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Do I Play Too Much Heroes of the Storm? Why Yes. Yes, I do

Not many think much of Heroes of the Storm after Blizzard pulled the plug on its eSport’s scene – throwing in the towel and admitting to League of Legends that they win – but it’s still my MOBA of choice. Possibly because it’s less popular, meaning I have less 12-year olds shouting at me than if I went to LoL…

But I play too much. Waaay too much. Fair enough, I have been playing ever since the alpha, but as of writing this, I’m level 1167. 1167. You don’t even have to know anything about Heroes of the Storm or similar games to know that that’s too much.

But what can I say? It’s my go-to game whenever I just want to kick back and not think too much.

Heroes of the Storm

My favorite hero is Nazeebo. He’s at level 133 for me at the moment. You get to trap people with a ring of zombies, and then throw spiders at their head when they can’t move. It’s lovely.

But Nazeebo doesn’t have the best voice lines. And that’s one of the greatest things about trying different heroes in this game: the hilarious comments they make if you click on them. I’m “only” level 46 with Brightwing, but he’s my favorite adorable psychopath. He’s a small fairy dragon with a really cutesy voice, and he says things like this:

“I like happy things. Like puppies, and rainbows, and… Dead enemies.” (Voice going from cute to a ominous whisper at ‘dead enemies’)
“I will be very happy to tear you limb from limb if you continue.” (Said all cutesy)
“Let us make their insides, outsides.”
“It’ll only hurt untill you die.”

Adorable, right?

Johanna (level 49) is great as well. She’s my kind of sarcastic:

“Jokes? You’re expecting jokes? Fine, I believe I can accommodate.”
“A crusader, a paladin, and a templar walk into a tavern…and they all have a drink.” (laughs) “No?”
“Oh Akarat, bless this, thy holy flail, that with it, thou mayest smite thine enemies into tiny, tiny, unfathomably tiny bits, in thy mercy. Let it be so.”
“Some fellow mistook me for a templar yesterday. I asked him: have you ever heard me shout ‘GLORIOUS!’ He answered, ‘I have now!'” (chuckles) “He was a witty fellow. Shame he’s dead now.”

I’ve even gotten my friends to play with me now (they’re all League of Legends players, so it took a LOT of convincing), and I keep telling them they need to play with the sound on so that they can enjoy the voice lines.

That has now resulted in our healer being miffed that Imperius – who another in our team plays as his main – merely says “Do you expect thanks for fulfilling your duty?” every time she heals him. She’s now trying to get him to play a more polite character…


I just realized that, by now, I have a whole series of rambling posts about my favorite games. So if you enjoy my utterly random way of talking about games, I have posts on:

A Newbie Demon Hunter’s Search For Pants in Diablo III 

The Witcher 3 – A Few of My Favorite Quests 

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

and Favorite Companions in Dragon Age

The Witcher one very nearly makes sense… but you’re on your own with the rest.

 

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Favorite Companions in Dragon Age

Dragon Age Keep

You might not have noticed because of all the Witcher stuff I post, but I have a deep-seated obsession with Dragon Age. And not just because of the dragons.

(Though you can never have too many dragons.)

Since I haven’t been seeing a lot of my real life friends, I have abandoned any hope of productivity to revisit some of my virtual friends in Dragon Age: Inquistion. I have also been fighting dragons and yelling, “Take that, you flapping bastard!” with my windows opened and my neighbors might now think I’m beating up Artemis…

Anyway, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite companions across the Dragon Age games. It certainly wasn’t easy to limit the list to a manageable size, because all the characters in these games are amazing

(Except for Carver. He’s a little bitch. Oh, and Sera. Who is just… weird. And not the good kind of weird.)

Eh, warning: This post turned out more gay than I intended. Obviously it’s very hard to be both a Dragon Age fan and a homophobe, so you’re probably good, but I honestly hadn’t intended to go Full Lesbian while writing this.


Dragon Age Inquisition Grey Warden Alistair

Alistair

Even two games and many years later, Alistair still tops every Dragon Age list I’ll ever make. I remember confiding in a friend when I first started playing Origins that this game was turning me straight, and her reply was, “Pfft, even my fiance is in love with Alistair!”

It might say something about the sad state of my love life, but I can honestly say that I was more upset by Alistair dumping my mage Warden than I have ever been by a real life break-up, and I immediately went back to an earlier save instead of just accepting it.

But really, can you blame me? Alistair is just the most adorable bundle of awkwardness. He somehow manages to be so cheesy that he comes out on the other side as sweet.

Alistair: So… let me get this straight. You were a cloistered sister?
Leliana: You must have been a brother before you became a templar, no?
Alistair: I never actually became a templar. I was recruited into the Grey Wardens before I took my final vows.
Leliana: Do you ever regret leaving the Chantry?
Alistair: No, never. Do you?
Leliana: Yes. You may not believe it, but I found peace there. The kind of peace I’ve never known.
Alistair: It used to get so quiet at the monastery that I would start screaming until one of the brothers came running. I would tell them that I was just checking. You never know, right?
Leliana: I… no, I never did anything like that. I enjoyed the quiet.
Alistair: Suit yourself. The look on their face was always priceless.


Dragon Age Companions Morrigan

Morrigan

See, these games might be turning me straight, but I’ll argue that it’s only because Bioware makes characters like Morrigan straight in-game. My type has always been:

a. Bitchy women
b. Women who are no good for me
c. Women who look like they could beat the crap out of me

…and more often than not: d. All of the above.

(See sections ‘Vivienne’, ‘Cassandra’, ‘Isabela’.)

I’m getting sidetracked.

I have cosplayed as Morrigan many times and for years my text ringtone was her first voice line in Origins: “My, my, what have we here?”

Scared the crap out of my grandmother once I left my phone in the room with her while I was fixing her PC…

But really, Morrigan is the Bitch Witch Queen and not even Madame Vivienne de Fer can push her off her throne. As much as I adore Alistair, I will never tire of hearing the party dialogue between him and Morrigan, because our swamp witch is brutal in her mockery.

Alistair: So tell me, was the Tower of Magi everything you thought it would be?
Morrigan: Abominations running rampant? Templars ready to slaughter every mage in sight? Yes, it rather met all my expectations.
Alistair: You don’t think you might have been better off getting your training there? Instead of whatever your mother taught you?
Morrigan: You’re right. My mother didn’t nearly have as many abominations running about. That certainly would have improved my education.
Alistair: Hmm. I’ll give you that one.
Morrigan: I’m so relieved.


Dorian Pavus Dragon Age Inquisition

Dorian

Everyone’s favorite Tevinter moustache mage very nearly beat Morrigan for the second spot on this list. I imagine the battle was fierce and filled with devastating snipes.

Dorian is everything I want in a friend: Sassy, intelligent and completely and utterly gay. I am even willing to accept that he’s much prettier than me.

He’s also the only character to ever pull off that moustache.

Dorian: Varric, I want a new nickname.
Varric: What’s wrong with sparkler? Not colorful enough for you?
Dorian: You must know me better now. Or does the moniker you gave me five minutes after we met still apply?
Varric: I have the eyes of a story teller. It’s a gift.
Dorian: So, I’m a bit of light you stick in a window sill to impress passersby? All flash, no heat? Hmm… that’s actually pretty clever.
Varric: See? Embrace your place in the universe, Sparkler.


Isabela Dragon Age II

Isabela

“Pirates like booty. Both kinds!”

Isabela is our favorite inappropiate pirate. Also the best lesbian romance option across all the games, in my humble gay opinion. Josephine is a sweetheart, but she keeps friendzoning herself, and the rest are just not doing it for me. Isabela is so aggressive that I started a romance with her by accident. I thought we were just having a normal conversation and suddenly daggers were flying everywhere…

My favorite thing about Isabela is the totally inappropiate party dialogue you get when you bring her along. And Aveline and Isabela throwing insults back and forth is a display of the truest kind of friendship I can think of.

Aveline: I had trouble with another one of your women, Isabela. She stole from a… distracted client. You’re lucky she wasn’t jailed.
Isabela: My women? I am but a shepherd. And what free enterprise are you oppressing now?
Aveline: Theft is not enterprise.
Isabela: Opportunities insufficiently guarded. Victimless crimes.
Aveline: Except for all the victims.
Isabela: Details. Victimless details.


Sebastian Vael Dragon Age 2

Sebastian

I know this choice is controversal, but hear me out.

Whatever you say about Sebastian, you can’t deny that his introduction scene is badass. When the Grand Cleric tries to remove his notice looking for mercenaries to kill his family’s murderers from the board and he turns around and shoots an arrow through it?

That’s style.

Besides, if you ignore the stuff he actually says, and just listen to his very pleasant voice with the Scottish accent, he’s very enjoyable to have in the party. And it’s also rather funny to hear the other companions make fun of him.

Varric: So, Choir Boy, this usurper of yours is… twenty feet tall?
Sebastian: Not even close, no.
Varric: But he has claws for hands, right?
Sebastian: Fingers. Perfectly normal ones. If a little fat, perhaps.
Varric: He eats babies, though. And farts fire.
Sebastian: You’re not serious, I hope.
Varric: You can’t even pretend to be interesting, can you?


Cassandra Dragon Age Inquisition

Cassandra

Oh, Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast – The sharp-tongued Seeker who secretly loves horrible romance novels.

Cassandra is one of my favorites because she’s badass, but still relatable. She has a horrible temper, but she is one of those rare people who will admit when she’s wrong and apologize for it.

I also need her to be gay so badly.

Cassandra’s is one of the few romances in Dragon Age that I have never tried out because I fear she might be reduced to some blushing damsel, and when I think of ‘Cassandra’ and ‘damsel’ in the same scenario… it’s always Cassandra rescuing some damsel in a tower by shield-bashing a dragon in the face.

Dorian: Tell me, Cassandra: did your family throw suitors at you?
Cassandra: My uncle did, waves of them – until I broke one’s arm. Then there were fewer.
Dorian: I must admit I never tried that.
Cassandra: It was an accident. Well… mostly an accident.


Varric Tethras Dragon Age Inquisition

Varric

I would be crucified by half the internet and at least two of my friends if I didn’t include our dear story-telling dwarf.

But really, he’s a writer with a crossbow; basically all I aspire to be, minus the chest hair.

Anders: What?
Varric: Just wondering if the feathered pauldrons are an essential part of the moody rebel mage persona.
Anders: What are you talking about?
Varric: I’m working on an epic poem about a hopelessly romantic apostate waging an epic struggle against forces he can’t possibly defeat.
Anders: What do you mean, “can’t possibly defeat?”
Varric: Well, it’s not a good story unless the hero dies.


Vivienne Dragon Age Inquisition

Vivienne

Madame de Fer makes the list because few appreciate her bitchiness and because she’s hella stylish.

What can I say? I got a thing for bitchy mages.

Blackwall: You must miss the comforts of your mansions, traveling with us as you do.
Vivienne: I miss them. I do not require them.
Vivienne: But please, continue to imagine me a pampered lady, if it makes you feel superior.


I think that’s all for now. Throw me a comment with which Dragon Age companion is your favorite, because I badly need excuses to geek out over these games with you.

And remember, kids: Swooping is bad.

(All screenshots shamelessly stolen from the Dragon Age Wiki)

 

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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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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?