Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Questions - Nathaniel "Kahlenar" Soule

Nathaniel "Kahlenar" Soule

Photo by Melissa Fitzgerald
How long have you been playing?
5 years, since Black and White in 2006, though I practiced for a month before that.  That was my junior year at UCONN.  What I wouldn't give to go back and change that to my freshman year. 

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
This is a tough one.  Mostly my understanding of the game has changed.  When I started out things seemed a lot different, but as I started my third year things appeared to change, but did they really?  I'll never know.  But what seems to have changed is the grouping of players.  I watched outcasts be allowed to reenter normal Realms society, only to be outcast again, and a kingdom sundered but a new one put in it's place.  I've seen leadership and national rosters changed around, picked and chosen to best fit the way people want to play.  And I've seen 4 newbie groups... explode.   But is that all really different?  Maybe I just see the Realms without all the glamour it had when I first joined. 

I've also watched weapons evolve, from PVC to legalized fiberglass, to bamboo and "whatever the hell else you can find" to make a lighter, faster sword.  Heck, I've been one of the biggest players in the evolution.  But I wasn't around enough to see what competitive PVC fights looked like. 

Who have you learned the most from?
Jason Rosa brought me into Realms at UCONN.  He's been there at the right moments most of the time, giving advice on a situation, leading by example, or occasionally providing a perfect example of what NOT to do and why. 

Jay Bonci taught me not only every specific of how to make a top of the line weapon, but also how to innovate once at the top.  I can credit no one with teaching me more about weapons. 

Seth Flagg said two things, one about gravity, and one about the distance between two points, and they've stuck with me since.  They are always the first things I mention when teaching a new player once they've learned the rules. 

Tucker Noyes yelled at me a few times.  I can't remember why ^_^

I've definitely picked up more about fighting just by fighting with the guys my age in the collective stick jock community. 

What was your best moment IC?
This probably happened at "Oh Brother, wherefore Art Thou?"  Jake/Gideon was recovering from his shoulder explosion, and that left me as A number 1 on site.  I had a crew, and good as they were Cavan and Surfer Dave were still well under a year and UCONN line fights don't train for every type of fight we encounter in Realms.  We're in a room with the Blackstar Guild, but we didn't know that so people started talking to them.  I get a hint from Vax's friendly dragon NPC that they're the bad guys, I tell Tara this, she says she knows, so eventually I decide to go whack one of them (played by Aaron/Rel).  I do that, I die, he gets back up, I get back up, no one really knows what's going on, so the good guys and bad guys just sorta keep standing around.  Then for some reason we're fighting.  I heard later that the EH dressed 6 or 7 people in blue and had them slated to be elite full power NPCs, and then they were told "go kill everyone" and apparently all dozen NPCs went out and slaughtered us.  Before I went down I managed to kill 6 of them, and then jumped back to where Cavan was, but lost my leg in the process.  He went down and I was stuck and surrounded and then killed.  Then Tara and Ged were both hit by some kind of generic brand Wayland.  Aaron called some orders, and before they pulled out he noticed me, said, "oh you're a special one," and scalped me, for the very first time.  I guess since I was scalped I probably forgot that whole exchange, so oops, my bad.  But really, it was the first time I was responsible for everyone else at the quest, and my martial failure caused us to lose a lot.  Yeah, I killed a ton of bad guys, but it wasn't enough. 

There was also that time at NS war where I killed 5 people in a limited 3-bridge battle.  Vawn called it out, "someone kill Kahlenar!"  Then I got hit in the leg by a questionable arrow that probably went under the bridge wall, so I hopped around looking dumb until I was shot again while not looking.  But the important part is that someone called me by name because I was killing a huge chunk of his team.  It was pretty awesome. 

Photo by Dustin Mack

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Mythquest 3, I was playing an incubus trapped in the cellar of some creepy collector guy.  Next to me was an angel played by Kat/Phyre.  We both looked like angels though.  The players had the keys to open our doors, but doing so would set us free, and divination wasn't working on us.  So we each had to convince them that the other one was a demon and that we were a real angel.  I also had a penchant for hitting on any women who cam near me.  In the end I don't think anyone believed me, but Kat's cage also had the way out of the house, so when they divined to ask which door they should open, hers was declared, and they left me.  As they left I continued my plea of innocence, but when it became clear that they were going forever and that I would be destroyed along with the house I changed gears and begged, and then screamed and cursed them yelling something about a fate a thousand times worse for them and their descendants.  It was the best roleplaying of an NPC I've ever managed to do, totally ad-lib, and the door popped open once really quick right after and I heard "Thanks Nate!" from one of the players and then the EH came out and high fived me. 

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I'd like to see people better trained in combat.  Yeah, I know, shocking, right?  I know I love combat, and it's probably the most obvious thing about me, but when I see people thrust into situations they're not used to and watch entire quests be won due to blown shots it really disheartens me.  Cheating hurts all aspects of the game, and the people who call their shots well are punished for it and get to play 'the hero' less often then those that don't.  I know that when a player gets good enough to see other people miss shots and late shots against them they start to see their own mistakes.  And if everyone was better they'd bump themselves up a notch and maybe get a better appreciation for a fair fight.  I know I've missed shots before, and I know when most of those times are and they still haunt me, and I know that I harp on the subject more than most, so I don't want everyone else reading this to think I'm saying I'm perfect, but I know I try and I expect the same from everyone else. 

I'd also like to see more thought be put into the stories that quests aim to tell.  I feel that roleplay suffers when there is a lack of world for our characters to interact with, and with the simultaneous problems of plot not being revealed and plot being one dimensional we see a lot of quests turn into grind fests.  Grinding is grinding, whether with sticks or with puzzles, so let us not give the smart people a soap box to stand on.  Where is the opportunity to roleplay when the solution to the quest is the same every time, and everyone wants the same outcome, from the Aurorans to Darklore. 

What advice would you give new players?
Question authority.  If someone does something they have a reason.  Understand it. 

Keep your main hand and foot forward when you fight.

What do you love most about the game?
The combat more than anything in else, but I also love the story telling, good, unemphasized character interaction, and the food.  I hate puzzles though, but I pretty much love everything else about Realms.  If I can face a foe in straight up combat, win through superior tactics and skill, move to the next one and repeat, maybe throw in a few backstabs to pad my kill count, and get to the end and crack an in character joke it makes me feel like a super hero. 

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Jay Bonci

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
If this is way too long let me know, I can shorten it if need be.  Also, if Jay is busy I have more choices. 

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