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Showing posts from 2019

Secret Blogging Santa

Who doesn't love a good Secret Santa exchange? Ellen at Livid Lightning coordinated a blogging Secret Santa event . Everyone who signs up gets another blogger assigned to them. The prompt was to give a shout out to your favorite posts on their blog and then gift them a gift from a fictional game/media. (I do love events like this. I reminds me of old school Webrings . A way to check out other blogs that are all tangentially related to one another.) My assigned blogger was Michelle from A Geek Girl's Guide . I hadn't actually known about her blog before this so this was a wonderful opportunity to add to my RSS feed. Nothing like a good binge read on the tablet while traveling for the holidays. A gift from a fiction universe ... that's a tough one. Thankfully Michelle has a Geeky Facts About Me post that simplified this question a lot. She's a hardcore Harry Potter fan and board game geek. Thankfully I happen to be listening to a Harry Potter podcast called Po

Black Desert Mobile for the Holidays

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I had the first paragraphs of a draft about how my current genres of choice right now (MMOs, Racing, First Persons Shooters) weren't well represented by the Nintendo Switch I'll be limited to this holiday season. And then Bhagpuss reminded me that cell phones exist . Wyatt Chang is so mad right now. While the desktop MMO space has been pretty lacking lately, the genre is booming on mobile platforms. Bhagpuss points out that our particular MMO blogsphere doesn't give the time of day to these titles, but it's easy to see why. Just like my post  yesterday about Halo Reach on the PC,  it's difficult to move from a more comfortable input setup to a less comfortable one. (I'm ignoring the riddled-with-microtransactions reputation mobile games have earned. After all, many desktop MMOs aren't much better in that regard.) But my three year old Pixel has a lot of meat left on these bones. Actually, I suspect it's still more powerful than the hardware in

Halo Reach

Like many a millennial, my memories of Halo revolve around several TVs linked together in a neighbor's garage or basement. (Nowadays, the idea of physically linking several consoles together with a cable, finding multiple TVs, and coordinating schedules with 4-8 friends feels like an impossibility. The days of youth.) Outside of that context, the Halo series has never resonated with me. Trying to play a first person shooter with a controller makes me feel like I'm working with two left-hands. I know what I want to do, years of PC gaming inform me on what I should do, I just don't have the motor skills to pull it off. But I always felt like I missed out a little bit. Both my high school and college friends played Halo religiously in those times, and I didn't even know what the story line was. I eventually played through the Halo 1 remaster, but it was very much a product of its time. (SPOILER ALERT FOR HALO 1: It's a campaign of maybe 2-3 hours that gets arti

reEverquesting II Part 5 - Family Letters

This is Part 5 of my playthrough of Everquest II. I encourage you to read the previous entries before this one: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 Swallowing every last bit of pride that I have is difficult. But since I've ran out of food and money it's the only thing I have to be swallowing. My sister is a wizard. An accomplished one. Has about 15 years of experience and has been party to some of the most famous heroic tales the bards sing. She's also kind of a bitch. I "borrow" some pen and paper and postage and money and shoes from a local ratonga and write my letter. Dearest Falcona, My ventures to the Isle of Refuge went, as one would expect, exceeding well. I now find myself in the heart of Freeport, hobnobbing around the rich and famous of Norrath. With my surely imminent arrival to the tippy-topps of Freeportian society, it is only customary that I secure the prestige of my future station. I've begun my work for the Academy of Arcane S

rEverquesting II: Part 4 - The Freeport Sewers

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This is Part 4 of my playthrough of Everquest II. I encourage you to read the previous entries before this one: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3   I got a job. Obviously I got a job. I'm a very talented necromancer. Even in the capital of evil that sort of talent doesn't just walk by. And the Academy of Arcane Science is where I was walking by when I saw the help wanted poster. Nerd alert. So now I'm a researcher. Cataloging the creatures of ... the Freeport Sewers. Frick. Whatever. It's fine. Housing in this city is out of hand. Oh sure they give you a studio apartment for free. But that has to come with a caveat. It's an evil city, they're not just giving away free housing. I assume the first night you spend in that apartment and they take your spleen. I'm fond of my spleen. So we will figure out my own path. And I hope it's a quick path because it's been 72 hours since I've slept. I'm on my eighth can of Red Bull and I'm

rEverquesting II: Part Three - Isle of Refuge Tidy Up, Freeport, and the Freeport Sewers

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This is Part 3 of my playthrough of Everquest II. I encourage you to read the previous entries before this one: Part 1 | Part 2 With the Tunarians routed, there isn't all that much more to do on the Isle of Refuge. We finished collecting 5 feathers and 5 sea shells and turned them in to a crazed collector woman for a pair of necklaces. I assume I'm getting ripped off here, but each of the items this woman gave me has more stats than the rest of my gear combined so we will make do. We helped Bobbie Whirlwidget research submarines. We finished up a research assignment gone wrong for Trainer Sythor the All-Seeing. His poor research assistant was eaten by a large fish. He immediately went to work finding a new one. You have to love when fiction mirrors real life! And then finally we helped a Priestess with a very love/hate relationship with her job. I spent a decade as a Discipline Priest in another life; I feel you girl. But with that, sadly, our time with the Isle ha

rEverquesting II: Day Two - The Isle of Refuge

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rEverquesting II This is part 2 of our epic journey rerolling a character through Everquest 2.  Part 1 can be found here.   Having apparently blacked out again while the Far Journey docked into the Isle of Refuge, we wake up standing in a field. Immediately, a loud noise followed by a strange voice offers up a quest to talk to someone named Tavil N'Velex. Having been shipwrecked at sea for an unknown number of days, experiencing loss of consciousness, memory loss, and hearing voices in our head, we immediately check ourselves into the closest emergency room. Just kidding, we see something shiny and immediately pick it up. Then we decided to root around in some shrubs. And then root around in some roots. And animal dens. A bit of ore. And speak of the devil, we meet our woman, Tavil N'Velex. She's going to train me up to be a proper Necromancer (Necromanceress? Neceromancera?). A couple of notes here. Apparently my character volunteered to sail to an isle in o

rEverquesting II: Day One - The Far Journey

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Feeling the hankering for a proper MMO again, I've decided to get back into Everquest 2. Rolling a new character is currently more appealing to me than dusting off my level 100 Wizard. I feel like doing something a little different with this post. I'm doing this bit as a travelogue of my character's adventures. I think this is will not only be fun to write (and hopefully to read), but also enjoyable to look back upon years from now. Also, it might actually help me keep track of some of the story, as it's been fifteen years and I still know fuck all of what's happening in this game. This time around my character is going to be a necromancer. Mostly because I've never played a Necromancer typed character in any video game other than Diablo 3 (and that one doesn't really count). I also choose to be a Dark Elf. There really are two reasons. I don't know much about fantasy tropes, but I'm to understand Elves are generally dicks. I figure I mi

December Goals and Vrooms

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My goal at the beginning of the month was to complete 5 games from the Xbox Game Pass for PC. And for the second month in a row I did not actually complete that goal. But I'm very fine with that. A 5 day trip to San Antonio followed by nearly a week of being on the shelf with the flu shortened my PC gaming availability this month. But even with the extra week and a half I would have failed my goals. I did complete one game this month: I finished off Outer Worlds. I've already talked about what an enjoyable experience that was, and since this month of Game Pass was a dollar it's pretty difficult to say I didn't get my moneys worth from just that. I also gave Bloodstained a shot. I like Metroidvanias, but it's an okay game in a genre filled with pretty great ones. I'm glad I was able to give it a try so cheaply. Maybe I'll come back to it one day. But the main surprise of the month, and the game that at this point has taken up more playing time than an

Ultima Online - A Tale of One MMO

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Ultima Online is the best of it's time, and it's the worst of it's time, it was the hallmark of lasting game design, it was the feature of design foolishness, it's a game that looks like Diablo 1, it's a game that can actually be played at 4K, it's stat system is inscrutable, its quest system is straightforward, it's appeal as a game is obvious, it's appeal as a game in 2019 is questionable - in short, Ultima Online was so far like present MMOs, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. It's almost impossible to come at UO in a vacuum. At it's heart, its a game where one slowly clicks on their screen while watching numbers slowly go up. This inherently describes just about every RPG ever made. But the spice is always in the details of how one surrounds that formula, and Ultima Online (at least from the several hours I've now put into it) is as

Let's start at the beginning. A very good place to start.

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As I covered yesterday, I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by the size of my backlog. I'm in the mood again to get my MMO on but I'm not really sure where to go with it. I've decided to hear the sound of music and to start at the beginning. Actually deciding where the "beginning" of the MMO genre is a bit fraught. Obviously the old MUDs are probably the answer. Meridian and Avalon have better claims as the first graphical MMO. But I've played bits and pieces of those and they just aren't that fun for me. And since I'm not a museum, I'm going to concentrate on Ultima Online. Granted, I never actually played Ultima Online. So it might suck. In fact it's old enough that I'm presuming it will suck. But as I mentioned in my post about dead MMOs , I have some regrets on not trying out certain games before they bit the dust. I suspect UO won't be biting the dust any time soon, but there's no time like the present. I'm also goin

Where Have All the Good MMO Gone? And Where Are All The MUDS?

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I really enjoyed writing my previous blog post about defunct MMOs of years past . Not that I'm happy so many games have shut up shop but rather it brought me back to that time when new, weird, niche, and AAA MMOs were reliably coming out. This is ostensibly a MMO blog but in the second half of this year there just haven't been any news or releases that excite me. Classic Wow had me feeling great up until the point that Blizzard decided to poop in it's own hand. ArcheAge never clicked with me. At minimum we are blessed with some workhorse titles that are all seeing updates. The brothers Everquest are still churning. I see Knights of the Old Republic got a new update. Guild Wars 2 seems to be somewhat disappointing it's fans but that's certainly better than nothing at all. So I guess I'm at an impasse as to what exactly to play.  EverQuest 2 sounds promising with all the Anniversary stuff going around. But logging into my main greets me with this: Combine

A Wake for MMOs Gone Past

Paeroke over at Nerdy Bookahs linked to an old PC Gamer UK article of 25 MMOs that lived and died since World of Warcraft launched . I love both a good list and an opportunity to reminiscence. As a longtime MMO-Dabbler, I'm surprised that I never played a majority of these games. For the older titles, it was a matter of being stuck on dial-up at the time and having to pick and choose my games. It didn't help that free-to-play didn't exist yet and I was on a high schooler's budget. For the newer titles, it was about waiting for a lull in my play of other MMOs, so that I could dedicate a couple of weeks and play them "right". Unfortunately, that means I waited too long and never got to play Wildstar. Same situation with City of Heroes, although at least that has a thriving emulation community I can rectify that mistake with. Of the games I did get to play though: Club Penguin I was never the target age for Club Penguin back when it was running, so I was

Good News vs. Bad News

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Good News: I just got back from a trip in San Antonio, Texas and it's a beautiful city to walk through. It has a river system surrounded by walkways that rolls through the heart of the city. The landscaping and architecture is almost Disney World-esque. The food and the weather were decent enough. Bad News: I got the flu on the plane. Good News: Planes are loud enough that people in the cabin won't hear you violently throwing up in the plane's lavatory. Bad News: That's probably not true, and the poor people in the backrow were just being very polite. Good News: Being bed-stricken leaves plenty of time of for playing Dragon Quest on my Switch. Bad News: A nasty case of the spins means I'm lucky not to just drop the Switch on my face. Good News: I felt better on Sunday to give Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night a try on Xbox Game Pass.     Okay News: So far it's just kinda okay. I only made it an hour and a half in due to my flu-der

Outer Worlds Complete

Previously, my excuse for not posting in a while was that ArcheAge wasn't inspiring me to say much about it. Now we have the opposite problem. During a busy week, my time was spent engrossed in The Outer Worlds instead of writing. After approximately 24 hours of game time we've hit the final credits. I do believe I've hit just about every quest and experienced every major decision. Most people seem to have 30 hours for a complete run so I suppose it's possible I may have missed something, but I feel like I had a complete playthrough on Normal difficulty. So I haven't really played Fallout 3/4/New Vegas so I don't have a great point of reference to compare Outer Worlds with. (I did play bits of Fallout 1/2/Tactics back in the day but I was young enough not to remember much of it.) But in a vacuum I thought it was a competent western RPG that occasionally rose up to great. The voice acting was top-notch for instance, but lacked the dedicated motion capture tha

Novemeber Goals - But Mostly Outer Worlds Talk

Last month I decided to try out the 'Goals for the Month' gimmick. It didn't go well. I didn't actually accomplish a singe goal. Yikes. In my defense that was mostly Blizzard imploding and me not wanting to stand in the blast radius. I also didn't get any traction in Breath of the Wild, stopping at my usual place about 5 hours in. I had to evacuate my flooded basement's contents to my workshop area, so fixing up the Japanese PlayStation 2 wasn't really possible. It's easier to set goals in an MMO, so this post is bit harder to write than last month. ArcheAge didn't pan out in my opinion and so I mostly have Outer Worlds and Minecraft. I don't know enough about Minecraft to actually have goals, and I'm not inclined to look up to much as the exploration of game mechanics has been fairly compelling.  I'm about 8 hours into Outer Worlds and having a good time. I'm actually enjoying the Bethesda-lite aspect of the game. The game world