Blaugust Day 19 – ARK: lazy blogging day pix

It’s my turn to claim that if a picture is worth 1000 words, you’re about to get way more than I should need to write in a single day. That’s because a) it’s already late in the day and the later it gets, the less I want to write and b) there’s only so many different ways I can say “…and a dinosaur killed me and devoured my corpse.”

I did do and learn a few things yesterday though, the first being that for all my maniacal crowing (here’s a reminder:)

quoting myself

the server options shockingly only affect server-based games and not single-player games.

Bummer.

The second was that telling literally the whole freaking world (well, Twitter), first thing in the morning, how you’re going to spend the entire day in a blissed-out gaming state is guara-fucking-teed to screw up said day.

Third: Setting up a server for myself and the spousal unit to play on wasn’t as easy as it looked, until I found better instructions and this handy-dandy utility: ARK Server Manager. Get it. Use it. I spent a couple of hours faffing around with firewall and router settings and didn’t even need to since it’ll do that for you. I was wrong. You DO have to open those ports on your router but the walkthrough you’re pointed to is excellent.

ARK server manager 2
Click for larger version

Just be sure to point your “Installation Location:” to your existing ARK install (generally SteamSteamAppscommonARK) and not some other folder — I thought it was asking for something else until I realised it was redownloading the whole bloody game (not on my internet connection, you don’t!). And if it doesn’t enter the required ports (orange boxes above), make sure those are entered.

The utility lets you set ALL the variables for the server and then some – the screenie below is just the first quarter of them.

ARK server manager
Click for larger version

Also, if you run your own server, know that it takes a while to get up and running — especially the first time. Mine currently takes about 2 minutes to get going but that’ll vary depending on your rig. Finally, if you find you’re getting timed out a lot once you’re playing on your server, set the client bandwidth to lower than epic — which you have to do from within the game since I assume it’s a local setting; worked like a charm for us.

Fourth: When you brag about how you’re going to play all day, you should know that there will be a patch. It’s a law of gaming. And lo, as soon as the server was set up, there was a patch.

And because I was running the server, my patch was corrupt. So here’s another thing about running a server: shut the server down before you patch. If you get a corruption, shut down the server and just let Steam run the validation; it’ll redo the patch and things will be fine. And if you have a decent internet connection you won’t have to get so mad that you have to clean a parrot cage (no, this is not a euphemism) just to channel your fury into something more constructive than whining on Twitter.

When I finally did get on it was kinda late in the day. The spousal unit and Ysh 3.0 spawned into South Zone 1 to see a brontosaurus happily clomping around crushing every tree in sight. Then we got repeatedly killed by a (to quote him) dildosaurus but was in fact a dilophosaur — yes, the same wee bastards that killed me before. He left to go watch TV but I persevered and have a few screenshots to prove it.

Turns out third time might be the charm — I did not get killed (after the first 3 times), I got revenge on the wee bastard, and I made a house!!11oneone!! There. You may now switch channels, the rest is just pix.

bronto invader
Not a dino you can easily push out of the way.
Note: do not light its foot on fire by mistake while demonstrating a torch to the SO

A quick note: Ysharros 3.0 does not have Thunder-butt, to quote @Wolfy. Men can be so judgy! Maybe just Minor Tremor Butt, because I refuse to make females who look like stick-figures with hot-air balloons stuck to their chests. (Only men make female characters like that in games, BTW.)

Take THAT, dildodocus!
Take THAT, dildodocus!
very very dark
This is what night is like without a torch or fire nearby
fire good
Fire good! And house half-built
ill cut you
If you get near my house I’ll CUT you!
house 1 done
House 1 done. And fancy Indy hat.

I promise I will write about something other than ARK tomorrow.

Maybe.

PS: See how what I’m playing right now fits really well into my Gaming To-Do List? That’s my 6% conscientiousness showing its true colours right there.

Blaugust S -15 – Lost in the ARKger Games

I passed on ARK when it was on the Steam Summer Sale, and then regretted it — but regretting missed Steam Sale opportunities is like a twice-yearly ritual for me anyway — so when it was on sale again yesterday I went ahead and picked it up.

One of the reasons I passed on it before was the vast amount of ZOMGPVPganked stuff I read about it, until I realised that ZOMGPVPgank mode isn’t the only one available for the game. You can play solo, on a restricted server, or on other people’s servers. Which at least gave me the chance to dip my toes in the water (metaphorically – you want to be careful about actually doing that in ARK) yesterday and see what all the fuss has been about.

In case you live under a rock like I mostly do, ARK: Survival Evolved, as it’s officially called (because it’s not a real game these days if it doesn’t have a colon somewhere in its name) is… a survival game. In which you try to avoid dying from: heat, dinosaurs, cold, exhaustion, dinosaurs, lack of oxygen, dinosaurs, starvation, dehydration, swimming dinosaurs, the weather, dinosaurs, and (if you want) other players. And that’s only the methods I’ve discovered so far.

It’s less One Million Years B.C. and more LOST or The Land That Time Forgot, though given the costume similarity some confusion is understandable.

ARK_million years
Does my bum look bigger than hers in this?

Aside from the basic premise — don’t die — which is a fairly important one, there are more extended goals. Escape from the Island is the obvious one, though I’m not sure how achievable it’s meant to be and since I haven’t even left the beach I started on, it’s hardly a priority for me yet. Tame dinosaurs!! is another and yes, it must always be spoken or written with exclamation marks. Duh. I haven’t got to that yet either.

Heeere, dino dino dino!
Heeere, dino dino dino!

You’ll also find the standard game goals of exploration, character levelling and skills, building (so that you don’t die from being stomped on by a distracted brontosaurus), and killing shit so you can take its loot (so you can make more shit and aren’t so easy to kill when stomped on by a distracted brontosaurus). And last but not least, there’s finding out what the giant glowy towers are all about, which I suspect ties in with the whole survive-and-escape goal. Unless it opens up a Master Of The Dinosaur Island option, which I’d be okay with too.

Click for larger version
Click for larger version

For my trial run I decided to play in single-player mode, which means you can pause the game and the world doesn’t persist when you’re not ‘logged in’. After getting my ass handed to me a bunch of times by dodos, pteranodons*, some kind of giant turtle-thing and a whole freaking school of blood-frenzied megalodons before I’d even made a pair of shorts, I played in dumbed-way-the-hell-down-for-21st-century-slickers mode. In fact, the game lets you customise all manner of things from how tough you are, how tough the dinos are, how long the day/night cycle is (or how long day and night last individually), how quickly you go through food, and so on. You get 24 sliders to play with, not counting the basic ‘game difficulty’ one which I set to jeez-why’d-you-even-bother-buying-the-game?! Because death gets boring after a few run-throughs.

Thanks to Dracosaurian and the ARK wiki
Thanks to Dracosaurian and the ARK wiki

The very first thing you notice — other than being almost naked and definitely not alone on a beach – is that the game is stupdendously beautiful, at least on my spanky not-quite-new-anymore machine. I can’t run in ultra settings because I only have a ‘lowly’ GTX970, but the high settings weren’t bad at all.

Brontosaurus

The next thing you notice is that everything that isn’t you either wants to kill you or won’t hesitate to kill you if you are foolish enough to attack it — even the trees. Since you start with nothing, you literally have to bang your head fists against a few trees in order to get some basic materials and yes, you take damage every time.

After that you realise that time is passing, tick-tick-tick, that you’re near-naked, surrounded by dinosaurs, dinosaur-infested jungle and dinosaur-infested waters, observed by ominous structures in the distance (which almost certainly have something to do with the glowy carbuncle on the inside of your left wrist), and that you’re probably about to die quickly and unpleasantly (chomp!) or slowly and unpleasantly (brrr!) if you don’t start doing something about it. And all you have is your hands.

Which is fine, because it’s enough to start pulling up berries, leaves, rocks and whatever else you can fit into your capacious and invisible pockets. And soon enough you have enough to cobble together an axe-like thing, which makes you more efficient at getting more stuff to make more stuff to oh shit it’s dark and cold and raining and I don’t have a fire and I’m dyyyyyyiiinnngggg….

Dark night 1
The night *is* dark and full of terrors

So you find a tutorial, because it’s one thing to admire the landscape and quite another to realise that sundown will likely kill you. This one (written) and this one (YouTube) were both basic enough and helpful enough to get me past that first half-hour of frustration. If you’re more used to this kind of game and its UI/controls than I am, you might not even need those. I kept banging my head on the desk because I couldn’t move the mouse to the icons on the right-hand side of the screen (until I realised they’re status icons, not menu icons…). It was just a happy coincidence that the YouTuber chap started in the same spot as I did – or vice versa. But I can tell you that the S1 spawn (I think) on Footloose island, or some such name, is a good, relatively safe spot to start. Yes, even with all the dying I did, because most of that dying was self-inflicted.

Rebuilding
Rebuilding after yet another death

And so you make yourself a couple of tools, eat a couple of berries, kill a couple of dodos, and become cocky enough to investigate the actinic shaft of light shouting Oi! Come check me out! to every gamer within miles. Fortunately I’m the only one on this version of The Island, and when I investigate my first one I get a few goodies like a sling and a flare gun. A little while later (after having levelled, gained some new crafting recipes, and become engrossed enough to totally forget about screenshots) I spot another one a little ways around a headland to the south-west, and I hurry to investigate it before sundown. Being careful of my megalodon nemeses, who mostly avoid the shallow channel between my spawn spot and that other headland apart from the occasional foray, I swim and scuttle over and am rewarded with a thatch foundation, 3 walls, a doorframe and a door. Since I’d already built and placed four foundations at my starting point I was stoked, as this would be the start of a proper house…

Supply cache!
Supply cache!

And then the sun went down, the rain started, the temperature plummeted, and as soon as I stepped into the water to get back to my side of the channel the game warned me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t just cold, I was about to freeze to death. So — disappointed but smarter — I quickly placed my single-foundation hut just off the sand, closed the door behind me, lit a torch, and stood there waiting for daylight.

And that’s where I left it. Tune in next week for another episode of LOST in the ARK!

After a few hours of play, my basic impressions are that it’s definitely a fun game, if you like that sort of thing, which I do — and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I also think it’s probably a lot more fun with friends, so Mort and I may try running a local two-player version when we can find the time (and if I can drag him away from his renewed love-affair with EVE). After that, once we’re not as likely to be a drag on whoever takes me/us in, I may try to see if anyone is running a more-people server, because joining a tribe probably opens up a whole new dimension of fun, and who doesn’t want to be an Ooga-Booga? I probably won’t touch the PvP side of things but that’s ok, I don’t have to.

I even got used to the insanely annoying non-MMO controls pretty quick, though I’m sure I will suck at combat until the end of time. But that’s ok. I’ll find a dino or something to protect me.

– – – – – – – – –

* I’m lying about those. They actually flew away from me before I could hit them, with or without an axe-type-thing — which was probably the only thing that prevented me from impaling myself on their claws.

 

Blaugust Day 4 – Portrait of a Gamer

Deadalus Project & Quantic Foundry

Years and years and years ago, at the birth of the new millennium, a smart studenty type decided that researching gamers might be an interesting thing to do and began doing just that, surveying thousands of gamers. I don’t remember how I became one of them but I did, and I filled out a bunch of surveys over the years. You can still check some of that data and his conclusions out on the Daedalus Project.

The Daedalus Project has been over for some time, but Nick Yee now has a new, just as interesting venture going: the Quantic Foundry (no, I have no idea what it means, but it certainly sounds cool, smart, and even a bit gamerish). Long story short, there are still surveys to be done and if you check the place out you might want to start with the Gamer Motivation Profile. Hell, even Ars Technica got in on the survey action.

I’ve done mine and while the results were no surprise to me, they might be interesting partly for my usual readers (who probably won’t be much surprised either) but mostly for the screaming hordes of Blaugustinians dropping by. I read a number of blogs written by people with utterly different gaming styles from mine, but I certainly tend to empathise more (and comment more) with gamers who prefer some of the same types of things I do.

Gamer Motivation Profile

So here’s my profile page. And here’s the chart from the profile page for those who can’t be arsed to click:

Gamer Motivation chartAnd a quick caveat quote from the profile info:

Percentiles are how you rank relative to other people. In this report, your percentiles are how you compared with other gamers who have participated in this profile tool. A percentile of 80% means you scored higher than 80% of gamers. Conversely, a percentile of 10% means 90% of gamers had a higher score than you. This means that a 50% is perfectly average.

Most people will have high scores on a few motivations, low scores on another few motivations, and the majority of their remaining scores will fall near the average (in the 35%-65% range). Thus, it’s your non-average scores that most define your profile as a gamer.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a competition or an exam. High scores are not “better”. Gamers with extreme motivations (on both the low and high end) represent a smaller proportion of gamers and may have a harder time being satisfied by available games (which try to capture more average gamers within their genres).

It’s really difficult for most people to see percentiles and not compare themselves to others, for good or ill. In some ways it’s not a bad thing — I always knew I was different and a little weird when it came to the ‘norm’ of gamers (by which I mean MMO gamers for the most part; we may also play Candy Crush Saga, but most Candy Crushers have never even heard of an MMO and for my money they’re not ‘true’ gamers — but that’s another discussion for another time).

Action, Mastery, Achievement

I score exceedingly low in areas where most gamers I know tend to score much higher — and I’ve known for a long time that I’m absolutely not motivated by action, mastery or achievement. My action score is actually broken down into Destruction (35%) and Excitement (0%), which is totally me. I don’t like adrenaline — it makes me feel physically ill — so while I can watch people play fast-paced, action-oriented games (by which I mean Tomb Raider & co; I don’t think I could bear to even watch anyone play Silent Hill or whatever the current scare-the-pants-off-you game is), playing one is extremely un-fun for me. I do, however, like blowing things up now and then. Who doesn’t? Similarly, while I do enjoy some strategy (23%, and why I’ve been playing Civilization throughout its many incarnations — but I prefer the building side to the war & conquest side), I only give a 1% shit about challenge. As for achievement… I get a measly 7% for completion (my anemic achievement score in WoW proves this) and a total 0% for power.

All of which actually represents me rather well as an individual and not just as a gamer. I don’t care much about achieving things just because they’re there — Sir Edmund Hillary and I clearly wouldn’t have much to talk about at a dinner party. I believe power is a pointless and ultimately destructive pursuit (even in games, where there are no real consequences, the pursuit of power leaves me yawning). And while I like to blow up pixels or build bonfires almost as much as the next guy or gal, I actively avoid situations where adrenaline is a factor. I do really badly with adrenaline and I have an extremely low threshold for excessive sound and visual input — you know, like you find in most dungeons. My dislikes certainly inform my gaming a great deal. So how about my likes?

Social, Immersion, Creativity

Without going into massive amounts of detail (you can check out the write-up on my profile linked above, and better yet — go do your own!), they’re very true to who I am as well. Socially-speaking I am into community and cooperation (86% — shared effort, building things like guilds, cities, houses, communities in general) but not much into competition (8% — the why may be worth exploring someday, but I suspect the number is skewed by the fact that most competition involves excitement and adrenaline and I shy away from both). My Immersion-component scores are the most balanced out of the 6 — 64% for Fantasy (becoming and playing someone else) and 65% for Story (good storylines, complex characters, etc.), which is no surprise to me given my tabletop role-playing background. In fact, I’m quite sure that if I had an actual tabletop gaming group to do stuff with, as I used to, I would do a lot more of that and a lot less MMO gaming, and my blog would contain a great deal more content about pen’n’paper than it currently does. Which reminds me, I really need to look into those computer-based gaming program thingies… (Feel free to comment if you use one and like it!)

And lastly, the Creativity component. I scored 71% on discovery (exploring the game – both ‘physically’ and in terms of systems, options and mechanics) and 91% on design (making your mark on the game, be it through character customisation or through buildings, ships, etc.). This not only doesn’t surprise me, it actually helped to validate how I feel about myself. I’m a mostly-frustrated creator, a wannabe writer who failed at overcoming writer’s block almost 20 years ago and turned to ‘easier’ alternatives in order to scratch that creative itch. Like this blog; like 4000-word character sheets; like designing an endless series of game settings for games that never get played… and so on. I’m sad that I allowed myself to give up on my dreams of being a writer, but glad that I found other outlets.

Role-Playing Tangent

The one thing that might surprise new readers after the above is that while I definitely identify myself as a role-player, I am not a role-player in MMOs. I’ve covered this elsewhere (here and here), some years ago now, but the not RPing in MMOs part of me hasn’t changed. It boils down to the fact that too much is imagined for me in MMOs, and there are too few tools to do some of the behind-the-scenes hand-waving that needs to happen for meaningful (in my opinion) role-playing to be able to happen. Also, you can’t reach through the monitor and knuckle-sandwich the RP-nazi who insists on defining for you how your character reacts to what they’re doing, which is a major downside as far as I’m concerned.

Personality Profile

After (or before if you’re a contrarian) the Gamer Motivation Profile, you can take the Personality Profile survey (here’s mine), which also produced very accurate results in my case.

Personality Profile chartThe one totally skewed result was “Extraversion”, and I sent the Foundry folks some feedback about it — but it’s interesting nonetheless. Basically I filled out the survey assuming it wanted to know about how I am in games, when I guess what it wanted to know what how I am in general (i.e. also out of games). In games I am in fact super-social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic (except when I’m a hermit and then I play a character nobody knows so I can just bimble about silently with my own self). In real life I am also social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic — but only with a small number of very close friends or in much, much, much smaller doses (like an evening or two every few months).

I probably should take that survey again knowing that it’s asking me about RL-me, not gamer-me, and see what comes out.

Conclusion? Cute Baby Animal!

If you’ve stuck with me this far, congratulations, you win a cute baby animal picture! (And as I write this, I pause for half an hour while I coo over cute baby animals I’ve Googled and get tied into knots trying to figure out which one is the cutest that I haven’t already posted.) Do check out the Quantic Foundry — it’ll give you food for thought, and if you’re a Blaugustinian it might even give you food for posts.

baby animal awww

 

 

 

Blaugust Day 3 – You Don't Know Jack…

TL;DR: I am a unique snowflake and yet very much like everyone else, except for the fact that I have freakishly short arms. T-Rex pic. Byeeeee!

…Or me.

I have always resisted doing “X Things You Don’t Know About Me” posts, for a number of reasons including English reticence, the complicatedness* of my background, sheer unadulterated laziness, and the general impression that most people really don’t want to read that kind of thing about me (which sounds like reticence but is more akin to Calvinist conceit-shaming**).

But here we are on day 3 of Blaugust and I’m already flailing around for things to write about, especially as a number of new readers are stopping by – ohai new readers!! – and it might be meet*** to include a little information about the author which isn’t, you know, easily accessible in something like a blog’s About page. (Which I have. Which I have not updated in 7 years. Which is okay since I, like granite, am utterly unchanging.) So here we go. X things you don’t know about me – where X is how many I can be bothered to do before I run out of steam, space, or sanity.

Thing the First

I’m French and German by parentage and family ties, was born in France and raised in Switzerland (with forays of a year or so to Belgium and Senegal). At home we spoke mostly French and English, or Frenglish, which was really normal to me (and to most of my bilingual diplomat-kid friends at the International School I attended) but is apparently not really normal in general. I have been to a fair number of European countries, mostly because unlike in the US a hop, skip and a jump will take you from one to the other. Hop – Switzerland! Skip – France! – Jump – England! (and so on). I have also been to a few African countries, which were awesome and which actually helps me in my job today (I’m a translator – more on that some other day if anyone cares).

I went to University first in France (hated it) and then in England (loved it), so I can legitimately claim to be a college dropout. I went from Business School to a Mickey Mouse Humanities degree (English and French literature) and haven’t regretted it for one second even though I’m sure I’d have a lot more money if I’d stuck with Business school. The problem is, business-school-type kids were an entitled bunch of little assholes back in nineteen-coughty-cough and I’m sure they’re no better now.

I lived, worked and gamed in England until 2001 when I moved to the States and here I am now. I am a transplant but that’s ok, I’ve been a cultural and national transplant all my life and I wouldn’t know how to live any other way. Nationalism is for fools. But let’s move on or I’ll start ranting.

Thing the Second

I refuse to use 2 words where 12 will do. Brevity is the soul of wit but the death of my blog, so most of my readers are patient sorts who are either just like me or have decided to put themselves through a wordy version of hell. I don’t judge. (Okay, so why is the paragraph about how wordy I am so woefully short?! Maybe I’ll add stuff in parentheses to pad it out a bit. I like parentheses, they work exactly how I think. Am I thinking out loud again? Oops.)

Thing The Third

My arms are apparently freakishly short, although despite my friends’ mockery they are not T-Rex short.

trex_happy

Here’s how you can tell if you have freakishly short arms: sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Now see if you can put your palms flat on the floor to either side of you (next to your hips). If you can’t, you too have freakishly short arms and we can form a club! To date I know only one other person like me, so at least I’m not entirely alone. It’s not really a problem except for yoga class, where it’s a big fucking problem for all the poses that require you to have, you know, arms that reach to the ground properly when you’re sitting or kneeling. Maybe that’s why I prefer Tai Chi.

Son of Thing the Third

I am a very anxious person. I didn’t know this, really, until I got put on some anti-anxiety meds last year and discovered what it’s like to NOT be anxious all the time. (I also discovered what it’s like to be permanently stoned, sleep 12 hours a night and not have any motivation at all – which I could have achieved far more entertainingly by smoking dope – but we’re not on those Zombie Pills™ anymore, thanks for asking. We’re on something a bit easier to actually have a life with.) Having experienced anxiety-notness, I finally realised I’ve been anxious pretty much all my life – I remember being 5 and being anxious, which is a rather sad state of affairs but also shows I must be relatively well-balanced in other areas because I haven’t grown up to be a puddle of goo. So go me!

Return of the Son of Thing the Third

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. Being around people makes me tired, nervous, and mentally drained, which is why I like blogs so much. And no, being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m anti-social – aren’t we past that particular misbelief already? Being alone is wonderful and I could happily be alone for the rest of eternity – well, alone with a few select friends who (because they’re all introverts too) don’t make me feel like my brain is being pulled out through my nose when I’m around them. All my wordiness and apparent sharing is in fact a sort of armour to protect the introvert within, even when the sharing deals with apparently very personal stuff. It would almost certainly do me good to learn to share stuff that’s a bit more meaningful to me – and I’ll try. Maybe. That’s the best I can say.

Aaaaand, that’s enough for today. You Blaugustinians have another 3,472 blog posts to read so I won’t keep you. Thanks for stopping by!

 – – – – – – – – –

* Of course it’s a word. Word didn’t even underline it! And no, I don’t normally do my posts in Word first (proofing and editing is for wimps… and for people who don’t have to do it for a living) but my internet is up and down like a tart’s knickers today, as my little British chum used to say, and Blaugust is hard enough already without losing any of my painfully squeezed-out words. Great, now my blog sounds like a giant zit. I should probably end this aside before I dig myself in even deeper. Into the zit… Oh God…

** And here I’m being super-clever, because Calvin, Geneva, me, Geneva… you’ll get it if you read on.

*** No, I really do talk like that. Blame it on a love of words, literature, and my college majors. I frequently use words like ‘obstreperous’, ‘disgruntled’ and ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ — ok, I lied about the last one.

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.)

 

WoW – U Can't Touch This

The best guildies are the ones who point out the stuff you absolutely have to know. Like the fact that there’s a, er… wearable bird in the trees of the level 3 garrison.

PepeAll the cool kids are wearing one. Oh, and that’s not a huge feather sticking out of Pepe’s butt, it’s Memento’s old Warlock-quest scythe which I still transmog all her weapons to. Because SCYTHE.

The rest is just gravy. Like this silly tree-chopping contraption. Large timber shall be mine, all mine – which is just as well, because I’m out of garrison resources. And money.

Big timber

 

WoW – Creepy Battle Pet is Creepy

I couldn’t wait to make the Elekk Plushie battle pet, and as soon as I had 50 hexcloth I immediately wasted used them on that. And he’s cute… until you summon him. Then he’s just creepy.

Elekk plushieHe doesn’t move, see, and that’s the problem. He just sort of stands there, staring at you with those pink button eyes. And then you move, and he stays where he was, and you forget all about him… until you stop again somewhere and suddenly he’s there, right behind you, staring at you with those pink button eyes.

It ain’t natural, I tells ya.

Woe is me

This is what happens when you put your blog on life-support: WordPress disses you in the summaries.

I’m old, and even *I* don’t think 2010 is recent…

QQ

But it’s all grist for the reborn blogging mill – if I were that cut-up about it, I probably would be sniveling in a corner instead of posting my shame for the world to see. Next thing you know I’ll be posting opinions about gaming again or something crazy like that.

A good sense of humour starts with oneself, I find. There’s your aphorism for the day.

Better Off Dead

More Samhain greetings from the monsters and NPCs of The Secret World…

winters quoteAnd the Bogeyman, who finally ate my claws and bought the Henderson farm.

BogeymanPossibly the creepiest monster I’ve encountered so far (granted I’ve not been farther than the Blue Mountains).

Bogeyman2Last but not least, reliving Innsmouth Academy with Mys — I’d forgotten how funny some of the NPC dialogue can be. Gotta hate those accidentally-intoned death curses…

Bookish child