Assassin’s Creed: Origins photo mode, part deux.
Since I last talked about it, AC: Origins has had an update to its photo mode, and the changes add some new options. You can add or reduce noise, add a vignette effect, mess with saturation or tint, and a number of other options. Though the changes meant relearning how to use it again to an extent, it’s easy to adjust to and the results are spectacular. I’m a little wowed by the fact that they improved it so soon after launch. Well done, Ubisoft.
Pizzawars 2017. No, seriously.
Ok, so lemme get this straight.
- Papa John’s “blames NFL for declining sales due to mishandling of anthem protests” and threatens to pull their advertising. In other words, they blame the #TakeAKnee movement and declining NFL ratings for their poor sales.
- There’s a backlash against Papa John’s. Some people call the comments racist. Others criticized the pizza for just being… not good pizza.
- Pizza Hut says it’s a crock of shit, and that they haven’t seen a decline in sales. DiGiorno starts trolling Papa John’s, too. (“Better pizza. Better sales.” I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.) Papa John’s trolls back.
- The alt-right talks about making Papa John’s their official pizza, complete with an image of a pizza that has a pepperoni swastika. I bet there was some serious shareholder-freaking-out after that one.
- Papa John’s then has to bite back against the alt-right, saying they don’t want haters to buy their pizza.
The takeaway? I bet Papa John’s wishes their bigwig had kept his bigmouth shut.
It’s all just… completely stupid. Seriously, this is stupidity in action. Unintended consequences, indeed.
My take? If their sales have fallen, it’s because their pizza tastes like ass. I’ve had Papa John’s pizza a number of times. Usually because someone else did the ordering, though twice I forgot how much I disliked it and ordered it as a change of pace. Every time, it just wasn’t good pizza. Once, it made me feel ill after I ate it. I decided to be fair–it could have been something else, after all–so I had it again, a couple of months later, to see if I was being unfair. It made me feel ill. And it tasted like ass. I quit eating Papa John’s pizza. (Seriously, something in their sauce, in particular, just… wasn’t… right.) None of this has made me inclined to give them another chance. Like, ever.
We ordered Domino’s. All that controversy made me hungry.
The Xbox One X has landed.
Last night, I finally got the chance to set up my new Xbox One X. Immediate impressions after opening and unpacking the box and getting everything connected:
- It’s smaller than my old Xbox, but my old Xbox was a Forza edition, so ymmv.
- There’s no brick. Yes, we knew that already, but it’s amazing how much I am not missing having to make space for one.
- It congratulated me on having the wisdom and foresight to back my stuff up onto an external hard drive, which struck me as hilarious. It quietly took care of importing my settings, which was nice.
- As usual (as always), I disconnected the old Xbox and forgot to check for a disc. Luckily, I realized it almost immediately and GTA V was rescued without incident.
- They weren’t lying when they said older games would benefit from the boosts. KOTOR looks sharper, and when I booted up Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, I was a bit stunned. Oblivion did get an enhancements patch, but still…
- The Project Scorpio design is so subtle that for a moment, I thought they’d sent me a standard edition by mistake.
Unfortunately for the compare-before-and-after-pics effort that I intended to make, I noticed that Need for Speed: Payback was unlocked (I completely forgot about early access. Doh!) so I spent the rest of the evening playing with that. More to come on the latest NFS, but so far, it’s a lot of fun.
Star Wars is trying to give me a complex. And it’s working.
*Major spoilers for SWTOR ahead.
I got a little behind with SWTOR. What with replaying KOTOR, though, I started yearning for a little Eternal Alliance action. As it turned out, my main character (well, one of them… my main main character, so to speak… I should stop now) was only a bit behind, so I headed for the “Crisis on Umbara” flashpoint.
Previously, the gang had concluded that they had a traitor in their midst, and were frantically trying to ferret him/her out. The search leads them to Umbara, where they’ve traced the traitor to a train hurtling across the planet’s surface. We fight our way up the length of the train, open the cockpit, and find… nothing.
Except Lana says the traitor’s signal shows he or she is still on the train. Since Lana’s telling me that the traitor is still here, that probably eliminates her from suspicion.
And that leaves…
Let’s rewind a bit. The character that I’m playing is a female Sith warrior who’s had a bit of a rough time of it. I mean, let’s face it–every class has had a rough time, but Sith really get a raw deal, because Sith culture embraces backstabbing like it should be declared the national sport. Imperial agents aren’t immune to this, either, and bounty hunters get their fair share of double-dealing. There’s betrayal over on the Republic side, too. But the Sith storylines have betrayal at their cores, like a rotting heart that poisons everything around it. Treachery is practically institutionalized, and it’s always personal.
As a Sith Warrior, not only are you betrayed by fellow Sith, you’re also betrayed by a member of your own crew, Malavai Quinn. Quinn is a romance option for female Sith warriors. You can even marry the guy. Which, of course, makes his betrayal even more difficult to deal with. I never trusted him again, and I played that to the hilt: I never took him as a companion again. I wasn’t going to trust him at my back after what he did! (And this was back when he was the only healer.) Even the fact that he later ended up in jail because he wouldn’t give up the search for the Wrath didn’t move me. By the time he reappeared post-Eternal Empire, my Sith had hooked up with Theron Shan. Quinn’s protestations of love fell on deaf ears, and I tossed his ass back in prison.
And now, it turns out that Theron Shan has done the exact same damned thing. He, like Quinn, tells her that he really does love her–but he’s doing what he thinks is best, because the Alliance hasn’t brought the peace he’d hoped for. Quinn betrayed her because he thought she was bad for the Empire; Theron betrayed her because he thought she was bad for the galaxy. Both of them tried to kill her.
I never would have figured that Theron Shan would actually make Malavai look like a good guy, but damned if he hasn’t just about done it. At least Quinn tried to make amends. Tried to earn forgiveness. Tried to repair the relationship, even. I almost wish that Theron had been crueler. I wish that he’d said the whole relationship was a lie, just a spy manipulating someone he figured would, sooner or later, be the enemy again. At least then I could hate him without reservation. But I can’t even do that, because now he’s got me questioning my past. He’s made me wonder if I did the right thing with Quinn. Maybe I should have been more forgiving. It’s almost making me wish I could get Quinn out of prison and maybe give the poor guy a real second chance. Since I don’t know everything behind Theron’s motivations, I’m hesitating to condemn him as fiercely as I did Quinn.
And I’m running with it. My poor Sith, who’s really just been trying to walk the line and do the right thing by everyone, is completely fucked up now. Twice she fell in love, twice she was betrayed and almost murdered by people she trusted. Hell, if she’s being honest, part of the reason she totally rejected Quinn was to prove to Theron that she was waaaay over her ex. (You know… in my head.) We’re past “the galaxy sucks” and right into “I’m fucking cursed” territory.
I really try to make my characters have authentic personalities in my head, and adjust their behavior as a result of what happens to them. It makes playing them more fun, and often makes choices more difficult. I even match their outfits to the path they’re taking. When this character was just another Sith, she wore relatively nondescript grey armor that was appropriate to her fighting style, and she always used a basic red crystal in her lightsaber. Later, when she became the Wrath, I made her outfit more intimidating (leaning heavily on black and red) and switched to a black-and-red crystal. When she took over the Alliance and got involved with Theron, I had her make visible changes to match those commitments, switching to an outfit that was black and white with a yellow crystal, and eventually ending up with a predominantly white ensemble and a white lightsaber.
Now she’s in all black and has gone back to a red crystal. Because life sucks, she’s cursed, and now, she doesn’t trust anyone. And maybe never will again. If anyone’s looking for the Commander of the Eternal Alliance, she’ll be in her bedroom, listening to The Cure and doing whatever the hologram equivalent to cutting an ex’s face out of old pictures is.