Chillin in the Metaverse
Tonight I hung out in VR and watched Anime. It was awesome. We live in the future.
Altspace VR was featured in a Gizmodo article I read last year showcasing Dungeons and Dragons in VR. I was curious, so I downloaded the client yesterday and have been poking around Altspace and chatting with anyone I ran into about the experience. (Including a brief conversation with Altspace CEO Eric Romo)
This is my first VR selfie. I picked a pink robed-being-thing as my avatar from the selection of several avatars with customizable options. Pink, clearly for the hair, but also I thought it was kinda fun. In this picture I'm chilling out in a custom space that I made for myself in Altspace, where I hung out and watched the Kazoo Kid Remix video on loop like a dozen times. It was my personal nook in the metaverse, and I could do whatever I wanted: Mosco's Event Space was born!
Tonight, I came back and decided to watch something longer. I watched the classic anime heist anime Riding Bean which I found on YouTube and just hung out. Hanging out tonight made me think of D&D in VR and how it scratches a secret desire of mine to run a home campaign in VR. This obsession started in 2000 when VTM: Redemption came out. I had been "storytelling" (as it was the preferred term in the White Wolf universe) since the mid 90's, and plenty of D&D and Robotech (Palladium) before that. VTM:R promised a robust "multiplayer" experience and the ability to "storytell" players by creating custom made encounters with interactive NPCs. It was terrible. At best I probably put 5-6 hours into setting up a few scenes for a campaign, and had maybe 2 actual players get to go through pieces of it. The whole thing was clunky and non-immersive.
I think Altspace has a platform that I could run an RPG on though. I've played around with the D&D space a little and see how (with enough preproduction) you could create a really compelling table-top experience. There a lot of possibilities there. My mind is a blaze with ideas, and I'm enjoying testing out the various features too. Can't wait to eventually try it out on my Gear (coming soon from what I hear).
Drafted OtG again today, with mixed results. Two more decks and a pleasant surprise.
The first deck was Dimir Devoid, with an emphasis on generating Colorless.
Removal in this deck could have been better, but I drafted Gruesome Slaughter (not a great card in a vacuum, but with all my creatures and tokens being colorless) hoping it would be a mid to late game equalizer. This deck was super aggressive, with lots of evasion. Overall it worked great and I won all 3 of my matches (albeit 2-1 every time). Bearer of Silence was great in this deck, but never really forced the sacrifice of anything noteworthy when triggered. The 2 for 1 was nice, but it usually ended up being a token or lesser tapped creature. Never was able to trigger Mindmelter's ability, and the few times I could have, chose to beef Havoc Sower (with enough colorless, this can get out of control fast especially with something like Slip Through Space).
Deck 2 was sadly in the same colors, and was drafting in the same direction, so I chose to focus more on the Colorless mechanic.
(+1 Swamp tucked underneath the stack)
1st Pick 1st Pack ended up being Dread Defiler, most my first picks ended up being Black/Blue so I saw early that the possibility of drafting in that direction was possible. Dread Defiler had such a cool ability, and the natural "grind' of this format (my prior experiences successfully generated lots of Colorless with Black) made me think that I might be able to trigger the ability several times, ideally after make some large creature trades. Grip and Drowner were also welcomed as I know they would help me hold down the board. Overally, I was happy with the removal I was running, the deck had plenty of it, but I never was able to get this deck to work effectively. I won a few games but lost every match (1-2, 0-2. 1-2).
Because I won the first Draft I got the Clash of Wills promo, and in my second draft pulled a Windswept Heath.
Not a bad bonus for the second deck going down in flames!
First Oath of the Gatewatch Draft
Tonight I returned to drafting in San Francisco with my first Oath of the Gatewatch drafts.
My first deck was a riff on the Orzhov Allies deck from BFZ with a bit of Black/Colorless to explore this new mechanic.
I drafted Thought-Knot Seer and Endbringer, so decided that I was going to try out Colorless. Between Crumbling Vestige (which I figured would be good for a quick mana-fix when i needed it, but a steady colorless source for Endbringer and Slaughter Drone), Blighted Steppe (because all those nifty BFZ blight lands are a valuable Colorless), the Seer's Lantern, and Kozilek's Translator: I had plenty of colorless mana when I needed it. I gladly first picked Retreat to Emeria in my BFZ pack as it perfectly fit the deck, and I drafted low on combat tricks. All in all I went 2-0, 1-2, and 0-2. Black was really easy to generate Colorless with, and the Seer's Lantern was neat, but I'd have rather had an Oblivion Strike or a Sheer Drop. For my first draft in the format, the deck came together enough and I really enjoyed playing it.
The second deck drafted was my OtG take on BFG's Azorius Flyer deck. I knew this deck was pretty solid in BFG, and I had hoped that a lot of the central pieces of it would be left lurking around Pack 3.
Honestly this deck started with Reflector Mage. Pack 1's rare was Call the Gatewatch, and there wasn't any removal in the pack, so I decided that Reflector Mage and flyers would be a natural fit for the colors if nothing presented it self in the first few passes. As the deck began to form, I decided that Support was going to be a mechanic I wanted to experiment with. Expedition Raptor was a expensive, but was valuable in beefing up my other fliers, but the card that played the greatest value was Unity of Purpose! Adding tokens across the board, attacking and then resetting my creatures for my opponent's turn was huge every time. The second Reflector Mage turned up mid Pack 2. In Pack 3 I first picked a Skyspawner and second picked the Quarantine Field. The second Skyspawner, Benthic Infiltrator, and Windrider Patrol were great other picks in that pack as well. This deck went 2-1 in all 3 matches, and played best when played super agro. In the second match, my Benthic was targeted by Visions of Brutality, but I still kept putting Support tokens on it and bashed my way to victory.
Fun fact, this is first time I was able to win all 3 rounds!
On to China!
Home cooked Aussie meal
It might not be shrimp on the Barbie, but my fiancé's family cooked Australian lamb two ways. Another delicious Aussie goal accomplished!
Today I fulfilled a dream: to draft MtG down under!
its a terrible picture, but it's proof (along with my DCI number being logged) that I played in Australia!
I went 1-1-1, and built an "ok" black/white allies deck
I'm going to try and draft again before I leave, but can now call myself an "international Magic player" (my fiancé just rolls her eyes)
The Facts: I love Mexican food, I'm half Mexican (on my mothers side... The home cooking side), and I come from the high holy land of Mexican food: San Diego (the imperial capital of Southern Californian Mexican cuisine, and arguably the best Mexican food in the world, it's true)
My Aussie fiancé loves Mexican food too, but understand I'm a bit hesitant to try anything calling itself a burrito so close to the South Pole.
Today I caved and tried Aussie "Mexican food"
this is a "shredded beef burrito." All in all it wasn't horrible. Sure it wasn't the forearm sized behemoth of Carne Asada, guacamole, and cheese (hold the Pico) that I grew up on, but it wasn't terrible; more like what you could get at Chipotle on its best day. One of the weirdest elements was quinoa instead of rice, and no option to add guac. Also the hot sauce options were limited: F*ck You (spicy) and Jane Fonda (mild)... No idea the reference
In the back ground you might have noticed something vaguely resembling horchata
Horchata and Lime-Pina. Both were pretty average, and I'd likely skip the Aguas Frescas next time.
Airline food has always been an experience that I've found fascinating! Small compartmentalized food experiences, hermetically sealed, and ready to be "enjoyed" at 40,000 feet! Below are my food mishaps on the way to Melbourne.
The first meal of my flight, and an important choice: Chicken/Rice or Beef/Potato.
The KitKat is a nice touch, albeit the dressing of (no)choice was French.
Second meal of the flight: Breakfast. This time I had the choose of chicken noodle or sausage omelette. (Given the choice of airline eggs or anything else, I will always pick the other option) I found it novel that the roll associated with the meal was dependent on which dish selected: the only time this happened during my travel meals. (Above you see the Chinese style roll; all other meals came with a western style dinner roll)
Beef noodles for dinner (no Kit Kat this time, but it's replacement was tasty)
Of all the mediocre airline meals I had on my way to Australia, this was the best: Breakfast pork noodles. By this time in my journey I was roughly 2 hours from landing, and eager to choose my own culinary destiny!
An unexpected element of pan-Pacific flights was the amount of turbulence that we encountered; not violent fits of shaking, but a persistent mild jostle. The best part of it all was everything time we entered a fit of turbulence there was a bi-lingual automated message that went over the intercom. No longer was it the captain assuring his passengers that this fit of turbulence is temporary, but the same bi-lingual dulcitones of a recording. We live in the future indeed.
2 hours early at LAX today as I head down under to Melbourne via Taipei. The international terminal is a ghost town, which is surprising. I miss the constant buzz of world travelers shuffling about; it makes for great people watching.
Hey, I'm Ray
I end up in the darnedest of places.