A State of Contentment

Happiness is a bunch of Labyrinthine Cliff screenshots...

The usual blog silence descends when I’ve run out of things to say, beyond an update on what I’ve been up to, games-wise:

Games I’m Playing

Guild Wars 2 – Next Living Story is slated for one month from now. Whoosh.

Welp, it gives people time to get Wildstar out of their systems, I guess.

I’m more or less done with Festival of the Four Winds, beyond an occasional peek into the Crown Pavilion when I feel like it, along the same irregular pace I keep for Teq and Wurm. That is, once every 3-7 days.

cliffs_overview

Same with the Labyrinthine Cliff events (maybe I’ll get another Favor of the Bazaar sometime this month!) and the Queen’s Gauntlet (maybe I’ll get a Chaos of Lyssa! Nah… I don’t believe in delusions of lucky drops, even with the latest patch, but I may as well convert spare tickets into tokens.)

8 Orb Liadri is still beyond me for now.

I just can’t muster any desire to craft a very distinct build plus gear -just- to do it over 90+ times, given how my latency affects orb pick-up speeds. Over on Reddit, an Aussie DnT guy mentioned that he took 80+ tries, while looking on in envious contrast at his NA guildmates, so I have no illusions about the amount of effort it’s going to take.

Plus framerates of 20 are likely not the most ideal, so I think I’ll just wait for the next year’s Festival or the one after that, if and when I finally get the spare cash and time to get around to upgrading my computer.

I might get around to another bout of screenshot taking in the Cliffs sometime this month...

Maybe one more round of screenshot taking in the Cliffs sometime this month…

I’ve dropped back comfortably into my old routine of logging on for an hour or two to finish my dailies and gather all the things.

Yes, I’m weird, I really like gathering all the things. My watchwork pick has been a great purchase for me on this front, since my commenters talked me into going for it.

(They convinced me it’s really all about the individual. I can’t see any use for the salvage-o-matic, for example – I’m getting far more orichalcum and gossamer from salvaging via Mystic or Master kits, and I calculated it’s enough to pay for even Master kit usage if and when I finally run out of Mystic Forge Stones. Just leave leather giving items for basic kits, though I do tend to just shut my eyes and salvage when using Mystic kits.)

Every couple of days, I get enough watchwork sprockets to auction off and put a couple gold in my pocket, saving me from the chore of enduring a couple dungeons – which I’m not a great fan of. I won’t say it’s anywhere near a great income stream (running a world boss choo choo train and selling the rares will probably net the same or more) but it enables me to get some pocket money while doing stuff I -like- to do.

Every now and then, I break routine and do part of said world boss choo choo train, or poke into a dungeon (or even a fractal yesterday and a guild TA aetherpath today!) or hop into WvW for a change of pace – and it all feels as it should be.

Dolyak photo bombs are another great way to break routine.

Dolyak calf photo bombs are another great way to break routine.

A true amusement park functioning like it ought to – come in, play the minigames or go for the rides you want, leave when you need to, no obligations, subscriptions or regret required.

Terraria – The anticipated relaxed pace of GW2 for the next month gives me time to poke around other games. A whole flock of NBI bloggers appear to have taken up residence in J3w3l’s Terraria server, and I’m poking my head in, as well.

A big patch or two seems to have been introduced since the last time I played it with J3w3l, and there’s plenty of stuff to explore and look forward to as well.

The world’s not in hard mode yet, as I think other players are still starting from scratch, but the big kahuna at the end appears to be the Frost Moon event, said to be harder than the Pumpkin Moon waves we were fending off the last time.

It’s all good, because this gives me time to work on building cool stuff without getting worried about nasty mobs or corruption coming around the next corner.

I played around with some pixel art – pretty much a first for me.

It's a platform game, right?

It’s a platform game, right?

Got re-obsessed with the Great Biome Project – saving all the trees and biomes for posterity in their little penned-off convenient-to-access zoo enclosures…

Saving the trees...

Saving the trees… one rectangle at a time. Still have space for Hallow trees once we get to that point.

In Africa, they set aside sanctuaries for lions. In Terraria, antlions are the endangered species.

In Africa, they set aside sanctuaries for lions. In Terraria, antlions are the endangered species. This is all Eri’s fault, by the way. Beyond numerous potholes in the desert, -somebody- also insinuated my project failed the last time around! Well, three rows of desert this time! I saw three antlions spawning once!

And working on digging my fallout shelter in preparation for hard mode.

Unfortunately, lead is not a valid material for lining walls with. Tinfoil will have to do.

Unfortunately, lead is not a valid material for lining walls with. Tinfoil (or tin plating) will have to do.

Dooown the vault shaft, into the decontamination tank.

Dooown the vault shaft, into the decontamination tank.

There is a whole new FISHING system which looks deliciously fun to play around with.

Catching critters for bait, as well as critters to turn into a terrarium collection (the rabid collector in me demands a whole laboratory floor of them at some point), and then catching a whole bunch of new and rare fish in various biomes, and having some kind of quest to turn them into the Angler NPC…

Haven’t had time to play around with this as much as I’d like, but definitely intend on getting around to it.

also works great as

The decontamination chamber also works great as an underground fishing pond on my doorstep.

Path of Exile – My new favorite game, which is working great in conjunction with the above two.

I “finished” normal difficulty on my Shadow at around level 35ish… only by some definitions of the word, because the last two maps ramped up pretty insanely in difficulty and I was sure I wasn’t in the right gear or build for completing it properly. I couldn’t be arsed to switch out my haphazard gearing because that would mean dealing with three stashes’ worth of inventory management I’d been putting off, so I went the waypoint rez route instead.

LOTS of death, LOTS of rezzing. Nickle and diming the last boss to death with poison and an occasional hit before exploding into bloody gore.

Totally doing it wrong, I know.

But I just kinda wanted to see the end of the story content.

After finishing Act III and watching the end credits roll, I found myself back in Act I… on the new Cruel difficulty, one step up from Normal.

Still level 35.

OH. Then it hit me that one was going to have to play through Cruel and Merciless to get to those lofty level 90ish heights.

*gulp*

There are experience point penalties for death in those two harder difficulties, so it was time to say goodbye to waypoint rushes. (Ah, I hardly knew ye, dear strategy, now obsolete…)

I took a short break to roll up two new characters, a Templar (str/int hybrid) and a Ranger (pure dex), and fooled around in the lowbie levels for a bit, feeling out the differences in gameplay and playstyles. Both were taken to the Ambush League, which apparently had a different stash and economy from Normal (until the league ends, anyway.)

Realizing that suddenly made the chore of inventory management a lot less onerous, when I figured out that there wasn’t going to be much point trying to hoard gear to twink out new characters in Normal, because I was going to start them in Ambush (until July ends anyway.)

So I logged back into the Shadow character, and cleaned my four stash tabs up. Also in the process, upgrading all my gear as much as I could, and re-evaluating all my skills and gems and refining the build further.

Then I took him out for a spin on Cruel difficulty, to find that the difficulty was back to being just right, and even a bit more exciting now that I had to take a bit more care in what I aggro’ed and fought and positioned myself.

The loot shower was also a lot nicer, with more blue magic items dropping and a couple rares, so the rewards seem rather in tune too.

(No doubt at some very high level point, blues will be like trash and maybe rares will drop like candy, but, for now, things feel good and like an improvement.)

In fact, the rewards in the side passage maps were so tasty my inventory and stash started filling up exceedingly rapidly.

I’m now pondering a convenience microtransaction purchase at some point soon-ish to enable the way I prefer to play. (Toss a whole bunch of loot in the various stash tabs while clearing a map or two, then sit in town to slowly clear out the loot, evaluating it and selling it.)

I don’t have to, of course. I could just clear stuff out as and when it comes, or choose not to pick up relatively valueless blue drops, but meh… pacing-wise, I prefer the above.

So it’s likely I’ll talk myself into putting down $20-30 for Path of Exile at a near point in the future, and I think that’s fair enough.

I got a whole game’s value out of it, playing for free, and now that I think I like it enough to keep playing, at higher levels of difficulty and challenge, with more varied characters and builds, it seems attractive enough to expand my bank space further to accommodate those characters, while at the same time, paying Grinding Gear Games for the game and online service.

League of Legends – Still waiting for an NBI blogger game. :)

On the back burner otherwise, but definitely looks attractive as a whole new game (and genre) to learn, with new systems and new gameplay expectations.

I like and approve of the microtransaction model as well.

I’m just not really driven by the whole competitive league and ranking aspect of MOBAs, so random join PvP games don’t really sound like something I would choose to inflict on myself on a regular basis, except when I get the rare whim. Sounds just like PUGing a dungeon, except now there’s even more personalities to create drama when one side inevitably loses.

I would need a regular team of friends with which I’m used to playing with, which can then proceed to match itself competitively with others. Or solo, I’m likely to just end up playing a random cooperative bot game for some mild fun.

Either way, dabbling is good for the moment. There are only so many games one can play at any one time.

Games I’m Not Playing

The Elder Scrolls Online – All this “quitting TESO” talk of it feeling like a singleplayer RPG is making me -want- to play it, lol.

I -like- singleplayer soloist games.

Except I’m nervous about the bait-and-switch at the very very end, where apparently you’ll need a group THEN (after how long singleplayer?)

And buying a box for $60 and paying a sub fee for $15 every month is a hurdle I simply cannot get over.

Let’s see, compare and contrast the potential gameplay value I get out of Path of Exile and League of Legends spending LESS than $75, or pay $75 to give TESO a try?

Sounds like paying $150 for an ArcheAge alpha to me.

If you really reaally like the game and setting and all, maybe it’s worth it then.

(For example, I am likely to be a premium-paying sucker for Eternal Crusade, as long as it doesn’t blow up on a technical front, like crashing or lagging very few seconds. The attraction of just being in a Warhammer 40k universe is -that- powerful. I mean, it can’t do any worse than Warhammer Online, right? *stares at Collector’s Edition box collecting dust* Welp, WAR was a fun first month, anyway.)

For anyone else, it’s really not. (Heck, I’m still waiting for a 75% off sale for Skyrim DLC.)

Wildstar – Sorry, I have a home in GW2, I no longer do launch crowds.

Especially not for vertical progression games that play just like WoW, even if it’s on sci-fi steroids.

I’m content to follow along with the various blogs that are covering it.

I’m getting various amusement kicks from the ones that protest about its challenge and its “hardcore” nature, and enjoying myself leaving *hardcore* chants all over the comments of the sites I think can take the light-hearted pokes.

The game is what the game is.

Take it for what it is, if you’re going to play it.

If you disapprove of its fundamentals, you -shouldn’t- be playing and supporting it with your wallet to begin with.

But I will wait and see how many hype hamsters wash out after a month or three, when they can no longer stand the HARDCORE.

They must not have been *hardcore* enough!

If you’re just having fun with the leveling aspect and playing around with its housing and dabbling in its casual parts, and content enough to pay the sub fee for those aspects only, and not at all perturbed by being weaker numerically in gear, I promise to leave you guys and gals alone though.

I’ll just read the blogs and enjoy the stories and screenshots from a distance.

If the game ever gets cheaper, or moves away from its rampant Achiever-driven RAIDS SO HARDCORE stance to pay attention to the bulk of people that are enjoying its more casual aspects, I might join ya’ll for a bit of fun…

…but not before.

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4 thoughts on “A State of Contentment

  1. Izlain says:

    Terraria has been fun. I have neglected it for a few days while beating Bastion and trying to complete Shadowrun Returns. I’ll be back in at some point. I still have to finish my Cavernous Heart.

    League is a complicated beast. When I started in ’11 I played a bunch of bot games to feel out the game. I started playing classic once I found a couple of champs that I liked to play (Twitch, Olaf and Teemo were some early favorites). Eventually I played enough to make some friends in game, and we played together, but when it came to Ranked, I did it in solo queue. I found that playing with my friends that were better than me (higher ranked) brought in harder opponents that would cause me to do poorly. It’s better to stay in your MMR-range. If you could care less about Classic and Ranked, then I suggest you take up Dominion or ARAM. The latter is more fun IMO, but each has it’s own unique flavor. Me and J3w3l and Murf have been playing pretty regularly, and there’s a couple others from the NBI who get in here and there. I was planning on running another League event like I did during the NBI, so I’ll make sure you get the memo. Add us in-game so we know when you’re on (Izlain, j3w3ls and murfurious. nitocris as well).

    I laugh when people say Wildstar is hardcore. I just don’t see it.

  2. j3w3l says:

    If you ever want to jump in for a league game just message me on steam.. usually I can play pretty much straight away if I’m logged in. Never really want to interrupt people through that but I’ll be sure to message in the future too.

    Oh and remind me to put the old world in a dropbox for you to download, if you want all your previous cosmetics

  3. kiantremayne says:

    Technically, ESO is $60 to try, not $75 as you get a month’s subscription included in the box price :) Of course, after two months I’m only at level 34 due to a combination of real life and stopping to read all the stuff I find on every bookshelf…

  4. pkudude99 says:

    In re: ESO and Skyrim —

    Back in the day I played Morrowind almost exclusively for nearly 2 years. I loved that game. But then I moved on to other things like SWG then EQ2. By the time Oblivion came out I just kinda went “whatever.” Skyrim eventually came out and since I’d not played TES3 in forever, much less TES4, TES5 didn’t really have much draw for me.

    Until I played a TESO beta weekend back in late November. I went looking for my TES3 disk. Found my Mournhold expansion disk, but not my primary game one. Ah well. But then Steam’s year-end sale started up and the Skyrim “Legendary” pack or whatever they called it that included the game plus all DLC was $30. Bought that in early December and played…. according to Steam nearly 400 hours in the next 3 months. Granted some of that was AFK for all day on weekends when I’d get called away and wouldn’t bother to turn it off since I was in a safe spot and the game doesn’t kick you for inactivity… but the vast majority of it was me in there playing.

    So anyway…. I loved Skyrim, as you can probably tell. I did all the ESO beta weekends in those months also, and to me, at least, it felt similar. And it’s that very similarity that keeps me playing ESO right now. I like the “alone in a crowd” kinda thing, so ESO gives me that, but it always seems like there are people around for the few places you need them — public dungeons, instanced dungeons, world bosses, and the “anchors/dolmens.”

    FWIW, I don’t find the VR levels to be any different than the lower levels. Mobs took about a 30% hp increase from 49 to VR1, but then they go up linearly as before, and if I can easily kill a mob with 1400 HP, then a mob with 2000 hp isn’t a big deal either. The elite mobs went from 4K hp to 6K, but other than that… they still fall down.

    Sure, I expend a bit more in the way of resources to kill mob groups, but I don’t notice that I’m taking any more damage — just a tad longer recovery time for my resources in between fights, and since most fights aren’t really *that* close together unless you’re purposely trying to chain-pull…. doesn’t even come onto my radar, really.

    So anyway…. if you ever do pull the trigger.. there it is. And if not, no biggie either. Games are for fun after all, and if you don’t think the fun would be worth the outlay… all good.

    http://nomadicgamer.wordpress.com/tag/elder-scrolls-online/

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