Blaugust Day 23: To-Do List Review

Apparently, my subconscious brain has decided that the best way to reconcile Blaugust and my natural tendency to post at less frequent rates is to make me reaaaally sleepy and tired on the “off days” so that I will crawl into bed instead and procrastinate by zonking out like a light, and then release sufficient adrenaline on the “on day” to say, ok, go for it, here’s your super-challenge, 3 posts in one day to make up for it all.

Stopgap post #1 will be a to-do list review. Just how close did the ideal cleave to reality?

(Key: Strikethrough means ‘counts as completed the task, in my book.’

Blue text means ‘Still more left to work on that.’)

  • Watch the Dota 2 International
  • Play the GW2 Beta Weekend
  • Seriously attack the hobby room with a GTD-based cleaning effort
  • Scan at least a book a day for the month of August
  • Trove – level ringcrafting
  • Trove – level gardening
  • Trove – get better mount
  • Trove – fish
  • Trove – get ally
  • Trove – get boat
  • Trove – play it, do dailies, get to max level, etc.
  • GW2 – Finish new LA jumping puzzle
  • GW2 – Finish Dry Top Challenger Cliffs badges and llama
  • GW2 – Finish Silverwastes badges (normal and golden)
  • GW2 – Finish the last undone JP, Spelunker’s Delve
  • GW2 – Finish Ebonhawke book reading achievement
  • GW2 – Tidy up alt inventories
  • GW2 – Open champion bags with low level alt
  • GW2 – Sort bank / organize inventories
  • GW2 – Build up gold reserves
  • Watch Indie Game: The Movie
  • Maybe Play or Revisit Steam Games:
    • AI War
    • Astebreed
    • Cinemaware: Anthology
    • Dishonoured
    • Don’t Starve
    • Evolve
    • Gone Home
    • Hate: Plus
    • Her Story
    • How to Survive
    • Injustice: Gods Among Us
    • In Verbis Virtus
    • Minecraft
    • Path of Exile
    • Poker Night 2
    • Puzzle Pirates
    • Puzzle Quest
    • Realm of the Mad God
    • Skyforge
    • Spacechem
    • Spiral Knights
    • Strike Suit Zero
    • Tales of Maj’Eyal
    • Talos Principle
    • The Banner Saga
    • The Blackwell Legacy
    • The Dig
    • The Stanley Parable
    • Terraria
    • Warframe

Not too bad, really. I got many of the one-off things done.

The key outliers are all the declutter projects. Apparently, it is just impossible for me to balance decluttering and playing games and blog posting all at once. If I declutter, it’s probably going to be radio silence for a while.

Trove is letting me indulge my secondary Achiever to no end, I hit all the notes I wanted on that front.

I’ve even gone through several hundreds of fishing lures (while watching old TV series in the other screen. After I finish all the seasons of Dexter, I might just borrow Game of Thrones off my DVD-crazed family member who just picked it up from Amazon and has been doing a marathon in the living room. The opening theme is now stuck in my head and I haven’t even -followed- the show.)

There’s a pretty serious amount of cruel RNG to Trove fishing though, hence why it’s in blue. I’m still missing -one- ancient scale for the first fishing rod upgrade that I want, and after that, there’s even more things that require ancient scales.

I got my Knight to max level in Trove. The Tomb Raiser is level 19 and will probably make it to 20 over the next week or so. Following which, I will work on the Dracolyte. All of them are vaguely in Shadow Level 1 and 2 gear or thereabouts, and I think that’s likely my solo plateau.

Turns out it isn’t so much -soloing- of the Shadow Arena that is the problem (the Tomb Raiser has managed U3 Shadow Arenas with some initial deaths – but you just restart and can try gain) but the fact that you only have so many Shadow keys as one person. The ideal is to find a group where everyone contributes a key, I suppose, though there are probably many more groups that don’t work out.

My Knight keeps blowing up in the normal U5 adventure world groups – geographic latency plus dodgy servers with lag are not a great recipe for being able to avoid one-shot KOs from mobs while in melee – so I’m waiting on a more damage focused ranged alt to give grouping a better attempt.

The other options right now are to slooowly attempt upgrading with Pearls for 1000 flux each (earned via challenge attempts every hour), go through annoying RNG cycling 3rd and 4th stats with Tentacles (of which I seem to have run out and can only find the randomly popping Shadow Knights as a reliable source of, possibly might get more in Shadow Arenas, not sure), figure out which emblems and flasks I should be unlocking with cubits earned from the daily log-ins, fish more or just level the Candy Barbarian when I get bored of the slow upgrade pace.

They’re all doable, just at a slower pace than before.

That slowdown in pace is somewhat welcome, in that I’ve been able to switch back to GW2 and pay a bit more attention on that front.

I really -tried- the new LA jumping puzzle. I faithfully read and watched Dulfy. I got about 3/4 of the way towards the first key, then I just kept failing a jump and falling. I retraced my footsteps through the same 3/4 of the first part 5+ times, then couldn’t take it any longer and called it a day.

I might try bringing a mesmer alt next time and making a portal before the jump I keep missing. It’s just that said mesmer alt is comfortably ensconced where he is (by the crab-grabbin’ gloves NPC) and it feels tedious to move him elsewhere.

I did tick off several other achievements, the last undone JP I’d been sitting on – Spelunker’s Delve, Dry Top badges and llama, Ebonhawke volumes (take 2.)

There was a particularly infuriating Dry Top badge jump (#9) which took a while, but was pretty entertaining to attempt. I liked the parts where I could think it through and systematically link – “Ok, here I’m going to fall down and strafe just a tide so that I land on this ledge… next, hit the super-jump and aim for this other ledge, etc.” and then perform consistently once I worked it out. I was busy raging at the inconsistent bits – namely Mr Purple Lightning Jump – where latency lets you keep over-shooting or under-shooting, even though you -know- where you’re supposed to go, the skill itself doesn’t quite let you achieve what you want. *twitch*

I gamely tried to tidy up my inventories. That’s definitely still not complete, but some initial steps have been taken on the “clear out the junk” “attempt the easy stuff” “gather an initial overview” front. The hard decisions and actual organization are still yet to come.

And I’ve managed to build back my gold reserve from hopelessly poor (aka 10g, period) to middling peasant (100g or thereabouts) by taking advantage of the recent rise in gold to gem prices from the anniversary sales and exchanging 10 bucks I was still owing myself from July’s declutter project in the other direction. I still have ten more bucks left I can use, though I’m hoping to see a larger bump up once more delicious anniversary items start being released.

I guess I have now officially graduated to “whale” status after three years… (even if I only count in the larger scheme of things as a dwarf sperm whale.)

For actual game-playing though, I did more of that in GW2 this week than I have for a while.

I did several Vinewraths, along with a couple Silverwaste chest train circuits.

I even said, what the heck, and bought three versatile simple infusions to slot into my warrior – who was sitting around with three Ascended slots yet unfilled – bringing his AR from 26 to 41, and then tried a level 30ish fractal for a daily. It was surprisingly painless. I lucked into a guild group of 3 persons who had already finished (what I define as the annoying part, but fractal regulars call the easy) half of the Swamp fractal, so just had to kill the Mossman. Colossus went super smoothly since they did all the running and I just had to sit in the corner and not be a derp and kill the target.

The only part that freaked me out was one portion of the dredge fractal which apparently got changed one patch or other, and I ended up seeing this stealth bomb/pipe with patroling golem sentries phase for the first time. Having very little clue what was going on and not seeming to go invisible from the first pipe that dropped the bombs, even though it was puffing out the powder and the rest seemed to be going invisible ok… I decided to err on the side of caution and just sit there until they finished, just in case my bumbling set off any alarms or what not. The actual ice elemental merry go around was fine. I guess I need to read up on that part for the next time. Eventually.

Jade Maw was also just a fairly methodical takedown sequence, though I also managed to bug myself and get stuck mid-crystal pickup while still moving. Some guy conveniently stood by me and got downed by the Jade Maw, and rezzing him managed to fix that and unstick me from the ground. I was kinda surprised to see that the final chest rewarded a gold, not sure if that was a recent change, though very unsurprised to score a useless uninfused ring as a reward as well. Even more junk to hang on to until the expansion comes and lets us do something useful with the rings.

As for the other Steam games, I did attempt quite a number of them.

The adventure games with finite endings can be officially declared to be done.

I dabbled for a while with those struck off as blue. I’m likely to revisit Astebreed, Strike Suit Zero and Terraria again.

Astebreed was an interesting arcade/bullet hell shooter where you played a mech suit with both ranged and melee attacks. Its schtick was that it kept flipping perspectives, so you might be fighting 2D side scroller in one phase, and then doing something like isometric 2.5D in another, and so on.

Strike Suit Zero is something I really love and want to play more of, but am a little intimidated by the controls and the reputed difficulty level. You get to fly around a small spaceship arcade simulator style, and eventually get an anime mech spaceship with ludicrous power-up and give ’em hell options.

It is a -great- game for putting you in the shoes of flying a small dogfighting spacecraft around large fleet battles with bigger cruiser and battleships pounding the hell out of each other, as long as you don’t mind a bit of fanciful heroic license over realism – you get to shoot down torpedos to protect the big ships, circle around them blowing up turrets, and basically do many unfeasible Luke Skywalker things to progress to the next mission. I’ve only played the first four or five missions and I’m already feeling like I’m in the middle of a Babylon 5-like space battle, and things reputedly get more wild as the missions progress.

Controls though are definitely a bit of a learning curve. Just when I think I’ve got the hang of consistently flying a normal spaceship, they give me a crazy mech that opens up and auto-targets and spins camera perspective on holding down one key. It’s something that feels like you could be totally kickass with, except you’re pressing all the keys with the wrong timing while struggling to learn right now and doing poorly as a result. The mission result screen also doesn’t help, because it keeps reporting my performance as sub-par, even when I thought I was doing pretty well. The game just assumes an average player to be a lot better than they are, I feel.

Terraria is Terraria. One of those games that will suck up all your time if you let it. I can’t really afford that right now, so I’m just not dipping into it heavily yet.

Injustice: Gods Among Us was ok. A fighting game with superheroes. That looked like you’d really need a controller to play it properly. Since I wasn’t in the mood for fighting games, I uninstalled it for the time being.

Poker Night 2 was much of what you’d expect, poker with banter. I think I liked Poker Night 1 more because I recognized more of the characters, but Claptrap and Glad0s were fairly entertaining, even if Sam is the more sedate and easy-going of the Sam and Max duo.

I haven’t been able to get myself to go back to Skyforge. Or Warframe. I guess it probably isn’t happening any time soon.

I peeked at Spacechem again, and a couple of tutorial games later, my brain just splattered on the side of my skull and I decided, nah, I don’t think I’m in the mood for really hard puzzle games right now.

I tried the Banner Saga, and I’m not sure I really get it. It’s very… slow-paced. I’ve been spending more time watching little sprites move from place to place on a map than actual gameplay, even more time watching conversational cutscenes that don’t really say anything, and only every so often, I get a playing board where I can attempt turn-based strategic combat… whereupon I promptly got one character killed and I guess that fellow’s gone for good, which leaves me to wonder if that’ll just make the rest of my fights even harder and the game less worth playing.

Dunno.

There’s plenty of other games left that I could be playing, so maybe I’ll attempt those over figuring out games I still don’t quite get. The rest of the list seems ok for the rest of August and stretching into September.

I’ve -installed- Dishonoured. Just haven’t started the game yet. Maybe I’ll try that soon.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 23.

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Blaugust Day 15: Video Game Crushes

This seems to be a fun topic meme that’s going around the blogosphere.

Jasyla from Cannot Be Tamed first turned me on (whee, unintentional word pun) to it, and she has a few other linkbacks in her post from where she got the idea from too.

Mercury’s followed suit at Light Falls Gracefully, having neatly nabbed Quistis and Marjory – two ladies who’ve also caught my eye for being pretty gosh darned sexy in a “I’m still competent and a whole person without you, but *wink* I would be totally hot in bed, and it would be awesome if we had feelings for each other” kind of way.

I thought about Liara or Garrus from Mass Effect, and while they’re both attractive (and Wrex is a dear), somehow I know they’re fictional and they weren’t an instant “OMFG” attraction / infatuation, which would fall more neatly under the ‘crush’ umbrella.

So we’re going to go a little more back in time, when presumably my hormones were more riled up and the graphics were more primitive, leading to a convenient comics-like gap in between the shown scenes where imagination (and projection) could take over.

Erana – Quest For Glory series

eranaspeace

I fell in love with her before we even met.

How could you not love a lady whose raison d’être was to leave little pockets of peace and beauty and calm in an otherwise hostile world?

Her theme song would play, and I would just sit for tens of minutes in Erana’s Peace to meditate and rest.

erana

In Quest For Glory 2, we saw her portrait among the wizards, a paragon of magic, a lovely druidess, a Faerie princess! *dreamy sigh ❤ ❤ ❤ *

So it was a terrific surprise (and somewhat of a blow to me) when we met in the later Quest For Glory games to see that some artist had criminally decided to depict her like this:

EranaQFG4

OMFGBBQ. CONTINUITYRUINED. #NORESPECTFORTHEPAST.

Ridiculously long ears on elves – instant turn off. Not to mention, a waif-ish anorexic look that brings to mind “child” rather than “sexy” or “hot.”

I did still love her for the person and personality inside… so I mainly pretended that this close-up didn’t exist (the pixel version was ok) and just went with the text to end her story and the romance.

Jaheira – Baldur’s Gate series

jaheira1

I have terrible luck with my video game crushes.

In Baldur’s Gate 1, her portrait looked hot as hell, and she was unavailable and inexplicably attached to that wimp of a Khalid.

Some people found her voice grating and annoying, I found it refreshing to actually see and hear a video game female that wasn’t a wilting flower, waiting for a man to come along and “complete her” or hold her hand, who actually “wore the pants” in her relationship with Khalid, and oh that “I don’t care what people think, I say what I want to” sarcasm and laconic humor in a lower-pitched rougher not-intentionally-sultry voice than was usual in fantasy depiction of females.

jaheira2

In Baldur’s Gate 2, she had an unfortunate makeover courtesy of the “ridiculously long ears on elves” artists faction… and I dunno, what are those… dreadlocks?

I can’t remember if I instantly swapped her portrait with the old one, but if I didn’t, I should have.

Fortunately, the game was mostly text when it came to dialogues, and you could read text with any tone and inflection you care to give it. So I mainly closed my eyes to looks and thoroughly enjoyed my romance of the outwardly strong but inwardly still fragile-and-hurting-and-needing-comfort-and-wisdom Harper.

Carla (the Sword Master) – Secret of Monkey Island series

swordmaster

Yet another unobtainable lady of strong words and character.

Why, oh why, do the video game protagonists keep going after the girl that I’m a lot less interested in?

Well, ok, Elaine Marley’s pretty competent in her own way too, but it was Carla I fell for at first sight. Couldn’t begin to tell you why. I guess that’s how crushes work.

Yeah, she was a bit of a cad for joining the mutineers, but really, Guybrush is Guybrush, right, -anybody- would push him around after some time.

Aeris (Aerith Gainsborough) – Final Fantasy VII

aeris

Time for me to join the ranks of the normal with Aeris (or Aerith if you prefer.)

Her spunk, her cheerful personality, that slightly wistful look on her face, her place of beauty and peace in the church growing the flowers she sells…

You name it, she’s got it. It’s as if the designers *cough* went out of their way to make sure nearly everybody would fall in love with her.

Little secret you might not know about me: I never finished Final Fantasy 7.

Somewhere around the Gold Saucer and the disk change, I caught wind of Aeris’ unescapable fate, spent some time looking up blind alleys wondering if a future revival was going to be possible, and then decided I had invested way too much effort and time leveling her up to only get to use her ultimate Limit Break for a short while before it would all be taken away.

Yeah, yeah, I geddit, good for story, loss is a fact of life, poignant narrative, yadda yadda. I wasn’t having any of it. I like my escapist fairy tale endings, dammit.

Yeah, well, fuck it. Fuck Sephiroth. The only way to win is not to play.

(I tried to sneak a peek at future videos and cutscenes via a primitive form of ‘data-mining’ and decided the rest of the story was heading towards one of those anime endings that only seem to make sense to the Japanese anyway, so nah…)

In my world, Cloud and Aeris are still frozen in time and together. The End.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, the symbol ❤ , and the number 15.

Blaugust Day 9: To-Do List Recap

Easy way out today. Let’s do a recap of where I am with the to-do list:

Watching the Dota 2 International – Done. Some nice matches this year.

Gw2 Beta Weekend – Sort of played. If 30 minutes messing around with some skills can be considered ‘played.’

From reports, a great many events in Verdant Brink have been breaking all weekend… which doesn’t encourage me to try it out any. Exactly what kind of useful feedback can be offered then besides “need this fixed before any further opinions can be given?”

Decluttering the hobby room – Okay, guilty, I’ve been enjoying the holiday weekend and haven’t moved an inch on the good intentions yet.

Scan books – I gamely tried to scan one and realized it’ll take me forever the ‘try to preserve it’ way. So I sliced it up. And another five books cut up. Just not yet scanned. So a little behind on that, but I trust the ADF on the scanner to eat them up once I get around to it.

Trove To-Do List – Pretty much everything done besides fish.

Ringcrafting and gardening are at 250 and maxed out. I bought my store raptor.

Then Thursday was apparently doubled adventure box loot day, and I went nuts on visiting lairs and dungeons. Turns out that adventure boxes are like lockboxes but with no need to spend real money on them unless you wanted to shortcut the process and use a ‘golden key’ to get the ‘rare’ drop without grind. I’d been opening a bunch without seeing hide nor hair of the reputed panda mounts that were supposed to be in there, but Thursday saw a flood of boxes coming in and I just kept opening them and suddenly, there was a purple-pink fae panda mount that popped. Shortly after, the red panda mount.

That’s honestly more mounts than I need already, especially since I like the raptor so much. I compromised by letting my Tomb Raiser ride the fae panda so that they were color-coordinated, and kept using the raptor on everybody else.

Allies attained. Boat procured. Not only did I get to Mastery 20 and unlock wings, the next couple of days saw me hit Mastery 30, and unlock the hourly challenges too.

All the alt classes I own are leveled to over 10, the Knight is 19 and creeping up on max level 20, half-thinking of buying and trying out the candy barbarian, who knows, we’ll see.

GW2 To-Do List – I gamely tried to read all the volumes of Ebonhawke in one sitting the other day. I -swear- I hit all twenty of them, I was whispering to myself each volume number, but somehow the achievement didn’t unlock. Either it’s bugged or I made a mistake counting. That kinda deflated me from other completionist attempts.

The good news is that I’ve recovered my icy runestone backup fund (ie. 100g put aside for rainy days), the bad news is that I don’t have much more gold than that.

Nothing else on that front, just been lazy with GW2. I really miss the fortnightly Living Story updates. It’s like I feel frozen in time and unable to progress without the story moving ahead too.

Watch Indie Game: The Movie – I watched 3/4 of it? It was fairly interesting, dealing with all the runaway emotions of trying to make/sell an indie game, but I kinda got sleepy before it ended, stopped it to nap and never went back to it.

Other Games: I’ve been dabbling with Savage Lands, which is mostly awkward in many areas (but Early Access is the usual excuse) but shows some amount of promise if development continues and more content gets put in.

And I’ve popped back into Terraria for a spell, going singleplayer this time to try out the 1.3 patch. (Mostly because I lost my saves – worlds, characters – when I switched to the new computer and can’t be arsed to go digging around in the backup for them. Good excuse to start from scratch.)

So far it’s mostly been killing the Eye of Cthulhu, and wasting a ton of Worm Food trying to summon the Eater of Souls into a man-made corruption area – I think when it sinks down into the ground, it leaves the corruption area and thus scarpers off or something. I gave up, made a really stopgap arena in the real corruption region far far away from my base (hence the desire to make a controlled one nearer) and killed the Eater there with my last Worm Food.

I still need one more Eater of Souls to make the last piece of demonite armor, and then maybe I’ll think about visiting the dungeon and/or descending to the hell layer for the Wall of Flesh.

What’s heavily distracting are the butterflies. Literally. They keep flying into my base. I keep netting them and going “ooh, so many different types to collect,” and realizing that nearly every critter (besides butterflies) is now collectible.

And some of them are bait, which no doubt feeds into a giant fish collection of some sort. I think I’m going to need a bigger base.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, L for Lists and Lazy, and the number 9.