Game Triage

I’m with Liore and Belghast. Hype cycles are whooshing right over my head. And I don’t know what to blog about. So I go silent for a couple days, which sometimes turns into weeks.

Here’s the main problem:

Too many games. Not enough time.

I suppose one personal habit of mine that has already gotten entrenched is a deep resistance to buying most games on launch day. Or indeed, during the hype cycle when most people are talking about it.

The habit started when I skipped a year or two when I was schooling overseas, or unemployed and conserving money, and ever since then, I’ve been busy playing catch-up.

I don’t regret a thing.

I’m part of the long tail, I get my games cheaper, I still get a very similar experience for most things that ain’t reliant on launch day crowds, and I wasn’t much of a must-do-the-same-thing-as-my-friends-at-the-same-time person to begin with.

It’s a rare game that I buy full price – I must really love it – and often I see it going for much cheaper later, and it rubs in the lesson that I paid a premium for experiencing it at a critical time.

Hell, I have ‘old’ games I want to play again, and I don’t know when I’ll get around to them.

I haven’t quite crossed 1.5 years in Stardew Valley yet, I don’t think. One week I was playing it, and then I wasn’t.

I kinda want to play Don’t Starve again. I bought the latest tropical island DLC thing sight unseen and -haven’t- got around to even seeing any of its content.

I listened to Peter Hollens sing Skyrim and suddenly I want to start another game from scratch, for reals this time, a full second playthrough, and maybe play a different combat style and oh, actually try the DLC? Did I ever buy it when it went on Steam sale? I can’t remember.

Who am I kidding?

Path of Exile lies fallow once more, because Minecraft shoved it aside last week.

I raid now, in GW2, two weeknights of five. Three left.

I took up a real world art class Sunday morning, cos it grew increasingly obvious to me that I needed some form of tangible creative expression. Fills a spiritual, meditative hole. But it does mean that half a weekend is gone where gaming is concerned.

Half of a Saturday is on standby for work or real-life pursuits (eg. family outings) or game community ’emergencies’ (I’m gonna want to play WvW resets if the game mode ever takes off again; the raid group may need to assemble.)

3 weeknights. 1 weekend. (Minus the hour per day finishing GW2 dailies, cos that’s non-negotiable.)

I sit around with a to-do / bucket list, and I have to admit that the most pressing priority for the use of said 3 + 1 isn’t a game, old or new.

I have many epub books and digital magazines left completely unread. I picked up a Netflix subscription when it went global this year (and thus, available in my country.)

There’s also around two decades of accumulated clutter I’ve been trying to divest myself of, and it mostly means taking the time to digitize the stuff I can’t bear to throw away without saving it somehow.

I got started on the project early this year, set an ideal completion date of July, promptly got sidetrekked for two months with GW2 raiding, and really ought to get back to it now that things have stabilized to a place of relative contentment in Tyria… before the Living Story picks up and completely derails the best laid plans.

Between that, Minecraft, the blog and GW2, I am spread completely thin. (And it’s not like the blog is getting that much attention these days either.)

I suspect I’m not the only one with similar issues.

Interesting times we live in now, where our attention and focus has become such a commodity.

Advertisements

GW2: Prioritizing Things To Do, Post-Heart of Thorns

wyvernvsfrogs

We’re about two weeks into the Heart of Thorns expansion. I guess now’s a time as good as any to finally come up for air.

The 64-bit client has worked wonders for me as a stopgap measure to stave off memory leak crashes (at last, upgrading to Windows 7 and a new computer with 16GB of RAM has been rewarded.)

On average, it chomps about 3-3.5 GB of RAM just doing normal things and goes up to about 4-4.5GB consumed during insanely packed meta events where a hundred players are in the vicinity, all sporting their own combination of wardrobe and dyes and particle effects.

Bright side, it doesn’t crash (at least, not yet, *touches wood*)

(I stress tested it the other day by walking into the Svanir Shaman Frozen Maw daily with full default graphics and name tags on. I figure, if it doesn’t freeze up and die then, it’s probably okay.)

Thus I get to see more of Heart of Thorns on a graphical setting beyond potato.

halfabreacher

Granted, it’s rather hard to frame a screenshot sans UI when you’re worried about getting randomly gibbed by a Mordrem sniper, a punisher, or *urgh* a stalker.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve become rather relaxed about goals in the expansion.

A seasonal cadence of two weeks/four weeks lent a level of stress that encouraged me to grind out all the rewards I wanted “before it went away.” There was a “limited-time” pressure that was sometimes obvious and sometimes subconscious, which made me more prone to frustration and impatience.

Faced with a deluge of possible rewards to buy and skins to collect, one would think that I’d be freaking out right about now, but knowing its permanence (assuming the HoT zones stay unchanged reward-wise as long as Dry Top and Silverwastes has existed is likely a safe bet), I’ve been looking on most of it as a long term goal. The slow chase will likely last me another year, if not two, and I’m okay with that.

If anything, I’ve been confronted by that age-old lateral progression bugaboo that we veterans keep advising newbies about: “Help! I’ve reached X threshold, and there are so many things to do! What should I be doing first?!”

My usual naggy refrain to these folks is that beyond a certain point (ie. get exotic armor as a baseline, strive towards Ascended trinkets and more,) we can’t really tell you what to do next because it all depends on what you value and want to prioritize.

Like story? Like dungeons? Like shiny skins? Like gold? They all head down different roads.

Similarly, I look at Heart of Thorns and I’m like, “Masteries? AP achievments? Raids (be it prep for the closed ones, or open world ones?) Gold + Relaxation? (So many nodes to hit, so much money players are willing to spend *twitches compulsively*) Shinies? (Like chase a HoT skin collection, a core Tyria legendary, a core Tyria precursor, or prep for a Maguuma legendary?) So many collections? Aaahhh collect all the things? *falls over dizzy like Skritt in Tarir*”

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is and prioritize my own shit:

  • New Stuff
  • Raids (while new)
  • Harvest Nodes
  • AP
  • Certain shiny objects
  • Gold
  • Masteries
  • Collect all the things
  • Raids (when they’ve gotten old)

This totally non-scientific list was mostly ordered by just choosing two things at random, eg. “Chase AP or Harvest Nodes to Relax” or “Chase AP or Gold?” and deciding which one I valued more, or which I’d pick if I could only do one thing that day.

It’s a little fuzzy around the edges, because technically, harvesting nodes is my main gold stream, but given the amount of gold I’m liable to invest into chasing AP or if the gold had to come from other sources like chasing events or doing dungeons, then certainly I’d choose to focus on easier AP goals first.

Yet if you were to ask me if I’d prefer harvesting nodes to chasing AP, I’d only have to look at my still undone Golden Badges in the Silverwastes to tell you that I’ve been hitting all the nodes first over something like that. Eventually I’ll buckle down and shove that priority up a tad, but as a general guideline, the above list works for me.

New stuff goes without saying for me. I was camped out in Tangled Depths over two weekends and quite a number of weeknights trying to bring down the Chak Gerents (all four of them.)

potatogerent

It may be potato graphics, but this reward chest has never looked shinier.

tdhole

The end result of succeeding the meta was mostly a great big hole blasted through to Dragon’s Stand, a couple of crystallized cache chests and a strongbox made accessible. Plus a piece of Mistward something that’s presumably used for making Mistward armor, when I get around to it. (Probably around the time I finally get around to making a Revenant.)

Once that succeeded once, it was like a great big load fell off my mind and I could start voluntarily choosing to ignore some raid sessions, knowing that more would be organized every day / every week. There would be time to accumulate the zone currency gradually. Now I could prioritize other things with my GW2 play time to catch up on other stuff.

Some of that involves getting more or less prepped for the impending *ugh* closed 10-man raids to hit GW2.

I’m still looking on that activity with a fair amount of dread – mostly because it’s hellish to try and match timezones and turn up at a regular schedule, plus there’s always that rejection feeling from an activity with such small number limits.

(Look at how guild missions have been complained about, when they inadvertently only reward 15 players, leaving the other… oh… 35 people who showed up feeling jipped? Or left repeating the same goddamn guild puzzle over and over until maybe most people get their reward, except a few that seem permanently glitched? Speaking of which, they really need to get around to fixing that. So bloody annoying. I was certainly never one who asked for them to make guild missions closed instances.)

Everyone’s also kinda dreading their reward scheme for raids – many because it seems like Anet’s reward adjustments feel like throwing darts at a dartboard while blindfolded, rather than following any sort of real plan.

Me, I’m bloody terrified that it’s going to be a one-way no-alternate-path “forcing” of players into their shiny new activity that they are so damn proud of and want to collect salty player tears on (What’s going on with that adversarial relationship anyway?)

Take the sudden account-binding of Nuhoch Hunting Stashes and fractal thingumies (I haven’t done fractals seriously post-expansion, I have no idea what’s been going on there.)

I had -thought- it was a clever way to provide players an alternate route to gaining currencies for activities they’d rather not prefer to engage in, while giving players who LIKE those activities an income stream from the players who hate it but want some of the rewards from that activity anyway. Meanwhile, the trade sinks gold via the TP. Win win, no?

No. Apparently, if you want Heart of Thorns zone currencies, you better just grit your teeth and grind events. Vice versa for fractals, though with all the bitterness coming from that front, it doesn’t exactly encourage me to do that activity until everything is given another look.

I don’t know.

My assumption is they’ll keep freaking iterating until they get it right, and we only need to wait until then, but damn, this iteration is SLOW.

In the meantime, I may as well do stuff that’s right in front of me, not get baited by a million and one design traps, and freak out only when there’s solid info to get grumpy about. (Like how I can’t actually prioritize a precursor rifle hunt because some poor bastard who wanted to do it first found out that bits of it were buggy and don’t work.)

One example of those things right in front of me is the revelation that I’m really most comfortable on my charr guardian as a main – I haven’t been playing any other character through Heart of Thorns for any long period of time – so I may as well take some small steps in getting him raid-ready. Like an Ascended greatsword and possibly a mace too – he already has an Ascended sword/focus and scepter/torch, but it’s been super-obvious that Heart of Thorns really really likes you to go AoE in certain scenarios… bottom line, guardian greatswords can do that and my nerfed (but pretty) Fiery Dragon Sword just can’t cut it.

I’ve a warrior and necromancer alt that also needs to be run through Heart of Thorns, and pushed towards raid-readiness, so that’s something to be doing too.

Considering that my warrior still hasn't finished the personal story, that's quite a bit of story chapters to go.
Considering that my warrior still hasn’t finished the personal story, that’s quite a bit of story chapters to go. It’s kinda nice to replay it all again, now that they’ve finally fixed the flow and put back the “greatest fear” arc, after leaving it broken for…how long?

Masteries, thankfully, I’ve knocked out most of the crucial ones, which leaves the nice-to-haves as a slow goal to work toward while doing other things.

Between that, attending open world raids, and maybe replaying the story for achievements, chasing mastery points and hero points for elite specs and harvesting all the things while the guild hall material demand is sending the economy into wild swings, I shouldn’t run out of still-viable things to do while waiting for fixes and iterations to the more egregious issues that have arisen, seemingly all over the game.

Looks like everyone, devs and players alike, will be quite busy until next year.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Darkwing Tigercharr!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Darkwing Tigercharr! (God, I love the charr gliding animation. It’s like they’re pouncing on some mice below. Also, winged cats are awesome. Not very immersion-y, but eh, that boat sailed a long time ago. Still awesome.)

Blaugust Day 31: What Next?

And so we reach the end of August, after attempting 31 posts in 31 days.

We sort of cheated a little at the end, but well, producing walls of text has never really been a problem of mine.

(Producing wall of texts someone else might want to read, now, that’s a little trickier.)

Finding the time to sit down and devote an hour or two to  production of said wall of text, plus a picture or two, that’s harder.

I’d call the Blaugust challenge a success, as it managed to kickstart my blogging habit after a lazy July, and produced a number of blogs that I’ll be keeping track of, even after the month ends.

It’s been a pleasure jumping onto the madness train with a whole bunch of the blogging community.

To-do list wise, we got through about half of the items, and most of the important ones, which I’m quite happy about.

Trove has found itself a handy niche for the moment. I’m quite content to log on daily, fill the star bar for cubits, catch a challenge if I happen to be online for it.

The Tomb Raiser is level 32 or thereabouts. He can juuust about solo U5 dungeons if I’m willing to fight a little harder (ie. wait for energy to recharge and keep holding down the spam AoE button, rinse and repeat 4-5 times.) If I’m feeling lazy, then I’ll stroll through something a little easier in difficulty.

The remaining Trove goals are rather medium-term in nature. I’m working on a Sky Portal, solo, which means accumulating a fairly insane amount of resources that would be much easier to get if I had.. say, 5 or 10 members contributing a portion of the resources each. It mostly means I collect a little each day, stuff it in the bank and try to do more on the bonus days, and basically wait until the magic number is reached.

There’s always fishing for more ancient scales. Which usually means it’s TV show watching time in the other screen first, and fishing second.

Leveling up the Tomb Raiser’s gear any further would mean requiring a lot more flux currency than I can easily get my hands on, which usually means just wait for the hourly challenges and do those for some flux. Very.. time-limited. Working on it, but not in any hurry.

And there’s faffing about on other alts trying to level them up to 20, if I get bored of the above.

I still haven’t quite resolved where I stand on Guild Wars 2 at the moment.

Readers may have noticed that I haven’t bothered to make any mention of the front-page news announcement that GW2 is now… erm, what’s the correct phrase… “play for free” or whatever.

To me, it’s a total non-issue.

It’s too late complaining about the quality of the community. GW2 was going for 10 bucks for a long period, and I’ve noticed mapchat take a turn for the less-polite or patient, in comparison with the quality of the launch day chats.

Basically, politeness is a victim of popular success. The more popular GW2 becomes, the more people jump into the game, the higher proportion of people you will find that have been accustomed to certain speech patterns in WoW or LoL or other similar games and will act in a similar fashion in GW2, having never been fully immersed into the culture yet.

Add on a good dose of veteran impatience and the tendency of people to ape common frames of thought and a certain meta/elitist segregation that seems to have been occurring dungeon-wise (I watched with some bemusement today as someone gave a ranger a lame excuse for a fractals 10 and kicked him from the party – ranger had 3k AP, not exactly a noob – I did not join the vote kick, but I said nothing either, because I just wanted the damn daily done and didn’t want to get kicked before or during the event), and you will find some deterioration of friendliness, free or no free.

I see a great deal of players being all welcoming and social on Reddit, and I presume, in the game as well. Which is great for both them and the newbies – they get “new content” in the sense of having new people to play with / teach / help, and the newbies get that helping hand as well, and may both purchase the game and stick with it.

Which works for me, I’m not really “mentor” material most of the time, being all grouchy hermit and stuff, but hey, increasing game population means increase in all types of players and hopefully, increased participation in all the game modes I enjoy.

On a more personal level, I spent most of the day trying to work out what I was feeling and thinking about the whole “raids” bruhaha.

One thing I do know is that I’m getting increasingly tired of essentially being a martyr on someone else’s behalf, especially when they don’t seem to appreciate it anyway. Of being told I’m making much ado about nothing.

In other words, here I am, trying to be concerned about the really casual GW2 players who almost never see things like organized WvW or organized Teq or organized Triple Trouble or even organized guild missions, and keep obsessing about keeping barriers of entry low and for them to be on a relatively equal playing field so that they -can- join in, when they want to, and I generally find that most of the bloggers who profess this way of playing just seem to have “accepted” that they’ll never do it, period, so the whole activity just doesn’t exist for them, full stop.

It makes me just a little bit mad, this attitude of what-seems-to-me to be “learned helplessness.” The “I could never do it, so therefore I won’t even try” sort of acceptance.

On the other hand, I find the dismissive attitude of the self-proclaimed elitists annoying as well.

It’s really tempting and easy to segregate yourself into groups of people who think like you and play like you. It seems that -both- extremes are quite happy to indulge in this separation, as shown in a little Reddit flowchart that has been making the rounds lately – “In zerk? Go hang with zerk groups. Non-zerk? Go hang with non-zerk groups. Conclusion: everybody happy.”

Supposedly. Except that I note that the non-zerk groups have a tendency to not form, or take hours to complete, be comprised of more unsure players, etc.

To quote another Redditor, I feel like I’m basically undergoing a certain amount of “cognitive dissonance” here, because… let me fess up:

I’m generally lazy. I like my groups smooth and efficient and optimal. I like getting what I’m aiming for, when I group up, fast and painless. Unless it’s the weekend and I’m in a really good benevolent mood, I don’t have time to spend 3 hours teaching a bunch of people I’ll probably never see again how not to suck, in order for me to get what I want.

Given very little push, I am quite happy to fall back into old obsessive hardcore patterns and think elitist thoughts. With the right motivation, I’ll do whatever is needed to fall within the 10% who can do whatever it is I want to do, and who gives a fuck about the 90% who can’t, right? It’s not like most of them even -want- to. If they’re not even willing to help themselves, why should -I- care?

(You will note, all the “them” speech. Segregation. Division. Not community.)

Then I stop and I wonder if I should really let myself go down that road of thought. I’m not sure if I’d like the person that comes out the other end.

I suppose there is a certain amount of real world correlation and history at work. Singapore’s education system has always been “meritocracy”-based – which, during the time I grew up – mostly meant doing well at academic grades at an early age. If you scored top marks, you got shoved into the through-trains, labeled with really positive labels, and woe betide those that didn’t. They got the opposite treatment, pretty much.

It hasn’t been till the last decade or two that the very slow oil tanker has been steering in other directions, realizing that “merit” could be defined very differently (including musical, artistic and athletic merit, besides academic) and doing their best to recognize those with different strengths, as well as giving those who didn’t do well academically other possible and potential pathways to progress their education and careers (giving them the opportunity to possibly even overtake the supposed ‘elite’ once in the working world.)

The other thing the education system has been slowly attempting to do, through thick layers of bureaucracy, is to tweak policy for those who have somehow “fallen through the cracks” and don’t quite fit into neatly labeled categories.

The latest governmental propaganda is basically an exhortation to keep social consciousness in view, to have a heart, and contribute to the community, “No Singaporean left behind,” and so on.

I’m basically caught between being a pragmatic bastard and an ideal of someone better than that.

And I honestly don’t know which way I’ll go.

Is it at all possible to be an egalitarian hardcore raider?

Or do elitist thoughts and segregation away from the hoi polloi come as part of the territory?

(I’ll be frank, I won’t do a PUG Teq, when a TTS Teq is so much more enjoyable and efficient and equally available.

And there was a time when I just couldn’t be bothered rezzing anyone in the Silverwastes because they jolly well ought to waypoint back instead of just laying there dead and expecting someone to risk dying to peel them off the floor… especially when they die again in the next ten seconds that follow.

I’m feeling a bit more bleeding heart after a month away from GW2 and go for a rez, though it’s mostly to test myself and build quick reactions for future “challenging group content” than harboring any actual concern for the person or any expectation that the person will stay upright. Elitist? Probably.)

If I keep playing GW2, I will mostly likely do my best to get into and stay in a successful, regular, organized raid team.

(Unless it so happens that timezones and schedules are really restrictive and there’s no way I can wrangle something that fits.)

There’s no way I can ignore a mountain that is plonked down in front of me.

Not sure it’s worth it, really. But beyond the temptation of Legendary armor, there will be the basic fact that it is content I haven’t seen or played, and therefore must attempt until it is conquered (or I fall screaming off the mountain.)

I have no idea what’s going to come out at the other end. Burnout, drama, frustration, or just a bad case of elitist prick-ism?

Well. *deep breath* I guess we’ll find out.

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.