Total Words: 502,936
Estimated Reading: 1 days, 9 hours

Blog Posts57

  • 2w, 3d
    Writer State

    Around 5k words done for the next Journeys, I'm about halfway done I think. I just realize that I'm pretty bad at writing ponies being leisurely and happy. There has to be some kind of action going on, or a grim situation apparently.

    8 comments · 148 views
  • 3w, 6d
    Bloodborne First Run Complete

    And so I finish my first playthrough.

    Character: Noble Scion (High Skill and Bloodtinge/low health and endurance)

    Final level: 66

    Final weapons: Threaded Cane +9 (Yes, I did use the same weapon from start to finish) Repeater Pistol +9

    Thanks to a combination of inept exploring and overenthusiastic progression, I missed a ton of content. It was so bad that I even failed to get my weapons to maximum upgrades. I didn't do the Chalice Dungeons save the first one because I saw that they were optional and I just sort of put them in the back of my mind only to finish the game without going through them. I am all too happy to get in a more completionist playthrough. With some of my hype curbed though, I can at least get some writing done. I'm also now waiting for a "This is how you DON'T play Bloodborne" starring DSP on youtube.

    Some lows: I ran into the item storage bug, which served to frustrate me for nearly half my playthrough. Normally, the hunter can carry up to twenty potions and twenty bullets. Any excess found is transferred to the storage. Upon death or returning to the hub, potions and bullets are transferred from the storage to your inventory to keep you topped off with supplies. With the bug, I lost access to my stored potions and bullets which meant that every time I died, I had to stop trying to progress to farm supplies. I should consider myself lucky I didn't run into the Lunarium Key bug which would have prevented any progression. I'm hoping some fixes are made soon.

    Favorite bosses (so far): Shadows of Yarnham just for their simple and awesome entrance. Mergo's Wet Nurse for being a fusion of a Cthulhu crow and a ninja.

    Hated boss: Micolash, Host of the Nightmare

    Favorite Area: Yahar'gul, Hidden Village

    Hated Area: Nightmare of Mensis


    4 comments · 100 views
  • 4w, 3d
    Bloodborne

    Don't expect any updates any time soon. I just got my hands on this game.

    And this game...this fucking game...

    I've played all three Souls games. I've done Pure Black World Tendency, Company of Champions, SL1 runs and stuff. I thought it'd give me some advantage. Damn, I was wrong. This sadistic game is the step up I was looking for in the Souls series. I've faced three bosses so far, and I haven't found one that's remotely near "too easy", but that may yet be because some of the new mechanics need some getting used too. And you know what's even better? There's no fog wall around the boss area the first time you get there. You could just be exploring some area and then a cut scene will trigger for a boss fight. You turn around and, surprise, there's a fog wall blocking your escape.

    Aggression - Do you have that habit of rolling away to a safe distance to use some healing item when the boss shaves off half your life with one swing? Yeah, this game's gonna wean you off that habit. The potions are limited, don't heal much, don't replenish upon death, and get more and more expensive as you progress. You'll be relying on the new game mechanic where you restore some of the life you just lost if you hit the enemy back, but only at a limited time window. So if you get smacked hard, your thoughts will be to hit back and fast. There's no shield so you have to jump into the fray to get to the enemy's flanks and back. Even the parry involves attacking the enemy during its swing, not waiting for the attack to get to you.

    Design and Atmosphere - loving the gothic motif. The city streets are dark and horrific, but now I'm in a foreboding wood that seems to have grown out of the ruins of something. It's awesome to see your character get more and more splattered with blood as you kill more monsters. It's also nice that you get to see the face you designed and not worry about turning into a hideous, balding, green zombie whenever you're killed.

    So far, the most frustrating feature is the slightly long loading times combined with the very bland loading screen.

    11 comments · 133 views
  • 5w, 6d
    A Soldier's Memoirs Saga: Everfree

    Warning: The following is a review of a story and contains some spoilers.










    Well, it's been a while since I've done one of these. Everfree, where Dusk Quill puts his gun-slinging ponies through some horror elements. Everfree features Fleethoof tagging along with a different group as he explores the mansion from Resident Evil one. This is apparently based on another fanwork called "Story of the Blanks", but I haven't heard of that one. Certainly a departure from his previous works. Given that he was setting up the changelings in the previous story, I thought that this would be the continuation of that conflict.

    Plot

    Pretty straightforward. Squad of soldiers finds creepy mansion during a mission, and get lost inside it, discover some dark stuff, then escape. The story breaks its protagonists up and it's their separate PoVs that really extend the fic. The actual sequence of events wouldn't be that long. Truth be told, we could have done without some of the PoV shifts. Echo's seemed to go nowhere until the rest of her team found her.

    Characters - I've already commented on Fleethoof and Midnight Dasher from previous installments. The meat of this story's character aspect would be the rest of Ghost Team; the team Dasher belongs to.

    Now, I'm no expert in horror, but I maintain that any horror story should establish the reader on the side of the protagonists. It's only when the reader cares for these potential victims that tension can be created. I'm not horrified at all if the story features a gang of douchebags being murdered while I cheer for the monster. Everfree succeeds in putting me in the right side of the horror equation. When the first of them gets taken out, I did feel a genuine concern for the rest of them.

    The thing about Ghost Team, however, was that they needed an extra story of their own, or at least a couple more chapters dedicated to them before they get put through the grinder. The depth is lacking so to speak. Midnight Dasher essentially carries Ghost Team in terms of garnering sympathy. I'm not concerned for these ponies due to their individual characterization. I care for them because they're Dasher's comrades, and I don't want her too broken up. The story tries to compensate by adding characterizations posthumously; they find one of their comrades dead and the discoverer goes "he/she was so and so" or "he/she was about to get married" (which is a death sentence in horror and war fics by the way), but that's not enough.

    The bad guys...they're mindless beasts for the most part. There's a few sections dedicated to back story, and you have your creepy village in the creepy wood. They do the job, and they've got some interesting variety, although with some weird quirks. There's an invisible chameleon thing that can only be seen through its reflections. Of course, for some reason, it chose to inhabit the part of the mansion that's full of mirrors. Maybe it was just really vain.

    Setting

    Right let's get these out of the way...

    Ghost Team had rifles and pistols with them in the mansion, too bad nopony GOT A SHOTGUN.

    Midnight Dasher was almost a Midnight Sandwich, good thing she's THE MASTER OF UNLOCKING.

    Setting's pretty solid. Atmosphere's got the creepy vibe going strong. With each installment, Dusk Quill adds more and more to his growing world. It's nice to see that he's got some interest in the magical/supernatural aspect of Equestria as he does the technological/industrial one and he blends both aspects well in the Everfree Mansion. I'm a sucker for the creepy village in the middle of nowhere angle too.

    Then, there's the time magic thing that happens. I'm not that much of a fan of time travel as it's so easy to vastly over-complicate any story with it. It's reined in for this story, however, so it creates more intrigue than headaches. The use of still time helps atmosphere too.

    Point of View

    This is where the story gets a bit wonky. Point of view doesn't just shift as the narrative checks on the separated members of the team, it moves from the mind of one pony to another within the same scene.

    Midnight turned back to her companion. “So what’s our plan then?”

            “I say we barricade the doors, hunker down here, and wait for the sun to come up. The pilots will worry when they don’t see our flares and start sweeps over this part of the forest more frequently. Then we get their attention and get the hell out of here. If we’re lucky, maybe the sunlight will even make those zombies melt or something.”

           It was a sound plan. She couldn’t find any flaws with it. But despite the logic he made, Midnight felt compelled to disagree with him. Fleethoof was just looking out for their survival, and she had to help her teammates if they were still out there. But going back outside would be a death sentence, and she knew it.

            “I say we check the rest of this place out,” she said in rebuttal, doing her best to ignore the look Fleethoof gave her. “If we’re gonna be here for a while, we’re gonna need some supplies. Maybe some of the others have found their way here too, and we can regroup with them.”

            Fleethoof stared at the bat pony like she was mentally ill for a while. Did she really want to keep investigating the creepy, potentially haunted mansion in the middle of a killer forest with cursed ponies out for their blood?

    Scene starts with Dasher's PoV, but it shifts to Fleethoof's, later shifting to Dasher's again. This is a frequent occurrence in the story. The narration doesn't seem to care who's PoV we're supposed to be following for the scene and simply dips into their minds whenever it feels like it.

    Style

    It's in Everfree that some of Dusk Quill's habits really start to become noticeable. The ponies of this saga may be grim and armed, but that doesn't mean they don't believe in giving, and boy do they give. In fact, they turn a great many actions into gifts, resulting in extra words slowly, but surely, piling on.

    The officer gave a terse nod, and glanced at a roster.

    Starlight gave a sharp salute, then turned on his hooves and marched back out of the tent.

       “It’s Fleethoof, not Fleety…” Fleethoof gave a choking gasp for breath. “Midnight… you’re suffocating me…”

    Fleethoof gave a shake of his head and a roll of his eyes.

    Starlight gave a brisk nod.

    Nodded tersely. Sharply saluted, then turned on his hooves, and marched back out of the tent. Gasped for breath. Shook his head and rolled his eyes. Nodded briskly. All shorter and retain all the meaning. Being wordy isn't always bad, so long as each word actually contributes something.

    And then there's this.

    Across the table, Midnight Dasher was snickering silently to herself, her shoulders rising and falling with the subtle laughter.

    Across the table, Midnight Dasher's shoulders rose and fell with subtle laughter.

    Or

    Across the table, Midnight Dasher snickered silently.

    Midnight practically fell out of her seat, she had been taken by such surprise.

    Don't need bolded part.

    His speech actually did make Eclipse feel a little better. With the faintest trace of a smile, she nodded and replied, “Okay.”

    Don't need bolded part.

    Fleethoof put a bullet through a pony’s skull and felt his heart sink when he saw the slide of his gun lock back. He was completely out of bullets.

    Don't need bolded part.

    Action and context are often enough to get a point across. It's gotten to the point that I suspect Dusk Quill doesn't trust such things to convey the information he wants to so he makes sure that they carry an extra descriptive sentence with them to help the reader out. The result is that the narrative says something, then immediately says it again to make sure you get it. You could probably slash a tenth of this story by removing all these doublings.

    The self-reactions

    I don't know why, but the ponies in this story seem to be easily amused by their own actions. They smirk at their own successes, laugh out loud because they found a key, and chuckle over their own sarcasm. It's a bit bizzare, kind of like providing a laugh track for your own jokes.

    Shipping

    Yeah, this gets its own section. I like Fleethoof and Midnight Dasher as a couple, but the shipping between them is relentless. She greets him with a tight hug, snuggles into him while they're waiting, calls him "Fleety", snaps a picture of him likely for a keepsake, nuzzles him, and keeps up banter even though he's being tight-lipped. All while in the middle of a search-and-rescue mission. Meanwhile, her teammates, apparently all morbidly polite despite a few ribbings, never call out this behavior while they're supposed to be there on a professional capacity. I'm no soldier, but having a loud conversation and snapping pictures doesn't seem to be a good idea while combing through a forest known for being dangerous.

    Midnight Dasher is so determined for some slap and tickle, that she keeps it up despite witnessing horrific traumatizing events, going so far as to set up a date for the Grand Galloping Gala barely an hour or so after watching several friends get slaughtered, and watching one of them rise up as an undead abomination. That is one hell of an iron will and an inferno of a libido. It seems nothing short of the end of the world will stop Dasher from getting herself some fine Fleethoof. Perhaps not even then.

    Overall

    I liked Everfree despite it being the oddity in the series so far. I like the action bits, the set up, the atmosphere, and the straightforward execution without too much artsy stuff. As is often the case as a series extends, the habits become more noticeable, sometimes even grating. Dusk Quill writes well, but he needs to trust his readers some more. We don't need extra sentences to know what just happened, and we don't need that many shipping scenes to establish that these two have chemistry. I still recommend the series if you can get past the whole ponies with guns bit. They need more love; from the the author and readers.

    3 comments · 128 views
  • 7w, 10h
    A Look Back on Demon's Souls

    It's a few more weeks before Bloodborne comes out. The excitement I feel about MLP season 5 is but a mild curiosity compared to how hyped I am over this game. It doesn't have the word "Souls" in it, but I'm counting it a part of the Souls series anyway. A version of Dark Souls 2 is also coming out on the PS4 this April. I'll be getting that too. In all honesty, I haven't played the DLCs for Dark Souls 2 because I knew they were going to do something like this. They did it for Oblivion, Fallout: New Vegas, and Skyrim. I knew they were going to release a version that would have all the DLCs. I didn't expect it to have a version on the next gen, but it's a welcome addition.

    If you are a reader of discerning perception, you may have noticed the very subtle clues in my stories that point to the fact that I fucking love the Souls games. With Legacy and Journey in the works, I can't wait to throw in the references I've planned. Count on Bloodborne being included too. As I wait for the days to count down for my newest Souls fix, I look back to the one that started me on it.

    Oh, Demon's Souls, the game often forgotten when talking about the Souls games. The first game was a game of firsts for me. I've been playing games for a long time. Started with a Famicom, then a Sega Genesis, then SNES, then Playstations 1,2, and 3 at that point, but Demon's Souls still had firsts.

    This was the first game that really made me feel genuine regret over something I did in a video game. I remember it well. I had just killed the Adjudicator and a huge number of souls accumulated from multiple attempts to complete 4-1. I should have gone back to the Nexus and spent them. I didn't. I pushed on and made it through 4-2, up to the part where there were narrow ledges you had to walk around while purple-eyed shadow men fired lasers at you. I made a mistake while dodging and rolled off to my death. Oh, the panic set in. That was over 50k souls! I could buy a lot of shit with that! I had to make it to my bloodstain and retrieve them. My fingers got clumsy with nervousness so it happened. As I approached the cave where I died, I missed the parry timing with a golden skeleton. My poor knight ate a giant sword swing while flying manta rays shot spikes at her ass. Why? I would lament. Why did I push on after clearing 4-1? What spirit of arrogance possessed me when I made that stupidly reckless decision? A lesson was learned that day even as those souls went down the drain. Good thing it wasn't too hard to farm souls in 4-2 anyway.

    And the first rage. Oh, I've been frustrated by some games before, but this was my first rage. 4-1 at Pure Black World Tendency. It was me against black phantom Satsuki. His katana killed with one hit, even the one-handed light attacks. I had to be on point with my rolls. That wasn't the bad part though. Once he was down to about a quarter of his life, Satsuki would start to back away to munch on his infinite supply of New Moon Grass. One success would instantly refill his life. I had him down to almost dead, nearly eating it several times myself because he'd bait me into going after him to interrupt his heal only to attack. He started to back away and I chased, but that terrain...a rock caught my knight's foot, and locked her in place for about a second. Satsuki completed his munching and was back at full health. I wasn't stupid enough to damage my controller, but I was stupid enough to hurt my knuckles by punching the wooden floor. FUCK YOU, SATSUKI. FUCK YOUR ONE HIT KILL ATTACKS, AND FUCK YOUR CHEAP ASS GRASS.

    And the atmosphere...I loved Demon's Souls use of dark and silence. There's no BGM, but you'll soon find that a blessing as you'll need both sharp eyes and ears exploring this game. In Latria, you'll be pinpointing the faint chimes carried by the octopus-headed guards so you can close in without alerting them. In Valley of Defilement, there's the groans of the deprived ones skulking about somewhere, just waiting to mob you if you blindly push on. In the Shrine of Storms, there's the giggling from the shadow women trying to backstab you if you're lured by the crap loot they leave on the ground.

    Oh, sure it wasn't all awesome and perfect. Dragon God was a horribly disappointing boss. The monster featured in the intro and the cover art, the giant multi-eyed dragon that punched my knight in the face after I killed the tutorial boss, is reduced to a brief stealth section where I shaved off 3 quarters of its life. Then, while it lay limply on the ground, I plinked away at it with a bow while it occasionally burped fire. The World Tendency feature was frustratingly cryptic to puzzle out and you needed to puzzle it out or be locked out of the in-game quests. Trying to upgrade your weapons was a puzzle in itself and an annoying chore of walking back and forth between merchants. The game encouraged grinding, an aspect of any RPG that I hated. This is especially if you fuck up on the easily missed crystal lizards. Of course, as a paladin build, I had to grind for faintstones, which meant multiple visits to 5-2; a poisonous swamp where I was slowed to a crawl while being pestered by giant mosquitoes and leeches that dropped very few souls.

    I played Demon's Souls again recently, as some kind of retrospective play while waiting for Bloodborne. It's kind of sad that the game once touted as insanely difficult is now cakewalk to a Souls veteran, but it's to be expected.

    As an extra: I do have Demon's Souls references in my stories. They're very few, but they're there.

    As an extra extra: Here's my favorite playthrough of Demon's Souls on Youtube.

    4 comments · 128 views
Viewing 1 - 9 of 9 stories
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This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Reckoning

Equestria's fragments have reunited, and the power of sunlight shines once more within Celestia. With the remnants of the Old Kingdom destroyed, the Abyssal Throne sent away, the threat of Gravitas defeated, and Black Rose no more, Equestria now faces the encroaching darkness of Oceanus and his rebels.

But the stage is not yet fully set. Twilight Sparkle and her friends must gather what means they may before the battle is joined.

Cover art provided by Obsidian Rose

First Published
6th Mar 2015
Last Modified
6th Mar 2015
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After the siege of Bastion City and the theft of the power of sunlight, Spike takes on Prince Terrato's offer to train under the kirin, Seethe Scale. He must travel to the Western Barrier Land to gain the strength to help his friends.

Once there, however, Spike soon realizes that there is more for him to contend with in this harsh environment than developing his abilities.

First Published
8th Jan 2015
Last Modified
20th Feb 2015
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 23
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A great many things occur all throughout Equestria as the reunification proceeds and the days count down to a great upheaval. Every grand picture holds many small details, easily forgotten or unnoticed. These are brief records of such things.

First Published
6th Dec 2014
Last Modified
6th Dec 2014
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Black Rose's elite agents serve her in various ways. To accomplish her tasks, their talents must be both great and diverse, requiring individuals from the far-flung corners of Equestria. To gather them is a difficult task in and of itself, a task that two siblings must deal with if Black Rose's plans could even have a chance to succeed.

First Published
4th Jul 2014
Last Modified
4th Jul 2014
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Throughout history, the wolven have been known as vicious and rapacious raiders, swooping in from their frozen homeland far to the north in small bands to seize what they please from unfortunate settlements and caravans across Equestria's borders. For this one occasion, however, wolven raiders have acquired something that may be more trouble than it's worth.

First Published
27th Jun 2014
Last Modified
27th Jun 2014
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 15
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Lexarius the steward, the alicorn sent by the Herd to aid those oppressed by the Everlasting Kingdom and their own tainted heritage, seeks to help those he considers his new kin. The first step, however, proves difficult as he must preside over a meeting that reveals old hatreds that may well destroy his path before he could even take it.

First Published
27th Apr 2014
Last Modified
27th Apr 2014
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Alicorns are no strangers to battle. Within the vastness of the Eternal Herd is a plane where violence reigns. A young Sanctus Dominus, still a long way away from his kingship, encounters a former monarch in the battlefield.

First Published
3rd Apr 2014
Last Modified
3rd Apr 2014
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This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Breaking Point

Following the events of Breaking Point, Twilight Sparkle and her friends discover that Equestria's demise may not come from an enemy invasion, but from within. The Barrier Lands and the Heartland begin the slow and uneasy process of reuniting into a single Equestria, but this long-delayed joining is already in danger at its conception.

With Celestia's power in her grasp and her agents by her side, the wheels of Black Rose's plans for Equestria's future continue to turn. However, her brazen gamble has done more than just bring down a centuries-old barrier. Ancient powers begin to stir: the remnants of a dark period in Equestria's history, the immortal inhabitants of Celestia's homeworld, and a rising tide of darkness coming ever closer.

First Published
26th Feb 2012
Last Modified
31st Aug 2014
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Equestria is a land of magic and harmony, a peaceful realm ruled by immortal and benevolent monarchs. At what cost is this possible?

Following the discovery of a strange and powerful device, Twilight Sparkle is whisked away to the edges of a land she thought she knew so well. Here, surrounded by ponies whose very existences have been kept secret, she must contend with vicious enemies, hostile allies, and the truth.

Chapters 1-16 edited by KiltedKey

First Published
9th Feb 2012
Last Modified
14th Feb 2012