Ring in the new

david-bowie-changes-resized-600

I’m thinking about moving this blog to my own host. Actually I’m in the process of doing it but the domain transfer takes a few days.

In theory nothing much should change and there will be no hiccups. In practice, expect anything from non-loadingness to heads turning 180 degrees.

You’ve been warned.

FFXIV – Back in Eorzea

On a pure whim, I went back to Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn, about a month ago. I have no idea why, aside from the fact that World of Warcrack just doesn’t appeal at the moment (I really need to cancel that sub), EQ2 seems like way too much trouble to get back into right now, and FFXIV lets me scratch the harvesting and crafting itch relatively well. And it’s a very pretty game, which EQ2 really isn’t no matter which way you slice it.

So here I am, having transferred to @Psychochild’s server – Midgardsormr – because I am nothing if not obedient to my friends’ orders. That was actually my first paid (and possibly first voluntary) character transfer ever, now that I think of it. Aside from not being cheap ($18), it was remarkably painless. And I’ve been taking screenies, because FFXIV is a game that sort of demands them, at least from me, and there are plenty of cutscenes as I whittle away at the main story quest. The good thing is the action pauses every time someone says something, so getting decent screenshots isn’t all that hard.

I probably wouldn’t have posted about it — the blog remains weak in me these days — but yesterday I acquired some new gear that made me look like a total ho and I figured I should share it. As one does.

The original pirate-ho look. Yes, it’s a plate-mail bikini… but at least I have a stylish tricorne and eye-patch! And the first thing I did after acquiring said armour was a dungeon (no really, me, in a dungeon) in a howling blizzard. Of course.

the_original_pirate_ho

The pirate-ho look, slightly modified, now with shorty-shorts. Marginally less mortifying.

piratey_ho

Psychochild found my deep embarrassment extremely entertaining. Admittedly, he’s been there himself.

A few other things I encountered in the last few play sessions include:

A cool dragon skelly in the snow. Oh yeah, and some plot and bad guy (actually corpse of the not-so-bad-guy that the bad guy murderised and impersonated).

Cool_dragon_skelly

A super cute but also mean sylph. Sylphs are awesome. I would totally roleplay one if I could. (You need to read the text. They all talk like that, only not all so scathingly. Though the NPC was remarkably stupid, I have to admit.)

Cutemeansylph

A level 50 group-hunt type mob. I don’t really know much about those other than seeing them around, since I’m not level 50 in any class that matters (i.e. adventuring). It was the name/model combo that made me laugh. Also, me on a beach in pirate-ho costume, which seems appropriate.

Dark Helmet

Camp Dragonhead at sunrise. The landscapes are beautiful in the game and the weather is very well-done. Even the lens-flare stuff is awesome as opposed to overblown and tedious.

Dragonhead_sunrise

Me and my buddy Cid flying through the Eorzean skies in the good ship Enterprise. Yes, someone said “Engage”.

Enterprise_skyscene

And finally the Mor Dhona loading screen because the loading screens are so pretty I want them for wallpapers. Minus the Moogle and text, ideally, but beggars and choosers.

MorDhona Loading Screen

And there you have it. As @Stargrace always says: Happy Gaming, no matter where you find yourself. And may the RNG be ever in your favour.

IntPiPoMo – final miscellanea

I was going to write about how the Sims seems to have ended up as my go-to solo game for the last 6 years (since the Sims 3 came out, in fact), but I can’t seem to find my old Sims 3 screenshots. They’re not lost — they’re just buried in what is now a secondary-secondary drive slaved in from the computer I had back in 2009. And I can’t be arsed to go find them.

Instead, here are a few of the other screenies I came across while looking for the ones you’re not going to see.

Guild Wars 2

I didn’t play it for more than a few weeks, but it sure was pretty.

GW2_2

gw2_3

gw2_4

gw2_5

gw2_6

FFXIV – A Realm Reborn

After a very unfortunate beta and first launch (tried one and therefore skipped the other), FFXIV came back better, stronger and faster. I thought I’d play it until the earth got swallowed by the sun, but like so many other MMOs I’ve played in the last decade, it didn’t stick. I’m not sure why, because I have very fond memories of it — aside from the need to do dungeons to progress the main story whether I wanted to or not — but as I wrote elsewhere I think that has a lot more to do with me and the lack of a constant group of known-people (friends, even) to play with than with any flaws in the game itself.

ffxiv_01

ffxiv_02

ffxiv_03

ffxiv_04

…Aaaand, that’s 50 (52 for the nit-picky). If Thanksgiving weekend food-excess and torpor allow, I might post a few more before November becomes December, but don’t count on it. Thank God for IntPiPoMo, or I might not have posted at all this month! Ahhh Blaugust, where art thou?

Happy Thankstuffing, US folks. Belated Thanksgiving, Canadia folks. Booyah, everyone else.

IntPiPoMo – Warhammer Online

I have to do some Warhammer Online screenies, because getting into that beta and joining Casualties of War (a guild by bloggers for bloggers (and anyone else)) was what started this blog. And through this blog I’ve met millions and millions of new people — okay, a couple hundred maybe. And a few dozen of those I like a lot and am friends with (is it YOU? Is it not you? And if it isn’t you, why isn’t it you?!). And a handful of those I am now good friends with, some of them even IRL. So yeah, definite turning point that was.

Besides, it was an excruciating amount of fun, if only for a little while. It’s also the only MMO ever where I played a healer as a healer (as opposed to playing a Shadow Priest or a Feral Druid) and had fun doing it. I don’t seem to have many screenshots of Amariel the Archmage, but that’s probably because I was too busy spamming heals in scenarios to actually stop and take pictures. The pix below are therefore from Ysharros, my solo char.

Kaltlauf 1900

I don’t remember what all the places are, but that’s ok. I remember the fun. And as a little nostalgia kick for anyone else who played, here’s a link to THE DUDE WITH THE THING. It actually applies to pretty much any PvP carry-the-thing scenario. There is one rule: KILL THE DUDE WITH THE THING.

Ysh and big skelly

Ysh and the Big Nasty

 

IntPiPoMo – LOTRO

I tried to find just one, but LOTRO has the best landscapes of any MMO ever. Period. No, I didn’t play them all, but I’m still sure. These screenshots are 5 years old and date from my second foray into the game (I was in Beta/Launch for a while) — and even back then, with a scabbier graphics card and a much scabbier computer, the place is breathtaking, even in the low-level areas that I didn’t ever leave (I made it to… 35? maybe).

So here are half a dozen pix. It would have been 12-20 but I figured that was probably too much. Check out the LOTRO post tag for wayback-machine posts. I did enjoy the Ironman LOTRO I played for a while (= no quests! only mob grinding! arrrrrr!).

Click for larger versions.

Random landscape that I don’t remember where it is
Elf starting area
Elf starting area
Hobbit & Hoom starting area
Hobbit & Hoom starting area
Elf starting area (I *like* Elves)
Elf starting area (I *like* Elves)
The Shire near Bridgeford
The Shire near Bridgeford, IIRC
Obligatory Amon Sûl shot
Obligatory Amon Sûl shot

 

 

InTiWhatNow?

There is a new Thing in the blogosphere and it appears to be all Gamer Girl’s fault*. And I’ve never met a bandwagon I didn’t like, so…

intpipomo2015_badge

I lie. I hate bandwagons. But I’ll get on this one, at least for today, because I’m using old TSW screenshots as my desktop wallpapers at the moment (nerd? moi?) and they’re all awesome. All of them. Every last one. But this one is especially awesome. Because nice ass, BFG, cool boots, BFG, awesome Baron Samedi hat, Big Fucking Gun (and sword) and sinister sunlight. How can sunlight be sinister? Go play The Secret World and find out.

TSW_Mys_Kingsmouth

Or buy The Park, I’m told it’s nice and scary (reviews and play footage over at Tyrannodorkus’s place). I will never know, because I like scary for about 3 seconds, or when it’s happening in print (and not on a screen). Which is why I’m forever stuck around Kingsmouth-Solomon Island-Blue Mountains in TSW. Oh well. Still great screenshots.

Here’s another one from The Park, in fact, only the TSW version. It’s from a cut-scene but that counts, right? Don’t miss the creepy little NPC waiting for me to roll on by on the left hand side.

Mysericorde-2014-11-01-13-15-59

Click for larger versions, natch.

That is all. It’s highly doubtful you’ll get 50 of these in one month. I am not having an optimistic day. Now fuck off my lawn.

———–

*Actually it wasn’t, but you can go read her post and get the actual history. Let YOUR fingers do the damn walking.

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?

 

Poll Saturday – 5 September 2015

asuraI didn’t play Guild Wars 2 for more than a few weeks (not for any nefarious reason, just had other games and things to do), but I know a lot of people who do and who have loved it. I also know a lot of ink was spilled this week concerning the raids and whatnot. So now that passions have had a chance to cool a little, here’s a poll, just to see how folks feel.

I tried to balance the possible answers but I have NO pretensions to knowing how to build an unbiased poll. And this is just for kicks – mostly I wonder how the raiders feel about it. My general impression is raiders always love more raids, but since they didn’t exist in GW2, are even the raiders worried about what this might do to the game as a whole, not to mention to the community and the general tone?

Feel free to expand in the comments.

EDIT — Edited to remove the don’t know / don’t care answer which I wasn’t intending to allow in the first place since they don’t bring much to the table. Apologies to the person who got one past me. 🙂   OK fine, I put the Don’t know / don’t care answer back in. I still don’t see what it’ll bring to the discussion, but I am nothing if not pliable when it comes to the whims of my readers.

EDIT2 – The damned poll isn’t behaving. I give up. By all means add 18 ‘other’ answers as you like. /le_sigh

Blaugust Day 21 – Anti-Motivation and Other Things

Well. I guess instead of moaning about it on Twitter as I’ve been doing for the last half-hour, I might as well moan about my lack of motivation here — especially since my lack of motivation includes the lack of motivation to write a blog post, so complaining about my lack of motivation with my waffly skills should use up at least 200 words, by which time I’ll be 40% there. (There being the Blaugust 10-sentence, 2-paragraph, to-my-mind 500-words-ish rule of content requirement.)

Twitter has been no help at all — well, except for TAGN, who alone responded to my plea for help — and maybe MrC, who totally enabled my displacement activity.

gotnotmotivation

Apparently some people actually have lives and jobs and things to do on a cool and breezy Friday morning other than post a week’s worth of Tweets in an hour. Or provide a desperate blogger with post ideas. Or, better yet, write them for her.

OMG there it is! I should have found myself a guest blogger! That would have been such a cool thing to do for Blaugust, too! Curses.

In the spirit of carpe diem, does anyone want to do a guest post on an incredibly high-profile, Jon Stewart reads this, up-to-the-second, content-stuffed bloggy mountain of infinite delights? If so, apply to the Huffington Post. If you’d rather an obscure cavern of confusion, apply here.

You’ll get acclaim, pride, self-confidence and the absolute guarantee of no free T-Shirt ever. And you’ll be the first guest poster here. (And quite possibly the last.) (Despite the tone, this is a serious offer.)

[Okay, 238 words, only 262 to go. I can do this!!]

TAGN inspires, I perspire

Under the Drunder You Go

Drunder Prison-World may be the most awesome thing ever… It’s basically EQ2’s answer to Lord of the Flies or Escape from New York* with 8,000 Snake Plissken wannabes. You can read the whole post for yourselves, but the basic idea is that the biggest asshats in EQ2 will find their entire account banished to an exile server from which they may never escape, as determined by Customer Service GMs. People can also opt for a one-time, no-refund, one-way transfer to Drunder if they think they’re hard enough. People also have to have a paid subscription account to EQ2 for this, which is just kind of weird. Because the rest of the scheme is totally not weird.

Aside from the obvious issue of let’s-just-make-a-new-account-they’ll-never-know-it’s-me-bwahaha, which I assume they’ve thought of (no of course I haven’t read the entire thread, what am I, made of time?), and the inevitable whining that will ensue when people transfer over for a lark and are forcibly made to understand the meaning of the term “one-way only”, does this have a chance of working at all? My guess would be asshat players will either find a new account to be an asshat on, or will find a new game to be an asshat on; of course if they pick the latter it’s no longer the EQ2 staff’s bailiwick so problem solved.

At any rate it’s a new idea in an industry that always needs new ideas, and it could lead to some interesting server-ruleset variations if this experiment works. And if it removes the worst offenders that’s a good thing. Not that I have any idea who the worst offenders are or what they have to do to earn that dubious distinction. Even in EQ2, which is one game where I follow global channels, I don’t follow the global-global channel because it’s invariably full of over-sharers, eejits, or crashing bores who think they aren’t.

My favourite MMO mount

Hrm. All of them. Okay, probably this one — as the mount you can’t actually ride except for 10 seconds in a specific zone with a one-hour cooldown. (Can you say L-A-M-E?)

Shinri

I’m terribly boring when it comes to mounts. I like to get the weird and wonderful ones but when it comes to actually getting around I’m 100% utilitarian. They need to move without too much jerk, wobble or bounce (yes, the mounts), they need to not fill my entire screen (Pandaclysm dragon-mounts FTW), and they need to match my outfits — by which I usually mean my pets. So here’s my most common mount in WoW, which probably counts as my favourite.

winterspringers

A crafting profession memory!

That’s easy. All of them. I’m a crafter in games, it’s what I am as much as what I do, and any adventuring that happens (including levelling, in most games) is an incidental by-product. Most of my EQ2 characters are max-level crafters — or were an expansion or 2 ago — but haven’t made it out of the teens or twenties for adventuring. I had no less than three accounts for SWG back in the one-account/one-character days so that I could experience all the crafting professions. I pick games based on their crafting options — and yes, I’ve been disappointed many, many times. Which doesn’t mean I don’t play games where the crafting sucks (WoW is an obvious example), but it does feel sort of like playing with half a game. And so we segue neatly into…

Why is there so much Cheese in WoW?

Because cheese is awesome. Because cheese is better than cake and better than pie, as I have stated before (see the no free T-shirt link above if you really want linkage). Because a world without cheese might as well be a world without air. My glorious leader said so:

How do you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?

Yes, I’m French. What of it? You wanna take this to Drunder? EDIT — WordPress is either Francophile or Anti-French. It ate my DeGaulle caption. But since it was about cheese, maybe WordPress just really likes cheese. Thanks for spotting that TAGN!

– – – – – – – – – –

* I totally made that reference before I’d read TAGN’s post about it. GMTA or something.

Blaugust Day 15 – Dying is Educational

In Project: Gorgon*, you get xp every time you die in a new and interesting way. Which, given the name of this blog, really means I should play this game from now until the end of time, or at least until I give up on the blog. Though in all honesty my corpses aren’t particularly stylish yet since I’m wearing the noob stuff you get just for showing up.

I did not get a play much in my first session — an hour or so — but that was fun nonetheless. Bhagpuss did a much more comprehensive and entertaining post about it a few days ago, and I find I agree with him on the humour though it seemed to tickle me a bit more than it did him. A lot of descriptions and dialogue snippets in Project: Garden are quite silly, but intentionally so, and I happen to be a big fan of silly things, silly people and silly places (Camelot, for instance).

My plan to log in at the crack of dawn this morning and PLAY ALL DAMN DAY BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE ON MY DAY OFF (and all caps makes me sound more mature)… did not work out. I was called on by that Real Life game again, and then, quite unexpectedly, I got sucked into a time loop where I ended up playing Loot & Legends for *coughcough* hours. (I think it’s only an iDevice thing right now.)

You have to understand, I’m new to this whole mobile games thing. I didn’t get a smartphone until last year, not from any Luddite leanings but because we lived in an area with no signal to speak of and why for should I spend $100+ a month for nothing? And I didn’t get a tablet till this year (I don’t count the Kindle, even the Fire), because reasons. Then I got an iPad and now I’m discovering what I’ve been missing, which is how to totally waste my life on things that want to suck my real-life money every second I play them.

I spent several years translating a number of these mobile games and, believe it or not, that’s a really good incentive to not play them much because you get to see the graspy underbelly even more clearly than while you’re playing them. But still, I had fun.

Anyway, I will be doing the Project: Gecko thing now, assuming an unexpected divine cartoon hand doesn’t reach down from above and make me do something else. It happens.

Gilliam_handVeering back to Project: Gumball**, I managed to die entertainingly twice (+100XP, yay!). This was after making an Elf, whose racial superskill seems to be sex-addiction and a strong preference for double-entendres, which I thought I could run with if and when I RP (or even talk to another player). Here she is.

Ysharros the Annoyed

Her name is Ysharros. I don’t know if there’s a friends list yet and I don’t even know how to speak in /say, but we can always gesture and grunt if we run into each other. And here she is dying the first time to a wolf so weak he could barely stand up. I’m pretty sure he died of starvation right after he killed me.

PG death 1I made it out of the tutorial cave (having picked up a couple of levels of Mycology skill in the process — see mushroom, will harvest) and to the nearest village. I have no idea if it has a name, but there were quite a few newbies there aside from me. I assume they were newbies because we were all wearing the freebie armour you get so that chickens don’t kill you. It’s very RED.

I almost got killed by some… psychic mantises? They were like mantises and they stunlocked me and almost chewed off my face before I managed to run away — and that was just one of the random houses in the village. After that I proceeded a little more cautiously and set the bar a great deal lower. I killed a couple of chickens (for feathers, to help out a local NPC), killed a couple of pigs (for snouts, ditto, which I didn’t get because I forgot you need the skinning skill, which you get by using a butchering knife, which I hasn’t bought), and killed a named pig whom I didn’t remember to immortalise in a screenie so we’re going to say he was called Mr. Snouty. He didn’t drop much of interest, certainly no pants yearning for the sea.

And that’s where I had to leave it. I’d be back there now if I didn’t have to write this blog post. Or play just one more round of Loot & Legends; I owe some troglodytes a rematch.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Can we please rename it Project: Gordon already? It’s all my fingers know how to type. Maybe I should set up auto-correct… but then, every time I write to my good buddy the Commish, I’ll call him Gorgon… sigh.

** This is almost as entertaining as getting Benedict Cumberbatch’s name wrong. If not as eye-candyish.