Sims 4 – Getting Together

I actually pre-ordered the Get Together expansion for Sims 4, but what with holiday busy-ness and end-of-year business it was some weeks before I actually got to play it. I wasn’t too worried — as I’ve said elsewhere, the Sims seems to be the most lasting game I’ve played in the last few years, along with World of Warcraft. (And since I haven’t logged in to the latter in something like 6+ months, I’m seriously thinking I should at least cancel my sub and save myself 100-odd bucks a year. I can always resub later on.)

In any case I’ve got some playing done here and there in the last couple of weeks. Rather than try the expansion with my current Legacy family (the Stylishes), I decided to start a whole new game, and the screenshots below are from that. The gal in question in Leslie Free — I’d initially intended to let her do her own thing, hence the name, but my control-freakiness soon threw that notion out the window.

It also dawned on me that I’d never tried the Scientist career from the Get to Work expansion, so Leslie is well on her way to becoming a mad scientist. It’s fun. The job requests (for progress & promotion) can be a little silly and overly-pushy in terms of having you be a ‘mad’ scientist, but the workplace is fun. I wouldn’t mind a bit more variety in the work hours as you go up the chain — it’s currently Monday – Friday 10AM-7PM no matter what rank you’re at — but that’s a minor niggle. And I get to make TRANSMOGRIFIERS!! It’s not called that (actually you can name it that if you like), but that’s basically what it is. Pick an object, point the ray-gun, and zzzzzzaaappp! it turns into something else. So far it’s turned into nothing useful, though I did turn some flowers at the park into a lovely coffee table, but apparently later on this could be lucrative. As someone who is always spending all my Simoleons on house upgrades I remain skeptical, but we’ll see.

Anyway, here are some not-entirely-random screenshots that document Leslie’s progress so far.

Wot I'm Playing – September 2015

This is a total cop-out post because I’m not actually playing anything, hee hee, ho ho. So you’re about to be regaled with all the games I’m not playing, which has been a quarterly litany this year.

WARNING: Do not click the subheading links unless you want to watch extremely silly and definitely NSFW comedians on YouTube. YHBW.

A Compuder

I’m not playing WoW, even though the Draenor flying patch is in and whatnot. Not for lack of interest — well okay, partly for lack of interest — actually, wait, almost totally for lack of interest. And not just in Warcraft. Nothing is really calling my name these days. I’m also not playing TSW, though I keep both games up to date. I’ll have to log back into TSW soon, if only to take more screenshots. Easily the best game evar for moody and evocative screenshots — and for allowing me to make a character that looks the way I would totally love to look in that grindy-ass Real Life game.

It doesn’t help that MMOs are better with other people. But other people tend to play in the evenings, and in the last 6-36 months I’ve tended to conk out right around the time the sun goes down. (Turns out that’s almost certainly the medications I’m on and not just some weird mutation that’s turning me into a sloth, but that’s a whole other story for another time.)

I got all up in ARK‘s business for what, a week? … and haven’t fired it up since. (Playing alone probably didn’t help that one.) I played Shadowrun: Hong Kong and that was super fun, but when I thought I was about a third of  the way in it turns out I was almost at the end, and I finished it before I truly realised what was happening. Super fun but too damn short! Of course, it includes some sort of development platform so maybe there will be other adventures to play. It was never intended to be another Skyrim or Witcher, after all.

Speaking of the Witcher, been meaning to pick up the 3 that people are raving about but haven’t got round to that either yet. In fact, if you were to check my to-do list you’d notice I haven’t done a single item on it.

I haven’t played my new Sims 4 Legacy family in over a month — but there I’m not so worried, because I always go back to the Sims. After looking down my nose at that game for a number of years (and incarnations 1 and 2), I picked up Sims 3 on a whim in 2009 and have been pretty regularly hooked ever since. I don’t play it all the time, but I do play it several times a year for a month or so. So the Stylishes will be back, sooner or later, and I may even post about them someday.

What I have been doing is preparing for the impending parental visit. My mum will be staying with us for ONE. WHOLE. MONTH., so we have to brace ourselves and assume crash positions. And clean the house. Lots and lots and lots of cleaning the house.

airplane_crash_position

Me? Mobile games? With my reputation?

It’s also possible I’ve been *cough* playing a few mobile games. I never did get the point of those until I got a decent tablet; the only games I have on my phone are sudoku, crosswords and a Bejeweled clone and I hardly ever play those as it is. But on the iPad… hell, if it moves I’ve downloaded it. Well, not quite, but I’ve tried out a few games. And I spend a few moments every day doing whatever non-in-app-purchase moves I can do. Which isn’t many, but when you have about 6 games that’s about an hour’s worth.

I’m currently farting about with Happy Street (which fails to hook me but is super cute and so easy it hurts, and it’s all Syl’s fault), Paradise Bay (ditto with nice Disney-like graphics), Adventure Capitalist (seriously, making money to buy more stuff and make more money faster? I might as well be raiding), Best Fiends (which is super cute and kind of fun, since I like match-3 games), and the standard crosswords, sudoku and mahjongg.

Le tabletop game est sur la table

And of course there’s the attempt at a tabletop group and some games. There’s a G+ community going at the moment with a half-dozen folks, and we’ve met up a couple of times on Roll20. Yesterday we did some character creation with about half the group and will fit the other half in as and when schedules allow.

[Tangent-ish: speaking of which, because the schedules and time zones of the current dirty half-dozen are so hard to reconcile, I’d be happy to sort out two or even more groups – playing or GMing, I’m easy. So if you’re interested in playing something FATE-related, or even finding out what the big deal is about FATE, leave your Pathfinder books at home and holler at me in the comments, or on G+.]

Oddly enough it never occurred to me that scheduling is possibly even harder online than it is in person. I expected it to be the opposite… but we have 2 players from the UK, 4 from the US East Coast, and me in the US South-west, which gives us a 7-hour time-zone spread and makes things a little complicated. Add to that some odd work schedules (some folks have non-Sat/Sun weekeneds, some work rotating shifts, some have pretty hefty workloads, we all have other external commitments, etc. etc. etc.) and I swear it’s been harder getting us to our computers and keyboards than it would be to head down to my local game shop and kidnap a few callow youths.

Problem is, I don’t want callow youths. One of the best things about getting older and being an experienced gamer is that you get to play with other older and/or experienced gamers — gamers who don’t think a dungeon crawl with 10,000 gp as a reward is the best thing you can get out of tabletop games. (Not that I have anything against a good Monty Haul campaign, mind you, but I did outgrow those in the 90s.) Or, to be a bit more tolerant of the chronologically-challenged, I don’t want inflexible callow youths. I want to play with folks who don’t mind stretching their gaming comfort zone, as I am currently trying to do.

In fact, what I’m really doing is trying out systems that formalise how my RL friends and I played for years. We didn’t always play so-called storytelling or story-heavy systems, but we always played them as though they were. Character was paramount (possibly herded by a literature major who has very definite opinions about whether character drives plot or the other way around *cough*). And–

And so on. Since this is still nominally an MMO blog, at least until I change the tagline at the top of the page, I won’t froth about tabletop gaming. But the 2 semi-sessions that have been managed have been fun so far; here’s hoping we’ll manage a few more.

The Obligatory Comment-Inducing Question at the End

And you? What have you been playing or wishing you had time to play? Do you think the moon is made of cheese? Who really shot JR? And was the ending of LOST lame or what?

 

Sims 4 Expansion Goodness

The whole Sims franchise is like a well-oiled juggernaut of simmish addiction, at least for those of us who play. Every new version of the game launches with a very small set of features compared to the mature (and much-expanded) version it’s replacing, and then feeds us expansions and stuff packs several times a year to keep our enthusiasm whetted and our wallets empty.

Or maybe it’s just me. I didn’t play the Sims 1 or 2 very much at all, but 3 hooked me at launch in 2009 and is the single-player game I go back to the most frequently. Or was, since it’s now been replaced by the Sims 4. Which launched its first expansion — Get To Work — this week.

I haven’t had a chance to explore absolutely everything or even a small fraction of everything, and if you want that kind of coverage you’re probably already reading Carl’s site. (I can’t imagine being a Sims player and not knowing that place. It’s like being a WoW player and not knowing WoWHead.) But what I have tried out is surprisingly fun, even if the novelty is likely to wear off in about 6 months… Just in time for the next expansion. Like I said, well-oiled machine.

All I’ve tried so far is the Detective career, which is pretty much like any procedural you’ve ever watched on TV complete with clue analysis, crime map, and good-cop / bad-cop suspect interrogations. It’s fun. It won’t be fun forever, but it beats watching the clock roll round while you wait for your Sims to emerge from their career rabbit-holes. The only thing that worries me a bit is that there appears to be almost no career progress when you don’t accompany your Sim to their ‘active career’, but I guess that’s the downside to what appears to be slightly quicker progression than the standard ‘vanish off to work’ careers.

Working DetectiveGiven that I tried what I thought would be the least fun career first (the new ones are Detective, Doctor and Scientist) I’m hopeful the other two will be quite entertaining and perhaps a little less repetitive. The major problem with the detective career is that it’s not exactly demanding of the little grey cells, at least as far as the player is concerned. But then again, the Sims was never conceived to be demanding in that particular sense.

The other thing I’m trying out is Retail, where you can open (or buy) a store and sell pretty much anything you can think of that’s buyable in the game. Old Sims 2 players apparently really missed that feature, and I can see how it would be fun, but I haven’t been able to do much with it yet. It requires a fairly sizeable cash investment even if you’re building your own store rather than buying an existing one, and if you don’t use cheats (which I could have, I suppose, but it didn’t occur to me in this case) it takes a while to build up that kind of money. And it really makes the expansion earn its title, because one of your Sims has to be in the store to manage it when it’s open, so my current household of two roomies who each have a ‘real’ job have been spending their weekends at the store, wondering what happened to their already-precious free time.

My wannabe retail mogul is Yvana Trumpe, because Yvana Sellyoustuff seemed a bit tacky. There she is eating one of the first meals she ever made, which looks disturbingly like Soylent Green.

Soylent Green is people!
Soylent Green is people!

She’s also an author, but her real aspiration is to have a pool filled with Simoleons that she can bathe in. That’s on hold for a bit (I’d forgotten Sims can change their aspirations whenever they want if you’re not playing under the Legacy rules), but it’ll be back. Someday that store will make money, and Yvana will have an army of children lackeys to run the store for her while she bathes in bills.

(I lie. Yvana is really nice, and her roomie Rebecca is really nice too. I can’t play nasty Sims. I tried locking them in their original basement room by deleting the stairs out but I couldn’t stand their piteous mewling for more than a Sim-hour. I’m weak.)

(I lie twice. They didn’t mewl. They turned on the boom-box and danced, and I still felt bad and let them out. I even let them live above-ground now.)

 

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – Full House

I played a couple of hours of the Mirage Legacy family over the weekend, mostly to refamiliarise myself with them post-bugfix. The household is currently full with 6 adults / young adults and two infants, and is about to get even busier as those infants age up to children (whose primary need appears to be homework, or maybe I’m just too focused on getting As…).

I keep thinking it would all be a lot easier if I just kicked out a few family members, and I certainly could. Ratscrew and Slapjack are cadet branches of the family and aren’t really ‘needed’ in terms of the legacy. But I can’t. I love them all. Ratscrew is the upright, fitness-focused Space Ranger hero type who quietly mourns his deceased partner, and Slapjack is the happy-go-lucky, 40-year-old-virgin painter who is everyone’s favourite brother or uncle.

That they both bring in a crapton of money is just icing on the cake (the household’s bills are in the thousands now; the house is huge, there’s a second house on the lot for the cadets, and there’s lots of expensive furniture everywhere).

Actually, the person I like least is the next head of the family, poor self-centered, insane, bro-tending Baccarat. I’m pretty sure my Sims feel the same way – even his parents, who love him because they must. His wife seems to be the only one who sees any redeeming features in him, and indeed she’s the only one he isn’t mean to the second I take my eye off him in conversations. If I’m not directing his interactions, it takes him about 3 seconds to offend pretty much anyone he’s talking to. If only he’d been a harmless eccentric kind of insane, instead of the deluded, violin-playing dictator kind…

Anyway, it seems there will be more Sims 4 Mirage Legacy playing in my future. But I swear, the next generation will be entitled little shits who live entirely off their family’s money and want the house all to themselves.

Full House

Sims 4 – Bug Vindication

After getting all shirty with my excessive multiple births in the Sims 4 (here and here among others), across no less than three legacy families (one of which I didn’t even bother blogging about), it turns out that I was right. It warn’t nat’ral. It was a bug. Which has now been fixed.

From the Sims 4 patch notes (a useful link for any Sims 4 player if you don’t have it already):

  • Sim fertility levels had reached an all-time high recently, and twins were popping out all over! Our specialists have examined the issue, and administered a correction to the abundant babies. Sims should no longer find they are having twins (or triplets) at an alarming rate.

That was in the January patch, so I guess I’ve been ignoring the Sims for some time now. And in the February patch, they added genealogy – and about damn time, said every Sims player evar, even the ones who don’t play legacies, because duh.

Also from the patch notes:

  • Genealogy is now available. You’ll be able to look at your Sims’ family history, including brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents (and some greats, and great greats, and…), step relationships (like Step-Father), half relationships (like Half Brother), and of course, Spouses.

I shall close with a picture of Parcheesi being followed by creepy-stalker Gordon, because I rediscovered it in my screenshots folder and because I couldn’t find an appropriate celebration-screenie that didn’t involve lots of babies and/or pregnant women. Including this one, as it turns out. But at least I wasn’t Wi-flagged in the Sims 4. I wonder if I saved my Mirage Legacy saves, or whether I deleted them in a fit of pique…

CreepyStalker

 

 

Too much of a good thing

Sometimes, like today, I’m almost nostalgic for the days when I only had one or two games to choose from. I’ve got no work on today and likely none over the weekend either (yay!), and I’m faced with so many games I don’t know which to choose.

There’s World of Warcrack, and the expansion remains highly entertaining. I’ve got 4 level 100 chars with garrisons to manage and stuff to accumulate, which is always fun, even though it sucks up time like a black hole. Eventually I’m sure the luster will pale but nothing beats WoW for simple, mindless levelling joy. I don’t dungeon, so my go-to in WoW tends to be to find (or make) an alt and just quest for a few hours. It’s relaxing — and that’s why I play WoW. It’s also where I hang out on Vent with old WoW and Asheron’s Call friends and get my dose of socialising for the month week day.

Drood hanging out

Then there’s Elite: Dangerous, which is exactly the opposite. I did get it installed and I did get in to play, once, but that was over a week ago and, I’ll admit, I’m super intimidated by the game. No game has ever made me feel quite as noobish and useless as this one does. I don’t even know how to fly the ship. I didn’t expect flying the beginner ship would be quite that difficult (and I’m not the only one*). I actually expected that I’d be able to pick it up in a half hour or so and then start doing the trading and possibly mining thing, which was why I bought the game. Instead I feel like a noob, in a bad way, and I’m not sure I want to try again. But I will, if only because $60 for a half hour of entertainment is not really good value… and because I fully expect that eventually — provided I play enough to feel comfortable with the controls — I will love the game and play it to death, because it’s exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

I also picked up Civilization: Beyond Earth during one of the (many, thank god, because I suck at catching them) Steam sales for that game. Don’t believe the people who tell you it’s only superficially like Civ — it’s 110% Civ, just Civ in space with aliens instead of barbarians and a revamped tech tree (it’s a wheel now). However, that’s not a bad thing in my book and the new tweaks in the game are a lot of fun. I tend to play this on the non-nightmare modes and I prefer non-military victories, so it’s another relatively mindless exploration and building game.**

Sims 4 is of course still kicking around, though I don’t think I’ve fired it up in most of a month. I think I’m holding a grudge with the bugs that hit my Mirage legacy, not to mention the fact that none of my Sims are able to have children without having twins or triplets. It’s amusing to write about, but it gets real old real fast when you’re trying to play. Less is more in this case. I guess I could go with adoption… I dunno. I’m still a little narked about the whole thing, so I’ll pretend the Sims 4 aren’t in my game case for a few months and then go back to it. As far as single-player games go, the Sims is one of the most enduring for me so it’s a fair bet I won’t ignore it forever.

I also picked up Theme: Hospital by accident on Origin the other day, mostly for nostalgia’s sake and because it was a freebie. Memory served up this image of people chain-vomiting in the halls and that sounded like fun in the middle of flu season, but I haven’t had time to fire it up yet. Still, it should be good for a few hours of remember-when fun.

The Secret World keeps looking at me sadly because I update it and then don’t log in. Again, I think right now I want mindless from my games, and TSW requires a little more attention than I’m willing to give. Which is a shame, because as far as atmosphere goes it’s probably my favourite MMO ever (and the one in which I take the most screenshots).

And then, in no particular order because the post is getting long, the other icons on my desktop include Diablo III (never made it past level 15 or so), Landmark (haven’t logged on in months because it gave my gfx card fits), EQ2 (still haven’t bought the Altar of Malice expansion, though I’m sure I will sooner or later), and Shroud of the Avatar (ditto the not logging on in months, though really I put money into it to support the development, not to have it wtfbbqNAO). Oh, and all 3 Dragon Age games, of course. I barely played DA2 and only spent a couple of hours in DA3 (not even sure I made it out of the first section), and I’m sure DA3 is worth some more intensive play. I can’t be arsed to link all those, so let your fingers do the Googling.

It’s actually a great thing to have a butt-ton of games to play and not know which to pick. I tend to default to WoW at the moment because I can pick it up and put it down easily and it doesn’t have the “just … 5 … more … minutes!” hold on me some of the other games have, which is helpful these days because on the list of useful and/or productive things to be doing with my time, games are not anywhere near the top, nor should they be.

But still, sometimes I kind of wish I only had one or two games to pick from. It would mean less time wasted gazing at my desktop and wondering which flavour I’m in the mood for today. #firstworldwoes and all.


 

* Ermahgerd, a pingback circle jerk! That’s just so wrong.

** You may be sensing a theme here. Yes, I prefer my games to not engage my adrenal glands too much. For one thing, adrenaline and I don’t get along all that well (I am the exact opposite of a thrill-seeker), and for another I play games to unwind, which for me means generally laid-back and not requiring an excessive amount of thought. Oh god, I’ve just branded myself a disgusting casual carebear player. However will I cope with the stigma?

This and that

A few observations so you don’t all forget about me or think I’ve forgotten about you.

1. Spanky new laptop is lovely. But playing WoW with a touchpad, or with the trackball I naively bought when I thought I’d never play games on my laptop (what was I thinking?!) — those are not so lovely. Looks like I’ll need a mouse. All those things I do without thinking in games, which primarily involve me moving the camera around fit to make anyone but me hurl… I can’t do those. Someone call a waahmbulance.

2. The Draenorclysm expansion launchmadness must be wearing off, because I spent THREE WHOLE DAYS without logging in. Then again, I also had a possibly broken foot (my own fault), a new laptop, a new fridge (ohhhh it is shiny and it is being delivered in 3 days), and about 3 million appointments to deal with, so perhaps it’s just that my priorities are straighter than I gave myself credit for.

3. I am feeling guilty because I never finished the first Sims 4 Legacy Family and have not felt terribly motivated to get into the second one. Expressing said guilt publicly is intended to flog me into playing, but is actually more likely just to make me contrary. One of the main reasons I don’t want to play the new legacy? Generation 1 instantly proceeded to have twins. The multiple birth rate in this game is just way too freaking high. If I picked the FERTILE trait, would my poor Sim become Octomom? WTF, EA?

Gen 2 twins again

4. Despite the xpac honeymoon madness being over, I’m still really enjoying my garrisons. I’ve got 4 level 100 characters (all the easy classes: hunter, druid, warlock and paladin) and I’m considering leveling a few more. Because despite raids and all that gearing crap, the leveling game is still (and ever will be, I suspect) what World of Warcrack does best. Combine that with my high tolerance for repeated content and you’ve got 10+ years of fun so far.

5. This xpac doesn’t have quite as sharp an end-content wall as the previous ones did, which means I’ll probably play it for longer than the 3 months Cataclysm and Pandaclysm lasted for me. In the early expansions it was “OK, you’ve hit max level, now go out and get on the raiding treadmill, bitch.” Which I don’t do. Then it became “OK, you’ve hit max level, now go out and get on the rep / daily / raiding treadmill, bitch.” Which I don’t do. It’s still sort of that, but I don’t feel any real need to build rep with my alts and I can get fairly high-level (645 from the highest garrison missions I’ve seen so far) gear just from running garrison missions.

Yes, it’s probably easy-mode, but if Blizzard are smart then the stuff I can get from missions is lovely, but not nearly as good as what I can get from dungeons and raids — so it keeps non-dungeon me happy with shiny new stuff while hopefully keeping the hardass raiders happy with shiny new stuff asshole casuals like me can’t get. Or something like that.

6. Several of my friends and e-friends and blogging acquaintances keep talking about Elite: Dangerous. STOP IT AT ONCE. Or I shall have to buy the game, and I’m already drowning in games I don’t have time to play. (Or else tell me why I really should get it anyway.)

7. I missed EVERY. SINGLE. STEAM. SALE. on my wish-list by 2-24 hours. I suck. I hope you guys did better with that.

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – Meet Samba de Lytte

The Mirage family is on hold until a) they fix the vanishing relationships issue, which I think they may have and/or b) I decide I can handle a legacy which only produces twins and triplets. In a classic case of be careful what you wish for, it seems the karma pixies heard me when I said I wanted to try running several characters at once in a Sims game, horrid creatures that they are.

So I created a new legacy — the de Lyttes — some weeks ago, but what with Thanksgiving here in the US and other life, work and reasons stuff they haven’t been played all that much — and what has occurred has been the rather tedious (and always similar) beginning stage where the founder has nothing much with which to fill up that 50 x 50 lot.

But all of a sudden things did start to happen in the last session, so I’ll go ahead and present the founder and a few pix.

Founder Samba de Lytte

The de Lytte legacy will use the following succession laws: Equality (any gender can inherit), Modern (natural or adopted kids can inherit), and Living Will (the child with the highest friendly relationship with the current pater- or materfamilias inherits). It’s probably one of the easiest sets to pick because it allows for a great deal of choice in terms of heirs — hell, if I were that way inclined I could deliberately play whoever I didn’t want as heir as being horrible to the current head of the family, just to make sure their relationship was anything but friendly. And I may indeed do that, but only if circumstances and personalities make it a viable role-playing choice. I picked that ruleset mostly so that if I do get saddled with a bunch of twins and triplets again, I have more options in terms of which of them inherits. It might make for some interesting mini-stories and rivalries, too. (For those who want an even more mano-a-mano rivalry model, the “Strength” heir law includes an actual scrap to determine who gets to be the next head of household.)

My house rule is that family members must be named after dances. I had a lot of fun with the Mirage family card game names (poor Ratscrew!), and the dance names offer a little more variety while being a little less off-the-wall.

Active Sims love random sit-ups!
Active Sims love random sit-ups!

As for Samba, she’s Active, a Foodie, and Ambitious, and her aspiration is Renaissance Sim. The first few stages of that aspiration are easy enough to complete but the last one requires 6 skills at level 8 (or something similar) and that’s not easy at all, even for someone like me who loves building Sim-skills. She may be young, but she already knows she’s going places, even if she doesn’t know exactly where those places are. She inherited the lot from her father, Tango de Lytte — he won it in a card game years ago but kept the property as an ace in the hole and never mentioned it to his daughter. Samba’s mother, Tarantella, died when Samba was very young, and Tango disappeared from one day to the next almost a decade ago. (It’s entirely possible he vanished with his best friend and partner in cons, Jimmy Cash…)

Eventually Tango was declared legally dead and Samba discovered she had inherited a rather valuable piece of property in the up-and-coming town of Willow Creek. Having spent several years dodging all the people to whom Tango owed money and favours (sometimes literally, hence the Active trait) and occasionally being helped out by some of Tango’s more savoury friends and acquaintances (hence the Foodie trait), Samba decided that a quiet life in an out of the way part of the country might be exactly what she needed. ‘Quiet’ being a relative term – she doesn’t know what she’ll be yet, but she knows that someday she’ll be famous and so rich she can bathe in Simoleons.

Whatever that career will be, it won’t be as a chef…

Ew!
Ew!

…which apparently had hygiene requirements Samba wasn’t prepared to follow… or as a writer, which clearly bored Samba to death.

Samba bored
SNORE

What I know and Samba doesn’t is that she’s destined for a career among the stars, though not on the right side of the law – she’s going to end up an Astronaut/Smuggler branch. But that’s a story for another time, and I have some followers to send on missions in WoW.