The Snark – Low Level Characters

If you are a player of Role Playing Games (outside of the bedroom) then by now you have most likely been subjected to the horror that is playing a low level character. This is a tired topic for me as I am already to the point that I just refuse to play an RPG that starts me at level one. But let’s take a moment to consider what has jaded me to this point.

The easiest argument to make is that there is no point in getting attached to any character that is one pin prick from death every moment of every day (though if you play with our DM that is the situation for even a level twenty-five character). The squishiness of all low level characters means that you probably are not going to be fighting anything that you would run back to the farm house and tell your dear old mom and pop about but instead you will be taking care of the sewer rat infestation for someone else because they have better things to do. Seriously though while it is true that a bite from a sewer rat might kill me eventually if I decided it was not worth paying the insurance deductible to go see a doctor to not die; for a level one character that same bite could be instant death. Not from the plague the bite could give you but from the three points of damage the bite itself inflicted!

Another thing that I hate about lowbies is that they are cookie cutter copies of each other with different starting gear. If for example you are playing a wizard and your buddy is playing a warrior you will both hit that poor sewer rat with a stick about the same percentage of the time and do something similar in damage. A priest and a warrior are basically the same when it comes to “tanking” as both will take the same hit from the boss rat and take about the same amount of damage the priest will just die one hit sooner than his warrior friend because he will still refuse to cast his healing spell even when it is his life on the line. As you level of course this goes away as warriors build melee skill at a faster rate than his wizard buddy who is going to eventually become a demi-god when he gets a spell worth casting but the balance between classes is a talk for another day.

So what is it that eventually makes a character worth playing? What other than the obvious increases in power makes a character fun? At what point does the annoyance start to fade and an attachment start to grow? For me the line is around level ten to twelve. By midlevel the character has developed enough that in some way there is something special about it. Two people both playing a wizard could be completely different by level twenty but probably not by level ten. As characters level they become more specialized to fill the role that the player has in mind for them and it is this specialization that I would argue makes any character worth playing in the end.

Some people get all giddy about the idea of making some fresh characters and starting off on a new adventure with their friends. At this point in my RPG career all I can see is a group of people determined to try (and probably fail) to not to die together.

The Snark: DST

As I find myself unable to sleep at night or awaken promptly in the morning one full week after the change to daylight savings time, I have to question why we as a people put ourselves through this crap. There’s nothing more annoying than wanting to smash your $800 phone because it sounds an alarm in the morning when you and everyone else with a brain in their head knows it is not time to be getting up. In fact the only thing that comes close is lying down and staring at the ceiling at “bedtime” because the only people that went to bed at that hour just a week before were 12 year-olds who have to get up for school the next day. Now I get that in the dark ages before we had artificial light in pretty much every home and place of gainful employment that the rising and setting of the sun is what dictated when humanity got things accomplished. In our modern age however, moving the clocks forward so that the sun can shine in my eyes during my drive to work instead of rising before I leave is just an annoyance.

One of the arguments for daylight savings time is that it’s supposed to help conserve energy, but I have to wonder who uses less energy an hour earlier in the day? In my case, the shower has to run longer while I stand there trying to knock the cobwebs away. That’s extra water lost in addition to the energy burned to heat it and pump it up to the bathroom.  And during this time the artificial lights burn while that precious sunlight we are killing ourselves for is blocked out by closed windows and drawn shades. I would love to hear one good case for how this annoying practice helps even one person anywhere in these United States of America.Angry clock

When I was a child, I used to like the “Fall back” portion of daylight savings time. I felt like I was getting to sleep in every day until my body readjusted and I felt rested because of that extra hour of sleep. As an adult, I look back on this and pity myself for not realizing I was gaining nothing.  Rather, I simply got to set my clock back to the time it was supposed to be if we did not have daylight savings time to start with. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot so you can feel good when you can walk on it again, but all the while you did it to yourself.

There are other countries out there that have implemented daylight savings time and since quit the practice. I think it is high time America took a good look at why it still observes DST. What claims can be made in its favor and are supported by actual data? Why should our regular measurement of time which serves only to mark a full rotation of the earth on its axis along with a full revolution of the earth around the sun ever change? Especially just so we can change how we experience the rising and setting of the sun? Sunrise and sunset change every day any way.  If it mattered that much, we should change our clocks every day too so we can have every precious second of daylight that we pretend we need.

I would say F daylight savings time… but clearly, it has already F’ed me.

Diablo III

If I had to describe Diablo III in a word I would choose “Boring” with very little hesitation. I played the first ten levels and walked away because I completely lacked the desire to keep playing. I think the painful truth is that Diablo should have been allowed to stay a cool game from more than a decade ago instead of making this monstrosity and ensuring that any fond memories that I had of the franchise are good and dead. Let’s take a look at the timeline. The original Diablo was released by Blizzard on 12/31/1996 and the Hellfire expansion (which was not a Blizzard product) for that game came out less than one year later on 11/24/1997 and then Blizzard released Diablo II four years after their original game on 06/29/2000. I played all of these games from start to finish multiple times which will not surprise the people who know me. I have an addictive personality and when I get started on something I keep going with it until I have completely dominated it; that’s just what I do. I have over 24 hours of playtime of Sudoku on my phone (I just checked) and I would rather play that than Diablo III. D3 was released in North America on 05/15/2012 almost sixteen years after the original and twelve years after the last installment. At this point the game has completely lost relevance. I did not go back and play the first games to “ramp myself up for D3” so some of the names of people you meet in D3 sound familiar but honestly it’s been so long ago I cannot remember why they are important. Continue reading “Diablo III”