Blog Archives

The Daedalus Project, part deux

It isn’t really, but it is Nick Yee from the above-mentioned Daedalus Project. If you’re a gamer, over 20, and haven’t heard of that rather massive study some years ago (in which I and a number of gamers I know took part), you might want to check it out. The data may be a little out of date but there’s still some really interesting stuff there.

Anyway, I got the following email today:

Dear friends and fellow gamers,
I’m happy to announce a new survey project aimed at gamers in general.
Fellow game researcher, Nic Ducheneaut, and I recently started a consulting practice around game analytics. As part of this, we’re gathering new survey data to explore a wide range of topics, such as: genre preference and motivations, hot button issues among gamers, etc. As with the Daedalus Project, we plan to share findings and conduct surveys at regular intervals.
To participate or to find out more about this study, go to:
http://nickyee.com/gaming/
And as always, I’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word about this survey to your fellow gamers!
Cheers,
Nick

I am hereby very happily spreading the word. And I really, really, really won’t even think the word GamerGate and how some people who study gamers (and write about them) have a firmer grasp on ethics and honesty than others.

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?

WoW – Stompin’

Draenor mapI finally followed the Nagrand breadcrumb quest on Alouette (my paladin) this morning, and was riding over to Telarii Station, minding my own business, when I saw a hunter kiting a big old elite elekk (elephant for the non-WoW peeps) all around a field. I jumped in to help, as one does, because this expansion finally rewards jumping in and helping in the open world (unlike the 10 previous years of World of Warcraft). So anyway, I tanked away as best I could as a level 99 98 against a level 100 elite critter, and as the seconds trickled by more people joined in until eventually Luk’hok lay dead.

And everyone looted, as one does. I was expecting some gear, maybe an upgrade, and some decent xp, and instead I got… A MOUNT!!!

This is a big deal for me. So in response to Atherne’s comment the other day, I now have the silly animal headgear, the plushie (oh, and I made Soul of the Forge too), AND a mount. All the important stuff.

meadowstomper

Which is still just as well, because I’m still out of garrison resources. And money. If there are any WoW-playing sugar-daddies (or mommies, I’m not picky) out there, do let me know. If all else fails, my night elf does a mean mailbox dance.

WoW – Ghostly wishes

I would like for these to be tameable because my hunter wants one. I’m more of a cat-person in WoW, but these guys are super cute. (Yes, I have a couple of the non-ghostly ones from the Plaguelands.)

ghostly hound

I would also like for my Warlock to have ghostly form all the time, because it’s super cool. Kthxbai.

ghostly Mem

 

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.

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