Rise of the Var Qveen – Long Live the Queen

Vry turns an innocent child who just lost her mother into a tyrant.

Tune in to watch LIVE at http://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6pm PST.


Welcome to the (Live) Show!

I apologize for being quiet around here lately.  Between my real job picking up with a big new project and my own little side adventure I’ll be getting into in the moment, I haven’t had a lot of time to post.  It happens.  But hey, that’s just the bad news.  The good news is you’ll have a chance to see a lot more of me coming soon if you enjoy my trademark wit, dry observations, and eccentric ramblings.

We are going live on Twitch!

Previously I had been testing the waters out with the Premiere system – kind of like YouTube videos on Twitch but with the videos premiering “Live” at a set point before being added to an archive.  Now the current plan is still to do those, but augment it with nights where I’ll be broadcasting games live.  The premieres will be used for migrating my YouTube archive over to Twitch, weeks were I know I won’t be available, or for videos I need to do more post-production work on like the Sims 4 videos where I have overlays showing how much money I have and how far into my challenge I am.  That in mind, my Twitch Schedule both here and on my Twitch page will make note of when a broadcast is Live or a Premiere.

The schedule is still remaining a static every 2nd and 4th wednesday at 6pm PST.  If you’re interested, you can always go and give me a follow on Twitch.  It doesn’t cost anything (that’s ‘Subscribing’) and you can set it up to let you know when I go live with a broadcast.

The reason this has taken so long is that well, I’m a stickler for appearance.  Regardless of whether its a source of income or not, I work hard to make the visuals and flow of this website something that’s at least aesthetically pleasing to me.  I like it when I can present myself in a way that I am happy with and not just with some default slapdash thing.  So I have been working on developing overlays for my Stream – at least enough to start with, some functions are still defaults with some customization tossed in.  I’ve been building up a theme, getting music, setting up software…  I just want to be able to display something I’m proud of.

From the visuals to the text, we’re going full Carnie on this one.

After the liveshows on Twitch, they’ll be uploaded to YouTube some time within the following week and likewise posted here when they do.  So just because you miss out on the live part, doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out completely.

I would like to thank everyone on here, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for their support in this endeavor.  It’s not a full time thing, it’s not even a replacement for this blog, but it is the most important thing – something I have fun doing.  As always, if you have comments, suggestions or even constructive criticisms I always happily welcome them.

Land of Odd PREMIERE! The Chosen RPG – Tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST

Tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST, the Land of Odd will be premiering a new video on our Twitch channel at http://twitch.com/vrykerion where I will be playing The Chosen RPG, a super cheap, super fan service-y, super generic RPG Maker that I had to pay actual money for instead of downloading off some random forum.  Come and watch as I easily walk through wave after wave of enemies after the game gives me the legendary best weapon after a single dungeon.

Battle for Azeroth: Rise of the War Bee

So the internet has been a-BUZZ with the news of datamining the alpha build of the next World of Warcraft, Battle For Azeroth.  I took a quick peruse, mostly trying to see if there is any word on what classes that the Zandalari or Dark Iron will be able to play, when I saw something that caused my jaw to drop:

Bee Mount - Source: WoWhead

Source: WoWhead.com

That’s a Bee Mount.  That you ride.  Into combat.  A WAR BEE.  Now why is that shocking and/or amazing?  Well because long time readers of mine that remember the old ‘OddCraft’ days may remember a little post I wrote extensively about how BEES ARE THE GREATEST THREAT ON AZEROTH.  And now, eight years later, we have it all coming together.  In the Battle For Azeroth, we will be turning to Weapons of Mass Destruction – BEES.

Honestly, I’m just tickled that my little joke post may actually start to have some level of validity. May-bee we’ll find out that bees are some kind of ancient qiraji weapon that was unleashed on the world during the War of the Shifting Sands.  I don’t know.  But I do know we have war bees.  And that makes me happy.

Twitch: An Experimental Night of Premieres

So last night, The Land of Odd officially made its debut on Twitch.tv as I’m sure those who follow me on Twitter saw me throwing up messages left and right about.  The whole thing was quite the learning experience for a first attempt not only on the platform but also trying out Twitch’s new video producer tools which were introduced only a week ago.

Somethings I learned?

Well, the ‘Countdown’ feature begins to play at the scheduled time and not leading up it, as in a 5 minute countdown would start at 7pm and not 6:55pm, thus your video would start at 7:05. So the ones I set up to fill the gap between the videos streaming were actually throwing things further and further off schedule.  The Countdowns are also a permanent fixture of your uploaded video after your premiere so now I’ve got a few videos with countdowns that are almost as long as the content itself, artificially inflating the length of them.

Also I learned that there’s no easy way to line up multiple videos back to back.  They all have to scheduled to 30 minute increments and can’t overlap.  So if you are like me and uploaded several (ten in my case) videos to premiere in one night, there’s going to be a lot of “Offline” screens between them – which may hurt viewership.

Moving forward, the Twitch approach to many of these videos are going to be radically different from my YouTube approach. Longer videos of 30-60 minutes will probably be more common simply because the Twitch platform is built on streaming and that tends to be a longer format than simple clickable digestible bits on YouTube.  The videos will be broken up when put on YouTube though in their normal 10-20 minute chunks.

Also, when bringing old videos over to premiere I will be re-editing them into longer format videos by cropping out the starts and ends and putting them back to back.  That way there will be no ‘Offline’ moments and from 7pm there will just be a single continuous video.

That being said, I would also like to direct your attention to the sidebar here on the website where we have added the schedule for the Twitch channel.  We will be airing videos on the second and fourth wednesday of every month at 7pm.  There’s a list of what we will be premiering with brand new content to the site being marked as such (at least until we finishing the entire backlog).

I welcome you to come and enjoy the premieres.  I’ll often be there watching them too, so if you chime in on chat I will likely be around to respond, otherwise it looks like the chat gets recorded for later viewings (and you can leave chat messages at any timecode point in the already premiered videos).  You can follow me on there as well and I always appreciate people who do or those who spread the word.  I’m not a partner, nor is this in anyway my living, just a fun thing to do with my spare time (where I normally talk and joke at the games I play anyway.)  But I’d be interested to see if this actually gains any momentum.

Thank you all, and welcome to a bold new 2018 for the Land of Odd.

The Land of Odd on Twitch!

So…  YouTube is kind of…  a mess?  A clusterf***?  I dunno.  While I have never monetized my videos, nor do I have any stated desire to do so, I have a hard time swallowing using a platform that continues to show utter contempt for their user base as YouTube.  So I’ve been investigating other places to upload my videos for sometime but continuously found other sites lacking in terms of tools and features that I would like to make use of.  Everything from restrained video lengths to locking HD uploads behind a subscriber account – it just looked like YouTube was the best option.  But low and behold, my favorite gaming streaming site sends me an email the other week about they are starting to offer pre-recorded uploads as an option.

So yeah, it looks like the Land of Odd is rolling into Twitch.

Starting at 6pm PST on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, we will be launching the Land of Odd channel at www.Twitch.tv/Vrykerion with a 5 hour long stream showing the entire run of the Sims 4 Shakespeare Monkey Challenge.  After which, they will be archived and fully viewable whenever.  I’ll be continuing to upload the old videos to Twitch as well as new videos, and hopefully on some kind of schedule.  Probably on a weekday evening.

The 12 in 12 Experiment: Failed(?)

Last year, I proposed a simple goal for myself.  To produce 12 YouTube videos for this site in 12 months.  I dubbed it the 12-in-12 goal.  I figured that it would be a simple enough goal.  That’s one video a month.  With a goal of one year, so if I fell behind or had technical issues, I had wiggle room to recover.

However, despite my attempts to do so, I only managed to produce 4 videos.  The next four episodes of the Sims 4 Shakespeare Monkey Challenge.  (They have managed to actually make some progress finally it seems. Though it occurred to me that 365 days in the Sims 4 is a lot more than a year.  It’s more along the line of 4.5 lifetimes. Had to readjust some of that math or they ALL would die of old age.)  And while I had planned some additional fun videos, including one of the worst RPGs I ever found on Steam and some horror games for the Fall, things just kind of never came together.

Partially because the second half of the year was a maelstrom of stressful events in my real life.  For instance, I got married.  I went on my honeymoon.  My spouse and I were both battling severe depression amidst these happy events brought on by stress and other factors.  It was a crazy second half of the year – crazier than I even expected.  Like, did you know planning a wedding kind of sucks?  Yeah. Me neither.

Overall, I can’t shrug responsibility. I set forth a goal for myself and I failed to meet it.  I’d be more upset about that but its not like I have any amount of internet cred or even financial stability riding on this.  I don’t make money from this blog, I don’t monetize my YouTube videos – they are all things I do for fun.  Because I do come up with weird things to say and feel like sharing it for a chuckle or two.

With that spirit in my mind, I have decided to give it all another go.  12-in-12-in-2018 or some such.  Going to try to do the whole 1 video a month.  And hopefully no chaos, or trips to Walt Disney World, or happiest days of my life will get in the way this time.

Please look forward to it!  And if you ever have any suggestions for games to play, or topics you’d like to see me cover, please let me know!  I’m on twitter, tumblr, or just here on a comment.  I read pretty much everything people send to me.  (So many heartwarming comments of people who enjoy my fun little blog here!)

D20 Style Combat in RPG Maker

Something I’ve often toyed with aside from my own game FateStone was the idea of re-creating a Dungeons & Dragons campaign in something like RPG Maker.  Seems easy right? You’ve got dungeons, monsters, characters all there and ready to go!  However, the big hurdle is quite simply that the way combat works does not overlap. Like at all.  RPG Maker’s combat calculations are more inspired by Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest than anything you’d find in a Pen & Paper RPG tome. So I recently put my mind to work on figuring out how exactly you would be able to bring a d20 or D&D Style of combat to a RPG Maker game.

Now take in mind that this is a very basic version of what I started working with.  While I have started working on versions to incorporate all the different D&D ability scores, I haven’t hammered out all the nitty gritty of using them.  So for now I strictly went for Attack Roll (Attack) vs AC (Defense) and Spell Attack (Magic Attack) vs Saving Throw (Magic Defense).


First is the dice roll:

1dX = Math.randomInt(X)+1

YdX = Math.randomInt((X*Y), Y) + 1

For the YdX formula, it’s important to note that you’ll be setting the range of the random numbers, when it says X*Y you should replace that with the actual value of X * Y.  In other words, for 3d6 don’t put (6 * 3) just put (18).  These formulas will be used for everything from determining the attack to the damage, so they are pretty much the cornerstone of this whole thing.  But another important one would be how to you get the Ability Modifier from the Ability Score.  For that you’ll want to use the following calculation:

Math.Floor((A – 10)/2) = M

A = Ability Score.  M = Ability Modifier.

In simple terms, you subtract 10 from the Score, divide that by 2 and round down (because you always round down in D&D) and that will give you the modifier.  So an Attack (Strength) of 14 would result in a modifier of 2.

So how would this work for an actual skill?  Well, let’s take a look at one.  First, you’ll want to set the Skill in RPG Maker to be a ‘Certain Hit’.  We are just going to skip the whole Accuracy/Evade cycle of the attack in favor of our own math.  Then our damage formula will look something like this:

If (b.def <= (Math.randomInt(20) + 1 + (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2) + (Math.Floor(a.lvl / 2)) )) Math.random((X*Y), X) + 1 + (MOD – Math.Floor(a.level/2)); else 0

Kind of crazy, right?  Let’s break it down.

If (b.def <=: This First bit is essentially starting an ‘If-then’ clause that says if the following math results in something equal to or higher than our target’s defense (AC).

(Math.randomInt(20) + 1: This is our d20 roll.

+ (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2): This is adding our attack modifier

+ (Math.Floor(a.lvl / 2)) )): This adds half our level to the math and finishes our If condition.  So it’s a random number between 1-20, plus the modifier, plus half our level.

Math.random((X*Y), X) + 1 + (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2))This part is our damage calculation. Essentially, do this much damage (a random XdY dice amount) plus our Attack modifier damage.

else 0 And if the math DIDN’T equal or beat the Target’s Defense(AC), then deal zero damage due to it being a miss.

To summarize, the formula is basically:

If (Target AC) <= 1d20 + Attack Modifier + Half Level; Deal XdY + Attack Modifier damage; else deal no damage.

Naturally, you can probably imagine how this basic formula can be applied to a lot of different things.  It forms the basic idea for skill checks, saving throws, and pretty much any Difficulty Check based roll. You could replace the target defense with a d20 roll on the enemy side as well and have an opposed check.

As I said at the top, this isn’t perfect.  It doesn’t quite yet take into account D&D’s Ability Scores, which I’m still working on.  Mostly just stuck on thinking of a way to make the Target Defense side of things work when b.def would simply be their Constitution score or something.

If I ever figure out a good solution to it, I will let you know.

In the mean time, you might find the following plug ins for RPG Maker MV to be handy when it comes to recreating the D&D experience:

Yanfly’s Weapon Unleash: Allows you to reassign a different attack skill to different weapons, thus being able to give daggers a different damage formula than a great axe.

Yanfly’s Limited Skill Usages: For those interested in bringing D&D 4th Edition’s system of At-Will, Encounter and Daily abilities to the game, this plugin can help.  However, you might want to create a common event for sleeping that gets called when using an item like ‘Camping Set’ or something to reset the Daily uses.

Why ARE the Horde & Alliance Fighting After Teaming Up to Fight the Legion?

Note: This post was originally made on my Tumblr, but I figured I’d share it here as well.

I’ve seen this question bounce around a few times since the announcement of Battle For Azeroth.  So I figured I’d do my share of clearing up a misconception.

The Horde and Alliance didn’t team up to fight the Burning Legion.

They tried.  Namely the Assault on the Broken Shore.

It ended with the Horde retreating after their Warchief was fatally injured and the Alliance losing another King of Stormwind.  After that, the joint efforts collapsed since the Alliance blamed the Horde for the death of Varian, and the Horde has pretty much run out of fucks to give about reaching out to an Alliance that constantly blames them for crap going wrong.

Without the Horde and Alliance willing to work together to fight the Burning Legion, the duty fell instead to the Class Orders to rally their ranks and push back the Legion.  Hence why the Armies of Legionfall banner has the symbols of each of the class orders represented on it.

In short, the Alliance and Horde failed at teaming up and fell into their old hatreds while the Class Orders stepped up and joined forces under Khadgar and Illidan to stop the Legion’s invasion and ultimately assault Argus.  Hence why the only faction leader present on Argus is Velen – who has a vested non-political interest in reclaiming his homeworld.

I might be wrong in this, but while the heroes of Azeroth who are aligned with the Horde or Alliance have often worked side by side I don’t think there are many times that the Alliance and Horde as factions have been politically united on something.  In the Burning Cruside, it was much more of an effort driven by the Scryers and Aldor united as the Shattered Sun Offensive.  In Wrath of the Lich King, the Horde and Alliance were still duking it out over Icecrown while the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade made headway into infiltrating the Citadel. In Catalcysm, Faction animosity actually grew in the wake of the struggle for resources after the near apocalypse which ultimately came to a head in the Mists of Pandaria.  In Warlords of Draenor, the conflict and alliances between groups was much more centered on the native factions of Alternate Draenor with the Horde and Alliance not openly in conflict but just kind of helping things along for the locals, which gave way to the potential team up at the Broken Shore – where it hit the fan and set the stage for the faction war coming in Battle for Azeroth.

Update:  Since originally posting this on Tumblr, I was able to think of a few occasions that the Horde and Alliance worked together for one reason or another.  The first is the Battle of the Wrathgate where both the Alliance and the Horde fought against the Scourge as an attack on the Lich King’s back door.  However, it’s debatable whether this constituted a formal action by the Horde since it was really only Saurfang the Younger’s forces that joined the assault and that the forces of Overlord Agmar where more aligned with the radical tactics of Garrosh Hellscream and likely would have no desire to join an Alliance assault, and the Forsaken of Venomspite…  well…  they had OTHER plans.

The one event I could think of that was a 100% combined Horde-Alliance effort was the Might of Kalimdor, a unified army made up of the Alliance’s legendary 7th Legion and the Horde’s mighty Kor’kron Guard that fought during the ten-hour Ahn’Qiraj War after the Scarab Wall was opened.  This along with the War Effort that bolstered the Might of Kalimdor is probably the most clear cut example of the Horde and Alliance joining forces to confront a potentially world-ending threat (The return of the Qiraji after the War of the Shifting Sands nearly 1000 years before the first arrival of the Orcs).

Considering both times were led by a member of the Saurfang family, and even Varian was able to put his old grudges aside to let the elder Saurfang mourn the loss of his son at Icecrown Citadel, the High Overlord might be a good choice for an ambassadorship.

Odd Thoughts: Reward Cubes

Be they Loot Boxes, Prize Crates or good ol’ fashion RNG Containers, there’s nothing quite like the topic of Reward Cubes to bring a heated boil to the gaming community at large.  Are they pay-to-win?  Are they gambling?  Do they belong in full price $60 games?  Do they belong in anything beyond Free-To-Play games?  Should they exist at all?

Recently, the controversy has boiled up a bit thanks to some rather ahem… enthusiastic reaches by companies like WB Interactive and Electronic Arts in their big fall titles (Shadows of War, Star Wars Battlefront 2) and I’ve heard that even the sports games have decided to dab their quills into the ink as well with the latest installment of 2K sportsball and Forza something or other.  I will admit, the practice has gotten admittedly scummier since my first encounter with the loot box scenario when they were added when Star Wars The Old Republic went debatably free to play (two hot bars, a 250k credit limit, and can’t equip any epic loot but hey it’s free to suffer through!)

Now you have loot boxes that are tied directly to player progression, offering new abilities and ability boosts in Battlefront 2 or simply being able to skip the grind and have a medley of legendary orcs spring forth from a chest like clowns from a car.  And yeah, that’s B.S.  I’m not even gonna sugar coat it.  Optional or not, cash should not be a way to skip the game you just paid sixty bucks for.  It definitely shouldn’t let you be able to quickly overpower players that don’t shell out for it.  I’m glad there seems to be at least a majority consensus on THAT at least.

Personally, the only way I’ve really “enjoyed” loot boxes – not that I’ve ever enjoyed them.  Put up with them? – was in games like Overwatch.  Where they don’t give you anything BUT random visual flair to add to the game.  And you earn them when you level up. Nice. But hey, then they went above and beyond and added ADDITIONAL ways to get free crates in the Arcade. So not only do you not have any tangible reason to get them beyond looking cool but they also keep giving you more ways to get them? Not a half bad model.  Still would like just ways to unlock the skins and whatnot on my own in the game maybe.  Not banking on random chance from a box every few hours.  Maybe some sort of unlock systems based on in-game achievements? You know like you already do with certain sprays?  Bah. Oh well.

Of course, there are still down sides to Overwatch’s model too. The whole thing is psychologically angled to make you want to spend.  You see someone with the cool thing? You want the cool thing. Better go pay money for a chance to get the cool thing.  A covetous model of persuasion is exactly what Activision’s recent patent for Microtransaction-based Matchmaking is built on. Instead of matching players on skill or win ratio, it finds the ‘Haves’ and then pairs them against the ‘Have Nots’ and then after you lose to their Cash Shop Super Weapon while donning their Ultra Rare Skin, you offer them the chance to get the same cool stuff from these handy dandy cubes o’ stuff we sell for real dollars.  Psychology is a dangerous weapon when paired with greed.

For no better example of psychology being used to line the pockets, look no further than gambling.  Oh, I hear the screams of forums back in TOR echoing through to the youtube comments of today of ‘It’s not gambling – you always get something!’  And that’s true. Sort of.  Loot crates are a weird legal loophole where since you always get something out of it, it’s not gambling. But you also always get nothing – nothing tangible with an attached dollar value that can resold – so it’s also not gambling.  HOWEVER, from a psychological standpoint and not a legal one, Reward Cubes are very much gambling.  They scratch that same itch, provoke the same reaction, and still drive you to swipe your credit card over and over chasing an elusive jackpot.  Heck, why else would the crazy Kylo Ren-style lightsabers be introduced as a new ultra-ultra-ultra rare platinum item in SWTOR?  It’s the hot new thing. It’s only comes from the cash-only loot boxes.  It’s got a 1-in-10,000 chance to drop! Didn’t get it in this box? That makes it MORE likely to be in the next, right? (Not how that works at all by the way.)

Loot boxes CAN be dangerously addicting to those with a pension for such habits.  And sure, there are non-loot box ways you could get it. Someone could sell theirs in the in-game market for in-game currency.  But that still means SOMEONE paid cash for it. And to be honest, I casually played SWTOR for years – played every class at least once if not twice or three times – and I STILL never made enough credits to buy one of those Kylo Ren sabers for what they were going for on the market.  Eventually just decided that was one thing I was never gonna end up getting. Like PvP achievements.

Overall, I think what I was going for with writing about this was that I’m used to seeing people take a very hard line stance on this issue. Understandable since it’s a very passionate issue.  But I don’t think there’s really a good hard line stance to take.  Loot boxes can be a fun addition to a game.  I do think Blizzard is getting a knack for what a good balance of what should be in the crate, how easy it should be to get free crates vs paid crates, and definitely figured out a good way to make them feel fun.  However, left unchecked the whole system begins to turn corrupt.  You see pay to win become an incentive to buy crates, you see things being designed to nudge players toward crates to speed up or skip parts of the game, and you see the effort being put in to continue to make more alluring jackpot items to drive that addictive quality in wanting to keep buying to get the best stuff.  Heck, I’ll even say that Overwatch could be improved.  They gave away loot boxes for Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone for Twitch Prime that had guaranteed rare items like legendaries or gold cards.  I’d love to see that sort of thing be added to the game as a reward for major achievements.  Get 100 wins? Get a gold box.  Unlocked all of a character’s achievements? Get a gold box.  Complete a limited time holiday quest? Get a gold box so you will at least get ONE of the legendary skins during the small holiday event windows.

I wanted to approach it all rationally.  I don’t think reward cubes are going anywhere.  I think that as the industry pushes more to perpetual monetization over pay-once-and-your-done tactics with games we need to start really critically thinking about where we as consumers feel comfortable drawing the line.  All or nothing approaches may be admirable, but so is throwing yourself on your sword and none of it accomplishes much.  There doesn’t have to be a universal approach either.  I want to encourage everyone to find their own personal line on the topic and then work with that.  Let that be a personal factor in your buying decisions.  It’s one of the reasons that despite looking amazing and fun, I didn’t buy into Battlefront or Battlefront 2.  It’s why I remain hesitant about Anthem.  It’s one of the major reasons I decided to stop playing SWTOR.

But I am not going to presume to tell you to do the same.  All I’m gonna ask is that you think about it.  Think about what you want and what you are comfortable with.

%d bloggers like this: