Summer Dry Spell

I am still poking at The Sims 4 on and off but aside from that, there’s just not a whole lot else that I am interested in playing now? In theory I should at least attempt to play some of the games purchased during the Summer Steam Sale or well, some of the games that I have purchased and never touched in general. I don’t know how it is with other folks, but I guess I go through cycles oscillating between really feeling like game and really not feeling like gaming. This month would be the later.

Running has taken precedence over gaming this month. I would love to setup a treadmill battlestation at some point so that I can browse or play walking, but I am not sure how that will work out. For the time being, iPhone Hearthstone/whatever game + walking works out fairly well. Running/jogging + iPhone gaming not so much because of too much bouncing.

About 5 or so people have recommended Dirty Bomb, so I may pick that up at some point. I had an itch last week so I did end up resubscribing to FFXIV: ARR. More specifically, I subscribed after the one month free trial ran out in May. As a whole, I am having difficulty getting into the FFXIV storyline because it more-or-less feels like MMO 101. To my understanding, the main scenario begins at level 15. So, given that I just hit level 15, what I have been playing is what I assume to be the starting area quest chain, so that makes sense I guess.

Analytical and Deeply Immersed (and Stuff)

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There’s another one of those gamer profile quizzes and floating around. This one seems fairly accurate-ish given that my absolute favorite gaming genre is fantasy role-playing (and MMO by extension though not so much as of late), with general action/strategy/FPS games trailing closely behind in second place. Above all I appreciate a decent character story and well, swords and guns and stuff.

It’s been a fairly light gaming week. In the wake of finishing The Witcher 3 (aside from the second playthrough that I poke at now and then), and thus not really having anything that I feel like playing, I have once again picked up The Sims 4 and started another stupid legacy story thing, continuing with the same family line as my original legacy story which was completed, but “lost” during a website migration. I still haven’t bothered playing or downloading either of the two games that I purchased the other week during the Steam sale. I think I will try to make a point of doing so in the upcoming week, so they don’t end up in the ignored bin for all eternity.

I keep reading about Heavensward in my blog feed. It’s very tempting to pick up FFXIV again, but I have a sneaky feeling that i should at the very least, wait until the initial login rush has passed.

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The 2015 Steam Summer Sale

Every year, Steam has some sort of odd promotional gimmick, usually centered around the trading cards and badges. This year’s gimmick was an odd cookie clicker game. I guess the goal of the game is to get to level 100M for a badge? *shrug*

I gingerly managed to escape the Summer Steam Sale with only two purchases: Shadowrun Returns and Hatoful Boyfriend; Bringing this year’s total expenditure to all of about $5. I have heard decent things about the Shadowrun Returns game and overall, I really like the universe and game system (based off of a short pen and paper campaign). If I recall correctly, the combat system is turned based ala X-Com, Baldur’s gate, etc. As far as Hatoful Boyfriend goes…reasons. I do hope to play both titles at some point, but seeing as how I have picked up The Sims 4 again and am also working my way through Witcher 3 playthrough #2, that may be a ways off.

This is a bit late in the sale but: Both the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 are still on sale for about $2 each. I think I clocked around 40 hours of playtime per game and greatly enjoyed every minute of it. So if you are looking for a longish RPG to play, especially if you enjoyed playing the Witcher 3, both are well worth picking up.

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Fallout Shelter

Along with Fallout 4, Doom 4, and Dishonored 2 (yay!), Bethesda also announced the immediate release of Fallout Shelter for iOS and Android. It is pretty fun even though it is another one of ‘those’ freemium resource building phone games. It at the very least has a high production value and is free to some extent; So if you enjoy that sort of thing, it is definitely worth a try.

Odds and Ends: Flying in WoW, The Witcher, Etc

Aside from a few mobile games, The Witcher 3 has more-or-less dominated almost every free hour of gaming time that I have had since its release date. After soaking about 90 or so hours into it I have finally finished the game. I can’t emphasize how much I have enjoyed playing this game. But that said, kind of burned out on open words type games at the moment so GTA V will have to wait. What to play next…

Picked this game up for my phone: You Must Build a Boat. At the core it is a match 3 puzzle game (Bejeweled, etc) with an RPG mechanic. If you like match 3 games, this game is worth picking up. YMBAB is available on the App Store, Google Play, as well as Steam. Games of this type just don’t seem to be nearly as fun on a non-touch interface device so I would recommend it up for your mobile device.

I had a post mostly completed and sitting on the backburner in regards the announcement (a week or two ago?) that there would not only be no flying in WoW for the Warlords of Draenor expansion but for any future expansion as well. Apparently because of the massive backlash, flying will be obtainable only after completing virtually everything in the expansion (faction reputations, all quests, etc). Overall, this solution feels like a decent compromise.

As a whole, I think that taking such a huge feature such as flying away from the player base is worse than any negative effect that it may have had on the game in the first place. I don’t remember who it was (apologies) but one of the blogs from my feed suggested changing the flight mechanics to make it less convenient. The cited example was eliminating hovering.

NBI Talkback Challenge #4 The Seven Gaming Sins

I guess I haven’t done too good of a job keeping up with the NBI writing prompts but this one looks fun. So without further adieu: The seven gaming sins. Keep in mind that the social aspect of these questions are being answered mostly from a WoW player’s perspective.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

Do I enjoy playing half naked ultra stacked men and women? As a whole yes, but mostly because I am easily amused. Honestly, it depends on the game’s overall tone, context. etc. Do I find busty beauts appropriate to the setting of a game such as Dead or Alive or Duke Nukem? Well, yeah. A game with a more serious tone however, such as Half-Life, Half-Life 2, or a military shooter, probably not so much. If the character designs are too over the top, it breaks immersion.

Gluttony – Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

Ugh yes. Why? Because at one point in time (several years ago), I binged on a Steam Summer/Winter sale or two and scooped up a horde of sub $5 and sub $10 with the intent of playing each and every single one of them one day. I don’t really have the time or interest to play through my entire backlog. Besides, it’s not as if I really buy too many games nowadays.

Greed – Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

Keep in mind that I consider the enjoyment and fun that I have obtained after completing an action a reward. So, have I opted out of a quest because I did not feel that it would be rewarding enough? Definitely. This one is mostly in reference to grindy MMO activities.

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, it’s rude and a huge waste of everyone’s time, mine especially. Why even run a dungeon or join a group if you aren’t even interested in playing?

Have I ever discouraged others from attempting things that I have felt are difficult? No, I try not to unless they are clearly under-geared or under-prepared to the extent that it is going to screw everyone else over in the party.

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

No…

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Not really.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

I enjoy grouping with competent players who are willing to spend time learning how to play their class properly but I do not really “demand” to group with elite players nor do I appreciate the attitude that follows people who generally identify themselves as such.

Will I kick people out who are under-performing to the point of being incompetent? Yes. Most of these people have fallen under the AFK sloth category… Will I kick people out of the group because they are struggling? Eh, I really dislike doing that and at point, it’s usually group consensus. We all have to begin somewhere and kicking someone out mid run who is trying hard but struggling a bit is a bit rude.

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The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

So the Witcher 3: Oh my God it has been so long since I have binged on a game this hard. Nowadays I will typically play computer games in short spurts of about an hour or two; So it is somewhat rare for me to soak up entire evenings and weekends playing one game. In fact, I don’t actually recall the last (non Sims) game that I have been this engrossed in. It may have actually been Skyrim.

The Witcher 3 has a healthy mix of magic, fantasy tropes, and political intrigue with a dark and grisly unforgiving overarching tone. If you were at all disappointed by how linear and on-rails the first two titles felt, fear not: The Witcher 3 takes place in an open world environment. The map is absolutely massive and painstakingly detailed, without feeling like the game’s world was artificially enlarged for the sake of having an open world.

You do not technically need to have played any of the previous titles to enjoy The Witcher 3, but it would help immensely with the back story and characters. Besides, both The Witcher as well as The Witcher 2 are fantastic games. At minimum, I would recommend reading a quick summary of the main characters and story thus far (most of of the major gaming blogs have posted several decent articles).

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The combat system is simple and fluid but precise. It’s a combination of physical melee attacks, dodging, rolling, and the use of magic signs to stun/burn/trap/etc. It is fairly unforgiving to key mashing and will punish careless hacking and slashing harshly. In the Witcher 3, having a good defensive plan seems to be key to success. Extremely fun but yes, there is a lot of rolling and quen spamming.

In that regard, several blog posts and threads recommended playing the game at the 3rd level of difficulty, Blood and Broken Bones so that is what I am rolling with. The difficulty curve is rough at lower levels but I have heard that at lower difficulties, the game is too easy at some point. Either way, you can change the difficulty at any time (which I had admittedly had to do once).

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They brought back the potion toxicity system. In the Witcher 2 however, toxicity only governed the cap on potion buffs. If you reached 100% toxicity, you simply could not drink any more potions until you had meditated. There were no real negative effects. In the Witcher 1 as well The Witcher 3, you begin to suffer from negative effects if your toxicity rises too high. I don’t think the game will outright let you kill yourself via potion overdose but if the bar is too full your health will start to drop.

The potion system by the way, is WAY less tedious than the previous titles. You only really need to gather ingredients and craft the initial potion (which is good for several uses before it empties). As long as you still have the empty potion bottle in your inventory, Geralt will automatically refill all potions after meditating for at least an hour. A potion refill costs one bottle of alcohol. I like how integral consumables are to The Witcher 3’s gameplay. It is also nice seeing anti-potion spam mechanic in place that is more original than adding a 2 to 5 minute cooldown.

I find the movement system in this game to be somewhat awkward because of my personal preference in movement keybindings. In the Witcher 3, the ‘a’ and ‘d’ keys are bound to turn left and turn right. My preference is to have the ‘a’ and ‘d’ keys bound to strafe left and strafe right. Unfortunately, there isn’t any in game way of rebinding the movement keys, which is sort of bummer for a PC game. If I recall correctly, you should be able to manually change the movement keybindings by editing a .ini file but at this point I have become accustomed to having to keyturn.

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The inventory system however, is pretty godawful. There are tabs for gear, consumables, crafting items, quest items, and other stuff. Aside from those tabs there really isn’t any way to search your inventory or further organize items, so everything just ends up in one giant tab of crafting crap.

There is also no non-personal inventory storage system. So if you want to stash something for later, it needs to be dropped on the ground. On the other hand, items that you drop on the ground don’t seem to ever disappear. So as a workaround, what most people seem to be doing is choosing a specific place to drop items for later use; Usually a spot next to one of the fast travel points.

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Graphically, the game is gorgeous and is being hailed by many as the “new Crysis.” Facial expressions, voice acting, and character animations are pretty good. The Witcher 3 doesn’t seem too taxing on my system. I am able to play it on high and retain a decent framerate, which is what I would expect from my system I guess.

All-in-all: The Witcher 3 is exactly what I was hoping it would be.

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NBI Talkback Challenge #1

Although I am not formally a part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative, I think that it is an awesome idea and will do my best to support it or at least participate in some of the suggested topics/talkback challenges. Who knows? Maybe I will start posting more than once or twice a month…

How did GamerGate affect me?
It for the most part didn’t. It’s not necessarily a socio-political thing as it is a, “I don’t let other people’s actions affect my enjoyment of things that I enjoy” thing. People who grief and discriminate based off of something as silly as one’s gender simply aren’t worth keeping in your life. So if someone is going to be a dramatic blow hard, I hope that they realize how petty they look to everyone else; That applies to both men and women.

I am fortunate enough to have never really felt limited by my gender (yes, I am female). Though I do feel that it is important to be mindful of one’s gender, mostly for the sake of social awareness, it is just not something that I place all that much weight on and to be honest, has never been all that relevant to my occupation, gaming, or any of my other hobbies (it’s silly categorizing activities as being strictly male or strictly female unless they involve genitalia I suppose.)

Besides, my whole life has been a sequence of one “unladylike activity” after another another and not really caring about what other people thought. I guess that’s just the way that I was raised. So if GamerGate did have any affect on me it would be: General awareness as to how fortunate I am.

Behold, the shitty Excel chart that I felt compelled to make

WoW Loses 2.9M Subs

According to Blizzard’s recently released quarterly financial report, World of Warcraft is down 2.9 million subscribers since last quarter. WoW had rose from 7.4 million subs in Q3 2014 to about 10 million subs in Q4 2014 after the Warlords of Draenor launch. It is now back down to 7.1; Slightly below the pre-expansion numbers.

Not really that unexpected but still somewhat surprising as losing nearly 3 million subscribers is a pretty sharp decline, even for a 10 year old MMO. The fact that Warlords of Draenor has offered literally no player retention has to sting a bit. The recent expansion has thus far represents bot the largest expansion spike as well as the largest expansion drop to date.

If I had to take a guess at what I thought the main culprit would be, garrisons are a fairly obvious choice. They kind of had a lot riding on the garrisons and though I liked them a lot at first, investing that much time in the garrisons in my opinion at least, did not pay off. The garrison quests and benefits are little more than a chore now. I think guild housing would have been a better option. One can only spend so much time sitting in their own personal instance.

On the FFXIV Heavensward Benchmark and Time Management

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Not that I am going to be pre-ordering or purchasing the FFXIV:ARR expansion anytime soon but hey, curiosity. I guess that’s okay for a three year old computer? Despite being mostly home all day today, I did not get a whole lot of FFXIV play time in today (or this weekend for that matter) by virtue of busy time hay fever. We are having guests over next weekend and therefore not likely to get much play time in either so I guess that leaves before and after work? Lately our time has been filled with other hobbies and activities that aren’t computer gaming related (most being recreational, others being discovering the joys of new home ownership/housework), which isn’t at all a bad thing by any measure but it is what it is. Oh such is the life of an adult I guess.