Diablo 3: Re-Leveling A New Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor Fun

My friend recently joined on Diablo 3 so I decided to give the Demon Hunter another try (meaning re-level a new demon hunter….hey there’s an achievement for that!). This time around with my gold resources and various hand-me-down pieces of gear, it’s a breeze. One unusual thing I decided to try was using a Spectrum as a Demon Hunter.

You might think, “Hey, I didn’t know Demon Hunters can go melee!” Technically, they can’t. In fact, using a melee weapon prevents Demon Hunters from using certain attacks. However, they are capable of using Grenades, Impale and Chkram. Now, most of these aren’t particularly ideal for a Demon Hunter, but the damage a Demon Hunter can output with a well rolled Spectrum or Horadric Hamburger far outweighs any inconveniences.

Unfortunately, you cannot dual wield a Spectrum and Horadric Hamburger at once. However, you can use a shield (strangely enough) so I opted for a slightly defensive setup considering that I’m in melee range most of the time. Quite honestly, I love the play style. I got tired of Hungering Arrow and Elemental Arrow. I still use near similar defensives as my main Demon Hunter, but I might change that out too just to try out a different playstyle as I level.

Eventually, I want to try the strafe build or the stunlock grenade build. I’ve seen a few other interesting builds like the bola shot build for Monster Power 10. In general, I wanted to have separately geared up Demon Hunters. I might even try doing the self-found gear route just as a challenge (that includes finding drops on my other toons).

With my witch doctor, I did some pretty nice upgrades recently, pumping my unbuffed DPS to over 160k. Right now in Monster Power 2, I practically one shot all white mobs and elites are not much of a challenge. I’m trying to upgrade my ring and helmet to see if I can obtain a little more DPS. I did manage to try Monster Power 3. While white mobs went down reasonably, elites and champion mobs posed a lot more of a challenge. The worst situation would be finding multiple champion and elites as I kited one group to the next. While I managed to survive, it wasn’t easy without burning cooldowns and potions quite often and doing very long kite paths.

I feel that if I add another 20-30k DPS, Monster Power 3 will be pretty easy. The main thing outside of kiting is just having enough DPS to unload to get those mobs down. You’re forced to spam your nukes against mobs pretty hard. Even if you clear out all but one of the mobs, you’ll still be spending a bit of time trying to finish off that last mob.

Some people say that the way to go as you hit higher Monster Powers as a witch doctor is to move to a spec like Zombie Bears or Zombie Dogs. Zombie Dogs are not really an option because of the cost. Also, I heard that it’s not as effective as people may say. I haven’t tried Zombie Bears, but I’ve read that it too has issues because of the melee-like proximity you’re forced into with this spec.

Truthfully, I really don’t want to sacrifice (heh heh) his Thing-of-the-Deep item because I really love the pick up radius on it. I know top Witch Doctors use the Uhkapian Serpent but the convenience of the pick up radius vs the increased damage for me does not seem worth the cost at the moment.

At any rate, my Witch Doctor feels more like my main at this point than my Demon Hunter. It’s a real fun class and it has pretty smooth game play without the incredible amount of micro management that I find with other classes. I hope that I can re-gear my Wizard for the Archon spec just to have another fun farmer.

 

Prometheus 2: Conversation Between Keith and Vickers

Another scene I completed that I enjoyed which entails a conversation between Keith and Vickers in her private quarters.

As Keith goes to the mess hall (unescorted), he encounters Vickers.

 

Vickers: “Come with me to my section.” Keith consents but is stopped by two guards outside of her quarters. “Leave please.” Both guards obediently find a new area while she locks her door behind them.

Keith: “Just us?”

Vickers: “Yutani is watching a queued up basketball series in the entertainment lounge. What’s a girl going to do on a ship filled with robots?”

Keith: “There’s the guards.”

Vickers: “With robots.”

Keith: “Except the androids are politer.”

Vickers: “That’s true.” Retrieves a prepared casserole with a side of fresh spinach salad, balsamic dressing and baked bread. Places the meal on a small table intended for two. “Have a seat.”

Keith: Biting deeply into the bread. “Hard to get this these days. Nice to have home cooking for once.”

Vickers: “Private budget. Managed to hide the expenses and cargo despite all the various spot checks each ounce of food is forced to go through these days. It’s one of the few talents your cousin has to offer in these situations.”

Keith: “If he didn’t have that asshole gene, he might actually turn out to be a great person.”

Vickers: Sipping on red wine. “And if he paid attention to detail.”

Keith: “He lets me handle that.”

Vickers: “Which is why I wanted to see you. He talked with you earlier because you found something else. What was it?”

Keith: “The audio between David and Shaw. They’re alive. And they used one of the other ships that still are around to go find them.”

Vickers: “Damn it.”

Keith: Detecting some other intention behind her words. “Is this why you invited me here? Nice dinner, pretty smile, the usual lead poor Keith on deal?”

Vickers: “Stop it. Stop feeling so goddamn sorry for yourself all the time. I know I….I hurt you before and I’m regretful for it. We both have to move on.”

Keith: “Not so easy when you can’t even control your own destiny.”

Vickers: “I want to hear from you for once. What you really feel.”

Keith: “About what?”

Vickers: “Everything.”

Keith: “This is all wrong. We shouldn’t be here. Let’s just go back home and forget everything.”

Vickers: “You came all this way for a reason.”

Keith: “My cousin had a gun to my head.”

Vickers: “And you could’ve ran away at any time. Yet you stood with us and not so reluctantly. Maybe even enthusiastically at times. Do you know why my father came here originally?”

Keith: “To get answers.”

Vickers: “He wanted to live forever. He felt they could extend his life. If they could do that, they must be capable of much more. I don’t know if you want to extend your own life. By the looks of the way you’ve handled yourself, I’m certain that you really don’t care at this point. But I do think you’re here to find something else out for yourself.”

Keith: “And what of yourself? Why would the princess herself leave the kingdom to do some Star Trek voyage in the middle of nowhere?”

Vickers: “Everyone has their own questions they would like to ask their makers.” As Keith finishes up his meal to leave, Vickers prevents him. “One other thing. All the important people in the company know you were the one that created the algorithms for David. But because of litigation no one can say a word. You shouldn’t be bitter still.”

Keith: “Isn’t it sad that despite all our technology, we’re still animals that use little games to control each other?” Reflecting for a moment. “If we do encounter our makers, I really hope that they’ve managed to figure how to deal with that one.” Alert on his communication device. It’s one of the androids. Everything is textually conveyed. “Looks like they found the other ships. And they know where David and the doctor went.”

 

Prometheus 2: Will We Get More Insight into the Aliens Themselves?

One question I’m hoping that will be answered is if we’ll see more insight into the aliens in the upcoming Prometheus 2 sequel. I’ve already provided my say into this manner in my own script (which I won’t talk about here) but for future writers (in case I don’t get the job…which I doubt regardless), I’m hoping that they’ll at least delve into more of the aliens background.

Of course, we have a pretty decent understanding behind the lifecycle. We’ve seen tidbits here and there that explain how they evolve. What isn’t certain is where they come from or their composition. Thus far, we can only assume that the engineers possibly had manufactured them or figured out a way to manipulate them. The two murals in the ampule room allude to the aliens, possibly even being tamed as well as their lifecycle. But everything else still is a mystery.

Something I thought about is the connection between the black substance, eggs and the aliens’ ability to reproduce. Many fans tend to favor James Cameron’s interpretation of events, but we can’t ignore Dan O’Bannon and Ridley Scott’s original vision. And while Cameron’s interpretation might make more sense, the eerie mechanism that the original script wanted makes the aliens even more fearsome. Despite even that and what we see in the Director’s Cut, we still have no clue as to the specifics of how the alien eggs are produced in the context of the Ridley Scott version.

The problem with the Ridley Scott version in the director’s cut is that much of the scene is left to your imagination. The idea of being cocooned and evolving into an egg is quite horrorific, which is why Scott probably didn’t go into any depth at the time. With the Prometheus movie, new possibilities for explaining the egg hatchery scene manifest. Up until now, we simply have assumed that the hatchery was created through the slime of the creature. But those details themselves lead me to have more questions. For instance, when Dallas is hunting the alien in the shaft and uncovers the goo by accidentally laying his hand on it, why doesn’t he react (outside of disgust)? Shouldn’t the chemicals from the alien’s slime cause some sort of biological repercussions on Dallas?

I’ve read some theories on how the alien’s tube-like structure on its back have something to do with the construction of the nest. Main thing for me is that we’re all left guessing but it’s something that has never been discussed in the movies. I recall one comic showing the aliens building the nest, but I give very little credit to the comics as the writing tended to be close to repulsive.

One theory I had that connects Prometheus, the black substance, the urns and the eggs together involves a cut scene from Alien. In the original Alien, Brett was supposed to be stabbed by the alien’s tail. The shot used ended up becoming what fans have called “Lambert’s rape scene”, although everyone who has read interviews realize that the scene was really Brett’s legs being shot. The thing is that the Alien’s tail acted like a stinger. In the Alan Dean Foster novelization of Aliens, Gormon was originally stung by an alien in the APC escape scene. Considering that Alan Dean Foster wrote the novels for both Alien and Aliens movies, he probably had some of the better insight as to the mechanics for these movies before they hit the cutting board (and thus having more credibility with me compared to the crappy comic books).

So this stinger possibly could act as a mechanism for impregnating victims or perhaps “injecting the DNA/black substance” so that the victims eventually would grow a facehugger type of creature within them. Consider how Holloway used his, uh, “stinger” in Shaw, impregnating her after he was infected by the black substance and the trilobyte/”Cuddles” creature ended up evolving from Shaw. Also, consider Holloway’s genetic decomposing and his features. His body essentially was breaking up but appearing “rocky” or maybe moving towards something that resembled an egg-like form.

When we look back at Brett and how he was morphing into an egg, you have to really wonder how biologically things worked. We never really see how the alien turns one into an egg and it’s such a curious issue. But the black substance offers a very plausible scenario.

Well, you probably are wondering why someone like me is so obsessed. It’s just one of these questions in a piece of work that I love and have been fascinated with for so many years that never has been properly answered. The answers that have been shown more or less were unsatisfactory and hacky at best. So seeing Ridley Scott himself respond to this question would make my life feel more complete.

Prometheus 2 Board Room Scene

I just worked out the dialog part for this board room scene that talks about launching a new Prometheus expedition. Check it out:

Board meeting at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation on Earth. There’s a holographic read out of the annual business report that goes over the company’s revenues, profit margins and growth expectations. The board contains various shareholders, mostly ancient men from around the world, the elite wearing gray suits. The only member in the room at the moment who isn’t over the age of 80 is Yutani, who energetically reviews the statistics.

 

Yutani: “The combined revenue expected for next quarter is certain to exceed 15%. We would have a higher percentage but as you can see in the graph, the merger has required internal corporate re-structuring that will delay key products by another 5 years minimum as we shuffle teams around and ensure that certain middle managers get their early retirement.”

Board Member: “Mr. Yutani. Or is it Yutani-san?” Yutani shrugs. “These numbers are, indeed impressive for the board and we are quite elated at seeing the progress ensuing in such an expedient manner, considering that most consolidations of this magnitude either result in catastrophic failures or internal inertia for decades. That all said, in going over the numbers, you seemed to have glossed over two aspects that were the most pertinent. One is the Prometheus mission.”

Yutani: Squints at the thought of reviewing this aspect. “It was Mr. Weyland’s personal mission that had helped introduced a plethora of innovations for our synethetics division, weapons, interstellar space flight even colonization. If we look deeply at the impact from the mission on these charts-”

Board Member: Clearing his throat. “I’m very apologetic to interject here but despite all the aspects that this mission has supposedly succeeded in producing, the original mission statement was deemed inconclusive. More importantly, no one has yet heard back from the crew and we’re publicly demanding to know what happened as rightful shareholders in this company.”

Yutani: Sighing. “We wanted to properly prepare a statement for everyone in the known galactic-”

Board Member: “Mr. Yutani. Please.”

Yutani: “We don’t know.”

 

Around the board room it’s as if a graveyard of dinosaur bones had awoken from their slumber, producing ancient dust.

 

Yutani: “We had been receiving transmissions for roughly 3 years from launch with the android David feeding us with consistent reports. Around Christmas, they had landed on the planet. While a few occasional broadcasts containing reports of the planet had been received, most of the transmission disappeared in a sand storm on the planet. After that there had been no other updates, except one.”

 

Yutani plays a heavily scrambled recording that is a broken up version of Shaw’s speech at the end of Prometheus.

 

Shaw: “Final report…vessel Promethe….crew….gone….only death here now.”

 

This revelation turns the boardroom into something like a shouting match during a football game at a retirement home.

 

Board Member: “If that’s the situation, why on Earth would you authorize another mission?”

Yutani: Growing cocky. “We believe that there’s more to it and we want to find answers.”

 

More outrage ensues.

 

Board Member: “So you’re asking us to burn our equity on a hunch just like the last time?”

Yutuni: “Not your equity. My equity. Which I should remind you that you handed over to the Weyland corporation, and thus myself in the merger of our corporations, when the Prometheus was destroyed. At least, that’s what the casualty claims describe.”

Board Member: “That makes no sense. You just said that there’s no way to tell whether or not the Prometheus was destroyed.”

Yutuni: “Which puts it into your best interest to help fund this next mission or the insurance claim for the trip will be so high, I’ll simply buy up your shares and cast you onto the asteroid Ceres where you’ll be grinding ore for the remainder of your lives.”

Board Member: “That might be the case. But in order to receive the full claim, you need one vote from the Weyland side.”

Vickers: Emerging from the shadows. “That vote has been cast.” The room grow silenced.

Diablo 3: How to Make Gold for Starting Players

If you’re starting out playing Diablo 3, you might find yourself a bit frustrated at times because of the way the drop system works. Essentially, you will quickly depend upon the Auction House to handle all your upgrades. However, the Auction House tends to be horribly overpriced at all times. So what can you do to improve your ability to make money without having to buy gold?

The big gold comes only in later stages in the game when you have high magic find and are capable of farming out areas and selling them at similar outrageous prices on the Auction House. At lower levels though, gold is very hard to farm out just in repeating acts the way you would do things at later stages in the game. Instead, what you need to focus on is saving all your low level rares and possibly legendaries as you move up in levels.

I believe the lowest level rare that you can equip requires level 4. But most rares from levels 4 through roughly 30 can sell for some decent coin. You can sell most from between 5-20k. The reason this occurs is that other people are looking to level their guys fast, especially those with deeper pockets. So 5-20k for a single item may not feel like much for advanced players.

Usually, as I level new characters up, I try to ensure that my equipment’s required level, especially my items below level 30, matches my level as much as possible. The problem is that as you level, your equipment’s capabilities degrade quite quickly and you’ll need better stats so that you can one shot monsters. If you find yourself struggling to defeat mobs, that simply means you’ll need better gear immediately.

One major issue in leveling is that the gear that you find is quite bad. In fact, the gear you find tends to be a few levels behind where you are. While at lower levels this shouldn’t make too great of a difference, as you get into Acts 2 and 3, you’ll find yourself struggling with the drops. However, you can sell your left over gear on the Auction House and try to find better gear (especially weapons).

If you still encounter issues where you’re just not plowing through things fast enough, you might have to re-run areas to try and get rares that you can sell on the Auction House. I prefer saving my gear for my alts in case I want to level new guys (well, this isn’t the case anymore since I have 5 60’s), but for at least your first character, you should definitely sell your old gear on the Auction House.

Lastly, you probably should avoid spending money on upgrading the blacksmith and jewelcrafter initially. While the jewelcrafter is necessary down the road, when you start out, gems really won’t make much of a difference.

Once you hit level 30, if you haven’t beaten normal mode and find yourself having a lot of difficulty still, the one item I would suggest buying with real money (if you still lack gold) is a Spectrum. A well rolled Spectrum perhaps is one of the best investments you can make into Diablo 3. At 300-400 DPS, these items will allow you to faceroll the end of Act 4 (if you haven’t already), Nightmare and the beginning of Hell. On top of that, you can hand this item down to your other characters as they level. But doing this will allow you to not just plow through these acts, but allow you to farm them with ease and pick up rares that you can sell on the Auction House. I would suggest farming normal mode a bit just to make enough gold to get better upgrades down the road.

Diablo 3: Theory of Monster Power, Efficiency and Farming

I decided to run my Demon Hunter this morning on Monster Power 0 just to see how much experience, drops and time it would take. Although I managed to drop things fairly fast, it still felt quite slow. Also, the experience and drops felt really watered down. So later, I switched back to Monster Power 2 and saw my everything rise back up without much loss in time. Not to mention that I found two Bul-Kathos’ Solemn Vows, one which rolled decent DPS that I have up on AH right now.

That experience makes me believe that at least for my Demon Hunter farming on less than Monster Power 2 really isn’t efficient. I know there are people who say that if you can’t kill an elite in less than 20 seconds (or just one shot them) then you’re farming on too high of a Monster Power. Quite honestly, I find all these theories on efficiency to only apply towards races. Considering that all the top paragon levelers have been reached, then efficiency to me really is a non-issue.

Quite honestly, if you only take advice from those people who just farm the same spots over and over, you might find yourself frustrated. I think the people who just do Alkaizer Runs or Vault of the Assassin really don’t get that much to be honest. Again, all this goes back to setting goals for yourself. Alkaizer Runs were popularized on the basis of paragon leveling. After that others such as Raoha have tried to create other solutions for efficient paragon leveling. Remember, those are just guides but not necessarily the best methods for the individual.

My style varies depending on my class, gear and what I want to accomplish. My Demon Hunter is, unfortunately, my best all-around class but I have little desire re-running Alkaizer Runs all the time. I feel that Alkaizer Runs might be okay for experience, but they get extremely boring after a short period. Instead, I think Act 3 near complete runs might be better overall. The nice thing about progressing like that is you feel like you’re moving forward rather than doing things for strict efficiency. It feels less boring and gives you something to look forward to rather than just the same five areas over and over.

But here’s the other thing that I’m beginning to believe. Doing Alkaizer Runs for drops also hinders your drops. The problem is that by doing Alkaizer Runs you’re essentially knocking off the 5 stacks of Nephlam Valor each time you reset. So that you’re missing out on a lot of good items with the automatic rare that you get per elite/champion pack.

Quite often, I’ll read on forums how people complain about not finding legendaries despite being of high paragon level. But the bigger question to me is what is their farming strategy? If they’re doing Alkaizer Runs or restricting everything to Vault of the Assassin, they’re probably missing out on a lot of guaranteed items. I watched some people on stream and noticed that they ended up skipping white mobs. However, for myself, I find many legendaries on white mobs as well. So just restricting oneself to certain types of mobs and quick runs makes me believe that people could be missing out.

Another thing I feel is wrong is how people only pick up certain types of items. I know there are a few popular youtubers/streamers who dictate that only certain types of items are worth picking up. They believe that you lose efficiency in avoiding the other items. However, let’s say you lack gold or have poor gear and need to build up your war chest. Those rares and the gold drops can add up fairly quickly. And they’re guaranteed. Right now, I probably average around at least 500k/run doing near complete Act 3 clears. I rarely find anything worth putting up on the Auction House and most of the items I end up selling for between 10-20k max. However, on an Monster Power 2 near complete Act 3 run on my Demon Hunter, I can load up around 5-6 bags of rares that might garner me around 30-50k/trip.

The thing is that picking up those items and gold takes a few extra seconds but that’s all guaranteed money. For myself since it takes roughly 2 1/2 Act 3 near complete runs on Monster Power 2 to gain paragon levels for my Demon Hunter, I can compliment my leveling with farming and estimate my incoming gold. That’s not that bad.

Some things I do consider as I farm Act 3 Inferno on varying Monster Powers is my gear/stats on my characters. I did try Monster Power 1 on my Tempest Rush monk but he had quite a bit of trouble due to low DPS, resistances, life-on-hit and life (EHP). On the other hand, my barbarian is doing fine because of those higher stats. I might give my witch doctor a try in terms of higher Monster Power as well just for fun to see how he does considering he’s closer to my Demon Hunter with regards to overall stats and DPS. Right now, I feel that if you have around 20k health, 400-500 resistances, 400 life-on-hit and between 70-80k DPS, you can handle Inferno normal mode just fine. My Demon Hunter is at 140k DPS (buffed) with 460 resistances, but 45k life and over 460 life-on-hit and has no issues doing Monster Power 2 (except when I’m playing stupid or have some bad luck).

Either way, I think it’s important to move beyond just efficiency and see how much you really get out of your runs before choosing a method. Set your goals up and figure out what you want to accomplish in your runs. Everything shouldn’t just boil down to what popular people are doing. Experiment a little and discover on your own what works best for you.

Diablo 3: Witch Doctor Paragon Leveling

So recently, my hand started to really hurt playing my Demon Hunter in Diablo 3. Too much spamming of keys, mouse buttons and just hard to control. I decided to try something else for a bit since I was burning out on the Demon Hunter. That made me return to my Witch Doctor.

The Witch Doctor to me feels like an underutilized, massively under played class. Not sure if it’s because of how the Witch Doctor looks or his abilities. But outside of PVP where the Witch Doctor rules, few use the class as a farming class. It’s a shame because the class for me has been loads of fun. I use the Acid Cloud build, which to me, is loads of fun without requiring too heavy of an investment.

When I started Inferno, I put around 18 million gold into getting his gear. I tried balancing stats like All Resists with some damage and armor. That allowed me to handle normal mode Inferno just fine (although I still haven’t completed Act 4; that’s just me being lazy). Recently, I put in another 15 million gold by purchasing Tal Rasha’s Allegiance with some critical hit, Zunimassa’s Marrow with better life related stats and a cheap (1.5 million) Vile Ward with again life related stats. The idea was to push a little extra DPS and survivability. I went from 20k health to 28k health, which is more than enough for Inferno normal mode. Outside of increasing my DPS, I would say that I need a little more life-on-hit for Reflect Damage mobs. But on normal mode Inferno, I don’t feel any effect.

If my guy dies, it’s just dumb luck or me being sloppy. Spirit Walk is my “get out of jail” card so I’m able to handle most situations unless it’s on cooldown. My build is a good mixture of tankiness and DPS. He’s hitting a little over 100k DPS (maybe over 80k unbuffed) and I can rush through Act 3 without any major difficulties.

What I like about this build is that it’s pretty much brain dead easy. You have 4 minions on top of your follower (for which I use a templar). Most of the time you’re spamming Acid Cloud on large groups of enemies, which essentially 1-shots them. I use Firebomb with Ghost Bomb for single targets when my mana is low. My minions handle everything else.

Now, here’s the reasons why I enjoy this build so much: pickup radius! Unlike my Demon Hunter who has virtual no pick up radius (actually the rest of my guys for that matter), my Witch Doctor has a pretty sizable pick up radius with the Thing of the Deep offhand. Most top Witch Doctors use the Uhkapian Serpent. While those may provide a DPS boost for Witch Doctors, I find it better at least for entry level Witch Doctors to go with Thing of the Deep. It just feels less painful not having to deal with gold and health globes on a micromanagement level.

I have yet to try my Witch Doctor on higher Monster Power levels. But I think since he’s beginning off, there’s really no point in pushing him at this stage. I’m doing this mostly to take a break and try a different class while waiting for the new patch to come out. My hand feels better in playing this class compared to my Demon Hunter. Overall, it’s a lot less micromanagement. The class/build is pretty well balanced, doesn’t take an outrageous amount of gold and can be pretty fun. You can’t beat the Whirlwind Barbarian nor Tempest Monk for farming and paragon leveling specs, but this build with the Thing of the Deep offhand does allow you to farm gold and play reasonably efficiently without going nuts on a budget.

 

 

Alien/Prometheus – Why Did Ridley Scott Re-release the Egg Scene in Theaters?

As I continue to work on my outline for Prometheus 2, one question hit me today: why did Ridley Scott re-release the controversial egg scene in theaters (i.e. the Director’s Cut)? I ask this because the film was continuously re-released on DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. I felt that all the re-releases were satisfying enough for hardcore fans. But back when Alien’s Director Cut was shown to the theaters, despite it being limited release (from what I remember), it was a really odd thing to do considering the movie is over three decades old.

But since Prometheus came out, I thought perhaps Scott did it to generate some excitement ahead of time for what people had assumed would become the prequel to Alien. Yet re-releasing the Director’s Cut to theaters on a global scale was such an odd move.

In seeing what happened in Prometheus, we can see some connections with Alien but no direct links. So outside of generating some enthusiasm back for the series, I’m wondering if showing Alien to the world, especially with the egg scene, Ridley Scott attempted to hint at something bigger? While Ridley Scott did acknowledge his respect for the introduction of the Queen Alien in James Cameron’s Aliens, I feel that Ridley Scott might have disagreed about the general direction of the Alien series in general and wanted to show the world what really was going on.

More importantly though, I feel that by showing the Director’s Cut on a global scale, Ridley Scott was intentionally preparing us for the story he wanted to tell in Prometheus. I feel that the Alien franchise in general has gone in the wrong direction, especially the way Dan O’Bannon originally envisioned the lifecycle of the Alien. Cameron’s Aliens entailed his fixation on technology, family and war so the alien lifecycle itself was a consequence but not the primary focus. Ridley Scott, as the original director for the series, seemed to want to put his foot down and tell people (especially those who argue for canon vs non-canon) about the actual lifecycle of the alien.

This is important because Prometheus partly delves into the questions on the origins of life as well as topics like genetic engineering. These are far more compelling subjects compared to inane hack jobs Hollywood have been putting out all these years. By showing the egg scene to a global audience, Ridley Scott essentially re-opened the path for the alien lifecycle and these heavier topics that aren’t just some unjustified goofy scare mechanism some fanboy put together in 20 minutes.

Of course, we still lack answers and want to figure out the connection between Prometheus, the engineers, humans, Alien and LV-426. But this was his way of telling people that his vision is canon and return control back where it belongs.

Prometheus: What Does David Know?

In my quest to write up a reasonable Prometheus 2 script, I constantly struggle in figuring out all the questions from the first movie. Yesterday, I attempted to examine the Ampule Room in trying to flesh out what it possible could represent. Today, I want to delve into David’s character a little since he’ll obviously play a prominent part in the upcoming Prometheus 2 movie. Here, I will attempt to answer the question “What does David know?”

Ironically, David was one of the least flat characters in Prometheus. A few characters like Shaw had clear motivations and personality traits. But the vast majority were more or less cardboard stock characters. David though, because of Michael Fassbender’s great acting and Ridley Scott’s interest in androids, becomes one of the more popular characters in Prometheus. Despite all this, David does have a great deal of mystery surrounding him, which makes it extremely difficult and interesting to answer the question posed above.

The most compelling aspect of David’s knowledge is how much he was able to learn and ascertain from studying the engineers. Considering that he did not require certain elements in humans like sleep, he was able to utilize his time to fully focus on learning languages and perhaps other things during his spare time. We only get a small glimpse of his activities during the pre-orbit scene. Because of the time period of the travel, we can assume that David has effectively gained even more knowledge than what we see. It’s unknown if the company had further information on the engineers, but considering that Weyland and Vickers, the two top brass, seemed ignorant of the situation, it’s highly unlikely.

The two main things though to come from his learning experience are his capacity to learn and speed. We can only presume that he has a near indefinite amount of learning potential that perhaps has the ability in the future to exceed that of a human. We can also assume that his deductive reasoning is far superior to humans as we see him being able to quickly determine how to fly the alien ship and invoke the hologram of the engineers.

I think though that we can limit his knowledge to a certain point about the engineers. What I mean by that is he probably up to the scene where his head is torn off does not detect the engineers’ hostile intent. Otherwise, he probably would’ve done a better job in acting as a mediator between the crew (especially Weyland) and the engineers.

The main knowledge that he is hiding but hasn’t explicitly stated up to this point though concerns the ampules. He did manage to privately study the ampule object and had some impression on what the liquid could do. This obviously is something that needs to be addressed as Shaw noted in the scene where David reveals the air did not affect David.

Yet there’s little clues provided to demonstrate whether David utilized anything from within the engineers’ vessel to ascertain more information about the black substance. He does realize that some of the stuff was organic. Yet was he able to further analyze what the substance could do? Considering that Shaw and Ford were able to simultaneously conclude that the blood of the engineer matched human DNA, we can infer that David has similar equipment and knows at least as much, if not more since he has his own sample.

Now, an interesting thought that isn’t directly related but can be connected is the notion of the God Particle. Occasionally in science, you’ll hear about physicists researching something called the God Particle. I believe Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons” attempted to address this idea. While the black substance isn’t exactly a particle, the black substance does deal in the subject matter of DNA and molecules. It is possible that the engineers have either created or discovered something like the God Particle.

The reason why I want to connect the God Particle to DNA/molecules and the black substance is that David asks Holloway, “How far would you go to get what you came all this way for — to get your answers?” It’s clear that Holloway, despite claiming to not be religious, has some sense of belief in something. Like Janek when Shaw asks why he decided to partake in this mission, Holloway too wants to find out something. Where we came from, why do we exist, what’s our purpose? These are the fundamental questions humans constantly ask themselves. So that begs the question why David would give the black substance to Holloway?

Some people argue that David may have done so maliciously because of jealousy for Shaw and/or his mistreatment by Holloway. However, David really isn’t abused but rather treated as a tool. Despite not being able to express himself emotionally, David, I feel, is exhibiting the closest thing to empathy for Holloway by giving him the black substance. I do believe that David has figured out that the black substance is like the God Particle and has some answer. It’s not the verbal answer that humans may desire but something great, maybe metaphysical.

Before moving on, I want to address one other issue that we can probably assume for the upcoming movie. We’ve seen the space crafts to be outfitted with their own hypersleep type of cryochamber. So assuming that the engineers’ home world is far away, he’ll probably do some similar activity in learning more about the engineers with their technology. Naturally, this leads to the question of how much knowledge/technology the engineers have aboard their craft but we won’t be able to answer that until at least the sequel.

On that note, I want to move away from David’s knowledge of the engineers to David’s personality and certain aspects. I did cover how I feel David is not acting in malice towards Holloway. As odd as it sounds, David does not strike me as a particularly “evil” android the way say Ash was constructed. His intense curiosity perhaps is the one the that makes him human-like and is that element of a “soul” that Weyland says he lacks.

However, David might be a slave figure. After all, there was the dialog between him and Shaw about wanting their parents to be dead. It’s a real bizarre interaction that comes out of nowhere but there’s a hint of motivation behind David. My guess is that he might see either humans and/or Weyland as slave drivers over him. In Blade Runner, we saw similar motivations in the robots like Roy Batty. Here, it feels as though Ridley Scott is attempting to bridge some of the concepts of both movies together. One could argue that the idea of life is self-preservation and propagation. It’s only logical then that David will “want” to persevere. For him to be able to pursue the things that make him happy (i.e. satisfy his curiosity), his parents/creators must pass on so that he’s able to be independent.

The thing in the story of Prometheus is that David is able to gain a certain independence once Weyland passes on. At least, the Weyland corporation cannot control him. This is an important thing that I feel should be explored in the upcoming sequel because I do not feel that his actions have been malevolent, but driven through the purpose of Weyland’s orders. I don’t know if he would be aware of Holloway and Shaw having sex, but it does feel that he was experimenting at least on Holloway once David understood what the black substance could do. That does not mean he necessarily agreed, which is why he had the courtesy to ask permission in a way first from Holloway.

Finally, I have to ask one last thing about David and it’s something that, as I mentioned before, we all ask ourselves: what is his purpose? Logically, David’s purpose is to serve humans and the Weyland corporation to the best of his duty. That’s something he’s been programmed with. But does David feel that he has a purpose beyond that?

That sentence alone is loaded just by the fact that I utilized the word “feel” in conjunction with David. Obviously, he has sensors to detect things but how he interacts with them differs. But can there be an internal sense of feeling that he is unable to describe and something he longs for? We see a sense of disappointment when Weyland describes David as never having a soul. Holloway often calls David “boy” making a reference to Pinocchio. Even if people assume that androids possess no feelings, we always have to wonder if, given superior computing capacity and algorithms for AI in the future, androids are eventually going to be capable of learning to the point of discovering their own sense of feeling.

This is something I doubt anyone can truly know and it’s a question I actually would not want the sequel to explicitly reveal to us. It’s an element that is mysterious and should be left to our imaginations. We can hint for an answer but anything straight forward would ruin things.

Prometheus: What Was the Ampule Room Exactly?

As I try to get back into writing the script for Prometheus 2, I find myself struggling to connect what I’m doing back to the original movie. There were numerous questions left in the movie that many people want answered. I covered some speculation in a previous blog, but I think one of the biggest unanswered questions that I didn’t spend enough time on, which probably is a critical element to a Prometheus 2 script is delving into the Ampule Room and what it represents

First, let’s enumerate the important aspects of the Ampule Room:

  • Urns containing the black substance that reacted once the door was opened and the crew entered
  • Giant human-like head that possibly could be connected to the engineers as a deity (with the only hint by a brief reference from Milburn just prior to the hammerpede assault)
  • Murals on the ceiling that depicted a possible engineer subjugating a dog/bird-like creature (domination of life?) that react once the door was opened and the crew entered
  • Hammerpedes (or worms just prior to their transformation)
  • David speaking aloud about the black substance yet the crew not noticing until they were searching for Milburn and Fifield
  • The possible Alien Queen mural that Holloway spotted which detects the lifecycle of the alien
  • The head of the decapitated engineer
  • A room that is configured in appearance similar to the cargo hold of the ship found on LV-426
  • An emerald urn-like object that Holloway discovers sitting on what could be a ceremonial mound

What’s going on in these elements? How do they relate to each other? Is there also a relationship to Alien/LV-426?

It seems that people have spent the most time in discussing the black substance. There are both symbolic and literal (scientific) theories on what it represents. So I want to avoid talking about it, especially since I discussed the ideas in a previous blog post.

Now, one of the more interesting elements that I have not explored much is the giant human-like head. The only time we get an explicit hint in the movie is when Milburn wonders aloud if the head was a god figure for the engineers. I feel that it’s the exact question the audience must be wondering when they first see it. Considering that many movie posters show that head along with the title of “Prometheus”, you can even say that we naturally will connect that figure to the Greek god of Prometheus. After all, why create a room like this with all these urns and construct such a huge figure with just the head?

I read some interesting exposition on the symbolic relevance of the head and how the chamber itself is made in conjunction to Satan’s resting place. As many themes in the film involve God, the origin of life and religion, it wouldn’t surprise me to see how this can be connected to Satan.

Unfortunately, I think if we made too overt of a connect to God, then there would be a lot of uprisings and controversy. This idea is similar to how Ridley did not want to directly link the engineers to Jesus, but just laid out a subtle possibility in his universe.

Yet the head can serve in a similar vein of talking about the arrogance of species in erecting their own images of themselves. One discussion linked the head as the original engineer of the species that perhaps gave himself a god-like status by engendering the statue. I want to transition to ceiling mural with the engineer and the odd creature because I do think there’s a possible connection.

The full image of the mural shows an engineer with a bizarre creature:

The creature though foreign to us might simply represent a random alien on another planet or something that the engineers themselves had manufactured. What it actually is for this purpose is irrelevant (people have suggested that it represents the eagle that tore at Prometheus’ crimes, but I want to avoid that discussion here). But the important thing to me is the posture of the creature in relation to the engineer depicted. I believe that the engineer is shown domineering the creature, once again showing the prowess of the engineers over life. As I mentioned about the head, the engineers (or perhaps the head itself) exist to dominate life. Or perhaps the head/god creature is shown for that purpose and the room is essentially a tribute to this engineer, almost like a temple.

Now, one of the curious aspects of the mural itself is that it reacts and changes. We do not see the complete transformation except that it seems to be erasing itself. Shaw infers that the crew themselves are creating the reaction (which might be true considering that the ampules also react to their presence). One interpretation I have is that the mural is the original story of Prometheus except that Prometheus this time managed to conquer the eagle. The crews appearance disrupts the story thus causing the change and it’s something we need to keep watching to find out.

The hammerpedes/worms are a truly bizarre interjection in the room. The main question for me is why things started to change when the crew entered yet remained dormant with these creatures present? Despite the connection to Satan’s tomb that the Ampule Room has, this element is not easily explainable. Some people have connected the hammerpedes to snakes/cobras which in turn are linked to the Garden of Eden. Obviously, their upgraded form is violent but the fact that they are “upgradable” at all yet cannot inherently affect the urns shows a disconnect. The only possible explanation is that humans possess a key in their DNA that allow the urns to react but the substance itself has the ability to convert any being with a true life pulse.

I did mention how David was the only person who originally noticed the black substance leaking. Everyone else was preoccupied with the engineer’s decapitated head or the alien mural. My guess is that from a plot point of view Ridley did not want the crew to be forewarned about the substance early on since it would affect Fifield. Still it’s strange that no one observed this event at all.

I already discussed most of the alien mural and how it depicted the lifecycle of the alien. One thing I did read while researching the murals is the possibility that this alien was bound rather than Prometheus in a bizarre role reversal. When you look closely at the alien, it appears that the arms of the creature are bound. Again, we have to ask whether or not the engineers managed to either manufacture these creatures and/or dominate them. Also, something to think about is why this mural did not change from Holloway’s proximity.

Next, we have the decapitated engineer’s head. Although it’s obvious what the head is, it isn’t as obvious as to what it represents. My concern in bringing this up is that we have two symbols in the form of heads in the room. Only David makes a remark in the room about the giant head being human-like. But this could just be a subtle foreshadowing that connects the decapitated head to the engineer’s head and what it could look like once the helmet is removed. Beyond that, I don’t have any other interpretations at this time as to why the head symbol is involved.

After that, I want to talk a bit about the configuration of the room being similar to the egg silo in Alien. When you remove things like the murals, giant head, etc., the room practically is the same as the egg chamber in Alien. In addition, David, towards the end of the film, reveals that there are more ships on the planet, which allows Shaw and David to escape. These elements make me suspect that the ship’s cargo hold eventually leads to what becomes the egg silos, perhaps even the one from LV-426. If there is a connection to the Alien movie down the road, it’s the potential for the population of the egg silo.

One idea I’ve been toying with is how the genetics for the hammerpede might intermingle with say an engineer or human, which results in the alien egg and facehugger.  The aliens themselves, in Scott’s original vision, represent the age old question, “What came first, the alien or the egg?” I feel that at least with regards to the alien creatures themselves as we see them, the intermixing of the black substance, hammerpedes, humans/engineers eventually result in the alien species. I don’t really want to be re-introduced to the hammerpedes, but it would make some sense on that level if we wanted to connect them, the triolobytes and the ampules back to the original series.

The last little bit in the room to discuss is the emerald object. We do not receive a very clear visual of what that emerald object is. The only thing we can see is that it’s oblong and has something inside possibly. The crystal also isn’t fully manifested and seems half covered with only the underside being exposed.

The only two things we can conjecture about this is the shape and a similar object stored inside the ampule that David removes. The ampule that David removes contains a slender vase-like container, almost bottle shaped with the black liquid. While the appearance of this object isn’t exactly the same as the bottle found inside of the ampule, one has to question if there is a connection.

The thing about this object is that it’s larger, greener and more avoid than the bottle. The shape being ovoid is closer to that of an egg. Naturally, one must link this to both the eggs and the ampule container. Perhaps, this thing is an evolved version of the object inside of the ampule. Perhaps, this thing may evolve into an alien egg. Why else is it placed ceremoniously in front of the alien mural in something could possibly be an altar?

Also, Holloway mutters that the room itself is just a tomb. But beyond the head of the engineer, what other bodies are inside of the room to make him utter such a firm statement? Or is his remark just about the entire ship? For me, the room could just be a foreshadowing of what’s to come with everything setup to eventually act as an entombment for trespassers or the engineers’ enemies should they decide to invade a place like earth.

Again to me all these elements represent things that need to answered and is something I wanted to ask out loud. My last question is a small segue but goes into something I missed earlier that does not have any direct relevance to the Ampule Room. It’s how Fifield, upon dying, does not spew acid. Of course, he’s burned to death, but I imagine that his blood could possibly drip from the injuries of the bullets the security guards’ weapons. I find this to be a critical point because we do see the hammerpede as the only creature with acid for blood that was affected by the black substance. However, Fifield does not exhibit the same condition. I doubt that Ridley Scott is such a sloppy director to leave such a critical element out of the film.

The reason why I wanted to bring this point up is that again I feel that the hammerpede creatures somehow intermingle with the DNA of humans or whatever to create the acidic aliens. I think this is something that will eventually be addressed (or should be addressed) in the upcoming movie. I don’t think the black substance alone changes the blood of any species that touch it into acid, but that species who are infected by it are enhanced somehow. But I feel that acid for blood is not going to be one property.

Anyway, glad to have put these thoughts down. It’s going to help me organize the story I’m writing a lot better.