Odds and Ends: December 30th 2014

WoW Stuff: We have been running Highmaul via LFR and it is, needless to say, even easier than LFG heroics. TLDR Strat for all bosses: Don’t stand in things. People however, actually died during some of the fights in the second wing so maybe the instance will get harder? Gearing for raids feels oddly trivial given that I can churn out iLevel 645+ epics without leaving my garrison via the high level garrison missions and blacksmithing epics.

In regards to the Steam Sale/whatever digital distribution network sale, the one and only game that I have purchased for myself so far is Prison Architect. I am pretty tempted to reward myself with either Shadows of Mordor or Dragon Age: Inquisition, especially since both are on sale at the moment at a similar price. But you know what? The older I get the less I care about playing anything at release unless it is a title that I am really looking forward to playing or have some sort of social agenda. So that said, I guess I’ll wait. Plus, we have Mario Kart 8 and Smash Brothers to occupy our time.

We finished two shows recently: The Legend of Korra and Sword Art Online II. We will probably discuss these whenever holiday social activities die down and we get around to doing the next podcast episode.

  • LoK: As stated multiple times before, was an absolute pleasure to watch. Great animation, pleased with overall character development, and satisfied with the plot resolution. Also, without spoiling the ending, we totally called the relationship thing last season.
  • SAO II: We still enjoyed watching this show even though our interest in it severely waned most of the way through the first story arc. I still feel that it lacks cohesion, among well, other things but I like the characters and it was fun to watch, particularly for an MMO gamer. I liked the last story arc and the fact that it ended on a good, non rapey note for once. I could have done without the Akihiko thing at the end but I guess that means we are likely going to get a season 3?
  • Interstellar: Fantastic movie, enjoyed it greatly. Probably one of the most original sci-fi movies that I have seen in recent memory. If it is still in the theater, I highly recommend seeing it.

I kind of want to do a Best Of 2014 gaming post, but I don’t think that I played enough new titles this year to warrant said post. 2014 does however, mark the year in which I have almost exclusively relied on YouTube, Twitch Streaming, Podcast and Social Media personalities for game opinions (in addition to friend recommendation and normal Reddit reading) versus reading Kotaku or any major publication .

Odds and Ends: November 12th 2014

I’m not going to promise that I am going to regularly update my journey to level 100 because I am generally horrible about updating this thing, but I will make a valiant effort.

My initial fixation with World of Warcraft has obviously passed, seeing as how I have not logged onto the game in about two weeks or so. There really though, is not a whole lot to do in WoW at the moment other than to level my alts and raid on my paladin, which I’m not in the mood to do at the moment. In theory I should clean up the mess that is my bank. I guess much like virtually everyone else, I am just biding time until the expansion pack releases in a couple of days.

I admittedly haven’t been playing much of anything other that The Sims 4. Partially due to being real-life busy, partially due to spending time with other hobbies, and partially due to obsessively playing and documenting my Legacy Challenge Family. I am actually pretty close to completing the challenge. Generation 8 just reached adulthood, so generation 10 isn’t all that far away. I haven’t decided if I am going to start a new challenge afterwards or if I will put this game down for a bit to play other things.

Watching:

  • We just started watching The Legend of Korra Book 3. Still greatly enjoying even even though Korra is kind of a turd at times..
  • Sword Art Online II: I will admit that, despite the show being mediocre, it is nice that the series has returned to Aincrad.
  • Parasyte: This show is new this season and is based off of a manga series that I read and enjoyed quite a bit about a decade ago. Just think of it as a more violent and more fucked up version of Midori no Hibi. Migi is by far the most interesting character in the show so far; Everyone else is pretty mediocre.

The Naruto manga has come to an end after 15 years. I started watching/reading it shortly after the anime series was released in Japan, so it’s a series that I have been following for quite some time. I’m not sure how I feel about some of the romantic pairings. It’s almost as if Kishimoto started coupling the leftovers (Choji, Karui, etc). Also, apparently everyone had sex and spawned at literally the exact same time, given that their kids are presumably all around the same age. Regardless, I am pretty satisfied with the ending.

Odds and Ends: September 30th 2014

I am still playing The Sims 4, but mostly in an on-and-off function. Also still working on my legacy challenge and have posted a couple of chapters here. I am getting kind of tired of playing the same family, so I think that after I catch the blog up to where I am in the game, I will take a small break from the challenge to play another household or work on some other “sim project”.

I have noticed that the load times have gotten a bit longer. Instead of taking about 5 seconds to load a lot, it probably takes around 10 to 15, which is annoying but tolerable so long as it does not increase significantly past that point. I will have to say though, that after almost a month of solid play, the game hasn’t crashed, locked up, or presented any serious issues that have caused me to reload the game or a save (unlike its predecessor). So in that respect I am impressed. I guess.

  • Dave has subscribed to WoW again as we have mentioned in nearly every recent podcast episode. I have holding off for the time being; My slated return to the game will probably either be for the upcoming expansion pack or a little before, perhaps mid October? Not sure. I am pretty tempted to resubscribe earlier than that though though so that I can gear up and do some of the content that I have missed out on (Timeless Isle, Siege Orgrimmar), but we will see.
  • Absolutely everyone is playing Destiny, except for me. By the time I end up purchasing a PS4, I am sure that the fad will have long passed.
  • I want Shadows of Mordor but I also want Smash Brothers 3Ds. I probably shouldn’t buy both. Will have to choose one.
  • I have caught up on the Naruto anime and Manga in lieu of it possibly ending soon or from what I have heard, possibly time skipping into a new series/arc soon? Talk about dragging out a fight, geeze…
  • Word on the street is that we need to watch Legend of Korra. For some reason I stopped watching it half way through the first book.

I have also setup a forum that no one will likely visit.

Odds and Ends: July 25th 2014

There’s just not a whole lot of new and interesting media to play or watch now, is there? I say that as I am thumbing through my ginourmous backlog of purchased, undownloaded, and unplayed Steam games. I think the only new titles releasing anytime soon that I am looking forward to playing would be The Sims 4 (even though I know that it is a complete money trap) and Destiny.

Hearthstone
As just about everyone on the internet is aware, Curse of Naxxramas went live this past Tuesday and as such, I picked up Hearthstone again. I am having fun with my paladin taunt deck and hunter zoo deck though unfortunately, since I never played all that much in the first place, I still have quite a few cards to unlock before I can build the decks that I really want. I am pretty dead set on not spending any real life money purchasing card packs so, a lot of play time ahead.

Ingress
It’s like a multi-player faction vs faction version of Nintendo 3DS StreetPass. Mechanically, there’s not a whole lot to it other than opening the app and clicking on a Portal of there happens to be one nearby. The only actual element of skill involved, if you can even call it skill, is the amount of time that you have spent tapping on your phone and happening to live or work close to a portal. But that said, it’s actually a lot of fun and apparently absolutely everyone I know plays. I really like how Ingress encourages community play and the visitation of places that they may not have considered visiting if it wasn’t for the game. Just about every mural, statue, and public art display has a portal so at some point in the near future, I will probably go walking around, looking at art, and tapping on my phone. Oh: This game eats battery life.

Clash of Clans
I am currently TH5 and at the point where upgrading things takes at least a day if not multiple days so play time for this particular title has slowed down drastically as I don’t really want to upgrade to TH6 without upgrading everything to as close as max as possible.

Odds and Ends: June 7th 2014

I guess June is turning out to be a fairly heavy media month in the sense that I have more free time and there are actual things that I want to watch and play, yay!

  • Orange is the New Black season 2 is out on Netflix. I am impressed by the Netflix originals; For some reason I had half expected them to the half-assed web series. If the other Netflix originals are anything like OITNB or House of Cards then I look forward to watching them.
  • Space Brothers is quite good: I’ve been marathon viewing this show on Crunchyroll for the past week or so. I’ll probably write a separate post about this series at some point.
  • As stated previously, I am currently playing Transistor and Wildstar; The above two shows, primarily the later being the reason why I haven’t beaten Transistor yet.
  • I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Sims 4 (in fall?) but am really interested in seeing or at least hearing about gameplay that isn’t just related to building houses or creating sims. EA has seemed suspiciously coy about providing any details about core gameplay (genetics for example). Even though it will most likely be a blatant money trap, I will most likely still play it and still enjoy the crap out of it.
  • I picked up Protector of the Small (young adult fiction) for my Kindle because I have a soft spot for coming-of-age fantasy stories. It’s a fairly predictable but good story following Keladry, who wishes to become the first female knight.
  • Just realized recently that I kind of skipped over the Liveship Traders Trilogy, which apparently was supposed to be read between The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies.
  • Pretty sure this game was made specifically for me.

On a general tangent: About a month ago I was bored and checking on a few things and ended up impulse registering a vanity domain, Cheeseism.net because it was “on sale.” I am not sure what else to do with this site at this point.

Odds, Ends & Good Causes: May the 4th

First off: I guess this really isn’t within the wheelhouse of topics that I usually post about on this site but if you can spare some change, a donation to support Team Ashely for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would be very much appreciated. It’s a good cause to support a good friend.

The 4 games that I have been playing recently are: Diablo III and FTL: Advanced Edition on my computer and then Threes and Neuroshima Hex on my phone (damn fine strategy board game available for both iOS and Android if anyone is looking for one). Diablo wise: I kind of want to switch back to my stun build because of the bracers that dropped last week, but I kind of don’t want to give up the movement speed bonus from the Tempest Rush build despite the fact that I’m not sure it really is all that damage efficient. Well, that and the fact that it is a kind of a squishy build as I am almost completely reliant on movement speed bonuses, which is fine and dandy until I get jailed or teleported into the middle of a green/arcane/fire poo pile in between seven sided strike cooldowns :/.

Errata:

  • In between books at the moment. Deciding between either Wool by Hugh Howey or The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Complete Edition) is now on Netflix. It’s a great movie to watch if you can ignore things lot plot and physics.
  • Yesterday was a bachelorette party of sorts and well, a good time was had by all (beer, friends, and games). Also almost done with wedding stuff so, yay!

Site wise: I changed the layout/format of the seldom updated image gallery a bit and added a new category (I like birds and apparently they occupy like half of the photos that I take).

Odds and Ends: April 3rd 2014

  • I am starting to get some serious fraying on the cord cord my favorite pair of earbuds. They still work, at least for now and I can probably buy some heat shrink tubing to do a short term repair. I guess the lesson is that straight plugs don’t seem to work out so well when my phone is being constantly shoved in my pants pocket as it ends up bending the cord into a 90 degree angle.
  • I have been greatly enjoyed playing Diablo III post patch 2.0 and am really tempted to buy the expansion pack but am insistent on being ‘good’ and waiting for it to drop in price. I have a sneaky feeling that at least part of the fun was due to it effectively feeling like a free game since I had already owned it and had not touched it in about 2 years. I’ll probably end up caving.
  • I am noticing that the older I get the less I really care about buying things at full price at launch, given that they will most likely drop in price within 6 months.
  • Frozen was really cute. I greatly enjoyed watching it.
  • With my huge eBook settlement credit of $6.82, I can now purchase all of 2 or 3 books? Or, about 2/3rds of a full price eBook?

Odds and Ends: March 8th 2014

Screenshot196

I have a few things to say about the new Thief game, in which I am still working my way through on-and-off when I find the time. But for now, as you can all see per the screenshot posted above, we have hopped on the Diablo III train once again now that patch 2.0 is in the wild. I have been hearing a lot of buzz about it lately amongst various groups, so we caved, patched the game, and gave it another whirl on Friday. Loot that I could use (decent loot at that) actually dropped more than 0 times when we were playing last night. That in itself is pretty amazing. I am still pretty iffy on the expansion pack which is set to release during the later parts of this month, but mostly because I am not certain that I really need to buy yet another new game. Other things:

  • Picked up Animal Crossing New Leaf yet again, finally unlocked T&T Emporium, finally created a pattern mule, unlocked the QR code reader on said pattern mule and laid down patterns (new project is to make my town look less ass).
  • Threes is my new favorite iOS game.
  • Finally purchased a new camera: A Sony NEX-6 with a 16-50mm lens. Greatly looking forward to taking photographs of absolutely everything.
  • Also: Camera things are frickin’ expensive and for some reason, all of my newer hobbies seem to involve A. Shooting things with various precision instruments and B. Spending money.

Odds and Ends: February 1st 2014

I am towards the end of Final Fantasy VIII, but my interest is seriously starting to wane as is my obsession with Animal Crossing, but that game is more of a on-and-off affair anyway.

  • The Bravely Default demo is pretty fun and as a result, I am planning on buying it as soon as it comes out. It is the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (originally read that as Final Fantasy IV and was a bit confused). Old school style RPG with implied pros and cons, job based combat and character progression system, SUPER awesome music and art style.
  • I purchased the Thief Gold, Thief 2, and Thief: Deadly Shadows package off of Steam and modded it to my liking (note to self: post about that later). Cautiously excited about Thief 4, but mostly because it is a break in the stealth game drought. I have a sneaky feeling though that it will not remain too faithful to the series.
  • The Legend of Zelda 4 Swords Anniversary Edition is free through tomorrow on the 3DS Nintendo eShop. I love competitive co-op games, especially those that give you the opportunity to fuck over other players in a friendly manner.
  • We have a bird feeder and it’s kind of awesome. YAY birds.
  • Finally got around to picking up The Lies of Locke Lamora and am greatly enjoying it thus far.

Odds and Ends: November 23rd

Here is just about every arbitrary interest from the past week or so. Also do you know what day it is today? Today is Doctor Who Day.

Watching

  • Per a coworker’s recommendation, I have been avidly watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix. Though it does not quite fill the gaping void that Breaking Bad left in the time that I allocate to television dramas, it is entertaining enough for what it is. I think I like season 1 more than season 2, but whatever. Also as a side effect: Sudden urge to watch old Disney cartoons.
  • Next up on queue would be The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy. I felt that season 2 of TWD was fairly mediocre and dropped the show. I have also read the comics through approximately where season 2 ended so I am sure that has something to do with it.
  • Archer is really funny.
  • Anime: Toying the idea of a Crunchyroll subscription but I am not sure there is enough anime on there that I would watch to warrant yet another subscription service. To watch: Kill a la Kill and Space Brothers.

Playing

  • Have actually started playing Animal Crossing again.
  • Will soon pick up Pokemon X again and finish it when my attention span cycles around to it. Awesome game overall, greatly improved from its predecessors (from what I understand. The last Pokemon game I played was literally Pokemon Red). Why is movement in this game so janky though?
  • I kind of want the new Zelda game but kind of need to finish the rest of the handheld games that I have purchased first.
  • I have absolutely zero wish to purchase any of the new consoles because there is absolutely nothing that I wish to play on them. I guess I will probably buy one at some point, most likely whenever Kingdom Hearts III is released.

Women’s Wallets Suck
I am looking for an inexpensive leather slim wallet that will hold: Approximately 1 to 2 bills (at most), 4 cards, and maybe 1 or 2 miscellaneous items such as slips of paper etc. I prefer wallets with a dedicated ID window but it is not a deal breaker. It must however be leather because that’s just how I roll; It also must be durable, well constructed, thin enough to fit in the front pocket of my girly jeans, and not retardedly stiff. I am willing to pay more money for a wallet of exceptional quality, but it must not be stupid expensive; There’s no need to spend serious cash on a designer item that stays in my purse/pants. This is the wallet that I am considering.

Cameras
I am looking to purchase an entry/mid-level DSLR or mirrorless camera for both traveling and casual hobby related photography. I have been looking into one on-and-off for years, but I kind of need to buy one within the next 6 months, preferably by the end of the year so that I can spend some time with it actually learn how to use it. Realistically, I am just beginning to dip my toes into actually doing more than pointing and shooting with my cellphone or current camera. I want a camera that will stay with me a while and have a lot of room for growth yet will not be too difficult or too advanced for a relative beginner to use. Form factor is also a concern since I will be traveling and possibly hiking etc with it. Setting a general budget at $800 but that’s pretty flexible figure.

As such, I am leaning towards purchasing a mirrorless camera instead of a DSLR. I would also like a fully articulating or at least tiltable screen, but that feature is not a deal breaker. The front runner so far is the Sony NEX-6.