Mass Effect: A Renegade Journey through the trilogy.

Mass Effect, Trilogy of the Generation
Mass Effect, Trilogy of the Generation

Today, partly in jest, I made a comment about replaying the entire Mass Effect trilogy again. I found myself this afternoon reading posts in a topic about the ending of Mass Effect 3. At first I was surprised at how heated the conversations about this still are. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I, like many others truly love this trilogy. Maybe we all don't love the third game. But a lot of us love the other two. And we like the third. I personally love everything about it. The characters. The universe and lore. The art style. The game play. It is also one of those rare type of games for me, that I can find myself actually replaying the game more than one or twice. I love all three games. I have gripes myself about some things. But the good vastly out weighs the bad.

So without getting too much into all that, I found myself sitting here tonight starting a new play-through of the first Mass Effect. And I figured I would post a blog about it. Because why not.

This whole idea got into my head based on a couple of things. One, I never played any of the games as a renegade. I found myself always playing as the paragon. Or trying to find the middle ground in most situations. And I would like to see the games from the other side of the coin. What things change and how the interactions might play out differently if Shepard is just a total asshole every chance he gets. The second was I never played the last two DLC for Mass Effect 3. So this is a perfect excuse to buy those when I get to that game. And third, trophy clean ups. Since I bought the trilogy for PS3 and never really played anything past the first games single play-through.

So with that, I sat down at my PS3 and loaded up the game. The first thing I decided was that I was not going to use the character I used the first time I played through. I was going to make a fresh one. After picking a silly name, Englebert, I then picked the Colony background. I figured since I am going to intentionally be a dick, this was the best background for that. Trying to give him reasons as to why he is such a bastard. He watched his entire family and friends be murdered, and those who survived get hauled off by slavers. Only to then be picked up by the military, who he later joins. And in my mind he joins because it gives him power. It makes him stronger. So one day he can get revenge. Then I chose ruthless. Because that just makes sense. Being a war hero was out. I thought about being a sole survivor instead of ruthless. But choosing the sole survivor means you almost mentally broke. And I think that would come with some baggage of being on the brink of insanity. And the game just doesn't ever give you situations or choices (dialog) that would justify that in my opinion (at least I've never seen them). So ruthless it was.

It really hurts my shoulder when I do this.
It really hurts my shoulder when I do this.

Then I sat for a good while thinking about the class. And after much internal debate I went with Sentinel. A good mix of powers and tech. I've never played a tech class in any of the Mass Effect games. I always played as a Solider or an adept/vanguard. I was almost just a straight up Engineer, but thought that might get kinda boring. So I chose the Sentinel. I also pulled up the wiki and looked at the classes spreed over the three games. And what each class turns into in the other games. And Sentinel just seemed like the best fit for this angry commander. And I also just went with the plain and simple default Shepard. Which I kinda regretted after starting playing. But I already played for a few hours. And kinda don't really want to start over again. I should have chosen Female Shepard also. As I have never completed a play-through with her. So Maybe I will start over. Hmm.

So I get all that out of the way and I actually get to the game! First thing I do is be a dick to joker, right out the gate. And it just doesn't feel right. I didn't like it. Because I like joker. Hes a cool character. And that first scene where they through you in the cockpit of the Normandy with him and Kaiden you get some really bad choices for dialog. They all seem like rude responses. But the bottom ones are just harsh. And that is what I want to go for. But man. Right out of the gate I felt icky doing it. But then as it went on I didn't feel so bad. I also decided to not be a jerk to Ashely. As she will be the love interest. I will be all for her alien prejudice and be mean as hell to everyone else.

Also after Eden Prime it was kinda of funny how everyone kept giving me dialog options about the recruit who died. I just kept saying the renegade response of "who cares, soldiers die, move on". And everyone would say things like, I expected that type of response from you, after what you did to your troops on [some random planet]. I never saw or heard those back and forths before, so this should be interesting.

And while looking for images for this, and seeing the images of the second and third game. I can not wait to get past the first one. Don't get me wrong. I love the first game. But after seeing what those looked like and remembering moments from those games. I am just way more excited to play the second game now. So I might end up rushing through this one a little. Probably wont do everything. But you never know. Once I get into it, past becoming a specter and all that. I might just get hooked back in and do everything again. But also the renegade facial degradation in the second. Never got to see that as it doesn't happen for the paragon. So I am excited to see that.

I will probably restart with her. Probably.
I will probably restart with her. Probably.

And now I am off to ponder if I am going to restart as Fem-Shep and play that first few hours over again. You know, the tough choices in life. I will post an update or new blog post every so often as the play through each game progress. Mainly just posting my thoughts on playing as a renegade, and things I notice that are not the same. Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I will playing it. I probably wont post until much later this week. And probably wont play anymore until later this week. Because, you know. Holidays. Family. All that good stuff.

Merry Christmas everyone. Or Happy Holidays. What ever offends you the most!

P.S. Never type up something like this on a tablet. Holy crap. After sitting down at my PC to re read over it, many o' changes and corrections have been made.

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My Descent into Madness; All Night Crusaders

Crap. Its four in the morning. Ugh, how is it four am. I've only been playing for like, what, two hours, no way its been six. I'm not even tired. Or am I? I can't really tell. If I go to sleep now I will get about four hours. Is that really worth it? I just need to finish this up. It can't take that much longer. I mean I just need to move this army over here, and finish this war off. It shouldn't take that long. Okay, just this much and then I am done. Sleep is good, and I wouldn't mind getting a little. I can probably salvage three and half hours. I mean really three hours should be good, right? I heard once that the mind sleeps in 90 minute cycles. So three hours is two cycles, that should be good. Yeah, I'll just finish this war I start... oh look at that, he accepts defeat and I now have his land. Fantastic. Now to just ..., man its five in the morning. I'm going to bed.

This has been my experience every night since I bought Crusader Kings II. There has not been a game that has hooked me completely like this since Civilization II. But back then I didn't have a full time job. I am starting to get to a point of prolonged sleep deprivation, seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Hearing sounds of the game during the day, while at work. Forgetting things people tell me just minutes after they tell me. I know it sounds like I am complaining, but I am not. Not really. I enjoy delving into a mad state of being. Its been quite fun. Although I will be taking the next few nights off. I am telling myself this is to get sleep. Because sleep is good, and I do enjoy sleeping. But really its to plan my next move for world domination.

And in the mean time I will be "one of those", and pretend I matter. I will keep posting updates on how my linage progresses. And I will take the time now to catch you guys up to where I am currently. So you can probably stop reading now. If you want to. Maybe catch up on your sleep also. Or clear twenty minutes of your schedule and enjoy.

Meet House Ylving, 1172
Meet House Ylving, 1172

So I started as a Duke in Denmark. Because, well, I have no idea why. It was really just random. I clicked around the map for a good long time, probably 30 minutes, and then just hit play on the last one I had clicked on. There was no real thought process to it. I was Prince Herald Ylving of Denmark. The old dead duder under Svend at the top left. I had 14 siblings. Fourteen. Sven had 15 children in total. And I was a bastard. But a bastard who could take the throne. And so the plotting began. Four of my siblings were sisters, and three of my brothers were already dead. I was competing with seven brothers for the right to rule. I did start with an advantage however, even though I was a bastard. I was a Duke which held two lands in my demesne, and the succession laws were Feudal Elective. You know, the voting kind. And I had a vote! In my first few years I was trying to assassinate any sibling I could. But I was too broke, and had a terrible spymaster. Then good old dad steps in. He goes war crazed and starts fighting everyone. In the course of a decade he starts seven holy wars, loses all seven, and in the process has four sons die in battle. I now am only competing with three of my half brothers. It was at this time that I was thrown in the mix for succession. My remaining eldest brother was still favored with two votes however.

I had just raised enough money to risk an assassination of my brother. I only had a thirty some percent chance of killing him, and a very high (I think 70%) chance of him knowing it was me. I was about to pursue this risky course when I got a message saying King Svend now favored Prince Herald for his heir. Nice. I now had two votes. It was also only a few days later that he then decides to start a war with Sweden, over a very weak claim. This was a mistake. Sweden kicks our rears up and down both countries for years. After this I am the favorite for succession. All three votes are in my favor. I think mainly due to my eldest brother losing so many battles. Only a couple years pass before Svend dies and I am crowned King of Norway. King Herald III.

The kingdom of Denmark inherited by King Herald III
The kingdom of Denmark inherited by King Herald III

Once I, Herald III, took the crown I continued to be a peaceful man, and did not wage a single war. I held many feasts and festivals, and everyone loved me. My reign was long and quite. The only things to note about my rule as King was that my youngest son was always the favorite to take the crown, even from me. My first born died of disease at 18, I think it was from the whores. And my middle son was ugly and stupid. No one liked me, not even me. I married him away in one of those the wife takes all sons rights kinda thing. What ever those are called. And my daughter was married to a prince of France. MISTAKE. But we will get to that later. At the end of my reign we did not expand the empire, and this did make many of my vassals unhappy. But I prided myself on a peaceful rule. I grew my cities in all ways possible. Always spending the gold in my coffers to help the people of my kingdom. But also to train troops in case anyone attacked us. The in 1099 my wife Margaret died. The following year I remarried and had two more children. In 1107, at the age of 66, I passed away with honorable title King Herald The Monk. Leaving the crown to my youngest son of age, King Erik I.

Three years into King Erik I rule
Three years into King Erik I rule

The first thing you might notice about those two images, since they are somewhat close together, is that Livonia is no longer apart of Denmark. This is because my brilliant son gave independence to his cousin. This angered many, causing a civil war for a short time. This was also the start of a long struggle between the Dutchy of Skane and the king of Denmark. Not just in King Erik I rule, but for generations after. Shortly after this he declared a Holy War, and took a little land for himself. This was just the beginning. King Erik I would eventually become know as King Erik The Ironside. During his time on the throne he would declare six holy wars, winning all six single handily. Never once asking an ally for help. And always coming to the aid of any ally asking for assistance. Which at one point nearly sunk the kingdom into ruin. Remember my daughter that was married off to a French Prince? Well she became Queen eventually and had a son. A right putrid fuck of a son. He raged war on everyone, even his allies. And was eventually the man who caused the downfall of the The Holy Roman Empire. Before she died, King Erik's sister called for help, as they were being violated by Sweden, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Ireland and England. Even though he was also allies with England and Scotland, he joined the battle. Mainly only fighting Norway and Poland. It seemed he was not about to piss off Sweden again, remember what happened to his father. This war lasted eight years before ending in white peace.

During a small stretch of peace for Denmark during King Ironsides rule, he made time to play a little politics at home also. Raising the crown authority to High, and chancing the successions laws to primogeniture. Meaning from here on our the eldest male in the house of Ylving would be heir. This angered many vassals at first. But the Kings wife convinced him to placate them by giving them more lands, lowering taxes, and holding many festivals and feasts. Which worked over a shorter period of time than was expected. King Erik I thanked his wife by taking a lover and impregnating her. Because that was the type of man he was. Many will say he was a war hungry ruler and cared for no one. But in the end he did what was best for the kingdom of Denmark. Under him the kingdom flourished and grew beyond anyone's expectations. Many trade routes were also opened, bringing in more money for the coffers. Which meant more improvements on the lands. But also more soldiers, because he was after all a waring prick of a King. Who am I kidding. But he was my son.

In 1135 King Erik I eldest living son died in battle fighting in a holy war. This was his third son to die in a three year period. All three dying on the battle field. His fourth son, who was now next in line, decided to join the church. Once he became a bishop the heir to the Denmark throne fell up on my great grandson, his grand son, Erik II. However Ironside would rule for a decade longer before dying of old age. Which was shocking to most. With as many times as he led an army, and as many times as he was wounded, he ended up living a very long and healthy life. Dying at the ripe age old of 71.

HRE is falling, and Denmark has expanded.
HRE is falling, and Denmark has expanded.

In 1143 the count of Olag declared it was time for Livonia to rejoin the Kingdom of Denmark. This was of course after Ironsides cousin had passed away, leaving no heir to the Dutchy of Livonia. So he accepted and helped in the mini civil war of Livonia. Which lasted one month. After this the count of Olag was appointed to all three lands of the Dutchy of Livonia, which made him very happy. Mean while the HRE is crumbling. They have been at war with France and many others for about 20 years now. Denmark rejoined the battle also, but this time not to help anyone but themselves. King Erik I was attempting to gain land. But this would prove to be unsuccessful. This would be the first war that King Erik The Ironside started that he would not win. It can not be called a defeat, as white peace was offered. But in his eyes, it was an utter failure. His wife proclaimed this was what started his decline in health, leading to his death. Saying it haunted him round the clock for the next two years.

The current state of House Ylving
The current state of House Ylving

By this point in time the House of Ylving was expanded, covering a large portion of the map. This was mostly due to marriage arrangements. The rest from war. While under the reign of King Erik I Denmark saw much deceit and deception in its lands. Mostly coming from the house of Bornholm, the family that has held the Duke and dutchy of Skane for the last two hundred years. They started two civil wars, losing both, and were constantly trying to assassinate anyone they could from the house of Ylving. Much was done to try an appease him, since after all they only started to get so uppity after the laws of succession were change. The house of Bolenhorn, and the previous Duke of Skane held a small, but legit claim to the crown. But since they have this no longer, they either wanted to take it by force, or they wanted their independence. King Erik I never saw them as much of a threat however, and always let them be with just a slap on the wrist. But once his rule was over and his grand son King Erik II took over, this would change very quickly.

King Erik II Rules, the HRE returns after taking over Norway, and the house that built Skane falls.
King Erik II Rules, the HRE returns after taking over Norway, and the house that built Skane falls.

Two years after taking over from his grandfather, King Erik II has had enough of the treachery and scheming from the house of Bornholm. They had laid false claim to the the throne of Denmark. Erik II tries to impression the Duke Ragnar of Skane, but he avoids capture and starts his fourth civil war. Quickly leading the offensive Erik II is able to quell the rebellion and finally imprison Duke Ragnar. After letting him rot in the dungeon for a year, and growing tired of him complaining, King Erik II has him executed, and strips his family of the dutch of Skane. Then banishes them back to Sweden. After giving the dutchy of Skane to his brother Herald the Holy Roman Empire rises from the ashes and takes over all of Norway in less than half a year. This causes concern for King Erik II. Knowing they are having a hard time holding their land between France and Italy, he grows weary they might make a stab at Sweden, and then Denmark. He decides to just keep an eye on them for now. Also silently hoping that England, France or Sweden ask him to war against them. Maybe he could be the final blow to end them forever. This however would not happen.

Holy land grab Erik
Holy land grab Erik

Ten years later, thirteen years into his rule, King Erik II has expanded his empire. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, he has successfully been on three holy wars of his own. Mean while the kingdom could not be happier. This most likely due to the coffers overflowing with gold. Construction in all holds but the latest acquired are fully upgraded. The only thing holding them back is technology research. This leaves much gold for King Erik II to consider waring with. And while he was busy doing such, England has made a strong return being united as a whole for the first time in over one hundred years. Also the HRE has become back like a fucking bad case of some herpes. Just when you think you have those little fuckers beat down, they spring back and take back all their territory. This new Kaiser is going to have to be watched. Very closely watched.

Finland and Norway return! Also fuck Holy Wars!
Finland and Norway return! Also fuck Holy Wars!

Over the next decade much would happen. King Erik II continues to expand his kingdom by raging holy wars on lesser pagan rules in the east. He also helps Finland and Norway return in all their glory. Sweden finally go to big for their britches and started a war against the HRE. While doing so, allies, and family members with claims to both Norway and Finland called up on us to help them rebel against Sweden and the HRE. While Sweden and the HRE were busy fighting each other, we quickly swooped in and helped take the kingdoms back. Luckily all before Sweden surrendered to the HRE. This allowed Finland and Norway to both become independent again. And while this was quite a toll on our coffers, we gained two solid allies for the future. We also made these allies stronger with betrothals between royal children. But then all troubling times strike for King Erik II and his country men. The Pope calls for a crusade on Jerusalem. And King Erik II decides he is the man who can win this holiest of all holy crusades. And boy, was he fucking incorrect. After wasting a years worth of levy upkeep, it finally downed on him, that even though the Pope was at war, we were not. This would explain why no one would fight his armies. He felt so stupid. But he finally declares war on the Muslim ruler currently holding Jerusalem. Again, MISTAKE. Not only does Erik II get his rear handed to him, over and over. He eventually loses the war, having to fork over 2500 gold, putting the kingdom of Denmark almost 1000 gold in the red. Turmoil is a foot in Denmark. The people are not happy their kingdom is broke. And with no money to raise armies, revolts start breaking out in the eastern territories.

I will take that land back, some day, maybe.
I will take that land back, some day, maybe.

Now its at this time that people start asking to buy land from King Erik II. And he has to strongly consider this. Mainly to prevent a full blown civil war. And to get some money as fast as possible, as he is losing control of his eastern lands, and fast. Over the next two years he sells off a few territories. Mostly those to people he can usurp them back from easily. Between this and the natural income from the kingdom, it takes just under two years to get out of the red. It will now take a few more years for him to gain those lands back. However he also has to contend with the four current plots to remove him from the throne. And the threat of a civil war still. On top of all this, the Kings biggest worry is that France, the HRE and England are all in turmoil again as well. Mostly due to the terrible holy war for Jerusalem. This means that all but two of his biggest allies will soon be calling on him for support, but what support can he offer in the state that Denmark is in. And which allies will be asking him to fight which other allies.

This is where we leave the story of House Ylving, for now. There is much to do in order to make sure King Erik II rule stays in tact. Also making sure House Ylving stays in control of the crown. In the last century much has changed. But the one thing that will remain the same, I don't get enough damn sleep.

A few notes to hit on that I did not cover above, King Slayer, son of Erik I, never had a chance to live up to his name. He died of typhoid at 22. You can't see him on the family map, but King Herald III had a son with his second wife. His name was Big Dick. He also died from a disease, but I think at age 9. After these two I stopped naming anyone and just rolled with the auto names. Also there was much more intrigue and plotting. Lots of crazy things happening, but I can not recall all of it unfortunately. Also I may have gone overboard on images. Sue me. Actually, please don't. I barely have enough gold to keep the damn peasants from revolting.

Also, holy shit, did you just really read that whole thing? I am impressed. But now you should do something a little more productive with your time. Like playing Crusader Kings II. Because fuck all other games. At least for the next couple months. Or should I say 2013's 2012 Game of the Year.

I'll see you at the next holy war. Which will probably be this weekend.

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Help me to understand my obsession with Minecraft (360)!

Why can I not stop playing? I do not understand.

I played this for 5 hours last night. All I did was dig a huge underground hall. I filled up 8 double chests with ore. Then used that ore to start making a castle on top of the underground hall. Oh, and I made a cake. Because who doesn't love cake. Which almost didn't happen. But more on that later.

I didn't want to stop either. If not for that small part of reason in the dark corners of my grey matter whispering "its 3 am, and you work in 5 hours, turn it off, for the love of all things holy, turn it off", I might have never stopped.

I want to not like this game. I want to play other games I have, so many countless games that I want to play. But I can't bring myself to do so. I never understood the appeal of this game. And honestly I still don't. But yet here I am, waiting for the hours to count down so I can go home and turn it on again. Sitting here thinking of things to add to the my "construction project". Like, how I can move that spring next to my underground hall into the hall and create a pool. And do so without flooding a particular area. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Or maybe you don't. Maybe unlike me you have already gone through this phase of minecraft and have come out the other side, hopefully in one piece. Or maybe you don't like the game and just don't play it. In which case I ask you this; why are you even reading this? Why are you lurking in a forum for a game you don't like? You already know there is nothing for you here. You should move along. And quickly before the creepers see you.

And I have a complaint about the game. Why are the animals so mentally challenged? Why are they all drawn to the water? Fighting and struggling to escape their watery deaths. Which never seem to come to fruition. They also seem to love the concept of destroying wheat. I can not plant and grow wheat without a chicken, or sheep, or pig, or even a cow jumping up and down on it. Why? Why must they do this. I just wanted to bake a cake. Which I eventually did. But that one cake cost lives eight pigs, four cows, three sheep and fourteen or so chickens. All for a single cake. Seems unnecessary I know. But they had to pay for their crimes with their lives. That is the law of the land. A land I am now calling Nowheatland. I wonder if I can change the name of my game to that. Something else to ponder while life slowly passes until Minecraft begins again.

I guess with all that now said I am more wondering if it is just me. Or are others out there that feel this way. A compulsion to play with no idea why. Digging and building. Digging and building. Oh look, its almost 3PM, I should start looking for my Emerald Nuts. Don't want Robert Goulet showing up and messing with my stuff. He is worse than a creeper. I will say that once more. Robert Goulet is worse than a creeper.

I wonder if they also have the power to keep Minecraft at bay? Probably not. Just wishful thinking in my part. 3 hours til Minecraft!

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