Mapping my Razer Naga for Rift

Thought it might be interesting to others to see the problem-solving I did when mapping my Razer Naga for Rift.

At first I just used it on the number setting, but after a bit I realized I wanted a more comprehensive mapping that would work generally across all 4 classes and across the different roles I play within those classes.

So I set it to use numpad instead, and immediately came across the shift+numpad5 problem. No idea why the thing doesn’t come with a warning that shift+numpad5 simply does not exist in Windows. It would have saved me hours of google. Seriously, HOURS. Solution to that problem further on in this guide.

Decision #1:

I like using my left hand to maneuver, and the razer thumbpad for actions.

Decision #2:

Using plain, shift, control, and rarely alt, I built visible hotbars in rift accordingly. So I have four bars onscreen that correspond to 4×12 thumb keys. The top bar (alt) I don’t use many actions, so mostly just keep it as a visual reminder of cooldowns. Some actions overlap so that I always know where certain actions are – my heals, shields, and potions for example, are in the same place across multiple characters.

Decision #3:

At first I mapped my most common actions to 1,2,3 etc but then I realized I wasn’t using the full power and flexibility of the razer and remapped according to how easy it is for me to access certain buttons.

Fig 1. Lei's Framework

The first three buttons on the naga correspond to Utility/Emergency. They’re the easiest buttons for me to hit and to find on the naga. It took a bit to retrain from 1,2,3 to 4,5,6 for my Single Target buttons. 7,8,9 are for Multi Target, and 10,11,12 are for more Utility, plus the big cooldown abilities the Rift devs love to throw in those soul trees.

As you can see from that graphic, the framework will easily transfer to different classes and roles, while maintaining some standard of similarity so I always know where certain types of abilities are on my mouse.

Decision #4:

Decided to remap the keyboard along with mapping the naga. NOT doing a graphic for that one, it’s pretty messed up.

1-9 on the keyboard are bound to the hotbars just so that I can be lazy in some fights. Only reason. 0 is battlerez, easy to remember. – is to drink, because it gets tired hunting for that on a side bar somewhere. = lets me mount up. It means I always have to use the mouse for the 10-12 abilities but I’m fine with that.

Movement keys are RDFG instead of WASD, a BIG departure from tradition. However, that frees my baby finger to hit 5 extra keys easily. Q and W are mapped to two different kinds of targeting, A resets the hotbar to bar 1 in case I got fatfingered, and S is available once I figure out what to put there. Z is my vent key, pretty easy to hold down if I’m yakking away.

In addition, I can access a couple of keys quickly with my index finger – H selects my focus target, Y is an emergency heal.

Fixing the Shift+Numpad5 Problem:

Since I’m using the numpad setting, in order to get around the windows idiocy of shift+numpad5 not existing at all to assign anything to, I had to rig Autohotkey along with Rift in order to use my razer’s 5 button. For that I use [ and ] on the keyboard and juryrigged the code. In addition I set numpad5 in the razer utility to use ] instead of numpad5. I’m not gonna be using square or curly brackets to converse in a game, so I think I’m safe.

Fig 2. Razer Settings

Code:

IfWinExist Rift
{
WinActivate

; Hotkey to fix shift+numpad5 problem in razer naga by assigning it to ] and } and assigning ctr+] below

^]::[

; RP Commands

::btw::by the way
::omw::on my way
::brb::be right back

}

Hopefully that’ll save someone else 4 hours on google trying to figure it out.

Conclusion:

I love my razer! All set… now I just need to l2p! 😀

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Why I joined Gaiscioch

Wise words from the leader of Gaiscioch:

“If a man comes in to your home and relieves himself on your carpet are you going to stand by and offer him some coffee?
If they then sit in front of your child and teach them a full new vocabulary that you later will have to have a long uncomfortable talk about, are you going to feed them dinner?
If your with us, your with us. Our home is yours. My kin are your kin. My child is your child. WE are Gaiscioch. This house is ours.
We hold ourselves on a higher bar than any other guild. Both as human beings and as players. We expect all of you to respect one another enough to live by our credo, follow our rule, and make sure that everyone who enters our home displays the same amount of respect you do.
We can not allow outsiders to come in and desecrate our sanctuary. The day you joined us you knew we had 1 Rule. Blades Out, Not In.”

Here’s my questions then.

  • If you are invited into a home, invited into a family, and then a member of your new family spits in your face, calls you names, and strikes you without cause or warning, will you stand for it?
  • If you are helpful but suddenly accused of acting “above your station” for asking someone what they needed when they asked for help, were you spitting on the carpet?
  • If one person is allowed to flout the rules constantly, and you never see any reaction to it, is it justifiable to blame you for not taking the rules seriously because nobody else seems to?
  • If a family member prods and pokes and pulls a blade on you, is that not allowed and fair to defend yourself and attempt to disarm their poison?
  • If you organize a family event and suddenly there are whispers all around that you have a hidden agenda, that the event (which was needed by many not just you) goes against all family values – when it obviously doesn’t – are you allowed to speak up in your defense? Are you allowed to be hurt and angry for being so completely misunderstood?
  • If your family sits down to an excellent feast for a holiday, which you helped to prepare, then refuses to allow you room at the table by shoving over, and refuses to allow you to partake in the feast, then tells you that they would have included you if the tables hadn’t been decided already… do you stay in that family or go out in the world alone and rely on the kindness of strangers rather than stay to be insulted more by their eating in front of you while you starve?
  • If a family member picks a fight with you, draws in other members to ignore you, belittle your efforts on behalf of the guild, and then accuses you of bringing drama when you say HEY THAT’S NOT RIGHT… is that not bringing drama?

Ah, how easy it is to invalidate another human being’s experience. Just call righteous anger a flame or a troll. Trivialize all criticism by calling it drama. Just pretend that you gave every kindness and they are ungrateful, dismissing everything they gave to you: their dedication, their time, their helpfulness, goodwill, going broke crafting for others, recruiting, and caring for guildmates. Ignore their feelings while constantly demanding that they consider other people’s feelings. Dismiss ongoing problems by proclaiming the person telling you about them is “holding a grudge for something that happened long in the past” when the problems remain active to this day.

I’m not the only one who left. I gave constructive criticism when I left, which was trivialized because I said I was feeling hurt and angry. I’m never gonna be a good little emotionless robot follower type, if you have a problem with that then that’s your problem. Others have left without saying a word, or only saying that they’re joining their friends’ guild – rather than bringing their friends into the guild. I cared enough to say something, but, they’re doing fine without me and my silly, stupid caring.

Obviously, the Gaiscioch marketing machine will roll on, and this little David of a post isn’t gonna bring down the Goliath of cliquish uncaring in a guild which claims to be a family and which has core rules that are supposed to lead to people treating others well, and to family togetherness.

Cliques can make a guild strong – they can also make it a lonely place for a new member. Again, I challenge the Gaiscioch “family” to remember it’s a FAMILY. Again, I challenge those of you who attacked me to show me an example of excellent leadership – preferably one that is more than mere words, and which doesn’t invalidate the validity of another human being’s experiences or emotions. Personally I feel that leadership is not about staying silent in the face of injustice. If that means I bring drama, so be it.

I’m not scared of drama or of emotions. I don’t need to trivialize other people’s experiences to justify what I do or how I lead.

As for me, will be returning to my previous guild, as my guildmates there asked me repeatedly to return and lead it actively again.

I’m still sad, hurt, and angry. The ideals of Gaiscioch were what I was looking for in a guild, and several of the structures in place are quite innovative. I will miss several amazing people who did hold true to what I considered the best values of the guild: kindness, generosity, helpfulness, inclusiveness. But I will just have to build the kind of guild I’m looking for, and hope that holding true to my values and ideals will help it succeed.

Gamer Generosity and Children’s Miracle Network

As many of you know I’ve signed up for Extra Life as part of the Gaiscioch team. I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your support.

The thing is, I’m not doing anything special by taking part. I have frequent insomnia, I play videogames a lot to deal with the pain and for something to do at late hours when the regular world is in bed. So playing a game for 24 hours straight really isn’t a big deal, I’ve done it many times.

What makes this special, is that YOU are donating your money to these hospitals, and by that making something I’d be doing anyway worth something cool. I’d especially like to thank the Anonymous donor, who not only showed incredible generosity but also modesty. You all rock!

Planar Attunement in 1.5 (Rift)

Upcoming in 1.5 is a new system of advancement for post-50 characters.

As you “attune” to one element, you unlock abilities to help fight beings of that plane.

It starts by allowing you to bring out a regular rift of the plane you chose with a specific lure, giving you greater dps against beings of that plane, and giving you better resistance against that element. The lure just opens normal rifts, but hey, no more hunting for an invasion if you need an air rift for the Water Saga, or a death rift in Freemarch, just get a friend to open the right type for you!

Depending on the abilities you unlock, you will receive greater spellpower or attack power while wielding a specific weapons, a fluff ability, and a small boost to a particular stat.

More information in this great overview at Zam that links to more specific charts for each class after the overview.

My first impression is to wonder why secondary stats receive a boost from some elements, rather than it being primary stat or endurance only for that class. Such as Clerics receiving INT bonus from Death and Fire, same as Mages. These are supposed to be s very minor boost, but of course the min-max is going to go Death or Fire as a Mage, and Cleric Tanks will end up gently nudged to attune to Life, where Warrior and Rogue Tanks will be nudged to attune to Earth.

Weapon choices for boosts to spellpower and attack power seem odd, especially for clerics and warriors. Some choices are for weapons that don’t really exist in the game yet, such as for a two-handed axe or a polearm. The increased endurance of Earth for Clerics is paired with a bonus to Staff or Wand, not that useful for a tank. (Unless by “wielding” they mean “equipped” and you can only choose to add points into one weapon type, not both. That wasn’t clear from the guide. If that’s the case the bonus to wand would be chosen by Cleric Earth tanks and give an equal increase to the bonus to mace available to Cleric Life tanks.)

Hopefully they’ll work out the details a little better, and keep the power creep to a minimum when they bring out the second and third tier of this system.

I’m hoping for some visual fluff in later honeycombs, like a soft glowy aura (like the low-graphics version of the Gem of Boundless Energy, which is just an oval glow around you) or eyes, or weapons. I think that would be really cool to see on the field of battle.

A History of Barding as it applies to Videogames

So why is it that many games just don’t get what bards can be? Let’s have a look at the historical roots of the Bard, both in real life cultures and in gaming cultures.

First, ancient cultures around the world used chants and songs as a way to promote community, change and uplift moods, drive away bad spirits, and bring healing. This was part of being a Shaman, but also part of ordinary life for everyone. They used drums, various wind instruments, and stringed instruments, made from natural materials.

In the Celtic Tradition, the Bard had three main tasks. To rouse people to battle; to make even the most hardened warrior cry; and to soothe people to sleep. They were a specific rank and training of Druid class in Celtic society, honored as negotiators and storytellers, keepers of lore. At the word of a Bard, battle would end, or begin. Historically they did not fight, themselves, but oversaw the fighting of others. They were part of the religious elite. Their words and their songs, had power.

As the Druid tradition was stamped out by invading Christians, the songs and lore were lost save for the songs of the people, sung in taverns and homes across the land. The Bard was now merely a minstrel or troubadour, a traveler bringing news along with entertainment for a night’s lodging, or gaining entry to a court or even a sponsorship by great talent for diplomacy and music – plus good looks and seduction skills.

Troubadours who wished for sponsorship had to act like nobility, enough to not be out of place at court. They would not stoop to lowly activities such as tavern brawling, injuries could ruin their career forever.

Music remained part of religion however, in songs and chants of monks and clergy. The secular music was seen as base, impure.

Game lore such as The Elder Scrolls universe has the Bard as a type of Assassin, a rogue who gains entry to noble presence by talent and diplomacy, then either spies or kills someone with the use of poison or dagger. They take inspiration for the Bard from the Troubadour era of music. In gameplay, the Bard in Oblivion has buffs to help the party fight better, and uses either daggers or bow for more personal combat based in Rogue abilities.

In the history of Dungeons and Dragons, again the Bard draws from the Troubadour root, in this case from the Tavern musician who has never seen the inside of a court but wishes he was high class enough to do so. He’s a rougher fellow, often not at all above brawling, with a bit of warrior and a bit of rogue thrown in for good measure. Hard drinking, hard playing, and hardly fighting. He can sing, wench, and steal your purse to pay for his companions to stay in better quality sheets – either legitimately through his songs or by pickpocketing. But the memory of Troubadour history haunts the D&D Bard as he’s made the butt of jokes for playing lute and seeming somewhat poncy, especially if he only supports the party by singing rather than fighting. Nobody cares about the Bard. Right?

That’s a long way to drop from being an honored figure of religious ceremony, wearing a gold torc to symbolize that your standing is only equal with that of the highest chieftains in the land, advisor to kings, with the power to walk on a battlefield and STOP THE WAR by a single word!

So here’s the problem with Bards in gaming. Music in the real world is a physical action. It’s enjoyable. Most other classes’ fighting styles have an equivalent physicality. When you watch a fighter slash at things with a sword or axe, you can feel it. When a mage casts magic, it’s done with a staff or wand, again as a physical action. The animations, if done well, have a weight and depth of reality to them.

The Bard plinks at a lute. Lalala. Look at me playing lute on a battlefield, lalala!
There’s no illusion of physicality and it’s rather silly overall.

So, there are two types of Bard in gaming. There’s the fighter Bard, who splashes deeper into real combat, based on street fighting and tavern brawling, then there’s the “useless plinker” Bard who only supports the party with buffs but can’t fight. Or, well, do much of anything. If it can’t be mesmerized by song, the Bard has no other tricks. If facing a boss, the plinker is a helpless cliche about to be burned to a crisp by the Dragon, who is conveniently immune to the Bard’s only ability: song. Only a REAL fighter can save them, either by might or by magic.

The music part of Shamanism is reduced by games, and only the Shapeshifted warrior remains. Yet that physical tradition of spirit-transformed melee combat is satisfying to play.

Druids speak with faeries and nature spirits, and those aid them to fight. Again, physical combat and sometimes spells cast at a range, as a hybrid type of playstyle.

Bards, plink. Lalala.

My vision of what a Bard could be in games, is based in part on a book called “The Soprano Sorceress” by L.E. Modesitt, part of a series called The Spellsong Cycle. In it, a music teacher is tossed into a fantasy world where songs have power. I’ve always felt that music has a real magic to it. Some games in the sci-fi genre use sonic death boom weapons, but that power is rarely given to Bards in games where fantasy Shamans turn into bears and fight with greater endurance and strength purely from magic.

What if you took that “useless plinker” and made it a real Mage? The playstyle of a plinker is already closer to that of a caster – they stand away from the thick of battle and play an instrument instead of using a real weapon such as sword or dagger. Real nukes and real heals would be possible, and would have that illusory feeling of physicality like the rest of the Mage class, as they use a focus crystal for singing, or an instrument glowing with magic that congeals then goes BOOM! to nuke an opponent as they cast a spell of song.

Let’s honour an older tradition of Bard in newer generations of games. Recognize that the Bard has a caster type in basic abilities, and that if expanded that could be a wonderful, powerful and FUN playstyle. Stop relegating the Bard to uselessness as a failed and cowardly Rogue going lalala on the field of war! Bards are Mages of Song.

Music is a type of magic, and that magic has not been fully expressed in games.

Cleric Gearing 1.4 (Rift)

As my cleric approaches 50 I’ve been researching the gear needed for T1, T2 and raiding beyond. With 1.4 all the BiS lists are out of date, and with the multirole gear dependency clerics have I’m going to have to make some big choices.

I’ll be editing this post frequently as I figure out what to get crafted/what T1 drops I aim for, etc.

Continue reading

Celebration time, come on! (Rift)

Update, July 29th: At the first patch of Phase 5, the “funny” line that was disrespectful towards Asha has been removed. Thank you! In addition, Abyssal Prancers have been reduced in number, and some have been renamed Abyssal Violators as if to remind us these are enemies, not just female dancers. Although it’s probably the best quick solution to the problem (any other solutions would require art assets for either male or creature Abyssal dancers, female soggy Dwarves, or different despawn animations,) it does remain a quest I’m simply not comfortable taking part in. I do thank Trion for making an attempt at making it more clear we’re killing ENEMIES here, and I hope they’ll be more aware of subtleties in the next events.

Well, that was a beautifully thought-out world event, without the frustrations of the first being well, anticlimactic. Now at the ending, we get a celebration until 1.4 hits, with fireworks, dancing, and drunkenness in Meridian or Sanctum!

Here’s the feedback I sent in on the ending celebrations:

Having a celebration after fighting off the forces of water AND death is a great idea. Love the dancing and drinking games, the fireworks, and a lot of the new gear. Woohoo!

However, one of the celebration quests basically has us killing female-looking prisoners, with a penalty (no points) for killing male ones. I had hoped the Ascended would have been more civilized, or at least more aware of gender issues. You have women WORKING on your game, how did something like this slip through? If you’re gonna be barbaric please at least be barbaric equally to men, women, undead, and fishy-looking creatures. Thanks.

As you can see, there’s still a few things Trion may need to work the kinks out on. Some of my guildies were pretty upset about it. Maybe I should be more upset about this kind of thoughtless misogyny, like I should be more upset at the men who always assume they’re talking to a man ingame even when their girlfriends play it! I’m just too used to being considered… well, NOT considered, I guess.

Back when I first started playing, the kinds of games I wanted to play didn’t even have female characters I could play or identify with. Then when female characters started to happen, they all had HUGE boobs. Again, something I can’t really identify with. As women have entered the industry we’ve seen small amounts of change, but little things like this show there’s still a LONG road ahead.

Would have been so nice to just be able to enjoy a cheery ingame celebration after all the hard grinding… sigh.

Lei ❤