Tag Archives: Meaningless Milestones

The Thirteenth Floor

Another year has come and gone and here we are at thirteen.

This car does not stop at that floor

Thirteen is an unlucky number to some, but it has always been a bit of a talisman in our family, something of an attraction rather than an aversion.  I went skydiving with a friend on Friday the 13th, picking that day specifically for the unlucky connotation.  In the end though, it is just a number, something that passes by fleetingly, unless you’re 13 years old.  I’ve never been more miserable in my life than when I was 13, an age that seemed to last forever.

Now my blog is thirteen.  I hope it isn’t as bad off as I was at that age.

For those new to the site… how did you end up here… this is an annual tradition.  If you’re a glutton for punishment, there are twelve past entries to review.

I used to do cute themes for this post.  Years five and six are probably the best efforts for that, while I think eight is where I get the most philosophical.  That is where I said I would stop blogging at the ten year mark.  But here I am.  There are days when I am just so very tired that I can barely crank out the 2,000 words that make up the core of the post like this.  Cute pictures and the philosophy of the internet just aren’t in me anymore.

But on we go, as we do every year, for a look behind the curtain at the numbers and such that inform about this blog.

Base Statistics

The same thing every year, looking at how the various needled moved over the last dozen months.

Days since launch: 4,748 (+365)
Posts total: 5,215 (+420)
Total Words: 3,967,279 (not including this post)
Average words per post: 761.18
Post Likes: 9,521
Average posts per day: 1.098 (+0.05)
Comments: 32,451 (+1,670)
Average comments per post: 6.22 (-0.20)
Average comments per day: 6.83 (-0.18)
Spam comments: 1,482,548 (+32,607)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 438 (+4)
Average spam comments per day: 312.24 (-18.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 45.6 (-1)
Comments written by me: 6,430 or 19.8%
Images uploaded: 14,575 (+1,432)
Space used by images: 603.7MB 1.2 GB of my 3 GB allocation (33%, up 100%)
Blog Followers: 1,701 (+209)
Twitter Followers: 743 (+14)
Tumblr Followers: 33 (+7)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7

Much more after the cut, if you feel like looking at a lot of charts, lists, and numbers.  Actual page view numbers are available.

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Celebrate 16 Years of EVE Online by Logging in for 16 Days Straight

They promise it will be worth it.

Yes, that time of year has rolled around again and CCP is celebrating another EVE Online anniversary.  2019 makes it sweet 16 for the game.  That’s old enough to get a driver’s license where I live.  CCP has a dev blog up about how they will be celebrating this milestone.

Sixteen Years and I got a T-Shirt

There will be gifts.  But these gifts will be doled out as daily login rewards, so you will need to log in each account, every day, for sixteen days in order to collect them all.

I am not a fan of login rewards like this.  It strikes me as a rather transparent way to boost the monthly active user, the dreaded MAU at whose altar so many analysts worship, without necessarily doing anything to improve game play or to get a user to go beyond collecting their reward and logging off.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t log in every damn day all the same.  I’ll do that for some free stuff.  If you ring the rewards bell I do salivate.

And, as you may have noted, the event lasts for 18 days, so you can forget to login twice and still get all the goodies..  And what goodies will we get?  The dev blog says:

There’s all manner of gifts and rewards up for grabs including celebratory trinkets, faction ammunition, exclusive XVI anniversary SKINs, apparel and even a monocle, as well as Servant Sisters of EVE hulls, celebratory Permaband SKINs and clothing, along with fireworks and abyssal filaments.

That is quite a range.  I’ll go anywhere for SKINs, and SOE ship hulls are fan favorites.  I’d like another Astero or three.  I guess Permaband is featured as a ceremonial farewell and/or clearing out of virtual stock, since Permaband if effectively dead with the departure of CCP Guard.  I mean, who else is going to front for them?  CCP Falcon?

That is all cool, but I image that the real draw will be skill points.  The Dev Blog declares that this will be the largest skill point grant they have ever given away, with over a million skill points available if you log in all 16 days.

That is a lot of skill points.  Given that I used to rack up ten million skill points about every seven months, picking up a million in just 16 days is an accelerated pace.  That is about 2,600 skill points an hour.  You can optimize your attributes and plug in +5 implants to train faster than that (my skill point farming clone, back when I did that, rolled along at 2,700 sp/hr), but you have to keep to specific skill.  These skill points can be applied to any skill, plus you still have your normal, ongoing skill point accretion.

Of course, the usual caveat applies: To get all the goodies you must have an Omega level account.  Free to play Alpha accounts get some prizes, but to get the full haul you must be paying in cash or PLEX for an Omega account.

Naturally, on the events page there is a convenient link to the page that lets you upgrade to Omega.

So there it is.  If you want all your goodies make sure your launcher is up to date and ready to go so you can start logging in tomorrow.

Runes of Magic Turns Ten Today

It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I first started cursing the patcher for Runes of Magic, and now here we are at its tenth birthday.

Runes a Decade On

As the genre continues to age I guess we will continue to have these sorts of anniversary milestones for those games that continue to hang on.  All the more so, I suppose, with a company like Gamigo vacuuming up strays and keeping them online to milk revenue out of them while putting in as little effort as possible to keep them viable.

I don’t think I will be covering them all.

But Runes of Magic is a bit special, both because I actually played it for a while and because it was kind of a big deal back when it launched.

Back in 2009 there was still something of a divide between MMORPGs of the western, subscription sort and the free to play Asian imports.  Runes of Magic was going to bridge that gap, being more western in design… “western” really meant “like World of Warcraft” by then… and the Asian cash shop business model.  This was during a time when “free to play” was usually a post-launch salvage plan rather than a day one feature.

And even when Runes of Magic launched, that mostly applied to what one might call lesser tier games, like Asian imports and struggling titles such as Anarchy Online.  The rush to free to play wouldn’t begin in earnest until Turbine brought Dungeons & Dragons Online to that model, a plan only announced in June of that year, to becoming the poster child for the new found riches to be found there.

So, while there were some half-hearted cash shops popping up, Runes of Magic broke some new ground and/or became controversial by straight up selling things that just were not sold in reputable MMORPGs, like a horse.  You want a permanent horse, that will be $10 please.  That got bloggers typing away furiously. (You’re going to have to use the Wayback Machine if you follow the links on either of those posts.  So much link rot.)

More egregious, to me at least, was the whole bank space rental program.  You need more space to store your stuff?  Then you need to rent… not buy… more slots at the bank.  You could do that with the in-game currency, but you could always use the RMT currency as well.

People were also peeved that the game felt too WoW-like, as though people were not actively throwing tantrums about any deviation from the WoW model around then.  You needed to follow all of the Blizzard conventions and yet not be like WoW I guess.

Anyway, the game launched and has carried on ever since.  It got a reasonable following, though that is hard to judge from the outside.  And in a world where WoW is the benchmark, most MMORPG populations seem microscopic.

The game itself, after consolidating down to two servers, one for North America and one for Europe, made its way to Steam towards the end of last summer, where it has received mixed reviews.

Half were good I guess

Also, the release date listed there is wrong according to all the sources I’ve seen, including my own blog post marking the launch day.  It should be March 19, 2009.

A decade in, the game is what it is.  It looks and feels a bit out of date.  If you feel it copied WoW, then the version of WoW it copied was from 2007 or so.  But the negative reviews mostly take it to task for its business model and how things changed when the original publisher, Frogster, sold out to Gameforge.  Gameforge seems to work on more of the Gamigo model, keeping multiple games (they run TERA, Wizard 101 and a batch more) up and going while not being particularly focused on any given one.

The free to play business model always has that problem.  There is always the temptation to make buying from the cash shop a bit coercive or to reward buyers with power in order to boost sales.

As for the move from Frogster to Gameforge, that seemed to herald the end up serious content updates to the game.  Instead Runes of Magic settled into the semi-stasis of holiday events, cash shop specials, and other minor changes.

Still, the overall situation, being free to play in a stable of games like that, is probably the best hope for long term survival when it comes to lesser titles.  And they haven’t completely ignored Runes of Magic.  The shop gets new items and they have a series of anniversary events running now, including a free cosmetic gift set.

Assuming this is your look

I am not sure I’ll be able to find the time to go and visit the game, even with that outfit as an inducement.  As I will no doubt repeat at least a few more times, this month has been pulling me in too many directions already with nostalgia related events.  In that mix, Runes of Magic hitting ten years is somewhat down the list.

But I was back to visit in 2017, around the eighth anniversary, and somehow I doubt much has changed.  So if you want my impressions of the game from then, you can find them in the series of posts listed below.

Other than that, congrats to a game that has lasted a decade.

Twenty Years of EverQuest

The EverQuest 20th Anniversary is today and, while I thought I said what I had to say yesterday, here it is today and another post.  I guess it is kind of a big deal, so I can post about it today too.  And probably tomorrow.   Plus Daybreak made this nice 20th anniversary image.

20 Years Ago Today…

When I got up this morning the EverQuest site was down for maintenance.  Daybreak is in the same time zone and I am sure they were up earlier than I was getting things ready for the big day.

EverQuest itself was up and running, though the Mangler and Selo servers were not yet available. (The EverQuest II side of the house was more on the ball I guess, as the Kaladim and Nagafen servers were reported up pretty early.)  But that was fine.  I wasn’t planning to join in on either of the EverQuest servers.  Instead I got on my current character on the Vox server and found the Plane of Knowledge already decorated.

The 20th Anniversary is Here

There are the usual things around like special vendors, bonus XP, and anniversary events, both new and historical.

This quest giver looks familiar

Not too long later the EverQuest site was up again, sporting a new design for the anniversary.  The anniversary was front and center of course, including some news about events.

Firiona Vie doesn’t look 20 years older

The site was also pushing special 20th Anniversary packs for $20 and $35, both of which illustrate the problem I have with the EverQuest cash shop.

The 20th Anniversary Packs

Basically, you can get a bag and three rather mild XP potions for $20, or add on two smaller bags and a series of other dubious potions for an additional $15.  I guess, in the context of the EverQuest cash shop those are not bad prices, but I am also familiar with the EverQuest II cash shop, where I find the items, options, and pricing much… more to my tastes I guess.  This comes up every expansion season as well, where I find that I would be tempted by the deluxe editions of the EverQuest II expansions, but the addons for EverQuest seem so tepid.

Basically, $20 for a bag, even a big 40 slot bag, seems like a lot.  But the in-game cash shop sells a 28 slot bag for $18, so I guess it is a deal in that context.  And maybe if I were more invested in the game, or less aware of its younger sibling, I might be okay with it.  Inventory management is a big chore in the original game, and awkward compared to more modern games as well.

Anyway, I decided to spend at least some time playing EverQuest on the anniversary.  I’ll be running around in the daily hotzone quest area soaking up some XP with my mercenary tank.  There isn’t much else I can indulge in at my low level.

In the Paludal Caverns

I’ve already managed to go from level 17 to 21 in not too much time this morning.  Of course, now my inventory is full of crap.  I guess I can see the point of the bags.

Events, deals, and bonuses run through the end of the month, so I guess I didn’t have to jump right in today.  But I figured I had jumped right in on this day 20 years ago, so why not?

Addendum: There is also a 20th anniversary Producer’s Letter complete with infographic.  Of course I saved the infographic because they tend to disappear over the years. (See yesterday’s post for some of those.)  You need to click on the infographic in order to be able to read it.

20 Year Infographic

EverQuest II Launches Chaos Descending and Celebrates Another Anniversary

The regular pattern of annual autumnal launches for EverQuest II expansions fits in nicely with the history of the game as they tend to hit pretty close to the original launch date, so you get some new content and a celebration of the history of the game all at once.

And so it goes this year, with today being the launch date for Chaos Descending, the fifteenth full expansion for EQII, and that doesn’t include the various adventure packs that SOE and Daybreak have tried now and again.

Chaos Descending the Library Staircase

While I wrote a bit about the expansion before, along with the various purchasing options, the bullet point summary from Daybreak is:

  • New Adventure Quests
  • New Signature Tradeskill Quests
  • New Signature Adventure Quests
  • New Achievements
  • New Zones
    • One Quest and Services Zone (Myrist)
    • 4 Outdoor Zones (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Detroxxulous)
    • 4 Dungeon Themes (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Awuidor)
    • 13 Solo Instances
    • 12 Heroic Instances
    • 7 Raid Instances
    • 1 Contested Raid Dungeon
  • Mount Equipment Feature
  • Mount Equipment Bundle
  • New Mercenary Equipment

That is a pretty nice chunk of new content being delivered, and on par with what the combined EverQuest & EverQuest II team delivers annually.  There is none of this “every other year” talk for expansions, and they still deliver a sizable mid-year update along the way as well.  They might be the hardest working team in the genre.

In addition, EverQuest II just celebrated its 14th anniversary last week.  The official launch date was November 9, 2004, with the Europeans getting their launch two days later, on the 11th.  And the anniversary brings out the Hero’s Festival for players in Qeynos and Freeport.

No Firiona Vie on EQII boxes

But wait, there’s more!

While the game launched on November 9th, my own anniversary with the game actually falls on November 13th.  That is when SOE, no doubt expecting the same rush for servers that they experienced with the EverQuest launch back in 1999, rolled out their second wave of servers for US players.  So on that date the Crushbone server went up and and what ended up being our guild, a mix of players from EverQuest and TorilMUD, started making plans for how we were going to attack post-cataclysm Norrath.  We were the Knights of the Cataclysm.

Our day two guild on Crushbone… I left in 2005 and came back in 2006

And so began a year of playing… and fighting with… the new game as both we and the in-game systems evolved.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

It was a strange time.  I have fond memories of it, though I am sure I have blocked out many of the problems and irritations that plagued the game back at launch.

Well, I can certainly recall some of them.  I could go on about crafting, no off-line selling at the broker, locked encounters, dupe bugs, experience debt, five minute buffs, the tiny quest log, having only four character slots, guild leveling, mounts, the experiments with risky boat travel, and that graphical processing bug in Qeynos Harbor that made you machine slow to a crawl as you came and went from using the bell positioned out at the end of the dock.

So yeah, if I remember all of those right off the top of my head then there were probably a lot more I’ve forgotten.

But it was still exciting and new and probably all the more so since I had stopped playing EverQuest actively a couple years before, only popping in to visit now and again, so there was very much a new to MMOs again aspect to it.  And having Meclin along, who had skipped EQ so was really in his first MMO experience made it a pretty special time.

Meclin swinging for gnoll necks… original gnoll models

And the game looked good.  Well, it looked better than EverQuest in any case, if you could run it with the graphics settings turned up enough to appreciate it.  I recall tales of people coming for EverQuest and finding the system requirements for the new game so onerous that they had to turn down the settings to the point that they couldn’t see the faces on character models.

I think this was called “future proofing” or some such, but it seems to sacrifice the necessary today in favor of a theoretical tomorrow.

Fortunately I had a decent rig… a big purple Alienware box with an okay nVidia card in it… so I could appreciate some of the graphical quality of the game.  I couldn’t go full settings, but enough to get a decent screen shot.

The catacombs under Qeynos back in the day…

It was also an awkward time for video cards, with the horrible, power hungry nVidia 6800 GT series ruling the roost and burning out motherboards and power supplies in the name of graphical fidelity.  The 6800 design stayed around for ages, being continuously improved as time went along.  I never went for the initial mode due to its horrible reputation, but had a couple of the follow-on 8800 GT boards (LOTRO burned out two of those), then a GTS 250 and a GTS 450, both of which had their roots in the old 6800.  At the time though I stayed with the more reliable 6600 GT and then an ATi 800XL.

It is amazing the amount of little details that lurk in my brain and yet I still can’t remember somebody’s name ten seconds after they’ve been introduced to me.  And I’d have to check the settings to tell you which video card I have installed now.

So it is something of a triple, the 15th expansion drops, the game celebrating its 14th year, and I celebrating my 14th anniversary of joining the game.  Though, if I look at my character, it actually puts me in line for the 15th anniversary present in another ten days.  I wonder what we’ll get.

SOE gave me time

Of course, the timing is all off as well.  Last month I was playing and writing about EverQuest II.  Now LOTRO has captured my fickle heart with its Legendary server.  Still, I might have a post or two left in me this year about Norrath.

The Dozens

We have now arrived at the twelve year mark of the blog.  In looking for a title, The Dozens sprang to mind one evening and I thought it was a theme I could run with.  I would just replace the usual array of category titles with self-deprecating insults about the deficiencies of the blog.  Things like, “Your blogging is so weak, you only get accidental traffic from Google” or “You ramble so much that when you post around the house you post all the way around the house.”

Only, you know, actually funny.

That was back in February or so.  I created the placeholder post, scheduled it so I wouldn’t accidentally publish it, then went on to do almost nothing with it until about a week ago.

So here I am an all I have to show for that title is a stock photo of eggs.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

WordPress.com has access to a library of free stock photos and that is literally the best I could come up with for the word “dozen.”  And I am not even sure what that green braided cord is.  Some sort of vegan whip maybe?

Seriously, this sort of post looms over me at times, in part because I’ve done a credible job on occasion with this anniversary thing.  I mean, go back and look at years five or six. (Cue linking to past efforts!)

Year six was pretty cute.  But where I am I lately?  Elf?  Is that all I’ve got?  And now a stock photo of a dozen eggs?  And WP.com didn’t even pop my anniversary achievement in time for this post, so I had to mock up my own.

Pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing

Anyway, I am as half-assed in this as I am in so many things, so maybe I should just move on to some numbers.  Numbers are good.  I can hide in numbers.

Base Statistics

Days since launch: 4,383 (+365)
Posts total: 4,794 (+378)
Total Words: 3,537,779 (not including this post)
Average words per post: 738.11
Post Likes: 6,765
Average posts per day: 1.093 (-0.04)
Comments: 30,781 (+1,366)
Average comments per post: 6.42 (-0.24)
Average comments per day: 7.01 (-0.31)
Spam comments: 1,449,941 (+73,796)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 434 (+10)
Average spam comments per day: 330.8 (-11.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 47.2 (+2)
Comments written by me: 4,198 or 13.7% (+0.6%)
Images uploaded: 13,143 (+1,379)
Space used by images: 603.7MB of my 3 GB allocation (20%, up 11%)
Blog Followers: 1,492 (+152)
Twitter Followers: 729 (+7)
Tumblr Followers: 26 (+4)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7 (+1)

I have at least kept up with my goal of posting every weekday… and then some.  I am actually up 24 posts over last year which puts me over the one a day mark again.

Comments were down quite sharply in the first half of the year.  The inertia of past years and a rather active August kept the average up, but the comments per post from January to June dropped in half over the previous years.  I suspect that I didn’t write much controversial or stunning during that period, but it was still a pretty sharp fall off.

Anyway, those are the basic stats.  After the cut there are a lot more bits of data about the blog, some you may have seen in past years along with a few new items this year.

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Two Hundred Million Skill Points

I think it is somewhat fitting that this post lands on my character’s twelfth birthday.

Just past the milestone

Technically I crossed the line earlier than the screen shot above as I still have the 250,000 SP that CCP gave us a while back.  But I haven’t spent that yet, so made it past the mark without it.

The story so far:

So here we are at the 20th milestone and 18th post for this particular run.

Looking at that list of posts above gives a bit of insight as to when I was playing EVE Online and when I was taking a break.

Things started slow at first.  I played for a bit, then stopped, then came back, so it took over a year to get those first ten million done.  And that was back in the per-queue era where you could easily lose training time when training short skills as they would finish up in the middle of the night and you might not get back to put in a new skill before the next evening.

And then there were those skills that sped up skill training.  Those were Satan’s own idea.  I am sure somebody missed them when they were gone… every feature, no matter how bad, has its fans…

Eventually though that 24 hour skill queue showed up and had all the learning skills set and had some implants and started hitting 10 million skill point increments every seven to eight months when I was playing.

There was a slow down when I stopped playing in late 2010 and came back for just a bit in 2011 for the Incarna disaster, which sent me away again until late in the year.  Then I came back and Gaff coaxed me out into null sec just as a war was starting and I have stayed there ever since.  The story of null sec remains interesting enough to keep me playing, though even with that I have had my moments where I have nearly quit.  But something always comes up just as I get there and off I go on another adventure.

The stories of the game are one thing though, skill points another.  Sort of.  Every skill queue tells a story of its own I suppose, even if that story sometimes is, “I have no idea what I am doing.”

Anyway, here is where I stand on skills.

Spaceship Cmd        63,043,028 (63 of 79)*
Gunnery              18,546,396 (36 of 52)*
Drones               17,036,708 (22 of 26)*
Fleet Support        13,343,059 (14 of 15)*
Missiles             11,111,853 (22 of 26)
Navigation            9,660,314 (13 of 13)
Engineering           8,788,752 (15 of 15)*
Electronic Sys        8,119,689 (14 of 15)*
Armor                 6,131,137 (13 of 13)
Shields               6,074,039 (12 of 13)
Scanning              6,011,792(7 of 7)*
Science               5,714,282 (21 of 39)
Resc Processing       4,756,183 (22 of 37)
Subsystems            4,096,000 (16 of 16)
Trade                 3,821,020 (10 of 14)*
Neural Enhance.       3,801,275 (7 of 8)*
Targeting             3,207,765 (8 of 8)
Planet Mgmt           1,612,315 (5 of 5)
Structure Mgmt        1,446,824 (6 of 6)
Rigging               1,312,395 (10 of 10)
Production            1,157,986 (5 of 12)
Social                1,130,040 (5 of 9)
Corp Mgmt                24,000 (2 of 5)

Total              ~200,000,000 (355 of 444)

Skills categories with an asterisk are the ones that have changed since last check in.

Of course Spaceship Command remains at the top.  I don’t think I have ever had an update where some points didn’t go into that category, and nearly one skill point in every three ends up there.  This time around it was for the new Trigalvian ships.  With new ships around there is always a chance that Asher will come up with a doctrine around them and I like to be prepared.

Likewise, Gunnery saw a boost as I trained up the accompanying Triglavian weapon systems.

Drones saw me training up to be able to use tech II fighters.  That would require me to actually use my carrier, but I might do that some day.

Also on the list were some boosting skills under Fleet Support, getting all my Scanning skills up to V, Electronic Systems was likewise honing my ewar skills, Trade saw me training the customs office skill that reduces the taxes on Planetary Management, while Neural Enhancement was all about the neurotoxin skills to help me take drugs more better.

The skill by level work out as:

 Level 1 - 1
 Level 2 - 3
 Level 3 - 38
 Level 4 - 96
 Level 5 - 213

All that and I still cannot fly a titan.

I can, however, fly every subcap aside from the Monitor FC ship, and probably with whatever fit you can come up with.

It is an incredible luxury to be able to face doctrines change or Asher’s latest new fit and not have to worry about whether or not I can fly it.  The odds are very, very good that I can.  I still end up with too many ships sitting in my hangar gathering dust, but at least I can fly them.

My primary alt sits at about 140 million skill points, which seems like a lot, but I have been blindsided trying to stuff him into a ship only to find he doesn’t have something up to level V that Wilhelm trained ages ago.  Even now he is training up a missed skill.  That dreadnought I won has a tech II siege module on it, something I only found out the hard way and had to quickly swap Wilhelm back into the pilot’s seat before we got the orders to drop on that Nyx back at X47.

My next most well trained alt is less than 40 million skill points and using her is like trying to take apart a watch wearing oven mitts some days.  How did I cope when I went to null sec with just past 70 million skill points?

The same way everybody else does I suppose.  I flew the fits in the doctrine I could until I caught up.  There having been many doctrine changes over the years drove me to fill out my subcap dance card.

In the end though I still end up flying logi most of the time.  It is always needed and, unless things go to shit, generally allows me some time to gawk out the window as to what is going on.  Every once in a while I will fly something else, a doctrine ship of the line if I can get away with it, a booster if I can’t help it, or a tackler if we’re short.

This will be the last post in this series.  I think 200 million skill points is a good end point on a nice round number.  Even with a version of EVEMon working again it is is a bit of a pain to piece together all the numbers.  Plus, despite there always being more skills to train I think I am going to actually turn off the queue for Wilhelm at some point and let one of the alts on that account gain some skills.

Addendum: In case it was not obvious, no skill injectors were used in creating this character or post.