s any splattering, then they’re it, and the gruesome process is repeated.

Needless to say, I’ve stopped trying to retrieve my corpses…

Coincidence? You decide…

Your Dev Team and My Dev Team, Aego Aego Aegis…

Yeah, I was an Advocate. I even went on to become a Sentinel, too, although they canned the program before I fully got my ‘wings’ and was able to solo. Frightening thought, huh? The Kwip that everyone knows is a blathering idiot actually spent time helping people new to the game learn how to play? Mwuah hah hah – and you wonder why so many people were jumping off of bridges in Rithwic…

But now that the aegis has made a comeback, it has sparked more controversy than a well-endowed snow woman. We’ve got all sides of the debate pretty well covered: rabid fanatics who insist that to so much as mention the word ‘aegis’ is a mortal insult and they must duel you to the death to maintain their honor. And blindingly stupid ass-bandits who, no matter how many times they’re told, insist on reciting the story THAT DEFINITELY HAPPENED TO THEM when the Advocate teleported into the house they were waiting for and stole it… never mind the fact that Advocates never had the power to teleport… and were gone before housing was introduced…

But enough of me brandishing dangerous logic! Let us get in to the heart of the matter: will the re-introduction of the aegis cause me to go off on a rabid, disjointed and obnoxious rant! Well… yes, actually.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of a lie. When I first heard about the aegis being back, my initial response was, “Hrm…” But now that I’ve had some time to think it over, I actually think it’s pretty cool. The aegis DID look damn cool. And it brought back TONS of memories for me – there’s more stories involved in me giving advice to people than you could possibly believe. So when I started reading about the quest, it really brought back a lot of memories about not only my own application and learning process to become an advocate, but the people I met along the way.

Yeah, once upon a time, I knew how to play the game. And it was pretty cool, let me tell you. The OLT (On-Line Team) was just such a cool bunch of froods. We had a ton of fun – I got to know a lot of people that have almost as twisted a sense of humor as I have. Almost.

And more than that, it felt good to be helping people out. Being able to provide someone with an answer about some wacky problem they were having with their interface or their paper doll not showing up or what have you – it was just fun to help people out. Did we exploit? Exploit what? Sorry, you must have us confused with people that had powers. The only plus we had was a chat channel and I vividly remember that being STRICTLY patrolled for game-related discussions – info sharing that could be seen as ‘exploiting the system’ – which was not allowed. I saw people get booted for violations. I don’t know who these jerkasses were that ruined the impression everyone seems to have of the OLT – well, no, I know some of them – but to say that was the way that most – hell, even a slight majority – of the OLT behaved is just wrong. Everyone loves to dwell on the bad guys, but that’s not even close to being realistic. The facts were, we were there to help, putting in our time for no more thanks than the feeling of doing something good.

And you know what? That was enough for me. When the Advocate program ended, I was sad that it ended – I think most people saw that was going to happen. But I was sad that there were so many bad feelings left over. So many people really knocked themselves out to be as helpful and as knowledgeable as they could be to help their peers, and they came away feeling they had been crapped on. Granted, that was probably unavoidable with the way things had to be ended, but I wish some people had made an effort to step forward and say, “Hey, we’re really sorry we had to do this. We hope you understand – can’t we all just get along?”

Some people did that, some people didn’t, yadda yadda. There were (and still are) a lot of hurt feelings about the matter and feelings of resentment by people that felt they were ‘left out.’ Hell, I’ve still got my OLT T-shirt. Oh yeah, that was another uber perk – those of us on the team at a certain point got free AC tshirts. SECKSAY AC t-shirts. That’s right, be jealous! Mwuah-ha-ha! If that makes you feel left out, sorry. But I’m feeling left out that Gillian Anderson’s not bringing me a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie right now, so we all have our spoons to bear, don’t we?

Blah. All this talking, and I never really made a point. I bounced back and forth between sides without coming down very solidly on one or the other, didn’t I? Well…that’s because that’s how I feel. I really, really empathize with the people whose feelings were hurt by the way the matter ended. But I also see it as a time past; we have our statue, and more importantly, we have our memories. I will never, ever, EVER forget WO Arbalister’s puns. No matter how much therapy I undergo…

Now…having said that… People that were never an Advocate and who feel justified in telling the Advocates how they should feel about this matter: piss off. Sorry, I tried to think of a better way to put it, but your obnoxiousness galls me. And then you have the audacity to accuse them of being arrogant? Good gravy. Get over yourselves. The Advocates busted their ass to help their fellows. You were the sort of idiotic whiners that insisted we tell you how to complete quests or other such dumb-ass comments. Advocates on Darktide, indeed. How about before you go making asinine accusations you check your facts a bit?

I guess what I would like to say is in three parts: 1) Thank you, Turbine, for bringing back the Aegis. It really made me laugh when I saw it – I thought I was seeing an ancient screenshot or something! What a wonderful stream of great memories you brought back. 2) MS, I know there’s some hard feelings by some of the ex-OLT. But I’d like to say, thank you for giving us the opportunity to feel useful and the ability to help our peers in a way that let us take a great deal of pride in our efforts. And finally, 3) Turbine and/or MS (whoever makes such a call), could you put the Advocates lore back in? It really was a neat part of the game. Let it be over, let it only be a memory, let those of us that served feel elitist, let those who resent our feelings call us the same, whatever – but let it be. It was a great part of the lore, and we miss it. Please bring it back.

Advocate Wong Ku-Luc
Sentinel Wu
Bunny Master Kwip

Thank You, Please Drive Thru…

Doo dee doo, so after a rather sad farewell, don’t I jump right back where I left off to soak up more attention…

I TOLD you guys I wasn’t quitting. Just ’cause I’m not writing at WCoD don’t mean I’m not gonna be roxoring some lifestones here, buddy. But just when I think that people have FINALLY understood the danger I pose to my fellow Derethians, I get things like this happening:

Alakaii tells you, “Hey dude. What’re you up to?”
You tell Alakaii, “GAAAAH! Um, dying. What else?”
Alakaii tells you, “LOL. Wanna go do something?
You tell Alakaii, “Sure. So long as it doesn’t involve me taking candy from you…”

Huh. Well, someone wants to adventure with me. That should be fun.

Death says, “For whom? You’re going to get them killed, you realize?”
You say, “Oh no I’m not! This time I’ll be CAREFUL!”
Death raises an eyebrow.
You say, “Quit that! You don’t have eyebrows!”
Death raises a skullbone.
You say, “Err…never mind, that’s gross. Go back to raising an eyebrow…”

Hey man, HOW MANY TIMES have I written about disaster befalling any party I join up with? It’s not MY fault if people think that I’m kidding, right?

Death raises a skullbone.
You say, “Dammit, I thought I told you to stop that…”

So here’s this kid, Alakaii, all convinced that because he’s lvl 77 to my lvl 22nd, he’s going to be able to keep me alive. Well, it certainly SOUNDS viable, right? I mean, come on, he’s more than triple my level! If you’re grouped with someone that’s TRIPLE your level, it should be impossible to die.

Death says, “Is that a challenge? Are you calling me out?”

Sigh. Look, it wasn’t MY idea, okay? I went into the group of Hollow Minions JUST to see what they were up to! How was I supposed to know they would attack us? It’s not MY fault he followed me, right?

Kwip says, “Alakaii, I’d like you to meet a friend of mine.”
Alakaii says, “What the hell was that? How did I die? That… that’s impossible…”
Death says, “Oh no, I assure you, it was QUITE possible.”

It’s always so embarrassing. Some poor, dissillusioned soul thinks they’re capable of helping me, and what happens?

Death says, “WE PAR-TAY!”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

But then it gets worse. Well, no, it just gets disgusting. Have you been to these Marketplaces? There’s no chickens! C’mon, I’ve seen like every single fantasy movie out there. From Dungeons & Dragons to actual GOOD fantasy movies (Conan – the first one, not that crap sequel), EVERY MARKET HAS CHICKENS RUNNING AROUND.

Okay, I’m willing to forgive that, alright? I understand that this is a new setup, maybe the chickens still haven’t come out of whatever hidey hole they’ve been in. So I’m taking in the sites, all gracious-like, and what do I come across…

A zombie.

Oh ho ho – not just any zombie! A zombie VENDOR! And do you know what he was selling, boys and girls? Any idea what this decaying pile of flesh, complete with squirming bits falling off of him and real smell-o-matic odor?


What the HELL goes through people’s minds when they hire these guys? I mean, honestly, don’t get me wrong – I’m ALL FOR equal opportunity. But we’re talking about FOOOOOOOD. What were you thinking? This isn’t someone from a foreign land that maybe uses a bit too much hot pepper in their cooking! This is something that CRAWLED OUT OF A PERFECTLY GOOD GRAVE! And they didn’t bring their entire selves along, either! There’s half their body back down there!

This is a creature that has bits dripping off of them! And you’re going to hire them as a short-order cook? HELLO! Do you have any idea what the Derethian Board of Health would DO to you if they caught you doing this? And never mind that – who the heck buys FOOD from a ZOMBIE! I don’t care if the guys got a BILLION points in cooking! HE’S A ZOMBIE! There’s pieces dripping off of him! Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

It really wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Alakaii chose that moment to stand next to me. Hey dude, I’m sorry about your sollerets, okay? I TOLD you it wasn’t my fault! I offered to get them cleaned for you!

Although at this market, I shoulda just offered them up as a new exciting entree…

And Now A Test Of Our Emergency Butt-Kicking System

 Okay, so I’ve been lax in exploring that Vesayen Island. Truth is, the only island I’ve explored at all has been Dereth. I haven’t checked out ANY of the new islands other than to learn that I tend to die there really quickly. But since I’ve been trying to learn some more to be a better guide to Anson, I’ve been trying to re-fresh my knowledge.

Death says, “Wait a sec – didn’t Anson already pass your level?”
You say, “Shut yer blathering dillhole!”

See, the problem is that I’m still operating on the mentality from like, what, three years ago? Like, release-time? I still have it in my rather foolish mind that 43 is a perfectly respectable level. I constantly get mauled by PKers, but I don’t think that would matter if I was 126th, you know? I’m just NOT good at fighting. I accept that much in the same way that I accept pants go on the OUTSIDE of underwear and being kicked in the groin is a bad thing. It’s not complex, it’s not frustrating, it’s just one of those things.

But I’m not really used to monsters being bad asses. Oh, sure, I know that if I strut on down to an Olthoi Lair and the middle of some monkeys I’m going to be in a world of hurt. BUT – if I’m out running around, I don’t really expect to run into many problems. Especially when nothing hides on the radar anymore!

I think it’s Turbine’s fault, really. Look, if you introduce a new breed of monster like, for example, a new sort of Shallows Shark, then you need to name it according to it’s power level. I mean, “Shallows Slayer” sounds like something pretty scary, right? Like if I was running around, and I saw one, I’d be like – “Hey, watch out, that critter over there might SLAY you!” Pretty logical conclusion, right?

So therefore, at some later date down the road, when I was running around, and I saw something called a “Shallows Devourer,” I think of the garbage disposal critter in the Flintstones – you know, that cute pig thing that lived under their sink and DEVOURED all their trash? Well, let me just tell you, this thing should be named “Shallows DestroyEveryFrigginThingInItsPath.” Because that’s exactly what it did. And guess who was in it’s path?

Hey, I know I’m in trouble if I encounter a bunch of bad-ass monsters. So I usually try and skirt around them. But come on – a shallows shark? How many of them have I killed since I hit 20th level? 10? 20? At least! And it’s not like I run around nekkid – I’ve got a set of LSA, for Gord’s sake! And I cast level 4 buffs on myself! So you’re not talking to Joe Newb here, buddy. I’m a VETERAN. I have single-handedly died to almost every lifeform on the face of Dereth.

When I spot something chasing after me, I can decide within fifteen seconds whether or not I’m going to die. Usually because in fifteen seconds I’m either dead or away from the monster…

So as I run my little scouting mission today, I notice this blip coming after me. I have a look behind me using my uber camera panning skills (yeah, that’s right – I may suck at everything else in this game, but DAMN can I swing that camera around! Mostly it comes from a long existence of “who was that who just shot me?”). What do I see? Some shallows critter! Do I worry? Noooooooooooooooo! I’ve killed plenty of these guys in my time, why should I worry?

Shallows Devourer gores you for 98 points of damage!
Shallows Devourer smites you so hard the lifestone flinches!
Death says, “Woah, hey, that even surprised ME!”

Good gravy! Look, I’m all for putting in new monsters to challenge the people that are getting up in the levels, but how about a better warning system? Like, can’t we strap flashing lights and sirens on them? Or couldn’t they have a little bit better AI – if they KNOW they can kick your butt, can’t we make them giggle and wave at you when you get near? I mean, I tend to run right by Lugians. But if I see one standing there giggling and waving at me, you can bet I’m going to give it a WIIIIIIIIIIIIDE pass.

Especially if it starts blowing kisses. I hate it when the monsters do that.

Finding Time for the IMPORTANT Stuff

So Kwipette and I have been having a lot of discussions about time management lately. See, with the wedding closing in and all, there just seems to be more and more stuff to do. The breakdown of our duties thus far has gone something like this:

Kwipette: Get a wedding dress
Label ALL the invitations (by hand – hey, is it MY fault she’s got neat handwriting?)
Mail invitations
Order the cake
Reserve the wedding hall (which is my VFW, mind you – hey, I fought for this country to earn my right for two dollars off of every plate of roast beef!)
Make the guest list. Cut about 15,425 people from said guest list (many of which were there from me – hey man, how do you KNOW Gillian doesn’t want to come?)
Get addresses of people lucky enough to make cut
Write out directions to the church
Reserve block of rooms at hotel
Explain to Yellow Rat Bastard why he has to take a bath to attend our wedding
Make appointment to have her hair done
Select menu for reception
Arrange meetings between us and Pastor.
Refuse Pastor’s advice to have me killed.
Pass mental health test to prove she’s not clinically insane for wanting to marry me.
Select Bridesmaids
Order dresses for Bridesmaids
Order/Select flower arrangements for church/reception.
Rent Limobus (yeah, it’s as cool as it sounds)
Make legal arrangements for wedding certificate thingy
Change her name (Since she has to do it anyway, I suggested “Ima Bicurious,” but my suggestion was met with a throat punch)
Pick out wedding bands
Work up the courage to actually say ‘yes’

Now, that’s pretty impressive; but let’s take a look at my list, shall we?

Kwip: Make a map to the church, hotel & reception hall
Find a place that will rent kilts big enough to cover my enormous ass

Wow. Yeah, I have no idea when I’m gonna get all that done, either. Truth be told, I think Kwipette’s slacking a bit – I mean, come on, she knows my measurements! Why can’t she find a kilt rental place for me? And she’s like 90% done with her list! I’m still at 0%! Shouldn’t she help me? Isn’t that what marriages are all about, helping one another? Sheesh!

Okay, okay; so maybe she DOES have a couple more things to do than me. But still – she comes home from working all day on Saturday to discover I spent the day in my underwear either napping or trying a fun new quest. And she acts like it’s a big deal! Like I did NOTHING important the ENTIRE day!

Yeah, I was pretty speechless, too. I mean – we’re not talking about ANY stones – this is a PRISMATIC STONE! I NEED one of those!

Kwipette says, “You don’t even have an Isparian weapon! And if you did, you couldn’t use it!”
You say, “Yeah, but I’m gonna have one SOMEDAY, right? So better safe than sorry!”
Kwipette says, “Did you at least work on the map?”
You say, “Yeah, I took a nap for about three hours earlier.”
Kwipette says, “MAP! M-A-P MAP!”
You say, “Oh, right, map. Er. What map?”
Kwipette sighs.
You say, “Oh oh oh – the MAP! See, I thought you were talking about the map to find the Prismatic Stone…”
Kwipette says, “I don’t care about the map to find the Prismatic Stone!”
You say, “Well, good, because you don’t need one! It’s a really easy quest, too, you just have to…”
Kwipette says, “I’m going to punch you in the throat now.”
You say, “Fair enough.”

So yeah, she’s wound pretty tight. I’ve tried explaining to her that the best way to deal with stress is to just cut lose and bust a few Tusker chops, but she keeps pointing out to me that it is, in fact, the Tuskers that usually wind up busting MY chops. Hrmph. Po-TAH-toes, po-TAY-toes.

I think this stress is really affecting my combat readiness, too. I mean, the other day, I was running around up in the pass above Arwic, and a couple of Monoguas jumped me. Now normally I would feed them their teeth. But this time, they pounded the hell out of me! I pulled my bow out, but couldn’t do anything except stare dumbly at them as they bounced their clubs off my face!

Death says, “That’s because you were out of arrows, Sherlock.”

It was so disturbing. Obviously, I’m suffering from the heavy weight of all this responsibility I’m facing.

Death says, “Obviously.”

I mean, I think what I really need is a trip. Some new surroundings to explore. Yes! An opportunity to get away, to suddenly change my surroundings! Hey – is that an elemental coming this way? Gurk!

Lightning elemental smites you so hard the Lifestone flinches!

Death says, “Wow, how was that for a change of surroundings? You know if you had a Prismatic Stone, you coulda fought better!”

You cry.

Defending the Land!

So I’ve been trying to level up.

Yeah, that’s right, I’ve hit TWENTY-ONE and there’s NO signs of slowing, bucko! Why, in another week or two, I’ll probably bust RIGHT through the level cap!

But anyway, that’s not what I’m here to brag about. No, today’s bragging will cover defending Dereth! Yes, that’s right me hearties, you can all start thanking ME that you still have your precious homes to come back to!

I was be-bopping around, trying to remember what dungeon it was that had the awesome perch for me (I think it was the Abandoned Warehouse in Rithwic – I can clear that place out and only die like five times! I’m awesome!). I tried asking people in the town center, but they got all defensive:

You say, “Hey, you goombahs. Stop that petty dumb stuff you’re doing and tell me where the good dungeon is around here or I’ll bust you in the chops!”
Arnualt says, “WTF? Who are you talking to?”
You say, “This must be the slow class. Look, brainiac, work with me here: I need directions to that one good dungeon near here.”

None of them answered me! Can you believe that? Sheesh. No wonder we have a smaller population than Everquest: everyone is SO rude!

But anyway, while I’m sitting there trying to think of a threat that would work against them (too bad I wasn’t on DT, or I’d have the PERFECT threat: “Either tell me what I want to know or I’ll catch every one of your fireballs!”), someone announces that Sawato is under attack by Gaerlan’s elementals! Well, I’ve certainly never been one to shirk my duties (unless it’s the litter box duty)! I charge to defend the city!

Of course, it probably would have helped if I looked at a map first. For some reason, I had it in my mind that Sawato was one of the desert towns. Honestly, people need to start naming their towns better. Never mind this “Rithwic” business – it should be named like “That Town That Straddles The One River And Has That Bridge In It But Don’t Get It Confused With Holtburg Because That Bridge Is Broken”. Hrm. On second though, we couldn’t call Holtburg Holtburg, it’d have to be like “That Town On The Corner Of Three Rivers, Or Maybe It’s Two Rivers That Come Together, Anyway, You Get My Meaning, There’s Like Three Rivers There And This Town’s On The One Corner”…

Death says, “Ahem.”

Oh, right. Anyway, I set off, trusting in my keen sense of direction and portal locations.

Which is why, about ten minutes later, I’m standing in Al-Arqas, trying to figure out who the hell replaced Sawato with Al-Arqas. Sigh.

Well, at least now I’m due West of Sawato. Never mind mucking about with these portals! My run is over 100! A quick run and I’ll be there.

Death says, “Hi there!”
Death says, “Whoops, me again!”
Death says, “Tired yet?”

Hrmph. The one time I figure out how to get past those stupid skeletons, I get stuck trying to find a way up this damn mountain range someone has seen fit to place in my path. Gah! The very land conspires against me! It was obvious that Gaerlan had planned all this – why else chose a city that was blocked from my assault by mountains?

Of course, in the process of doing this, I learned a really, really interesting fact: if you are at the bottom of a mountain, trying to find a way up, it is entirely possible that a Monogua on top of the mountain will notice you and attempt to come down and meet you. By jumping.

And landing on your head.

Which will kill you.

Honestly, like I don’t have enough problems in my life, now I’ve got to watch out for airborne Monoguas? What is this, the crack Monogua commando squad? Are they set up on mountain tops all across Dereth, waiting for someone to step underneath them so they can play trampoline with their heads? Yeah, sure, tell me it’s a one in a million chance – but I’ll tell you, that Monogua had the image of about five people squished flat stamped onto his side. Well, make that six, now.

Anyway, once again I’m off on my little navigating run. This time, by some miracle of science, I’ve managed to get a portal to Samsur. I decide that this portal business is too dangerous to trust to mortal men like me, and set off on the road in what I think is the correct direction.

About an hour later, I straggle into Yanshi. I’m halfway there.

The run from Yanshi to Sawato only takes me 30 minutes – it seems that the elementals have been keeping Death busy, so I managed to actually sneak by the pack of reedsharks that had been tormenting me outside of Yanshi (yeah, you can try and tell me that it was a different pack, but I’m telling you I recognized the blood they had smeared on their pointy little beaks, mmkay?).

I come hustling into town, and lo and behold – the Elementals were gone. Every last one of them! Just like that! They must’ve heard I was coming and beat feet right out of there!

Phew. It was tough work – I know a lot of you were worried that you wouldn’t be able to get into that town ever again! But now you can rest assured, I have made my presence known (“Banderling Captain smites Kwip so hard the Lifestone flinches” – that message got broadcast at the Sawato lifestone about a billion times, so it should be pretty clear where I am). Those nasty elementals won’t even THINK of attacking that town again!

Granted, now there’s some people telling me that Yanshi needs defending. Hrmph – folks, look, I just came from there! Hello? I was SEEN in that town! Do you honestly think anyone’d have the guts to attack a town that I’m like a half hour (er…ok, maybe an hour, depends on traffic) away from? No way. Boo-yah, I gots Gaerlan all in check!

I Can Fill In! Pick Me, Coach! ME!

So I’m talking with one of my IRC mates, Zkdog, and he tells me that in his HUGE monarchy, that’s SUPER HELPFUL to n00bs, there’s an opening because one of their key members, Hostile, hasn’t been playing much anymore. Well well well…far be it from me to let an opportunity like this pass on by!

I grill Zk a bit more, and find out that Hostile is this great, really well-liked guy, whom everybody adores, he’s a lot of fun, blah blah blah – you see what I’m getting at, don’t you? If Hostile doesn’t play that much anymore – well, then, it’s obvious I am the perfect person to take his place! Why, “great, really well-liked guy that everybody adores and is a lot of fun” is practically SYNONYMOUS with Kwip!

Death says, “I thought Kwip was synonymous with ‘suck’?”
Mac says, “No no no, it’s synonymous with ‘big pile of poop’!”
Kaigon says, “No, wait, I think you’re both wrong – isn’t it, ‘whooping load of suckdom that will likely get everyone killed and doom an entire server’?”
You say, “QUIET, SLUTS!”

So. It’s decided then: I shall prove my worthiness to the entire monarchy of Thase Skotoso! (Yeah, I was kinda puzzled by the name too, but then I found out it’s Dutch for “likely to get highly intoxicated and then attempt to powerlevel idiots”) .

First thing I had to do was to create a character. I asked Zk what Hostile was (to better ensure my taking his place). Zk told me, but by the time I got to the character creation screen, I had promptly forgotten. Bah. What weapon I use is not important! What’s important is that my new allegiance mates feel the love flowing from my soul! For best conduciveness, I chose to use a swordsman. Nothing says love like a long sword! Er…ok, get your minds out of the gutters, you perverts, that’s not at all the image I was going for…

So anyway, I have my new character. Now this is a sort of change for me – as some of you know, I pride myself on my archery skill.

Death says, “Skill? Buddy, if it weren’t for gravity, you couldn’t hit the GROUND!”

Ah-HEM. Now then: I am swordsman! Of course, my l33t skills with the blade wouldn’t be enough to win over the hearts of my new family. I’d have to engage in some witty banter, show them that I respect their skills and wish to learn from them! To that end, I met Aiko II and Sholdem at our mansion. Aiko was summoning swarms of butterflies out of mid-air! I’d never seen anything like that! Well, here’s a PERFECT opportunity to express some admiration for their skills and get in good with them!



Of course, it would turn out to be a terrible mistake.



Death says, “Hi there! Bet you’ll think twice about listening to advice from Sholdem, huh? Looks like the guild wants Hostile back!”

You say, “Gah! Get away from me!”





Okay, this was OBVIOUSLY just a bit of ‘new-guy’ kidding! Why, they’d warm up to me soon, I just knew it. I figured what they REALLY needed was a chance to see what I’m capable of – to demonstrate my prowess!

Death says, “Do you really think there’s ANYONE left that doesn’t know how fast you can die?”

No, no, no – not my lifestone prowess! I mean my CRAFTING skills! Let’s face it – I’m a mean Tinkerer with items! Why, I bet my skill is almost in the NINETIES! Yes, that’s right kids – I’ve got a skill that is getting near to passing a HUNDRED points! Don’t try and keep up!

This turns out to be a wise move: not only is Item Tinkering a needed skill, but it turns out they have need of it RIGHT NOW! The guild has gotten a new flag that they need stamped, and nobody has Item Tinkering!

Nobody, that is – EXCEPT FOR YOURS TRULY! Yeah, that’s right – it falls to ME to stamp their brand new fancy flag! Of course, you have to be veeeeeeeeeeery careful with something like this…

Zkdog says, “Dude! WTH? You botched the flag! How is that even possible?!?!”
You say, “Hey man, Sholdem bumped my arm!”
Sholdem says, “I did not! I wasn’t anywhere near you! Zk, would you PLEASE get rid of Kwip and get Hostile back?”

Ha – those guys are such kidders! I knew they loved me! This friendly little jiving amongst peers was the SURE sign of their hearts melting for me!

Yeti Child tells you, “If you even come NEAR me, I’m killing you.”

Heh. Such kidders!

See, I KNEW they were kidding with me, because seven of them (Zkdog, Dartok, Juvai Shakar, Yeti Child, Aiko II, Sholdem and the Monarch, Thase Skotoso himself!) ALL agreed to take me on a quest for the SoLL! Yup, that’s right – Kwip, feckless wonder extraordinaire, was going to be the proud owner of one of the most legendary quest items in the game! Who’s not welcomed by his new guild now, goombahs?

Thase Skotoso says, “Ok, remember – place your bets early. Odds still have Kwip dying 12 times before we get to the Hall of Lost Light!”
You say, “What’s that you guys are talking about?”
Thase Skotoso says, “Ermm…nothing, Kwip! I was…ermm…making a joke!”
You say, “Oh. I don’t get it?”
Thase Skotoso says, “Uh, never mind that, it’s time to go!”

And off we went! There I was – in the DIRES! It would’ve been terrifying, but I had my allegiance mates all around me, ready to leap to my defense! At least, that’s what they SAID they were gonna do. Actually, tho, every time a monster got close, they’d all try and leap on it’s head. I’m not sure how excactly that helped me, but they insisted that what they were doing was REALLY important… My job, as they told me, was to kill all the monsters. I wasn’t sure if I could do this and I told them so, but for some reason this just made them all laugh. They said I’d have NO problem, so long as I put my swing on FULL power.

Death says, “Hi again! Wow, haven’t seen you this often since you tried to single-handedly make it through the Nexus!”

Then they suggested I try attacking on low power.

Death says, “Well, fancy meeting you here!”

They they suggested I try medium power.

Death says, “Knock knock.”

I was starting to get discouraged. The worst part was that every time I died, I’d lose them, and then I’d have to run all over looking for them again. I tried to ask them for buffs to help me keep up with them, but they said that Hostile used to ask for buffs, and I really needed to find my ‘own playstyle’ instead of mooching off of his. I’m not really sure what that meant, but apparently it was something like, “NO BUFFS 4 JOO!”

Zkdog came up with the idea of carrying a flag so I could see where he was. I thought this was a pretty good idea, and I tried really hard to keep up with him. Problem was, he kept running through huge groups of Lich Lords, Olthoi, Sclavus, Tuskers – you name it, he charged right through the middle of them.

Death says, “Well, hello again. Sigh. Really, isn’t there something more productive you can be doing?”

It was only later that I got close enough to read what the flag had written on it:
“Attention monsters! If you let me pass through your group, I promise to let you have the dipshit that’s following me!”

I wasn’t sure who it was referring to – there must’ve been some guy way behind me. Boy, I feel sorry for THAT dumb schmuck getting set up like this!



But finally, we make it to our goal: the Halls of Lost Light! Where I’m going to get my sword! I’m so excited, I can barely stand it! Everyone else helps calm me down by luring monsters up to pound the living crap out of me. At first I thought they were just being mean, but Yeti Child explained to me that this was how Hostile used to calm down and if I expected to fill his shoes – well, I just better start shaping up! I resolved to be more cheerful about my thrashings.

After the group gauged I had calmed down enough (and I think they were getting tired of waiting for me to get back from the lifestone all those times), we FINALLY entered the dungeon! I couldn’t tell you how excited I was! Here, accompanied by my new bestest friends, we were going to defeat the keeper of the Sword of Lost Light! I could almost taste victory! I envisioned the whole thing – my friends leading the way, clearing out the dungeon so that I might slay the Guardian of the Lost Light and win his sword as my own!

And then Sholdem took my kill.

It was still pretty exciting, though. Everyone got so worked up that they had to sacrifice Thase:

Zk was muttering some ceremony here. I’m not sure what it was all about, but since he was
wearing the turkey hat, we all had to obey him.

But that was ok. I began crying, and finally everyone got so sick of listening to me bitch, they promised that I could have the Sword if I would leave the allegiance and never come…hey!

You say, “But…guys – I thought you liked me!”
Juvai Shakar says, “Well, no, it wasn’t so much that we liked you as we liked making -fun- of you.”
You gasp.
Yeti Child says, “Yeah, that’s pretty much it, Kwip. But now you’re getting boring. We want Hostile back.”
You say, “But…but…I can be your new bestest friend! I’ll be fun! You’ll like me!”
Aiko II says, “Oh, we like you now.”
You say, “Really?”
Aiko II says, “Yes. Specifically, we’d like you to GO AWAY.”
You say, “Can I have the Sword?”
Dartok says, “Guys, let him have the sword, just get him out of here, PLEASE!”

Yeah, that’s right, check out my blade! I was pretty excited about it. I ran around for a bit showing it off to each of them in my glee. Then Thase said he was going to shove it up my nether regions if I didn’t leave.

You say, “But don’t you guys want to, I dunno, sign it?”
Thase said, “Ok, now I’m going to shove it up there SIDEWAYS if you don’t leave.”



Needless to say, I left.  I got what I wanted – a cool, cool sword! Let them have their little fun, I don’t care! *sniff* I got everything I need! *sniff sniff* I’m gonna go out now and slap some drudges down with this new bad sword, just to put it to good use!

So fine, Hostile – you might have won THIS round! They might like you better, with your fancy pants and ability to go longer than five minutes without visiting the lifestone! But just remember this: who’s got the shiny new Sword of Lost Light? Yeah, that’s right man – ME. I am l33t! I am da king! I am…

Thase Skotoso tells you, “Oh, Kwip, I forgot – we need that SoLL back.”
You tell Thase Skotoso, “What?!?!”
Thase Skotoso tells you, “Yeah, we’re gonna give it to Hostile if he comes back. Now hand it over.”


My Trip To NJ (oh, and the ACPL I went to on the way…)

Phew. Bet you thought I’d never get this up, huh? Let me start by saying if you want to skip a LOOOOONG and boring story, get to the pics here. Otherwise (you fool!)

Well, sorry, but I had bunches an bunches of stuff to do. Like, call my insurance company. Why? Oh, to get information for the accident. What accident, you ask? Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself here! Lemme start from the beginning:

As a child, I was often told that wearing underwear was a GOOD thing. But I wouldn’t listen, you see, because…eh? Oh, FINE. Not that far back, then.

Well, we started out good. All our gear was loaded, we had ample supplies, and life, as they say, was good. We sailed on through Pennsylvania remarkably unticketed, considering my tendency to let the speedometer drift up to around 85mph. Hey, it’s not MY fault that Ford Focus is a hawt racer machine!

So things were good. We cruised through to the end of the PA Turnpike, where we only had to pay $23,426 and a kidney. Did I mention tolls are ridiculous nowadays? Anyway, PA is now behind us.

Enter New Jersey.

New Jersey, sometimes referred to as NJ, sometimes called The Garden State and sometimes affectionately referred to as the Ninth Plane of Hell.

Let’s make no qualms: I hate New Jersey. Why, you ask? Well, not just because Bats lives there. No, I hate New Jersey for a plethora of reasons, chiefly amongst them is the fact that you can’t pump your own gas. Like no one in New Jersey is smart enough to figure out how to work this stunning new technology called a “Gas Pump.” They have to select their brightest, most skilled warriors and send them off to a special school to train in the usage of these deadly devices. Because heaven forbid they behave like those heathens in the other states and let people pump their own gas! Gasp! Blasphemy! People would douse each other in gasoline and run RIGHT into a bonfire, I tell you!

So anyway. I hate New Jersey. Which is a pisser, because I travel through it quite often, and I think the words getting out.

We’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. A traffic jam. Why, you ask? An accident? A twenty-car pile up? A bridge out? Construction? No, no, no – nothing so enjoyable. We’re all backed up in the northbound lanes because there’s a truck on fire.

In the southbound lanes.

And GOOD GOD, someone drive by that without slowing down to 5mph so they can get their daily dose of gore? Never! Sigh. And before you people start leaping all over me accusing me of doing the same thing, let me assure you I don’t: Kwipettes job when we’re driving is to ogle the gore and then describe it to me in graphic detail. Gets me hawt, ya know.

So anyway, there we are, crawling along. Well, some of us were, anyway. Why only some of us? That’s simple, bucky! It’s only some of us because while myself and everyone in front of me is only doing 5-10mph, the asshole behind me is doing 25mph! And not looking! I know this, because I looked into the rearview mirror in time to see him speeding up on us with his face fully pointing into what looked like the glove compartment. I had a split second to react; twenty things flashed into my mind – warn Kwipette! Brace for impact! Turn the car out of the way! Wet your pants! Scream obscenities!

As it turns out, my lightning-quick reflexes allowed me to do none of these things. Instead, I tighten every muscle in my body in a pretty good impersonation of rigor mortis. This is probably more information than you want (or need) to know, but if there would have been a lump of coal up my ass, I would’ve had a diamond that would shame the Hope Diamond after that accident. Of course, then I’d have to explain why I had a lump of my coal up my ass, and that would invariably lead to a joke in poor taste about Santa Claus, so let’s just skip this chapter, shall we?

Anyway, back to our story. So the person behind me, whom I shall refer to as Asshole, decides he likes my trunk. He likes it so much, in fact, that he’s going to attempt to park there. He ass-ends me a pretty good clip, which knocks me into the car in front of me. Which was the worst part of this – I mean, sure, you run into assholes, it happens. But my job in this encounter was supposed to be the Asshole Buffer, and keep other people’s contact with said Asshole down to a minimum. Unfortunately, Asshole’s personality (and speed) were such that they could not be restrained. So WHAMMO, Kwipette and I get to meet the people in front of us.

From there it was rather uneventful. Everyone pulls over. The nice, attractive young couple in front of us get out of their (expensive) car and Kwipette and I confer with them to ensure no one in either of our vehicles is hurt. Then we turn our attentions to Asshole, who still hasn’t pulled over to the side of the road, delaying traffic even more. Finally the logic gets jarred around in his head and he pulls over. He begins to clamber out of his car, and I see he has a (quite) pregnant woman and small child with him. I ask if everyone in his vehicle is ok, and he says yes, and asks if we’re all ok. We say yes. He asks if someone’s called the police, and I say yes, the young lady from ‘up front’ has. He says good.

And gets back in his car.

Without apologizing.

Look, I’m all about fucking up. Why, if I haven’t accidently knocked someone over and stood on their throat before lunch, it’s a miracle. I’m a clumsy, fat, oafish mess that rarely manages to win the battle with gravity and grace when it comes to getting out of my chair. I KNOW about accidents. So if you screw up and bring ME into YOUR accident, I’m not very likely to get too upset.

So long as you apologize.

Apologies are weird things; they don’t mean that much until someone totally screws the pooch and then fails to utter any sort of regret about it. And then there’s the whole issue of sincerity. But at least make the gesture, man!

Sigh. But it was okay. Because as we sat there, parked along the NJ Turnpike, baking in the sun, hating everything, I saw something that made it all okay – I saw that God was on our side.

Anyway, Asshole got two citations – one for not having a child safety seat, and the other for being stupid in a no-stupid zone. We got back on the highway and beat feet outta that crazy state. I’m still waiting on the accident report. Ten days to process. Hrmph.

So back to the ACPL! Bet you thought I’d forgotten, huh? Well, I DO have one more sidetrack. My dad lives in Lake Webster, Mass. So we stopped there Thursday nite. While there, I remarked with great envy on my father’s Xbox. He stated that he does not use it, and that I’m welcome to take it home.

For free.

The next morning Kwipette suggested that perhaps we should confirm his sincerity, due to the fact that he and I had been drinking heavily during our conversation. I pointed out to her that if we did that, there was a possibility he could change his mind, and that would result in me NOT having an Xbox. Which is not the goal I was looking for here.

While there, we took my car to a friend of my father’s that owns a body shop. He took a look at my car and stated, in the subtle dialect of the New England area, that I was “fucked,” as he so-quaintly put it. Sigh. He said ballpark of $7-8,000 worth of damage, and 2-3 weeks worth of work.

I hate New Jersey.

Anyway, he fixed up our car enough so no pieces were falling off and straightened out what he could so that it would be legal to drive it, provided I didn’t set fire to any parts of it or run down small children. And off we went!

We got to the hotel around 4pm. Upon entering the lobby, we spotted a group of people sitting around and INSTANTLY assessed they were ACers. The keen edge to their eyes, the twitching of their fingers, the fact that they were discussing their favorite quests…Yup, I’m quick like a whip.

I went to the counter to sign in, and one of the people in the lobby pointed at me. “Kwip? Are you Kwip?”

That’s always a weird moment for me. You may not know this, but I STRIVE for love and attention. But when presented with it in public, I get very panicky, because I’m never sure if the person addressing me is going to say something nice or if they’re going to punch me in the throat, take my lunch money, and tell me my stories are dumb.

But this turned out to be the former. “I love your stories!” And the rest of the people in the lobby chimed in with their agreement. My head swelled up so that they needed to call a bellboy to hammer it through the doors.

Enough ego-stroking (well, not really, but I’ll talk more about that later)! We went up to our room, which we had arranged to adjoin Quixotics. I pounded on the door between our rooms, basically waking him up and scaring the hell outta him, because he had been up since 4 am and had just arrived and laid down to have nap. I was having none of that courtesy crap, and insisted he get up and accompany us to get something to eat. He whined a bit about it, but then I mentioned the possibility of beer, and he acquiesced in a hurry. Off we went to get something to eat. Another pass through the lobby, more love, more swollen ego, more bellboy pounding head through door.

We hit a restaurant next door where Kwipette and I partook of some fresh seafood goodness that marks the area and we all began drinking. The rest of the night passed in a blur.

The next morning…no, I’m kidding. Ha! After dinner we waddled back to the hotel to rest up a bit before that night’s activities. I knew the WCoD folks were up to no good someplace, but I couldn’t find them. I even resorted to setting an open beer outside my door. But they were too clever for my trap! After patrolling the grounds for them, I gave up and sat in my room, sulking.

However, Quix being the boy genius that he r, pulled out the contacts. He put a call into Yuan, and Yuan came in his Yuan mobile! But he did not come alone – oh no! He brought with him his beautiful, incredibly sexy sidekick, beer! Oh, and Ninjamouse (uh, the joke there for the slower people, especially Bats, is that Ninjamouse was the beautiful sidekick – get it?).

Anyway, they not only brought beer, but they brought Dance Dance Revolution. Yes. This was my first true introduction to the world of DDR. Shortly after they showed up, Devilmouse and K80 arrived too, and it was officially a party. Well, except that Devilmouse had to run back out to get food – which turned out for the better, because the food wound up being a source of endless amusement, so all was good. And then more people showed up, and someone got some more beer, so all was even better.

So now I got to meet this DDR that I had heard so much about. Not only meet it, but make fun of all the people that turned up later to try it out. It became quite an obsession. Our adjoining rooms became the center of a whole new type of revolution: a Dance Dance Revolution. As with all Revolutions, however, it had to end. Yes, the VCR was rudely disconnected from that girly game to make way for the true purpose of our gathering: Death Tank.

The problem is, that after having watched the game being played last year, I felt rather confident that I could make a good showing this year. Well, no, I lie. The problem is that I SUCK.

I got firsties on Death Tank. Death Tank commences. I get my ass roxored. Badly.

In fact, I finish the game up with a total score of 0. Yes, ZERO. I effectively did nothing the entire game except to serve as the catcher for everyone else’s nukes, corbite, Deathheads, rolling mines – you name it, if it was coming towards me, I leapt up and shoved my face right into it. Well, at least I’m consistent in my suckitude.

The Death Tank party continued on into the wee hours, bringing some old friends from last ACPL back, as well as introducing me to some new friends. Eldreth is a quiet, quiet man. But if you think that means he won’t fire a nuke into your back when you’re not looking, you’re sadly, sadly mistaken. The best part of the evening was the Death Tank round that found Maggie and Kwipette as the sole survivors, battling it out. I tried to convince them that there was an easier way – ie, getting in their bathing suits and settling the matter in the mud pit – but they merely responded with slaps to my face and kicks to my sensitive bits. See what I get for trying to help?

The next morning came WAY too early, as these things often do. I’m putting in a motion for next years ACPL to begin at like noon or something. This 9am crap’s for the birds. But we struggle blearily downstairs, starved outta my mind. It’s been like 3 hours or something since I last ate, so I’m ravenous.

We make it to the cafe in the hotel, and there chance upon the WCoD’ers. They catch me with a plate piled to the ceiling with bacon. And one slice of waffle, I think. Anyway, my arteries are hardening just looking at it, and I’ve begun to drool rather heavily. But I’m whisked away from that fatty goodness to greet the WCoD’ers. Which is all good, because that gives me an opportunity to try and convince Ibn Schachabo that I’m Jason Booth. He falls for it (thanks to a craftily stolen Turbine nametag from last year), but before I can convince him to give me his wallet, everyone else lets him in on the hoax. Hrmph. See if I give THEM a cut of my goodies! I got to meet Sue Anne (sp?) there, too. And I must say, she is painfully hawt. For those of you who had missed out on the pics of her all over the place, well, now you know. That is, after all, what I’m here to do – help you guys know who the hawties are. Shall we continue?

Right. They let me get back to my bucket of lard for breakfast, and I dig my way through. After that, Kwipette and I make our way to the line for the ACPL sign-in, which is like 20 miles long. Luckily for us, it was a lovely morning (if you’re not hungover and fearful of the sun god). And Yuan and Ninjamouse arrive in line right behind us, so we have someones to cause mischief with. And mischief we cause, as we try to entice the entire line into a rousing chorus of Koom-bah-yah (does anyone even know how that’s spelt? Not that I care, just curious). Security shows up and tells us that if we don’t keep it down, they shall be forced to mace us and stomp on our throats, which they demonstrate on me. Everyone else gets the message, and seems delighted at my discomfort. Hrmph. Bastiches.

The sign up proceeds smoothly – I was impressed with the efficiency. You could tell this wasn’t an MS operation. (Woah! That’s a diss!). We get our goodie bags – and let me just tell you, they KICKED ASS. My little olthoi-clad monkey is sitting on my monitor, watching me type this instead of working. The artwork was fantastic, and the other little knick-knacks most beuno. I do have to give one criticism, tho – Um, guys? Let’s look a bit at the target audience here. I realize that among there are some pretty svelt people that play this game. However, there are a number of us – a large number, much pun intended – that couldn’t fit into an XL with a crowbar and a bottle of KY. Next year, could we see some love to our fat asses? Thank you!

We proceed into the chambers, meeting and greeting as we go – Allen cut his hair! He looks like a grown up! – and find that Quix has saved us seats. Because I’m a miserable bastard, I take the time to complain that the seats are on the entire opposite side of the room from the Devs, where my ass-kissing will be very difficult to perceive. Quix responds with something along the lines of “Quiet or I’ll sqoosh your head.” Not being sure what a ‘sqoosh’-ing consists of, but relatively sure I don’t wish to endure it, I acquiese and sit quietly.

You can read (and hear) about the stuff on other sites; Warcry has a good write-up, and Maggie’s got some great photos. I’m not so concerned with that as I am with the mirth and merriment that went on. And the babes, of course. I wouldn’t let you guys down on that.

During the breaks, a number of people come up to us and tell us how much they enjoy the site. I hate that. Like, I hate that the same way I’d hate it if a truck of Ben & Jerry’s crashed in front of my house and I had to find a home for all those orphaned pints, ya know what I mean? There are so many cool people there, it’s really cool to meet them all. Some of the ones that really stand out in my mind (of course I took no pictures because I’m an idiot and I’m equally bad with names, duh) were a woman that traps lobsters (what she does with them after she traps them, I’m not so sure, but thank God she’s out there protecting the sea lanes, that’s all I know); a german physicist (what’s it like to understand another language so well you actually get the jokes, as bad as they are); a couple of current and ex-military types; oh! and this super hawt little chick that plays on DT (I wish I would’ve taken a pic so you guys would believe me)! Can you believe that? Weird.

Anyway, then we broke for lunch. Lunch was so-so (they tried to feed me vegetables. VEGETABLES! You know what those things do to you?), but we had fun singing Happy Birthday to Ravlen. It was a bit crowded in the chow hall, too. I was gonna sit with Ophelea, but she said I had to go find a left-handed fork. By the time I found one, her table was all filled up (don’t tell anyone, but I secretly suspect she tricked me!) but luckily Soulitaire didn’t mind if I sat with him. In fact, he even groped my knee, and I didn’t have to give him money! I think Kwipette was pretty jealous, but she managed to restrain herself. I mean, let’s face it: I am a sex symbol. Sigh, okay, maybe not, but a guy can dream, can’t he? I kept waiting for someone to ask me to autograph their breasts. The closest I got was stabbing myself in the boob with my name tag. Not too hawt, that.

We finish up lunch, meet some more folks, and then we’re back outside to goof off some more. More of the devs came out now, and it was cool to see the ones we’d met from last year. They’re a pretty wacky lot, and tolerate me pretty well. Kwipette didn’t have to give me the “you’re making an ass out of yourself” signal (some people call this a throat punch, but we like our little pet names) during our visits with them, so I consider that a success. I really like talking to them; besides just being a cool group of people, it’s interesting to hear what it’s like inside Turbine. It may seem like fun and games to us outsiders, but apparently they’ve been having a rash of problems with assassins lately.

We went back in for another Q&A session, this time with the AC2 team. Again, I have no idea what was said, because I was still stuck on the distraction of Kwipette and Maggie settling their Death Tank round. Well, okay, I did pay attention, because the game is gorgeous. It’s just unbelievably cool. They showed us a preview (again, other sites can give you info better than me) that was really interesting (a bit buggy, but they got it straightened out). The music aspect of AC2 really intrigues me. A lot of hard-core gamers are dismissing it out of hand, but I think that it’s really going to be a pretty interesting little tidbit for casual gamers – an entire new social world that’s going to open up whole new fields in the MOG arena. But let’s get back to talking about zanniness…

We got another break b/t the AC2 segment and the Whose Drudge part. During this break, Tim approached me and begged to be on the site. Tim was the first person to ask for my autograph. After this gets out, he’ll probably be the last. Yes, I mock, but I do so in a loving way, I assure you – he’s one hell of a nice guy, and I’ll defend his right to wear towel pants with my dying breath…

Back inside for Whose Drudge. As was their duty, the performers gave their best, and as was our duty, we mocked, laughed, and shoved cameras in each others’ faces. It was much better this year, though, because I did not get signed up by someone else, like I did last year. *Shoots dirty look at Tim* And this year featured a performance by someone with church bells for balls – the guy got up there and viciously mocked Ken Karl. Hey, I can’t speak for Ken’s sense of humor, but it sure stunned me! Of course, afterwards I found out that the winning prize was video cards. Suddenly I was pissed no one had signed me up on their team – especially the winning team!

The ACPL ended with a pretty big bang – the betas brought the house down. I have to say, tho, that Quix and Merry both guessed that one. Each of them clued into that earlier in the day. Myself, I was about as oblivious as they come – they coulda been leading me to the slaughterhouse for all my keen powers of observation.

Kwipette and I retreated to the room for some much-needed nappage (uh, the sleeping kind, you perverts). It had been a long day, and we knew it would stretch on. A couple of hours later, Kwipette was still feeling wiped, so she sent me on ahead without her. How she could POSSIBLY let me out of her sight, wearing my favorite Haiwaiin shirt, was beyond me. The faith that woman has in me is inspiring. I mean, I pondered whether to call for security to escort me through the throngs of women I knew were downstairs waiting to tear this shirt of my back…they must’ve been waiting by the wrong entrance, though, because when I came down, they weren’t in site. Hrmph.

I spent some time searching for Sneezy and the other Warcry folks. I told Sneezy at least I’d meet up with her later, and I wanted to get in with the big kids from Warcry so I could sit at their table next time. But both the bars I came into were empty. There were some ACers there, definately, but I’m not quite so arrogant yet to assume that I can barge into the middle of any AC group and instantly be welcome. My luck, it’d be a group of Bloods sitting around talking about how they haven’t kicked anyone’s ass in forever, and I’d end up with my shirt torn off my back alright…then stuffed in one orifice or another…

So after this broken quest, I gave up and figured I’d just head to the Blue Bordello (I was told that’s its new name). Anyone guess who came up with that name?

I arrived there and found Quix and Ninjamouse already there. I did my par-tay thing, mixed a few drinkie-poos, and then heard the mumbled air of disbelief arise from those inside: Ninjamouse had brought with her not ONE, but TWO DDR pads.

The Revolution-ing that would go on tonite would go down in history.

There has been much talk about the car-bombing, so I won’t cover it here: sufficeth to say that it was more fun to watch than to get hit with one. I hung out in the back in my uber two-seater fold up chair, and visited with lots of cool people. As the evening wore on, even MORE cool people showed up, and the mirth and merriment increased exponentially. I stole Michelle away from Chris to go for an ice run (I can’t BELIEVE he just let her go with me! Me! The AC Hawt Guy!), and got the opportunity to learn that I had NO idea where the hell I was. In fact, if we had passed a sign that said, “Welcome to Canada, eh” I wouldn’t have been surprised. Scared as hell, mind you, but not surprised. But our run  was successful  – even though THE MAN tried to stop us! But no way! We were going for it! (A police car was in our way in the parking lot. We had to wait for him to move. Good thing he didn’t follow us back, that’s all I can say)

Returning to the party found many people now the victims of car bombs, and much laughter and unconsciousness were beginning to show up. Finally, sadly, all good things must end. It was late, I was tired, and Quix was gonna puke. It had been TEN YEARS since he was this drunk, after all. And it will probably be another TEN YEARS before I let him live this down. Heh.

This was another fantastic gathering. Seeing the old friends, making new ones, getting my ego stroked and having my ass soundly thrashed at Death Tank are why I keep coming back. If you made it, I hope you had as good a time as I; if not, I hope you’re not whining about not getting a Beta like those sniveling bitches on the boards. Whine about not getting to meet the hawtness that is K80, Sue Anne, Michelle, Kim, Maggie, and several others that I’ve forgotten; whine about not getting to see Allan doing Chris Farley; or whine about not getting to have your ass spanked in Death Tank – those are worthy whines!

So, thanks for reading through this TOME of an entry. Sheesh. For as long as it is, you’d think that I could’ve at least made it funny.

No, I still don’t have the ACPL pics back

I was GOING to play on Frostfell.


At the last minute, a sudden spasm overtook my finger, and I clicked “Darktide” instead.

I couldn’t help it. Honest. See, I really, really, REALLY love Darktide. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I like Frostfell; I like my allegiance there; I like doing quests.

But I love Darktide. I enjoy the hell out of playing there, I love fighting other players, I love a lot of the people there and I swear that this recent return has nothing to do with the incredibly cute young DT’er I met at the ACPL. Please put down the steak knife, Kwipette!

So I log in. I figure I’ll just wander around for a bit, see what shakes loose, get killed a couple of times, nothing too big. But I’m not on there for five minutes when I get a tell from Delinquent’, who was someone I’d regularly harass in his previous incarnation. Now he’s some big whopping level, and he offers to take me around and show me some sights!

Death says, “Like the Lifestones?”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

So I’m all sorts of excited. This sounds like a fun time! First things first, of course. I had to run across the dires to find a portal spot. Hey, that’s a big-ass golem. When did they start showing up? Sheesh!

Death says, “Hi there!”

Sigh. Well, I can figure my way out from town. Sure enough, Delinquent’ says he can make his way out to Heartland in no time, so we agree to meet there. Five seconds later, he’s there, and we greet each other and spend some time making fun of each other’s armor:

That thing does look like a goose. He insists it’s a turkey, but I think it’s a goose.

Anyway, we stand around making fun of each other’s outfits for a minute in the true bitchy fashion, and then someone portals in. I tend not to pay much attention to these things, because either they attack me and I’m dead before I know it, or they say ‘hi’. Either way, it’s always something interesting. I take a gander, and see that our new arrival is Bow-Runner. But before this person has a chance to kill me (or say hi), Delinquent’ is over there, swinging away at them. Well, he knows best, I suppose. I watch as Bow-Runner portals on outta there, thinking nothing of it. A few moments later, as Del and I stand around waiting on Gendo (a vassal of Dels, joining up with us), I get this tell:

Me? KOS? Well, I mean, yeah, I usually am to everyone else, I don’t know why SH would discriminate against me. For that matter, I have no idea who or what SH is. But usually when people tell me this stuff, there’s some reason or another. What I couldn’t quite figure out was why he was telling me this, and not Del. I mean, after all, Del tried to kill him. I only stood idly by and tried to wish him happy thoughts.

*Gasp*! Del? A PK? But after questioning Del, it became obvious that Bow had it all wrong. Del wasn’t a PK! This was just one of those misunderstandings. Like that time I was bird-watching outside of Gillian’s house with my high-powered binoculars. Wearing a black suit.

I tried to explain the whole thing to Bow:

But he wouldn’t believe me! Can you believe that? Sheesh. Some people’s kids. Then he just refused to play anymore! Really.

So then we ran merrily along. Del had something to do that required him to be afk for like five minutes, so Gendo and I played tag and took turns jumping on Del’s head. Hey, we were REALLY bored. But as he was chasing me with War spells, I came across this fort out in the boonies. It used to be just a hunting grounds, but now it was part of some quest. I didn’t realize that at first, of course. No, first thing I though it was just someplace we could goof off in while we waited for Del to stop talking to the 1-900 number he was calling. So we decide to jump in; of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. It takes all sorts of fancy-shmancy maneuvering, even with jump buffed. Which means that Gendo is the first in. Which also means he gets to be the first to find the Hollow Minions sitting in there.

Death says, “Gendo! Pal! Buddy! Any friend of Kwips…”

Well, Gendo cleared them out (FINALLY) and got me over the wall using a bush, some boxes, and a strategically placed ‘motivational fireball’. That place was crazy. There was all sorts of mischief to get into, which we promptly did. Then Del got off the pr0n line, and came to join us. While he worked on getting over the walls, I got out my bow and brought everything within radar over to say hi to him. Just for a little, ya know, MOTIVATION.

Unfortunately, being the uber mage he is, he survived all my little friends. Now we decided we wanted to see what was in the cabin. Gendo was quickly dispatched back to town to pick up some lockpicks.

Death says, “Here, lemme give you a ride”
Gendo says, “You bastards!”

But he’s a nimble little mynx, and before you could say, “Kwip’s got more vitae,” he was back with his load. However, we failed to take into account the fact that Del’s lockpick skill SUCKED. 300 my tush.

That and the fact the door was unpickable, of course.

Around this time, Gendo found something better to do.

Gendo says, “Uh, I gotta go wash my shield.”
Death says, “Wait, wait – lemme show you my rock collection!”

Now it was just Del and I left to figure out how the heck that chair was floating outside the house. We tried jumping up and down on it, but it just wouldn’t budge. That meant the only thing left to do was to get up on the towers and start hurling insults at the local wildlife. Fortunately, Koff showed up and spared us that embarresment by killing me.

Not right away, mind you. First he had to get over the walls – which he did in like two leaps. Hrmph. Then he and Del ran around the courtyard playing tag. I tried to get in the game, but Koff gave me a Greater Frost Arrow to take back to the lifestone, which I did.

Death says, “Nice arrow.”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

So I hustle on back, only to receive a message from Del that he “Got ’em”. Foolish me, I thought this meant that Del killed Koff. But actually, I came to learn, this merely meant that Del got Koff to run off where he could circle around and try and kill us again.

I learned my lesson, this time, though. I just followed those two around and picked up the fallen arrows – with my HANDS, thank you very much – and tried to stay out of the way. It was a pretty interesting fight to watch. They were both very good, but Del finally slipped up and tried to close and melee Koff. Then he got stuck against a bush, and Koff played the old “Hey, look into this wand and I’ll show you a surprise” trick. Del fell for it, alright, and I took that as my cue to make like a tree and get the flock outta there.

Death says, “It’s ‘leave’, retard – make like a tree and leave!”
You say, “SHUT UP!”

I made it out of there without much trouble – Koff was busy looting Del, after all, and I didn’t have much to offer. But Del was all sorts of certain he could take Koff in a ‘fair one,’ so they arranged to meet back at Heartland and have a little tet-a-tet.

They did. Del lost.

It wasn’t a bad fight – Del is good. But Koff was better, and as these things go, skill won out this time. The highlight for me was that a Blood, Quadra Slice, showed up right before it started. He ran off, but he sent me a tell and it turned out to be an old friend (whose previous incarnation shall remain nameless, ’cause I don’t wanna get him in trouble!). While I watched the fight, I chatted with Slice and caught up on old times.

So now Del’s coming back. For another duel. Ya gotta admire that sort of tenacity. Personally, I run screaming after a fight.

Death says, “You mean, BEFORE and DURING a fight. After the fight, you sit at the Lifestone.”

But they were up for another duel, and it was neat to watch such a thing, so who am I to turn down free entertainment?

So they’re back and set up again. They chat and decide to let me help:

Yeah. I kinda screwed up that whole ‘go’ thingie. Whoops. Well, a little confusion here, a little chaos there, my work is done. I’m watching another very good fight, and then Slice comes wandering back. Koff and Del immediately stop fighting and go after him, and he responds quite gleefully. I tell them to stop, he just wants to watch, and they relent.

And then Slice attacks them. Sigh.

But finally we get everyone calmed down. They’re ready to go again.

Well, they tricked us, those clever goombahs. As soon as they said go, they started after Slice. I was worried…but then he kept stopping his running and dancing at them. Not just any dancing, either. CRAZY dancing. Like, when we get older, we’re going to tell our kids how we settled our differences with the DANCE sort of crazy dancing! Unfortunately, neither Koff nor Del were swayed enough by his passion to stop attacking him.

How did the mighty conflict end? Well, they kinda got tired of chasing him. So Del and Slice agreed to duel. Which of course put me on the spot, because I didn’t know who to root for. I said that the winner would be my new bestest friend, but that only made both of them try to suicide.

So Koff and I stood on the sidelines and chatted. He knows some of the old, old, OLD heads that were around back in the day, so we talked about those guys for a bit. Then he had to go, so he promised to PK me some other time and portaled on outta there.

Del and Slice continued playing slap happy for a very long time. But then – and I’m kinda embarrassed to mention this – Del ran outta mana. And he yelled, “Wait! Stop! No mana!”

*blush* Yeah, he really said that.

So Slice stabbed him in the face.

I mean, I’m no man’s warrior, but if I pick a fight, I don’t really expect any quarter. I watched enough Conan movies, I know how it works out. Del’s a good guy, but that was pretty funny. Sorry Del! Please to be not punching me in da troat!

But Slice was a good sport. He gave me the lewt from Del before running off to cause more mischief. And Del was too embarrassed to come back, so I got to keep the lewt! =P Well, ok, Del gave it to me because I’m poor and he felt sorry for me, but close enough.

So now do you see why I have a hard time leaving DT? Can you imagine this sort of fun on another server? Of course not! Other server fun consists merely of quests, running around, talking, being nice to each other and having to depend on monsters to kill me. MONSTERS!

Honestly. A boy’s got to have his standards!

I will say this, tho: hanging out at that fort piqued my interest in that quest. The write-up on it piqued it even more. But I’ll scamper back to FF for that. =P

Mosswart Inbreeding

So here we go. Thanks to the mucho love of Kaigon, I’ve got a level 19 Kwip on Frostfell. I’m having a hell of a lot of fun playing him, too. I haven’t done anything yet besides the starter quest (and can I just take another opportunity here to state again for the record that the starter quest kicks more ass than Jackie Chan trying to fight his way out of a box of ass). However, I’ve gotten to the point now where I can actually sustain myself and hunt alone. Well, I mean, I still need to hit Burstun and beg my new family for some greater fire arrows, but that’s all in a day’s work, as far as I’m concerned.

Yes, I can get stocked and portal myself right into my new favorite hunting grounds – A Mosswart Hideout. That place is like the Ben & Jerry’s of hunting grounds for me. I can actually tank most of the Mossies that spawn here, and with the proper buffs, it’s not a bad place for me. Mostly because I think there’s a serious Radon leak somewhere in the dungeon, resulting in extreme brain damage for the Mossies. I mean, there’s 8 billion of them there. They can all cast spells and almost every single one of them carries a flaming weapon or a pointy stick. But what do they debuff you with?

Lightning Vuln.

Now that’s my sort of strategy. I can’t really say I blame them – after all, I’m the same guy that cast Bludgeon Vuln on myself as I lept into the subway. But they keep on doing it! I mean, why doesn’t one of them stop and think about this?

I can understand Zealots screwing up. I mean, they’re all into their religion and stuff. They’re too busy envoking the name of the Pillsbury Dough Boy-looking Idols to take the time to actually think about what they’re doing. But the Soul Trappers – I mean, come on guys, you’re supposed to be the geniuses out of your gang. How can you pause and think:

“Okay, Bob’s got a flaming sword. Joe’s got a flaming spear. I’ve got a flaming yaoji, which I’m not really sure what it is, but it looks an awful lot like a sword, so let’s just call it a flaming sword. Right. Okay, there’s an ugly Isparian in our home. What should I do? Well, Bob’s not doing much damage to the guy. Neither’s Joe. Hrmm…Wait! I know! I’ll fix this guy!”

Mosswart Soul Trapper casts Lightning Vulnerability III on you.


So anyway, since I’m the mental equivalent of a 400lb sumo wrestler to their Richard Simmons when it comes to strategy, I like hunting here. But it’s a pretty easy place to hunt. You perch, wait for the spawn and shoot them in the head (there’s another brilliant strategy they have – “Hey! That guys standing on a pillar! Let’s all gather around the bottom and hug the pillar! Woah there, Joe – no wearing a helmet! That’s cheating!”).

But that doesn’t always provide the recommended daily allowance of fun and excitement I need. Sometimes – often, actually – I like to run down the halls and make fun of the Pillsburys I find down there. There’s some really big rooms below, too. If you’re really adventurous, you can run into one of them, start running in circles, and see how many Mossies you can get to follow you. My record is 14 right now. After that, they tend to get a little confused and begin just chasing each other, running into the walls, wandering aimlessly and eating paint chips off the floor.

These poor little guys must get terribly bored. You think your day sucks? Try standing in a hallway for hours at a time waiting for some goombah adventurer to run up and shove a flaming arrow in your face. I try and make it easy on them – sometimes I don’t always wear my armor. But they’re ALL carrying flaming swords and I swear it’s like watching the three stooges – they’ll come running into the room, the guy in the lead will trip on his flaming sword and impale himself on it, the second mossie will try and block my arrow with his face, and the third guy just explodes.

I tried giving classes to them. I showed them the difference between LIGHTNING weapons and FIRE weapons, but they didn’t want to pay attention and instead spent all of class time either trying to brutalize me with their spears or else wandering in circles looking for more paint chips to eat. And when I tried to teach them Fire Vulnerability, they cast it on each other, drew their flaming swords, and immediately burst into flames. Honestly. If there’s a Wi flag amongst us players, then there’s a Mossie flag somewhere in the Mosswarts. Probably in their frontal lobes.

Of course, I feel bad for them. But I’m certainly not gonna stop butchering the idiots. Darwin would be SO proud.