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Tonight I’ve checked off another desire from the expansion… I’ve finally replaced the outfit my Hunter has sported from Cataclysm with something new to take into the Warlords era.

It may not be new, but it’s new to me.

OldandNew2

I mentioned on a blog post quite some time ago that I liked my Firelands outfit, but I’d love to gather together the black Scourgestalker pieces from Ulduar 10.

I just never did anything about it, because busy. So, so busy.

I’m really glad I did it though, you know? I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Along the way, I learned a lot of things about Ulduar while romping around in the playground of the Titans.

There is a big difference between soloing something and raiding with a team; time on site.

When you’re with a team, the focus is always on moving your ass as quickly as possible to the next fight, and once AT the fight, in killing the boss as quickly and cleanly as possible. It’s all about time management and efficiency. Nobody wants to be that one person that drags the whole team down.

When you’re by yourself, you have all the time you care to take to get screenshots, drive around, mess with different vehicles, poke your nose into all the nooks and crannies and generally be a pain in the ass to the Titans.

Take Flame Leviathan on ten player mode and the trash on the run up.

It is accurate to say the reason Ulduar wasn’t on my roflstomp list was the trash and Flame Leviathan. The few times I’d gone in solo, without any research, the trash took so long that once I got to FL I wasn’t all that interested in figuring out what’s what. Also, I’d always drive a tank, and when you kill the last defender in front of the gates, Flame Leviathan instantly breaks through, aggros on you, the energy barrier springs up trapping you in with him, and you either kill him RIGHT NOW when you’re already wounded or you die before you ever get started.

It’s annoying, and helped convince me to go do something else the few times I tried.

Well, if you bother to do a little light reading on WoWhead, you find out that Flame Leviathan with the towers crushed is easily soloable. Only problem is wading through a half hour of trash to bloody well GET there.

On ten player, if you talk to Brann first to activate easy mode, then get in a tank and set forth to crush all the trash and topple the towers, it’s a long slog to get to the big bad tank boss. It’s really the only hard part, staying awake while slowly crushing trash.

Ah, how nice it would be if your tank SPEED also scaled with your iLevel the way your health and DPS does.

Anyway, I always took a tank to kill trash and topple towers. In a group, that meant other people in turret, or trying to race to each tower and wave of trash.

Running it solo, I found out that when you’re in the driver seat of a tank, you can click on the turret position on the vehicle icon on your screen, and you will instantly move up there. You don’t have to leave the vehicle first!

My biggest annoyance had always been having to chase all them little dwarves in the tank to crush them under my treads. You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but those little legs can move!

Now I know I can drive the tank up to a tower, smash it, then pop into the turret and rocket the hell out of all the scurrying mobs. Saves time all around.

Bonus points, the turret rockets do MASSIVE damage to all the big wandering giants!

So once I learned that, I had an answer for getting killed by Flame Leviathan at the start of the fight, too. Just drive the tank to extreme range (outside the area the energy barrier springs up) and use the turret rockets to aggro and kill the last gate defenders! Boom, they die, Flame Leviathan breaks through the gate, and I can safely drive my tank away to reset.

Beartrap no go boom. The sheer novelty of it.

So, what else?

To solo Flame Leviathan on ten man mode, all you have to do is get in a Devastator (one of those catapult thingies), drive it just inside the gate area, then hop out and get in the other, drive up and park right next to the first. You get two in 10 man mode, and they have a purple barrle catapult mode that does massive damage to FL. You just start shooting Flame Leviathan with purple barrels from the first Devastator until you run out, then jump out of that Devastator, run over to the second one, hop in and finish him off.

My hunter is only flex geared, and I was able to destroy Flame Leviathan with only one Devastator before running out of purple goo to shoot, so the second one is really just a “I missed a few shots” backup. It’s really that easy.

Suddenly, a whole new world of soloing awesomeness was opened unto me. With the Flame Leviathan barrier become nothing more than tissue beneath my feet, there is a whole raid to wander around in like a lost cub looking for honey.

And all the bosses were easily soloed, right up until Thorim. But more on that in a bit.

I took my time wandering around, and I did no research at all on the bosses. Hard modes? Just do what feels good!

Like killing each of the Iron Council one at a time, and damn that little dwarf I left for last is a baddass little prick, grrr, THERE! Oh, there was an achieve for killing him last, okay.

Or Hodir. You kill him without ever stopping and you’ll get an achievement for not getting all frosty, JUST like when killing the last boss in the Nexus. Plus kill him quick enough and there is bonus loot. Who doesn’t like bonus loot?

The most fun was getting to Mimiron and hitting that gorgeous, big honking red button. OMG that red button, who can resist it’s siren song, it’s sensuous allure. I want to do bad things with that button.

I learned three very, very important things soloing Mimiron after getting up close and dirty with his button.

First, self-healing abilities are awesome. Instead of Iron Hawk, going with Spirit Bond for the constant self-healing is overpowered and makes a huge difference.

Second, you have to spread your DPS on phase four across all three units so they die within 10 seconds of each other. Somehow, over the years I’d forgotten that fact.

Third… don’t kill the little fire extinguisher bot dudes. They’re just trying to help in their little halon way. If you DO go kill-crazy and shoot them as fast as they appear… well, don’t bitch about all the fire covering the floor, it’s your own damn fault.

On the subject of Mimiron… the tram! Oh my, that tram! I’d never actually taken the tram before, I’d just teleported straight to Mimiron’s launching point. That was a place to explore all on it’s own. So cool!

So much of Ulduar is just… well, neat. And pretty.

Thorim is the only real pain in the ass, because while a SKILLED Hunter can apparently solo Thorim, I found it to be too damn tricky to run back and forth from arena to tunnel trash and back, trying to keep from resetting the attack and dying to a ball of bloated boom boom lightning. Also I’m too lazy to buy or make speed pots, apparently.

The thing with him is, someone has to stay in the main arena room while someone else opens the gate and runs the tunnel gauntlet to get up there behind Thorim and push him over the edge. Kinda hard to do that solo. It can be done! Just tricky. That whole skill thing.

So if you really need to kill Thorim, the General and Yogg-Saron in Ulduar, you’re gonna want a buddy. I’ve been really lucky in having friends come join me for that last bit while I was in there, so it was easy to finish it up.

Me, I really needed to kill Yogg each time. I wanted his pants!

Last night, we killed Yogg, I stole his pants and I put them on immediately. They may have been dripping in green ooze, a bit smelly and tinged with crazy evil, but darling they look FABULOUS.

I can see making Ulduar a regular thing. Just gonna need to find a friend so we can always kill Yogg. I’m sure he’s got other goodies we can wear (after wiping away the goo).

I’ve wanted to complete that Hunter set for transmog a long time now, and there is something about it that feels perfectly balanced to me. The Firelands set makes a dramatic statement, but the shoulders are very narrow compared to my big bear belly. I look at it, and I look… fat. Which is a totally acceptable look for a bear, really!

The Scourgestalker set, on the other hand, has imposing shoulders that make the whole thing very… solid. Those padded shoulders, they have such a slimming effect, don’t you think?

Omg I rediscovered 80s fashion! First padded shoulders, what next, a power tie? Big bow for the hair?

Plus, that eyepatch looks really sweet with it, it comes from a quest chain in Blades Edge Mountains, and of course the Wolfslayer’s Sniper Rifle adds authority.

Now I have the hardest decision of all to make.

What pet can I tame that will look awesome with this set? I can’t run around with a big flame-red Devilsaur! That’s like wearing white leather after Noblegarden, it’s just not done.

I suggested finding a big black wolf, and my son said I couldn’t do that. The wolf would keep eyeing my rifle, and feeling sad.

What pet can I find to accessorize with my new black metal armor?

Oh geez, and even worse, I have to figure out new ground and flying mounts to color coordinate!

I need swatches. Someone get me swatches, this is serious!

IMG_1424.JPG

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Last night, I lost a good friend. A true friend.

A friend that has been there for me for six years, keeping me safe, always looking out for me, protecting me from the evil that lurks in the dark corners of the world.

Watching.

Waiting.

My Blizzard Authenticator finally died.

I feel cold and alone, now. I log in and wonder, have they found me? Is this the moment when they sense my weakness and attack again?

Will I find my character standing there, naked, wearing only a cock ring?

I purchased my authenticator in the very first wave when they were released, shortly after the original Blizzard announcement in June of 2008.

In all that time, my little Authenticator remained faithful and true, and served me well, granting me safe access to a world of wonder.

Keep in mind, I am one of the many who have had their accounts hacked in the past. Oh my, yes. Such a lovely little Christmas present THAT was.

Since today brought the announcement of the Warcraft 10th Anniversary and we’re all being invited to take a trip down memory lane, I invite you to click that link to an old post of mine from 2007, wherein I regale you with the drama from my account dickery hackery lock on Christmas Eve, 2006. You might detect a touch of vitriol as I discuss in extremely accurate (and profane) terms my Blizzard customer service experience circa 2006.

Blizzard, you’ve come a long way. But let’s be honest, you had a long way to go.

Love ya. /mucha smoocha

Oh damn, was I pissed. PISSED.

That was then and this is now, and my happiness is brought to you by the letter AUTHENTICATOR BITCHES.

Wait, that ain’t a letter, except by the editor.

I still remember the day the postman rang once, and brought me my little bundle of joy.

That moment is one that can still bring tears of joy to my eyes. Such strong, true feelings.

Okay, so the feelings are mostly FUCK YOU HACKERS DIE PRICKS MUA HA HA HA HAAAAAA. Ha. Ahem.

They’re still feels.

Fortunately, my period of vulnerability will be a short one.

Replacement authenticators are available on the Blizzard store for only $6.50, in stock, free shipping. Yes please and thank you.

You might prefer the totally free mobile authenticator app, maybe you think you don’t need any but hell, free Core Hound pup, why the heck not.

Me, I like the tangibility of my security solution.

I like to have that physical embodiment of solid protection, like a Paladin bubble protecting my account from all the little hacker pricks the world over.

Holding the Authenticator in my hand feels like… victory.

My PSA to you, if you’ve been using an authenticator as long as I have, think about replacing it soon, and ABSOLUTELY make sure you enable SMS protect on your cell phone of choice with Texting plan, it makes updating your account, changing passwords and removing dead authenticators absolutely hassle free. Word up.

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Sigh.

So, there’s this thing. It’s a staff, and its freaking legendary.

You can get it by running the Firelands raid for, well, for like forever. And then a little after that.

You may or may not know that I’ve been running Firelands every single week on Monday night with battletag friends, proving I have an understanding of the meaning of work.

If you don’t know, the formula for work is the amount of force you exert times the distance the thingie traveled in the direction you wanted it to go.

In other words, if you use all your strength to push on a rock all day long and it doesn’t move so much as a single inch, you didn’t do any work.

By that definition, I don’t get any work done at my job. Ever. That fucking boulder goes nowhere.

I’m getting lots of work done in Firelands, though. Every week we move that rock just a little closer to my goal.

I honestly believe that I will be done with the legendary quest, oh, about a week before the pre-expansion patch comes out. We’ll see if I did the math right.

You’d think I know Firelands pretty well, right? I mean, we kill all the bosses in Firelands-10 heroic mode every single week. Sometimes with six or seven of us, sometimes with just two or three.

You’d think, right?

Right?

Last night we were doing a special style of Firelands, we ran it in normal mode and focused on getting Elynea through the Delegation questline for the Legendary, gathering and charging the fragments from the first four bosses.

We completed the collecting and killed the special bonus boss, but it might have taken us a few tries to get all the stones we needed from Alysrazor.

Because reasons.

See, here’s the thing. No, really, it wasn’t my fault, I can explain everything.

The first time we tried Alysrazor, we were all set and Elynea was raring to get her pyreshell fragments from the eggs. It seemed like the easiest boss of all to complete, because all you needed to do was grab three of those fragments, and one dropped from each egg. There are two eggs per phase, so logically we only have to do two phases of fragment gathering before setting the thing and letting it eat an explosion.

Well, Elynea might have been a tad bit too eager. Maybe. Last boss and all, you know how it is. She was very… eggcited.

There she is, standing in the middle of the area waiting for eggs to fall from the sky, and when they do she is RIGHT on top of them, reaching for the fragments.

Couldn’t actually gather the fragments, though, because there were these damn hatchlings trying to eat her, chasing her all over the place, and she couldn’t lose aggro and my was she getting frustrated at those darn tanks.

Get some aggro tanks, what the heck, amiright?

Except, ha, the hatchlings focus on whoever is the first person they see/closest person to them. They fixate on you, and think you’re the mama. Or want to eat you, whatever.

By the time we realized Elynea was spending her time running around the whole area being pecked to death by big bird, the fragments despawned.

No problem, carry on, right?

Second pass with the hatchlings, everyone but the tanks stand well the heck away from the center, and she gets her two fragments. Only one more to go!

Third pass with the hatchlings, she gets her last fragment, gets all set, waits for Alysrazor to explode… and waits… and waits… and we took too long.

Bird never did blow up.

Apparently, you gotta close escrow on the fire crow before the end of the third cycle.

Too bad we found that out after she combined the fragments and dropped it. So we have to do the whole thing over including gathering three more fragments. And wipe, too, since there ain’t no enrage timer on the big bad bird.

We die creatively (and in some cases exhaustingly), run back in, and there we are waiting to get things started.

As I’m standing there, I’m exploring my surroundings as a bear is wont to do. I’m just lookin’ around at the ground.

Yearningbear

I see something shiny there on the ground. It’s so pretty. So shiny.

I move closer to get a better look.

Sitting there on the ground is one of Alysrazor’s feathers!

Soshiny

I mean, look at it. It looks really cool, right?

I look at it, and my thought process goes exactly like this.

“Wow, that’s a molten feather.”
“It’s still sitting there on the ground.”
“It must not have despawned after the wipe.”
“I wonder if I can pick it up and run fast while we wait to start the fight.”
“I like to run fast.”
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
CLICK.

So, just so you know, and I’m saying this in the interests of performing a valuable public service, clicking on that feather is how you start the fight after a wipe.

Go figure, huh?

Who woulda thunk it.

Yeah… I suppose that does make more sense than that a molten feather just happened to still be lying there after the wipe.

Since some people (like Elynea) didn’t happen to be in range when I clicked on that pretty little feather, maybe we might possibly had to run like hell from Alysrazor all the way to the exit of the raid and run out.

Bonus points, who here knew the hatchlings would chase you all the way to the exit portal? Pretty cool, huh?

Yeah.

At least Elynea completed her Delegation quest and can now begin the glory that is gathering all those damn embers.

See, doesn’t that story just make you want to join me every Monday night at 7 central time? Don’t you just wanna LEAP into action?

Oh yeah, in a heartbeat. Sign my butt RIGHT up.

Grats, Elynea! You succeeded despite my very best efforts.

Comments 9 Comments »

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last Saturday night, and as of this writing the vast majority of media reviews I’ve seen, and the gushing of all my friends, seem to indicate that everyone else loved the movie as a fantastic, wonderful thing, best Marvel movie ever.

One thing I’ve heard said about it is that this is the ‘Star Wars’ for our generation.

I didn’t have quite that same reaction, and I’d like to talk about it because I actually know and enjoyed the source material, and I’m curious how that is tainting my viewing of the movie.

This is a discussion where I’m going to totally geek out. I loved the source comics for Guardians of the Galaxy, the Annihilation storyline.

Weaving that into normal Marvel comics would be hard enough, and for what they’re doing, I think they did a great job. Mostly.

I really liked the movie, don’t get me wrong. For an origin tale with tons of necessary exposition to introduce you to the characters, settings and motivations it did very well.

They have already announced there WILL be a Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and I’m glad of that. I think the second movie, dealing with established characters and setting, will have even more room to go nuts and have fun.

But still. No movie is perfect, and since this is based on some extremely good comics that I love, it left me wondering why they made some of the changes they did, because they definitely detracted from my enjoyment of parts of the movie.

SPOILERS below this point.

It should come as no surprise that every character was modified from the comics to fit as part of their new team movie.

Drax deviated the most from the comics, and not necessarily for the better, but Drax as a character in the comics had an insanely complex and in some cases WTF backstory with Thanos. I can certainly appreciate someone looking at all that and saying, “Oh, hell no.”

Every character was changed. The appearances were the same, the style, but even Peter Quill was very different.
That’s okay, the movie was strong and it came off very well.

If there was one thing I carried with me leaving the theater that left a bitter aftertaste, it would be the treatment of Gamora in the film. And such a small thing, but even after a couple days I’m still irritated.

The universe of the movie is organic and funky.

It’s the Jurassic Park writ large, life will find a way, and it has, packed in every nook and cranny that could support it.

Space is filled with ancient planets that have gone through ups and downs, and in our modern age younger races stand on the shoulders of giants, in many cases scavenging a living by picking the bones left by the decaying elder races.

And I mean that literally.

You don’t get a sense of light years separating each world from the other.

It’s more immediate, everything is in your face, the teeming billions of the galaxy are in an inner-city ghetto of world tenements, each stacked right next door to it’s neighbor. Close enough to pop over for a cup of sugar or to loot some artifacts from a temple and crack your skulls.

That’s a good thing. Organic is good.

Making the universe feel funky? Outstanding.

Totally stands out, anything can happen here, and probably is in some far off corner.

And there ain’t a thing you as a person in this universe can do about it. Chaos is happening, the universe is too big, too unknown, too unknowable, too wild, and all you can do in this galactic shitstorm is the best you can to get by in your little part of it.

You can’t CONTROL it. There’s too much shit you can’t comprehend.

Seeing how all of these characters and others deal with this kind of universe is so much fun, offers so much potential.

So, Gamora.

In the Annihilation comics, Gamora is the female Riddick.

Think about that. Picture in your mind everything you know about Riddick as played by Vin Diesel. That is Gamora.

Except if anything, Gamora is much scarier, because she actively seeks out excuses to kill people. If she isn’t getting paid for it, she’ll kill you for fun, or because she’s bored, or so people won’t forget her reputation. Cold, ruthless, absolutely fearless.

In a universe filled with scary things possessing cosmic power, she is a cause for terror if you’re on her list.

Overall, they did a very nice job with her in the story.

My problem comes from the scene in the Kyln prison.

Remember, spoilers. PLEASE don’t read if you haven’t watched the movie yet.

There comes a point where Peter Quill, Rocket and Groot are sent as fresh prisoners to the Kyln prison. They are loosely allied with each other, and Gamora is with them but an outsider.

Gamora was just there to take the macguffin from Peter, and hasn’t had a special moment with anyone yet.

On the shuttle to the Kyln, Rocket makes it clear he has escaped from 22 previous prisons, and sees absolutely no reason why the Kyln should be any different. You want to break free of the Kyln, he’s gonna be the raccoon with the plan. Stick with him, he’s going places.

Once in the prison, Peter Quill has a scene where someone BIG makes it clear he’s about to make Peter his bitch. Rocket and Groot step in and face everyone down, it’s pretty cool.

Gamora has a scene where it’s shown how universally hated and feared she is, and Rocket points out she really does have a galaxy-wide rep as a badass assassin. It’s pretty clear the other prisoners intend to kill her first chance they get.

Peter Quill is being set up in the story as a bumbling young Han Solo. This is a good thing, he’s a rogue, he’s charming, but he’s inexperienced and relies on luck and improvisation rather than experience and planning. And he’s got a gooey center, it’s cute.

Cool so far?

So here is the problem.

Late at night, Gamora is shown being dragged through corridors of the prison by a small group of like 3 or 4 dirtbags, who clearly plan on killing her in some dark corner.

They drag her past a crowded room of sleeping prisoners, except for Peter who is wide awake and having a tender moment. He sees the fair damsel being dragged off to her doom, and decides to leap to the rescue.

Gamora is set up as a helpless damsel in distress for Peter Quill to save.

There is no explanation for how two or three pissant dirtbags managed to overpower the deadliest assassin in the known galaxy. One moment you see her stoic in her cell watching the door, the next she’s being manhandled down a corridor by a small group of thugs from central casting.

Now, don’t get all ‘oh shit another feminist for Gods sake shut up’ with me. Hear me out.

Picture in your head for one moment Vin Diesel as Riddick being hauled through that corridor by three or four meatsacks.

It’s okay, right? It’s like one of Riddick’s defining things. He gets taken by a group of scum, and he’s all right with it because he knows that he can kill ALL of them whenever he feels like it. You may think he needs rescuing, but the truth is he doesn’t. If he’s in chains heading somewhere, it’s because they’re saving him the effort of stealing a ship and flying it there himself.

Sure it may look dire, right up until the point that he shows everyone he’s just messing with them, before freeing himself and killing everyone in incredibly awesome ways.

That should have been Gamora. That is who the character in the comics is. Even if she was overpowered and hauled off by a crowd of dirtbags, it would have been part of a larger plan. Or because she’s bored and looking forward to turning the tables on them and seeing the look in their eyes when arrogance turns to fear.

As a fan of the comics, when I realized she really was overpowered and being dragged to her death, it was a big ‘bullshit’ moment.

The actual rescue and Peter Quill and Rocket and Drax stuff was good, don’t get me wrong. They used it to set the stage for Drax becoming a part of the group, and as they did it I can see it being fine with most people, but it felt totally unnecessary.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean, I’ll lay out an alternative way to reach the same result without using the damsel in distress bit.

Exact same everything as before, and we leave Gamora alone in her cell, Peter Quill and the others in their room with all the other male prisoners, and Drax having seen Gamora and clearly interested in watching her.

But here is where we deviate.

Gamora has no friends, she’s been dragged into prison with these idiots, and she was close enough to the rest of them in the shuttle to hear Rocket talk about his previous escapes and his intention to break out.

She is in the same group, and sees Peter Quill get told what a pretty little boy he is, and she sees Rocket and Groot face the other prisoners down.

Gamora knows people well enough to know that a scared prisoner isn’t going to fight you face to face if they can stab you in the back later when you’re asleep. She also knows people hold grudges, especially prisoners faced down in front of their peers. Everyone has to sleep sometime. And she could use an ally to get her off the Kyln.

She has reason to want to get into Rocket’s good graces, and she has seen Rocket is soft on Peter Quill.

Gamora knows something is coming. She watches and bides her time.
She has no problems with the other inmates. Someone may mouth off, but she tears him a new asshole, and everyone else backs off, reminded how she got her reputation. You don’t fuck with Gamora or you’ll get bloody and sore.

Late at night, as everyone is asleep, Peter Quill is grabbed by big ugly and a few cronies, who gag him and drag him out of the sleeping chamber. Sure as hell they’re pissed off for being embarassed in front of everyone earlier, and it’s time to make someone pay. But they’re afraid of Rocket and Groot, so they’re gonna take it out on Peter Quill. Fresh meat needs to be taught a lesson, they need to get some face back.

This is what Gamora was waiting for.

Gamora shadows Peter Quill and his captors, and when they’re getting all ugly and Peter is getting panicked, she leaps in and takes them down in Riddick-style moves that reinforce the core concept – you don’t fuck with Gamora.

Rocket shows up attracted by the noise, sees Gamora save Peter, now she’s got in ‘an’ with Rocket. Now she can get into their group and take part in their escape plan.

In this scenario, Gamora stays true to her character and reinforces being a total badass. She cynically analyzed the situation, determined a course of action that would get her what she wanted, and took action. No sentiment, just the appearance of sentiment.

There is still plenty of opportunity for character growth later, when she explains to everyone else why she betrayed Thanos and Ronin, and to have her steel heart warmed a teeny, tiny bit when the others put their lives on the line for what she believes in, and try and save Xandar. Which is what happens in the actual movie.

So what about Drax?

The scene introducing Drax was decent, but it would have worked just as well if he was stalking Gamora, followed her, was in time to witness her saving Peter, and then overheard her tell Rocket and Peter that she was betraying Ronin and was trying to get to something that Ronin wanted, and stop him from destroying the planet Xandar.

This puts Drax in the same spot as in the movie, but with more cunning and patience to achieve his true goal, killing Thanos (adjusted for the movie to include Ronin and anyone associated with Ronin).

Give Drax just the slightest amount of cunning to think through a plan, and he could have held off on revealing himself at all until the rest of the group started their prison break. Then he could use it to his advantage… kill Gamora, steal the macguffin, or choose a moment to save the team and earn his way into their escape.

Why help? Because this group was already pissing off Ronin and they were sure to be chased by Ronin if they fled. Also, she wants to save the innocents on Xandar which would resonate with Drax.

This gives the movie a chance to really focus on Drax unexpectedly stepping in and being a badass, saving the mission. You get a chance to see he’s valuable, not just a kill crazy psycho on an uncertain leash.

My only problem with the whole film is that one moment when the story took Gamora in that tired direction and it didn’t need to.

Putting Gamora in the position of a damsel in distress needing to be rescued cheapens her character, and is totally unnecessary to the story.

She’s not the damsel, she’s the ruthless killer. She isn’t a soft center needing to grow a hard shell, she’s hard all the way through, cynical and brutal, and her character development is that she is finally, just the smallest bit, by the barest fraction learning to feel something for someone other than herself, and putting herself out there for someone else is the risky move.

That one moment really disappointed me.

I really liked the movie overall, but because of how well the rest of the film played that one moment stood out for me even more.

Did you see the film without reading the comics? What was your take on it?

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Since I’m coming very late to the party on Borderlands 2, there are a few things friends on Twitter have shared with me that have made the game faster to get into, and helped me feel that I was on top of my options.

Buying the ultimate version of the game

First, there is a lot of downloadable content for the game. It’s been out for a few years now, so even though it feels fresh and current tech, there are two additional character classes, several adventures, and two sets of level cap boosts out there.

All of those can be purchased individually, or you can get them in the Game of the Year edition.

I got into Borderlands 2 by getting a deal through Slickdeals. It got me a digital Steam bundle through Newegg that had the Borderlands 1 GOTY edition, and also Borderlands 2. STOCK Borderlands 2.

The deal was $8.50. Not so bad, right?

Except I started Borderlands 2 first, got totally hooked, and then got sticker shock on all those DLC packs. Good lord.

After playing a bit, everyone told me how cool Tiny Tina’s Dragon Keep was as a content expansion, and I wanted to try out Gaige the Mechromancer as a class (the infamous ‘Girlfriend mode’ class dear lord save us from stupid people), and all that stuff starts adding up to real money fast if you were to buy it one piece at a time on Steam.

What to do?

Well, I was helped in my decision making by my son, who loves playing Terraria, Portal 2 and some other games on Steam.

My Steam account.

I got home from work jonesing for a BL2 fix, and I can’t play because my son is having fun on Steam already.

I clearly did not think this through properly.

Ah! But wait!

I found a good deal once, maybe if I camp Slickdeals…

And score.

There was a deal to buy Borderlands 2 Game of the Year edition from Gamefly for $14.99, Steam Code.

Boom! There it is. The game and all the DLC, $15 bucks, all in.

And so a new Steam account was born so I could play my game and my son has inherited… everything else.

On the positive, this means I can keep an eye out for a cheap Portal 2 deal on Steam, and my son and I can play that coop. I hear it’s brilliant, and my son has watched many videos on Youtube of Portal 2 coop.

So, if you want the game yourself and don’t have it yet… I guess the moral of the long ass story is, there be cheap deals out there, be patient, and don’t rush out there and buy the core game like I did without checking things out first.

Shift Codes and Golden Keys

Thanks be to several of my friends on Twitter for letting me know there is a program from the game developer called Shift. From inside the game, under extras, you can register an email address for spam. In exchange, you get access to entering in ‘Shift’ codes for Golden Keys or other things like new heads, skins or weapons.

You can get these codes through following Borderlands on social media, and since the game has been out for a while, there are a lot of codes already out there. The website Orcz has a detailed, updated list of all Shift codes, and by using them all yesterday on my new GOTY account I ended up with over 210 golden keys and some free weapons and character skins.

Golden Keys can be used to open a bonus chest in the city of Sanctuary for random epic loot, so this is a very cool thing. Free epics!

In the game, the loot you get is based on your player level, so you can use a key anytime for level-appropriate goodies. The sotck game max level is like 50, and the two expansions brought that up to, what, 72 or something like that?

With 210 keys, you don’t have to feel like you have to wait until max level to use them. Also, you get epics, not legendaries. So since the REAL goodies are the super ultra rare Legendary drops, it’s not like using keys means loot doesn’t matter. Oh no, not at all. it just means you can play around with some freaky weapons and upgrades while still on the hunt for that ‘next big thang’.

It’s an RPG!

And finally, there are cool skill trees for every class, and yes, if you look on the internet, there ARE places with skill tree calculators and with suggested builds depending on what you’re wanting to play.

So you can have the fun of planning your character out and trying to decide what you want to put points into as you level with a full range of online options and support.

It’s got a good story!

I’ve always liked first person shooter games, but there is a limit to how long I can stay interested in the same maps, weapons and character skins. Unreal Tournament was a lot of fun, but there is just so much.

Adding in a massive, interesting and humorous story to a FPS is a big bonus. We’re not talking Halo here, where the story kind of sucked and levels were repetitious but the PvP was insanely awesome. This is a great story.

I want my own Butt Stallion. And if something happens to Butt Stallion later in the game, don’t spoil it for me.

Adding in RPG style leveling, random quality loot drops, and branching skill trees? Amazing! Letting me EASILY play with friends, expanding and contracting difficulty on the fly?

Now THAT is legendary.

All this and no monthly fee. No free content updates, but you know, I can live with that. I’m not marrying the game or devoting my entire life to it, I’m just playing it for a while.

Oh, and if you take into account the cost, why, for the price of one month of World of Warcraft, I got Borderlands 2.

What are the chances this $15 purchase will last me more than a month? Anyone?

The answer is….

Very high. Giggity.

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