Go Team Blaugust

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-12 21-02-45-57

Words of Encouragement

I woke up this morning to see the above tweet in my timeline… and it is absolutely true. ¬†There are days I still think I am the least likely herald of regular posting. ¬†Most of you only know me as the guy who posts every day, but in truth that only represents about half of my time blogging. ¬†Before that I was the most flaky and least prolific blogger out there. ¬†I would go through streaks of posting 10-20 posts in a given month… ¬†to having months where I only have one post at all. ¬†Between August 2012 and late April 2013 there was complete and total radio silence. ¬†It was by will alone that I set myself down the journey of posting something, no matter how stupid it is… every single day. ¬†Now several years later, there is part of me that still cannot fully comprehend the madness that I started, but I also have this strong drive to keep the ball from ever touching the ground.

While this might sound counter intuitive… for me at least regular posting is much easier than sporadic posting. ¬†Namely because of the pressure that I would put on myself. ¬†When I would go through a big lapse, I felt like I couldn’t just start writing again with a simple post. ¬†Instead I would have to write the most epic post ever to make up for the fact that I had been gone so long. ¬†I felt like I had to prove something to my readers, that I was somehow worthy of them leaving me in their RSS reader all this time. ¬†As time passed, the guilt that I felt grew and the measure of that “epic comeback post” kept growing as well ultimately leading me to wait longer before posting it. ¬†When I write something every day I am much more open with my readers. ¬†I talk about what is going on in my world, and how it is effecting me. ¬†I talk about what I am enjoying and what I am not enjoying, and the whole process ends up being much more fluid. ¬†So when I agree that if I can do it, you can to… because quite frankly all of you are far more talented than I am.

I started the Blaugust thing selfishly as a way of getting more content from the bloggers I care about. ¬†I never expect anyone to follow me in this “damned fool crusade”. ¬†Instead from the first year I had people coming out of the woodwork and signing up for the challenge. ¬†Even though I keep stats and assign awards… ¬†every single person who attempts this is a hero to me. ¬†They are actively doing something to keep pumping out more content into our community and that is huge. ¬†I can keep doing what I do because there are people like you out there sharing the journey with me. ¬†We are all in this together, and I know you can finish this month and get your name in the “winner” column. ¬†I believe in all of you fine Blaugustians, and even though the month is coming to an end… I will still be here in September and October to support you all. ¬†We are actively making this community we have stronger, and there is a certain magic in that. ¬†Now go write some kick ass posts!

Waltz of Doom

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Last night we were able to pull together the raid without any real issue and set our sights on clearing Alexander Normal. ¬†It is amazing just how fast you can burn through all four wings when you have a team that works well together. ¬†Even though I am essentially done gearing out my Warrior with Alexander items, I am always down for helping a full guild group knock it out. ¬†It is extremely noticeable that our folks have been improving their gear because on turn one for example I think the bosses only actually made it up into the air twice. ¬†Similarly we pushed the living liquid boss into the final phase before the second hands phase. ¬†I know Kodra for example walked away with three pieces of gear that he had been building towards, and I think several others got pieces as well. ¬†I was pretty slackerly this past week and these were actually my first Alexander runs. ¬†I had every intention to work on getting the dragoon gear but this past week was just one where I was not in the mood to play any MMO at all. ¬†Instead I largely played single player experiences… ¬†or Diablo 3 AS a single player experience. ¬†I did not even cap Esoterics and for that I am feeling a little sorry. ¬†I could have easily had my chest piece this week, but I guess I will maybe wrap that up tonight.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-12 21-02-45-57

After Alexander we put more attempts in on Ravana Extreme and I think we are getting to the point where we might be able to finish it up next week. ¬†We have now seen the entire fight and survived through the various phases, we just need to put the dance together and repeat it all successfully. ¬†The hard part is still the phase after the swords, which means we have to spread out so that only two people are in each corner. ¬†We didn’t quite do this and as a result we lost a handful of people. ¬†Luckily we had a healer limit break three available so we were able to essentially push the reset button and keep on trying. ¬†That is not exactly the way we want to beat it the first time, but if we have to I will take it. ¬†The fight is just so much more complicated than Bismarck Extreme was, and I am anxious to get it down and farmable so we can start clearing it and Bismarck in the same night. ¬†I want pretty weapons dammit! ¬†In all honesty I am pretty happy with my Esoterics axe for the time being, and my retainers are once again packed full of gear. ¬†However I will never turn down unique weapon graphics.

KingsIsle Blaugust Prizes

KingsIsle is Awesome

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Some of you may know KingsIsle games as the creator of the wildly popular Wizard 101, Pirate 101 and the upcoming mobile monster destruction game Rise and Destroy. ¬†For those who do not they occupy a unique niche in the MMO industry. ¬†They create these awesomely rich cartoon worlds populated with tons of content, and all of aimed at being appropriate for pretty much all ages to play. ¬†I’ve not spent a ton of time playing these games but on a whim one weekend some of the AggroChat folks spent it rolling brand new characters in Wizard 101 and wandering around together. ¬†The game just exudes charm and I had enough fun that weekend that I decided to spend a little money on the game even though I really didn’t intend to keep playing it regularly. ¬†I’ve always heard they have an amazing community, and that KingsIsle in general does a lot to try and foster this. ¬†However I was pleasantly shocked when I was contacted by a representative from KingsIsle yesterday and handed some prizes for our Blaugust event. ¬†They handed me several codes for special bundles in both Wizard 101 and Pirate 101, each bundle having a retail price of between $29 and $39 bucks. ¬†That is absolutely awesome, and I actually spent a bit more time playing my Wizard 101 character yesterday. ¬†For those curious, I dug up the release videos for each of the trailers. ¬†I have yet to decide how I will reward these but it is awesome to have more options in the prize pool. ¬†If you interact with any of the KingsIsle employees, seriously give them a huge thank you!

Grand Tourney Gauntlet Bundle for Wizard 101

HooDoo Bundle for Pirate 101

Exhaustion Hits

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Last night is traditionally the raid night for my second static group in Final Fantasy XIV. ¬†However we were missing a significant number of the key players, namely our second healer and tank. ¬†For a bit we considered other options, and were on the verge of just running an expert for the day and calling it good. ¬†Problem being as I sat there at the keyboard waiting for things to happen I kept dozing off while leaning forward, literally waking up when my head banged my boom microphone. ¬†So instead of doing Final Fantasy XIV shenanigans I retired to the couch to peacefully doze in and out of consciousness while waiting on my wife to get home. ¬†I didn’t really want to go to bed for real yet, because once I conk out I am often times dead to the world… and I wanted to make sure she made it home safely and didn’t have car trouble or anything out of the ordinary like that. ¬†Before the attempt at raiding, and a small bit afterwards I continued playing some Diablo 3. ¬†The game worked mostly because I had no one relying on me, and quite frankly I was playing on normal level which means I can doze off for a second here and there and suffer zero consequences from it. ¬†After I beat the normal storyline and unlock the content I will end up dialing up the difficulty as I attempt to level to 70 before the 23rd.

This is really a stupid mission I have set out on… ¬†largely because I really need to be in Final Fantasy XIV instead capping esoterics for the week. ¬†The interesting thing about Season play in Diablo 3 though is it feels like they have ratcheted up the drop rates of everything. ¬†While my profile has not updated to show it yet… at level 13 my crusader already has three legendary drops…¬†including Genzaniku the awesome axe that summons a spirit to fight for you. ¬†When I entered into this seasonal thing I fully expected to lose my character at the end of the season… ¬†because I didn’t actually do any research before saying “sure” and clicking on the seasonal button. ¬†I guess however everything you earn in season just rolls over into your normal characters at the end of a season which is pretty frickin cool. ¬†So even if I don’t make any real progress in season 3, I will absolutely be starting a fresh season 4 character to play as well. ¬†I guess in the coming days I will be popping into Final Fantasy XIV to get in an expert or two and then popping into Diablo 3 because it makes an excellent way to wind down for the evening. ¬†I mostly enjoy soloing over there, but I am always looking for people to chat with while I am doing it. ¬†I finally got around to adding my friend Byx last night to battle.net and I know there are tons of other people that I should as well. ¬†I am finding that I am really enjoying the crusader, but in truth all of the classes I have played so far have been enjoyable in one way or another. ¬†I just find it so bizarre that at this point, World of Warcraft is probably my least favorite Blizzard game.

Ravana Attempts

Unbreaking Google+

Last night I had a message from a long time friend of mine, asking me why I was no longer posting my daily posts on Google+ to which I kinda gave a head tilt and went “huh”? ¬†I had certainly seen my posts making their way to G+ anytime I checked my messages over there. ¬†Then I took a closer look and saw that they all said “shared only with you” which kinda defeats the purpose of syndicating posts in the first place. ¬†It turns out that nothing I have posted since July 28th has made it to G+ which is more than mildly frustrating. ¬† I un-linked my account¬†from Jetpack Publicize and relinked it a few times, but I never saw the prompt that I once saw asking me to select what type of sharing level for my posts. ¬†So I took to the search engine to try and figure out what was happening. ¬†Sure enough it seems like Google did something to change its policies with what level of access external apps have access to your account. ¬†You apparently need to go into Settings > Manage Apps & Activities and then find the WordPress app or whatever else you are using for syndication. ¬†This will allow you to edit the permissions for how it will be sharing to your feed, and like I said before apparently the new default is “Only You”.

After posting about this last night it seems that this pretty much happened for everyone universally. ¬†I thought I would take a quick moment and at least explain how to fix it. ¬†As far as syndicating my posts… I tend to take the approach of broadcast what I write pretty much everywhere. ¬†Each of the social networks kinda has its own vibe and while I greatly prefer using Twitter, there are folks that read my content that equally greatly prefer G+ or Facebook or even Tumblr. ¬†My goal has always been to deliver my content as in as painless of a manner as possible for folks to read. ¬†I personally am not a huge fan of Facebook, and in fact I went through the crazy process of deleting my personal account once upon a time because it annoyed me. ¬†However when I started blogging I signed up for an account just for the purpose of reblogging my content because I know there are people who do prefer to use Facebook. ¬†Granted it might get annoying as shit if you follow me on multiple platforms to constantly see duplicate postings, but I guess that is a chance I am willing to take because I don’t want anyone to feel excluded or left out of the process. ¬†Maybe this is strange but my daily posting thing… feels like all of us are taking a journey together and I don’t want to leave anyone behind.

Ravana Attempts

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As is always the case last night was we gathered up the Monday team and did some eight player content in Final Fantasy XIV. ¬†We started the evening by burning through all four parts of Alexander Normal for the folks who are not running it and capping out early like I am. ¬†At this point my Warrior is sitting at level 190 and I have everything I can get out of Alexander other than the chest piece. ¬†So as of today I will be largely running the place to help out the gear on my Dragoon. ¬†At some point I hope to get the chest piece but largely for cosmetic reasons because the Alexander gear set looks amazing. ¬†Last week we managed to burn down Bismarck Extreme and now both the Monday and Wednesday teams are keyed for the next primal encounter. ¬†As such instead of beating the sky whale again we decided to make attempts on Ravana Extreme. ¬†Now going into this place we had heard horror stories about how rough the encounter was and how it was another Titan Extreme where you had to move exactly at the right time and keep repeating a pattern. ¬†Honestly I didn’t see that at all. ¬†Instead I saw an encounter with a repeatable pattern but significantly more wiggle room ¬†to adjust as we went.

We made some serious progress last night, and I think more than  likely we will be able to defeat him next week.  Each attempt we kept creeping closer to the goal, and essentially what is going to be the make or break moment is dealing with the Final Liberation phase.  If we can learn that particular dance we will have the encounter, and it honestly did not feel like we were too terribly far off from that process last night.  Granted at this point we are significantly better geared than the first groups that attempted the fight, but my hope is that we can get in and start farming this guy so that folks can get the really awesome weapons.  In truth I hope that we can farm both primals because there are absolutely weapons that come from both of them that I would like to see.  We had the two handed sword drop from Bismarck last Monday and it looked amazing.  It is the stupid things like getting glamour items that motivate me, and at some point I want to organize 2.0 extreme primal farming runs so that we can start to get folks their ponies.  As it stands we only have a couple of ponies in the guild, and I think my Leviathan pony was the first.  We need to figure out a method because really I would like to make sure everyone gets at least ONE primal pony before other people roll on it.  Granted eventually it would be awesome to have people get a full set, but I would be happy with having everyone with just one as a starter.

Entering Whitevale

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This morning I am having one of those mornings when I am easily distracted. ¬†The cats are tearing through the house chasing each other like they have gone mad. ¬†There is a dog barking and it sounds like it is coming from my back yard… even though it is really across the green belt. ¬†I keep flipping over to twitter, and having to force myself to put my fingers back on my keyboard and type in my WordPress window. ¬†Largely since this is Blaugust I wanted to include this little tidbit because it absolutely happens to me too. ¬†There are days when you cannot keep your train of thought, and I have learned to just go with it. ¬†Start writing the things that seem most natural and eventually somehow you will get back on track. ¬†Last night was one of those nights for me as well, and I flipped back and forth between games quite a bit as the evening wore on. ¬†Before the raid I spent time over in Wildstar with the purpose of trying to “finish Galeras”, which is a bit of a daunting task because there are a silly number of quests in that zone and many of them you will never actually find unless you go wandering around aimlessly. ¬†Bit by bit however I explored the regions of the map that had yet to be explored and I am now relatively confident that I have at least gotten most of the quests out of the way.

That now means the moment I have been dreading is upon me… ¬†and I had to take the flight out to Whitevale. ¬†I guess in part the reason why I have been avoiding doing this is that Whitevale ultimately was the zone that broke me when I played the game at launch. ¬†I am not sure entirely what it is about the place, but it felt like moving slowly through molasses. ¬†I think in part it was due to the fact that Dominion side there simply were never that many players in the zone, meaning that I could never get a group to do any of the group objectives, and the mob density meant that it was super hard to move anywhere without having to fight a dozen mobs. ¬†The zone also seemed to have a higher concentration of the challenger and superior difficulty mobs than the other zones. ¬†It seemed like I could not move anywhere without seeing one of those horrible flashing red shielded mob types that I had to try and chew through in vain. ¬†As a result I have honestly been scared of getting to this zone because it was my fear that once again it would break me. ¬†I have actually been enjoying the content so far, and finding playing the game refreshing. ¬†So hopefully maybe I can make my way through Whitevale because supposedly everything on the other side of it… is significantly better.

 

Blaugust Halfway Check-In

Tabulating Results

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We are now at the halfway point of Blaugust, and I thought it would be cool today to take note of who has achieved their “Survivor” rank or not. ¬†As a refresher I have changed the requirements slightly from last year, and you can find the entire rules post here. ¬†Last year a significant portion of the contest was about not missing a single day, and quite honestly there were a bunch of people who got their 31 posts in… but had not done them contiguously so it felt dishonest to rule them out just because they missed a day. ¬†Instead this year I am judging the contest based on number of posts, which allows people to play catch up if they need to. ¬†At this point we are technically on day 16, and I had said I was going to classify anyone as a survivor who had managed to make 15 posts during the month. ¬†There are a lot of folks on this list, and a lot more than are only one or two posts off from it. ¬†That said I thought it would be awesome to celebrate those who have already reached the halfway point.

I am going to pick on SoulTamer a bit because she made this tweet yesterday. ¬†When I see something like this is makes me exceptionally happy inside. ¬†Blaugust is a strange ordeal, for some people it gives them strength and they reach the other side a more prolific blogger. ¬†For others it defeats them and they go for month or more long lapses afterwards. ¬†It was for that second group that I considered not actually doing it this year. ¬†I didn’t want to be the cause of anyone dropping off the radar in our game blogging community. ¬†However there were enough people constantly asking me if I was going to do it that I reluctantly said yes. ¬†I am happy that I have and I am immensely proud of the progress everyone has been making towards the final goal. ¬†Another note… just because your name does not currently appear on this list does not mean all is lost. ¬†You can still reach 15 posts and you can still reach 31 for the month, and I think this is the aspect of the 2015 running that I like the most. ¬†Instead of demoralizing someone for missing a day, there is always hope that you can catch up and cross the finish line as well. ¬†So I challenge all of you folks who are not on the list to get there!

AggroChat 70 – Calibrating “Main Gun”

massEffectGarrus

This week we are joined by Ashgar, Belghast, Grace, Tam and Thalen, with Kodra having to deal with some family stuff.  I was not certain how much we would have to talk about, but like always we managed to fill a show full of all sorts of games that we had been playing.  Thalen starts it off talking about his further adventures into the Magic Duels free to play game.  Similarly with the launch of Fallout Shelter for android he has started playing that as well.  Finally he talks about the recent Fantastic Four event in Marvel Heroes and how The Thing is the tankiest of tanks.  Tam spent the day at an Infinity Tournament and talks about just how awesome the Seattle minature gaming scene has been.

Grace talks about her recent swap to spending most of her time in Wildstar and the excitement surrounding the impending free to play drop that is now on the public test server.  Additionally she talks about her recent foray into the PVP system, and how generally cool the community seems to be surrounding it.  While board games are normally the territory of Kodra, Grace mentions the Exploding Kittens card game and how much fun she has had with it since receiving it.  Ashgar has followed in Tam’s footsteps and talks about his experiences playing Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment.  Ash has also started on a brand new playthrough of Mass Effect with the intent of carrying one save game from one all the way through three.  This of course spawns a conversation where we talk about our experiences with the Mass Effect series.

Finally I talk about my recent return to Rift, and my obsessions with Hellgate London.  Additionally we talk about next weeks show, where we plan on talking about the storyline of the Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward expansion.  We have purposefully kept discussion of plot points to a minimum, but we feel it is generally safe enough to start talking about where we think the game is going.  We are announcing this ahead of time for the purpose of letting our listeners and readers join in the fun.  Do you have any interesting theories or are there parts of the story that you didn’t quite grasp?  We are taking in questions via email for this coming show, and we will go over them on the air.  I should be a lot of fun and it is our first real attempt to do something like this.

[Download Podcast] [Play on AggroChat.com] [iTunes] [Stitcher]

 

Exploring Draumheim

Great Sell-Off

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Normally this morning I would go into my new game picks for the coming week to serve as alternate writing fodder to Blaugust. ¬†However that is not going to happen because I am not really feeling like writing that post today. ¬†I am struggling right now with a mix of allergies and asthma that have conspired to make me miserable. ¬†One of the things about being sick is that you tend to surround yourself by things that feel comfortable or nostalgic. ¬†Just as there is comfort food, there is also comfort gaming… and when I feel like shit I find myself wandered off into games I have pushed to the side. ¬†Essentially when I am feeling my worst I am lease capable of dealing with the stress of interacting with other people. ¬†As such yesterday and last night I ventured into a realm where almost nobody knows my name anymore… ¬†Telara. ¬†Rift was one of my games of the week for this past week, and with it comes a series of problems. Namely when I log in I am staring at a bag and bank full of dimension items and crafting materials. ¬†I am not sure if you are the same as me in this aspect, but if my bags are a mess there are so many times I will log in and then log right back out because I cannot be bothered to fix that situation. ¬†Honestly if I don’t do something quickly in Final Fantasy XIV I will be nearing that point as all of my retainers are clogged and my inventory continues to get more and more semi-permanent additions.

With Rift however I finally did something drastic. ¬†Last October Rift released the Nightmare Tides expansion, and I still don’t have a character to the new level cap of 65. ¬†During this time I have been accumulating crafting materials from doing the Minions minigame, and quite honestly I have more than I will ever actually use. ¬†By the time I actually get around to hitting the level cap I will more than likely have just as much materials I do now. ¬†So instead I decided to reinstall BananAH and post every single crafting material on the Auction House. ¬†It cost a lot of plat to post everything, but luckily by the end of the night I had managed to quadruple the amount of plat I had going into this experiment, and there are still a bunch of auctions up there that may or may not have sold over night. ¬†The money gained was a side benefit, the real mission was simply to clear the shit out of my inventory. ¬†At some point I will do the same with the various housing bits, because there are some things I will quite literally never end up using in any design. ¬†With the bags clear however I finally felt like I could actually go out into the world questing, and it improved my outlook on the game considerably.

Figuring Logistics

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While the great sell-off took care of one issue keeping me from playing Rift, I still had another big one standing in my way. ¬†Rift has quite possibly one of the most complicated character creation systems, namely that for a given class you can have any combination of three different souls from a pool of ten¬†potential souls for each slot. ¬†If my math is correct…¬†and I would seriously question that… but I believe that gives us 120 possible combinations with¬†a pool of 76 talent points to distribute between your three trees. ¬†What I am trying to say is that basically every time I decide to play the game it requires a bunch of research on my part to determine what the current “viable” builds are and what purposes they serve. ¬†To say that Rift changes a lot is an understatement… ¬†they are constantly patching the game and tweaking things and often times these have ramifications have effects that trickle out and make or break the last patches specs. ¬†The class that I tend to care about the most however is the Warrior, and while I have a level 60 rogue and a level 60 cleric… ¬†I tend to mostly focus on Belghast first and foremost. ¬†So over the last week I have poked around the Class Guide forums and stumbled onto one that looked promising titled: ¬†Warrior Solo Leveling (61-65). ¬†Luckily it was not too far off from the build that I had tried leveling with before, so I was able to tweak out my hot bars without much issue.

One of the big strengths of Rift is also one of it’s great weaknesses. ¬†The macro system is excellent and allows you to do some really interesting things with it. ¬†The problem being the game also gives you so many sideways and optional abilities that you feel like you are required to macro everything together for fear that you miss some opportunity for not having 32 fingers to hit abilities with. ¬†The big thing I like about this incarnation of the soloing build is that essentially I am really only using one macro, and all that does is chain a series of high cool-down single target abilities onto Empowering Strike. ¬†The combo point dump abilities are on my bar separately, as is the main reactionary ability that I hit after using one of them. ¬†The feeling is that things are less random than they have felt before when I have played a suggested spec. ¬†I am hitting buttons largely because I know what the effect is going to be, and because I want to use it at that moment. ¬†Sure I still have one single mixed bag ability, but it feels like it is less important than the things I am not macroing. ¬†The other big thing is that it seems like my survival has gone up significantly, which was a huge problem I had previously. ¬†I am still under level for the region I am hunting in, but I am wondering if that just means that I missed something important in the previous zone.

Exploring Draumheim

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At this point I had a spec and I had clean enough bags to be able to venture out into the world. ¬†I had two ports available in Draumheim so I grabbed one and hoped that I had picked the right one. ¬†It seems that I did as when I landed there were numerous quests available. ¬†The zone is extremely cool with all manner of nightmarish abominations wandering around in the midst of the ocean that is being drained away. ¬†The coolest thing about Draumheim is that it seems to be a nightmarish echo of Telara. ¬†There are numerous places in the zone that represent areas from the game, for example there is absolutely a version of Meridian and Sanctum as well as a nightmarish version of Port Scion. ¬†Similarly I ran into a copy of the great toad-like Greenscale, who represented the aspect of hunger. ¬†When I first attempted to play Nightmare Tides I was not sure if I liked it or not, largely because I am not the biggest fan of underwater settings in MMOs. ¬†Now almost a year later the subtlety of the expansion is starting to sink in. ¬†It is less about us traveling to the physical plane of water, and more about us traveling into the physical manifestation of dreams and nightmares. ¬†Nothing in the zones are quite what they seem, and last night I ended up helping out a series of existentially confused hay bales… ¬†and I am not making that up… they are quite literally named that.

I still wish we had a more directed questing experience similar to the old world. ¬†I know they went in this direction as a way of distancing themselves from the standard questing format of MMOs, but personally I find it somewhat lacking. ¬†The story that is there is really good, but there just doesn’t feel like there is enough of it. ¬†Mostly it feels like you can’t get through the content by only following the quests. ¬†Instead of feeling like questing is optional it feels like I have to do every single quest, and do every single carnage quest that pops up when you kill any mobs… ¬†and still do some dungeons or instant adventures or you run into the situation I am in… where I am one to two levels below the content I am ¬†trying to do. ¬†The leveling experience is much less directed, and this is a change that went in with Storm Legion… but the end result in both expansions was me constantly wondering what I am supposed to be doing next. ¬†For most MMOs the leveling experience gets better over time, but I feel like Rift went in the opposite direction. ¬†I get it that quest content is fairly expensive to create, and without the subscription model they don’t have that stable source of monthly income to keep said quest content coming. ¬†The quests that are here however are really good, and one I did last night took me through a series of “computers” that showed little recorded vignettes from the past, all of them fully voice acted. ¬†I like all of the things they have done to make finding quests more interactive… ¬†but I wish we had more hub based quests as well to fill in the gaps in content. ¬†I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t enjoy myself however, because I absolutely did. ¬†I needed a game where I could be anonymous and lose myself in the experience of playing an MMO, and that is precisely what Rift gave me yesterday. ¬†I still very much love Trion and the team behind Rift, and it is one of the games I will continue to suggest people check out on a regular basis. ¬†I feel like they did the absolute best job of a free to play conversion that I have experienced to date, and I am willing to keep giving them more of my money. ¬†I am just nostalgia for the way that questing used to feel in Rift is all.

Tam’s Liebster Questions

I posted yesterday a bit about the backlog of posts that I have had that I wanted to make. ¬†Yesterday I was also called out by Tam about not responding to his Leibster post, but in truth I just had not gotten down to it. ¬†Since tomorrow will be another Blaugust Games of the Week post, I had planned on getting his Liebster post either out today or Saturday, but since he is getting antsy I guess I am going to make sure it happens today. ¬†For those who don’t know the Liebster is this well intentioned “award” that is essentially the blogosphere’s version of a chain letter. ¬†Normally it is supposed to float around with a cover page full of rules outlining how you are supposed to proceed, and explains things like that you are supposed to choose a candidate that has never been Liebstered. ¬†This seems to go around once a year, and based on some of the questions I have seen… I am guessing this is a continuation of last years “strain” because at least one of the questions I have seen floating around is one I came up with. ¬†All of this said I am absolutely not down on the concept of the Liebster. ¬†I think it is a pretty awesome way to introduce people to new folks, but at this point this will be the third time I have been Liebetered. ¬†I am going to ignore the “rules” of the award and not name any successors because by the strictest of rules I should not be getting this again.

Onwards to the Liebster Questions

1 — What is the best spell to cast?

Anything that buffs my melee ability or causes me to take less damage. ¬†In truth however… I have to say Resurrection would be the best spell to cast most of the time. ¬†Considering how much death I have had to deal with in my life, I have a feeling that is the one I would end up using the most.

2 — What food item(s) from a game do you want to eat above any other?

Nothing from any Fallout game ever… ¬†In truth I am not sure if I have ever salivated over any in game food, but I will say I have always wanted to eat a Tel’Abim Banana since they are supposedly sentient beings from another land. ¬†Wondering if they taste significantly different than a normal Banana.

3 — You’ve got an infinite supply of one consumable, and can never carry any others. ¬†Which consumable do you choose?

That one is simple… Health Potion. ¬†Seriously there is no reason for any other consumable if you have an infinite supply of health.

4 — You have to choose a race and class that you’ve never played seriously before. ¬†What do you pick?

Wow-64 2014-03-09 21-58-12-21

Honestly this one is hard because I have played most roles seriously in the past. ¬†The one class that I always thought I would like but could never really get into was the World of Warcraft Warlock. ¬†At face value it seems like a very “Bel” class summoning demons and shit, but the whole damage over time aspect has always baffled me. ¬†After starting to get used to the Arcanist a bit, I am going to say that Warlock is something I have been interested in giving a more serious try. ¬†I have one somewhere in my 60s in WoW but I largely got there because the leveling curve in that game is laughable and I just made my demon beat things up for me. ¬†I would like to try playing it as a proper dot dropping madman.

5 — What game did you think you would hate but actually loved?

SaintsRowIV 2014-06-24 22-53-22-280

This one was a little tough, but I finally came up with an answer I am happy with: ¬†The Saints Row franchise. ¬†You are thinking… but Bel it is a crazy game where you get to beat everything up with dildo bats… that absolutely sounds like a game you would be interested in. ¬†Sure but you have to understand something key here… I really do not like Grand Theft Auto games. ¬†Well I take that back, I found one and two good mindless fun, but I could not stand GTA 3… and then each of the games afterwards that I played I also found frustrating. ¬†In all fairness I have never really given GTA 4 a fair shot, which I need to do at some point. ¬†I am getting off track here, but essentially I always thought of Saints Row as a GTA Clone, and I guess in truth that is precisely how the series started out. ¬†What it has morphed into is this insane “no rules” sandbox, and THAT aspect I absolutely love. ¬†Saints Row 3 and 4 are both amazing, and I really need to devote more time to playing them.

6 — What game did you think you would love but actually hated?

Citizens of Earth… ¬†which coincidentally ended up being our first AggroChat game club game. ¬†Everything about that game sounded awesome… until we actually started trying to play it. ¬†Hate is a strong word, but really… ¬†I never want to play that game again. ¬†It was just the worst of smarmy repetitiveness and laughing at itself jokes I have experienced in awhile. ¬†Additionally the combat really was not fun at all. ¬†I was so amped going into that game, and those hopes were dashed within the first hour.

7 — Pick a zone from any game to live in. ¬†Why?

Moonshade Highlands from Rift without a doubt. ¬†Gorgeous storms, awesome Dwarves, and big mountain highlands full of little pools and rivers. ¬†The crazy woods filled with murderous Fae I could deal without, but the rest of that zone… ¬†absolutely perfect for me. ¬†Again other than the whole nightmare demons thing I would absolutely love to live in Hammerknell.

8 — You can excise one class from every future game. ¬†Which? ¬†Why?

Probably anything with a stealth mechanic. ¬†It is probably going to surprise people that I did not say “Mage”, but in truth I find stealth mechanics to be among the most frustrating experience I have ever had in any game. ¬†The truth is I like the “rogue” archetype, I just don’t want them to be stealthy. ¬†I am all about the swashbuckler type character slashing away at things furiously with two swords. ¬†Probably the best stealth mechanic as far as I am concerned is that of the Nightblade in Rift because they just used it as a limited time opener, not something to stay in for long periods of time.

9 — What’s your favorite story?

Hmmm this question is so ambiguous.  My favorite set up for a game has to be Hellgate London.  In fact yesterday was lamenting how awesome the opening cinematic for that game and the subsequent story was.   The problem is the game was not really worthy of it, and I would love to see it rebooted into a movie or a television show with its own new game.  I have to say though of all of the game stories I have played, the one I most want to see made into a television series is Mass Effect.  Imagine that story told over the course of five or six seasons of a high budget television show?  Would be amazing.

10 — What hobby does no one (yet) know you have?

The problem with having a blog for as long as I have had… ¬†everyone pretty much knows everything about me at this point. ¬†In fact I did Factoid February a few years back where I spilled the beans on a lot of these details. ¬†I really don’t have any hobbies that would shock someone. ¬†The hobby that I need to get back into doing more of however is Photography. ¬†It has been a few years since we were regularly going out on photo shoots each weekend, and that needs to change.

11 — What is your favorite secret shame?

Again I can’t really think of something that I have not already talked at length about here on the blog. ¬†I am a sucker for John Hughes films, so that would probably be about the closest thing to a “guilty pleasure” that I have… ¬†that and I love 80s pop music. ¬†It just reminds me of my childhood, when everything seemed possible. ¬†As a kid I thought John Hughes films were about the underdog getting their way in the end, but as an Adult they have a much darker theme, namely you can have whatever you want so long as you change everything about yourself in the process. ¬†Think back to the Breakfast club… ¬†you have Ally Sheedy playing this girl that just wants to be loved by hear parents… ¬†and everything is set right in the world by a make over turning her into Molly Ringwald 2.0. ¬†Even with the darker interpretation… I still can’t help but love those movies.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am breaking the chain here and not naming a victim.  I still think the Liebster is a good idea and something pretty cool, but at this point I am getting tired of doing them myself.  However Tam put a lot of thought and effort into his questions, so I felt obligated to answer them.  In fact I think his questions would make a pretty great Blaugust prompt if anyone else wants to answer them.  For now I am signing off because I spent way more time writing this out than I expected to, and am now late for work!

 

Our Own Convention

Noble Aspirations

This is potentially going to be one of the stranger morning blog posts I have made in awhile. ¬†Yesterday during the midst of another conversation entirely I planted a seed, and got a significantly more favorable response than I had expected. ¬†Essentially I have thought for awhile how awesome it would be to have some event that let all of the great people I know through gaming or blogging to meet up, hang out, and cause mischief. ¬†This year it was my hope to be able to make Pax Prime since there are a significant number of people in the Seatle area now. ¬†The problem being by the time I even knew the tickets had gone on sale, they were already completely sold out. ¬†Our backup plan was to try and get AggroChat qualified for press passes, but we were summarily rejected without much notice as to why. ¬†Every major convention has this same issue, with having way more demand than there are tickets available for folks to attend. ¬†So this sent me down an alternate line of thinking… ¬†maybe we just need to create our own convention. ¬†I know that sounds crazy at first glance but bear with me for awhile.

My wife is heavily involved in the twitter math community, and five years ago they were lamenting how every single professional development workshop they have been to was essentially a waste of time.  One discussion lead to another, and the idea was mentioned that what they really needed was a way to get together so that they could share ideas.  From there they organized the very first Twitter Math Camp in St Louis, and it was a huge success.  That first year only around fifty teachers attended, but each additional year it has grown to this year in Los Angeles there were over 200 teachers.  So seeing this go from someones vague idea to fruition maybe gives me a different perspective than the average person when it comes to the thought of forming our own convention.  I mean ultimately that is how most gathering start, with a basic idea and then just branching out from there.

Our Own Convention

GiganticScrim

 

I loved Pax South, but not really because the convention itself was this magical place. ¬†The floor was busy, and there were so many people wandering around that it became hell to find a quiet spot to yourself to think. ¬†What made the convention awesome was getting to hang out with people that I had only ever talked to online. ¬†When I realized this… I realized that I didn’t actually need a convention to have fun, but in truth could potentially have more fun if I just somehow managed to gather up a bunch of people in one place and time. ¬†Even if we quite literally did nothing but hang out and play board games and talk about life, it would still end up being an amazing experience. ¬†That said I do think we could convince enough people to show up to make it an interesting experience for all of us. ¬†Think about the sort of things we go through with the Newbie Blogger Initiative each year, and ultimately how much we learn from one another. ¬†It would be easy enough to throw together a series of panels discussing the finer points of various blogging skills that we have. ¬†I mean it would be pretty awesome to record an impromptu live Podcast for example, or a technical discussion in how to get the most out of WordPress. ¬†There are real things we could talk about, and with that many game bloggers in one spot we might even be able to talk some game companies into showing up as well. ¬†Maybe I am brutally naive… but I think it is a thing that might be doable.

Location, Location, Location

I literally have thought about this for awhile now, and those thought processes were just made more concrete after returning from Pax. ¬†I’ve long thought that the best place for a meetup would be in a central state. ¬†Conventions have this problem of being super convenient for people living on one particular coast, but damned near impossible for anyone else to attend. ¬†So after a lot of thinking basically I came up with two potential locations.

  • St Louis, Missouri
  • Chicago, Illinois

Both locations have strengths and weaknesses, but both are also fairly centrally located making it not too horrible from pretty much anywhere in the United States, and potentially even doable for Canadians. ¬†St Louis is significantly easier for me personally… because I know the town decently well and have several friends in the area that I could potentially recruit to help. ¬†Chicago on the other hand… other than flying through O’Hare I know nothing about it, and I really have zero support structure to help out with the planning and the details. ¬†Its biggest strength however is O’Hare airport, because essentially it is a straight flight from any major airport cutting down the overall travel costs. ¬†That said St Louis hotels, venue rentals, and pretty much everything else would be significantly cheaper which might offset the travel costs. ¬†All of this said… they both have strengths and weaknesses, but as I said my personal leanings are towards St Louis simply for the familiarity point.

I guess the ultimate question is… ¬†would some sort of convention/meetup be something that our community would even be interested in? ¬†We would have to set a date well into the future and begin planning now to make it work, but before any of that… I need to know if people would actually come. ¬†I think it could be a really awesome experience, and if nothing else let a whole bunch of people that have only ever communicated online hang out and get to know each other. ¬†I also think there is a lot of cool stuff we could learn from each other, so I feel like it could be more than just a “gathering”. ¬†Over the last several years we have gone from being a vague connection of island states, to being a serious and formidable community constantly welcoming new people. ¬†Blaugust while stressful, is an amazing event and just one in a long line of events that we do each year. ¬†While I jokingly referred to this as BlaugustCon… it is more than just that. ¬†I think we could build something amazing in the real world in addition to all of what we are doing in the virtual world. ¬†Like I said.. the real question is do people even want this? ¬†I don’t often ask for feedback, but in this situation I absolutely need it. ¬†Leave me a line and let me know your thoughts.

Communing with Fae

Freemium Magic

MagicDuels 2015-08-09 09-57-36-70

While I still have aspirations to cease the swiss army posts… ¬†I guess in reality I live a fairly swiss army life. ¬†This weekend was really no different, and the one hundred plus degree temperatures just caused us to spend more time than normal indoors. ¬†When this happens I start to get a little wanderlust at least from the standpoint of what games I am playing. ¬†As a result this weekend I played a mixture of Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars the Old Republic, Minecraft, and some Magic Duels. ¬†You can blame the podcast we recorded Saturday for the later, because both Thalen and Kodra talked about playing it. ¬†I have several assorted versions of the Duel of the Planeswalker magic game cluttering my steam account. ¬†I end up picking them up when they go on sale and then only ever playing them a few times. ¬†Ultimately part of the excitement of magic for me is playing with physical cards and opening physical packs. ¬†We have joked about it before but “that new pack smell” is really a thing, and it can be intoxicating. ¬†That little tingle of excitement as you rush through the “commons” to find out what rare you got in that pack is a thing I have repeated thousands of times over the years. ¬†So is the sinking feeling when I see that rare is a blue or a white… the two colors that I most have a negative reaction towards. ¬†The real life magic really really wants me to play White, because I have an insane number of rare angels… ¬†but all I ever really want is the dark and sinister Black cards.

Right now I am still about halfway through the unlocking story of the White deck of Gideon Jura. ¬†The game does a really cool job of telling you the story of how each of the planeswalkers found their spark, which according to Kodra is the central focus of the Origins story line. ¬†The only negative that I have so far is that you have to wade through a lot of tutorials before the game just lets you play. ¬†Normally I would say these could be skipped but the game rewards you in gold for watching them, and that is gold that you will need later for purchasing packs. ¬†Where this gets really frustrating is when a new card mechanic is introduced and it stops whatever duel you are in the middle of to show you a tutorial on how that mechanic works. ¬†I can absolutely see however how this would be beneficial to brand new players, and even for me there are card mechanics that are being called by names that I don’t recognize in spite of fully understanding the game play behind them. ¬†The other big frustration with the Duels client is the fact that it crashed on me, numerous times… ¬†so I am guessing they are still having some issues. ¬†From what I can tell you stay connected to their servers even though you are essentially playing a single player match, and if that server connection wavers your game cannot seem to recover gracefully. ¬†I figure this is going to be something I piddle with from time to time when I am not in the mood for other games.

Communing with Fae

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-09 18-54-19-35

As I wrote yesterday Arcanist has always been the class that I struggled the most in playing. ¬†For whatever reason I have caught the desire to play it, and I spent most of yesterday working my way through content doing a mix of low level roulette, Haukke Manor, and guildhests. ¬†As a result early yesterday evening I managed to push across the line and ding 30 while in one of those Haukke Manor runs. ¬†After that it was chasing down two different job quests and learning how to be both a Scholar and a Summoner. ¬†The thing that I did not initially realize was the fact that the two Carby summons ultimately become the Faerie summons. ¬†I guess this makes sense, as without them somehow overwriting those low level abilities there would be no way for the job to scale down and effectively heal low level content. ¬†The other thing that I was not really expecting was how “un-healer-like” low level instances ultimately felt. ¬†My first dungeon as a Scholar ended up being Halitali… where I have exactly one useful heal button. ¬†So instead I just made sure I was standing next to the tank and dotted everything up. ¬†I am not sure¬†when the class feels more “healer-ly” but until then I am just pretending I am still playing an Arcanist.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-09 19-03-52-18

The other shocker for me was just how relatively easy the Summoner job quest ended up being. ¬†As you can tell by the Summon III icon, I had to fight Ifrit and after fighting him in several different versions… I have to say it was way easier than I expected it to be. ¬†I cast dots on all of the things, and then eventually he fell over… ¬†which I am guessing is how summoners are supposed to play? ¬†This play style is just so weird to me because it feels oddly passive. ¬†Maybe a better way of putting it is it feels like I am playing a completely different game than the rest of the people in my group. ¬†Much of the time leveling to 30 was spent tabbing through targets, applying dots, and then tabbing back to the first one to reapply dots after I had finished one circuit of the mobs. ¬†This just doesn’t feel natural to me I guess because it feels like the sort of triage that I do as a healer… ¬†but to damage all the mobs rather than heal all the players. ¬†I guess the truth is that I have never really successfully played a damage over time class, and it almost makes me want to fire up and play my Warlock again to see if this new outlook makes that class more enjoyable. ¬†In any case I now have a Scholar so I can begin leveling that through the instant duty finder queue. ¬†I should try and catch up to Tzi and Rylacus and run up with them.

Blaugust Games of Week – Week 2

Another Week Down

EverQuest2 2015-08-07 06-27-43-01 One of the things that I find easiest to blog about is when I am experiencing a new game, or re-experiencing a game after some time has passed.  As a result last week I started doing the Blaugust Games of the Week thing, and for the first week I posted  three vastly different titles.  While Marvel Heroes 2015 has been in my gaming rotation for some time now, Everquest II and Dirty Bomb were not and as such I spent a bit of time this past week playing both.  While I didn’t really talk much about any of the games this week, I hope some of you out there at least gave them a shot.  I spent the most time playing Everquest II on the Stormhold Time Locked Server.  It has been so strange starting from scratch without having some of my favorite leveling spots.  The later leveling zones like Darklight Wood and Iceclad Ocean are just better designed than the original Everquest 2 leveling process was, and as a result you could tear through them so much more quickly.

As of last night I hit level 10 on my Iksar Shadowknight, and in part I think I was doing things the hard way because I stormed right out into the Commonlands and attempted to start leveling off the mobs out there that tend to be significantly higher than my level.  One of the things that I had forgotten about the Commonlands were all of the Small Chests that drop additional quests.  At this point my quest log is full of level 15-20 Far Seas supplier quests that essentially ask you to kill X of a thing and then turn in the end result at an NPC.  I remember these being the bread and butter of early leveling, but I have to say the thing I miss is all of the individual neighborhoods of Freeport.  I think it was a huge disservice to the game when the revamp of Freeport got rid of these completely.  They are now instanced zones that you can only enter on specific quests, but I have to say these zones made up a lot of the feel of both Freeport and Qeynos and did a good job of explaining why the cities were the way that they were.  Of the three titles from this week, this is the one that I am most likely to keep playing because I am finding an odd enjoyment out of retracing my EQ2 roots.

Trion Theme

Since it is once again Friday it is time for me to pick another three games to talk about and suggest.¬† This time around I decided to go with a theme and as a result I am picking three games from Trion.¬† Again I am limiting my selections to games that you can download and start playing immediately without having to purchase a game client or pay a subscription fee.¬† My goal is to make it so folks who are stuck and in need of inspiration can pop into one of these games and get instant ‚Äúblog fodder‚ÄĚ.

Rift

rift 2012-05-31 20-38-58-07 Considering the announcement of the World of Warcraft expansion yesterday, I thought it was fitting to lead off this morning talking about Rift as it was the first game to actually pry me away from the WoW Juggernaut.¬† The game is designed in such a way so that in theory you can play one character and provide every possible role in the game.¬† This was not necessarily the case at launch but over time they have provided additional talent trees or ‚ÄúSouls‚ÄĚ to help flesh out the missing abilities.¬† So now you can absolutely be a healing warrior or a tanking mage.¬† This game has an absolutely phenomenal early leveling game, and the first fifty levels are an absolute joy to level through.¬† The expansions however are a completely different thing.¬† I personally found both leveling in Storm Legion and Nightmare Tides to be extremely tedious, and found myself wishing they had not abandoned the early game that I enjoyed so much.

The core of the game though is great, but there are various things you are going to have to content with especially along the lines of ability bloat.  One of my key complaints about Rift has been that you end up with a lot of abilities where ability 2 and 3 are absolutely better than 1… but have long cool downs.  The end result is that you usually end up macroing all three together, which can lead to some fairly uninteresting game play.  That said the game excels at letting you literally branch out in any possible direction and build a character out however you want to.  There are some less than optimal options, but in theory any combination of three Souls will make a potentially viable character, which gives you a lot of freedom to customize things as you see fit.  Fortunately the game has an excellent set of prebuilt specs to at least get you going in the right direction.  As far as the free to play goes… it is among the least restrictive and there are not really any pay walls standing in your way.

Steam Download ‚Äď Direct Download

Trove

Trove 2014-09-25 19-18-33-410 I was lucky enough to get in on the first wave of Alpha invites for Trove and having played it that long… has been an interesting experience.  The game has changed massively in that time, and the key elements have shifted and morphed but the basic game is still the same.  I tend to think of Trove as Minecraft meets Diablo, and my recent Bel’s Big Adventure series of Minecraft videos has made me appreciate how important this really is.  Minecraft has a fairly horrible combat system, that is passible but frustratingly bad if you are going to spend much time fighting anything.  Trove on the other stand decided to go in a direction that allows you to pick one of several classes that each have their own built in abilities and a MOBA style character design.  I tend to have a natural synergy with the base Knight class, but have spent significant amounts of time playing the Gunslinger and Neon Ninja as well… and they are all extremely well built.  The core gameplay loop in Trove centers around going out into the world and fighting baddies to find interesting stuff in level ranged based worlds that steadily increase the challenge.

On top of this however there is a very awesome building system where you can build extremely complex custom worlds for your ‚ÄúClub‚ÄĚ, or you can build out your cornerstone which is a traveling spawn point that you can move with you as you go out exploring the world.¬† I love this aspect of the game because it feels like I am able to take all of my most important resources and keep moving my base of operations as I go exploring.¬† The other thing that makes this game amazing is the community support, and the vast majority of the weapons that you will get were created by fans just like you.¬† The game has a silliness to it that is contagious, and I will forever cherish my Dapper Raptor mount that you can see above.¬† Another favorite of mine is the ability to collect item appearances and then make ANY piece of gear that you get look like that, so as you keep exploring you just keep opening more and more unique looks for your character. If you have never played Trove I highly suggest you download it and give it a shot.

Steam Download ‚Äď Direct Download

ArcheAge

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-18 11-13-03-53 ArcheAge and I have an extremely checkered past.  I was in the early Alpha process of this game and found the community to be among the most toxic I have ever experienced in any game genre.  As a result I pretty much actively ignored the game for some time.  However with some of the AggroChat folks started testing the waters and playing it… I decided to give it another shot.  The end result has been a pretty enjoyable leveling experience and allowed me to see just how subtle and nuanced the game really is.  I am not a fan of open world ganker style pvp… and early in the game that seemed to be extremely prevalent.  More so than that, the players seemed to revel in griefing others in non-combat ways as well.  If you AFK’d in town, someone might come along with a tractor and push you out into the middle of a dangerous area just to watch you die.  However all of those elements seem to have gotten bored and moved on, and what is left seems to be a bunch of generally nice folks.

The game play itself is also rather good, and while the quests are pretty basic the world is gorgeous and huge, and the class designs are really interesting.¬† While Rift has an issue with duplication of abilities, ArcheAge seems to be designed in a way so that there is natural synergy between talent trees without giving you a bunch of abilities that you will never actually use.¬† I have gone full circle on my opinion of this game and you can track the progress if you flip through some of my blog entries.¬† The game is absolutely playable on the free to play model, but there are some serious constraints.¬† Namely it is very difficult to do more than just one thing as a ‚Äúfree‚ÄĚ player because every action is throttled by your abysmal labour points.¬† As a Patron player your labour regenerates when you are offline‚Ķ as a free player you have to be logged into the game waiting on your points to come back.¬† The other huge constraint is that free players cannot own land, which means if you get very serious about this game you are likely going to end up subscribing.¬† However in the meantime the free model does allow you to get your feet wet.

Steam Download ‚Äď Direct Download

So Much Better With People

The AMA Experiment

Yesterday my good friend Syl started a thread over on the Blaugust Nook with a very simple purpose.  The idea was to generate writing prompts by asking the person above you in the thread a question.  It seemed like an awesome idea, so I joined in the fun asking the first question, which then left me open to be asked a question.  Wilhelm from The Ancient Gaming Noob chimed in after me and gave me a really excellent question, because it is honestly one I have thought about before but never actually written anything on.  Without more rambling… here is the prompt.

For a lot of people, starting off in MMORPGs changed the way they viewed and interacted with video games. I often defer single player games in favor of online games now due to the fact that games with other people are… or at least seem… more interesting, even when I am playing them solo. Did starting off with MMORGPs change your relationship with video games?

Brief History of Belghast

PSOBetterSo I feel like in order to answer this question appropriately we have to go a ways back into my history.  I grew up in a small town, but more so than that… I grew up a significant distance outside of the city limits.  This compounded with the fact that I had no siblings, meant that I really didn’t have anyone to play with.  As a result I got extremely adept at entertaining myself, but when we hit middle school… the prime era of sleep overs, I pretty much took every opportunity to stay over at someone else’s house or have someone at mine.  It was awesome to be able to play games with friends, but my reality was that I was mostly a single player gamer the majority of my time.  As such I tended to favor mostly single player titles like role playing games, and zelda like adventure games.  These would let me explore worlds by myself without the need of an additional player to bring the fun.

In college I did my fair share of LAN gaming, but the majority of my time was still spent playing single player titles like Fallout on the PC.¬† My first real ‚ÄúMMO‚ÄĚ experience was Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast, and I ate that game up.¬† Even though communication was not that big of a deal, I spent so much time exploring the worlds with other players.¬† I even went so far as to get a PC keyboard adapter that I could hook up to my Dreamcast so I could make communication easier.¬† During this time I was still playing a significant amount of single player games on the PC and devouring every single Japanese Roleplaying Game that was released on the PS1, PS2 or the Dreamcast.¬† Then my ‚Äújumping into‚ÄĚ Everquest happened, as I was asked to play a friends secondary character during a Vox raid‚Ķ and from that point on I was pretty much hooked.¬† Gradually I just stopped playing anything single player and instead devoted every single moment of gaming time to whatever my current MMO crush happened to be as I moved through EQ, DAoC, Horizon, and City of Heroes.

So Much Better With People

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-05 19-43-27-08 Something else happened during this time, that ultimately disconnected me from single player game experiences.  Games became so much more cinematic, and quite honestly this was not a good thing as far as I was concerned.  There were so many times I wanted to plunk down in front of a game, boot it up and just start playing.  When I played my role playing games, I absolutely expected to have a serious time commitment.  I did not however expect to have to wade through cut scene after cut scene just to play a platformer.  So I became even more immersed in my big online worlds that let me wander aimlessly and find my own enjoyment.  I also found myself favoring games that were extremely similar to the online worlds I was playing in.  Games like the Elder Scrolls or the three dimensional Fallout games provided me that big open world I craved but allowed me to explore offline.  The problem is there was always something missing.  These are games that I have devoted hundreds of hours to playing, but there is always a point where I start thinking to myself…  this world would be so much better with people.

Ultimately even if I am in ‚Äúalone in a crowd‚ÄĚ mode, I enjoy seeing people roaming around in the same world I am inhabiting.¬† Maybe this is an artifact of my early desires to have someone to play with, or a side effect of being recruited into Everquest in the middle of a bustling and thriving guild.¬† In any case I always end up missing the people when I am playing other games.¬† So as a result there are lots of single player titles that I want to play through, to experience the story‚Ķ¬† but they ultimately sit in my steam library unfinished and in some cases not even started‚Ķ because I would rather be online interacting with people that I care about.¬† Fairly recently I have found that hanging out on Teamspeak while playing single player games helps a bit.¬† It allows me to chat with people and feel like I am part of a larger community, while still indulging in single player worlds and experiences.¬† Similarly streaming a single player game to twitch feels like I am in some way making it a multiplayer experience by sharing it with others.¬† So to answer the original question‚Ķ yes MMOs have changed the way I play single player games, by simply making me not satisfied with being in a world without other human beings to interact with.