Friday, July 28, 2006

More Fun with Oblivion

Seeing how it's Friday, I feel obligated to speak of gaming, and I will, however I hope you would allow me some latitude to discuss other topics. Yes? Excellent.

I purchased the new Tom Petty cd on Tuesday. It is an excellent piece of musical craftmanship, as usual. Mr. Petty does fine, fine work with the Heartbreakers, however with the exception of the "She's the One" soundtrack, I prefer his solo stuff. It is easy to dismiss his personal music as sounding like his work with the Heartbreakers, due to the distinctive nature of his voice, but I can assure you, it is quite different. More mellow, more layered, a more personal approach to music. Good stuff.

All week I've been reading the transcripts from the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, which was when some parents sued the Dover school district after the Board voted to allow the entry of Intelligent Design into the high school biology curriculum. Now, I have absolutely no intention of getting into a discussion about Intelligent Design here. I will certainly share my opinion on the subject with you should you want to contact me directly (suburbanjoe at gmail dot com) however I like to keep things casual and jokey here and a discussion of that nature can very easily turn into so very not casual and so very not jokey. Anyway, the court transcripts are very, very interesting and make for good reading and showcase, as the presiding judge mentioned, excellent lawyering. The amount of research done and the level of preparedness of the counsel on both sides was amazing.

We have new furniture in our family room. Well, not all of it, as the couch is MIA. We hope to have this remedied tomorrow. This has been an interesting experience, fraught with peril and at many points we have been waylaid with problems. My wife and I have taken to calling them "Diamond Shoe Problems" as in, my diamond shoes are too tight. She ultimately coined the phrase from my extensive blatherings. As we all know, I have a tendency to go on, and her profession as a Technical Writer requires her to take long winded explanations and boil them down to their raw, instructional essence. I have taken this phrase and entered it into the official SuburbanJoe lexicon and would recommend you do the same, lest you find yourself worrying about things that really don't fucking matter. At some point, I would like to overhear it in casual conversation, or even better, have me quoted to me as in some sort of "When Harry Met Sally" moment. Either that or I would like someone to fake an orgasm in front of me in a deli.

OK, so back to Oblivion. It had been quite some time since I visited fair Tamriel what with putting a whupping on the God of War, and rocking out. In fact, it had been so long since I played, that I couldn't remember how to cast spells. This is fine if you're just bouncing around the countryside and you want a little light, but I was being hit with a very large sword at the time. It hurt, and I needed to heal myself. That is not the time to forget how to twist majiks to your foul purposes. I have since remembered and now heal myself with aplomb. I also learned a spell that allows me to heal others, which my horse very much appreciates as I repeatedly ride him off of mountains, an act he rebels against with a disgusted whinny. Well, not so much disgusted as pained. This would explain why, everytime I de-horse, he attempts to walk away from me. That and I tend to ride places that get him beset by minotaurs and crabmen. Now that I can heal him, he tolerates my presence, but I can tell that had he the choice, he would let fly with an iron toe, and kick me back to Buff-a-lo.

I have decided to focus exclusively on the main quest, to get that out of the way, as I keep riding past Oblivion gates, portals into an alternate, malevolent dimension, as I move around the countryside. These portals, and the creatures they disgorge, are an annoyance to me, as I can't fast travel when enemies are about, and those Oblivion fuckers are a tenacious lot, choosing to chase me and my horse halfway across the goddamn continent. That and they represent an unspeakable evil set to crush all who would oppose them. There's only room for one unspeakable evil in Tamriel, and you're looking at him so I need to wrap this up toot suite so that my infamy can continue, unrivaled.

To do this, I have to go through these gates, make my way through the hellish landscape, ultimately make it to the top of some spire and steal a sigil stone. Doing so will close the gate and give me a handy magical doo-dad that I can combine with a weapon or a piece of armor/clothing with magically delicious results. When I first started the game, I was up for whatever these Oblivioids threw at me, swinging steel and letting arrow fly as I mowed them down. Now that I've done that, and have revelled in that unique experience, I have a new strategy. Now I enter the gate and run. I run, I run so far away. Sometimes I hide. Sometimes I run and hide. It's a varied approach, and one that I found can easily be changed to suit your needs, as long as you stick to a) running b) hiding or c) some combination of the two. Finally, when all running and hiding has gotten me to the room with the sigil stone, I drink an invisibility potion, thereby rendering me, you guessed it, invisible. I can then steal the stone unimpeded. When I steal the stone, the invisibility potion wears off and the beasties can hurt me before the gate closes completely. To get around this, I hurl myself off of the top level of the spire and then just run around and hope that no one hurts me too much before the gate closes. It is a well tested strategy, and one that I hope you can use to your own advantage in other areas of your life.

When I have to actually fight something, I pull my trusted Ebony Blade, it of the absorb health enchantment, and I just wade in there swinging all willy-nilly. If I get hit, it's OK, as my sword will suck the life from my target and replenish my dwindling store. This is an excellent strategy, except for the fact that my armor takes a wicked beating and I have to continually head to town to get it repaired. Currently, it is completely broken, leading your's truly to either go back to town yet again, or continue adventuring in the nude. I find neither option palatable, however naked dungeoning is an easy path to certain doom. Perhaps I need to find sturdier armor. Either that or somehow manipulate the large, round, metal blocking object currently attached to my left forearm. I think they call it a shield.

Once the main quest is finished, I wonder if I'll still care as much about the game as I do now. On the one hand, I put 60 hours into the game not caring one bit about the main quest, so I'm not sure why I'd miss it when I was gone. On the other hand, once the main quest is done, the story turns into the smaller, stories of the individual quests. I think I'll be OK with that, as when I wasn't doing the main quest, and kept taking on other quests, there was always this little, nagging voice telling me to do the main quest instead of flitting around and assassinating people. Once I get this done, that voice will be silenced and I can move on to important things like riding my horse off of cliffs and nude dungeoning. 'Tis the adventuring life for me!


Greg said...

I have put so so much time into that game. And yet I've still never finished the arena, mages guild, or thieves guild quests, and I've never even started the Dark Brotherhood. And there are a bunch of Daedric quests I've never tackled. I beat the game once, and restarted. Right now, I'm thinking I want to finish my replay of Half-Life 2 Episode 1, finish Condemned:Criminal Origins, and try Prey before I go back and continue Oblivion. We'll see how that goes.

Have you tried any mods? Or are you an accursed 360 user?

suburbanjoe said...

I am indeed a 360 owner. Sometimes I feel accursed, but then I sit down in front of my 92" movie screen, surrounded by 7.1 digital surround sound, boot up my console and get to play without fiddling with video drivers or worrying about sub-par system specs and I feel slightly less so. ;)

In all seriousness though, I don't have a PC that could handle any of the games you mentioned, yet my 360 has them all. Well, not HLEp1 yet, but it's coming!

As such, the mods I have tried are all of the official sort. In fact, I need to replenish my MSFT Points account lest they release some sort of flying beast mount thingy and I am left grounded. Two of the quests I have yet to complete are purchased ones.

nwasko said...

Since you now have new family room furniture, I can only assume you will be shipping your old family room furniture to me, to replace your old-old living room furniture, which is currently in my family room. Either that or you could sell it to someone who is willing to, you know, pay you money for it. Whichever.

suburbanjoe said...

Actually we moved it to the living room, thereby completing the circle of life and banishing the children's playroom to it's rightful place in the basement.

Now, when you and your family come to visit we can have two rooms to watch tv in and ignore one another. Huzzah!

k o w said...

I slaughtered the town of Bruna last week.
Every last one of them.
For shits and giggles I assembled the dead into a pile in the main street and then created a monster fireball spell. I then shot it and blew about 3/4 of them sky high scattering the remains all over the place. It was fun but then I hit start and loaded up my game right before my murderous rampage. The evil stuff is for my second character to do.