Date Night with Diablo

Husband had gotten a copy of Diablo III for Xbox One. The last time I played Diablo, they had just come out with the expansion pack for the second one. I ended up in a lan party with not-yet-husband and friends where we played through from character creation to finally boss in a marathon 14 hr session.

You have no idea how much street cred that buys a chick. Even now.

Also, after 14 straight hours, your ears will hear the roar of monsters exploding and gold dropping for hours afterwards. Not to mention the aforementioned actions etched on your retinas making the drive home a little difficult. I’m sure that’s material somewhere for some pamphlet on the dangers of video game playing.

But onto Diablo III

The hardest part of any game, as any true gamer knows, is the character creation. I really wanted to play a demon hunter, I really did. Seemed to be a little obvious given the overall theme of the game and probably very useful. Know why I didn’t? Her high heeled boots. Seriously. I get that this is nothing more than digital escapism fighting the denizens of a fantasy hell and my suspension of disbelief is expected in the process of slaughtering the rotting undead to acquire magical loot. But I can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to envision slinking through haunted woods and cursed ruins in my perfect kitten heels. What are they, Spiked Heels of Eternal Comfort +3? Peep Toes of Never Turning an Ankle, Just Undead +2? Espadrilles of Strength +5?

So I went with the barely clothed mage. Because she had sensible footwear. It’s the little things that really speak to a character.

Oh, did you know you can customize your character banner too? It was only the ridiculousness of it all that kept me from making it magenta with hearts, but I was sorely tempted and Husband was itching to start playing. Fear me, for I am the foretold Mage of the Bearclaw Butterfly tribe and you can call me….

Muffin.

Because nothing strikes fear into the twisted souls of the undead like Muffin the Mage.

To the important stuff – the graphics are beautiful, but I expected as much. I’ve only played through a few quests (on Hard mind you, because Easy seemed ridiculous even for casual play) but the maps are nice and twisty and the undead ravenous. Not a whole lot of loot dropping – compared to my dim memories of Diablo II so long ago – but I haven’t found it to be an impediment to upgrades and acquisitions.

The skill trees are taking some time to figure out with slots for everything and the various triggers/buttons of the Xbox controller eventually getting it’s own power. I feel like I’m playing piano moving through my various magics waiting for my mana to replenish or everything to get close enough to be hit with my area affects. I’m still a little awkward on getting everything active and running, but I really like the ability to compare the items I find with the things I’m already wearing as it makes the min-maxed wardrobe easier to put together.

My favorite part of the game, though, is the fact that Husband and I can play together. Diablo on my own is kinda a mindless grind. Follow the map, slaughter, loot, repeat. With a party in play, the evil ratchets up, so it’s even harder to plow through, but a lot more fun.

Highly recommended for those Gamer Dates.

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A few stolen moments

I used to be a prolific reader.  I could power through a book in twenty four hours if given the appropriate leisure time and the book in question was a much anticipated release.  My daily long commute on public trans, much needed lunch breaks, the dragging empty hours of filling a quiet office during evening shifts were all hours that were filled with a never-sated need for reading.  My work bag contained a change of clothes, my lunch and at least three paperbacks at all times.  You never know when you’d finish one at midnight and still have four hours of your overnight shift in perfect solitude.

My library probably deforested a small country.  I’m sorry.  I really am.  This was pre-Kindle days and my local library only had so much in my preferred genres of fiction-based entertainment.  Especially the way I plowed through entire shelves.  I promise that every book I couldn’t give away or donate was recycled.  Honest.

Anywhoo – finally giving up gainful employment to be the Stay Home to my first two children had me dreaming of days when I could knock out a few chapters during nap time or after I put them quietly to bed early in the evening.  Or, dare I dream, be that confident put together mom on the playground sipping her coffee and reading her hardcover while her darling angels ran around playing nicely with other children.

Unprepared for the realities of toddlers that didn’t nap – refusing to sleep at all until exhaustion kicked in! –  and then needing constant handling on the playground to keep the city from calling animal control on me, it has been years since I’ve been able to read a book in short enough time for me to remember how it started once I finished it.  I’ve been lucky to read two books in a year for lack of interest, focus, and time.  I’m glad to say I’m getting better and getting back to reading.  It has help that, in the time of becoming a Stay Home and now, technology has gotten so much more exciting and making it easier to access books!  Now I just have to fight the lure of other online time wasters to actually go read….

But here it is!

It was lent to me – Kindle to Kindle! – by another reader friend who wanted someone versed in the old school D&D tabletop gaming.  His lady wife had read it but, never having  played any sort of RPG, felt she might have missed some of the fine nuances of the genre.  So I gave it a go.

It starts as a classic Game World vs Real World and how they bleed over.  It was a fairly popular trope at some point or at least it seemed like I read a lot of “Gamers play module and end up in other universe totally by accident” books somewhere in the late 80s/early 90s.  From there it takes the predictable character evolutions and swaps them up.  Swaps them up realistically even!   As realistically being subjective in a world of orcs, dragons, and magic sword, of course.  The characters were real and engaging, both the characters and the “characters”, for those of you having enough tabletop/larping experience to understand the difference.  The motivations were not ham-handed or contrived and the solutions were clever.   I really enjoyed it.  So much so that I’m currently on the third book! In three months! Can you believe I’ve read so much in so short a time! I can feel my brain coming alive with imagination!

Edit! (Sorry – I probably should have included the link to the second book too, to save you the time of trying to hunt it down.)

Entry level cosplay: Overly Ambitious

(scene opens over chaotic pre-scouting dinner table)
Alpha: Mom, I figured out my Halloween costume for next year. (hands over a Magic Card)
Me: Oh yeah? (looks at Eldrazi) Uh…I’m seeing a lot of tentacles and gross appendages. I think this might be beyond our security clearance.
Beta: Security clearance? What does that even mean?
Me: It’s a Table Top reference. It means that our skills aren’t up to the task of making it.
Beta: Then why didn’t you just say that?
Me: Because I’m a Geek and I only know how to talk in game references.

Arcane Rune Lore x5

(scene opens with enraged mother auditing a backpack, in tears there will be no school photos for Alpha this year)
Me: (starts to throw away a scrap of paper with drawings on it)
Alpha: No! I haven’t translated it yet!
Me: (closer look, Norse runes) It doesn’t say anything. English translation, anyway. Maybe something Norse, but I don’t speak Norse.
Alpha: How do you know!?
Me: (grabs paper, pen, writes in Norse runes) *because I know a lot of things you will never understand* (throws down pen) Now go brush your teeth.

One man’s treasures are another man’s treasures

(scene opens in a messy, yet finished, attic)
Beta: Wow mom, why didn’t you tell me you had all this stuff up here?
Me: Because I didn’t want you to play with it. Here. (hands over box full of crystal and pewter figurines and a leather sack full of D&D dice) You can have these if you want
Beta: We should clean the attic more often. You have the coolest stuff.
Me: I kept telling people that.

I talk about it all the time

(scene opens at last night’s Fight Club)
Me: (clanks around in random armor bits)
Alpha: Wow! Mom! You look totally boss! Like the Dragonborn! Except no ebony sword, hand of flame, or Lydia.
Gamma: (wearing my gauntlets, holding sword) Mom! I want to be a knight! (swing enthusiastically at the pell)
Husband: (shouts a thu’um at me)
Me: Yeah, love you too. (proceeds to accept level one beating)

Other lives

(scene opens in gamer basement)

Me: Just because someone has an online profile doesn’t mean it’s true. People lie in them all the time.
Alpha: Why?
Me: Sometimes they’re kids pretending to be adults to sound cool. Sometimes they’re adults pretending to be kids, for a variety of reasons good and bad. Sometimes they’re women pretending to be men so that way other men won’t say awful stuff to them to get them to stop playing or to hurt their feelings.
Alpha: Why would they want them to quit.
Me: Because some guys think that girls don’t like Star Trek, Star Wars, video games or comic books or any of that stuff. They think they’re faking it just to find friends or boyfriends or to look cool.
Alpha: (incredulous) You’re level 36 in Skyrim! How can anyone think you’re fake gamer girl?!?
Me: (resigned yet bemused) It happens.