Team 7: Castle Busirane (Exterior) and Ollyphant

by Justin Goldsmith and Evan Schrager

Although Scudamour is not one of the characters we have been assigned to create, Scudamour will be lying outside of the castle and the surrounding fire, crippled as he is in Canto XI. There will also be a “A flaming fire, ymixt with smouldry smoke” circling the castle entrance that cannot be bypassed without completing some element of the story/quest. If you try to enter the fire, not only will you be burned, but the Sulfuric emissions will cause the player to choke.

The land around the castle aside from the fire is a barren grassland. There are few trees aside from a few small birch trees surrounding the castle. There is some shriveled foliage, but it as a mostly empty area.  There is a dirt path that leads up to the gate.  The castle is a dark, foreboding building in the northern end of the area.

Before entering the fire, the character must protect the prone Scudamour from the slow but powerful giant Ollyphant.  Ollyphant will, of course, be very large.  He will have no weapons, but very large and powerful arms and legs that he will use to attack.  In keeping with his savage nature, he will have ripped scraps of clothing.  While he is imposing and very powerful, he is also cowardly and will run away after losing half his health.  When this happens, the character will talk to Scudamour, who will recount what he saw Britomart do as she crossed the flames and entered the castle.  The character will then know how to cross the flames and enter Busirane’s Castle (a new area).

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Who is Britomart?

In my reading of the Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, Britomart was not the average 5’4” scrawny woman. Have you ever seen a female bodybuilder? Yeah….that’s how I envisioned Britomart. How else could she defend herself so well against male knights? Anyway, she’s got guns. I always pictured her armor as a silver mail, with a very old-fashioned style to it. No awesome looking details or anything-just plain silver.

Britomart stands a remarkable 6’8”. She would have made Lisa Leslie look tiny. Her spear is long and sleek, with an unusually noticable tip. The vibrant red color of the tip lookd somewhat unnatural on a spear, but it’s oh so badass. She knocks people off horses with that thing with her eyes closed. Britomart has black hair and menacing brown eyes. If she stares you down without her helmet equipped, you freeze with fright.

Behind all the manly features, she happens to be fairly attractive, too. Her cheekbones are one of the few feminine features she possesses, as well as her breasts of course. Her breasts are also solid muscle, because Britomart is just an animal. If Malecasta knew she was a woman, then I think that she fainted because she felt how hard those babies were.

Britomart’s skin is darker than the average caucasian, but she is still considered “white”. Her skin tone matches many hispanics because it is a light shade of brown. Her horse has the same fur color as her skin, and they ride with a unity unmatched by any horse and jockey.

Don’t mess with Britomart, she’ll mess you up.

CONVERSATION

Me: Hey Britomart, let’s go in that door that says, “Be not too bold.”

Britomart: I would not do that fair child, for past that door awaits animals wild.

 If you wish to perish to Busirane, prepare yourself for unmatched pain.

 Me: What do you know? (Evan runs in and gets beheaded by enemies. Britomart follows and dies as well.)

Britomart:  You should have had patience lad, or things would not be this bad.

Now we lie on the floor dead, with you lacking a head.

Me:  It’s okay Britomart, we will respawn in ten seconds!

Priorities, Priorities, and more Priorities

by Evan Schrager

Thus far in the semester, LOTRO/NWN2 has not directly affected any area of my life. However, it did indirectly change my life because it rekindled my love for the MMO.  When I play LOTRO and NWN2, I am not as involved in terms of immediacy and enjoyment as I normally am in games of this type. Final Fantasy XI has been my favorite online game for a few years now, and my desire to go back to the world of Vana d’iel could not be contained any longer. I re-activated my account, and have started to happily roam the familiar areas again.

Final Fantasy XI is a very addicting MMO, paralleling the addictiveness of games such as WoW and Star Wars: Galaxies. When I wake up, I check the auction house quickly to see if the weapons I need are available. Checking the auction house has replaced checking my facebook on a daily basis (sounds pathetic).

I spend less time on my school work because I am usually involved in something on the game that requires my full attention. I do easy written work while I’m playing, such as math or physics assignments, and focus less attention than I should on them.

I also used to go out 3-4 nights during the week because I had a lot of free time, but that free time is now committed to the games, so I stick to going out on weekends, which isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.

My friends tell me they feel like they have lost a friend, because I am usually in my room playing. In the past I would play guitar and hang out with them in their rooms. Oops! In fact, right now, two players and I are on our way to a battlefield to try and get some rare items to sell for money! How ironic…

My priorities definitely need to be set straight, because I am spending way too much time playing this game. This blog post was a real wake up call for me. But I assure you, I am not alone…thousands of people share my problem. Just gotta keep my priorities straight.

You give me a benjamin, I give you…..Gold?

By Evan Schrager

The corporate ownership of games seems to impede the narrative experience of gamers around the world, but is a necessary element to keeping the gamespaces clean and functional.

When one plays an MMO seriously, they begin to feel an emotional attachment to the game. They believe that the items and properties that they have obtained in the game belong to them. This is a normal feeling to experience, and is a core problem in the existence of MMO’s. Corporations believe that since they created the world, it is theirs to manipulate, including the possessions of all players. The conflict of ownership of in game materials is a serious issue that can send some emotional role players out of the gamespace by choice.

Another issue in corporate ownership of the games is the real life exchange of in-game currency for money. The companies have to be against this because the majority of the players in the game earned all their money and equipment, etc. They must strive to preserve the integrity of the game for the sake of the community. On the other hand, there are a small percentage of players who believe that they should be able to buy fake currency with real money. They argue that they’re simply buying the “time it takes to make that money.” To make it illegal, the corporation assumes ownership of all money in the game, so RMTs are selling the property of the company.

While the real world doesn’t have to parallel the worlds of MMOs, the general ethics and morals of life should be present. Money shouldn’t be attainable outside of the gamespace. People shouldn’t use slander and obtrusive language when it is damaging to one’s narrative experience. If somebody decides they want to farm and/or monopolize a certain area or certain monsters, their experience can be haltered by corporations. They can deem this activity “illegal or immoral” and take action against that player. But doesn’t that player hold the right to do what he wants when he is paying monthly?

There is a line that needs to be drawn between what is right and what is wrong in a gamespace. People constantly discover loopholes in the rules of these games, and tend to enhance their experience, but hurt others’. Corporations definitely change one’s experience in both positive and negative ways. The company’s role in an MMO is to better the experience of the community as a whole, taking action against people who decide to impede the experience of others.

Evlaf Blackblade the Mighty

by Evan Schrager

Evlaf Blackblade decends from a long line of vicious and thrashing warriors. As a man of Bree, his name tells of his families’ history. His ancestors specialized in the use of blackened steel swords and offered complimentary training to their customers.

While Evlaf is not a master of Weaponsmithing, he has a keen hand and a keen eye with his hammer. His moderate skills in the craft serve him well on the battlefield, as his personally crafted weapons slice through Orcs with ease.

Evlaf has a grudge with the dwarves because at the young age of seven, he was kidnapped by them. He was held captive in the Mines of Moria for seventeen long days until he decided to fight his way out. It took him another two days to find his way, and he nearly perished in the darkness of the mines.

In his latter youth, he trained with the renowned Aragorn. Aragorn is said to have been the greatest wielder of the sword Middle Earth has ever seen. Evlaf shows true shades of Strider’s combat style, elegantly destroying enemies while greatly outnumbered.

His devotion and skill with the blade earned him respect in the Bree-Town Guard, where he spent most of his time, training with the men there. When the Knights of the White Stallion came to Bree form the south he approached them and offered his sword in hopes that they would take him with them to the white cities of the south.

He has aided them as an hounorary member and will go south with them once they return there to be knighted.

Evlaf is not fearless however- darkness spooks him to this day due to his hostage experience in his young age.

The Decision is Yours..

By Evan Schrager

In LOTRO, the creation of a character with different races and different classes leaves the player with a wide selection for a number of different possibilties. How accurate their character is to one of Tolkien’s characters can somewhat change the game experience. For example, if one chooses to play a Dwarf Minstrel, they are going against the natural abilities of a dwarf according to Middle Earth standards. Gimli and the dwarves are known to be fervourous warriors! However, making a decision to play as a Dwarf Minstrel can entertain a player if he/she likes to play a Dwarf as a healer. Heck, a hobbit lover could play a hobbit Champion for fun. Who wouldn’t want to watch a cute little hobbit slice-n-dice ugly monsters? If the player wishes to represent their favorite character, such as Legolas, they can select an Elf Hunter. Then, the player can happily sprint around shooting arrows at orcs as they wish-how fun! It all depends on the players personal preference.

The narrative is certainly enriched by these classes in concordance with race. Immediacy is achieved in battle scenes as well as interesting quests-the player is immersed in the action using battle techniques and items, etc. When you do the missions for Book 1, protecting several others NPCs can be fun as a minstrel, healing the NPC, and as a Champion helping on the front lines.

It all depends on how you want your experience on Middle Earth to unfold. Heal the wonded….or wound the healed? The decision is yours- don’t mess it up.

I Fought the Law and the…..Law Lost!

by Evan Schrager

Stephenson’s depiction of the future world is rather extreme-the laws of our current society seem to have vanished. The pizza delivery cars are allowed to drive at ludicrous speeds (no pun intended). I like his introduction of the “pooning” concept. I think the new magnetic device is a realistic invention that could exist in the future. The Kouriers can be compared to a futuristic hitch hiker-except it is their decision whether or not they “grab a ride”. And if these pooning devices really did exist, attaching to any old car would certainly be illegal. Y.T.’s escape from The Clink also expresses the lack of law enforcement in future America.

Stephenson’s future society is obsessed with the flow of information. Obsessed. There are an abundant number of hackers, whose job it is to find more and more information, ‘til they drop dead. In the meantime, they hope they hit the jackpot by finding out some extraordinary piece of information that somebody in the world needs. The Metaverse allows for the exchange of this information smoothly, through the hypercards. Computer viruses still exist and serve the same purpose they do today, as they crashed Da5id’s computer.

Snow Crash immerses you in the new society-immediacy is definitely achieved in scenes such as the pizza delivery, as well as the fight between Raven and the group of crips in the high grass. An example of hypermediacy can be seen as well, in the sword fight between Hiro and the Nipponese businessman. He cuts him up into pieces, but we know that it was a fake sword fight-the victim’s body frame lay on the floor without insides. This is an obvious reminder that the sword fight was not real. But he can’t respawn for about 5 minutes. Sucker!

While the rules of society seem a bit absurd, the people in the story still act like human beings. The lack of law leaves room for villains such as Raven to wreak havoc at their disposal. His “super-knife” scares me because it passed the metal detector test-what if people with cruel intentions decide to bring them onto a plane in the future, slicing and dicing whoever they wish? In order to prevent our society from becoming the society in Snow Crash, we must uphold the law under all circumstances.