Star-Fired Beef


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June in Review and July Goals

It feels like I did more in June than I did in May, but let’s look at the results, shall we?

Still no FFXIV sub, so that was out. No matter, I wasn’t looking at it as a high priority anyway.

I didn’t quite finish my TSW goal of clearing Shadowy Forest quests, but I did complete one more quest hub, so I’m inching closer. It was the first time I’ve had to actually change my build specifically for a mission, so I floundered about in frustration for a while before I realised what was going wrong. 

Tried playing Long Live the Queen but I was on skype at the time, and it didn’t play nicely with LLtQ in fullscreen (which is how I like to play it) so I dropped it…and then completely forgot about it for the rest of the month. Oops.

Hearthstone was a debacle. I made it to rank 10 fairly easily, then spent the rest of the month consistently underperforming, and ended at rank 13. That experience was an inspiration for my last post.

While I did, in fact, end up buying the Humble Bundle with Shadowrun: Hong Kong in it, I didn’t play any Shadowrun. Instead, I finished Alan Wake, Cibele, and made some progress in Torchlight 2. Also put some time into Diablo 3 seasonal hardcore mode with my friend.

Goals for July

I am currently revelling in the 4th anniversary event in TSW, soaking up massive amounts of AP via Guardians of Gaia fights. So, since the event only lasts another week, the goals are to complete at least one more deck build – for the outfit, naturally! – before the event ends, and then close out the Shadowy Forest quests in the latter half of the month.

I’ve given up on ranking goals for Hearthstone, so this month I’ll just be playing enough for dailies to get done, with the occasional arena match. 

I just started The Blackwell Legacy, so I aim to finish at least three (but ultimately all five) of the series by the end of the month. Likewise, I have started a game of Sid Meier’s Pirates! which I may just cruise through (see what I did there) at a leisurely pace. So the goal there is just progress.

More Diablo 3, of course. The main goal with that is simply survival. See how far we can get before we die. I have two cheat death abilities on my wizard, and they’ve procced a couple of times on Torment IV, so I think we’ll be staying there for a while until we get some better gear. And if we do die? On to Torchlight 2!

Given the time I’ll be putting into TSW, I don’t think I’ll make it back to FFXIV this month. Perhaps August will be the month of my return.

Franz Ferdinand – Matinee


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Sometimes I resent persistent games

When I was playing WoW, it was my main game. It was, pretty much, my only game. I would occasionally spend a couple of hours playing something else, something single-player, and something I could dip into without needing a whole session to reacquaint myself with everything going on. But that time was few and far between.

Then I finally kicked WoW to the curb. I’d been playing through habit rather than enjoyment for at least a year by that time, so I was a little reinvigorated by the prospect of all these bright shiny new games I could explore. At first, this included a variety of MMOs that were now on a F2P or B2P model (Rift, WildStar, LOTRO, TSW, GW2), and the lack of pressure to “get my money’s worth” out of a subscription was a huge attraction.

I also started devoting more time to non-MMO persistent games, like Card Hunter, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends (briefly, I admit), and various CCGs – Hearthstone, Duelyst, Hex, and so on. This is where my current predicament lies.

Unfortunately, while I did manage to commit much more time to playing and completing the other games in my Steam library, I was conscious of that subtle pull to “do my dailies” in these persistent games. Whether they are actually called daily quests or not – login rewards, cooldown timers on dungeons/raids/spawns/other activity, weeklies, even such things as seasonal rankings that reset each month – they all have the same siren song. 

So here’s the rub. I could just devote myself to one non-MMO persistent game, and try to master it. Become the best I can be – I am sure I could reach at least semi-pro status with enough dedication. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to make one game my focus in life. I don’t want to repeat my WoW experience. I don’t want to forsake the rest of the gaming landscape in order to pursue glory in one.

And yet. These games have a hold on me. I genuinely like these types of games, but I am competitive enough to want to do as well as I can in them. I want to keep getting better at them. I want to maintain that feeling of progression. And you can’t do that with a super-casual attitude. Especially in a team environment. 

Meanwhile, in the MMO space, I am wary of those tricks like limited time events (with dailies, of course), login rewards, and suchlike, which both activate the optimizer/completionist in me and stress me out by pitting that part of me against the common situation of simply not being in the mood for that game or that activity at that time. 

That is why I resent these games sometimes. There’s no other point to this post, just complain.

And so, I rant at thee.

NiT GriT – Mechanism of Control


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The Shape Of My 2016 Gaming

Like Murf, I don’t really go in for the new year resolution thing, but I do have broad goals for the year and laying them out early is sort of the same thing, so here we are.

I will need your help, though.

MMO Gaming

Well it looks like FFXIV has its hooks in me for a while, so I think that’ll be my main MMO for most of the year. I just got to the stage where I can unlock other classes on my little Lalafell, Menashi, and I signed up for three of the crafting classes. That was enough to give me a glimpse of the depth of the rabbit hole, so I reckon my main task will be to restrain myself from becoming too caught up in it and thereby burn out. Patience, Grasshopper.

The goal for TSW is to catch up to current story content, and then duck in occasionally to keep the flow going. Should be easy enough with my lore post project keeping me honest.

Wildstar and LOTRO, I might have to keep my goalsetting to a minimum. Perhaps monthly progress goals is the way to go there. A couple of levels here, a zone completion there…nice and easy. Same with Devilian, maybe. We’ll see.

That’s the current MMOs dealt with, so what about the upcoming titles? I won’t have to worry about Star Citizen releasing this year, same with EverQuest Next. Those were the two major MMOs I was looking forward to. I’ll keep an eye on Crowfall and Camelot Unchained (the crafting classes made me perk my ears) but I don’t expect a proper release in 2016.

The Asian imports, hmmm. I don’t think Blade & Soul is going to grab me, but I might give Black Desert a try. Likewise, I am quite interested in Lost Ark Online, it seems to be an improvement on Devilian in all ways.

Steam Gaming

Okay so last year, mostly due to my illness, I didn’t get through many big-name games in my library, and I don’t think I played any new release. I did, however, make up for that with quantity, in the form of shorter and lesser-known, (mostly) lesser-quality games. This year I want to reverse that. Instead of quantity, I want to focus on quality. I want to finally experience as many big name games as I can this year, whether big in scope (like Tomb Raider) or classics (like Grim Fandango).

Here is a list of the games I have available to me which I think might fit that category. Please, let me know if I’m being too generous by including something I shouldn’t. Also, cast your votes as to the top five you’d recommend. Alphabetical order, no biases here!

  1. Alan Wake (+ American Nightmare)
  2. Batman: Arkham Asylum (+ Arkham City)
  3. Bioshock 2
  4. Blackwell Series
  5. Broken Sword 1-3
  6. Brutal Legend
  7. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
  8. Costume Quest
  9. Crusader Kings II*
  10. Crysis 2
  11. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  12. Dragon Age: Origins
  13. Endless Space*
  14. Europa Universalis III*
  15. F.E.A.R. (+ sequels)
  16. Grim Fandango Remastered
  17. Half-Life 2: Episode 2
  18. Jade Empire
  19. Just Cause (1 & 2)
  20. L.A. Noire
  21. The Last Express Gold Edition
  22. Mafia
  23. Mass Effect (1 & 2)
  24. Metro 2033
  25. Planescape: Torment
  26. Red Faction: Armageddon (+ Guerilla)
  27. Saints Row The Third
  28. Shadowrun Returns (+ Dragonfall)
  29. Sid Meier’s Pirates!*
  30. Thief Gold
  31. Titan Quest
  32. Tomb Raider
  33. Total War (Medieval II, Rome, Shogun 2)*
  34. Walking Dead Season 1
  35. The Witcher (1 & 2)

*- the goal for these would be to get in at least one proper playthrough/campaign.

I think a reasonable goal is to finish at least ten of these before the year is out.

Evergreens

I intend to continue to put time into Hearthstone, and the main goal is to stay on top of dailies. I want to get to legendary rank at least once in the year, though.

Doubt I will go back to Heroes of the Storm, unless I get some rank-climbing buddies. Or they change the ranked format to shorter seasons. Something has to change, that’s for sure.

Purchases

I reeeeally want to make progress on thinning out the library this year, so my goal is to only buy games to complete sets (e.g. Mass Effect 3, or Broken Sword 4 & 5). But there are so many quality titles out there, I just don’t know how I’ll be able to manage it. I think the key will be how much more concentration I have as I get better and can function more normally. That should let me stay focused a lot more, and thus get through the games faster. That, and the self-discipline in FFXIV I mentioned earlier.

Good luck to me!

Cheers!

NSFW

Missy Elliot – Work It


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My Gaming Year In Review

When I began thinking about my gaming at the start of 2015, I was a bit lost and scattered. I had finally, finally broken away from WoW for good, and the MMO’s I’d turned to as a replacement (especially ArcheAge) were a massive disappointment. I was without a proper MMO home, and so I turned to my Steam library, inspired by Aywren and Jasyla primarily. Yet, staring at the hundreds of titles in that library, it was difficult to know how to proceed. If there is one thing I have learnt about myself, it is that I can’t make long-term plans for things like this. My interests span too many genres to know what I’ll be in the mood for at any given time, and if I have committed to a game and am not in the mood for it, then I just end up not playing anything really.

Thus, my gaming goals for the year were rather broad and flexible. But how did I do?

MMOs

I never did find a new MMO home…or did I? I picked up FFXIV in the last Humble Bundle of the year, and although I’ve only played a couple of hours, I have a home in Aywren’s Free Company, a character that I have a steadily evolving headcanon for, and I am enjoying the game itself. The signs look good.

My first attempt at trying something new was when I took a punt on the exploration-only game, Wander. It was the lowlight of my gaming year, unfortunately, and although I occasionally check in on the update progress, it hasn’t done enough to draw me back so far. I’ve basically written it off.

I picked up a Wildstar key from another bundle about halfway through the year, but it wasn’t until I moved house at the start of December that I installed it. It’s nice, and I’ll keep logging in, but it didn’t hook me instantly the way FFXIV did.

I tried to get back into GW2 when my friend did, but it held my attention for exactly one session before I dropped it again. Similarly with LOTRO, I logged in once this year and started a new hobbit hunter, intending to just work through the story without the fiddly crafting and collecting stuff, but for some reason I never felt motivated to make it a regular thing.

Finally, The Secret World. I have been keeping it in view all year via my The Secret Lore series but have only played in small chunks – I think I may have spent more time on those posts than in game. However, I have made progress: I started the year partway through the Scorched Desert, and I finish the year having finished that zone, completed the City of the Sun God, the Virgula Divina questline in London (SUPER spooky!), and the Beseiged Farmlands in Transylvania, and am about halfway through the Shadowy Forest. I am making sure that I stay ahead of the Secret Lore entries story-wise, so that means I will have to get my arse into gear in 2016. I still love the hell out of the game, but it will never be my MMO home.

Steam Challenge

So according to my list pages, I have crossed 47 games off my Steam list, and have bought, won or been gifted 56 new (non-MMO) games…uh oh. I WAS DOING SO WELL!! On the one hand, there have been quite a few games I Noped on barely minutes into trying them, which I never wrote about, and that tips the scales somewhat. On the other hand, some of those Nope games come from that new games list. Like, Pixel Pirates, which I had not looked into carefully enough before I put it on my wishlist.

So…let’s call it a draw. Thus, no actual progress in thinning down the library. Boooo.

I am not all that happy with the result, but that comes down to one overriding factor: my depression. Despite having a lot of time on my hands, I was unable to muster up enthusiasm for, or concentrate on, a game for more than 30-60 minutes at a time. That led to a lot of game-hopping, frequent breaks, and very slow progress in each game. Something like a Back To The Future episode, which takes 2-3 hours, I had to do over 2 days. Something that I should be able to finish in a week, like Psychonauts or Crysis, took months. So although I am glad that I got some of the bigger games finished, most of my time was spent on smaller indie titles.

I managed to resist the Steam sales for the most part, only buying a handful of games in the Summer Sale and one (so far) in this Winter Sale. The biggest culprit by far was my inability to say no to bundles. Again. I avoided most of them, but even so the few that I did get have offset the gains I made in crossing titles off my list. I was, I think, also unusually lucky in winning quite a few Steamgifts giveaways this year.

Other Games

Alongside my depression and the lack of energy that came with it, I ended up devolving to the “daily” games. Part of the year was devoted to Heroes of the Storm, I spent a month or two heavily into Diablo 3 with a seasonal character, and dabbled a bit in some online Magic. The mainstay of my gaming, though, was Hearthstone. I think I took one month off during the whole year, and most months I have been keeping on top of my daily quests. I did go full Hearthstone in October, in an attempt to reach legendary, but only made it to rank 4. It does require a lot of hours to reach legendary rank, especially if you start down at rank 20ish.

Finis

And there we have it, folks. I started the year all scattered and lost, and although I managed to focus for short periods of time, I remained fairly scattered throughout the year. Now that I am on increased medication, and in a new, less stressful living space, I should have a good baseline to work with in the future.

Yothu Yindi – Treaty


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Recent Loot Haul

I wanted to give a nod to the Steam Summer Sale in the title, but it’s winter here so it felt odd. And calling it the winter sale is weird too. Plus, I actually bought less games from the Steam Sale than other sources, so even highlighting Steam felt silly. Anyway…

From Steam

I managed to not go overly crazy, only spent around $25 and got some great deals. First up, I got the Forced 4-pack. I am not sure when I’ll dive into that, but it will be epiiiiiic! Startopia has been one of my sim/management must-haves for ages, so I finally snapped it up. Tomb Raider for $5 seemed too good to pass up. Satisfied my adventure point-and-click urges with the Blackwell Bundle, which contains four of the five games: Convergence, Deception, Legacy, and Unbound. Finally, picked up Polarity because a) Portal-lite, and b) it was only 19 cents, so I should make a profit on the trading cards.

Oh, and that $25 included a full copy of To The Moon (game + soundtrack) as a gift.

Bundles

Yeah, I ended up diverting Steam Sale money to a couple of bundles. I bought the Humble E3 ticket Bundle for a few bucks simply to get Wildstar, in the anticipation of having certain options already unlocked when it goes F2P. The bundle came with a bunch of other stuff I don’t care about (military shooters, cosmetics for games I don’t play, etc) or already have (Psychonauts).

The other bundle I bought was the Bundle Stars Nightmares Bundle. I am not really sure why I am attracted to some of the horror games out there, as I honestly don’t like horror very much at all. Maybe I’m saving them for a time when I have someone to whom I can turn and hide my face against. Who knows. The games in this bundle were the adventure games 1Heart, The Samaritan Paradox, and Kraven Manor; the “walking simulator”s Montague’s Mount, and The Moon Sliver; an FPS action adventure called  Betrayer; and The Path, a cool-sounding take on the Red Riding Hood tale. 

Just Call Me Sisyphus

So in a week and a half of temptation, a lot of my hard Steam Challenge work is undone. I’m finding that a lot of the games I consider the most seriously are starting to tend towards the story-heavy ones, such as adventure games and RPGs. I’ve spent a couple of hours whittling down my wishlist too, as having nearly 500 games on it was starting to become ridiculous. I’m down to under 350 at the moment, and I hope to get that under 300 before I reach the end of the list.

Warning: NSFW

The Tea Party – Temptation