Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – Four Birthdays and a Funeral

I’ll tell you one thing, life is never boring in the Mirage household.

After the last play session and post, I moved on to the Trips’ birthdays and decided to throw a relatively large bash, at which point I discovered that nobody in the family seems to know any women, or at least not any young ones. (Presumably they’re all busy mobbing Handsome Noble over in Oasis Springs…) The invite list was depressingly full of men and grandmothers, though Baccarat was at least able to invite Stacy Holden, the older woman he’s been hoping to get off with for weeks. There are no romantic interactions when one party is jailbait, sadly — though apparently it’s fine for siblings to get all nasty with each other, and it’s also ok if you’re in the same age bracket. (The incest thing may have been patched. It’s not something I’ve tested out.) Continue reading

WoW – drood powa

I used to get annoyed at druids in PvP in WoW, because the little buggers are unkillable, sort of like paladins only more moonkinny. Then again, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with droods. I made one early on and never really played her. Made another and never really played her either – and so on. Each time I’ve come back to WoW I’ve made another druid (to start fresh or some such smart reason) and never played her.

Last year, however, I finally made one as a hermit char and played her up to 60, which took about 17.4 seconds with the new levelling and a couple of heirloom xp items. (For those who don’t know: a hermit character is one nobody else knows about so you can play them when you’re not feeling sociable. Of course, the whole e-mailfriends WoW thing, whatever it’s called, puts the kibosh on that because they can see you’re online no matter who you’re playing, but that’s okay; I’ve only got 2 of those and we don’t bug each other a whole lot.) And then she sat there for a few months, gathering rest xp and dust, until I brushed her off again during the Xmas break.

into the wild blue yonder

Now, while I don’t particularly want to gush… OMGWTFBBQOPSMASHRIPRIP! Druids are fun, especially feral druids when it comes to my own playstyle. Sneak around when you need to, claw-shred-rip the crap out of stuff when you want, heal when required, claw-shred-rip some more, rinse repeat. I’ll grant you it doesn’t require a whole lot of keys and it’s not all that varied, but none of that matters in the face of shredding the opposition before they even know what’s hit them.

So my little druid is now 70 and claw-shred-ripping her way through the aptly-named Northrend. I don’t want to like her more than my hunter, who is my day 1 character (hell, Eloise is a remake of my beta character so she’s like a million years old in MMO years), but… well… who needs a pet when you can be your own pet? And flight form rocks, especially the faster purple flight form.

I’ve also been indulging in pet battles. I’m still shocked at how addictive those are if you let them be, especially when you get complacent about how good your main team is (mechanical gnome, nexus wyrm, flayer hatchling) and then one of the battle masters hands you your ass; not once, but three times. After the third time I realised it was time to a) level my guys a little and b) find some team members who weren’t going to be insta-roasted by the Shadowmoon guy’s horrible little flame elemental.

There’s something for me about WoW that other people report finding in GW2, which is uncomplicated fun. I’ve logged in to TSW a few times and though I still love the game, it just demands too much thought from me at the moment. So I’m dabbling in TSW for brief, cogitation-laden sessions and then going back to WoW to relax. I’m just glad I have several games I can hop around in and only one I need to be paying for.

TSW – The Dreaded Alt Quandary

I know, I know, we don’tneed alts in The Secret World. And yet, here I am.

I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m having a hard time getting into the game the way I want to. Not because I don’t love the game, far from it, but there’s a certain distance there that I want to bridge in order to really ‘immerse’ myself  (apply whatever definition of the word suits you).

For one thing, I felt as though I was going too fast with Ysharros, zipping through some stuff because I’d seen it in beta, ignoring all the lovely conversation options with NPCs because I’d seen them in beta, not letting my sense of wonder out of the box because I’d seen it in beta.

Ysharros – Grim

A large part of the problem seems to be my comparing myself to a close RL friend who is also playing, and who is a fast leveller. She’s already in the Savage Coast – hell, I suspect she’s in the Blue Mountains by now, and for some reason I keep feeling like I’m being left behind. Thing is, it’s not like she’s telling me to hurry up – I have my pace, she has hers, and there’s no question that one should hurry or wait for the other. But I still felt like I was or needed to be playing catch-up.

So this morning I made a character on the RP server – err, dimension, which is something I was wanting to do anyway. (Marvellous as it is, the one thing my long, long-time guild is not is an RP guild. It’s not even particularly supportive of RP, though it doesn’t disparage or prevent it. But we have some players who are made very uncomfortable by the concept – so yeah, not an RP guild.)

Mysericorde – Arcadia (RP)

All hail Mysericorde (curses to whoever got the original!), another Dragon. I hesitated at the faction screen for quite a while between Templar and Dragon, but Myz already knew what she was and, while she could probably have joined either (she’s a morally limber type), that whole flexibility made her seem more one than the other. Someday though I’m going to make a Templar-rad who wants to change things from the inside – I’ve always loved me a good rebel with an impossible cause.

Given that I know what a misericorde actually is, I was very tempted to go blades even though there’s no such thing as daggers. Then I decided I was being too literal and also decided to push my comfort envelope a little with starting weapons. I’ve not been terribly attracted to pistols in TSW so far, but that’s what I’m trying for now. Probably paired with Blood Magic (which I think follows the Assassin deck template, iirc, but don’t quote me).

The thing is, Myz is going to be taking her time. Myz has a personality that isn’t entirely my own and that isn’t simply an extension of myself, as my Ysharros characters tend to be. I’m not sure how much I’ll RP with folks, but I certainly won’t get in the way of it and I’m open to it despite my previously-stated discomfort with MMO-based RP. Give me a table and paper (and maybe some dice) and I’m much more comfortable – but we’ll see.

Point being, if Myz isn’t comfortable with her chosen weapons, she’ll take the time to train herself in others. She has lots of questions, which will take time to answer, and she has plans and long-term goals, which may change as she finds out more. But whether I want to or not, she’s going to stop and talk to anyone who has anything at all to say, and you can be damn sure she’ll be taking notes and trying to put everything together.

The only downside when it comes to playing with my RL friend (which we don’t do too often anyway, our pace is too different) is that I won’t be able to PvP with her since that’s dimension-specific. And that’s it. So what’s the harm in me moulding the game and my playstyle to my liking rather than… whatever it was I was doing the last few days? None.

No real point to this other than that if you’re not entirely comfortable in TSW yourself, for whatever reason – you have enough options available to try to make it fit you better. It’s worth a shot. This isn’t WoW. If I have one piece of advice to give to most, it’s don’t race to the finish. In this one the journey really IS the answer.

Edit – Oh yeah, and I added a few screenies to the TSW screens page.


So. I braved snow, snow, snow and more snow to get into town on the 21st (couldn’t get out for snow on the 20th) and pick up a copy of SW:TOR. I suspect if a gajillion feet of snow hadn’t fallen since Thanksgiving, I probably would have got myself a preorder copy after all – though there was no way I was getting a digital version. Trying to download 25 gig or however  big the client is on our crappy little DSL connection? I’d die of old age before it was done.

Anyway, copy was bought and brought home, though not installed until the 23rd. Work, snow, work work, snow. You might be able to tell from my prose that I wasn’t terrifically over-excited about it anyway, though lots of my friends were having fun with it. I really only picked it up because I said (months ago) that I would, and because, well, I had nothing else I really wanted to play on the computer anymore, and my time with Skyrim is closely rationed (the spousal unit gets a turn now and then too).

I will say, I thought the opening cinematics were boss. I’ve only seen the generic one and the Republic side, but at some point I’ll make Empirescum characters and get to see theirs.

My smuggler is not impressed by the Senate

After that, creating a char and logging in and actually playing was… weird, in some ways. It looks and sounds a lot like SWG – how could it not, when they both used the same LucasArts material? Star Wars music is Star Wars music, after all (and it’s one of the reasons this is about the only game that has music I like – it’s REAL music, not some endlessly looping 20-second pseudo-medieval piece of crap with lots of Highlander-meets-Braveheart horns). I actually want to have the music on all the time, but the combat music is tied to it and I really, really hate combat music – so it’s off for now, but not willingly.

It plays and feels a lot like WoW or any other MMO you’ve played in the last 5 years. That’s intentional, and it’s actually pretty smart. I haven’t had to worry about learning new keybinds (much), and when I automatically reach for a key to open a UI element, it’s usually right. My main gripe with the UI is that at 1920 x 1200, which lots of people are capable of these days, it’s still gigantic and clunky, and it’s entirely unscaleable. Even WoW lets you do that without mods – c’mon, Bioware.

Friends have commented on how odd the lack of attention to the UI is, but I’m not surprised at all. Bioware make GAMES, not UIs – I remember the crappy one in DragonAge and in games before that, and I can just see the justifications from here. And, to be honest, I’d rather have a corking good game than a great UI, though I’d really rather have both. The UI feels a lot like early WoW, and hopefully that will change. It’s livable-with, anyway – more an irritant than a full-blown deal-breaker, and you know what a nerd I am about UIs.

I have, of course, made eleventy-million characters already. What can I say. Ironically, the one I’ve preferred playing so far is a tank, believe it or not, though I haven’t been all that good at tanking *all* the mobs with her in the one instance I did (but then we didn’t have any heals either). Even so, all the classes are fun and every class has its own personal story, which has of course been one of the SWTOR selling points.

I’ll admit, it’s pretty neat, but it’s also a little weird. For a while it felt as though I were playing a single-player game that happened to have other people in it – it still feels like that to some extent, but I’m getting used to it, and that feeling ebbs a little once you get off the newbie planet. It’s been really interesting to see that different classes are here / doing X / looking for Y / going to Z for different reasons – I don’t really want to say much because it’s spoilerish, but while the Smuggler and the Trooper base classes both start on Ord Mantell, for instance, their stories and reasons for being there are quite different, and will unfold differently. It’s… neat.

I’d be playing now except it’s Tuesday maintenance. You’d think we were playing WoW or something…

Halp! I need somebody, halp!

Okay, that title was maybe a little more histrionic than I intended.

WFS’s Gordon made me laugh yesterday when he said “Time to start an alt” — just taunt me a second time-a why don’t you?

My name is Hyperbole and I am an Altoholic.

The long and short of this post is that it’s a shameless begging post. I already have my 9 alts made (duh!), a few of whom date back to 2004 and whom I can’t bring myself to reroll while the rest are fresh off the cookie-cutter line. I can’t put them all in Knights Who Say Ni because, well, that’s just greedy — I’m not the only altoholic in town and I already have 3 or 4 chars in the guild as it is, which is probably more than I should. Ni has an alts guild, but, meh.

Okay fine. I just want my own damn guild bank. Happy?

Cue begging: if anyone (well, 3 anyones) has a spare character slot and can make an Alliance char on Icecrown for as long as it takes me to get the 3 signatures we need, I’ll be eternally grateful and, um… will say something nice about you every week till August 2014. How’s that for a deal?

EDIT — Okay, blogging power and Twitter power are sometimes rather awesome. Many thanks to Shawndra, Stargrace and @R0NlN for the guild-creation help! There’s nothing quite like being helped out by total strangers (physically-speaking) to remind me why I love my MMOs. It’s not the game, it’s the people. <3

Happy 2011!

In a few hours, anyway – or, depending where you may be, happy 2011 already.

Let us hope the crop of games is good! Aside from that I wouldn’t mind a pony, great health, pots of cash and undying love. You know, the easy stuff, and not necessarily in that order (though the pony ALWAYS comes first).

Was pondering doing a recap of 2010 but really, my gaming year was pretty boring. I don’t own a console right now (can’t decide between Xbox and PS3), so I didn’t play any of those. I didn’t play any of the Dragon Age expansion thingies either. I did briefly play Assassin’s Creed in preparation for buying and playing AC2, but not for long and I never did buy the new game.

MMO-wise, I started the year with EQ2 in the firm belief (isn’t it always?) that I wouldn’t be playing anything else for positively aeons. Predictably, I got sucked into Fallen Earth in May-ish, partly because of a free offer that was too good to pass up and partly to show solidarity for what appeared to be a struggling studio with not a bad little MMO.

That lasted all of two months, I think. I then hopped into the LOTRO F2P beta and thence into LOTRO paid-up non-beta, which I’m technically still subscribed to (I think). We played that for a few months and then, a few weeks ago, somehow got sucked back in to WoW, where I’ve been having far more fun than I ever expected. The excellent company of friends I’ve recovered there doesn’t hurt one bit, either — it’s been half a decade and then some since I played with some of those people, and it’s been great to catch up over a drink or seven.

Side note: good tequila apparently does not give you hangovers.

Side note 2: good tequila seems to evaporate out of the bottle really fast. I’ll have to make sure the cap’s on tight. *cough*

Fight and Flight

No, this is not a deeply probing article about the above.

It’s a very short* post about how after much of the former, I achieved the latter – in WoW.

Those are not flames shooting out of my mount's ass. Honest!

As mentioned in the post update on Friday, Blizzard CS very kindly and rapidly sorted my old account out for me. That having been done, it took me all of 12.46 minutes to decide that having all the expansions (bar Cata) was vastly superior to having to buy them all again especially since Blizzard haven’t yet decided to make bundles (that anyone would buy anyway) of their expansions. There’s some freaky Burning Crusade + stuff I can’t remember but it wasn’t useful bundle — when what I was really looking for would be Burning Crusade + Lich King + pound of 20s for $19.99.

Oh all right, I didn’t look very hard. Please do not inundate me with Amazon and New Egg links. I don’t really care whether such bundles exist or not, I care only that I couldn’t find one for $20 the other day. It’s a moot point anyway, my account got fixed and I got resubbed.

So I spent a teeth-grindy hour or two going through all the alts, emptying out and selling pretty much everything they had (most of which was crap anyway). I deleted two or three of them — which still leaves me with half a dozen characters on Icecrown, which was where I started on Hour 1 of Day 1 of Year 1. Well, maybe Hour 3. I seem to recall the servers having stability issues on launch day way back when.

My Rexxar characters are all gone except the Dread Knight I made there when I went back a couple of years ago. I could have sworn I had alts there — it’s not like me not to have alts there. But then why delete the silly alts and leave the DK? As the CS chap said, I was hacked but they didn’t really seem to find much of value on the account and didn’t do much to it. Except delete alts. Weird. (And nice way of saying I’m a noob and don’t raid and don’t own anything useful there, dude!)

Anyway, I cleaned up the Icecrown Assassination of Alts and ended with Eloise, who wasn’t even as high level as I remembered her being. Not even 60! What a noooooob! And her gear! Ewwwww!

Actually I couldn’t care less about her gear, I just wanted to say ewwww. What did bother me a bit is that she seemed to only have one pet, which is very unlike me. I could have sworn she had at least 2 or 3 including one of those winged serpenty things and a bear… but maybe I cleared those out during my brief stint in 2009 in a fit of pet-removing madness. The problem is I make hunters every time I play WoW, so I get a bit confused as to who has what pets, where and on what server. I’m getting old – sue me.

At least she still had her faithful Ozymandias — aka King Bangalash, from the days when he was actually difficult to tame and before you could find white tigers under every bloody rock across Azeroth. I decided to get a white bear — Eloise has this white thing going on, always has had — and figured Winterspring would be as good a place as any to do that. Except I’d lost the Everlook flight master (unless she never had it and it was the Rexxar DK who had it… this gets confusing!), so I had to go get that again — and then there were people offering quests there, and at the mouth of the Felwood/Winterspring tunnel, so I had to do all those quests… And before you know it Eloise was levelling.

Levelling rather fast, actually. I know the pace was upped, but damn! I’ll spare you the details but basically, over a couple of rather leisurely days of pootling around exclusively in Winterspring (and getting the 60-quests achievement there), Eloise went from level 55 to level 59 — all on rest xp. I then took her to Silithus as instructed by some hero board in some town, but Silithus was tedius and full of bugsius. In any case she hit 60 pretty quick there and I suddenly re-discovered the Old-World XP Penalty (-90%), so like it or not it was time to hit Outlands. And all, I should add, with rest xp — which lasted from level 55 to a smidge into level 60. That’s a crazy amount of rest xp — and yes, I know quest turnins don’t count, but that’s five levels. That’s a lot of rest xp and I didn’t turn in that many quests compared to the amount of critters I killed. That’s a LOT of rest xp. Just sayin’.

So Eloise went to the Outlands, which is where I left her last night. I can’t say I’m overjoyed about it. I detest being stuck on a floaty crumbly continent in the middle of the ether with teeny tiny little islands floating on the edge that you have to visit (wanting to hurl throughout) if you want the exploration achievements. But it’s not too bad as long as I stay away from the edges — which isn’t an option when you first start in the aptly named Hellfire Peninsula. Bloody dwarves and their bloody griffon-back bombing runs!**

But that’s not important right now. Thanks to the kindness of some old, rediscovered (and much missed!) friends, Eloise was able to buy her flying skill and a mislabeled ebon griffon. Ebon my ass! Well, mine maybe, but the griffon’s sure isn’t. Nobody said anything about brown backsides! But I’m too cheap to buy another one, at least right now, though the money is starting to come in and I shouldn’t have much trouble paying back the kind flight-school subsidising friend.

WoW is like the Cheers of the MMO world. You may leave for a while, but almost everyone ends up coming back to that same barstool at some point down the line, and there’s always someone else sitting there who remembers (if only vaguely) who you are.

That’s not so bad.


* This is probably a lie, and anyone who reads this blog (when it’s healthy) knows I am incapable of very short posts. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

** Incidentally, flying under my own volition is a lot easier than being hurl-inducingly flown around on rails. I rather suspected it would be. Actually, flying is way cool and a lot of fun. Woohoo! Incoming!

WoWified… again

Turns out I’m no more immune than anyone else to the lure of the New WoW Experience, shades of SWG or no. So on Tuesday I got me a trial account* and on Wednesday I took a look the the new world order. The column I just did for summarises the experience, but I had a couple of things I wanted to add here.

1. The female avatar boob-jiggle drives me crazy; good thing I mostly don’t have to look at it. Seriously — my new dwarf shaman (yeah!) looks like she has two cannonballs swinging around on her chest. I’m surprised she hasn’t knocked herself out yet.

2. I just can’t get into races whose knees are on backwards. I tried to make a Tauren shaman yesterday, but the leg thing coupled with the size thing and the general cowishness … I just couldn’t do it. I’ve always wanted to love Tauren, and I do, from a distance. I just can’t play one. I have a feeling I’ll get the same minor gross-out feeling if I ever get Cataclysm and make a Worgen. Shame, too, I really want to try playing one of those.

3. Every time I stop playing WoW, I forget how much fun it is. And every time I start playing WoW again, I forget that the fun/appeal factor can be pretty short-lived for someone with my playstyle. Maybe I should get into raiding. (Hah! Right!)

Sadly I can’t use RealID with the trial account, though I’m still very ambivalent about RealID anyway so maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I also can’t chat in any normal channels other than party and say and… something else. But even so, it’s been fun. If you’re on Icecrown, keep an eye out for Yshmysh (warlock), Heloyse (Huntard) and Ysharrys (shaman) and say hi!

* I have a horrible feeling my original account has been hacked a couple of weeks back — the thing is, I get so many bogus password/banination emails, they all go into my spamcan unread. Anyway, I can’t decide whether I just want to let it die gracefully or whether I should go the customer support route. I tried turning it into a account, which apparently I’d already done (and don’t remember doing), and I’ve already tried recovering it, but my email/name combo apparently doesn’t exist; so I guess the only thing left is to contact CS. We’ll see. Maybe I should just start fresh if I do end up paying to play.

[Update: Fixing my compromised account took one toll-free call and 20 minutes, of which 13 were spent on hold. Props to the Blizzard CS department. So now I can decide whether I want to sub up or not!]

LOTRO – One more wafer-thin alt!

There’s a reason the spousal unit’s superhero name would be “Mr. Methodical” — or, if he were a villain, probably something like “OCD Boy”. He is utterly incapable of doing anything casually, and this includes gaming.

Which means, if he starts crafting, that he can’t help but want to make one of everything even if 99% of everything is crap. This takes up a lot of his gaming time, as you can imagine.

When I talked him into playing LOTRO with me a couple of months ago, we swore up and down that he wouldn’t have to craft if he didn’t want to, yadda yadda yadda. He crafted. Now he doesn’t dare log in because he knows there are piles of unsorted crafting all-sorts waiting for him — and, being Mr Methodical, he’s also incapable of just ignoring said piles and playing like they don’t exist.

The long and short of this is, I now have official permission to make more alts. Because, you know, someone has to craft all the stuff we use. Really, that’s the only reason. Nothing to do with making a pile more alts and starting some more crafters. Nothing at all.

Stop laughing, you there at the back.


Random pic below — Captain Ysharros checking out the canyon approaches to Angmar on her spiffy new Harvestmath Festival mount. The horse looks keener about it than she does (can’t blame her).

LOTRO – One more wafer-thin Alt?

Slowly but surely I’m giving in to my Altoholism over in LOTRO.

For those of you who are single-character players, the lure probably doesn’t make much sense. You make one character, maybe a mule or crafting alt who will never get much attention, and just go about your mono-char business. The other altoholics out there, however, will know what I mean.

First, I had to make an alt to play with the spousal unit, so we wouldn’t have to force-level him to Ysharros’ level or so she wouldn’t have to hang around waiting.

Then we discovered that since we had half the crafting classes covered, we might as well make another alt each and cover them all. (There will be crafting guild issues down the line since you can only join one guild and most chars have more than one crafting ability, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.)

Slippery slope, I tell ya. Slippery slope.

So for now there’s Heloyse the Hunter who sits behind her Guardian buddy and sticks bad guys with arrows. That’s rather fun and it only belatedly occurred to us that we’re a rather stereotypical Legolas/Gimli pairing. Oh well – still fun!

But there’s also Yvriel the Warden, who is paired up with hubby’s new Rune-Keeper. He doesn’t often play casty types so we’re taking it slowly, but it’s also been quite entertaining so far. I thought I was going to make a Champion, because they look like slicing and dicing fun machines, but somehow I ended up selecting a Warden during char creation so I guess my subconscious decided for me. Besides, they’re a lot of fun too. Gotta love that Ambush move.

But wait! At some point I made a Lore-Master, Aethinviel, who ended up being the non-picked wallflower and doesn’t have a duo partner yet. I’m not sure how that happened except that I really wanted a hunter. I’m a hunter fan. So poor Aeth is in her mid teens and getting used to doing stuff by herself. Sneak up Weathertop for some herbs, at level 11? No problem! Thanks to my stupidly elephantine memory for irrelevant details from years ago, I remembered exactly a) how to get up to the top while avoiding most of the mobs and b) what the herbs looked like, though the whole shiny-clicky-me! effect makes that rather easy anyway.

So now I have not one, not two, but FOUR characters and I’m feeling a little tipsy. And distinctly less flush. Playing more than one char limits how much you actually gets done and siphons funds and resources away that you would otherwise be selling. That said, we both have spanky new houses in Falathlorn, so that’s taken care of, and the main thing left to do now is to get the Kinship house out of years-long hock. 6600 silver in one go is a lot to throw down!

Thanks to all those who have waved at me in tells – I still find it a little weird, though somehow also very flattering, and some have even sent me food packages! I guess I’m a hobbit at heart: food is always welcome!