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Dec. 25th, 2017 @ 10:20 pm Bearer Seek Seek Lest
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I really like the Dark Souls series of games — especially to watch people play them, because the gameplay is simple to learn but hard to master. It’s a sword-and-sorcery setting, and you play a human who has been afflicted with the curse of undeath. The curse can be undone, and for that purpose you travel to a ruined land, filled with other undead and assorted monsters. If you die, you revive at your last checkpoint (bonfires): you’re undead after all! But every time you rest at a bonfire to replenish your health and restorative items, all the adversaries you’ve bested are respawned as well! You also have to get back to the place where you were killed to retrieve your souls, which serve as both XP and currency for the merchants.
Your main restorative item is the Estus Flask, which you can ‘drink’ from to replenish some health. The Estus Flask gets refilled when you rest at a bonfire (but at the cost of respawning all the enemies).

My favourite of the series is Dark Souls 2. This is a very unpopular opinion: DS2 is widely regarded as the weakest of the series — it is also the only game in the series that was not overseen by the original director. It is a bit of a mish-mash, but that doesn’t really bother me: I’m there for the gameplay, and DS2 had some innovations that I really like.
In DS2, you encounter the Emerald Herald at the ‘main’ bonfire in Majula, the central spot in the ruined world you’re exploring. Only through her can you spend your souls and level up to improve your stats. Whenever you engage with her, she launches into a four sentences. You can skip the sentences, but you’ll hear the first word from every sentence, so you’ll hear “Bearer Seek Seek Lest”.

So when I was watching someone play it on Twitch, she linked to her online store for an Estus flask pin, which even has the “Bearer Seek Seek Lest” banner! Being a fan of DS2 and a collector of pins, this is right up my alley. But then the postage turned out to be three times as much as the pin itself, and that killed it for me. USD 40 for a single pin is just too much, and I don’t need more than one!

I fondly remember the days of the USPS flat-rate international envelope: everything you could cram into there was shipped for about USD 10! I got some DVDs from the US with really cheap postage: a single envelope would hold three or four DVD cases. One time I even got a stack of arcade tokens in such an envelope — it weighed a ton, but still: flat rate!
It is kind of weird that with more and more webshops, our ability to purchase things from afar has increased dramatically. But the shipping costs spiralling out of control kind of kills it. Especially for small items.

(Also: new userpic!)

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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From:andrewducker
Date:December 26th, 2017 10:38 am (UTC)
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That's an awesome pin!

And yeah, there have been several t-shirts I fancied recently but international shipping would have been ridiculous - plus import taxes too!
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From:fub
Date:December 27th, 2017 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, you'd think that with the rise of internet shopping, the logistics would be getting marginally cheaper because there's more bulk to be moved, so you can spread your fixed costs over more packages. But it seems the opposite has happened.

A group buy is a possibility, but you'd have to find sufficient interested parties who are semi-local.
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From:andrewducker
Date:December 28th, 2017 11:07 am (UTC)
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Yeah.

You'd think that there would be more international companies too. So if you were ordering from the UK they'd print in the UK and send from there.
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From:fub
Date:January 2nd, 2018 10:31 am (UTC)
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I know of a few print-on-demand companies that do that, like OneBookshelf. The POD model is ideal for that: you don't need to keep physical inventory so you're not incurring costs twice.
For physical things like boardgames and T-shirts (and pins!), it's a different story.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 2nd, 2018 11:22 am (UTC)
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Print on demand *is* for physical things. By definition...
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From:fub
Date:January 2nd, 2018 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Doh. Yes, of course. But POD books can be made from the raw materials in a time- and cost-effective way. So you only have to store the raw materials and keep enough on stock to satisfy the average demand. It doesn't matter whether a piece of paper is used for printing one book or another.
It is not the same for other physical things, where you have to store the thing itself.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 2nd, 2018 02:15 pm (UTC)
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But is true of t-shirts, which I got a custom one off printed a month ago, for about £12.
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From:fub
Date:January 2nd, 2018 02:19 pm (UTC)
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Yes, there is this process to "print" on a shirt, and you can do small print runs cost-effectively. But the quality is not the same as with a proper silk-screened shirt. At least, not when I looked at those kinds of shirts a few years ago.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 2nd, 2018 02:17 pm (UTC)
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Not so useful for your pin, of course.
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