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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Jacob Rains' LiveJournal:

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Sunday, June 30th, 2013
2:21 pm
2:20 pm
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
8:30 pm
Friday, June 14th, 2013
7:46 pm
Saturday, June 8th, 2013
9:27 pm
Saturday, June 1st, 2013
6:38 pm
The last 20-30 seconds of this video I twisted the camera pretty good without realizing it. Oops. Sorry.

Sunday, May 26th, 2013
7:58 pm
Friday, May 24th, 2013
10:27 pm

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
6:44 pm
DIY Concrete wall building

After doing the sketch, the first part of the wall will be:

103 8x8x16 Concrete Bricks
8 8x8x8 Concrete Bricks
13 6' Rebar pins
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
2:11 pm

To skip to the TL;DR part -

"Impose punishments that are genuinely painful. This suggestion is extreme, but I feel it's both viable and effective. To play subscription-based or pay-as-you-go ("free-to-play-but-not-really") games, most players need to register a credit card with the game's provider. Include a condition in the terms of service that entitles the provider to levy extra charges for bad behavior. Charge $5 for the first infraction and double it for each subsequent one. This isn't all that unusual; if you smoke in a non-smoking hotel room, you are typically subject to a whopping extra charge for being a jerk."

What do you think?


1) There's a "Bad Behavior" clause in the ToS.
2) Bad Behavior is a reported by fellow players. Both GW2 and WoW have simple: right-click and report functions in the UI.
3) With enough "reports" a tribunal is formed with the text and game logs and
4) Sent to be judged on by the Tribunal of 6-12 random, anonymous players.
i) Reported player is not revealed to the Tribunal.
ii) Tribunal jury volunteers have to have a main server, cannot play on other servers
iii) Tribunal jury volunteers cannot be sent reports from their own server
iv) Tribunal Jury volunteers cannot see the punishment that may be imposed. (i.e. they only decide if a person demonstrates "bad behavior" or not)
5) If Tribunal finds "bad behavior" the system automatically assigns the a fine.
6) Tribunal finds of "bad behavior" are published publicly, this time with the name of the accused. (Or, at the very least, with the "X player did Y conduct and was fined $n)
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
10:28 am
Monday, August 20th, 2012
8:56 am
I played a lot over the weekend.

1) I tried out Diplomacy again. It wouldn't be fair to call it a mini-game. I dug into the systems and it's quite impressive. I have no idea what the "end game" is, but there is so, so, so much to do in the process. Including a damn fast mount and some epic (diplomacy) gear.

2) Crafting. I picked up a level, but I don't see any additional "things to make" from 51 to 55. I'm afraid that there is no "end game" for crafters beyond what was already in the game. Which means that at 55, the only difference is the things you were doing at 50 are easier.

3) Adventuring. I feel like what WoW must have felt like when Burning Crusade launched. They put in a patch which raised the level cap from 50 to 55 about 3 years ago with a bunch of additional quests and dungeons and such. Suddenly the "epic awesome" gear that I spent hours and hours getting is being replaced with the first quest reward from the new area. And this new gear has a bunch of new stats on it that I'm not sure are good or bad, but they're definitely different than what I was itemizing for earlier.

The game has too much stealth though. The quest hub I went to was a dungeon that was mostly solo with a few optional group encounters. Nobody was really interested in clearing the "trash" mobs, we all just stealthed by them and avoided the mobs that could detect.

I do love the Blood Mage class. Like, OMG, this is how healing is suppose to be. Too many abilities though, especially buffs. They could really cut a few out. And even though he's a gnome.... he's probably the most charismatic character I've ever played, and he's got swagger. When the discussion of gnome punting shows up in region chat, it's... "Hate to break it to you folks, but chicks dig Gnomes. Short and bald, that's how I roll."

With the F2P launch, they merged most of the starting zones. Not a big deal but I noticed that they closed off the gnome starting / main city "Mekalia". I flew out to the area and checked it out. There's an RP post about the coming.

I also went looking for the Dark Elf queen, and couldn't find her. The Dark Elves actually have more than one city (2, maybe 3). I think one of the flaws of the game is that it is -too- big. I got lost in the city, almost to the point of being unable to find my way out.

The High Elf King and Queen are a bit easier to find. But I was disappointed with their models. They also don't have "thrones" in the throne room. I feel bad for them, they're sort of stuck there standing on separate dais. If I had an art department, I'd put updating that room on the to-do list. [Sad] However, the High Elf architecture is -amazing-, as is the back sound track.

The Thestran (European-style human) King is very cool. There is a keep within a castle-city that you have to crawl around in to find him, and along the way you end up passing a bunch of misc. nobles, bureaucrats, and ambassadors. Pretty much what you'd expect on your way into a King's throne room. And now that I think about it, he's not sitting either.

I should have uploaded some screen shots, I'll work on that for my next post.
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
8:56 am
All work order completions award the same experience based on completion. Set, Batch, single idea does not matter. The amount awarded between set/batch/single also don't seem to greatly differ. For faction grinding, it seems obvious that the single item would be the fastest. For exp grinding, the issue is the run time between picking up a work order and running it back when complete.

(And now I know why they patched the taskmasters to be further away from the benches and pace.)
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
10:22 am
Vanguard update - 1) I didn't get a change to get many work orders done form my crafting experience and reputation, but I did at least get my crafting tools back. I need to find out how much experience is needed to level, and then break it down into 10% and 25% blocks.

I need to find out how much exp I'm getting per completed task, then the bonus for completing a single item/set/batch. Break down how much time it takes. Then find out how to optimize the experience for the quickest leveling.

2) My wife and I made our dark elves. We flew to the Dark Elf starting area and began our journal in Telon together*. I didn't pay as much attention to the flavor text of the quests as I meant to. However, the intro quest when playing talk about the Queen of the Dark Elves, but she's not where you'd expect to find her (in the capitol city). Which begs the questions: Where is she? Why is she there? Who's in charge?
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
4:55 pm
Vanguard rebooted as a Free-to-play game. Though, it's really more of an unending trial version of the game. There are several limitations on what you can do. Given the launch of GW2 next week, and Mists of Pandaria next month; playing Vanguard has been more on my mind lately.

I will probably be blogging a bit about this experience. I'm trying to move away from FaceBook and back towards keeping my journal updated with what I'm doing.
4:50 pm
In Edwards AFB news, (that's where I work), Boeing tested the X-51a today. While the military applications are... well, military applications, the commercial and practical applications are that this engine may one day allow for commercial flights with speeds of... oh.. Mach 5 (4k MPH). Reducing a LA-New York fight to 40 minutes, or Tokyo-Paris flight to 2.5 hours.

While NASA isn't involved in the testing, part or what we -do- experiment on at Dryden is developing plane wing/bodies that reduce the impact of the sonic booms created at hypersonic speeds.

The vision of the future is a smaller one. We've connected people across the globe with the internet, let's hope we can make it easier to visit our friends in Germany or New Zealand.
9:02 am
My thoughts on GW2 -

The world does not feel big, at all.

In around one beta weekend, I "completed" (all <3 quests, PoI, and vistas) 3 zones and was 97% done with a fourth. I think my big world map said that was ~15% of the total world. Based on that, the estimation was that I'd have the world completed in about 3 months. Will the incentives to "hunt" the random spawning dynamic events for fun be enough? I'm not sure.

There are jumping puzzles.

Which is.. cool, I guess. But not interesting enough for repeat play. The main challenge is trying to figure out how to get from A to B, execution is the secondary challenge. Once you've figured out how, it's going to be much less interesting to see if you can still execute the jumps. How many jumping challenges can they put in the game to make it interesting to play for a year? Two years?

You can siege enormous castles.

Which is pretty amazing, no doubt there. And coming from a PvP realm in WoW, the random, spontaneous PvP was probably the thing I looked forward to the most when logging in. However, as part of a WoW raid team, I've tried 10m and 25m raiding, and the larger the group, the more time is eaten up by people letting their dogs out, bathroom breaks, etc. Basically, all the cat herding that needs to be done before hand. In the large world battles that GW2 offers, to be successful, it requires teams and alliances with constant communication and a tested strategy. As someone who plays games "for fun", "as a hobby", "to unwind"... the constant stress and organization defeats this purpose.

Which isn't saying I object to the "rush" of completing a difficult task, I did say I raid. But a 10m raid that includes 2 RL friends and my wife inside a private instance is a completely different feeling. The amount of pre-planning is minimal and execution is locked into 10-15m chunks of time.

Arena.net is pushing for GW2 to be a competitive eSport.

Which is definitely cool. I love watching MLG streams of SCII tournaments, and I'm disappointed that Blizzard doesn't support WoW arenas the same way. Given the choice of the "man-vs-man" format or "tank army-vs-zealot army", I'd take the more gladiator style blood pit man-vs-man style of GW2 or WoW, (over SCII or League of Legends). Which means I'm looking forward to spectator mode and professional shoutcasted tournaments of GW2 gameplay.

Now, does that mean I want to compete in it? Do I have to play GW2 in order to enjoy watching competitive play? I tried my hand with WoW arenas and rated battlegrounds, and I can only take so much. I don't want to be a pro-gamer, I don't need to feel like a "god walking among mortals", I just want to have fun with friends. One of the reasons to actually do arena and battleground in WoW is that's the only way to get the gear which allows for the spontaneous PvP I mentioned before. GW2 removes that gear grind, removes all PvP outside of WvW and their structured format, so the only incentive to do PvP is because it's fun (and WvW offers an alternative to leveling by "questing"), and I believe that's fundementally a good thing. But I don't know if it'll be fun for a year or more.

The game is beautiful.

Absolutely no doubt on that one. Arena.net did something so right with that. However, my wife and I both agree that the "gear" in Vanguard is still the best in any game we've played, though... no one has seen the high tier end game sets, so that may yet change.

The system mechanics are... interesting.

The gameplay is fast. You are always leveled down to whatever zone you're in, so you can't just walkover low level NPCs and be on your way. Some enemies use huge directional attacks that can be easily avoided by constantly being on the move. GW2 simplifies the games down to about 10 abilities that you can use at any time, but you can switch between abilities either between combat, or even switch weapons for different abilities while in combat. Instead of having 3+ action bars and memorizing 20-30 hotkeys, it's stripped down, but (to my amazement and surprise) it doesn't feel limiting at all. The game play is definitely fun, and fighting mobs should never feel like "auto-attack until dead, rinse and repeat".

The drawback, is that some abilities have what could basically be considered cast times. One ability I tried out was a ranged snare attack. Very useful for classes that require kiting and distance to be effective. The drawback was that it was on about 1.5 second cast. When I needed to snare a target, I needed them snared -> there, not <-- where they are 1.5 seconds later. I don't actually blame the game for that, it just requires a change in gameplay and thinking. Most abilities require thinking ahead, prediction of enemy movement and abilities, you cannot play reactionary and expect good results.

I've already pre-ordered GW2, and even if I don't play it for more than a couple of months, I won't feel disappointed and/or ripped off. I like SO MUCH of what Arena.net did in developing this MMO, I worry about its long term playability. Much like a "kickstarter" drive or "crowd-sourcing", I appreciate the core of the game they have built and believe that it deserves my monetary support.
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
6:43 am
I picked up "The Last Ringbearer"* and had a chuckle at Eomer's speech before the Rohan assault at the battle of Gongdor. It's a rousing pre-war motivational speech that's almost the direct opposite of the St. Chrispen's Day speech from Henry V, but much more likely to rouse the interests of modern soldiers.

The Last RingbearerCollapse )
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
5:04 pm
Monday, August 9th, 2010
1:21 am
So... just finished watching the 2010 version of "Clash of the Titans". I'm going watch the 1981 version in the next couple days to compare to the two. I wasn't overly impressed with latest version in terms of acting or story. As expected, however, the special effects were good. I'm getting less turned off by CGI, they seem to be getting at better at making it seemless. It's funny, because I think that video games have more of an influence of on how special effects/CGI are put into movies then Hollywood experimenting.

Also.... (if you're afraid of spoilers, stop reading).... my inner geek smiled at the Bobo cameo appearance in the movie. It's totally a dead give away that someone hasn't seen the first movie when you hear them say, "That was F-ing out of place". Is it worthy of having your geek card revoked if you can't identify Bobo?

Lastely... "Release the Kraken" should really be up their with greatest movie quotes of all time.
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