Low-Energy, Easy Fun

Apparently, Halvorson’s latest book “Focus” was not as objective as her prior summary, skewing more heavily towards the advantages of being promotion-focused. So I haven’t bothered to read it yet, preferring to use the ideas in the summary as more of a springboard for my own thoughts.

(Fortunately, I’m not a career psychologist, so I don’t have to substantiate my hypotheses with research and evidence, and can just play around with thought experiments and musings for fun.)

I find myself drawn to the portion on “energy.” To recap:

When your goal is an achievement, a gain, you feel happy—joyful, cheerful, excited, or, in the vernacular of a typical teenager, totally stoked. It’s a high-energy kind of good feeling to reach a promotion goal.

It’s a very different kind of good to reach a prevention goal. When you are trying to be safe and secure, to avoid losing something, and you succeed, you feel relaxed—calm, at ease, peaceful. You breathe the sweet sigh of relief. This is a much more low-energy kind of good feeling, but not any less rewarding.

When you are going for gain, trying to accomplish something important to you, and you fail, you tend to feel sadness—dejected, depressed, despondent. As a teen might put it, totally bummed. It’s the low-energy kind of bad feeling—the kind that makes you want to lay on the couch all day with a bag of chips.

But failing to reach a prevention goal means danger, so in response you feel the high-energy kinds of bad feeling—anxiety, panic, nervousness, and fear. You freak out. Both kinds of feelings are awful, but very differently so.

I wonder if it might not help to explain why some gamers prefer more sedate types of gameplay – be it grinding for progress slowly, or a strategic challenge, or slower overall pacing.

In other words, we’re seeking the low-energy kinds of good feelings. We want to relax, be comfortable and content, be relieved, feel peace.

(Whether this has any correlation with being prevention-focused on a particular goal, or introversion-favoring, I’ll leave it to others to figure out and do the research.)

We -hate- being overstimulated by high energy feelings, especially when they tend to be the bad kind – aka being a fearful, anxious, nervous wreck, and are liable to either run away from the situation (avoiding/escape/flight) or take constructive steps to address said situation producing the bad feelings until the situation or feelings go away. (fight?)

The spot of good news, as mentioned previously, is that one has the high-energy motivation to take action and do either of those.

Other gamers, by contrast, probably loathe the low-energy bad feelings. They feel down, depressed, de-energized, bored. They’re liable to quit if they have *horror of horrors* “nothing to do.”

They’re looking for gameplay that excites them, gives them high-energy good feelings.

Hence the litany of constant demands for moar adrenaline-pumping “hardcore challenges” where they can earn deserved rewards, racking up one gain after another, addicted to the euphoria of achievement.

(I dunno. Sounds a bit like extraversion to me.)

It’s not easy as a game designer if you have to keep both camps happy, huh?

I don’t think they’re necessarily diametrically opposed, though. The perceived level of challenge is likely to prompt different energy levels of feelings.

The trick is, how do you get those looking for low-energy easy-fun to “be better” than those looking for high-energy hard-fun, so that they can look at the same mob and the former feels “okay, I can do this, easy peasy, no sweat, I’m having fun” and the latter feels “wow, this is so hard, this is so fun!”

The nature of practice being what it is, the adrenaline junkies are liable to be more practiced and experienced than the chill hipsters… so you tend to end up in an escalating situation of the former demanding more hits, while the latter stresses right out.

(Hrm, creative suggestions / solutions welcome.)


Anyway, I find myself having a blast in the new Bloodstone Fen map.

That is, low-energy definitions of a “blast.”


I trundle around, gliding and bouncing here and there and everywhere (bonus points for recognizing the phrase), collecting and harvesting all the things.

Every so often, an orange dynamic event comes up and I evaluate, “is this node more interesting or is that event more attractive?”

(Usually, the node wins, for the ten seconds it takes to harvest, and then I’m running over to spam 1 and dodge orange circles until the bouncy reward chests pop up.)

Rinse and repeat.

It’s a nice compact map, with high frequency of orange dynamic events, many doable solo or in small loosely assembling groups, and that seem to be less linearly linked to pushing some overall map wide meta.


Every now and then, a big “world boss” type of event triggers, and then folks are drawn in to a centralized location, naturally congregating into a big zerg to defeat it.

Feels good. Feels like a bit more like Core Tyria (with less NPC settlements or friendly NPC interaction.)

I am greatly reminded of my relationship with City of Heroes’ Incarnate Trials and Dark Astoria zone.

That is, I was deeply uncomfortable with Incarnate Trials (to the point where I canceled my subscription, not being as motivated in CoH as in GW2 to play the raids – my ego is a lot more vested in accomplishments in GW2, whereas I was already getting bored with CoH and not at all tempted by gear-improvement rewards) and only re-subbed and tried out the Trials when Dark Astoria came into the picture.

Dark Astoria was the alternative, the philosophical recognition that people who enjoyed solo content should also have a means to earn Incarnate shards and achieve Incarnate levels of power, albeit at a slower rate than those who played the trials in a group setting.

Now, of course, if you -wanted- to speed up your rate of shard earning and could put up with a raid group, then yeah, go ahead and raid. It becomes an option, not a necessity.

We’re not quite 100% there yet with Bloodstone Fen.

The big thing GW2 is still missing is an alternative means for Legendary Armor.

Given that a normal set of armor apparently takes them 8 months to make (ie. Legendary Armor takes even longer) and that this batch of experimental Envoy armor seems to be inextricably linked to PvE raid progress (and a bit of PvP and WvW) and is still far far away in its arrival, it’s little wonder that they’re keeping very very quiet about any possibility of a second set of Legendary Armor, gained by some other means.

Maybe if we’re lucky, ArenaNet will come up with an elegant solution involving build templates and resolving the rune/sigil problem, and nip the issue of extra functionality with a set of purple-named armor and then the whole lack of an alternative will be moot.

(Raiders having prestige cosmetics is okay, bonus functionality is not okay. To me, anyway. Philosophically. Ideally. Speaking from a better part of me.

In practice, if we wanna be pragmatic about things, up yours. I’m on the side with the shinies. Don’t we love Chinese pragmatism? Embrace the Dark Side, baby.)

But I digress.

Bloodstone Fen is a step in the right direction, a step that was missing and ought to have been there as the raids came into the GW2 picture.

(Too bad the raid team works so damn fast, as compared to the rest. Or so damn slow, if both Bloodstone Fen and the raid wings were -meant- to arrive during HoT launch. If only Anet had slightly better scheduling/project management…

On the other hand, Bloodstone Fen looks like it was cobbled together using a ton of re-used assets and specifically addresses a number of reaction feedback from HoT, so it does also look like a mad iterative stopgap scramble to band-aid fix some issues. All those elder wood nodes and leather/cloth salvage reward drops are no accident, for example.)

It generally functions as the soloer’s alternative, just as Dark Astoria did.

There is stuff to do. Stuff to earn. Aerial combat skills being one of them, and apparently there are now means to get HoT stats that were previously only found in raids (big philosophical no-no, there) in Bloodstone Fen.

It helps the soloer understand the White Mantle storyline, that was previously only being told in raids.

It puts easy-ish world bosses that utilize raid-like mechanics -just less punishing ones- into the open world, so that players have the safety of a zerg (aka people around to rez them) and uses it to introduce/scaffold raid-necessary concepts – like the use of the new special action key, break bars, dodging orange circles, running to specific defined locations aka non-orange circles to achieve some objective, etc.

(It’s a start. Then certain buffed up fractals take over the teaching, by ramping up the necessity for increased group coordination and communication and personal movement/dodging ability. More on fractals in another post later.)

Bloodstone Fen gives me my “easy fun” back.

And I’m happy about that.

In a totally chill, relaxed kind of way.

What Do I Have to Gain, And What Do I Stand to Lose?

With so many goals on my mind lately, it probably comes as no surprise that one of the books I’ve recently been reading is a pop psychology one by Heidi Grant Halvorson, pithily entitled “Succeed – How We Can Reach Our Goals.”

What I do like about it is that it’s an easy reading, almost-conversational-blog sprinkled-with-humor style summary of what appear to be fairly crunchy concepts in research, just distilled without having to wade through pages of jargon down to a level where a layperson can grasp the surface and make use of.

One of the more interesting summarized concepts was that a person can have a promotion or a prevention focus when it comes down to chasing goals.

Promotion-focused goals are thought about in terms of achievement and accomplishment. They are about doing something you would ideally like to do. In the language of economics, they are about maximizing gains (and avoiding missed opportunities).

Prevention-focused goals are thought about in terms of safety and danger. They are about fulfilling responsibilities, doing the things you feel you ought to do. In economic terms, they are about minimizing losses, trying to hang on to what you’ve got.

This goes a long way towards explaining my puzzlement at the odd sense of relief I get when successfully completing a raid boss, as contrasted by the elation I see other people experience.

When you set a goal for yourself and reach it, you feel good. That much is obvious. But what does “good” feel like?

When your goal is an achievement, a gain, you feel happy—joyful, cheerful, excited, or, in the vernacular of a typical teenager, totally stoked. It’s a high-energy kind of good feeling to reach a promotion goal.

It’s a very different kind of good to reach a prevention goal. When you are trying to be safe and secure, to avoid losing something, and you succeed, you feel relaxed—calm, at ease, peaceful. You breathe the sweet sigh of relief. This is a much more low-energy kind of good feeling, but not any less rewarding.

When I read the above paragraphs, I was amazed at just how right on the money it sounded.

Some of this subconscious choice of focus might be due to personality, or culture, or upbringing, but evidently I skew a lot more towards prevention where this is concerned.

(East Asians are enmeshed in a culture that revolves around saving face, it rubs off, even if you’d like to be optimistic and gain-focused. Singaporeans have the terms “kiasu” and “kiasi” – the Hokkien root word “kia” literally means “fear” or “afraid.”)

We could share the same goal of wanting to down the raid boss, but where someone else might be focused on the -gain-, on the prize and rewards and prestige and glory and satisfaction of a successful kill, my focus tends to end up on:

  • “I hope I’m not screwing up too badly, to the point that they kick me, cos that will mean more difficulty and obstacles in the path of Legendary armor collection” or;
  • “This group is not doing so well, we’re missing something, what are we missing, where is the flaw in the team that stands in our path of success, how can this flaw be fixed, either by the person responsible -is it possible to communicate this flaw without a drama blowout- or by me covering what’s missing.”
  • “What else can I be doing to ensure success? Am I making mistakes that I need to avoid or not do so much of? Am I fulfilling my roles and responsibilities in a raid without slipping up?”

Little wonder by the time a group I’m in first successfully downs a boss, I’m exhausted and relieved.

As for the opposite feeling, Halvorson had this to say:

The focus of your goal also determines the particular kind of bad you feel when things go wrong. In fact, Higgins first discovered the difference between promotion and prevention when he was trying to explain why some people reacted to their failures with anxiety, while others reacted by sinking into depression.

When you are going for gain, trying to accomplish something important to you, and you fail, you tend to feel sadness—dejected, depressed, despondent. As a teen might put it, totally bummed. It’s the low-energy kind of bad feeling—the kind that makes you want to lay on the couch all day with a bag of chips.

But failing to reach a prevention goal means danger, so in response you feel the high-energy kinds of bad feeling—anxiety, panic, nervousness, and fear. You freak out. Both kinds of feelings are awful, but very differently so.

Suddenly I understand why I ended up keyed up in a ball of nervous thwarted frustration in the early days, without the safety of a static group to fall back on.

I needed that safety, that ego defence of:

a) you have successfully killed all the bosses, ergo you do not suck,

b) you have a static group that can successfully kill all the bosses weekly, ergo your achievement plans are not threatened,

c) you have a respectable amount of face-saving legendary insights, sufficient to make Legendary Armor even if your raid group crumbles overnight (notice the urge to catastrophize)

From afar, it’s a little bit sad that my initial motivation seemed to stem more from a place of fear, of danger avoidance, rather than “fun” or gain-seeking.

It does help to explain why other people seem to get a lot more positive kicks out of raiding than me, though.

(That’s not to say I’m incapable of promotion-focused goals. I find I’m more able to focus on that kind of stuff -now-, after the “safety”/”avoid danger” bits are already resolved.

I’m more able to relax and look for gains and “fun” now that a lot less is “at stake” – even if the stakes only really existed in my head.)

The silver lining to this ever-so-slightly neurotic cloud is that prevention-minded pessimists like me are apparently very good at self-monitoring and future improvement. We can’t help but keep thinking of “what can be done better next time” and picking apart our mistakes like it’s the end of the world to commit one.

Optimists, on the other hand, are more liable to say, “well, it could have been worse if I had done this, or if that happened…” in order to make themselves feel better, which according to Halvorson, means they tend to blind themselves more to their own faults to protect their ego, and thus improve at a slower pace than worry-wart pessimists, if at all.

True, all the above is a simplification and a generalization. Optimists vs Pessismists or Promotion vs Prevention dichotomies don’t exist only in black or white terms.

In reality, a person can vary between being pessimistic and optimistic from one moment to another, or choose to be promotion-focused for goal A and prevention-focused for goal B, and it’s probably useful to be aware and consciously decide to do so.

But as a high-level concept, I thought it was fairly interesting to be able to categorize our tendencies to think along two major paths that way.

Short Format Experiments

Oh look, a post!

Such a crazy, elusive, rare sighting it has become.

The good news is, I kinda miss blogging and want to get back into the swing of things.

The bad news is, I don’t think I actually have the time for it, given the immense spread of projects I have on my plate lately.

This is not a To Do list.


This is merely a list of Routine Things I’d Like to Get Done Every Night But am Most Liable to Forget if Not Written Down.

There are plenty of other individual project-related things (eg. scan books, work on a Minecraft goal), non-routine things (eg. explore new patch content from GW2, or actually blog) and really-obvious-routine things (eg. shower and eat dinner) that fight for attention.

Still, it’s a three-day-in experiment into trying to cope with the rather ridiculous propensity of ALL games these days to over-utilize dailies of some kind or another.

Obviously, if I’m not actively playing the game, I don’t give a hoot. (Sorry, Dragonvale, Trove, Cooking Fever, Marvel Heroes, other games I am not interested in and thus have entirely erased any offhand memory as to the existence of daily log-ins, quests, challenges, to-dos.)

But GW2 alone, at the level I want to play at, in order to progress on certain arbitrarily self-chosen goals, is enough to require a bloody reference list.

Anyhow, the other piece of good news, such that it is, is that reading about the impending (chill) Blaugust has got me thinking about attempting another kind of experiment into scheduling and habit-setting and juggling routines.

While not actually officially participating in Blaugust (because that implies a level of commitment I don’t have the confidence for -right now-) it occurs to me that I have, once upon a time, wanted to experiment with shorter format posts.

It is quite unthinkable -currently- to find the time daily to write said short format posts.

It is, however, -potentially- possible that I might be able to find time on a weekend to write a -couple- of short format posts.

Which then get scheduled out and posted daily the following week.

In theory.


I might try.

Worth giving a shot, at any rate.


And in a complete non-sequitur, I would like to state for the record that I had an epic City of Heroes moment, a vibe that sent nostalgic superhero chills running down my spine, recalling Eden trials and Hamidon raids, in the latest map to hit GW2.

Some fifty to a hundred heroes in flight. Check.

Gaudy colors and costumes. Check.

Gliding -together-, towards a map-wide boss fight. Check.

That moment of shared experience, attention and focus funneled in one direction. Priceless.

The current zerg size somewhat obscures the potential right now, I think, overpowering the encounter via brute force, but in time, as the crowd dissipates somewhat, there might be something pretty cool here.

P.S. My non-spoilery first impression thoughts on the story bits of the first episode of Living Story Season 3 can be found in a quick comment on Bhagpuss’ well-covered non-spoilery patch summary.

Multiple Long-Term Projects

The problem with keeping too many balls in the air is my inability to blog coherently about them at any decent rate of frequency.

Which I then try to make up for with one voluminous summary post. (Feel free to read in parts.)

Not to mention, a general fuzziness in my head over what my next goals should be, given the spread of projects.

A good cure is to sit and write them all down, but that presumes actual time and attention to spare to do that… given that the other often more tempting choice is actively working on the projects instead.


As usual, the main focus of my attention has been the book scanning project.

Over the space of last week, 25 old books were brought to a copy shop to be de-spined, fed patiently through a scanner, and their aged moldy carcasses heaped onto a trolley awaiting my unlaziness to exit the house and eventually get them into a recycling bin.

Still many more piles to go, just to get two IKEA Billy bookcases out of the place.

At least there’s visible progress.


To make scanning life a little less miserable, I’ve taken to watching Twitch on a full-size Smart TV at the same time. (There’s also Netflix, but I miss games.)

What does make things a little tricky is being on the other side of the world as typical popular NA or EU streamers.

One is often limited to Aussie/New Zealand/transplanted Westerners in Asia, or face an otherwise incomprehensible stream in oh, I don’t know, Russian or some other Eastern European language, Korean or Tagalog.

(Oddly enough I haven’t seen that many Asian streamers on Twitch – they’re probably all streaming games I don’t watch *cough LOL DOTA Hearthstone Overwatch cough*)


I did catch a decent amount of Zero Time Dilemma, a really interesting non-linear visual novel/puzzler that has shades of escape room, Saw and Dangan Ronpa (by the same devs.)

One look at the many possible story branches (image shamelessly ripped from Kotaku’s Zero Time Dilemma review, go read it, it summarizes the game better than I can) and I stuck it on my Steam wishlist.

I’m holding back on actually picking it up because everybody says it should be played in sequence – there are two games before this, spread out on the world’s most mind-boggling assortment of consoles – and given the many other projects on my plate, I have a feeling that they’ll probably manage to get PC ports onto Steam before I have the time to “creatively” source alternative means of playing said games.

I caught enough Twitch streams (including the ending(s)) to be satisfied for now, but definitely something on the “to play eventually” list.

The three other games I’ve been watching on Twitch are, in no particular order, Guild Wars 2, Dead By Daylight and Evolve Stage 2.

GW2 streams are pretty miserable. Truth is, they’re just not terribly entertaining Twitch-wise.

The best amusement I got was watching a completely new guy struggle his way through the Heart of Thorns expansion on a level 80 boosted Revenant, if only because it was eye-opening to see how newbies played GW2.

He had no clue when he was in a personal instance, or out in the open world. The Living Story episodes blended rather seamlessly for him because he’d just run to “a quest marker” and slip right into the Living Story episode without blinking an eye.

The Masteries UI completely bamboozled him for a time. (Definitely could use a rework, methinks, it seems to be quite non-obvious to newbies.)

At first he had problems selecting Masteries, then thought he had the gliding mastery when he hadn’t earned enough XP for it yet, and so on. His Twitch chat helped him out, but it’s likely someone else without Twitch chat would have been completely lost.

Then of course, there was watching him run up as a Rev to melee Heart of Thorns Mordrem nigh completely stationary, and getting punted around by Mordrem tendrils (who do that spin knockback thing to meleers) and otherwise completely melted and acidified by whatever red he was standing in, through whatever terrible assortment of gear he had on. He kept complaining that he felt “weak” and needed better gear. (No wonder the level 80 boost offers PVT gear. Doesn’t do wonders for that feeling of weakness though.)

Regardless, he seemed to be having a really good time and was consistently awed by the Heart of Thorns landscapes, so there’s that. He spent a good while clambering on things trying to get to one mastery point, so he got his exploration kicks in too.

Entertaining, though, which is more than I can say for the other type of GW2 stream I deigned to watch – mostly just seeing how other players were doing in random raids.

The good ones just play like any other standard raid video on Youtube, a lot of particle effects firing off while you look on and try to tease out if there’s anything useful they’re doing that you might be able to apply the next time you’re in there, with more pausing and stuttering from the streaming – aka, “eh, I’ll watch a Youtube vid next time, more on-demand.”

The bad ones are mostly only good for brief schadenfreude and sympathy. “Seriously, they’re still struggling on VG? Ouch.” *channel flip*

I didn’t bother to watch any thing else GW2 related. I suspect it’ll mostly  be a case of watching someone tag events and play inventory management games – which would only remind me of how MY OWN INVENTORY needs serious help.

Dead By Daylight, on the other hand, is one of those games which I’d much rather watch someone else play, than buy it and play it myself.

It’s an asymmetric 1 vs 4 FPS, following a survival horror theme.

One player plays an invulnerable supernatural-esque Killer that goes around trying to catch survivors before they successfully escape. He’s able to hang them on hooks (eliciting a really horrible scream) eventually sacrificing them, wound them and carry them around and otherwise toy with them.

(Besides the FFA PvP sandboxes, I’ve never seen any other game so aptly build a legitimate role for players with Bartle Killer-style, sadistic bully-griefer type tendencies/fantasies.)

What makes it distinctly more watchable than the sandboxes where anything goes and Lord of the Flies can kick in if a group wants it to, is that Dead By Daylight sets rules restrictions for the Killer that make it a little fairer and slightly more like a balanced game.

Basically, the Killer has a very restricted first-person perspective with a pretty narrow field of vision. The maps are built so that it’s hard to see other players hiding. There are built-in points of delay for the Killer. He has to attack very methodically and precisely – one strike can wound a human player and cause them to leave a blood trail, but he stops to clean his blade, letting them get further away.

Human players can throw wooden pallets in his way and that can create an immensely frustrating delay as the Killer has to either go around or stop for a deliberately long destruction animation. Juking and dodging is a legitimately successful avoidance strategy for the other group.

Partial success does happen, where one survivor basically throws the other three to the wolves (or singular wolf, in this case) and escapes, while the Killer is left with incomplete victory.

Still, it seems a lot more entertaining to me to watch someone else put themselves through it and see their reactions while playing to an audience, than it would for me to personally play and experience.

I’m not sure if that accounts for its ridiculous popularity on Twitch, or if all us Twitch audiences are just closet sadists, but yeah.


Evolve is back. Now as Evolve Stage 2, in free-to-play form.


This makes me ridiculously happy.

Yes, I paid like a hundred bucks for it originally on Steam when it launched. Or maybe it was $80. I forget.

I don’t care. I’m not unhappy that free-to-play means a larger audience, more potential players and less people freaking out over horrible overpriced DLC and panning the game in the process.

Of course it helps that they gave all us people who paid for stuff free unlocks without needing to grind in-game currency and special “Founder status” (the term Founder is rapidly taking on early access/launch day whale connotations.)

I want to take the time to take advantage of essentially a renewed second launch to properly play it and rank up with the crowd, instead of feeling too intimidated by an established crowd.

Yet another project that goes on the list.

It’s also apparently had a few balance reworks.

I peeked at it, playing with bots, and the maps feel brighter and less dark, making it easier to see and somehow more “friendly” in feel.

Hunter domes are now shared, so any player can throw one to catch the Monster, and are not forced to just rely on and hope that the Trapper knows what he or she is doing.

It’s also an interesting thought exercise to compare Evolve and Dead by Daylight. They’re completely different in feel.

The 4 in Evolve are given guns, and it’s mostly the 1 monster that has to do most of the initial running away. If it successfully gets away, then when it stages up to stage 3, now it’s the hunters on the back foot, except that the monster still is forced by the clock to initiate a confrontation at the power relay. The goal is dome fights, pretty much, with one side having an advantage dependent on monster stage.

The 4 in Dead by Daylight have no guns and very little means to fight back against the 1. They mostly have delaying tactics. They do most of the running away and hiding. The goal is outsmarting the one player for long enough to successfully get away, potentially helped by teamwork, while the one player pretty much goes ham and sees how many he or she can tag.

(That’s a good analogy, I guess. Dead By Daylight is a game of tag. Evolve is more of a chase/pursuit that is capped by an arena fight.)


I also picked up a number of games in the recent Steam sale. They’re mostly meant to last me till December, so I haven’t really made inroads on many, just booted them up to take for a trial spin.

No, the above screenshot is not from Rift. (Could’ve fooled me.)

It’s TESO.


My little wood elf Nightblade has not gotten beyond level 5.

Don’t get me wrong. The scenery is gorgeous. They got the feel to be very much Skyrim now, and it feels pretty good. I really want to check out One Tamriel when it hits, because I think it’s an awesome idea from GW2 that should be ripped off to apply -everywhere-.


It’s… just me. And MMOs that follow along in the typical RPG vein.

I see a quest list. I see little NPC landmarks sprinkled all over such a large map. I see SO MUCH WALKING and quest after quest in my future.

And I cringe and back away slowly.

I dunno. I haven’t been able to play a full-on RPG in a very long time now.

Maybe I just know, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I don’t have time for it and can’t make it all the way to the end, so I may as well not start.

Maybe another time. Like when One Tamriel arrives. We’ll see.

I guess this is why news of Turbine’s not-quite-shuttering on anything that isn’t mobile gaming bothers me very little.

Like Zubon, I may have moved on out of my MMO phase. (Then again, I never really did stick with typical quest-style MMOs for long, so I may not have -had- a typical MMO phase. I’m still playing atypical MMOs fine.)

I mostly mourn Weatherstock.

Then again, there’s Youtube and Twitch. And I was planning to catch Weatherstock this year through one of those channels, rather than struggle with client installation. (I think I still have 3400 Turbine points that I never had cause to spend and have long written off.) So…

…I guess I already mentally left a long time ago.

I mean, I have no lack of things to do.

Such as… I bought ARK: Survival Evolved in the recent Steam sale.


And promptly fell into a hole I couldn’t climb out of.

(What is it with me and always finding geometry problems like this?)

Fortunately, since I’m fooling around with it on a singleplayer local hosted server (multiplayer is way too Lord of the Flies for me, I hear you can tie up other players and use them as poop-producing machines for your dinos now,) I googled up one of those admin commands for flying and glided out of it.


I tamed a dodo. The moment I picked it up, I had flashbacks.

That's the biggest damn chicken I ever saw... I guess the Charr need fairly hefty livestock to feed their appetites.

Haven’t gotten much beyond that. I made a mini hut with no roof. I avoided getting eaten by dinosaurs for a good long while, until I started wandering around in the pitch black night with no torch for sheer exploration kicks (most of my stuff offloaded into a chest in the hut, hoorah for being the only person in the world) and bumped into something small-ish that didn’t like me very much, while I tried to flail around blindly in the darkness with a broken axe. That went much as you would expect.

The skilling up and leveling process got a mite boring, along with the waiting for daylight, so I quit for the day and just haven’t gotten back to it.

Crypt of the Necrodancer and This War of Mine and Life is Strange are all new Steam sale additions on the list of things I need to play more of eventually.

I’m suddenly back on a tiny Minecraft: Regrowth kick.

I’ve just been starting up the world, running around aimlessly, waiting for some directed goals to hit me.

So after a brief moment of planning, I decided to put “watch Regrowth Youtube videos” on the list of potential things I could be watching along with Twitch streams while book scanning, to get some ideas.


This has yielded the B-Space Barrel link.

Basically, with the proper upgrade, two JABBA barrels can be linked to share the same inventory.

This barrel sits on top of a hopper feeding into an item grate, which feeds coal into a field of hungry Endoflames, which will burn it for Botania mana.

The other barrel is near my field of coal plants in the modern farm courtyard, so I don’t have to keep running back and forth to refill the hopper.

It’s still manual on-off for now. Apparently there are redstone mechanisms for detecting when your mana pool is full, but I think that takes up more aesthetic and functional space than I can afford right now.

Eventually, I’ll make a harvesting golem for the coal plant field and that will save my manual harvesting there too.


I made an Ultimate Energy Cube from Mekanism. (The NEI tooltip for whatever reason calls it a Basic Energy Cube, but the amount of RF it can take is definitely Ultimate.)


My obsession with energy cubes is mostly for portable fueling of the Buildcraft Filler block.

Experimenting with using it to clear this flat patch of land took a while, between placing landmarks, playing with its settings, encountering a giant pool of water that the Filler couldn’t clear and trying to figure out how to get rid of it – pumps didn’t work, infinite water sources, y’know, the elementium Extrapolated Bucket from Botania eventually did the trick, after lots of manual bailing.

It’s quite a ways from my old base though, and beyond the moat I dug… so I’ll probably have to create some kind of tunnel/corridor system leading to it, and make this a safely walled and lit space at some point too.

(More goals for the list.)

On the Guild Wars 2 front, things are as back to normal as they could possibly be, in this new climate of raids.

I think my adaptation to it has been to mostly stop caring – as in, for the fate of the game, as a whole – and mind my own selfish bloody business.

That means, criticizing when I feel like it, raiding when I feel like it, not playing the game when I feel like it, chasing achievements when I feel like it, WvWing or playing a HoT zone map meta or fractaling when I feel like it, and so on.

It’s a game. One of many. I’ll play it when I want to, and stop when I don’t want to. It’s for someone else to worry about whether they have my time, attention and money.

Currently, a number of things have my said attention.


On the to-do list are to camp out at the Current Event locations long enough to successfully complete and collect the hidden achievements. Why? No real reason beyond collecting achievements. It’s easier said than done because the crowds aren’t great and success ain’t really guaranteed.

Twice weekly, I raid.

(Gotta do it while the going is good and my static group exists, y’know. I did something similar for guild missions, and now I have 600 guild commendations and don’t have to attend any more guild missions for a long long time. Which is good, because I don’t have a current guild with convenient-to-me guild mission times any longer.)

After three weeks of opening chests in the Twisted Castle maze and not getting the collection piece needed (thanks RNG), it finally popped this week and I can move on to the next part of the Envoy armor collection.


Making 100 crystalline ingots and 100 amalgamated gemstones for the crystal heart was a mildly alarming goal at first glance, but digging into my bank stash of materials revealed that I hoard way too many things.

A bit of refining jeweller crystals into orbs, a bit of pulling out stashed medallions and crests from storage, a bit of mystic forging, a bit of luck at having farmed enough noxious pods for crystalline ore, and I had an unassuming heart item that I stuck into my shared inventory slot.

Now to go around the HoT zones infusing it, and then doing fractals (joy) to infuse it too.

Then it’s wait until the next series of steps are revealed.

The crafting NPC also dropped a few text hints on the next Gifts that are required. I screenshotted them, but haven’t looked closely at them. Eventually, I’ll need to put ’em into a spreadsheeted list like for Legendary weapons and go after them goal by goal.

Just… not today.


On a smaller goals front, since I PUGed a Dragon Stand today and got to the vendor at the end, I picked up two machined weapons that can be made into plated weapons, or is that the other way around, I forget.

Either way, it’s a piece of the elite specializations weapon puzzle, which is the real prize at the end.

I’ve also recently gotten addicted to mystic forging items while watching Twitch streams in the other screen, and harvesting toxic spores by cycling alts, so that’s other things I could be doing, besides going on the rich ore node or wood log harvesting world tour.

Cycling us back to the real world, Pokemon Go is on my list of things to look out for eventually.

It’s not in my local country’s stores yet, I don’t think, server problems and all that, but I’m sure Niantic will eventually get it there. Ingress is there, after all.

While I -could- go look for and download an APK of dubious provenance and manually stick it into my phone, the list of projects I’m already embroiled in suggests that I’m far better off just waiting.

Lastly, I’ve also gotten sucked down a parallel hobby of ceramics by taking a weekly pottery class over the last few months.


Really beginner first-attempt handbuilt pots.


Unglazed and unfired improvement attempts done at home, after deciding to invest in clay and a banding wheel.

(To do list memo: Source a company / find someone willing to fire the stuff for me.)

What utterly fascinates me is the history and culture behind this, as well as the marriage between aesthetic art and functionality.

Pots and vases can be beautiful… but they’re made to hold stuff. That sense of functionality really appeals to me, given my penchant for function over form in Minecraft too.

Online searches suggest that the western style of handbuilding pottery is taught with different methods to what I’ve been learning locally, which seems to draw from a more eastern asian tradition. Making those comparisons tickle my analyzing bone.

Pottery too is an ancient craft dating back thousands of years, and it’s interesting to hold a clay pot in your hands and feel the weight of that human tradition.

I have Chinese ancestry, and Chinese ceramics are a /thing./

I played A Tale in the Desert, and spinning clay pots there are also a /thing./ (I’m sure real Egyptians also have a pottery tradition.)

Probably every country, every tribal tradition, has potters and some kind of pottery history. I wish I knew more.

So I’m eyeing ceramics books on Amazon (most of them priced the same as launch day games) and suspecting that my games budget is probably going to have to share and shrink a little.

Either way, this is a really long term project, just one of many that I’m juggling, with barely any time these days for blogging.

So here’s me, signing out, still playing and watching games and doing RL stuff, until the next time I can post.