Nexus Destiny

Bel Against Nature

treefrog As I said yesterday morning, last night we had a big end of school cookout to attend and in spite of my antisocial tendencies I enjoyed myself quite a bit.  However this morning I am paying for that enjoyment as my sinuses and lungs are full of crud from “extended exposure to nature”.  The food however was amazing as was the company.  This little guy showed up towards the end of the night, and we all ended up snapping photos of him.  Firstly I had zero clue that Tree Frogs existed in Oklahoma, secondly if they did I didn’t realize they could be green.  Most of the frogs you see around here are muddy brown or grey to mix into the surroundings.  According to the biology teacher in the midst this guy is NOT native to Oklahoma, but we have no clue where he comes from.

The other thing I am wishing I had snapped a photo of were the kittens.  One of them tried really hard to come home with us, and I totally would have been cool with that…  if I didn’t think it would completely upset the existing balance with our three cats.  These babies were the most chill and relaxed I have seen.  One of them I carried around in the crook of my arm on her back like I would a ferret.  She was all to happy to have my scratch her belly, and none of them really seemed to use their claws at all.  The most entertaining thing was listening to the back and forth with the parents as the various kids tried really hard to adopt one for their own.  One girl damned near outlined a PowerPoint presentation for exactly why she should have a cat.  But alas her mother decided that she would rather have a crying daughter than a divorce.

I have a sneaking suspicion that in our household this will not be the end of the talk of the adorable kittens.  Right now our eldest cat is extremely picky, and I am afraid bringing a little one into the mix would set her off.  That said it is impossible to find more relaxed cats than these I think.  I am such a softie when it comes to little furry things.  The desire to adopt them all is why we had six cats at one point.  Over the years we’ve had two bunnies, six different ferrets, two sugar gliders, a hamster, a guinea pig, and in total ten different cats to date.  So I am sure there will be more cats in our future, in spite of me putting up a good defense… I always eventually give in.  Right now I am happy with just cats and ferrets though, and I doubt I will branch out into other fuzzy children again.

Newbie Blogger Initiative

Today is the last day of the Newbie Blogger Initiative for 2014, and I feel like I should have probably done more.  This year I have set in a different role, doing more personal tutelage of participants than big informational posts.  Mostly this happened because as far as a advice goes I am not sure what I could say that has not already been articulated better.  I don’t really know what I am doing, and I am still very much figuring it out on a daily basis.  In a way I have been a Newbie this year as well in that this is our first year doing the podcast.  Tonight will be our 8th episode, so I am pretty proud of how that has progressed so far.  I am also very much a newbie at this whole streaming thing, even though this month I have cut down massively on the amount of time I have devoted to it.  May is pure hell, but hopefully as we move into June things will chill out quite a bit.

About mid month I reworked my blogroll so I have all of the Class of 2014 blogs listed there.  You should totally check them out because this crop is doing some pretty great things.  What has been the most interesting for me personally is that a number of my long term friends have opted to start or recommit to blogs this month as well.  I have each of them in my blogroll and I have been seeing some pretty great stuff come out of the “noobs”.  We as a community need this event, to help replace the many people who just stop blogging each year for whatever reason.  As someone who spends a lot of time doing this… I fully understand the desire to throw up your arms and stop.  That said we need this transfusion of talent each year to help keep the gaming blogosphere a vibrant place.

Here is a rundown of my NBI topics this month.

So I guess at the end of the month I didn’t do as poorly as I thought I did.  Six posts devoted to NBI2014 is probably better than I did during the 2013 run.  My only real regret is that I didn’t come up with anything brilliant for Syl’s Poetry Slam.  I think maybe the topic of “Magic” threw me for a loop, because I have a very negative feeling towards “finger wigglers” as I call them.  I am at home with swords and shields and shotguns…  but I have always shied away from casters and wizards and spell slingers.  I tried to come up with an epic about slaying an evil necromancer… but nothing really worked.  So I wish I had come up with something, but I am sure she will have plenty of entries this year to choose from.

Nexus Destiny

WildStar64 2014-05-31 08-21-05-015 Today is the beginning of the Headstart for Wildstar.  I think the servers came up last night at Midnight PST, which would have made it 2 am for me.  I have a deep seething hatred of all of these launch dates being centered around PST, but I not much you can do about it when a studio is from the west coast.  I was so damned happy when the Elder Scrolls Online times were all based on East Coast.  All of this gnashing of teeth aside, I got in this morning rather smoothly and created Belghast the Chua Engineer and Belgrave the Human Warrior.  Both of which are on Evindra the PVE-RP server… which is where all the sane and rational people seem to be rolling characters.  I say that jokingly, but almost all of my twitter list will apparently be on that one server, so even if folks are not all in the same guild it will be good to at least have them all centralized on the same server community.

WildStar64 2014-05-31 08-24-14-744 This is the new Belghast… while I could not do anything vaguely close to my traditional “Bel” look as an angry bunny/rat/thing I feel like I captured the “feeling”.  Something about playing as a Chua immediately made this game more enjoyable.  I think mostly it is the animations, and the fact that in early games I always favored dwarves or small races in general.  My original Everquest character was a Dwarf and my first WoW characters were all also Dwarves.  So while this seems like a huge departure race wise for me… someone who mostly rolls humans, it is more a “getting back to my roots” of sorts.  I am still up in the air about this game, but I am going to give it a fair shake.  I did not intend to like Final Fantasy XIV at all, but ended up having a blast playing it.  So I am hoping that Wildstar will be another similar case.  I feel like this is precisely the game that I would have loved… about five years ago, but I’ve changed massively since then.  Here is hoping there is a game inside of Wildstar that the current me will enjoy.  In any case I plan on still playing quite a bit of Elder Scrolls as well.

#Wildstar #NBI2014

Too Many Games

I’m a Cheater

Once again I am doing what I consider cheating… which is writing up a post at night that I intend to post in the morning.  Basically tomorrow is another one of those “ride in together” days, because directly after work we have a big end of school cookout thing to go to.  So I simply won’t have much time to do my faff about verbally thing tomorrow morning.  As such I am staging a post tonight, and doing the same thing everyone else… but for whatever reason I feel like I am somehow betraying the ritual by doing.  Today’s topic I have been kicking around for awhile, so I figure this is as good of a time to spring it on my adoring readers…  look I like to pretend I have adoring readers okay.

Too Many Games

Right now things have reached a sort of critical mass with me, and there are entirely too damned many games right now that I want to be playing.  This could not have hit at a worse time considering how busy the tail end of school is combined with the fact that we have weddings and graduations and such to attend.  Normally I feel like I can reasonably juggle three to four games at a time bouncing back and forth between them.  The other day I posted saying that multi-gaming was even an awesome thing to do… considering it kept you from getting bogged down in the decisions a game company makes that you don’t necessarily agree with.  However for me, I am spreading myself super thin with a ton of different activities that I want to be doing.  So today I am going out outline each of the games that I am playing and lament the things I would love to have time to do in them.

Elder Scrolls Online

eso 2014-05-23 19-34-45-037 Right now I still consider Elder Scrolls Online my primary game.  At roughly two months since headstart I am still very much loving this game.  It has some problems, namely with difficulty of grouping, but as far as the game itself goes I dig it massively.  I’m working my way through Auridon and slowly creeping up on Veteran Rank 2.  I have so much that I still want to do in this game, but lately my schedule has limited my time in it.  This is the type of game that I can only really play if I am fully focused on it, and this is doubly so with the veteran content.  Shit can go wrong in a heartbeat if you are not doing all the right things, so it means on the nights I am not feeling all that… I end up playing something else.

Wildstar

WildStar64 2014-05-14 17-55-10-794 This game is the new hotness it seems and it launches tomorrow, at least for the headstart folks.  I mostly preordered this game in case I decided I was in love with it, and I wanted to make sure I secured the preorder bonuses.  I really dig the pre-order house, and I did not care for anything in the Collectors Edition pack… so I went with the normal.  I am still so up in the air about this game… there are things I like and things I don’t like.  Right now I am simply not sure who is going to win out, however since everyone is playing it, and it scratches the same itch that World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic do… going to give it a good college try.

ArcheAge

archeage 2014-05-13 21-43-39-052 Speaking of games I am conflicted about…  welcome to ArcheAge.  I find so much about this game intriguing and repulsive at the same time.  It is this fusion of one of the most interesting games system wise and class wise… combined with one of the worst communities I have experienced.  This game has invented new ways for you to grief your fellow players… and this is the sort of thing I have zero interest in.  That alone would be enough to make me go running and screaming into the night… but the class system is so damned interesting to me.  I love the concept of “Rift without Restrictions” and that is pretty much what the open class system seems like.  It reminds me so much of the way the class system for Horizon worked… and that is a great thing.

Heroes of the Storm

Play 2014-03-14 07-51-05-19 I want so badly to be playing this game right now… but I also want so badly to not be playing this game with strangers.  The MOBA thing is one of those things that I really only enjoy if I am queuing with people I know.  That said supposedly the queue times are greatly improved with the new client.  If you are in the HoTS alpha… please let me know!  I need more people to queue with, and I feel horrible for being in this game when so many people want in… and not playing it much.

Defiance

Defiance 2014-05-29 06-30-42-873 The last few nights I have been playing this game again and really enjoying myself.  The whole shift in how I approach it has really helped quite a bit.  I would love to see more people playing it because I think it would be far more enjoyable to run around as a group.  I still have yet to really scratch the surface of any of the story content, and feel like I should do that.  Really enjoyed the first season of the television show, and would love to get caught up on the in game content before the next season starts.

Final Fantasy 5

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 21-56-13-507 At this point I am behind my friends in this game, and quite honestly I am struggling to get the oomph to play it.  That said I feel like I should really finish this game as part of the FF5 draft thing we did.  I feel like I would be a horrible person if I didn’t finish it.  That said I also know I am going to get talked into doing the Four Job Fiesta in a month…  so not sure if I will finish before then either.

Trove

Trove 2013-11-25 16-57-34-42 There is something about this game that makes my inner child squeal with glee.  Things are just so damned much fun, and the mob design is amazing.  That said I have been out so long and so much is changing on what seems to be a near weekly basis that I feel hopelessly lost.  At some point I need to resort to reading through all of the patch notes starting around the time I last played in the hopes of understanding how things have changed.  The combat in this game is just enjoyable, I only wish I could play it with a controller.  I guess in theory I could use one of the keypad mappers but I have been lazy.

Landmark

Landmark64 2014-04-13 22-04-40-22 Oh Landmark… how I love you and am completely bored with you at the exact same time.  Right now it is less a game and more a toybox for you to build in, with a ruleset wrapped around it.  This was really fun while I had giant things to build… and while I was progressing through the ranks of collecting the next best mining pick.  Now that I have topped out, and have fleshed out most of what I wanted to build… I log in pretty much only to mine copper and pay my upkeep.  What I need to make me care about this game is the combat system.  Here is hoping I will fall back in love with it when I can run around the world killing things.

Diablo 3

Diablo III 2014-03-29 19-54-54-44 I still don’t have a character to 70, and I feel like I have somehow failed for not doing this.  Basically this released way too close to the launch of Elder Scrolls Online… and I never gave the game the attention it deserves.  At some point soon I really want to work on leveling my crusader, since I have technically beaten the game on my Monk.  I am struggling with the desire to simply grind the last two levels to ding 70.  I figure at some point I will have a renaissance of caring about d3… but it might be awhile before I cycle around to it again.

Rift

rift 2014-05-08 06-09-17-50 The new souls were released and I have yet to even check them out.  I really would like to level my cleric to 60 before the 3.0 patch hits, but I have no clue how long that is.  Right now I am logging in on a weekly basis to get my patron gifts and that is about it.  I thought it would be really cool to do a streaming series where I try and remember how to tank, and do a public service of tanking elites.  I’ve heard the queue times are absolutely insane, and I know personally I have waited over two hours without getting a DPS queue.  I still love this game, but at the same time don’t really know what I want to do in it.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

swtor 2014-05-05 22-32-57-22 A few weeks back I was playing the hell out of SWTOR and enjoying myself.  While I have let my subscription lapse again… I would love to pick back up on my Sith Juggernaut and see what happens after Balmorra.  I have never actually made it off this planet imperial side, but I was really damned close to doing this when I was last playing.  The real challenge will be if I can manage to play the game without subscribing… or will I re-up again only to cancel a few weeks later.

World of Warcraft

Wow-64 2014-03-25 07-16-07-71 Finally there is good ole World of Warcraft.  Once upon a time I had a grand idea of getting everyone to 90 before the expansion.  I have failed miserably at keeping up with this ambition, but who knows if I will actually do this or not.  Right now all I have left are the Priest, Monk and Warlock… all of which are over 60 at the least.  The Warlock and Priest are both in Pandaria content, but at the very beginning.  I might get a wild urge to play again and push these guys across the finish line.  Either that or I might completely abandon this until the release of Warlords of Draenor.  In any case the account is still active, because I pop in periodically to dink around with stuff for the guild.

Nothing at All!

Tonight I will be playing…. nothing more than likely.  We have an end of school cookout and by the time we get done there… we will likely crash, or walk… or walk then crash.  If anything I launch Wildstar and create my characters.  Right now I am planning on having my Chua Engineer and an Exile Warrior of some sort… just not sure if that will be Human or Granok.  In any case I have nothing exciting to report about my master plan for the evening other than hanging out in the real world and eating some good food.

Faffless Wednesday

Banging Doors

Well it happened again last night, I was woken up by one of our cats banging on the closet door.  The problem is after I finally got her crackhead self settled down and up into bed with us…  I once again was completely wide awake.  Problem is this time it was at 12:45 when it started, so there I lay in bed at 1 am completely unable to get back to sleep.  So I sat there for a bit, finally deciding to get up and go upstairs and play something for awhile to hopefully tire myself back out again.  The game of choice was Defiance, but I will go into that more later.  I managed to get to a state where I thought I might sleep around 2 am, but the rest of the night was extremely fitful.

According to fitbit I was awake 9 times during the night.  I have no clue what is going on with me that my body keeps thinking I am fully awake at any point I wake up.  I have always struggled with sleep, and as a result cannot nap for fear of not being able to sleep that night.  This whole waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep thing that has plagued me the last two nights is brand new however.  Right now this morning I feel mostly normal, albeit a little sluggish… I just fear for what this will mean as the day wears on.  Yesterday was rough since I had been up since 3:45, especially about 2 pm or so it became torture to try and do anything productive.  I might have to start resorting to taking a sleep aid, but I hate how groggy they make me feel in the morning.

Faffless Wednesday

eso 2014-05-29 06-28-44-860 Last night for whatever reason we simply did not have a good turnout for our normal “faff about” in Elder Scrolls Online event.  It could be that people were just busy, or it could be that the Wildstar servers were up for some reason yesterday and folks are anxious for the head start coming Friday.  In any case there were just three of us that showed up with the purpose of doing the event, so we decided that it was really too few to do a dungeon, and too few to really do anything meaningful in Cyrodil.  As a result we just kinda piddled around doing our own thing and chatting back and forth.  PK and Delevax joined the rest of us on mumble and we hung out while playing.  I have not really as much time to play Elder Scrolls Online that I would have liked.

Lately my weekends have been scattered with little landmines of not being able to play anything, and then last weekend the amazing single player games Transistor and Wolfenstein: New Order got my devoted attention.  At this point I think I am about two hours away from finishing Wolf, and transistor was a punch in the gut…  but a very good one.  I had been looking forward to Wednesday because I knew I would devote myself to playing nothing but Elder Scrolls Online, even if the “event” didn’t happen.  I have to say I love the veteran content, and more importantly I love that mobs are once again difficult.  There were always a couple of types of encounters that were painful for me…  I am looking at you Harvesters…  but for the most part I had reached a place where I could steam roll in entire packs of mobs.  There were several late game public dungeons that I solo’d my way through, so my skill level with the game had reached a point where it was simply greater than the challenge.

Veteran content reset that equilibrium.  I literally can get my ass kicked by a mudcrab if I happen upon a pack of three, and even in the case of two at a time I have to use Green Blood to heal myself while dealing with the second one.  I like that the game instantly became a challenge again the moment I completed the storyline.  The result is that while I do the Aldmeri Dominion content, the game feels fresh to me since I am having to relearn how to manage tough encounters.  Last night I finished up Kenarthi’s Roost and moved on into Auridon.  Since this is the content I have done the least, I am really enjoying winding my way through elfland.  I’ve decided that I really like the Bosmer…  I was talking last night with Euron that they remind me quite a bit of the Witch Elves from Warhammer Fantasy.  As much as I want to dislike her, I have to admit that Queen Ayrenn is pretty awesome as well.

Figuring out Defiance

Defiance 2014-05-29 06-30-42-873 I wrote yesterday mornings blog post at about 4 am, and then proceeded to faff about in Defiance for the next hour until 5:30 when the alarm normally goes off.  During that time I think I finally figured out how to enjoy the game.  There was always something I liked about it, but the experience just felt lacking in some way.  Like I didn’t quite grasp how the questing system worked or how the world exploration worked.  The first change I made is that I started playing the game with the Xbox 360 controller.  While it controls competently with the keyboard and mouse, everything feels like it just works better with the controller.  I guess this is the side effect when you develop a game for consoles, but I am slowly getting used to playing an FPS with a controller.  I find the lack of focused aiming to be far less of a detriment that I thought it would be.

Secondly I had a major epiphany while playing as I stumbled across and Arkfall.  I started treating this game like it was Rift, in that so many times in Rift I just spend my time ping ponging from tear to tear closing the Rifts.  Doing this so far has been worth a ton of experience and my Ego rank is slowly climbing.  Additionally you seem to get some really good rewards for doing it, and I am starting to bump into other players as well which makes the experience overall more enjoyable.  I always felt like the thing that was lacking was that I didn’t really have anyone to play the game with.  I am hoping as this game transitions from “buy the box” to “free to play” that folks will start filtering back in.  It might just be the recent time spent playing and FPS, but I am enjoying the game quite a bit.  Therein lies the problem however…  I simply have too damned many games to play.

League Beginner Night

Tonight I’m Playing League of Legends.  Once upon a time in House Stalwart we did these league beginner nights, when we coaxed new players to League of Legends onto mumble and did some vs bots or custom 5v5 gameplay.  The purpose was to ease folks into the game and let them soak up some of the knowledge of a few of our more veteran players.  When the Alliance of Awesome folks started talking about League, I figured it was a good time to try and resurrect this concept.  So tonight I will be playing some league and hanging out on mumble with folks while doing it.  I am just hoping to get in some practice playing Braum, but if not I will probably default back to Wukong, Garen or Darius.  I would actually love to play some Varus since I have yet to do so since picking up the PAX skin.  If you are interest in joining up check out the Anook event, the goal is to start around 9 PM CST to make it doable for the West Coasters.  There are technically only a couple of people signed up, but I know we will have a lot more just from word of mouth.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline #Defiance #LeagueofLegends #LoL

Defiance

The Dream

It is now 4 am and my body has decided that I have slept enough for the night.  I ended up going to bed very early, so I guess in a way it makes sense as I normally only get 5/6 hours of sleep a night.  I had the most interesting dream, and since it is sort of game related I figure what the hell… might as well blog about it.  In the dream I was summoned to Blizzard HQ, but I have no real idea why I was asked to be there.   When I got there I was given a name badge and ushered into a room with a bunch of other people.  There were computers and a big table and folks were spread around the room working on various things.  It felt like a first day of work kind of scenario where people look to busy themselves until they are given real work to do.

Throughout next few hours people from various disciplines would come in and talk to us.  At this point it started to feel like a job interview.  I remember one of the guys was a quest designer and he started asking us questions about triggers and spawners, and it turned out that he was having a specific problem with a specific quest.  He ended up digging out a mockup of the zone and explained the problem.  I’ve had quite a bit of experience building zones in various emulator projects, and ended up redoing the entire Butcherblock > Greater Faydark > Crushbone sequence in one of my times playing with the Everquest emulator at home, so I figured what the hell.  Turned out there was a place on the map that the player had to move through that was an nice tight bottleneck and a trigger could be placed there that everyone would pass over.

At this point I am getting excited because I feel useful, and maybe have a shot at whatever this interview process happens to be.  But as the day goes on the reality sits in, that I am 37 and established in my career, with a wife who is very established in her career.  No matter how cool it would be to work at a place like Blizzard, there is no way I could uproot all of that on the shot at following my boyhood dream of working in the games industry.  Additionally there was the hard reality that I already make more than most of my friends in the industry, and where I am has a good pension system that I am already fully vested in.  Basically my chance at that dream died a long long time ago, and any desire to do it is just sort of an aftershock.  The weird thing is… I am realizing all of this while I am dreaming and while my dream self is at Blizzard HQ.

We end up breaking for lunch, at which point the more dream like qualities start to sit in.  Like for some reason I managed to make it to Anaheim California… without my wallet.  I guess this is the new version of arriving at school in your underwear maybe?  It is around this point that I wake up, and am fully wide away with no hope of returning to sleep and attempting to continue where the dream left off.  I never really found out why I was there and what exactly they were doing.  The funny thing is, of all of the games companies my brain seemed to latch onto Blizzard.  Don’t get me wrong I would love to work at a place like that, and everything I have heard about the environment is that it is a great place to be.  But of all the games I have played, my relationship with World of Warcraft seems the most tumultuous.  I guess the dream is just a sign that no matter how many times I try and pack the dream of working in the industry away… it keeps rising back to the surface.

Defiance

Defiance 2014-05-28 04-36-53-073 It was a really odd evening last night, and I was in that odd place where I was really too tired to play much of anything.  It has been torrential raining here in Oklahoma over the last three days, and last night about 6 pm we noticed a potential break in the weather that would allow us to go out and get our walk in.  As a result by the time we had finished at 6:30 I had hit 11,000 steps and was just absolutely exhausted.  I crashed out on the couch which meant playing on my laptop, so continuing my Wolfenstein: New Order game was out of the question.  I ping ponged around a bunch of different games, the first of which was Defiance.  This is one of those games that I really want to like, but for whatever reason I seem to constantly spin my wheels in.  I guess in part I don’t know what exactly I am supposed to be doing.  I’ve literally been wandering around the Mount Tam zone since the game released, and there seems to be no real direction on how I get out of it.

As a result each time I do play, I end up wandering around and doing quests that I have probably completed a dozen other times.  The moment to moment game play is fun, as it always has been…  but I feel like I am missing some over arching narrative that I should be following.  For ages folks have talked about how much they liked the story content, but the one I tried didn’t seem terribly soloable.  I feel like this game would be so much better with other people playing it, yet each time I play it I am pretty much soloing because I literally know no one else that is regularly booting it up.  At the very least I doubt anyone is as low level as I am still.  I feel like there has to be some concept that I am just not catching.  I think next time I play I am just going to move out of Mount Tam and see what else I can find.  I have no clue what lies at the end of the zone, because I always end up logging out before I get there.

A New Idea

For a few days I have been thinking about starting a new feature.  The idea is to close out each post with a quick section about what I intend to do that night.  This is of course an intention, and lord knows what might occur between my post in the morning and that evening.  However the intent is two fold, firstly since I play so damned many games it will help to give me focus on an objective.  Secondly since I hang out with so many different people in those games, it gives folks warning about what I should be playing that evening.

Tonight I’m Playing Elder Scrolls Online.  Tonight is the semi-weekly event over there that we have been trying to pull together lately.  If you are interested in joining along in the fun, check out the Anook event.  The intent is to go from 9pm CST until whenever folks start losing consciousness… which usually means around 11pm CST.  Since we have done two weeks in Cyrodil, I was going to try and mix things up a bit.  I am sure everyone has dungeons that they need run, so my goal is to try and pair people up in groups relative to their level range.  If this doesn’t work, then we will fall back on another romp in Cyrodil.  We are going to play it by ear which way we end up going.  If you do intend to go please sign up on the event so I have an idea for what kind of numbers we are expecting.  The last few weeks we’ve had around a dozen people interested.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline #Defiance

Why Multi-Gaming Works

Monday on a Tuesday

I’ve sat here and started this paragraph five times now, and keep backspacing away the results.  The day coming back from a three day weekend is always rough, but this one for whatever reason seems particularly painful.  All in all we had a pretty busy break, and last night we managed to get in a long walk between the thunderstorms.  The rain is needed, since Oklahoma is deep in drought conditions, but it managed to ruin a perfectly good Memorial Day.  For the last several years the weekend has been marked by doing little projects around the house, but this year those projects mostly consisted of cleaning and organization.  As a result our closet is more organized than it has been in years and our dresser drawers are not overflowing with clothing we no longer wear.

While I feel like we had a productive break, I am really wishing I had managed to get more sleep because I feel like that is coming back to haunt me.  For whatever reason I slept roughly this weekend, almost every night.  Each morning I would reach a stalemate where I simply got tired of tossing and turning and was hungry enough to get dressed and go find breakfast.  Here is hoping that tonight my sleep patterns can get back to normal and I will sleep through the entire night.  Last night I was doing mostly well until at some point one of our cats started banging against the closet door.  After that I felt like I never really got to sleep soundly.  God forbid we have a door in the house that is shut when a cat wants to go through it.

All of Your Eggs in One Basket

Lately there has been an undercurrent of folks on twitter talking about planning to leave World of Warcraft when Wildstar launches.  I assumed we would be seeing quite a lot of this, because we saw quite a lot of this when Rift launched and when SWTOR launched.  Both of which are games that directly appeal to the wow playing audience.  I am watching people go through the same agonizing process I did when I got tired of Warcraft shortly after the launch of Cataclysm and devoted myself entirely to Rift.  When you have been playing a game for years, shifting to another game is somewhat like making a religious decision.  One of the things I didn’t expect was just how many social friends I would lose in the process.  There are a lot of people out there that only care about the one game they are playing, and are all too happy to put in blinders to try and blot out any evidence that there are other games.

The problem is, in doing this you are placing your fates in the hands of this one title.  When times are good they are awesome, but when times are bad or decisions are made that you don’t agree with… they can seem so oppressive.  Almost all of the angry rants that I spun up on this blog during the early years were because I felt that Warcraft had somehow betrayed me, by not living up to being the game I wanted it to be.  I am here to tell you that this is just a bad way to think about anything created by someone else and entirely out of your control.  Admittedly when I left WoW I took this same sort of devotion and poured it into Rift, and got the same kind of frustrated when it didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped it would.  Ultimately games are what they are, and while we the players can provide feedback… there are always decisions behind the scenes that dictate the way the game ends up.

Why Multi-Gaming Works

For me at least the cure for this constant sense of dread and angst over upcoming patches…  is that at some point in the past I just started accepting games for what they are.  Enjoyable but often transitory experiences that will have a beginning a middle and an end as far as your personal enjoyment goes.  I present that World of Warcraft and Everquest before it were anomalies and not the boilerplate that all gaming experiences should follow.  As a result I am no longer looking for the next five year game, I am just looking for a game to enjoy while I enjoy it.  Additionally I am looking to enjoy multiple games at the same time.  While I don’t update it as often as I should…  my games played list is fairly accurate.  I play a lot of MMOs at the same time, because they each scratch some itch that I have inside of me.

When one of them starts to get stale I simply hop into another one and play it for awhile.  While this is greatly booned by the fact that free to play games exist, I still maintain subscriptions to many of the titles that I play.  I realize that is not something that most players can do freely, but I feel like even if you can’t… it is healthy to mix in several single player or free to play games into your mix.  In doing this I am basically protecting myself from the doldrums…. those moments when nothing seems to be moving in the game you wish you were into, and are somehow remaining artificially cheery about.  World of Warcraft for example is notorious for having a massive long slog between the last patch and the next expansion.  If I were ONLY playing WoW right now I would be a ball of anger, pensively hanging on ever word about the potential of getting into Alpha and eventually Beta.

Instead I am happily playing everything that crosses my desk in the meantime knowing that when Warlords of Draenor does launch I will give it the devotion it deserves before booting up something else and enjoying that too.  Elder Scrolls Online has been the proof that this method works for me.  I still very much want to play the game, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface, but I am not forcing myself to play it every night.  In fact this weekend I don’t think I played it any at all other than while we recorded our podcast on Saturday night.  Instead I played a mixture of single player games, namely Transistor and Wolfenstein: New Order and had an absolute blast doing this.  To some extent I think when we pay a subscription we feel like we HAVE to play the game or we are somehow missing out on some value.  I propose that the value is what you make of it, and if you don’t feel like logging in, you are not necessarily losing anything in the process.

Why This Makes your Blog a Mess

I realize I am somewhat rambly this morning, but I am going to blame the lack of solid sleep… and am just hoping that at least some of my message gets through.  For the last year I have purposefully and unapologetically played whatever game happened to catch my fancy even if for a single weekend.  As a result my overall happiness has been improved by not feeling like my fates are hanging on the whims of a group of developers.  As a blogger however this is not necessarily a great thing.  People love to be able to classify you as this thing or that thing.  If you are super into World of Warcraft, they like to be able to classify you as not only a “WoW Blog” but also as a “Warrior” blog or a “Tank” blog or even a “Raid Leadership” blog.  When you play so many things at the same time you become classified as “other” and this makes it hard for people to grasp quickly what your blog is about.

I am sure my constant wanderlust has cost me more than a few readers, because I did not live up to their expectations for what a blog they want to read should be.  My hope is that I can show just enough of myself in whatever I happen to write that folks will stick around for the long haul because I am trying my best to be genuine.  There was a time when I tried to pigeon hole people into neatly organized categories in my blogroll, and I simply stopped trying to connect a specific person to a specific game.  Now I simply having one big “Gaming” section and another big “Geekdom” section for things I am interested in that are not necessarily game blogs.  After a point I find I care far more about the person on the other side of the screen than what they happen to be saying on a given basis.  I just hope folks get to the point of caring about me, and not necessarily caring that I am cycling through a long list of games at the same time.

King of Monsters

An Odd Day

Sometimes on the weekends you have days that feel like they last significantly longer than they should, and then you have days like yesterday that feel like they are over in a blink of an eye.  I guess in theory what made yesterday feel so odd is because the entire day was planned around hanging out with some friends and meeting them for lunch at 1:30.  So by the time I got up, grabbed breakfast, wrote a blog post… it was pretty much time to shower and get ready to go out.  None of this is to say that yesterday was not a really fun day, but it was just over in a flash.

We ate lunch at a trendy restaurant downtown called the Rusty Crane… which for as trendy as it is, was extremely reasonably priced.  My wife and I ate for $16, but then again we ate off the brunch menu.  I had this weird breakfast enchilada thing, that while tasty is not likely something I would order again.  It was a tortilla filled with egg, sausage, avocado and what was billed as grilled onions and peppers.  So that to me made it sound like they would be nice and soft and caramelized, but in reality they were mostly raw and maybe spent a few minutes on the grill lightly singing the edges.  Had they been like the veggies inside of a Chimichanga it would have been awesome…  but me and crunchy veggies tend to disagree.

But the food overall was tasty and cheap… and the company was the important part.  We had not seen our friends in several months, and normally we like to see them at least once a month to hang out and get dinner and a movie or something of the sort.  The hard part about being non-parents is finding other couples that don’t have kids in tow to go out and do things with.  As a result we tend to hang out with a lot of older couples, and this pair is a really odd situation.  He is the very first “pimp” I had, aka the guy who first recruited me into the dark art of consulting.  She is a teacher at the same school as my wife.  We only realized the connection one year at a back to school barbeque, and ever since we’ve kind of integrated into each others families.

King of Monsters

godzilla-trailer-header-image After we ate we decided to go see a movie.  Since my wife and the other two had not seen all of the X-Men films leading up to Days of Future Past, they opted against that one.  In reality right now there just isn’t much on at the theatre that is not a comic book-y type film.  In the end we decided to go see the new Godzilla film as it aligned up time wise better than almost anything else.  Just a heads up…  I am not sure you can call them spoilers, but be warned this section is going to have something vaguely resembling them.  If you want to be surprised when you see the new Godzilla… feel free to skip ahead, but unfortunately if you have seen ANY Godzilla movie, you have also seen this one which is part of the problem I have.

I am not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this movie literally plays out like every Godzilla movie… or in truth damned near every Anime story as well.  Mankind does something stupid > Horrible Monster is spawned > Hero (Godzilla) shows up and is misunderstood and attacked by mankind > Sage/Elder/Scientist explains something about nature balancing itself > We put our fate in the Hero (Godzilla) > Hero gets its ass kicked royally and is defeated > Just when all hope seems lost the Hero rises again using last ounce of strength to defeat the Monster.  That is pretty much the template for half of the anime I have seen, not to mention every single Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Power Ranger or anything else in the same “big things battle other big things” genre.

Final_Four_Jaegers I blame Pacific Rim for giving me hope, that a tired old movie construct like Godzilla could have new and interesting life breathed into it.  I love everything about the concept of monsters battling monsters, or giant robots saving the day…  it fills my inner thirteen year old with glee.  The problem is the 37 year old brain is still there and unable to be detached.  There were so many things in the movie that seem to have no explanation and made zero sense.  There is a scene where a coal fired train is travelling across the country to deliver a payload of nuclear warheads.  It is super foggy, and a bunch of the troops are sent ahead to scout the track to see if it is safe.  Next thing we know the train is on fire and coming out of the fog.  How exactly did that train catch fire?  Sure it looks cool as a special effect but it makes zero sense because the monster attacking doesn’t breathe fire or anything.  The train just apparently spontaneously combusted while it was coming across the tracks.

The biggest problem I had with Godzilla is that the movie just felt like it was going through the motions.  They so closely followed the template of what a Godzilla movie has to be, that the character actors that participated in the movie just felt like window dressing.  There was never a single moment in the movie that I did not feel like I knew the next three scenes that were about to happen.  Obviously going into it we know that Godzilla is going to win the day…  but if we have that as a fixed ending… sure you can do something to mix up the space between the beginning of the movie and the end.  So as much as I am railing on the movie, I do have to give it credit that the monster battles looked good.  The monsters were well animated and you can tell they spent large amounts of money trying to make Godzilla feel like the original “man in suit” version without making it look cheesy as hell.  If you love the original Godzilla movies and can suspend disbelief and ignore the fact that it is following a very tired template…  you might just enjoy this movie.

Right in the Feels

Transistor 2014-05-20 17-51-41-79 Now for a game that I will not give any spoilers for…  because it really is worthy of cherishing.  Last night when we finished with our festivities, I went upstairs, threw my headphones on and sat down with the purpose of getting through Transistor.  When we recorded the podcast both Kodra and Ashgar had beaten the game, and I had heard that the ending is really heart wrenching.  They were correct…  the game got me right in the feels and I think maybe I even bled a little.  Everything about this game is wonderful, and if they do not win awards with it… it is a major fucking tragedy.  Basically Supergiant Games has a loyal customer now, after loving Bastion and seeing how much more intricate this game is…  I have a feeling that anything they could create would turn out phenomenal.

My only disappointment is how generally short the game is.  It took me roughly three hours of game play to beat and is the equivalent of I think four areas that you traverse, maybe five.  Now one cool thing that happens is when you defeat the game you can play a “recursion” that allows you to play through a second time with all the abilities that you earned the first time… and everything becomes more difficult as well.  So instead of Creep 2.0 you start seeing Creep 3.0 etc.  I love the way this game embraces code lingo to produce a world that is both Tron and French Noir at the same time.  I would love to see a movie made from this game… would be absolutely phenominal.  I have to admit as cool as the gameplay is… I mostly wanted to play through this game for the story.  I wanted to know what happened and why things were the way they are.  The problem is after completing the game it feels like I have more questions than answers.

Beer and Pizza Action

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 19-51-03-03 After the emotional rollercoaster that was Transistor, I felt like i needed to play something far more run and gun.  So I picked back up on Wolfenstein: New Order, and at the point in which I went to sleep I was roughly three hours into the storyline.  There is something compelling about the game, but at the same time something that leaves me completely uneasy about the potential of a fascist future.  So far I am loving the game and look forward to playing some more.  Oddly enough this game seems to be able to get me to stealth around.  There is a sequence where you sneak into a prison, and I loved lurking about and sneaking up on mobs and taking them out with the knife.  Normally I do not do stealth at all, but for whatever reason it felt as though I HAD to use stealth.  If you fire a gun anywhere near an officer they will sound the alarm and bring on all sorts of really bad shit like these flying robot things that are damned near impossible to take out with anything other than the shotgun.  The game is action packed and focused, and precisely what I needed to recover from the case of the feels.

#Godzilla #PacificRim #Transistor #Wolfenstein #NewOrder

Transistor Gushes

Good Bye Old Man

smokeyYesterday was a rough day for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I had to bury my old man ferret Smokey.  In 2009 we got a pair of brothers from a ferret rescue, and at that point they were several years old already.  Bandit passed away several years ago from Insulinoma, and it was one of the hardest things I had been through.  I feel like maybe him passing quickly was a godsend.  For the last several months Smokey had been deteriorating of old age, and it was hard to watch him go through it.  For the last couple of months we had kept him in a separate cage in our bedroom, where he could have easy access to food and water since he was not moving around very well at all.  His hind legs simply did not obey him any longer and he had developed cataracts in both eyes.

Our goal was to try and keep him as comfortable as we could until he passed.  The old man had some fight in him because there were several nights that we were certain he would not make it through til morning.  When morning came it was still friendly and very much alive.  When we got up yesterday morning we did our normal “check to see if he made it through the night”, and he seemed about as normal as he ever does.  Raised his head, sniffed my hand and went back to sleep.  While we were out running errands yesterday it seems like he passed in his sleep because he was curled up in the same little ball he always was.

I am thankful at least that it seems as though he went peaceful.  He was a good boy and a friendly ferret, even though he never did bond as tightly to us as his brother did.  The above photo is of him in much better days, snuggled up with one of our girls Shiloh in the hammock.  Bandits passing was so sudden and jarring, but with Smokey we have had months to get used to the idea and just tried to make him as comfortable as we could.  So while part of me is definitely sad that he is gone, another part of me is relieved that he no longer has to struggle.

The Big Clean

Pet funeral aside, yesterday was a good but very tiring day.  If it tells you anything I managed to hit 10,000 steps on my fitbit before we actually went for our evening walk.  As I said before the house needed cleaning badly, and I got up and around yesterday morning and picked most of it up.  However there are still a few deep cleaning projects that need to happen.  We needed to run to the bank, so we got out and about and did some shopping.  The shirts I had been wearing were getting huge on me, and my wife would visibly sigh each time I wore one of them that now hung from my shoulders like a drape.  JC Penny was running a door buster sale that we just happened to luck into without really meaning to.  I picked up a bunch of new and better fitting shirts and this prompted me to remove a ton of older shirts from the closet.

Similarly both myself and my wife needed new bathing suits.  I found a nice pair of trunks that are far more colorful than anything I have ever bought in the past, and she found a nice one-piece at Old Navy.  All of the shopping inspired her to come home and tear apart the closet both figuratively and quite literally.  The bedroom for several hours yesterday was a warzone, and among other projects we cleaned out the catch all corner that had jewelry, perfume and lotions on what used to be a typewriter desk.  For some time I have been hauling around a cabinet to go into that corner that we picked up on craigslist, but simply lacked the time to do the necessary cleaning to make room for it.  It fit in nicely, and honestly could have been a bit bigger.

Similarly she tore apart the bathroom that joins to our bedroom and set up one of those wire divider shelves underneath to segment what is normally just one big space.  My biggest contribution was culling my wardrobe by literally half and folding it neatly for a garage sale.  As mentioned yesterday in a few weeks we are getting pulled into a garage sale, and I am wondering exactly what else I will be selling.  I have tons of compact discs in my office, that I simply never listen to anymore.  The idea of listening to a CD just feels foreign, since I stream almost everything thanks to Google Music. I don’t feel the need to own music any longer, I just want access to said music when I want it.  As a result I am probably going to get rid of my entire collection, but I seriously doubt any of the regular garage sale fare will want the type of stuff I listen to.  Not a single CD could you really classify as “pop”.

Transistor Gushes

aggrochat_bubbles_trans Finally last night we recorded our seventh episode of Aggrochat.  Once again Rae was travelling, so since Dallian has been so gracious to be a kind of unofficial fifth member of the cast, he stepped in at literally ten minutes notice.  I called the episode “Transistor Gushes” because quite literally… that game has hijacked the podcast.  For those who don’t know we keep a running shared Google document for the show notes, and during the week we jot down ideas, and recycle ones that we didn’t get to from previous weeks.  This week the only thing mentioned is Transistor written in 72 point font, with a much smaller blurb below it that says “things that are not Transistor”.

We successfully covered both, and we discussed Transistor, Wolfenstein: New Order, the Final Fantasy 5 draft, Watchdogs, Dark Souls II, Comics, and a few other things along the way.  I feel like it was a really good podcast, and while most of the topics only actually engaged 2-3 of us at a time, the mix of which 3 people were talking was pretty evenly distributed.  We plan on having a follow-up show in a few weeks to talk about the actual storyline and elements of Transistor, but for the time being we limited ourselves to just talking about the interesting game play elements.  We will of course start giving a massive spoiler warning when we get into discussion of plot points.  When talking about Wolf, I tried to limit myself to only discussing things that happen as part of the introduction to the game.  Hopefully this works for people, but if not let us know in the comments… hell if it does work let us know… we love feedback.

Farewell to Coldharbor

Cleaning Day

Good morning you happy people…  I am being forcibly cheery because my body doesn’t seem to want to fully function this morning and I am falling back on the whole “fake it until you make it” methodology.  May is a horrible time for me for so many reasons.  Firstly the world seems to come alive and fill the air full of pollen and seed pods and all the wonderful things that make life happen.  As a result my body tries to kill me as my allergies come into full swing.  Additionally with our constant regiment of walking… you would think that at some point I would stop being sore, however that doesn’t seem to be the case.  I hit 10,000 steps again yesterday and this morning it feels like every inch of my body hurts.  Being fat sucks, but at least I am a much healthier fat that I used to be.

One of the other huge negatives about May is the fact that it is also when the end of the school year happens.  Any spouses of educators will agree with me that the two worst times of the year to be their spouse…  is the beginning and end of the school year.  My wife no matter how much I love her… has been an spastic little monkey in a frantic rush to finish all the things that have to be finished.  As a result she is prone to fits of irrationality at 10 pm at night when things are not going like she wants them to, and not much help in taking care of the household chores.  Also as a result, I’ve kind of said screw it myself… and our house is a pit right now.  So today will be devoted to the cleaning of all the things and trying to get more domicile into a more livable state.  Mostly it has been my inner sanctum that has been bothering me…  I have been stepping over Amazon boxes for weeks that need to be broken down and taken to the recycling bin.  We are considering joining in with a neighbor in a few weeks for a garage sale so some consideration needs to be made about what to actually sell.

Farewell to Coldharbor

eso 2014-05-23 18-39-52-795 Last night my wife was working late yet again, which has been a regular occurrence for most of the month on Friday nights.  She had intended to get home earlyish and we had planned to go for our nightly walk and then walk over to Taco Bueno on the way home.  At some point during the evening she messaged me saying that she would be working late and to go ahead and eat without her, but at that point I was so heavily into the storyline of Coldharbor that I figured I would just wait.  I’ve been Veteran Rank 1 for most of a week now, and have simply not spent enough time in game to push through the main storyline in Cold Harbor which supposedly unlocked access to moving into the Aldmeri Dominion content.  Last night I did just that, by finishing not only the end of the main Cold Harbor story but also finishing up the level 50 harborage quest that gets unlocked immediately after that.

eso 2014-05-23 19-34-45-037 I have to say the “end of the game” is equal parts beautiful and epic, and I am trying really hard not to give any unintentional spoilers for those who have not arrived there yet.  I figure Coldharbor screenshots all look blue and brutal, so I am trying to pick ones that don’t exactly give away major plot points.  There are some interesting choices that happen as you play through the zone, and the game seems to revel in making you choose between bad options.  There is a point where you have to pick between a rogues gallery of formerly vanquished enemies, and I am guessing your options are limited if you did not actually finish the quests in the zones they are involved with.  I feel like I made the right choice…  but you never really know.  I still was dealing with a bad bad person, but overall it did not come back to bite me in the butt like I thought it might.

eso 2014-05-23 17-07-31-593 While I have finished the story, I will still be spending quite a bit more time in Coldharbor as I finish the parts of it I skipped while rushing through the storyline.  After a point you get tired of everything being blue, purple and grey.  I needed to have the ability to move on, especially since I wasn’t really seeing much veteran experience before the Craglorn patch.  It seems as though they shifted things around so you could get veteran experience in Coldharbor.  I have technically been to Craglorn, but only long enough to zone in and get the wayshrine.  I saw mostly Veteran Rank 10 players there, so I figure I have a very long time to go before I am adequate to kill much of anything there.  At this point I have a purple VR1 sword and shield, and a full VR1 blue set of armor, so I am doing okay in the Aldmeri Dominion content.  Though even with all of that, getting jumped by too many mobs at once becomes a fight for my life in a way that never happened in Coldharbor.  I approve of the ratcheting up of difficulty, and it should be fun experiencing the Aldmeri content.

#ElderScrollsOnline #ESO #ColdHarbor #Daggerfall #Aldmeri

Let There Be Rangers

Dabbling with Danger

ReaperCounter At work there are a bunch of us who have at one point or another played Magic: The Gathering.  I don’t play the game regularly, because I simply do not have the time to commit to going to a shop regularly to play.  However I still love playing the game, and it is wrapped up in so much nostalgia for me.  My first starter deck was from unlimited, and I dabbled a bit here and there through Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and started getting serious about the time revised came out.  I played super actively until the launch of Ice Age and then for one reason or another got out of it.  At that point I was really into the World of Darkness games, and was doing far more pen and paper than magic…  also I started college and seemed to have far less disposable money.

I flirted with the game again my Senior year, because there was this great culture at the local game shop.  I came in at the tail end of Mirage, played through Visions and was super involved with Weatherlight…  probably my favorite expansion to date.  When I left college I also left the community I liked hanging out with an playing magic regularly, so I stopped playing again.  Since then I have picked up the occasional pack of cards to see what was new, but never really got involved with the game again. That was until I found out that we had a bunch of former magic players at work, and I thought it would be awesome to foster a sort of lunchtime M:TG group.  Yesterday I got to break this awesome reaper miniature again, as I tutored my friend Rae through her first game of Magic.  This could end in madness, but my hopes is that we can just develop a casual magic culture to hang out and enjoy.

The Ancient Library

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 18-45-43-676 Last night while waiting on the pizza to arrive and Elder Scrolls Online to patch, I decided to attempt to play some more Final Fantasy 5.  I had a near mishap where I thought for a moment I had lost my saved game and had to revert back to a period of time when I was still in white mage hell.  However that was not the case, and I managed to restore back and get to where I should have been.  I kinda went crazy at one point and ground my way to 19… which means that in order to be safe for the Ancient Library I needed to be at least 21.  So most of the time waiting on the Pizza was spent grinding aimlessly trying to get the last two levels so I could start my quest proper.  You might ask why I need to be 21?

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 19-05-58-456 If you enter the Library of Ancients, there are various creatures that can cast the dreaded Level 5 Death spell.  This will target any character with a level that is a multiple of 5, aka ending in 5 or 0 and pretty much instant kill them.  This means in order to be safe you have to enter the library at something OTHER than that.  Now if you have a Blue Mage, you want to de-synchronize your party so that you have exactly one party member at a “5” level so you can learn it.  Both fortunately and unfortunately I do not have one so I just needed to be safe as I finished the library.  The above monster is Byblos the guardian of the library, and I found him pretty easy considering I had ground to a much higher level than you normally need for the encounter.  Most people natively get here around 15, so at 21 I was significantly higher.

Goodbye Ship, Hello Chocobo

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 20-25-15-748 Final Fantasy 5 is a story about destroying modes of transportation and then curiously finding a new one to replace them.  After the library you find new information that allows the fire-powered-ship to start moving again without the power of the fire crystal.  Unfortunately as you move to your next destination you encounter an earthquake and the fire-powered-ship gets sucked into a giant whirlpool.  Conveniently you just happen to be on an island that just happens to have a Black Chocobo Forest.  I know from lore that these are Black Chocobo, but I will be damned if this one is not pink…  so you pilot your Pink Chocobo around the world visiting all the destinations that you missed and picking up any gear or spells that you might need.

Let There Be Rangers

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 20-41-32-722 The big takeaway from the encounter with the Pink Chocobo, is that it had the last two fire crystal jobs stuck in its gullet.  One of which was the Ranger job that I had been waiting patiently for.  This means from this point out I must have a White Mage, Mystic Knight and Ranger in the party at all times.  I opted to shift Faris and Galuf to rangers in order to teach them the Rapid Fire ability as soon as I could.  Basically you enter a period where you can reach most of the world so it is a great time to finish up anything you left unfinished.  I headed up to Istory and went ahead and defeated Ramuh for example.  Since I do not have a summoner in my party, this was a completely optional step… but Ramuh is generally my favorite of the espers so I figured I would go ahead and fight him.

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 21-04-59-953 Once finished messing around the room I proceeded with opening the way to the Tower of Ruin.  The desert area is one of my least favorite, mostly because the sandworm fight is a pain in the butt.  Considering my party composition, it was not really technically difficult, just annoying in that the Sandworm jumps between one of three holes on the screen.  You don’t target the worm itself, but instead the hole it came out of, this means that more often than not you can target a hole and it might have moved before the attack lands.  With the white mage, I was able to heal through anything the worm could throw at me, and it was simply a matter of wearing it down.  Mostly this just meant that my rangers could not benefit from their !Aim ability, as it took way too long for it to actually resolve the damage.

Airship Go!

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 21-25-01-826 Once you complete the Tower of Ruin you get rewarded with access to the airship, and find out that your fire-powered-ship didn’t get destroyed, but instead fell into a chamber underneath crescent isle.  Now you have this really awesome base that you can launch either the fire-powered-ship or airship out of.  You end up faffing about running several mini missions all in the effort of trying to teach your airship how to flight higher to reach the earth shrine that has been elevated up into the air by the power of yet another crystal draining… and ultimately crystal destroying machine.  We are nearing the sequence of events that I hate each time I play this game.

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 21-56-13-507 The Earth Shrine is guarded by four missile launchers and the extremely frustrating boss Soul Cannon.  This is the point at which I stopped playing for the night.  I made an attempt at the missile launcher fights, and while I managed to get through one of them… I didn’t back out and save like I should have.  The big problem with the fights are the “rocket punch” attacks that cause your characters to go confused, and the Rocket Launcher that is an insanely nasty percentage based attack.  Thing is if I can get enough time to Spellblade, the Rocket Launchers drop fast but I seem to spend my entire time trying to heal up and un-confuse my party.  If I am struggling with the Rocket Launchers I have having trouble fathoming just how bad the Soul Cannon encounter will be.  I am thinking this might be time to grind again and get a level advantage.

VisualBoyAdvanceM 2014-05-22 21-53-29-154 Being 22 has allowed me to just steamroll the encounters leading up to this one, but that level gap has closed on me.  So I am thinking I will spend some time over the weekend watching TV and grinding away to build back up a buffer.  Additionally I would really like it if most of my characters had Rapidfire as an option for the Soul Cannon encounter.  I think I got through it during last years Four Job Fiesta by double casting lightning attacks, so if I can get two Mystic Knights with Rapidfire I might be able to do the same kind of trickery.  Spellblade is a super powerful ability, but it sucks in that it takes one turn to cast in which you essentially do nothing.  The Soul Cannon sequence is one of the big hurdles that most players get hung up on, so I don’t feel too bad that I am having to rethink my strategy before moving forward.  I am sure with the Black Mage/Red Mage combo Kodra was able to just absolutely destroy it.  What I really need is a bunch of Ribbons, but I think at this point in the game I only have access to the one I have.

#FF5 #FinalFantasy #MagicTheGathering #MTG

Re-Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Cyrodil Faffed

eso 2014-05-19 20-58-55-644 It seems like none of the screenshots that I took last night… actually got saved to the disk.  Not sure what is up but over the last few days I have had Dxtory flake the hell out on me.  I’ve used it lately to capture screenshots while streaming because OBS and Fraps seem to piss each other off.  That said something seems to have changed in the mix and I couldn’t get Dxtory working on steam games Tuesday night, and last night it apparently was not taking any screenshots while streaming.  Anyways as a result you get a cool screenshot of Coldharbor instead of a screenshot of what actually happened last night.  What happened you ask?  Well we had our second “Faff About in Cyrodil” night as a guild and while we had fewer people than last time I feel like we got more cool stuff accomplished.

We started off hunting skyshards and that morphed into delving into a whole bunch of dungeons.  Along the way we had a few blips of PVP that surprisingly enough we not only survived by dominated.  We of course has the numbers advantage, but last week that did not matter at all as I saw a dozen of us get taken down by 3 veteran players.  That seems to be the key difference, this week I was a veteran player, and could in theory “tank” the players we were up against.  We found a really awesome town full of repeatable quests that just happened to have a dolmen in the center of it.  We managed to get two Dark Anchor spawns while we were there, and towards the end of one of the battles we had another guy jump in and try and gank us while we were fighting the demons.  Thankfully once again the power of veteran rank won the day.

It is disturbing how much of a difference that makes.  Just being 50 out in Cyrodil seems to completely even the playing field.  At one point we ended up getting attacked by a Veteran Rank 8 player, and still we were able to dispatch him handily.   So the moral of the story is…  Cyrodil sucks if you are not at least 50.  I have an idea of maybe pairing up into dungeons next week during the same time slot, but if that doesn’t work we will just break out and do more cyrodil.  There is still a ton of area left to explore.  The map is huge, a point that was not fully driven home until the end of the above video when myself, Delevax, Horli and Scopique attempted to run back to the way shrine.  It was a really really long run.

Re-Return to Castle WolfensteinWolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 20-15-44-19

First let me get this out of the way… I have a boyish untarnished love for all things Wolfenstein.  The original game is on my 15 gaming influences list, because it truly was the game that turned me away from console gaming in the first place.  All of that said… I found the last jaunt through the Wolfenstein universe extremely disappointing… even for an admitted fanboy.  In theory Wolfenstein: New Order is a continuation of the story arc started with Return to Castle Wolfenstein, continued in the self titled Wolfenstein and finished up in this game.  That story arc involves trying to stop the dastardly Wilhelm Strauss otherwise known as Deathshead.  Whereas the original game was all about tackling Hitler himself, the modern incarnations have shifted into something more malleable, and it works for the most part.

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 19-21-29-71 I am fairly notoriously against game introductions, and prefer the game just to plunk me down unceremoniously at the beginning of a level.  That said I have to say the easing into the storyline here in Wolfenstein is one of the more enjoyable introductions I have played through.  They manage to pepper just enough action into what would other be a cinematic to make me feel like I am actually part of it.  The game starts with us trying to land on the island held by Deathshead, and having to content with both Anti-aircraft guns and the ubiquitous Nazi flying V attack fighters.  I am not sure of the specific hardware we are flying into the base but it is some sort of bomber with a forward mounted ball turret, that you actually end up manning at one point during the sequence.  When you finally land on the island you are sent ahead to try and break through the defenses and allow the rest of your team to move forward.

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 19-50-31-03 All of this works really well, and I found the storming gun nests aspect of it exhilarating.  Moments later you are involved in what I feel is the single coolest sequence in a modern shooter.  You fire up these really cool grappling hook guns and then walk up the side of the castle as the winch slowly retracts the cable pulling you up with it.  As you go up you encounter all sorts of obstacles, not the least of which are German soldiers opening the windows and firing out at you.  I am not sure exactly what it is about this sequence, but I wish I could play it over and over.  Everything about it just feels really damned epic.  Once you get to the top, your job is to unlock the gate so that the rest of the party can come up from the bottom to meet you.

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 20-01-57-56 I am not really sure how they pulled this off, but the game FEELS like a spiritual successor to the original Wolfenstein and even to Doom.  Sure there is the standard sneaking about trying to knife soldiers before they see you gameplay that all of the modern shooters seem to be riddled with.  However there is also a much more arcade “run and gun” feel to the game that works.  I don’t have to play it in a style where I duck behind cover every few seconds for fear of taking a bullet.  You can ping pong around taking out soldiers left and right in an insane ballet that only works in the movies.  I mean you can dual wield machine guns… and it feels amazing, so if it is hyper realism you are looking for… go somewhere else.  This feels like a return to the area when these games were actually fun to play, and not simply this seasons multiplayer fodder.

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-05-20 19-56-49-48 Right now after seeing and playing this for awhile, I have so much hope for what this might mean going forward.  Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and the eventual Enemy Territory addon… represents the most fun I have ever had playing an online shooter.  I hope and pray that they give us a multiplayer DLC that is every bit as brilliant as RTCW and ET were.  This is a game I actually want to play online.  In the meantime I am going to devote more time to beating the single player campaign as at this point I literally have not talked about anything that is not included in the “introduction”.  Things get gloriously strange as you move forward and the entire world is a sort of nod to the book Fatherland, setting up a dark and stranger alternate history for the events of World War 2.  Thank you Machine Games, and ID for giving us the Wolfenstein we have wanted for so long.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline #Wolfenstein #RTCW