-Not- Not Playing Boundless…

…aka the one where I wind up down the slippery slope of “how did I do this to myself again?!”

Regular readers will recall that I am not a builder by nature, and have no intention of constructing anything even remotely similar to the player monuments I have been happily screenshotting, perfectly content to admire from afar.

I was going to keep my home base / camp as small as possible, and keep it mostly functional. Square rectangular box? Underground hidey hobbit hole? No problem.

Except there was one itty bitty little issue.

The next upgrade to the functional machines that I was idly considering slowly accumulating as an incremental long term goal simply wouldn’t fit.

The next step in crafting progression are power coils and advanced power coils. Given the current prices in player shops and the ability of veteran players to leapfrog past new player bottlenecks, I was giving serious thought to just buying the advanced power coils slowly, one at a time, off said player shops.

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Power coils (and the advanced version) are blocks that need to have a 1 block air gap between them and the machine they are powering. They then shoot a little colored laser beam at the machine they’re affecting.

The machines themselves comprise of 4 blocks, which can be arranged in any fashion, as long as they connect.

Up to 24 power coils can be connected to one machine. The machine also needs to be powered by an electrical wire equivalent – spark cable lines that will eventually connect to a spark generator.

I am not terribly good at this sort of spatial math.

I watched a Youtube video of some suggested Power Coil Placement ideas. I looked at screenshots I had taken of other players’ bases to see how they did it.

I wasn’t quite convinced about the top/down placement in the screenshots. It seems there were much less than 24 coils, and not much room for future expansion if needed.

I tried drawing some layouts on paper, only to realize that I’m not great at drawing squares, and keeping track of things in three-dimensions on a two-dimensional sheet? Forget it.

Now…where else could I actually build things in three dimensions, and mutter to myself while basically sketching out a prototype?

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Yep, Minecraft Creative Mode. Super flat world. Wound up near a village and a ton of bored green slimes.

I’d just grabbed the nearest modpack I had already installed, that might conceivably contain similar-ish blocks. It just happened to be Stoneblock, which has a number of tech mods included.

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The four blue workbenches simulate the Boundless “machine,” which I crinked up into an “L” shape.

The T shaped dynamos surrounding it are the future “power coils,” in a 2×3 arrangement on all four sides, that should be 24 quite handily.

Instead of burying the “spark line” or sticking it on the ceiling (Boundless, unfortunately, lacks modded Minecraft covers or facades to hide wiring), I put it low to the ground at the back of the machine. I figure this will create a little 1 block crawlspace behind each machine, where I can hop over the spark lines, in case I ever need to access the back of any machine.

Of course, I couldn’t stop at one. I had to figure out how each machine group of blocks would fit together, both for easy access and for expansion if needed.

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Leaving two blocks of space created too claustrophobic a corridor, so I tried three blocks of space in between and that seemed a good enough compromise.

I didn’t want to make massive builds in Boundless, after all, and each 8 x 8 plot of land in Boundless has to be bought with cubits (which, granted, a large quantity of are generously given free to each character, enough to build -massive- constructions, as we’ve all seen in past screenshots.)

And why stop there? Now I had to figure out just how many corridors of two row machines I might need, in order to accommodate multiples for industrial factory processing.

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Presumably, the corridors can also be extended down the end, or I could build a new floor on top of the old one when it becomes necessary.

(It would just be really annoying if I had to climb up and down multiple stairs when I make stuff, so I eventually need to position the correct machines next to each other.)

Finally, I decided an array of 12 machine groups should be enough for now. It would probably take forever to earn enough for so many power coils anyway.

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So how big a base was I going to need to fit this entire contraption in? Enter lots of block counting measurements and the convenient Minecraft sign to help me keep track of numbers.

Theoretically, the whole thing would fit in a space 33 blocks long by 14 blocks wide or thereabouts, and about 5 blocks high. Each Boundless plot is 8 x 8 x 8 though.

The ceiling was no problem. A 16 block wide building would make things awfully cramped and leave no room for other storage or decorations, so 24 block wide it would be, or three plots. As for the length, well, 32 was a nice number, but I didn’t want to lose any wiring or symmetry, so heck, 40 blocks or 5 plots long it will be.

Wow. Starting from a dinky little 2 x 2 plot base, I’d now be sticking an additional 3 x 5 base right next to it. That was quick.

Then it struck me. Since I was already -here- in Minecraft Creative mode, why not do some color tests and plan that too?

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I knew I wanted to explore the gradients of green and turquoise I had seen in the world that reminded me of GW2 necromancer colors.

It also so happened that black was a rock in ample supply on the first Aus server world I started with, so that would be a good color to use too.

I am not an artist. I was basically going to build a rectangular box. A flatted factory for my machines. But I could make it a box with a pleasant gradient of greens.

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Boundless has gleam blocks that provide light. Since I’m already here, I may as well work out just how many spaces per “light” block I’d need to create something symmetrical.

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Of course, I’d need windows and doors, because I cannot imagine being cooped up in a Minecraft or Boundless building for too long without being able to look out at the scenery and horizon outside.

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You know, I’d better light the interior as well. “Fluorescent” lights for the factory.

Bonus, I could use the lights in the roof as floor lights when it comes time to expand upwards and build an additional floor.

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Yep, planned interior looking pretty good.

Back over in Boundless, the first decision I was going to have to make was what -texture- of block to use.

It had to be something cheap and easy enough for a newbie to make, no multi-step elaborate marble or concrete recipes for moi.

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The three basic rocks are sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic, and they all have rough hewn stone textures. So those wouldn’t exactly be very nice for what I had in mind.

After going through a bunch of wiki links and mostly choking on the high recipe cost of the extremely decorative blocks, I decided that “refined metamorphic rock” and “refined sedimentary rock” were relatively presentable and -actually- doable.

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The conversion was still going to be mine out 18 rocks to convert into 50 stone (4 min 10 sec x 6 times), and 288 stones (25 min) for 50 refined rocks. Essentially, 108 rocks for 50 refined rocks, with some leftovers.

I’d pulled out over 5000 rocks in roughly 30min of flailing away underground with a 3×3 hammer on a T1 world, so it didn’t seem too impossible. The trick would be getting the right colors though.

Each world sports different colors of rock. I spent even more time clicking away at the Worlds tab on the third-party Boundless Crafting website, trying to figure out which world had the shades of green I wanted. Then I figured out going the reverse route by checking out the item, which then shows which planet to get it from.

But but… surely the colors on a web browser and the colors in-game don’t quite match. Neither was I convinced that this other player spreadsheet summarizing the planets and color info exactly replicated the colors.

Nothing for it. I was just going to have to adventure to each world, and yank out some rock color samples. Self-assigned quest time!

That turned into a series of mini-adventures in themselves.

Midway through the quest to dig mini potholes in various worlds, I walk through a portal to the planet Gellis… to find myself standing in a museum of ALL blocks.

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You could probably hear my jaw drop a mile away.

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All the types of ice.

Wandered it for at least half an hour, taking screenshots aplenty.

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One of the gleam corridors.
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Even more gleam. So shiny.
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Stone. All the textures and things you can make from rock and stone.

There was a brief pause where one attempted to cut and paste from various screenshots to see if I could cross reference colors that way.

Nope. Still didn’t look good enough. Onward to the next planet!

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More jaw-dropping. Also at player creations.

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I had to expand windowed mode back to full ultra-widescreen for this one. The music soundtrack that suddenly started while I stared at the landscape and the two planets slowly drifting across the sky gave me chills. Most of the portals were closed and the place uninhabited, remnants of a community that had moved on. It felt like walking in ancient ruins, on an alien planet.
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Then I get to the edge of town and gasp, because this is a -floating- city in the sky and the planet is below. Way below. How on earth am I getting down to where the rock is?! All the portals are closed…
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I run around town, looking for open portals and find nothing. I stand on thin floating black roads, afraid to touch the empty spaces because there -could- be absolutely clear glass protecting me from a drop… or there could be absolutely nothing but air and a long long plummet. Then I see it. Do you?

Yeah, there’s a water elevator a la Minecraft that flows down. Right in the center of the tree.

Going down it was a trip because it alternated between running out of air if I stayed in the center, and plummeting through air if I moved out to grab a breath. I did end up smacking right into the ground at the final bit, but was near enough to not die from the fall damage.

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If I ever get strong enough, I would love to build a base on this T6 planet, Malurialakrib. It’s got all the shades of green I love. It’s even conveniently an Aus server planet, so I’ll get 80ms ping. Sweet. Now if only I could figure out what to do about the extremely lethal wildlife pests…

Some hours later… I eventually wind up at home base with all my geologic loot.

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Impromptu color palettes are assembled, for an audience of one.

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Less favored colors get hammered out of the running. I hem and haw some more.

This won’t work. I need to see them in my planned building format as a solid wall…

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Ok, strike out the rightmost column, that one is too dark at night.

Oh yeah, it’s night. I also came home with a bunch of colored gleam. LIGHT TEST.

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They’re all so very pretty.

But the highest contrast one with the tinge of blue is closest to what I have in mind, so that one wins for now.

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Still indecisive on the exact color arrangement of the green gradient wall… eh… I think I’ll go for the glowiest on the left.

But do I put them light to dark, or dark to light?!

A thin strip is not working, I think I need a bigger wall sample…

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Hmmm…. I still don’t know!

Oh wait, I need to knock out some blocks to simulate the windows…

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An extreme amount of dithering later, over which two in-game days pass, I eventually settle on one.

Only to realize that the work has just begun.

First, clearing out all the natural landscape in the new plots, digging out soil and rock. (The pink shows the boundaries of the 8 x 8 plots.)

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I started laying some basic flooring in basic black stone, for lack of anything better… and I’ve run out about a third of the way through.

Now I have to go mine more black rock, go back to the planets to collect more green rocks, turn those into refined rocks, and start laying them, one block at a time.

This should keep me busy over this weekend and most of next week… and I’m not even earning any extra coin by doing so, beyond some along-the-way feat/achievement completion rewards.

However did I get down this rabbit hole again?

Wood Choppin’ – TerraFirmaCraft Plus

This one is squarely on Tobold.

One week ago, the man asked for game recommendations in which he could chop wood.

Being that I too, am of that player subset who really really likes repetitive resource gathering and doesn’t quite consider it a grind to do so (if one is enjoying the process and in nice surroundings), I pulled out a bunch of suggestions across the vast range of resource accumulation games I’ve played.

Then I thought, “Well, it might be nice to go chop some wood myself and get a blog post out of it. Two birds, one stone. Show off the validity of the recommendation.”  You know, putting your money where your mouth is. Or something along those lines.

Six days later, I am still chopping wood.

I have one more Storm Wizard token to collect in Guild Wars 2 to finish off the weapon collection. I have World 2 Zone 3 down to a precise science of a 30 minute not-too-aggravating run.

But I willingly skipped two days in which I could have picked up the token to go freakin’ wood chopping (among other things) in my new Minecraft: TerraFirmaCraft Plus world instead.

The world seed is aptly named: Woodchopper.

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Or -1295373396, if one prefers the numeric version.

It did not spring out of one’s forehead fully formed. There were a few aborted attempts along the lines of Woodchopping and Woodchuck.

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The first yielded a desolate landscape with sparse trees. This simply would not do.

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The second looked promising, with plentiful pines to plunder. But after a day or two of play, I simply could not find any clay.

Apparently, the region I spawned in was simply too dry and the annual rainfall too low to form clay deposits. This was a massive problem as getting pottery going is essential for progress along the TerraFirmaCraft tech tree towards metals. It was with regret that I gave up that world, because everything else, metal ore deposits, crops were everywhere.

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The third world Woodchopper proved to be the charm. I spawned in practically on top of a clay deposit, which seemed like a good omen. I got simple pit kilns going fast (the fires in the above screenshots.)

About this point, I started getting tired of the standard Minecraft look (not very immersively picturesque, is it?) and decided I’d give messing with shaders one more try. I dug up my ancient post on it in preparation (see, blogging is useful for people like me with sieve-like memories.)

Turns out that everything was a little simpler than that attempt.

The TerraFirmaCraft Plus modpack was an improved version of the old TerraFirmaCraft I’d played back in the day (along with another variant called TerraFirmaPunk, which I covered here and a few other posts.)

It played super nicely with the most recent version of OptiFine for Minecraft 1.7.10, which was OptiFine 1.7.10 HD U E 7. All I had to do was chuck it into the mods folder.

Since Optifine didn’t crash the modpack, I didn’t have to go search for any other weird branching mods and simply downloaded the most recent version of the shader I loved all the way back in 2017. Namely, SEUS.

The publicly released version is SEUS Renewed 1.0.1, so I downloaded that.

But wow, checking out Sonic Ether’s website shows the man has not been resting on his laurels and is hard at work on SEUS PTGI – this should be danged delightful to watch in the future, going head to head with Minecraft RTX, which I only learned about through Everwake’s blog post. Shows how much attention I pay to vanilla Minecraft. Modpacks all the way, baby.

Back to adding shaders: all I then had to do was throw the entire SEUS Renewed.zip file into the shaderpacks folder, start up the game and select the shader via the options menu.

Instant eye candy.

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Ok, I may have exaggerated slightly.

The water blocks were not quite registering as water in TerraFirmaCraft because the entity numbers had changed. Known issue. So I had to check what they were in the game, using NEI, aka type in “water” and move mouse cursor over the water to see what number comes up. In my case, it was 566, 567, 568, 569, etc.

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Then rummaging around in the shader zip file for gbuffers_water.vsh, adding on the necessary minecraft entity numbers.

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For whatever reason, the three lines were commented out – maybe newfangled Minecraft changed water entity numbers – but old 1.7.10 Minecraft definitely uses 8 & 9 for water, so I removed the comment and it worked fine after that. Later, I threw in TerraFirmaCraft ice (574) as well.

Everything else worked fine out of the box. Rain was rain and so on.

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(Wavy grass and crops may have been the something else that required tweaks, but I don’t like wavy grass anyway, so it was no big loss for me and I didn’t worry about it.)

It wouldn’t have been Minecraft without the deep ravines…

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…and slightly illogical, gravity defying scenery…

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… that’s deep. Scarily deep.

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Apparently, you can fracture your bones in TerraFirmaCraft Plus (TFC+), which I found out by a sudden sharp drop into, thankfully, a pit slightly less deep than the one above. Still, falling ten or so blocks resulted in a minor fracture.

Anyhow, I settled along the coastline, seawater and freshwater both fairly nearby, and clay deposits to the north and south of me.

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There are a number of notable improvements in TFC+. You can craft 4 logs into a place-able stackable block, so a little log hut to shelter from the night zombies is not impossible now, rather than the somewhat immersion-breaking near necessity of digging a cave under clay deposits in the original TFC.

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Thatch roofing is also a thing.

Along with the eyebrow-raising not-quite-improvement of torches being able to set nearby flammable things alight.

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I guess it’s realistic. *sighs*

Funny story about the accident. (Aren’t they all.)

I knew very well that torches lit flammable things on fire. So I put the torches carefully away from flammable things like my original wood hut on the right. The wattle-and-daub cottage I was in the midst of building was -not- flammable.

This was another new TFC+ thing. Crafting sticks together produce wattle, a framework that one can lay. Pouring a vessel of water over thrown dirt and straw produce mud. Applying mud on wattle creates the pretty white blocks known as wattle-and-daub. So I put a torch next to the walls I was building over the course of several Minecraft days, and they did not light it on fire.

TFC+ torches extinguish after a few days of using up their fuel (or in the rain). So the one next to the walls went out and I never bothered to relight it for ages.

Then I put the thatch roof on, and everything was still okay for another indeterminate period of time.

I guess you know where this is going. One night, I absent-mindedly relight all the torches in the vicinity while looking out at the ocean, thinking about other things… then behind me, things suddenly get brighter, I hear a crackling…

…I spin around and go, OH FFFF-.

I jump after the fire, I valiantly flail at everything, but the damn cottage is three blocks tall, I haven’t progressed to the stage where I can make ladders yet, and in TFC+ dirt and sand blocks don’t stack beyond 1 deep, they obey the laws of gravity.

Long story short, I lose about half the roof.

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There’s another couple of days of grass harvesting for straw, and then turning that straw into thatch and thatch into roofs, and climbing back up to re-thatch the roof. *sighs*

The walls were fine. Bah.

I suppose that’s why one would want to tier up to ceramic roofs and slate roofs and copper roofs. But those are a ways for me yet.

TerraFirmaCraft progress has always been slow and sedate. One full year is 96 Minecraft days long. Each season is 24 days. I took my time wood chopping and building using Stone Age tools through most of Spring and Summer, and exploring the local landmass.

It wasn’t until Autumn that I got a bit of a fire going under me (this one figurative) and got barely enough copper to get a few basic metal tools. (Mining is going to be tricky in this world, it’s very hilly and difficult to traverse.) The copper saw opened up lumber, and lumber in turn opened up boats.

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So I took a break from my locale and went on a little boating adventure, carrying nothing I couldn’t afford to lose.

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There were two apple trees on the island above. Alas, none of them produced graftable saplings from the branches, so I’ll have to come back another time when they’ve hopefully regrown those branches.

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I was tickled by the slightly tropical looking landscape. It was a change from all the snow and ice that was the vast majority of my boating encounter.

See, the problem was that I got wanderlust in late Autumn, when temperatures had dropped to near freezing and ice was forming along the edges of land and sea. Try as I might, I couldn’t find any good crops (beyond the odd bush or apple tree), and I later realized that most plant crops are seasonally available in Spring-Summer, not Autumn.

So I returned home and decided to wait out most of Autumn and Winter before wandering again. Food was going to be a minor problem (aka I didn’t have any, beyond seaweed, if I wanted to cut it) but since I was staying at home, I was prepared to just starve to death eventually and respawn right where I left off.

In the meantime, I’d work on building projects instead. Like a cellar for when I actually have food I need to preserve from decay.

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It started out as a modest idea of an underground attachment from the cottage.

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Then it got more ambitious as I widened it out to its maximum size.

Midway, I realized that I didn’t know if I had to completely cover the floor AND ceiling with the special cellar blocks (made from lumber, clay and straw, all of which had to be gathered).

So I made a separate smaller above-ground prototype cellar to find out.

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Turns out yes, everything must be covered in the cellar block for it to work properly. So that ramped up straw, clay and lumber requirements exponentially.

Frankly, I have a feeling that the mini-cellar above ground might be sufficient enough storage space for me. But heck, I had building time to spare while “over-wintering.”

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The completed underground cellar, just before I pile on the dirt to completely cover it in grass and make it invisible, save for the little entryway from my cottage.

The next building project is a preliminary barn. There are some Aurochs (wild cows) near home base. I need grain and/or rope (from yet another crop) before I can even dream of leading one anywhere or taming one. But I have no crop seeds until Spring/Summer anyway, and they’ll still need growing time.

I can still make the building and hope to fill it up eventually.

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That’s going to be a lot of thatch. Should keep me busy until the next Minecraft Spring/Summer rolls around.

The wood is easy by comparison. Make stone axe. See tree. Hack tree. Swim in logs and sticks. Stack up the logs in the piles for the future.

Now, when I eventually get around to ironworking and charcoal making… that’s when the deforestation is really going to happen.

Tapas All The Things

Over at Time to Loot, Naithin penned a post about Genre Burnout. It’s something I’ve been idly pondering over recent months.

On one hand, it’s undeniable that I’m off MMOs as a concept, possibly for good.

Nearly 5 years ago, I wondered what would come out the other side of playing a Guild Wars 2 (now with NEW raids included!) after bitterly railing about the toxic divide that introducing raids would cause.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can answer that question. Frustration, definitely. Sometimes at the game, sometimes at myself, sometimes at other people. Mostly the annoyance of having been proven Cassandra-like correct at the gaping social divide amongst players.

Fortunately, drama was mostly averted, save for one incident where boundaries were trod upon and some workplace skills in mediation, crystal clear communication and compromise had to be hastily yanked out and practiced. Players, by and large, do this really poorly, which feeds into the frustration above.

I’d like to think I avoided most elitist prick-ism, but I confess to being reluctant to join public encounters that exceed a certain level of challenge, on the assumption that the average player group is -not- going to succeed at it, or if I do give it a try, I’ll do the silent “drop out without a word” maneuver after a few failed and obviously-not-going-to-make-it attempts. I’ve watched others be far more elitist than me and simply been silent witness or just quietly thankful that I made it past the ‘barely acceptable’ threshold because I know without a doubt that I’m not investing the time and effort to ‘git gud’ to the point which would make these other people deliriously happy.

Burnout? I’m still raiding twice weekly without fail, barring the odd RL engagement. By any dev metric, surely that is not burnout.

But I feel like I’ve lost my rose-colored glasses on what GW2 could have been, and have accepted that it just wanted to blend into the MMO crowd and appeal to the whole spectrum of MMO players, raid-lovers included. That it is just one MMO among many. That traditional MMO gameplay doesn’t actually do much for me, in terms of being a forever game or tick many of my boxes. (If it did, I’d probably already have been playing Everquest, or World of Warcraft, or Final Fantasy XIV, or The Elder Scrolls or … whatever.)

Been there, done that.

With the last couple years of GW2, been there, done that -again-.

I’m done with main games, primary MMOs, or the one virtual world to rule them all.

I cannot conceive of ever starting over in some brave new world (pun intentional.) What would be the point? To get bigger numbers? To ‘win’ over someone else? To make friends and play with others? To collect all the things and show others that you did?

I’m not sure I ever much had that great enjoyment or use out of Multiplayer, and if the former doesn’t quite do it for me, I think we can safely dispense with the Massively prefix as well.

On the other hand, I am still occasionally finding reasonable levels of amusement playing parts of individual MMOs.

The actual beat-by-beat combat of fighting a raid boss with a character I’m comfortable playing is smooth and relaxing flow.

There was a certain level of RNG lottery fun in joining random PUG strike missions at various timezones during the first two weeks of the Eye of the North introduction – sometimes you luck into a really smooth competent party, sometimes it’s rougher but still manageable, and sometimes it’s utter carnage that is best left wordlessly.

The act of deciding on a small, achievable goal and then following through on it to completion is always going to have a certain ‘click’ of satisfaction at ticking a checkbox, regardless of the game I do it in.

And the same ‘what’s the point?’ argument could be made for singleplayer games as well. Does any progress or learning in a game matter? Is it just about the journey and the experience? One could also have a journey and probably -multiple- experiences in a multiplayer game too.

It’s becoming all equivalent, as I mentioned in my last (now ancient) post four months ago.

I am behind in Warframe. I am always behind. I play it solo singleplayer and like it that way. I have not made a Railjack; I have not yet played Scarlet Spear. I’ll get to it when I get to it.

Instead, I have been chasing the mini goals of relic grinding and building Prime warframes, because I couldn’t be bothered going for ‘lesser’ versions when a Prime one is available. I am super slow because I do it all by my lonesome and never join others in relic sharing missions. I get my Primes anyway, in the end, some gazillion relic farms later. Oberon Prime and Ivara Prime have been on my to-do list for the last month or two, and I just finished popping the last piece today. Now there’s Titania Prime to go.

Path of Exile Delirium League is out and I am not actually playing it. I missed the start because I was busy doing something else, then in the middle, I thought, maybe I’ll give it a go, and somehow I got diverted down the track of attempting to solo self farm an Oni-Goroshi unique.

For those not in the know, this mostly means repeat farming the very first map, Twilight Strand, over and over with multiple characters. I idly thought that this reminded me of Guild Wars 1’s Ascalon Defender achievement where one stayed in Pre-Searing Ascalon, and decided to try it once, just for the experience.

Two level 7 characters and one level 8 later, it’s turned into a sort of begrudging grudge match in slow motion. I -refuse- to do anything else but try to pop the sword, and because I’m not actually insane, I don’t farm for more than half an hour at a time. Lately, it’s been just try a few runs and then quit and play another game. The league might end before it drops. So be it.

My Steam recently played games looks like this:

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All the red X’s I marked are stuff I’ve not even installed, let alone played. Mostly they are last month’s Humble Bundle Choice games and a free game.

One green tick games are stuff I played a bit.

At my level of no-discernable-skill, Dota Underlords is an amusing RNG gamble that I mess around with Hardcore difficulty bots. It offers me the ability to learn how to recognize various DOTA heroes and what they vaguely do, and the relaxation of letting AI beat on each other. It gives me the realization that it makes no difference to me whether I wind up in sixth place, fifth place, third, second or even, rarely, first. Should it matter? Win some, lose some, it’s a game, it’s fun for a few rounds, and then I put it down.

Ever so slowly, I have been attempting to finish SOMA. I’d like to complete it, and then delete it off my hard disk because that’s 9gb of valuable disk space I’d like to reclaim, and someone, somewhere, said it was a classic game worth the playthrough.

Honestly, it’s one of those games that is not really doing it for me. It’s a slooow as molasses walking simulator that utilizes a bunch of horror tropes (which I don’t really scare or react easily to, or feel much about). I turned off all the actual danger because the one thing that would make me ragequit without ever completing it would be dying repeatedly to some dumbass monster because I didn’t have the patience to hide in shadows until it went away.

I end up wandering in circles because navigating in murky water is not my forte and it is not scary, it is just frustrating and makes me pull up a walkthrough trying to match my steps with the instructions until I’ve figured out where the game wants me to go next. My game session progress is measured in walkthrough pages. I’m about 50% into sunk cost and I’ll get around to a little more progress someday… just not today.

Battlechasers Nightwar is a fun enough JRPG-like game, if a little slowly paced. Played it for a couple hours, then had enough. Eliza was an interesting visual novel experience that I played for a session, then put down and never quite got back to.

Every now and again, when I crave a walk in the woods, I go back to comfort game theHunter: Call of the Wild and tromp around slowly, hoping to bag a virtual deer.

Two green tick games are games I deep dived into:

Stardew Valley – made a new character and played nonstop until Year 3 and grandpa’s ghost came along to tell me I did a fantastic job. Then lost steam because the next couple of goalposts were far away in terms of money and would clean out the bank. So it goes. Maybe someday I’ll get back to it.

sd-house

Don’t Starve – got into Shipwrecked obsession for a while. A nomadic explorer lifestyle is not really me in survival games. I love to bunker down in a base. Shipwrecked almost explicitly disrupts this playstyle. Kept dying of some cause or another before making it into the next season. Going for yet another roguelike run gets addictive, until one day, they are suddenly not.

Risk of Rain 2 has no ticks. It’s on current free weekend trial. So I trialed. Not quite for me. The difficulty is a little beyond me, and I can’t quite get my head around the scavenge-all-the-items-and-hope-for-good-RNG playstyle. Maybe it’s a carry over from Battle Royales. Maybe it’s why I could never really get good at Binding of Isaac.

Unreal World has been a current tapas game poison of choice. I think I’m getting back into turn-based roguelikes – might veer back to Angband and TOME next.

Unreal World is very simulationist, you play an Iron Age Finn and mostly try to live a low tech lifestyle without dying from one thing or another.

My current run lucked into a bear very early on, which I somewhat foolishly chucked a javelin at. That wound up with the bear charging me and a duel to the death of mad dodging and stabbing.

urw-bear

It broke one arm, which left me crippled on doing various activities for many days until the fracture healed, but hey, I lived, and it died!

urw-cabin

Set up a little log cabin before winter set in. I love the bunkering playstyle in survival games, I may have mentioned.

urw-elkgift

Doing well through winter. A reindeer actually blundered into the pit trap that surrounded my log cabin, something that felt really lucky. I usually spend days checking on all the traps I’ve set up with no returns.

So it goes. I’ll play it till it gets boring or I get distracted, and then I’ll move on to something else.

Ever since mentioning Master of Magic to Syp in a comment, I’ve been thinking of giving that a replay at some point.

My Epic Games list is filling with free games. This months Humble Choice Bundle has arrived. Super Adventure Box is coming. Who has time to play just one game?

Who has time to play -all- the games?

I’ll set a goal, play one game a little. Set another goal, play another game a little. Don’t bother with a goal at all and play yet another game for a while on a whim. Rinse and repeat.

A Failure of Notes (Past Week Recap)

Well, that was a failure pretty quickly. Trying to note down daily what I did, that is.

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to also craft a blog post about it.

In my half-hearted scribbled notes since, I have:

14 Oct, Sun

  • GW2 – One shot Qadim CM & Astralaria III collection dribs and drabs, bounties
  • Warframe – assorted missions – relics, bounties, etc.

Qadim was the continuation of our Friday attempt to get the CM mode done for some members/alts who didn’t have it yet.

There’s either something to be said about the science of willpower and focus when all the group members are fresh, after a weekend’s presumed rest, as opposed to after a weekday of work and having cleared three raid wings first, or the spaced repetition effect in learning where presumably Friday’s attempts were practice and Saturday may have been rest or review day for some members (like moi on the jumping puzzle bit)…

…but bottom line, we went in, we cleared it, on the first attempt. One shot kill success.

Admittedly, it was a close call because we were all downed at 1-2% health remaining mark, and we used our downed skills and lingering conditions to knock the final health off.

I’d still count it as a technical win, because I know what killed me and probably the others still alive on the final KO. There was about 2/3 of our team remaining as we were killing him, and one (or two?) of our team went down. Seeing as success was imminent, I stopped to press F and revive. I suppose the same thought went through the head of all those still standing.

Thus we were all happily locked in the reviving animation and couldn’t dodge to produce an iframe in time when Qadim decided to do his slam. Aka he got all of us downed in one blow, a kind of furious last gasp protest at his imminent defeat.

A little bit of selfishness in not reviving would have kept one or two members standing and able to finish him off with no sweat, but I suppose by that point, the team was already in full sync.

Future potential improvements for the never-satisfied would be being more familiar with his animations and counting his attacks. Qadim as a raid boss encounter, I think I have mentioned before, is eminently predictable. All the enemies attack in very predictable patterns.

If we’d paid more attention, we’d have known the slam was coming and opted to not revive, but well, unfamiliarity with the last portions of the encounter, the many other distractions in that fight and general elation with being so close to success overwrote that focus.

And speaking personally, eh, I’m a satisficer. Not one of the perpetually dissatisfied. He died. We won. Good enough.

Then I did more Astralaria items, that for the life of me, I cannot remember now.

astral-17oct

I took this screenshot on the 17 Oct (Wed) at the Searing Cauldron in the Iron Marches where I was fusing together some items, so some of the above was done on Sunday, and some done later.

Going through the screenshots, I also joined a beginner’s bounty train in Crystal Oasis because I heard them advertising while standing in the Collector’s Edition pavillion hangout place and there was this recent Reddit thread complaining that no one did any bounties.

It was a Sunday, so there was time to do some frivolous, supportive things. I dunno what these Redditors are complaining about really. We started as a group of 6-8 people and were about 14-20 strong by the time we cleaned out all of the available mobs on the Amnoon bounty board.

Yes, I quit the group after that, but it was a good gameplay session. They went on to the next bounty board with less people interested, but the last I overheard ’em, they were joining their 5-7 remaining group to 2-3 other people interested in the legendary facet, so it’s not as if there aren’t people doing bounties. It’s small group content.

Would I like it if it scaled down better so that one could solo them more easily for practice and kicks? (Instead of being some kind of Herculean affair that only true pros can manage.) Sure. But they’re not impossible to do now, with a little social organization and cooperation, that even an introverted hermit like myself can tolerate.

What I did in Warframe is an equal blur of presumed accumulation and progress. I did some void relic missions. I did some bounties. I did some other missions.

I did not get the random drops of the stuff I really wanted. I got other things instead that will still presumably put my account ahead when I need them.

15 Oct, Mon

  • Minecraft: The Awakening – Made a SAG mill and Alloy Smelter. Lagging furiously. 

Monday was Minecraft day. No time for GW2 or Warframe, not even dailies.

This modpack has some heavy modifications to some of its recipes, so the EnderIO SAG mill and Alloy Smelter cost a lot more in time and effort than in other modpack variants. They needed a ridiculous amount of steel. I’d the infrastructure set up by now, but lacked enough iron ore raw ingredients.

At my stage in the game, there was no automation to be done with that, so it was strip mining with a pickaxe in straight lines at different depths hoping to stumble on some iron. There are a ton of ores and rocks in this modpack, so naturally I found 30 other resource type to stuff up my inventory and backpack multiple times long before finding enough iron.

Eventually, we produced enough iron to move towards the dream of EnderIO machinery.

There was also a curious amount of almost game-stopping lag, especially when opening inventories. Since I’m playing this singleplayer, this needed some debugging. I checked my available memory, the CPU load (I’d been watching Youtube at the same time, but been doing this with no issues multiple times prior), the entities in Minecraft, even turning things to peaceful mode to get rid of spawned enemy mobs… nothing cleared it 100%, so it was a curiouser and curiouser state of affairs.

Some Googling since suggested a possible culprit as the InventoryTweaks mod, but lag since then has not been 100% game stopping nor 100% gone, so I don’t know, we’ll see.

16 Oct, Tue

  • GW2 – Raid night. Cleared wings 6, 5, 4. Group got me the Taking Turns achievement.
  • Warframe – Two Cetus bounties
  • Minecraft: Awakening – Quick stop to finish grinding metal ores into dust. Still lagging at 80% severity.
  • GW2 – Quick Halloween daily

It looks like a lot when you list it.

I can’t say that it was really that much gameplay though. The bulk of it was raid night. We killed stuff.

The team generously spent effort and gave their bodies up to the cause of getting me the Taking Turns achievement that I’d missed one or two times prior by always being dead at the end of killing Qadim; while I spent as much effort as possible doing the bare minimum necessary for success while primarily keeping myself alive and healthy. That felt honestly harder than CM.

When all nine pairs of eyes are on you with blazing focus and you’re desperately trying not to snuff things up and/or make a poor judgement jump out into nothingness under a time limit and the social obligation to not make things as repetitively painful for others as possible. That shit’s hard, man.

Fortunately, it went by fairly uneventfully.

Having full permission to not do anything but stay alive, I let my dps drop to below average, wussed out on unnecessary platform jumping and remained among the living. Final achievement get.

mythwright-16oct

I suppose I am now the owner of a pile of gold that I’ve yet to sit on and a title that I’ve yet to bother to use.

I’ve not even bought the Dhuum chair yet, though I can afford it if I wanted.

That stuff works for the people who have others to show it off to. Me, I’m not motivated by prestige. It just doesn’t do it for me.

What -DOES- motivate me and make me very happy is completionism. It’s probably just as childishly hedonistic as those who enjoy sitting on an ostentatious chair for others to see, but every time I look at the shiny colored-in Achievement and all the little check marks, I feel more complete and fulfilled. It’s done. I -know- that it’s done. Figurative OCD sated. That’s what I care about.

Anyway, the rest of the night was interspersed between barely doing anything in Waframe beyond testing my Hek shotgun out on higher level Cetus bounties and -not- getting the relics I wanted and finishing up some busywork in Minecraft while still lagging somewhat.

The Halloween patch had dropped by the time I looked up, and greedily, I decided to get the daily done before it resetted in 7-8 hours, which I’d otherwise miss because I’d either be asleep or commuting to work. That was done, and then to bed.

17 Oct, Wed

  • GW2 – More items on the Astralaria III collection, Uncategorized fractal group & solo

This is where my notes end, and I have to piece things back together like an archaeologist out of sporadic screenshots acting as a fossil record.

Don’t ask my memory, it simply does not exist any longer without prompts.

As shown in the screenshot above, I was at the Searing Cauldron on Wed night, so I must have fused the necessary items there.

I also found some Uncategorized fractal screenshots, which jogs my memory sufficiently to recall that I tried for the Uncategorized fractal item in the collection by joining a Tier 2 fractal in progress, and failed rather miserably at speedrunning past the harpies solo.

My particular raid-centered build was just not set up for racing past harpies at speed without other people distracting or dealing them while trying to recollect the precise jumping puzzle hops. I’d take half my health in damage from a harpy arrow barrage, get locked in combat, get crippled to boot with insufficient condi cleanses and then promptly fail the jump due to cripple and being locked in combat. Over and over.

I couldn’t quite get out of combat to change my skills or traits, presumably because either I was now locked in combat with the harpies or the other 2-3 party members were locked in combat with something further above, and it was a fairly miserable state of affairs.

Fortunately, there was one more party member slot that was yet unfilled. Some random guy joined and started hopping up the jumping parts with me, and I gratefully used him as a distraction to jump past the portion I was stuck on and give my limited skills enough time to reset to accommodate the next portion.

On joining the rest of the group, the rest of it was somewhat eventful. I was scared to go in to set up the Old Tom portion because I’ve previously misjudged my charr’s hitbox and triggered the fight before. Multiple times. I then got mutilated by the raving asura and cat golems and downed/died with no one bothering to rez.

Out of sheer embarrassment, I just clicked Okay to Proceed and didn’t quite rez in time to pick up the chest… containing the Astralaria item I really needed.

Whoops. Oh well, it was a really poor showing anyway.

So I tried the other approach. Solo. Level 2 Uncategorized fractal. Fuck PUGs.

It felt a lot more rewarding, honestly, even if the absolute rewards didn’t match.

I killed the harpies before jumping up. Fuck harpies. Even if they don’t knockback on this level, they both still hurt and needed to die.

I ran around and kited the four cage bosses, dying a few times in the process while learning their animations, but whittling them down one at a time.

I had time to test a safe jump to the fan at Old Tom and worked out a kind of range strategy since I had no mobs or players to hide behind to block his shots.

I bogged down for a while at the raving asura because his tracking projectiles hurt a ton. The tragedy was that the fight would reset from the very beginning so I couldn’t death-whittle them down one by one.

uncat-17oct

Ultimately, I had to work through both a hypothetical strategy and the trait swaps to support it. Wall of reflection to stop the projectiles was the main thing.

I can’t recall now if the final successful build used Shield of the Avenger to cover the time period where Wall of Reflection wasn’t up, or if my F3 block was sufficient.

The part I was missing for quite a while was a trait swap to Master of Consecrations to increase Wall of Reflection uptime. Once I had that, I had the safety I needed to destroy the cat golems. Still a little touch and go, but it now felt possible, as opposed to impossible.

Pulling out the Astralaria item from the chest after that solo felt sweet.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday… Hrm….

This is where my notes AND my screenshots stop, I’m afraid.

I probably did Halloween stuff in GW2 on Thursday.

Friday was raid night and some of the team did drunk raiding and we cleared the remaining wings 1, 2, and 3.

I did some more Astralaria collection stuff from Thursday to Saturday, leaving me with the more filled in picture below.

astral-20oct

There was probably more Warframe-ing in there somewhere. A lot of Alerts and random missions. I did the first two Halloween Tactical Alerts today on Saturday, the first solo, the second grouped.

I popped into Minecraft briefly without getting much done, except testing the lag level, which was at about 40-60% severity. Tolerable, but still not normal normal.

As for the rest of the weekend, I suspect it will be more GW2 Halloween stuff, more Astralaria, more Warframe, and some Minecraft, if at all possible.

Whirlwind Tour Weekend

This Saturday, I played more games in one day than any other day this year… for very much less time.

Yep, there’s that unavoidable tradeoff.

Path of Exile essentially launched Bestiary League on the very same day A Tale in the Desert began Tale 8. Naturally, I had to make a character in both and check the launches out.

At the same time, my inferiority complex was still smarting from a notoriously poor showing of my Scourge’s dps (rock bottom, getting only about two-thirds the dps of the other three player’s Scourges) during regular Friday raids in GW2. If I didn’t make some attempt at diagnosing and fixing the problem by next week’s raids, my hope of getting to do dps on Dhuum CM (and thus avoid the excessive mental drain and stress of doing green circles) was going to die stillborn.

Furthermore, I’d been wanting to check out Trove again, revisit Warframe and there were still projects to tinker away on in Minecraft: Forever Stranded.

Frankly, I didn’t know where to start.

But my subconscious did.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, knowing that Path of Exile had just launched Bestiary league at 4am my time. My mouse cursor found the icon and clicked it, setting up the download.

While waiting, I found myself hitting the icon for ATITD to set up -that- download, and then opening the browser to download Discord, register an account and figure out how to join the relevant ATITD Discord server.

Turns out Discord has the nearest thing to the persistent chat channels that I’ve found so unique and helpful to social community building that I’ve only ever seen in ATITD and no other MMO. I spent a while scrolling back and lurking, reading stuff to get a feel of the lay of the land: the two big takeaways were that there were now ‘factions’ in Tale 8 – the choice of which I’d have to think on before proceeding – and that the new Tale hadn’t quite launched yet.

Oh good. So I jumped straight into Path of Exile to recapitulate my SRS build from the old league, with a minor little cosmetic change. Instead of fiery skulls, I did a skill gem cosmetic swap to ravens.

I have my eye on the Harpy Alpha Supporter Pack at some point in the future. So my fashion theme this league is the Morrigan, all dark, ravens, witchcraft and bringer of death.

Imagine my surprise to find a new support gem, Summon Phantasm on Kill – supported skills or minions summon a Phantasm minion on landing a killing blow. The Phantasm does ranged projectile damage.

Are you kidding me? A mini-spectre type of mob that might support my leveling? Since I will be building for minion damage anyway for my raging spirits… 😍

The bonus is that they look like dark ghostly shapes shooting shadowy bolts, so I have the perfect themed entourage for my witch-necromancer right now. We’ll see how it goes when I get further up in levels.

As for the Bestiary itself, I find it interesting. As you catch beasts, you unlock crafting recipes that can produce more selectively tuned rares (like rares with fire damage, or rares with no physical mods or rares with critical chance and so on), except you have to defeat all the mobs involved in the recipes in a closed cage fight in an arena. For an SSF character, I suspect this is going to be a good source of decent leveling items.

It’s been having some teething troubles and negative reception on Reddit – powerful builds were apparently kinda deleting mobs before net throwing and capturing can take effect.

Since I’m a slower SSF player, that hasn’t quite been a personal issue just yet until Sunday night – I just made one raging spirit or leave one phantasm up to tickle a particularly squishy beast down to the level of low health a net needs. (For a few of the tougher mobs, it was all I could do to output enough damage to scratch it down.) It was also possible to throw the net first and then just spam spirits to knock it down to the low health required.

I did run into the apparently unintended glitch of the net lasting a split second (rather than a few seconds) and then the mob enraging for five seconds and not being able to be captured. At the point, I just assumed I’d failed and waited for the time required before netting again. I guess I’ve been too well trained by shitty catch chances in Pokemon Go.

The fixes are coming fast and furious though, I hear. The nets should last three seconds now, if thrown first, which is plenty of time for strong builds to delete the entire screen of mobs. And there’s talk of a backup necromantic net which can capture corpses, in the probable future event of fast builds going so fast that they don’t even see what they destroyed until it’s too late.

That should arrive at a perfect timing for my pace. I hit level 30 something this Sunday and started to realize my raging spirits were getting wimpy as all get out. So I bit the bullet and stopped to adjust my build – got a four link, though I don’t have the currency yet for a +1 or +2 level to minion or fire gems (*sad face*), respeced a few points to push to minion damage nodes sooner, picked up the Hatred aura, and struggled through an on-level level 33 Labyrinth, where I Ascended and went straight for the new Puppet Master passive skill.

The minion army is now at a point that can indeed be said to be effectively deleting mobs at my level range. Level 38 and showing no signs of stopping yet. All’s well until the next slowdown point.

In between PoE breaks, I turned my attention to A Tale in the Desert.

Apparently my Welcome Island lament got a couple of eyes – s’ not hard to rise in SEO when covering a niche game – and along with other new player feedback, a couple of tweaks have been implemented to the new player experience.

That’s one bonus of a niche game with active fanatical players – things turn and change at a much faster rate than say… trying to turn MMO oil tankers like *cough* Guild Wars 2 *cough*.

Welcome Island, I’m happy to report, is much more welcoming than before.

new-wi

The messaging at the top of the screen has improved, providing more guidance. The signs on the island say pretty much the same thing, in the event that a newbie might skip past all the text and still need to refer to something.

Things like camera and setting up UI options are covered very early on, to help with the initial disorientation of any player more used to modern day games.

There’s a big fat road to follow – that leads to the tar pit – and a bit of a new, improved mini-map which is still working out a few kinks (but hey, there’s a zoom in and zoom out function, mind blown.)

There’s even a decorative pier that kinda indicates approximately where one should set up their ferry when leaving for Egypt proper.

Anyway, with the help of prior recent experience and pulling up the old guide, I got to the mainland in under two hours or so.

Here’s the odd thing, I didn’t feel frustrated, but I didn’t feel in any particular hurry to settle down or start factory grinding either. I think, in the back of my mind, I kinda know that I don’t have the time investment available to play hardcore powergamer with macros and alts right now. Maybe this will change in a few months, maybe not.

It’s also a been there, done that kinda thing. I know reaching really high levels and achieving in Tests is beyond my willingness to dedicate time and effort and interest to grind (sorta like reaching level 100 in Path of Exile, for that matter.) I reached level 30 something and got to see nearly all the tech and systems somehow and that was enough, I don’t have extreme Achiever dreams as a motivating factor.

So what are my other options? If I was a strong Socializer, ATITD is a dream come true, a tiny sandbox where you can get to know a community, have plenty of people to chat with and contribute in some small part to. There’s politics and drama and this Tale is looking like it’s going to be very rife with high drama and conflict-oriented sociological situations with another new and active developer at its helm – especially one that just introduced factions to see if that changes the dynamics of the ATITD community any.

But I’m not. I’m pretty introverted, and work lately has involved a LOT of interacting with people, so really, the last thing I want to do when I go home to play a game is be pushed into interacting with more people. I consider typing a word or a sentence into a chat channel, be it in-game or in Discord, and stop before I even hit a key. That would invite a response, and I don’t actually want a friendly response because that would lead to a conversation and that’s -tiring- to an introvert in desperate need of solo recharge time.

I suppose I don’t mind becoming a small cog in a big guild and helping out here and there, except I have timezone issues and just general free time issues right now, so any of my contributions would be a drop in a puddle, if not a lake.

Then too, I have to admit that the actual activity involved in producing such a contribution is not exactly triggering a ‘fun’ button for me right now.

Nothing to do with ATITD specifically, mostly to do with the place my brain is in right now – the same lack of ‘fun’ button is being triggered when doing grindy resource accumulation activities in GW2 (I stopped, mostly), and when I popped into Trove in between various gaming sessions and realized that I didn’t feel like learning how to play my Tomb Raiser again or visiting various mini-dungeons to kill the mini-bosses to get loot… for now.

I was getting the visceral adrenaline hit in PoE, and to a lesser extent, Warframe of all places, which I popped into after Trove to clear a single survival mission for 20 minutes (I was going for the survive 10 minutes to unlock Jupiter Junction, and wound up staying for twice as long because shooting endless hordes of Grineer in the face felt ‘fun’).

I also managed to unlock the Jupiter Junction, which was a face off against the most ridiculous spectre encountered so far, Valkyr. I was nearly at my wit’s end in an utter deadlocked stalemate where I was popping Rhino’s iron skin every time it wore off but couldn’t figure out how to deal enough damage… right up to the point where I thought my way through the problem while dodging behind pillars and running in circles, and realized my energy was constantly recharging… and thus could produce nigh unlimited Rhino stomps with maybe fifteen seconds of wait time in between casts. It became a patient game of stunlocking her every time she didn’t have her invulnerability up and then just showering her with pretty ineffectual bullets until the next time. I nearly ran out of ammo for the poor Soma Prime, but killed her with 8 bullets left. Phew.

Obviously, I still need to work out and work on modding for more effectiveness at some point, but… just not today. Or tomorrow. Some day. When I’m not so busy.

But I found it a valuable lesson to realize that my subconscious was kinda enjoying the gameplay of Warframe more than nearly any other game on my huge laundry list of games I was visiting that day – I had to feel it contrasted right there and then, kinda like wine or chocolate or coffee-tasting, in order to sense the subtle differences I might not have picked out if just trying one product on its own.

Still I found myself logging in and out of A Tale in the Desert. I’d log in for 30 minutes, attempt to do a teeny step on a mini-goal or project, scroll and read all the chat text in-game and Discord, and then log out because I’d rather wait offline than online. Couple hours later, I’d pop in for ten minutes and pop back off again.

I think, subconsciously, I kind of want to spectate, rather than be a participant at this point in time. The whole idea of factions makes me subtly uneasy; an active roleplaying developer doing stuff is almost… threatening, in a sense. Resource loss, resource waste (including wasted time) feels like it could very well happen this Tale. Which is all very well if you’re in the Tale to be entertained by the participation in such stories and the social community… but which personally strikes me more like Eve Online – great to hear about from a distance, but not really something I want to invest time playing in.

Maybe, between reading all the system chats and Discord chats and the odd in-game chat, that’s all the entertainment that I really need from ATITD right now.

After all, I already have one other game that I’m in an odd work/play relationship with… I’ve been on an ambivalent break from GW2. The Amazon servers are still shit if I’m not using a gaming proxy, which is subtly frustrating. I gave up doing dailies and found that I haven’t missed them. I log in twice weekly to raid and that provides sufficient influx of gold to keep me going when I don’t do anything else in game, thus requiring nothing of the game. Raiding on my condi warrior is comfortable. I like comfortable. Most of the raids go more or less smoothly, and then I’m gone till the next time.

The slight discomfort is the Dhuum CM attempts which are a challenging stretch. Challenging stretches require learning, which I’m okay with, except that it takes time. And is not comfortable, and often perplexing and frustrating. Part of the frustration is the lack of a good source for learning / the perfect coach to accurately diagnose issues and offer usable advice.

Youtube videos move fast and often don’t explicitly state things that actually need to be said to a new learner. Friends or raid members may be well-meaning but equally clueless or offer tips that are completely off the mark. (I asked myself, if someone in my team or indeed, anywhere, asked me to coach or offer them tips on how to play the class I play most… would I be able to do so effectively? Answer: No. Not at all. I wouldn’t have the faintest clue where to even start.) Practising blindly runs the risk of locking in bad habits. But ultimately, self-coaching and trying to figure out your own sources of information and improvement is where most players who aren’t esports athletes end up.

I made myself log in and hit the combat golem a couple times. Mostly meh, still rough around the edges, still mostly perplexed. I do suspect the main bulk of my loss of damage is missing epidemics, which can only be practiced in a more real world setting with another necromancer.

I had the bright idea on Sunday to take the scourge out for a spin in the open world, and remembered bounty trains as a source of high hitpoint bosses in a low stress group setting. This gave me more real world practice with skill priorities (complete with jumbled up rotations when panicking and moving and dodging) and I even felt a bit of muscle memory locking in. The bounty train and learning of ‘how to scourge’ almost felt… fun… right up to the point where I started lagging at 800-1000ms ping because I wasn’t using the gaming proxy.

Scenario A: I log out, start the gaming proxy, restart Guild Wars 2, log back in, rejoin the squad and continue.

Scenario B: I log out. Period.

I went for option B and did something else instead.

Like build a jetpack in Forever Stranded and extend my cobblestone bridge highway a little further.

Like borrow some digital library books and start to skim read them.

Like watch a Netflix movie or two.

But mostly to play juuuust a little more Path of Exile.

So I guess the whirlwind tour was somewhat useful after all; I touched all the bases I was intending to touch, and more or less figured out viscerally where my focus wanted to be.