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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the Powerful Desire to Punch Sokrates in the Face

Sokrates Assassin's Creed Odyssey

I feel it’s been too long since I did a totally random and nearly nonsensical post about whatever video game I’m playing.

Of course, that’s probably because I have been too busy to play any new games and there’s only so much you can say about your 10,000th (let’s be honest, that number might be a bit low) Heroes of the Storm match which you allowed yourself in-between struggling through edits and answering emails.

But I finally got the time to play some of the games I got during Steam’s summer sale.

(Please be proud of me for holding out for months in order to make all my various deadlines. Months.)

Right now, I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Now, I have a long history with Assassin’s Creed games…

I got the first couple of games on sale. Played the first game.

Didn’t get far because I kept falling off buildings.

I was told that the first two games weren’t all that good and that I should try the third one. I did, and I enjoyed it a lot more… until I got pissed at constantly failing stealth missions where I wasn’t allowed to start killing my way out if I was discovered.

Didn’t finish that one, either.

Then a friend told me that the fourth game, Black Flag, was by far the best game, and besides, it was all about pirates.

I like pirates, so I bought this game as well. Did enjoy all the content taking place on dry land, but the ship missions bored me to death.

Got stuck, didn’t finish that one either.

Bought a Collector’s Edition of Assassin’s Creed: Unity in a clearance sale, because the box was nice.

Never even installed this one.

I’m also pretty sure I once bought a Humble Bundle with a bunch of other Assassin’s Creed games…

My point is that games about assassins jumping off tall buildings and stabbing people while wearing flashy outfits obviously appeals to me in theory, but I should have accepted long ago that I’m simply too crap at them to ever finish one. And truly, I was about to make my peace with this.

Then… Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was released.

At first I didn’t think much of it as it looked like just another AC game, but without the nice coats. But all my gamer friends were going crazy about it on Twitter and my interest was peaked once I heard it was an open-world RPG.

Considering my all-time favorite games include Witcher, Dragon Age and World of Warcraft, this seemed like it would be more up my alley.

However, I wasn’t about to buy a game from a franchise I have famously always given up on in the past at full price, so I promised myself I would only try it out once it started to hit the sales. This brings us up to the present, where I’m writing a post about this game once everyone else has moved on long ago.

That’s just how I roll.

Speaking of rolling: I’m finding Odyssey to be a much smoother experience for me, compared to my previous attempts at Assassin’s Creed games.

Not only have I only accidentally fallen off tall buildings about 4 times, but the game allows me to kill just about everyone, as long as I have the money to pay off bounty hunters or the ability to run fast enough to get my ass to safety.

This is especially nice, because I keep accidentally knocking out people and upsetting the soldiers.

It’s not my fault, okay? The key for “Loot”, “Talk”, “Mount horse” and “Knock out” is the same, so it can’t be helped that I knock out the occasional innocent passersby when trying to get on my horse. And maybe I assaulted a soldier or two, just because they happened to be standing next to the general I wanted to talk to.

For some reason, that upsets them.

But luckily, they have a horrible attention span, because even if I – on accident – slashed open their shoulder, they will forget it if I run far enough away before returning. Sure, they will still be covered in blood, but it’s all water under the bridge as long as I don’t actually kill them.

Which – sort of – brings me to my next point. Odyssey, like the other Assassin’s Creed games, are based on actual historical events, places and people. As the name suggests, Odyssey takes place in ancient Greece some time after the whole deal with the wooden horse and the cyclops and all that. Which means you get to meet famous characters from that time. Characters like Sokrates.

Sokrates Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Now, let me be clear: I have never had any beef with Sokrates. Hell, I even considered naming my owl Sokrates (though I eventually settled on ‘Artemis’… which also comes up a lot in this game).

After two interactions with him in Odyssey, I wanted to punch him.

After three interactions, I wanted to punch him more than I really wanted to achieve anything else in the game.

I think you tend to forget what bullshit philosophy is until you’re forced to talk to a philosopher…

This guy argues about everything, but has no opinion on anything. Seriously, dude, if you don’t care what I do either way, don’t force me to have a moral discussion on it!

And if you’re going to do so anyway, I feel it’s only fair that the game gives me the option I have with nearly every other NPC in the entire game:

To punch you in the face.

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Getting Ready to Enroll in Witcher School Again

Witcher School makeup

You might remember reading about how I went to a castle in Poland to get my ass kicked back in April.

Well, I will be going back next week, so lots of preparations are underway.

To the fortunate ones who haven’t been forced to listen to me gush endlessly about this: Witcher School is a three-day LARP held in Poland with participants from all over the world. It’s held at Moszna Castle and, as the name might suggest, it’s based on the Witcher games and books. It’s also quite unlike anything I have ever experienced before, which is why I’m going back to hunt monsters in the forest in the middle of goddamn night and get yelled at by men with swords around dawn.

This is an entirely new storyline, meaning I will also be playing an entirely new character.

Last time, I got in a little over my head when I played a hot-headed Skellige warrior and Witcher adept, because, while I might have the attitude, you’re unlikely to find anyone less “warrior”-like than me.

(Seriously, I kept trying to pick fights, but no grown man can bring himself to even yell at a petite 5’6″ baby-faced woman. They kept being all diplomatic and patient, and it was infuriating.)

Which is why I was thrilled when I received my new character.

This time I will be playing Stella, a Nilfgaardian woman who ran away from home, because all she could expect from life was to be married off to some man her parents chose for her. She was eventually kidnapped by bandits who were going to sell her as a slave, but ended up losing her in a game of Gwent to the Grand Master of the School of Cat.

Since I went through the whole adept-thing last time, I decided to play a full-fledged Witcher this time around, which means that my character has already gone through the Trial of the Grasses. And here’s where it gets good: My character survived the Trial, but is suffering from far more after effects than normal.

(Apparently, the School of the Cat isn’t too good at doing genetic experiments.)

Yes yes, I know it’s weird to be excited about playing a sick character, but I was no good as a Viking princess, so I’m totally embracing this. Which is also why I’m going to take things a bit further.

My character sheet doesn’t mention any visible signs of the after effects of the mutagens, but I thought it would be much more interesting if everyone immediately can see that Stella isn’t well. So I went makeup shopping (a horror in itself) and tried out a new look based on how Geralt looks in Witcher 3 when he overdoses on toxic potions.

Witcher School makeup

The bonus is that if I perfect the look, I’ll be all set for Halloween as well!

 

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The Witcher 3 – A Few of My Favorite Quests

Witcher 3 Oxenfurt Drunk screenshot

I’m replaying The Witcher 3 and I thought I would talk a bit about what makes this game so very special.

I could choose to talk about the great storyline, the amazing characters or even some of the big decisions you have to make throughout the game. But plenty of games have good overall storylines and characters. What makes Witcher 3 stand out from most other games I have played is how even many of its side quests manage to be memorable. I have picked out a few of my favorites while I played.

Mostly, I have chosen quests that are either hilarious or downright horrifying. Somehow, The Witcher 3 manages to stuff both extremes into one game and make it all work.

 

The Dark Ones

There’s some really messed-up shit in the Witcher games…


A Towerful of Mice

I’m sorry, what did you say? There’s a haunted island where everyone died mysteriously?
What are we waiting for? Let’s go!

In “A Towerful of Mice”, the sorceress Keira Metz gives Geralt a magic lamp and sends him to a haunted island. When he gets there, he uses the lamp to reveal ghosts relieving memories of the island’s terrifying history. You get to the tower at the center of the island where you find a lot of rats, as well as clues to how a mage who lived there experimented with disease on both rats and humans. You also discovers how the starving peasants attacked and killed the highborn family living there.

At the top Geralt encounters the spirit of the daughter who tells him how she wasn’t killed by the peasants, because she took a sleeping potion given to her by the mage. However, after the peasants murdered everybody, they left her there among the bodies, and then she woke up she was paralyzed and could do nothing as the rats ate her alive.

And that wasn’t even the end of it. Geralt still had to lift the curse and it all ends horribly. And I looked it up, and turns out I got the “good” ending…

Witcher 3 Plague Maiden Towerful of Mice

Carnal Sins

In this one you’re chasing a serial killer who murders his victims in the finest Jack the Ripper-style.

It starts when one of the characters Geralt has befriended, Priscilla, is attacked and nearly killed. It turns out that it’s far from the first attack of its kind, and Geralt has to break into the morgue (through the sewers, of course…) to examine the body of the last victim. After that, you start hunting for the murderer who gouges out the eyes of his victims and replaces them with burning coals, and forces them to drink formaldehyde.

While searching the sites of the attacks, Geralt finds religious propaganda promoting the Eternal Fire, signed by “A Concerned Citizen”. Geralt also discovers that the killer leaves behind notes with the next victim’s name in the mouth of those he kills, causing him to race to save the next on the list.

I’m quite sure I ended up killing the wrong man, but that’s the great thing about this game. You might make a rash decision, but it will stick. In this case it meant Geralt assumed he had gotten the right guy and didn’t pursue the matter further. You only find out you got the wrong guy far later, when you stumble upon the corpse of another victim by chance.

The Witcher 3 Carnal Sins

Scenes From a Marriage

This is part of the main questline for the DLC Hearts of Stone, but it got everything a horror story could wish for: A haunted mansion, a mystery, a weird Frankenstein-like caretaker and talking animals.

Olgierd von Everec sends Geralt to his old, abandoned estate to find the violet rose he gave his wife the last time he saw her. When Geralt gets there, he finds the whole place shrouded in an unnatural fog, and while it’s clearly been abandoned for a long time, the flower beds are strangely well-maintained.

In the back garden, you find this strange patchwork man digging a grave for a thief who broke in and got killed by this ‘Caretaker’. Best of all, when you kill the Caretaker, you can loot his spade… which is, for some reason, one of the best weapons you come across in this game. I’ll never get tired of whacking bad guys in the head with a spade. Never.

Anyway, you have a chat with this weird cat and dog who refuse to give clear answers (what is up with talking animals always being annoyingly vague?) and then you enter the house to try and find Lady Iris, Olgierd’s wife. You immediately catch a glimpse of her creepy ghost crawling out from an old painting before she disappears off to god-knows-where and leaves you to explore the obviously-very-haunted house. While you do so, chairs will randomly fall over, ceiling beams will fall down, and Lady Iris will whisper encouraging things like “You will die here” from somewhere close-by.

Eventually, you find Iris’ body, lying on the bed in her bedroom.

To appease her wraith, Geralt holds a burial for her and her wraith arrives, creating a world of memories from a painting that she makes Geralt enter.

It’s all rather trippy from here on out…

Witcher 3 Caretaker

 

The Funny Ones

Luckily, it’s not all horror and tragedy!
(Except possibly for the poor fellow who got hit in the head by the flying cow…)


The Oxenfurt Drunk

Another quest with an investigation that starts in a morgue, yet this one gets to go under the funny ones!

Oh sure, it’s about a vampire on a killing spree in the city of Oxenfurt, but it’s about an alcoholic vampire on a killing spree in Oxenfurt, meaning Geralt has to get drunk off his ass to lure it out. This katakan only attacks and drinks the blood of drunkards, so after Geralt empties the nearest inn for cheap wine, he staggers around in the street, singing rowdy ballads.

One of the best parts is the grumpy man yelling out his window, complaining about the noise and vulgarity. At one point you can hear him go, “Young people, these days!”

Geralt’s probably close to being 100 years old, yet he still goes, “Alright, alright, sheesh” and stumbles on into another street.

Eventually the katakan attacks and you have to do half the fight while completely pissed… but of course you eventually chase it down and cut its head off.

Witcher 3 Oxenfurt Drunk screenshot

Of Dairy and Darkness

Before I played Witcher, I didn’t know what a Tyromancer was.

A Tyromancer tells the future… from cheese. Tea leaves are for amateurs!

In this quest, Geralt goes to investigate the abandoned tower, formerly owned by the mage Aeramas, and finds a labyrinth of stinking, poisonous cheese in the basement. The quest log describes it as “fouler smelling than a drowner’s scrotum”. For any normal person, that would be the cue to leave, right? Not for Geralt. Geralt decides to pass the Trial of the Cheeses.

In the end, Geralt finds a valuable sword and names it “The Emmentaler”, and I considered whether or not it’s possible to smack the player-controlled character…

Witcher 3 Tyromancy screenshot

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Granite!

Okay, so how do I describe this quest to do it justice…?

Geralt is hired by a very distraught art curator because the statue of Reginald d’Aubry has had its testicles stolen. Apparently, these stone balls are rumored to give all who strokes them unparalled virility.

I’m not making this up.

Since Geralt will do a lot for money, he sets out to locate the thief who took off with poor Reginald’s crown jewels. He tracks the thief to a house and finds him… busy. With someone else’s wife.

And let’s just say that the thief is not a young man. But apparently, him and Rosalinda have already been at it three times that day. And just to make it a little more awkward, Rosalinda’s husband comes bursting in during this conversation and Geralt has to explain that he’s not having a threesome with his wife and the old dude.

In the end, if all goes well, Geralt might end up running around with “Reginald Statue’s Genitals” in his inventory until you finish the quest. As part of his reward, the art curator invites Geralt to the opening and promises that he can stroke Reginald at no charge.

…Someone at CD Project Red actually had to sit down and write this.

Witcher 3 Reginald Statue Screenshot

Paperchase

When Geralt returns to Touissant in the Blood and Wine DLC after many years away, he meets an old acquaintance who wants to pay him for an old contract he fulfilled. All Geralt needs to do to get his reward, and all the interest that has piled up over the years, is to go to the bank and get it…

So Geralt goes to Cianfanelli Bank and asks the clerk to withdraw his money. However, the clerk finds that the account holder, meaning Geralt, is noted as deceased. Her information is clearly inaccurate, but she still requires a Permit A38 from Geralt. She directs him to window number one.

At window number one, Geralt is told he’s got the wrong window.

The unhelpful clerk at this window leaves him no other choice than to ask around for Permit A38.

When he finally finds the clerk who issues Permit A38s, he’s asked for his Form 202. Geralt does not have a Form 202.

He’s told to get a Form 202 from window number one.

The clerk at window number one is now on her break.

When the clerk finally gets back, she very reasonably explains to Geralt that she can’t issue a Form 202 to someone who’s been declared dead.

To Geralt’s credit, he lasts a long time before he starts threatening people enough to have the guards called on him.

Witcher 3 Paperchase Screenshot

Contract: Boving Blues

This one makes the list simply because all you’re told when hired by the quarry foreman is that a cow fell out of the sky and landed on one of his workers.

Understandably, this is considered to be a bit of a problem.

Witcher 3 Bovine Blues cow

No Place Like Home

Not quite a quest, considering the objective is to get drunk with fellow witchers Eskel and Lambert, but seeing the three usually serious witchers drunk off their asses and reminiscing about old times on the job is amazing. And Geralt and Lambert drunk-bonding is adorable! Throw in Lambert stealing Vesemir’s hat and doing impressions, a game of witcher “I have never” and then breaking into the sorceress Yennefer’s room and dressing up in her clothes to drunk-dial her friends with a megascope, and you have a party!

Witcher 3 No Place Like Home Dresses


So these are my personal favorites. Or, at least, a small selection of them. It’s hard to choose with this game!

What is your favorite quest in The Witcher 3? Or any of the other games, for that matter?

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I Blame Steam…

Steam Summer Sale

“This month, I’ll cut down on gaming and start doing some of all the stuff I have been neglecting! I’ll work on my books, get some gardening done, finish all those cosplay projects I started on more than a year ago, get serious about exercising…”

~~Checks out a few blogs before doing all those productive things~~

Random gaming blog: “Hey, Steam is having their summer sale right now!”

~~Sad sloshing sound as all my plans go down the drain~~


Steam Summer Sale

I buy too many games. Way too many. I can never resist a discounted game, even if I currently own 20 games I haven’t even played yet.

I own 6 Assassin’s Creed games. I haven’t completed any of them (though in fairness, I have tried. I just keep falling off things).

And now I just bought Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

In short: I have learned nothing.

I also bought Danganronpa 1 and 2. A friend made me watch a Let’s Play of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, and at some point I had to take a break to drive to my parents’ place and hug their big fluffy dogs because I was emotionally shattered. So I’m not really sure why I’m doing this to myself.

At least I stopped myself from buying Skyrim. I have heard the rumors about its adverse effect on spare time.

I’m done now. Three games I don’t need is still an acceptable amount, so as long as I keep it at that, it’s all good.

…Oh! Age of Empires II HD is 75% off. Be right back.

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The Bookish Owl – Illidan by William King

Illidan William King Warcraft Owl

Time for a new book. This time it’s Illidan by William King.

Yep, I’m taking a short break from my Witcher craze to read a World of Warcraft tie-in novel. After all, WoW was my first gaming obsession and I’m still not through with reading all the books I have acquired over the last 14 years. And since Illidan is one of my favorite villains/antiheroes, I decided to read another one about him and hope it goes better than War of the Ancients.

(Hint: That one ends with the world being ripped apart and Illidan thrown in prison for 10.000 years…)


Illidan
by William King

The Burning Legion has returned, and there is only one champion who can truly stand against it. Released from his bonds, Illidan prepares for the final confrontation in the alien realm of Outland, gathering an army of fel orcs, naga, blood elves, and demon hunters to his side. He alone knows what motives guide his hand; he alone understands the price that must be paid. Yet as before, he is assailed by those who see his schemes as a cynical quest for power, including the night elf Maiev Shadowsong. Warden Shadowsong will not rest until Illidan is in her custody… or in his grave.


Illidan William King Warcraft Owl

I feel like Artemis and Illidan would get along just fine. If he was able to, this tiny owl would also be yelling “You are not prepared!” at his enemies every chance he got.