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