The Lady of Caed Nua

The fairest lady of all.

Pillars of Eternity is an exceptionally enjoyable but devilishly complex CRPG that offers a satisfying, engaging, and (often times) harrowing adventure. It also allows me to have a stronghold that I can invest in to provide increasingly diverse bonuses and amenities. Which is the kind of freedom I haven’t had since the rather excellent PS1 JRPG Suikoden. Also, according to local law, as a landowner, I have the right to freely execute or imprison people without requiring any actual legal intervention. I don’t remember being able to do that in Suikoden…

That said, what did you think was going to happen when you offered me Orlan slaves?

Firstly, I don’t support slavery. Secondly, I’m an Orlan. Thirdly, I may have reconsidered my decision had I known that your corpse would be hanging from a beam near the Eastern Barbican. But there’s no sense in crying over spilt milk. Or broken necks. They’re more or less the same thing. I’ll put it down to the barbarism Barbarians are known for.

One thing I was concerned with when starting this Pillars of Eternity campaign was whether I would ever see my loved ones again. Or if I could effectively build a character. I’ve had a taste of the mechanics present in Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights to name drop but a few but they’re all based on various Dungeons & Dragons rules. These aren’t Dungeons & Dragons rules. Also, real time with pause combat. I have no idea how to micromanage that. But I feel as though the Barbarian was a good choice. Great at dealing damage, reasonably mobile in combat, has a few active abilities, and is adept at dealing with multiple enemies at once. She’s also (rather surprisingly) got more health than both the Fighter and the Monk in the party. So she’s great at getting punched in the face, too.

It’s a very inviting cave, isn’t it?

The other thing I was concerned about was the level of difficulty. I do enjoy a challenge, but I’ve rarely experienced real time with pause combat and when I have it was with more restrictive rules. However, so far, I’ve greatly been enjoying the pacing and the combat, and I’ve only really found one battle that I haven’t been able to win. Not yet at least. But, to be fair, the opposing force does have a literal army, and I have six party members. I could also probably do with more troops which are likely to come from The White March expansion pack.

Speaking of, The White March is pretty great.

I’m quite pleased that it has been integrated into the main story from as early as Act II and that it doesn’t offer wildly overpowered rewards. I was expecting that I’d need to finish the main campaign before I could access the content, but, to my surprise, it turns out you can be clubbed by frost ogres from relatively early in the campaign.

As always, I intend to write a more comprehensive less exuberant post after I’ve completed the main campaign. But I thought I’d write something that shows how much I’m enjoying the multi-layered complexities of the dialogue present in Pillars of Eternity, much as I would enjoy a multi-layered chocolate gateaux garnished with chocolate curls. Sadly there are no chocolate curls in Pillars of Eternity. We do have cocoa beans, though. So maybe there will be a quest delivered to my stronghold wherein I must discover the secrets of chocolate. That would definitely take priority over quite literally every other quest I’ve got. Even the one about defending my claim to Caed Nua. Who needs Caed Nua when you have chocolate?

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Duriel – 2016 – Ink – click for full view on site!

“Looking for Baal?” -Duriel

Nope. Not me. That’s that other Barbarian that looks exactly like me, is also currently in Lut Gholein, and is on the same quest to stop the Dark Wanderer. I’ll go get him for you. Duriel has always been one of those iconic Diablo II bosses, what with his capability to reduce anyone into a fine mulch with those devastating attacks of his. However, to be fair, I’ve never had too much problem with him as either a Barbarian or a Paladin. Even as a Sorceress I’m mostly fine if I don’t stray too far from him. As his charge attack seems to be the most damaging in his arsenal.

This also counts as the last post of March, which, as the most recent post stated, was incredibly unlikely but it’s here all the same. That said, this was a rather spontaneous piece that almost came together in less than a twenty four hour timespan. It’s also something that I tried a completely different technique with. So, nothing really went according to any sort of plan.

However, there is a good reason why I decided to use this technique and not my usual one.

First and foremost to retain as much detail in the piece as I could. I find that when I blanket shadows and use flat shading I tend to lose detail, or definition, or form as I continue to layer the ink onto the piece. This approach (nearly) replicates a pencil hatching technique. It was also done entirely with my 0.1 Copic Multiliner. So, to say my hand hurt afterwards was an understatement. But I did choose that particular pen specifically. I find that, while useful, the 0.3 is a little too large for fine details, hence the acquisition of the 0.1 in the first place. I’ve never attempted to do an entire piece with just that pen before. Which was reason enough to give it a shot with this particular piece.
I’m quite happy with the result, though. There are certain areas which could be improved if I approach another piece with the same technique. But, for the most part, I can’t argue with the results (nor would I want to as he’s liable to maim me if I argue with him). There are a lot of little details and deviations from my standard technique(s), too. While, yes, it’s an entirely new technique- it still inherits a lot from other techniques/styles I have. As they all do. Mostly because the pencil sketching technique/style is the first part of every piece.

That particular element rarely changes besides switching from a B to a HB or vice versa. Which, in itself, doesn’t really make too much of a difference but does help with heavier papers. Especially when it’s going to be inked later, and lighter pencil lines are going to be better swallowed up by the ink. Which hopefully illustrates (pun intended) the process behind each piece.

There are several variables which are constantly changing to achieve the desired result.

Which is one of the reasons I enjoy experimenting as much as I do. It’s quite interesting seeing how a piece can change dramatically, in either presentation, or composition, when you change a few elements around. As we can see with this piece. The hatching style definitely brings more detail to the table and makes it a more interesting style, which doesn’t sacrifice as much detail or depth to achieve it. It’s also interesting to see how the level of detail heightens dramatically by using a much finer pen. While an obvious change- it’s one that you don’t really understand the effects of until you see it.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Diablo II, Duriel, the Horadric Cube, Barbarians, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard Entertainment.

Basking in Torment

Wherein I explore the vast number of changes that have occurred in my absence.

In an unusual turn of events I’ve decided to explore these on my first Crusader. She’s built around two handed weapons, a shield, fire damage skills, and heavy defensive capabilities. This is unusual because I’m always looking to improve my first Barbarian who was (until now) the highest DPS character I had. However, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to improve his defensive capabilities in equal measure to his offensive capabilities. Whereas the Crusader is a beast.

Or (more accurately) has recently become a beast.

Fairly new and inexperienced but given the best start with the early acquisition of a Maximus that rolled fairly decently. Most important for her was the Fire Skills Deal 18% Extra Damage affix (which I believe is a guaranteed roll on this sword). This coupled with the overflowing amount of reasonably decent +Strength equipment (acquired between Torment II-III by the Barbarian) gave her enough to easily push into Torment herself. However, her limited success with making any progress through Torment led to her being left in Torment II. In the past week she has shattered almost every expectation I had by pushing herself into Torment IV (with ease) and Torment V (at a push).

While originally coming close to the Barbarian with 1.037m DPS she’s now completely surpassed him with 1.362m DPS (and rising). This is due to several good rolls on drops, reaching Paragon 160+, and upgrading all of her gems with the ridiculous showers of gold I’ve been getting recently.

"The crusade marches on!"

“The crusade marches on!”

These are mostly due to the (first) visit to The Vault along with two Gilded Barons that dropped an insanely high amount of gold (20m+) each. I could switch out one of her existing gems and give her the Boon of the Hoarder (of which I have two) to generate as much money as I need. That said, it’s not a priority as I literally have nothing to do with said money. Other characters on my account have all been boosted in several areas with the recent influx of Paragon levels. While I’m nowhere near the heights of Paragon 1000 (and/or above)- it’s an improvement.

The repetition has begun to set in, though.

Which is really why I’m not already at Paragon 1000 (or above). While I’m more comfortable with the changes, developments, and general improvements they’re making… it’s still not the Diablo III I think I wanted. It’s a good title overall. If it’s what you’re looking for. However, for me, there’s still too much repetition in the later stages. Upgrading is a slog and (for the Crusader’s weapon) there are few ways to make it not so. In Diablo II there were options to gamble for specific weapon types. Swords, maces, mauls, axes, and so on. Which is a change I’d love to see introduced for Kadala in Diablo III. Right now you’re gambling on every single class of weapon and possible drop every time you spend some Blood Shards.

It has been fun. To say anything otherwise would be a lie. I’ve also got more than enough hours out of it to more than cover the amount I spent on both the base game and the expansion- so anything extra is just a bonus now. Still, this is the pattern I’ve developed with Diablo III. Play for a couple of weeks and come back in six months.

Maybe I’ll feel differently in the future. But, for now, I’m enjoying what I’ve got in the characters I’ve invested time in.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie