Sunday, June 4, 2017

SWTOR Character Tales: Talk about our heroes

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

So, I've been writing up Chapter 4 of Rise of Mamine, and thinking about what I'm going to need to change for Ragdat's Darkest Days. And it turns out, there's a LOT of paragraphs that will either need to be heavily edited or completely deleted due to differences between their personalities.  And even though I've posted a basic profile of them previously, (which you can get access to via the labels I've put for this entry), I realized that it wasn't enough to explain the differences between them.  Which is why I'm doing this entry.

Ragdat is a soldier. Has been his entire life.  His earliest memory is being part of a tribal conflict as a child.  This continued until he was on the cusp of adulthood, where he and Kaliyo met, and they started making a fortune at the gladiatorial arena called "The Cauldron", where Ragdat eventually competed to join Darth Vich's army (which would make him over 70, but I'm fudging the dates a bit. A fact that I didn't know at the time I came up with this facet of his backstory), and fought against Sith.  From there, he fought in a gladiatorial arena on Nar Shaddaa before becoming a champion there.  From there, he went off for Jedi training, which has been the only part of his life where he's not been actively involved in combat, but even then, he was preparing for future battles.  From there, we begin the Jedi Knight story, so more war.

This has influenced his abilities.  As with any untrained Force Sensitive, he instinctively used the Force to augment his abilities that apply to his lifestyle.  For example, a Force Sensitive diplomat will learn how to dominate minds and influence crowds, a Force Sensitive gambler will learn to use the Force to top the odds in their favor, a Force Sensitive doctor will use the Force to as an intuition to treat their patients most effectively, etc.  Ragdat, being a soldier and fighter, instinctively learned Force based physical augmentation, making him stronger, faster and more resistant to pain and damage, as well as the power of Foresight, or his "danger sense" as he calls it, to help him survive on the battlefield.

Ragdat's Jedi training involved reinforcing what he already knew and how to use them consciously and new abilities like telekinesis, the Mind Trick, and the power of Shatterpoint, though he never used it offensively.  (In short, Shatterpoint is an extrapolation of Foresight, so it's fitting that he has that as a unique ability).  His focus is on lightsaber combat and defense, which is why he's got some of the strongest telekinetic barriers in the Jedi Order, a fact that WILL come up in the story.  And through Shatterpoint, he's good at exploiting other people's weaknesses.  Furthermore, due to his lifelong experience with war, he's always wearing armor except when sleeping in his own bed or cleaning himself.  His armor is blaster resistant, but not lightsaber resistant, because lightsaber resistant materials are either rare, brittle or both, and he's not one for more arcane powers like Force Imbue, which could make his armor lightsaber resistant.  No, when combating another Force user, his focus is on his lightsaber, his TK barrier, and his skill.

Mamine, on the other hand, was a hunter and a shaman's apprentice.  She grew up on Cathar, a very wild world, and Mamine was very good at both solo hunts and leading hunting parties.  She always kept her people alive, and always brought back food, unless performing the rite of the Blood Hunt, which is part of her backstory.

Mamine, like Ragdat, is great at Force based physical augmentation, but unlike Ragdat, Mamine's focus was on enhancing her senses.  To this day, she can't be surprised, and she can't be snuck up on.  She's also great at utilizing her whole body as a weapon, giving her great natural agility. She was also heavily focused on stealth, so nor to surprise her prey before she was ready. Her Jedi training honed the abilities she used naturally, and she became a very accomplished Telepath, which is an extrapolation of her ability to enhance her senses. (I wanted to give both a unique power based on their previous life choices.)  She, like Ragdat, also learned telekinesis and lightsaber combat, but Mamine's focus was always on avoiding damage rather than tanking it.  So, while her TK barriers are good, they aren't as strong as Ragdat's.  Her combat focus, as previously stated, is on Ataru, giving her speed and maneuverability, and is great at implementing body strikes into her sequences, an extrapolation of her natural talents.

Her clothing choices have always been about ease of movement and minimizing sound, which is why her clothes are both loose fitting in some places, and skintight in others.  (And I've finally got that whole Ambitious Warrior set, so I'm going to be posting new pictures sooner or later.)

Anyway, this is more for me to keep track of how they think, act, and their power set, than anything else, but I hope you guys enjoy it. For now, check out my referral code if you're already playing SWTOR, subscribe if you like the game, and stay beautiful freaks!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

SWTOR Character Tales: Lightsaber combat

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!  Thanks to me finding a youtuber who focuses on pitting different Force users against each other from all across the Star Wars timeline, I've been thinking about the lightsaber forms and how they interact.  This means that, when writing in the future, I'll be mentioning how they fight, rather than just "they switched to such and such form" in the future.  That also means that I've figured out which forms which Force user utilizes in both universes would use.  But before I do that, let me post links to both the youtuber, Jensaarai1, and Wookieepedia's article on lightsaber combat.

Ragdat: As a Battlemaster, Ragdat is trained in all 7 forms of lightsaber combat, but he prefers Shien and its dueling variant, Djem So, implementing a little bit of Soresu to beef us his defenses.  This means Ragdat's a very aggressive fighter, focusing on counterattacking his enemies, and overwhelming their defenses.

Vedere: Vedere is a Niman user, though she has implemented a Soresu mentality into her fighting style. She's well verse in implementing Force based attacks in her lightsaber sequences, as you'd expect out of the Shadow class.

Vizhdam: Like Ragdat, Vizhdam is a Battlemaster, so he knows all 7 forms of lightsaber combat.  However, he prefers Ataru, granting him great speed and agility, utilizing his entire body as a weapon.  He's also skilled in TrĂ kata, a dangerous technique that utilized shutting off then re-igniting the blade to trip up his opponents.

Adaso: Adaso is a master of Djem So (but not Shien), Soresu and Juyo, which shows how he fights; brute force, powerful speed, and bulwark defense.  He prefers overwhelming his opponents whenever possible, but isn't afraid to dig in when necessary.

Colmallus: As you'll see if you watch Jensaari1's video on Juyo, you'll see that anyone who masters it has needed to master at least 2 other forms.  This, coupled with Colmallus' armor being resistant to lightsabers and blaster fire, gave me the idea that his other two styles would be to increase his maneuverability and ability to chain Force based attacks into his form. Thus, his use of Juyo has good footwork and maneuverability and the ability to Force abilities into his sequences.

Darth Nox: Like Vedere, Darth Nox relies heavily on the Force in combat. Though, unlike Vedere, she is double bladed Makashi user when forced to get close.  For defense, Darth Nox is likely to utilize a Force barrier, likely made of lightning, to defend herself from blaster fire.

Chas'Raan: She fights very much like Obi-Wan Kenobi; mastery of Soresu giving her impeccable defense, and mastery of Ataru granting her avenues of attack. Unlike Kenobi, however, she's not very skilled in telekinesis, but has great energy defense, being able to absorb or deflect Force lightning and other similar powers.

Mamine: Like Ragdat, Mamine has trained in all 7 forms, but she still prefers Ataru, utilizing her whole body as a weapon, implementing punches and kicks into her style, as noted by her berserker rages before her redemption.  That said, she has trained very hard to overcome the weaknesses of Ataru, making her great at blaster deflection.

Suthazi: Like all Jedi and Sith, Suthazi is trained in Shii Cho, the form from which all lightsaber combat stems from.  That said, her first master as a Padawan began training her in Soresu to help her combat her issues with rage. However, when she becomes Mamine's Padawan, Mamine will continue Suthazi's training in Soresu while helping her overcome Soresu's weakness that is a lack of ability to turn their defense into attack.

Yokonari: Yokonari is very much a Jar'Kai using Ataru fighter, having mastered the ability to utilize two blade with speed and acrobatics, but also seeing the weaknesses of Ataru's lack of defense and overcoming it.

Casek: Though he's a Sorcerer by both training and nature, Casek is a Makashi user, like Count Dooku from the movies.  Also, like Dooku, he has overcome the weaknesses of lack of ability with blaster deflection and against multiple opponents.  Unlike Dooku, though, Casek is a master of implementing the Force into his lightsaber chains.

Anstrisil: Unlike most fighters on this list, Anstrisil has mastered Shii Cho, making him a very random, very unpredictable fighter.  He has taken the basics of lightsaber combat and made them his own, overcoming the form's weakness at dueling. Most underestimate him due to his usage of the form that everyone has learned, but he continually surprises his opponents with unconventional applications of bladework and chaining the Force into his sequences.

I think that's all the Force users I've created that are named. Yeah, there are 2 more Jedi and one more Sith in the pictures, but they are just background dressing, and will never be seen fighting.  Also, Tavella, Darth Nox's researcher, will not be seen fighting, so her preferred form won't matter either.

I'm currently working on Mamine's KOTFE Ch4, and I hope to implement as much as I've said about her fighting style into the story. But for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Assassin's Den Reviews Dragon Ball Super God of Destruction Arc

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

With the Resurrection F arc starting tomorrow night on Cartoon Network, I'm finally ready review the Battle of Gods arc that finished last week.  I took some time to binge watch all the episodes I recorded to see how the arc flowed, I've come up with several impressions.

First off, Beerus is a dick.  Yes, I get that he's the God of Destruction of Universe 7.   It's his job to blow up planets to allow new life to surface.  But he's extremely overzealous.  He blows up planets for the smallest perceived slights, and is extremely fickle.  The only reason he spared Earth was a combination of how good the food was, and how Goku tested him in the Super Saiyan God form.

Which brings me to the Super Saiyan God form.  I don't like it, and I'm glad its gone.  It just looks like the Kaioken, but without the restrictions, but with red eyes.  Instead, it had a new restriction, and neither Goku nor Vegeta like the form, since they had to take power from others via a ritual to even achieve the form.  I mean, yeah, Goku's Genki Dama does pretty much the same thing, but it's a technique that he has to shape in order for it to be a useful attack.

Third, the Beerus/SSG Goku fight drug out WAY too long.  And unlike the SSJ Goku/Freeza fight, this wasn't to buy time to let Toriyama to complete the arc; no, it drug because it drug.  I've since seen the movie, and you know what? It showed the fight better!  We didn't NEED all the fluff that the show gave us!

Now, I will praise the English voice acting.  These men and women have been doing these characters for 18 years (with the notable exception of Bulma, who is voiced by Monica Rial, Bulma's second voice actress, and 18, who is voiced once again by her original voice actress Meredith CcCoy, after being voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard between 2010 and 2014.), and they know these characters in and out.  So of course, they sound like they're supposed to sound.

Now, I've been told that later arcs get better.  But if I didn't have that knowledge? If this was my first impression of Super? I wouldn't bother with it after this.  It felt less like Dragon Ball than people claim GT felt!  I don't know, maybe the Resurrection F arc will be better.  But I feel that a show that has so much hype shouldn't have me going "I hope the next arc delivers" when I look back on it.

Anyway, I've got the next episode all set to record, and I should have the review this time next week.  But for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Assassin's Den Reviews Dragon Ball Super Episode 12

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Yes, I know, I'm really late in my analysis of this episode, but I only got around to watching it today, four hours (at the time I'm writing this) away from the episode 13 review.  But I've had a LOT on my plate this past week, and I've only had a chance today to settle down and enjoy things.

With the battle moving into space, I now know that the fight between Goku and Beerus is almost done. Only an episode and a half left of this fight before I don't have to see this stupid Super Saiyan God form ever again.  I really never liked the look of the SSG form, but I absolutely LOVE the Super Saiyan Blue form.  It's the iconic power of Super, and I've loved playing as, and fighting against, Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Xenoverse.

As for the Funimation Dub?  I'm glad that they're staying true to the integrity of the Japanese source, and not shying away from minor profanity when it's warranted.  Goku saying "You're damn right I am!" when Beerus mentioned him not being satified with the power of a god and wanting to push beyond it fits the character.

So, yeah, the arc's almost over.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing the Resurrection F arc, and to see if the show used the Maximum the Hormone song "F", and whether Funimation lets the dub keep it.

But for now, hopefully I can start to keep a schedule for watching Super next week.  As for you guys, check out my referral code if you're a SWTOR player, and stay beautiful freaks!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Internet Privacy A Thing of the Past!

My fellow Americans, we are now no longer safe to do what we please in our homes or on our phones.  Thanks to a new law that was passed through Congress and signed by the President, our Internet Service Providers are now allowed to sell our personal information to advertising firms.  That means anything you post on Facebook, anything you post on Twitter, anything you purchase from Amazon, Pizza Hutt, and anything "questionable" you look at will be sold to advertisers without your consent.  And there's no opt out like we had with the Can Spam Act of 2003. 

And the best part? It's not unconstitutional.  Privacy is not a right protected by the US Constitution.  And why would it be? When it was written, we weren't even close to the population we are now, and the internet was centuries away.  Privacy back then meant closing and locking your doors and windows.

And that's not even counting the security standpoint. Yes, all your surf history will be viewed by people who only see you as a number who can buy their shit, but this also makes identity theft easier.  You see, companies already have problems protecting your credit card or banking data now; it will get worse when companies don't care who is buying shit in your name have access to it.

So, my fellow Americans, if you are using carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Spectrum (formerly Time Warner), STOP PUTTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OUT THERE.  Don't use social media on these platforms.  Don't buy stuff on the internet with these platforms.  And most of all, but the hell out of your congress representative about getting this stuck down.  Let them know that we don't care how much money they are set to make by this; our personal safety is worth more than money.

Also, we really need an Amendment to the Constitution to make sure that laws like this will BE unconstitutional in the future.  The Supreme Court NEEDS the power to strike down these kinds of laws, to protect us as a nation like they're supposed to be able to.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mass Effect: The Insanity Run Update

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

So yesterday, I finally got my brand new power supply for my Xbox 360, and it works GREAT.  It's as quiet as my first one was when the console was brand new.  And with this in mind, it reminded of something that I learned when repairing my PS2 a few years ago; third party companies care more about keeping your stuff running once the console's lifespan is over.

Now, to keep up interest in this "project", I'm going to post the entry data partially filled in, since I'm still on the setup run for this round.

  1. Name: George Shepard
  2. Background-"It's not about how hard you can get hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and get back up." No phrase has meant more in the life of George Shepard than this.  Born on Earth and given to an orphanage while he was still in diapers, he lived there until it was closed down when he was 10.  Forced onto the streets at that point, he was recruited by the Tenth Street Reds as a pickpocket due to his small size, but became more of a bruiser as he got older and bigger. 

    But he always wanted more; he worked toward getting his high school diploma equivalent and trained at how to fight at the local YMCA.  And when he finally turned 18, he left his life on Earth behind and joined the Systems Alliance Navy.  And life in the military fulfilled him; he worked as a marine during his on duty time, and studied for his college degree in his off.  And things went great until he was sent to Akuze during the first year of his second enlistment.  He lost his entire unit there during the attack of a Thresher Maw, and he had to spend a month seeing a psychiatrist to help with the stress of the horrors he saw.  But George is not giving up; he refuses to give up on himself or the galaxy. He will still do whatever he can to make him self, and the galaxy, better.

  3. Class-Soldier
  4. Extra power-Barrier
  5. Build-Since the first game is very much a run and gun, especially in close quarters, I've build George to be able to soak up damage.  This means I've focused on Barrier, getting my armor to max and getting the shield recharge and boosting Fitness to get both health and Immunity. I've also taken Shock Trooper, to boost health, damage protection, and give bonuses to Immunity.
  6. Created on date-This one will be the date I start the insanity run; so it will be the day that the level 56 version of George will start.
  7. Setup-What level and gear I start the run with.  This will be more clear when I do the first entry.
  8. Companion tier-How good each companion is based on the difficulty and my build.  And I want to make things clear; just because I don't like a companion's characterization doesn't mean they're automatically low tier.  For example, Baldur's Gate 2 has an incredibly annoying character in Aerie, but she's incredibly useful due to her being able to use both arcane and clerical magic. So I use her when I'm doing a run where I'm not using Viconia, who is a pure cleric.
  9. Level of frustration-How angry I got with the BS the game throws at me.  Like I said, I'm not going for the challenge, so I'm going to get mad at the cheap stuff the game throws at me.
  10. Content completed-The vanilla game, and Bring Down the Sky.  Pinnacle Station was used to gear up for this run, but due to the buffs that even low level enemies get on Insanity, a couple missions get really, really cheap.
  11. Achievements I'm going for-Medal of Valor, the only achievement I have left to get on this game.
  12. Finish date
  13. Final thoughts-This is where I wrap up my feelings on the run.
The entries for setup, companion tear, level of frustration, finish date and final thoughts will be filled in when I get to the run, and upon completion.  The only loadout I know without question that I'm going to have for a companion right now is Ashley, since I get a full copy of Shepard's gear at the start of an imported run; so my Spectre X guns and Colossus armor will go on Ashley.  But I can't guarantee whether I'll be able to get Colossus armors for everyone else in this run, nor can I guarantee that everyone will have Savant biotic amps (I'd have them with Savant omnitools too, but for some reason, ME1 on Xbox 360 deletes those unless Shepard has one equipped.)  I could also kind of do the companion tiers, but it wouldn't be fair to make definitive statements before I actually start the run.

I should be ready to start the run by the end of next Friday, and it shouldn't take me more than two weeks to get through it.  I say two weeks because I'm going to get pissed off and not want to play for a while after a number of unfair deaths. But for now, look forward to future posts, check out my referral code of you're a SWTOR player, and stay beautiful freaks!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Assassin's Den Reviews Funimation's Dragon Ball Super: Battle of Gods arc

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Now, I know I said I'd wait until the Beerus arc ended before reviewing the arc, but I can't wait any longer to say what I need to say: this is BORING! Why is one of the most exciting franchises in anime history SO BORING in the first arc of the newest series?

At this point in the series, Goku is fighting Beerus in his Super Saiyan God form.  Back and forth, Beerus lets Goku get used to power before wailing on him, only for Goku to come back with another power boost.  But it's so badly paced; this much back and forth is FAR from necessary.  Between when Goku becomes a Super Saiyan God and when the arc finally ends next week, it's 5 whole episodes.  That's two and a half hours.  The entire runtime of the Battle of Gods movie? One hour and forty-five minutes.  The fight between Goku and Beerus in the show is 45 minutes longer than the movie in which Beerus was introduced. 

And Beerus? He's a dick.  All I've seen in this arc is "Give me what I want, or I blow up your planet!"  If I hadn't seen him in Xenoverse first, I'd hate him.  He is completely unlikable in this arc.

Now I know, maybe I'm spoiled by being able to buy a saga on DVD and watch it entirely the way through without stopping and having to wait for a week, but between the poorer quality animation in this first arc and my general distaste of cliffhangers, this is not boding well for my enjoyment of the series.

The only positive things I can say about this arc are about the English voice acting, and the early hints on what will be on full display later in the show with Goku.  Sean Schemmel, Chris Sabat, Kyle Herbert, Meredith McCoy, Colleen Clinkerbeard...they've been doing these characters for over a decade, and they know the characters very well.  They're experienced, they're dynamic, and they always a joy to listen to.

And as for my second point about Goku's characterization, you can see a LOT of early hints when it comes to future arcs.  His selfishness is on full display, and you can tell right from the start that he cares more about his fight with Beerus than he does about the fate of the Earth.  Oh yeah, the fate of the Earth is in his thoughts, but it's more "They make good food there!" and less "There's billions of lives down there!" Very inline with Toriyama's view of Goku's character.

All in all, I agree with a LOT of people when I say they should have just skipped this arc, as well as the Resurrection F arc, and just done new stuff. Granted, it would have left the few people, like myself, who didn't see the movies in the cold, but they could have easily done a whole "the story that came before" thing like they do before every episode. 

At this point, I'm going to just go with a review episode by episode.  And once I get to Episode 27, I'm going to link to the videos of MasakoX, the voices of Goku and Gohan in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged.  That will also give us an idea how far ahead the Japanese version of Super is from the English dub.

But for now, look forward to my review of Episode 14 of Dragon Ball Super next week, check out my referral code if you're a SWTOR player, and stay beautiful freaks!