Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Better late than never: exploring the D.C. wasteland

Having strongly renewed my love for Bethesda's vast open world games, I just had to "get with the times" so to speak and get a game I had skipped because I was at the peak of my interest for EVE Online when it came out. I am talking about Fallout 3 of course. The fun part about this game is that because it came out the same year my computer was put together, the hardware doesn't even bat an eyelash with the graphics on high. There may be an ultra setting but I prefer fluid gameplay over eye candy any day of the week. It's always a bonus when you can get both because Fallout is a very beautiful game, in a barren post-apocalyptic kind of way.

So far I'm still pretty early in the game, being a whopping Level 6, with specializations in Small Guns, Repair and Medicine. I'm putting the main quest line on hold for the moment because I'm doing the Wasteland Survival Guide quests from the amazingly annoying Moira Brown. Unlike what I usually do in deep and open games, I didn't read much about it before hand and any tutorial/training the game can offer will be done before I even think of going out and getting my ass kicked. I did do a few other quests like disarm the Megaton City "Fat Man" bomb in order to get my house, but soon after I downloaded the Underground Hideout mod which gives you a great base of operations. The hideout is located just off the port bow of Rivet City and the entrance can be fortified to no end.

Speaking of Rivet City... I have to say this place is spectacular! I wonder how often US navy personnel get lost on the real life Nimitz class carriers. The only other video game city I've seen that got me lost would be the city of Vivec in TES III: Morrowind, but the carrier comes close. Now that I've discovered it I have access to a much better market than Megaton and I was able to buy my current favorite weapons: the Chinese Assault Rifle and the Combat Shotgun. I also bought some decent armor so now I can take more of a beating. At least there's no shortage on stuff to fix you up because God knows I need it often!

Here goes with the things I love about the game. Being a Gen X'er and having lived through a good chunk of the Cold War (I was 21 when the USSR fell), it's great to see the spin that the Fallout universe puts on history. I absolutely love the retro-tech and early 50's look to everything, right down to the music on Galaxy News Radio. When my dad comes back from Thailand I will just HAVE to show him the game; hell he just might start playing! I also love the wasteland itself, even if it's a tad greenish; that's my next mod in the pipe by the way, some graphical prettiness. I have yet to do some serious exploring as I have done in Skyrim but I'm close to finishing the Survival Guide quests so I think that once this is done I will head out into the wild before I start questing it up.

But to oppose the things I love there are things I don't like as much. The first would be the repair system. Cool that you can fix your stuff with other stuff of the same family, but for some reason I don't find a lot of what I use, especially for the armor. I also find that stuff gets damaged too easily; maybe I'm just too used to Skyrim by now. The second thing would be the scarcity of ammo, especially before you find Rivet City. Yes I could console command 20000 bullets, but running out of ammo just sucks. I don't know, maybe I'm too much of a bullet hose! And last, you guessed it, bottlecaps. How often do I have to explain that I absolutely fucking DESPISE making money in video games. If I don't find a fun way of making caps, I just may break down and console myself a couple million. It's a good thing that the rest is so awesome!

Another mod I found just yesterday is one that transforms the leveling up mechanics to the one found in the Elder Scrolls game where you skill up what you practice. Fittingly the mod's name is "Practice Makes Perfect". Being a TES veteran and a Fallout n00b I am much more used to the former's mechanics so this mod was right up my alley. I may have to start a new game though, which is no biggie because I haven't done too much yet, plus I'm still in the learning process. And like in all Bethesda titles, there's a lot to take in! Before I applied and activated the mod my character specialized mostly in small guns, repair and medicine, but what I hated the most was leaving a lot of locks unpicked and computer terminal untouched. As the mod author said in his readme file, why should killing a bunch of Super Mutants allow you to raise you computer hacking skills? Because I applied the mod to my level 6 character I think the balance may be a bit off, but I've seen nothing but good comments about the mod so I'll give it a shot with a fresh start.

So there you go, another jaunt through a universe filled with danger and excitement. I realise I'm four years late on this game, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. Now let's see if i can find my virtual dad!

Happy wandering, and go easy on the Rad-X!


Morning post

If you're leaving EVE Online, make sure you post about it on the EVE-O forums as predictable hilarity will ensue XD

In other news, I was going to post a decently big one yesterday about Fallout 3 (yeah I know, I'm late!) but my draft is on my work computer, and we sorta got kicked out by a bomb threat yesterday! No worries, if it was anything serious I would have heard about it :)

Fly hard, and if you want to add oil to the already soaring flames in that forum thread please be my guest!


Edit #1: because I said I signed off in the thread I'll say it here just cuz... I have never played WoW and never will :))

Edit #2: Damn, 2 pages worth of flames! I'm flattered :))

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - 2012/02/24

Here's one of my favorite drummers at the Buddy Rich Memorial concert, using his "small" kit. Yeah Terry is nuts like that! I got to meet him in 2006 and he's a really nice guy. And as a bonus you get a Big-Bandified YYZ :))

Enjoy the cool grooves :)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Back to the roots yet again

Despite having had to deal with various appointments with my boys and beat the virtual crap out of unbelievably inept Canadian politicians on social networks, I did get some gaming done lately. Last week I received an e-mail about my first Quake Live account that was about to get into inactive. While I don't mind because I started a fresh account last spring that better reflects my skills (or rust) and is linked with my long-standing clan (Kill 'Em All, or KEA), the mail did send me an alarm to remind me that maybe I should log in to bring my QL client up to date and brush off a bit of rust while I'm at it. I didn't play super long because when I'm home with the boys they sometimes fight over computer time. I played two games of regular Free-For-All and two of Instagib, and I must admit that although there was some evident rust, there were a few sparks of greatness here and there. And hey I even won one of the Instagib matches! So Quake is pretty much like riding a bike; you can get rusty but you never lose it.

What I find cool - and this may freak out some "normal" parents - is that my boys, who are now 5 and 6, are starting to get the FPS vibe; I let 'em play Star Wars Jedi Academy in God mode (I've played through it literally hundreds of time; I couldn't care less anymore), and I've installed World of Padman, a stand-alone Quake3 mod with cartoonish characters and weapons with fun team modes like "Capture the Lolly" and "Spray your Color". Up until last weekend they were playing lopsided 6v1 team matches to make sure they stayed safe, but something happened after they saw me die a lot in Quake and they started playing with balanced teams, against easy bots of course. Good on them! They do try to play a bit of Quake with tournament graphics and Pro Mode, but they realize it's much faster and harder.

With Quake Live having a very active community there are always tournaments going on so of course I just HAD to show them what the real pros like Cooler, CZM and Fatal1ty can do... off to YouTube to find an epic match! This isn't hard to do because there are so many tournaments both online and on LANs that there is never a shortage of awesome matches. Well, something you get to see someone get destroyed 70 to 0 on ZTNDM1, a map notorious for lopsided matches where one player controls the key power-ups. But for every one of those there is an absolute grudge match that ends in sudden death overtime. Even though it's an eSport, I find Quake tournament play more fun to watch than hockey games these days (especially the way my team is playing... phooey!).

Apart from that I'm still very much active on Skyrim, getting close to 250 hours on it. Between my first/main character and my max-skilled mod tester I can say I've pretty much done all the quests except maybe for those never-ending radiant ones, but there's still a lot of fun to be had when you have mods that give a challenge to even a max-skilled character. Because I use Deadly Dragons sometimes the dragon fights are nothing short of epic; The character might be Level 81 with all the perks, but I didn't go out of my way to get crazy resistance and armor bonuses through enchanting. Same with the weapons. Everything is crafted using only vanilla-bonus'd smithing apparel, and improved  with a single vanilla potion. So when I meet the top level dragon called "Aspect of Alduin" which spawns Skeletal Dragons, shit gets real quick. I had such a battle right at my front door at Dovahkiin's Retreat (Hideout's little brother; awesome mod). I was on my way to do a Thieves Guild quest but the battle was so epic that when the dragon finally died I felt like nothing could top that for the night so I saved and turned the game off.

And to close this post, yes, I'm staying the course with my very-long-term EVE break. The people who love the game don't really see how I came to not love it anymore but I don't mind. As I've told a few people, it's the people interaction that I'll miss; the game to me just gets in the way too much. I'm not bashing EVE, it's just that as it is it doesn't suit ME. Although I did see a glimmer of hope and surprisingly it came from none other that The Mittani himself, who over the weekend was singing the praises of Red vs Blue and having a complete ball in Rifters. It is a possibility, true, but not right now. If I do come back as an active player that will most probably be where I'll end up because small scale ship-to-ship combat is the only thing I have an interest for in EVE. I'll pass on everything else.

And there you go, a decently sized blog update and the inspiration came back after reconnecting with my first love in gaming. If you want to try the Grand Daddy of all First-Person Shooters head on over to and make an account; no need to pay for premium or pro unless you are very serious about it. If you do or if you already have an active QL account, by all means add {KEA}CozmikR5 to your buddy list

Fly and/or frag hard!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Death to Bill C-30

It's my damn country and by all that is sacred and holy (ie: Maurice Richard), I will fight for freedom.

So there.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - 2012/02/17

And you thought he only played Strats... HA! Enjoy this awesome rendition of Red House :)


Edit: I'm sure that Jimi would be disappointed to know that his family members are greedy bastages.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The last 30 days

Well this is it. Less than 30 days to go on the old EVE account. And I don't even feel like doing "one last roam" or "one last mission" or anything of the sort. I did chose what will be the last skill on the queue so if I get hit on the head and do come back to buy myself a Machariel well it will be uber with Large AC Specialization V. But the chances of this happening are pretty much zip.

On the blogging front, ever since my crazy two weeks of myself being sick followed by two days spent at the hospital with my boy I've got writer's block. Hell it's taking me all my small change just to write these few lines. I prefer spending my time listening to copious amounts of music, playing my modded Skyrim, and just plain taking it easy.

I may write more at a later date but that's pretty much it for now. Sorry for the lack of updates but truly, I'm all out of words right now.

Fly safe


Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's Electric (well, not quite) Lunch Hour - 2012/02/10

Axes are dangerous when misused; be careful with them. I dedicate this to my good friend André whose birthday it is today. He is what I could call my music pusher :)

Bonne fête mon chum et à bientôt !!!


Friday video soon™

Because my box is under siege by my two little terrors (day off from school, and school registration for the youngest one \o/), the posting of my friday video will happen some time later.

Till then, rock hard!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Slight case of writer's block

I don't know if it's the winter blues, the fact that these days I'm a one-game gamer and it ain't EVE, or because of spending 2.5 days at the hospital followed by sleeping on the couch because I had the two tornadoes over the weekend, but these days my writing ideas are making themselves scarce. Sometimes I have an inspiration but I'm too busy to write about it when it's fresh, and when I do find time I find myself looking at my WordPad window and don't know which word to put in front of which.

At first I was feeling like writing a debriefing on 4 years of EVE Online, especially since I've dug up some ancient screenshots literally from Day One (OK, six days old!) but the words were getting all jumbled. Screenshots such as this one:

Me in Rifter, Letrange in Firetail. Also check out my awesome fit !!!

Yep, this is Letrange giving me EVE 101 on January 26th 2008, on the old "classic" client. Crazy how time flies. Back then EVE still had that shiny veneer and that new car smell. I had ideas about the game that I realize today were not only extremely noobish but also all wrong. Ah EVE, the Harsh Mistress. And then there was this one:

WTF is that pointy ship? Is this a real player or not? What's my name again?!

Yep, three weeks old and flying in Curse. And yes, my first ever BOZO op wasn't even for PvP, but I remember quite clearly that at the time I didn't know what the fuck was going on! To put it on the "learning cliff" scale, I was getting close to the vertical part and I suddenly caught a glimpse of feet dangling; these feet belonging to players who had hung themselves on the mighty overhang of course!

But even all that good nostalgia is not enough to reconcile me with what I see now as a massive capitalism sim. The veneer isn't only gone; the paint is rusting and the bumpers are falling off. And the smell... God Almighty! Because of its harsh nature and its grief-happy mechanics, the EVE community has a way to attract an obscene amount of trolls. The only reason why I've been on the forums in the past 5 months was to update the Montreal EVE Meet thread; if I read only a tiny part of General Discussions I end up wanting to punch someone after about 2 minutes, and I'll spare you what I think of C&P and CAOD. And as an alternative, FailHeapChallenge is even worse. The only place to find something positive about EVE, to me at least, is through the Blogosphere. Blogs seem to seperate adults from pubescents. I don't think I would have lasted this long in EVE if it wasn't for the intereaction of at least some fine people, and for this I salute you all, bloggers of EVE Online!

But my writer's block isn't only about EVE. As you may have noticed on the right-hand side I've started writing a second blog on The Skyrim Blog. It's my first foray into an in-character story but right after Chapter One I had to rush my boy to the hospital and since coming back the blank page syndrome is even worse. Methinks I need to shut off and reset my brain for a bit.

And that's about it for now. Fly safe or hard, carebear or ganky, whatever floats your boat!


Edit: I forgot to mention, the number one sport in EVE Online, ship spinning, is now free on, removing yet another reason to resub XD

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday morning video - 2012/02/04

Sorry I skipped the Friday video postage, but believe me it's not from neglect. Three days at the hospital with my youngest will do that. No worries, all is cool now and he's back home and his asthma is under control. Fuck asthma.

On the EVE front: well quite literally, the end is near. On March 15th at 0500 evetime Cozmik will go into cryosleep, and he will stay there as long as there is no way for me to make ISK while having fun. I've gone over this before so I won't bore you again. On a positive note I did finish the training of Minmatar Battleship V and I'm currently training the same for Gallente. which will finish a week and a half before The End. After that nothing will matter.

On the Skyrim front: yes, this is where I've been having ridiculous amounts of fun. It's the new drug I needed. Having plowed through the game as soon as I got it, I am now doing the quests I skipped on the first play-thru so on Cozmik mkII I played Stormcloak and finished the Dark Brotherhood line. But two mods make sure that it's always fun to run around in Skyrim even if I don't do a single quest. The first is Wars in Skyrim IV, a mod that adds tons of vibrant life all over Skyrim. You can find giants and mammoths being attacked by bandits (with hilarious results), Thalmor mages ambushing you, werewolves hunting in packs, and flocks (!) of dragons to make sure you don't get bored. And those are not the easy laughable vanilla dragons anymore because my second mod is Deadly Dragons, a mod that not only makes dragons A LOT harder to kill, but also adds a variety of them with more powers. Storm dragon that shoots lightning? Check. Black Dragon that spits acid? Check. Dracolich that summons dragon priest ghosts? Holy shit check! But it doesn't stop there because the mod also adds a lot of dropped loot from the dragons and new craftable stuff that uses that new loot. Oh and a sweet-ass retexture of the Daedric armor!

So just look at these two paragraphs and guess what has my interest...? That's right. And it's far from over because on Tuesday Bethesda is releasing the Skyrim Creation Kit, so modders while start pumping out a lot of new material, and good mods will get even better. I cannot wait to see them!

Fly where your heart wants to