Archive for June, 2013


Battle Bards Episode 6: WILDSTAR! With Special Guest Jeff Kurtenacker

June 25, 2013

Battle Bards

Hey everyone, Episode 6 of Battle Bards is now up! You have no idea how excited I’ve been about announcing this, because today we bring you a very special episode — the brave Bards venture into the future to cover music from our first MMO that hasn’t even been released yet! That’s right, this week Syp, Syl and I are talking about the soundtrack to the upcoming WildStar!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably have heard about this science fiction MMORPG estimated to come out later this year. I’ve been maintaining a pretty high level of interest in the game but at the same time trying not to let the hype gain control, but it wasn’t until I heard some of the songs that my excitement really got away from me and soared to new heights. Funny how music can do that to you, eh?

So as you can imagine, being able to feature Wildstar on the Battle Bards was a treat unto itself, but that’s not all; composer Jeff Kurtenacker joins us as our special guest, and even has a couple of exclusive tracks to share with us. Hear them here first on the Battle Bards, and be sure to check out Jeff’s website too!



Episode 6 show notes

Introduction to WildStar′s score and Jeff Kurtenacker (feat. The Cold Science of Supremacy, Enemy Battle, and Spanish Armada from Pirates of the Burning Sea)
Character Creation
Systematic Domination
Justice Doesn’t Always Wear A Badge
Saving the Universe
A Story of Hope and Healing (Battle Bards exclusive)
War Will Come (Battle Bards exclusive)
Website and blog plugs


STO: DOFF Mission Dialogues I Have With Myself

June 21, 2013

duty officers 1

– “What?! No, I can’t send you, it’s too dangerous!”

– “This is your captain speaking. There will be no shipboard concert, because apparently none of you are competent enough to organize one.”

– “I don’t care that you’re only a bartender, your congenial ways are needed down in sickbay surgery, so get your ass down there STAT!”

– “How the hell is it possible to fail at shore leave?”

– “I am chagrined to inform all of you that Counselor Marlin has been injured grievously by one of you during a routine psychological examination of the crew. I would be laughing at the irony if I weren’t so sure all of you losers need to be spaced.”

– “Damn, I need a Biologist. Well, time to hit up the Exchange for some chattel.”

– “Oh my god, I swear my entire crew is made up of ‘Stubborn’.”

– “An arena battle to the death, you say? Hmm, looks like you guys are all ‘green’ officers and above. I think I can risk you.”

– “Why, yes, I just authorized those five fine young Vulcan officers to their home planet for shore lea–wait, did you say Pon Farr?”


TSW: Tonight We Dine In Hell

June 18, 2013

The Secret World Monday Night crew has been been raring to run some of the elite dungeons in Transylvania for a while now; we were just waiting for the right time. And apparently, this was the week.

Out of the choices available we figured that The Facility was too “filthy”, and since you would have be out of your mind to want to get your feet wet in a place called The Slaughterhouse, in the end we decided on the not-that-much-less-innocuous-sounding Hell Eternal. Talk about settling on the lesser of three evils.

Anyway, here are some screenies from the night. Hopefully y’all are ready for a bunch of pictures featuring my red-hot-pants-clad backside:


First boss. I’m so glad I packed an outfit that complements this place and its denizens. Our hosts in hell have been extremely hospitable and gracious; I would hate to have put them in an awkward position by making an embarrassment of myself.


Love this shot I got of a two-headed hell monster. Would love it even more if I weren’t dead.


“Hah, is that all you’ve got? I feel like I’m getting more of a challenge from this crud I’m finding under my fingernails…”


…says the foolish little girl right before she was utterly crushed by the cruel wrath of a fallen angel.


After a few painful tries, success! The reward for completing all the Hell series dungeons is Theodore Wicker’s “Dandy Hellraiser” outfit. Here we are in our new threads, with the boys showing off their impressive chest scars and me in the middle, showing off my…well, you know.


Battle Bards Episode 5: Guild Wars 2

June 11, 2013

Battle Bards

Episode 5 of the Battle Bards MMO music podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure.

This week’s topic: the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack! Tune in as the bards bring you our favorites from Jeremy Soule’s masterpiece.


Guild Wars 2 logo

Episode 5 show notes


How Neverwinter Broke My F2P Malaise

June 10, 2013


I think I wrote once that free-to-play games don’t typically hook me the same way subscription games do — for two reasons, mainly. One, when I have at least one other sub game going on at the same time, that’s where my attention generally goes. There’s always that sense of “I need to get my money’s worth” chirping at me in the back of my mind, and the comforting knowledge that “the F2P games will always be there” and so that’s why it’s okay to put them on the backburner.

Two, I’m not the kind who likes to buy things piecemeal. I’d much rather just throw a one-time sum of money at a service to get the whole shebang, negating the need to wrack my brain later worrying about hitting the item store to remove any roadblocks.

Funny how Neverwinter, a game that almost didn’t even make it onto my to-play list, should be the one to break this funk I have when it comes to my track record with F2P games. It’s not so much the lack of roadblocks I’ve been hitting, though it helps that I have not yet been made to feel obliged to spend real money to keep playing. Leveling pace has been surprisingly comfortable so far; it’s definitely not fast, but at the same time I’m certainly not facing the horrific time sinks I’d expected and dreaded.

Better yet, there appears to be no end to things for me to do; between running Neverwinter’s dungeons and skirmishes, I actually had to cut back on the number of foundry missions I’ve been doing recently, so as not to out-level the game’s PvE and quest content which I want to experience too.

Granted, I’ve been taking my sweet time with this game, but I’m currently about a smidgen short of level 54 and at this rate I should be level 60 within the next couple of weeks, maybe even around the time Neverwinter officially goes “live” on June 20. When I do, it will actually be my first level-capped character in a new MMO in a good long while. Pretty sobering fact, for someone who’s always made it a point to hit the level-cap in a game before moving on to the next one. Oh how the times have changed, when all my gaming habits have turned on their head.


My 5 Creepiest Moments In The Secret World

June 6, 2013

A couple weeks ago during one of my guild’s regular The Secret World Monday nights, fellow blogger Syp and I got to discussing what we thought were some of the creepiest moments in the game. Which got to me thinking — well, let’s face it, there are more of these freaky moments in TSW than I can count, but I wanted to share these five gems that immediately came to mind.

Have a look, and feel free to share your own in the comments. Also be sure to check out Syp’s companion piece on his “5 creepiest places” in TSW!

1. The Black House

The Black House

The Black House is a burned out husk of a home in the middle of the woods of Savage Coast. One thing about this house is that you can only enter through the side, not via the front entrance. Every attempt by the hapless player to do so will end with the same result: a forceful rejection (ejection?) and a rude landing ass-first onto the front lawn.

I was lamenting upon this aloud on vent to my guildies once, during the early days of the game, which was what led one of them to say to me, “Have you ever tried visiting the Black House while dead?”

I hadn’t. When you die in TSW, your incorporeal spirit has to run back to your body in a kind of ghostly version of the world, except at certain locations there exists unseen things that only make themselves visible to the eyes of the dead. I did a quick /reset, went to the Black House like I was instructed, and what I saw there sent chills shooting up my spine.

2. The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn quest line

Tyler Freeborn

Okay, this entire quest line is chock-full of great moments, but I thought the final tiers were the best. At a certain point in the mission, you pass out in a heavy fog, only to wake up…somewhere else.

More specifically, you find yourself on some strange floating island no bigger than the size of your bathroom, and everywhere around you beyond this dinky little piece of rock you’re standing on is a straight drop into pitch black nothingness.

You think to yourself, er, what am I supposed to do, drop over the side? Stand around and wait for something to happen? Hmm, is my indecision going to end with my moth-eaten and dried-up brittle old corpse lying in a pile at the base of that ironically big STOP sign?

It’s all part of the game, you see. It’s the quest playing mind games with your head, and as always, it’s those “Aw crap, I don’t know what to do but even if I did I’m not sure it’s a good idea” moments that agonize and eat away at you.

3. Engine Tyrant Prime and Alpha

Alpha Prime

Prime and Alpha are the two handsome fellows you see here that get sicced on you during the third boss fight in the last normal dungeon in TSW, Hell Fallen. The first time I did this instance, I had no idea what to expect. My fellow adventurers and I happen to enjoy going into new dungeon experiences completely blind, the better to be surprised. And also because we’re gluttons for punishment.

You start by killing Prime, whittling his health down until phase 2 in which he becomes immune and his friend Alpha joins the fight. Not knowing this was going to happen, Alpha’s sudden appearance by practically crashing into the middle of our spazzed little group almost made me pee myself. Cheap shot, but effective.

4. Getting plastic surgery

modern prometheus

Some frightening moments in horror are achieved by the addition of gratuitous amounts of blood, gore and violence. Some may also involve grotesque monsters jumping out at you from the shadows trying to eat your face (see number 3 above). Still other moments are scary because the creator of the scene has produced an overall dread-inducing atmosphere, and these, in my opinion, are often the best and most rewarding.

The Modern Prometheus isn’t so much a surgical facility as a grimy slaughterhouse run by a madman with some seriously questionable credentials. And really, who wouldn’t be disturbed by the idea of being able to get a nose job at the same place you can pick up a slab of deliciously maggot-ridden pork loin?

5. Virgula Divina

virgula divina

Sigh, it was only a matter of time. Sure enough, there came a point in my relationship with this game where I just had to stop and ask myself, why the hell am I playing this?! I’m a spineless little chickenshit with no stomach for horror movies and the like! I have absolutely no business running around in game like The Secret World!

That point was Virgula Divina.

And yet, I loved it, loved it, loved it. The quest Virgula Divina is part of your main story line, coming in at the interlude between Egypt and Transylvania. It marked the first instance in which I remember having to pull my hands away from the keyboard in order to question my sanity and the dubious wisdom of actually going forward with completing this quest. It was just that unsettling.

I forged on, of course. And quite honestly, I’m kinda used to TSW making me feel this way by now. It still happens once in a while.

I wish I could elaborate, but Virgula Divina definitely needs to be experienced firsthand by all who play TSW, and it would not do at all for me to spoil it. I will, however, say that doing this quest by myself in the middle of a dark and stormy night was probably not one of the better gaming decisions I’ve ever made.


Secret Mondays: Elite Ankh Cleared

June 4, 2013

Another week, another Monday night with The Secret World, and the Knights of Mercy are just gonna keep chiseling away at this game one dirty balls joke at a time until we polish off all the elite instances!

I went into this version of The Ankh with some dread and apprehension, but we did manage to complete it last night, which means I’m one more step closer to going toe-to-toe with the Gatekeeper and unlocking Nightmare dungeons. I haven’t decided if it’s a good idea to press on to Elite Hell Fallen yet, or maybe we should go back to some of the earlier instances and farm some more gear for guildies first.

Here’s a picture of the team last night, which includes Solaris, Piddy-Cent and Chucho. I would be the chipper looking dame second to left dressed like a used car salesman, because I figured that a red flowery blazer would be the perfect thing to brighten up this filth-choked hellhole.

Elite Ankh