Castle Tower Games Office

The offices of Castle Tower Games are located in a new high rise office building in the Edinburgh West Office Park in the Corstorphine district. The building is home to a number of other businesses and has excellent T1 internet connectivity allowing the game servers to be located here.

The servers are located high up the tower near the top whereas the MMO offices are near the ground.

Personnel

Fiona Glendinning

Very pretty blonde personal assistant

Dave McIntosh

Software developer – back end

Rotund blonde and beardy goth nerd

Hates Apple products with a passion.

Scott ‘Don’t call me Scotty’ Jones

American game developer – client

Contracted talent nerd

Jason Golding

Game Graphics Developer

Arty Scottish nerd

Clan Crocodile Tears and Propaganda

There’s a certain type of character on the MechWarrior Online forum that are always complaining about how badly off their much superior mechs are. They deliberately cry crocodile tears and pretend to be sad in order to make sure not only that their precious mechs are not nerfed but that the other factions’ mechs are never as good and they’re a plague on any balance discussion.

In case you weren’t aware, dear reader, MechWarrior Online (MWO) is a game of giant stompy robots, aka mechs (short for battlemechs), and has been around in various forms since the eighties. The latest version is played online and is a first person arena battle game.

There are two main technologies in the game, the Inner Sphere (IS) is the ‘original flavour’ that the boardgame started out with. Some time later the Clans were added with new higher tech equipment that was much better than the original. In the boardgame they eventually balanced this out with a points system but MechWarrior Online doesn’t do this with the result that Clan mechs are significantly better than IS mechs.

Normally this isn’t a problem as the game mixed the factions when creating a random team to play a battle, but when faction on faction play gets involved the difference becomes quite obvious.

MechWarrior Online players tend to fall into a couple of stereotypes: older players who started with the boardgame favour the IS mechs, a bunch of which are copied from various manga TV shows of the eighties. Younger players, who cut their teeth on the various incarnations of MechWarrior games, tend to favour the clan mechs featured in those games. Naturally there’s a bunch of people who like both types of mech but we’re not going to talk about those weirdos!

So when the older, IS favouring, players come to the forum to complain that their mechs are getting hammered, the younger, Clan favouring, players get stuck in too, and within their numbers are members of a secret clan: Clan Crocodile Tears.

Members of Clan Crocodile Tears are out to make sure that the Clan mechs are always the best, regardless of wether or not that’s good for the game. They want to maintain, or even improve, the face wrecking advantage that Clan mechs already have thanks to the poor design of the game.

So Clan Crocodile Tears are always coming up with weaksauce propaganda about how the very minor drawbacks that Clan mechs have are so overwhelmingly important that they outweigh all other considerations.

e.g.

When clan mechs lose one side of their engines they are not destroyed but IS mechs are – but clan mechs get an awful 20% movement penalty when that happens which more than balances it out.

Actual Quote – ‘Omnimechs are inferior to Battlemechs in MWO because of the rigid locked equipment that you have to build around instead of being able to full customize’. Yet all clan equipment is lighter and uses fewer slots than IS meaning you can mount a lot more weapons on those omnimechs while being faster and more agile…

So I’ve drawn up a logo for this clan that shows a crocodile head in front of a blue banner of tears over a sea of salty tears that wash over the forums:

Here’s some more bonus quotes and propaganda, now with videos:

‘A pilot with an IS mech who knows how to play it doesn’t have much problems versus clan mechs. Since I started playing this game, clans have been nerfed constantly, but we adapt to the changes and get it done. So maybe you IS dudes think about improving your play style instead of blaming tech differences that are supposed to be there?’

‘Our concern is getting our asses handed to us because we can not match ton for ton with the IS during faction play due to our gutted drop decks on both scout/invasions.’ Lances107

‘by the skill tree… It seems like every IS mech is transforming into assault tanks!’

Pr8Dator2

Rogue One Review with Warning and Spoilers!

Just to fill some space before I get onto the topic at hand it’s well worth warning parents with children that the UK certification for Rogue One (12A) is possibly a bit low, it’s almost a (15), so definitely shouldn’t be seen by anyone under 12 and sensitive kids over that age may find certain themes within the movie to be disturbing. If you’re not sure, go see it first before letting your kids see it.

Rogue One Movie Poster

So I squeezed in a viewing of Rogue One and it is an excellent movie but it’s also nothing like a typical Star Wars movie while having all the ingredients (bar one) that we’ve come to expect.

As we all know the original Star Wars movie, with it’s U rating, is basically a war movie, combining elements from ‘The Dam Busters’ and ‘633 Squadron’, as well as influences from a diverse range of films such as ‘The Hidden Fortress’.

Rogue One goes back to the war movie influences of Star Wars to provide the drama too.  Unlike the 1977 movie the sources here are more like the shocking opening sequences of  ‘Saving Private Ryan’, the hell on earth of ‘Cross of Iron’, and the end of the recent ‘Fury’ movie.

There’s a great cast of eminently likeable misfit warriors from the morally torn Cassian (Diego Luna), the overly frank droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), the blind monk Chirrut (Donnie Yen), and his best friend the heavily armed Baze (Wen Jiang), to the supremely talented Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). They get up to all sorts of hijinks in pursuit of the McGuffin of the movie, the plans for the Death Star.

It seems, at first like any other Star Wars movie, a series of adventures and escapades, set backs and breakthroughs, leading to the inevitable win for the good guys and a happy ending as they ride off into the sunset.

and then we hit the third act…

To be frank it’s a fucking slaughter. Everyone, every single likeable character, everyone, dies one by one and the only thing resembling a sunset is a nuclear fireball. There. Is. No. Happy. Ending.

It’s a complete change of tone for a Star Wars movie, halfway through the slaughter you’re starting to wonder what the fuck is going on, and then they lift your hopes as one of the characters comes back from the dead, only to plunge a knife into your heart as the film’s relentless death toll keeps going up and up and up.

We’ve gone from war film to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and on to Cabin in the Woods and Dr Strangelove.

I’m not  sure I can watch it again. Don’t take your kids.

Stack Exchange is the Worst Place Ever to Ask a Question

For my new campaign I wanted to get a word similar to Necromancer that I could use as a Class name as Necromancer has been overdone. So I asked a question on Stack Exchange but I should have known better. One hour later and the question has been down voted to oblivion, closed, and a minor war has erupted in the comments:

stackexchangefail

There is something deeply, deeply wrong with the majority of people who answer questions on Stack Exchange, they’re rude, opinionated, pedantic beyond all reason, and just complete failures at answering questions, which is the one thing that they should actually be useful for.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to ask a simple question on Stack Exchange, I’ve been similarly horrified several times in the last year or two and always deleted the question as soon as possible. This time I decided not to use my own Stack Exchange ID and simply use a throwaway email address. Thank goodness.

There is something terrible that has happened to Stack Exchange, the inmates have taken it over and they are a seriously toxic group of unpleasant people.

Wildstar, not so Wild and not so Shiny

I’ve been playing Wildstar for a week or so now and I’m starting to think that it’s not all that. It doesn’t do anything ‘new’ just attempts to use all the popular stuff that everyone else has done and spin it with attitude.

Which would be fine for a free to play MMO but this is a full price subscription game and in the current gaming climate I think that most people will want something new and interesting in order to pay for a subscription not recycled concepts that are put together nicely.

It’s not that Wildstar is a bad game it’s just that it lacks a certain something to make it a total winner in my book. It’s bland and a bit boring.

A Million Years from Home

A million years from home ReRebekha Windmourner sat on a lump of rock gazing out over the ancient plains and shielding her eyes against the sun. A little ways away, in a muddy stream, the professor was exclaiming over some large footprints left in the mud while the ape looked on in patient puzzlement.

Raising her musket at a shadow on the sky Rebekha relaxed after a moment. The thunder lizards could be dangerous and even for an experienced shooter like her it could take several well placed shots to down a moderately sized one. That gave the faster ones plenty of time to get close so the sooner they were spotted the better.

In many ways Rebekha was glad to be away from the charnel house stink of the beachhead. Although it was dangerous for small groups out in the wilds at least it was better than herding enormous lizards into the slaughterhouse, which is why she had jumped at the professor’s offer of employment.

It was only a few more weeks until Rebekha and her ape friend would be able to ship out with enough cash in hand to pay for repairs and hire crew for another venture. This time, she vowed, things would be different.

Disease, Blindness, and Death

are all a result of excessive masturbation…

In relation to DDO however these are some of the additional effects that can be applied to your character thanks to enemy spellcasters, monsters, and traps. We’re going to look at the following effects with regards to gear:

  • Fear
  • Poison
  • Disease
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Death

All of the special effects in the game can be prevented or reduced with the right gear.

Poison and Disease

Poison and disease work in similar ways by damaging your stats thus making you weaker and so easier for the enemies to kill you. Diseases usually last longer and are harder to save against but do less damage. Proof Against Poison and Proof Against Disease items are what you need to protect from this. Your only other option is to use thes Neutralize Poison or Cure Disease spells (as applicable) from a friendly spellcaster, ‘clickie’ item, or a potion.

A Proof Against Poison/Disease item has an associated bonus that is applied to saves against poison/disease damage and effects.

Blindness

NPC spellcasters will outright blind you, cast an area effect spell that blinds everyone, or an enemy may have an attack that will blind you. Without this immunity you will see a black screen and have a very difficult time. You can buy blindness removal potions, wands, wait for a friendly spell caster to use one of these, or use a clickie of Blindness Removal. Blindness Ward items usually come as goggles.

Death

Deathblock – This immunity will stop ‘death-like’ spells from killing you. These are mostly one-shot kill spells and an exact list is only known by the developers. Slay living, finger of death, Phantasmal killer, and destruction are the spells you will see the most and this will make you immune to instantly dying from them. Phantasmal Killer will by your first, coming in the form of Tharaak Hounds who will cast it on you. Slay living and finger of death will be cast by beholders and enemy casters by 8th level dungeons, some earlier. Destruction spell will probably be seen first in the raid ‘The tempest Spine’ and is cast by the giants in there. This only protects you from dying specifically from the death effect of those spells, nothing else.

Fear – Normally you would want a fear immunity item at first level, however that is impossible. Until you can find one you have to use fear removal potions on each other and rely on your saving throw. The ‘Reaver’s Ring’ is usable at 8th level and you need to get one. They are cheap on the auction house and can also be looted in ‘the Xorian Cypher’. The spell ‘Greater Heroism’ will also prevent Fear, but that is a high level spell (another is ‘Heroes Feast’). Crafting items at end game can also add immunity to fear. Fear immunity will also prevent ‘despair’ caused by Mummies which paralyzes you in place and will lead to your demise. You need this item.

DDO Traps by EllisDee37

This is from a post by EllisDee37 one of the best forum contributors I have seen:

The traps in DDO are marvels of game design. For a long time when I started playing, I thought an area was trapped and the animations were just window dressing. I was wrong.

The individual elements of the traps are very finely designed. You can maneuver in between blades/spikes/whatever or time them to avoid all damage completely, no saving throws (or evasion) needed. Some specific examples:

Some spinning blades spin for a few seconds, then fold up and disappear into the ground for a couple seconds, then come back out and start all over again. When they disappear in the ground it is safe to run through that area. If there are many spinning blades of this “disappearing” variety, watch them for a minute or so and you’ll invariably see a pattern to their specific design that allows a safe path through them with proper timing.

Other spinning blades move while they spin. In almost all cases, their movement opens up safe pathways through even without waiting for them to fold up and disappear, since not all moving blades disappear.

Spike traps are the most obvious traps with safe lanes. Once activated, it is trivially easy to move between the rows of spikes to avoid all harm.

Guillotine-style blade traps have a fixed timing pattern. Watch them for a bit to see if there’s a longer pause at any point. If so, use that longer pause to navigate through. If not, well, it’s a video game, time to dust off your fine motor skills. heh. You can get through without it hitting you.

Most jet traps (acid, fire, poison, etc…) can simply be jumped over. As a general rule, the closer to the wall the jet is coming from the less high your jump needs to be. Stock up on jump potions from the market and you should be good to go.

Dart traps are similar to spike traps but the safe lanes are a bit less forgiving.

DDO Levelling Guide 7 to 10

Zone Adventure Level Source Notes and Instructions
The
Marketplace
       Start here for Veteran 7
Port Agents       Stock up on   hirelings, ammunition, wands, and potions. Go to House Deneith or Harbor Port   Agent and travel to Three Barrel Cove. Bind to the Spirit Binder in the inn   then go outside and pick up all quests in harbour area.
Port Agents Three Barrel Cove 5-7 Three Barrel Cove Complete all   quests and return to House Deneith when finished. Sell any items that aren’t   immediately useful as you go along but make sure to pick up all of the   Corsair’s Cunning three item set – repeat quests as required to get it (you   will want it for ‘The Pit’ below). The Legend of Two Toed Tobias is the   closest to the town and can be easily repeated for the end reward.
 House   Deneith  The Black   Loch  7 Sentinels of   Stormreach After completing   this head for Vargus d’Deneith and pick up ‘The Pit’. Then go to the   Anvilfire Inn and bind to the Spirit Binder.
House Deneith The Pit 7 F2P Notoriously   difficult so can be skipped but very good XP if you follow the guide.   Afterwards pick up Bargain of Blood (7) from Lille d’Deneith, located in   House Deneith, before heading to House Jorasco
House Deneith General 8 (F2P) There are   additional quests available in the Anvilfire Inn and nearby some of which are   free to play
House Jorasco Delera’s Tomb 5-8 Delera’s Graveyard Go to the Open   Palm Inn, pick up the initial Delera quest from Acolyte Hestair, and bind to   the Spirit Binder
House Jorasco General 5-8 F2P Most of these   quests are free to play, one quest is picked up in the Drowning Sorrows Inn.   Some of the quests from House Jorasco are level 11 so ignore those until   later
The Marketplace The Searing   Heights 4-7 Sentinels of   Stormreach Wilderness area   with entrance to Bargain of Blood dungeon
The Marketplace Devil Assault 6  F2P Leads to   Chronoscope raid
House Deneith General 6-8 (F2P) Don’t forget to   visit the Anvilfire Inn again
House Deneith Sorrowdusk Isle 6-10 Sorrowdusk Isle Do first quest   chain now and second later
House Deneith Sentinels of   Stormreach 7-8 Sentinels of   Stormreach First quest is   Bargain of Blood, see above
House Cannith Cannith Challenges 8 Cannith Challenge   Pack There are a more   of these challenges available from level 8:

  • Kobold Island – The        Disruptor
  • Dr Rushmore’s Mansion –        Moving Targets
  • Lava Caves – Colossal        Crystals
  • Extraplanar Palace – The        Dragon’s Hoard
House Phiarlan The Necropolis 8 Necropolis Part 2 Litany of the Dead   Part 2
House Phiarlan Ruins of Threnal 8-10 Ruins of Threnal  
House Kundarak Vault of Night 8-9 Vault of Night Leads to Vault of   Night raid
House Kundarak The Red Fens 9 The Red Fens  
aHouse Deneith Sorrowdusk Isle 6-10 Sorrowdusk Isle Do second quest   chain now
Port Agents Ataraxia’s Haven 10 Ataraxia’s Haven