Pathfinder Online

I've been following the development of Pathfinder Online with considerable interest, ever since the people making it said it'd be a sandbox game. One of the things I'm particularly pleased with as it goes along is the sheer quality of the posts on the development blog.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on January 9, 2014 at 15:53

Letting Go

The Reboot proceeds apace. But one of the things that it has to include is letting go of some of the old stuff I liked, as well as the old stuff I'd gotten tired of. In particular, the jump of 50 years in the world's timeline, and the inclusion of a major world-spanning war in the intervening time means that a few of the characters I liked had to go.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on January 7, 2014 at 15:35

Rebooting a Campaign World

I am a creature of sudden enthusiasms, and unlike many of my friends, I never quite let them go. I can go from not having thought about something to being evangelistic about it in hours, sometimes minutes. Epic Metal, WWI-era Jazz, sonnets, the Fate system, even back to mailing lists, I've latched onto pretty damn quickly. However, I don't think I've ever seized on an idea with quite such vim as the suggestion by Nina that I reboot my main campaign world.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on December 28, 2013 at 13:44

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

I have, in the past, been a little unforgiving with regard to the show-runners for Doctor Who. I've been several notches less than merciful with my opinions regarding RTD's dulling of emotional impact by not letting go, and by trying to turn the Doctor into a one-note angst-bunny.

I am therefore pleased to say that considering everything, I quite liked The Day of the Doctor.

Spoilers follow...

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Posted by Drew Shiel on November 25, 2013 at 13:06

Agents of SHIELD, Season 1, Episode 6: FZZT

If you haven't seen the episode yet, probably best not read the rest of this. Suffice it to say that this is the episode where, for me at least, the show comes together.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on November 6, 2013 at 14:37

Agents of SHIELD

I am predisposed to like Agents of SHIELD. On that basis, I really wish it would get the finger out and live up to the standard it could.

I don't know enough about the writers or other people involved to really comment, and I know it's not fair to look at a series' first five episodes and make judgements on it, particularly when it's built around story arcs. But I'm going to go ahead and comment anyway. Spoilers for the first five episodes abound, and speculation on the rest of the season is included.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on October 23, 2013 at 15:06

Level 60 in Neverwinter

It's been a very long time since I had a maximum level character in an MMO. This is mostly because my play time tends to be fractured; occasional long sessions, but mostly short bursts. Neverwinter allows for this, and so Barakas Vlord, tiefling control wizard, is now level 60.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on October 23, 2013 at 13:31

Arrow, Season 2

The second season of Arrow has done something interesting, straight out of the gate.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on October 17, 2013 at 11:50

Neverwinter Economic Fun

Neverwinter's economy is fascinatingly complex. And like any complex economy, there are ways to manipulate it for profit. And like any economy, some of it comes down to luck. I had some of each.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on August 1, 2013 at 11:48

Crafting in Neverwinter

I've been playing a little bit of Neverwinter. I've almost dropped out of MMOs at this point, but I have a little bit of spare time over the summer. The important thing is that it's pretty convenient to play in short bursts, unlike Wurm, where your half hour of available time ends up being used making sure you don't starve. Also, Neverwinter is free (there's a shop, but it's not particularly intrusive, and you can play very well without it).

And one of the most interesting parts is the crafting. I do realise I say that about many games, but Neverwinter has a few features that are markedly different. It's reminiscent of Everquest II, with a dash of EVE, and it feeds solidly into the economy and progression. Here are a few interesting bits.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on July 19, 2013 at 12:23

Providing Setting Information

Having stepped back from interventionist gods, and looking to maximise story potential, I find myself with an interesting quandry - how should information about the setting be provided to the players?

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Posted by Drew Shiel on July 11, 2013 at 13:33

Maximising Stories

I've been thinking, as I carefully meander around the creation of a new campaign world, about how to maximise the potential for stories within it. I don't anticipate giving up my old world, mind; there's still more I can do there, particularly once I wean myself off the world-changing epic, and have a go at the character-changing epic instead. But in this new one, everything I put in is being considered, not on the basis of "is this cool?", but on "What stories does this enable? What stories does this block?" Here's some of my current thinking.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on May 28, 2013 at 12:55

Interventionist Gods and Limited Narrative

When I set out to develop a fantasy campaign world, about fifteen years ago, I hadn't really had the chance to run proper long-term campaigns before. Sure, I'd run games that lasted up to a year, maybe even more, which in the tempestuous world of false starts and abandoned games that constitute table-top roleplaying, are quite long. But I hadn't done multi-year games, and I certainly hadn't done sequels, prequels, or other campaigns in the same worlds. So there were a few places where I shot myself firmly in the foot, and one of these was in the area of gods - specifically, interventionist gods.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on May 27, 2013 at 15:40


The new Arrow series has started broadcasting. On the one hand, it's a clear successor to Smallville, and on the other, it's a lot more. Spoilers follow.

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Posted by Drew Shiel on October 22, 2012 at 14:24