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.

NBI: Whoops…

… I missed my goal to write every 1-3 days on the very last day of the Newbie Blogger Initiative.

But you know what?

It served its purpose anyway. All throughout the third day, there was this little alarm bell nagging in my head reminding me that I’m overdue, and I was like, “Yes, yes, but real life, and then need time for current games and sleep. Blog juuust a bit later.”

Goals are guidelines. It’s not the end of the world if you miss ’em, but don’t disregard ’em either and use them as a “I missed it, so I might as well not bother” procrastination excuse.

So here’s your stopgap post at 6.50am on Day 4 to stop the nagging in my head.

joker

This fellow’s the reason I missed blogging for a while.

Yep, Batman: Arkham Origins finally went on 75% sale the other day, and according to my “buy a lot of games” greed principle, that was the time to pick it up.

I remember there were a lot of complaints about it being buggy and glitchy and not very innovative when it first came out, but it seems that time seems to have given the developers a little more opportunity to resolve major issues.

I did still encounter two spots where something a little wonky occurred (a suspect got knocked into a wall and then the right click to interrogate option didn’t come up, a fight with a boss stalled when he appeared too soon and the little minions became invulnerable punching bags,) but revisiting the area later or simply  reloading the encounter solved the problem so it wasn’t game-breaking.

All in all, I was able to ignore the glitches in favor of the storyline, which is utterly riveting to me.

It’s a prologue for the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games, so you get to see all the classic hero and villains of Batman at a younger stage of their lives.

You play a Batman that is considerably more reckless and ruthless a vigilante – I was surprised to have the option to beat up cops instead of criminals at first, but later realized that the cops of Gotham were crooked at this point of time, so this younger Batman considered them fair game. James Gordon is still an up and coming influence and again, surprisingly at odds with this younger Batman, a rather pleasant narrative contrast to juxtapose to their later alliance and friendship.

I was thrilled to get a glimpse of Barbara Gordon in her teenage years as well, another nice juxtaposition to her later “eye-in-the-sky” Oracle role for Batman.

And of course, the game’s story tells an origin tale of that classic Batman relationship, him and the Joker. I can’t say more without revealing the plot, but it’s definitely a good ‘un.

batman

I’m still in the last few levels of the storyline, and there’s gliding around the map hitting side quests, solving puzzles and playing a few challenge maps, so expect me back a few days from now.

Dota 2 is still sorta/kinda going strong. Getting an average of a game in every day or so, give or take. Proudly managed to finish the tutorial, at least. More on that when I figure out how to blog about it too.

NBI Writing Prompt: If you’re reading this and a little nagging voice in your head is saying that you really haven’t posted in a while and really should, go ahead and give yourself permission to write a stopgap post.

Post an update paragraph of what you’ve been doing, or take a screenshot of one game and caption it with something. Done.

GW2: Seeds of Truth and Kernels of Opinion

I’ve heard it said that it’s short. Others are a little more positive about it.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a “play everything” person in GW2, or if it’s because I’ve had to increase work hours (with corresponding decrease in play hours) to afford my shiny new computer, but I’m looking at the length of time it’s going to take me to play the content and it’s -not- short, in my book.

It took me the better part of one night (~3-4 hours) to finish the latest Living Story chapter on normal mode.

So sue me, but I actually talk to NPCs and enjoy the pacing when it’s presented to me for the first time.

A friend was going to run his second character through it, and I said, “Nah” and ducked out of the party because I wanted to savor the moment of novelty, rather than end up focusing on entertaining and accommodating the friend and missing the story.

I enjoyed it.

Just, er...ignore the anachronism over yonder. *hides mini quickly*

Just, er… ignore the anachronism over yonder. *hides mini quickly*

For one thing, it gives a look back at GW2 lore, with linkages back to GW1.

An actual in-game look at events that have previously only been touched on briefly outside the game on wikis and fansite interviews.

Regardless of how popular the Sylvari and (even more) Trahearne are, I personally liked getting to see the interaction of the Firstborn with each other, and the Secondborn. This is lore. This is history.

Hooray, they're not just wiki entries anymore!

Hooray, they’re not just static NPCs or wiki entries anymore! Newborn technicolor sylvari! Firstborn and Secondborn!

We even get a Caera cameo, which hopefully, over time will build up and when the first season’s Living Story finally gets re-released in permanent form, Scarlet will end up coming a lot less out of nowhere than when we experienced her for the first time.

We get the asura reaction to the new Sylvari race (and vice versa) shown to us, rather than told to us.

Suffice to say, they don't hold hands and sing kumbaya together.

Suffice to say, they don’t hold hands and sing kumbaya together.

For another thing, the mechanics of this chapter again harkens back to GW1, where we had story books we could enter and play a historical personage with new and unique skills. New lore was exposed in the course of playing through the book chapters, along with a new content challenge in the form of learning and mastering the new skills in order to get past each chapter.

Coming to a gem store near you: Caithe's purple blossom daggers!

Coming to a gem store near you: Caithe’s purple blossom/lotus daggers! (Disclaimer: Just me talking out of my arse, but I wouldn’t be surprised…)

I didn’t mind playing Caithe.

It’s an interesting change to be brought back to the same level as everyone else, unfamiliar with the skills and no longer able to rely on muscle memory.

It’s just like one of the seasonal minigames where you get presented with new objects with new skills to use, after all.

I thought Caithe’s skills were well picked.

(Yes, I died a lot because I have no patience being stealthy.)

(Yes, I died a lot because I have no patience being stealthy.)

She’s a thief, and many of the skills had a resemblance to a normal dual-dagger thief (with the exception of dagger 5), with a unique slightly-OP Caithe spin to it.

First skill is your regular slashy slashy dagger attack, but where a normal thief poisons on the third hit, Caithe gets to petrify – which also interrupts. (Dayum.) In stealth, she gets to pull off a backstab variant with it too, complete with helpfully shadowstepping to the back in question.

Second skill is normal thief heartseeker… on steroids. She leaps super far, and does nasty damage with the leap, and then poisons to add insult to injury.

Third skill is a dagger spin that evades and bleeds, similar to normal thief Death Blossom.

Fourth skill is a dagger ranged attack, but where a normal thief cripples, Caithe immobilizes.

Fifth skill is the most different. Normal thieves stealth with Cloak and Dagger, Caithe gets a Daggerstorm variant here.

Basically, the elite and fifth skill has switched places, as Caithe gets to cloak with her elite and stay cloaked for the duration, even while attacking, iirc.

Utility skills are a dash (that evades while in movement), a trap (of ridiculously humongous radius) and a pull similar to scorpion wire.

The interesting add-on effect of all these skills to produce a fighting style that is recognizably a GW2 thief, but plays out differently than the more standard stealth-abusing one that many thieves are used to.

Caithe is very much a movement-based evading thief (which some GW2 thieves do still use), but taken to extremes. I learned the hard way that she isn’t a stand and deliver sort of fighter, through multiple deaths from attempting to salvage botched sneak attempts, but found relative success when darting through crowds of asura, hit-and-running before dashing off to heal up.

I’ve yet to try the hard modes for this chapter yet, but I expect it will require a bit more mastery of her skills than my first go at it.

Your definition of “content” may differ, but anything in my “to-do-one-day” list for GW2 counts as content to me.

Speaking of which, we have the Silverwastes “grind” that some people are complaining about.

I have yet to find all the Lost Badges (because I don’t really feel the need to check a guide until I decide I want to finish something ASAP), and now I have Golden Lost Badges to also collect, and a jumping puzzle that I’m intent on giving a go sans guide until I’m stuck and frustrated.

Content.

I happen to like playing the Silverwastes events, and still live in the perpetual hope that there will be eventually a ‘need’ (or strong motivation, rather) to semi-organize in similar fashion to the Marionette.

gw2-morevines

Those three western lanes have still so far been unused, and the vines sprouting from that corner appear to be in greater and greater need of a pruning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the 8th (and last?) chapter.

Content, hopefully.

In the meantime, there are the Luminescent armor collections.

Content.

The Mordrem bodyparts are an obvious RNG time tax for those who cannot wait. If you choose to collect the most current body parts, you buy the green extractor and you hope RNG smiles on you. A basic understanding of probability would suggest that this gets harder the more potential parts show up on the loot table.

If you’re a little more behind, or a little more relaxed on not getting the newest shiniest thing NOW, you should eventually be able to use the white extractor and pick the part you need later, once you’re past the two weeks of the current bodypart of the fortnight.

Ditto the carapace boxes. If you need them NOW, you’re going to have to grind very intently for them, opening tons of chests or accumulating 1000 crests to buy them.

Or you can just play the content over the course of two weeks and see if you get lucky enough with drops, or worse case scenario, build up 1000 crests if you’re unlucky.

So far, I haven’t had to spend 1000 crests on any carapace pieces yet. I got two glove boxes from the Greater Nightmare Chest in the maze, and will just get the shoulder boxes from playing through the relevant chapter with multiple characters.

I am given to understand that one more armor piece in this latest update works similarly, playing through the Living Story chapter multiple times will get you the box, and the last piece is RNG from Lost Bandit Chests or through crests.

I still am not seeing the problem.

We need those chests opened, since Ascended recipes are going to come out of those now, and there has to be some kind of motivation for players to keep digging up those chests. They need shovels, so they’ll keep playing the Silverwastes events, and keep the zone functioning.

Working as intended, no?

If you hate or are now bored to tears with the Silverwastes, it’s time to go elsewhere and do something else. The only one keeping your nose to the grindstone is yourself.

Zone design is still fantastic, considering it's all mostly red rock.

Zone design is still fantastic, considering it’s all mostly red rock.

Take Dry Top.

It’s a little bit more deserted now, but there does still seem to be enough people running around the zone to occasionally take it to T4 – which is sufficient for (rather expensive) Ambrite weapon recipes.

If you’re a cheap bastard like me, who cannot bear the thought of paying extra for anything, then you have to wait for the right time and participate in an organized attempt to get to T6.

Which so happens occurs every week, one hour after reset, on Friday and Saturday (which is my Sat and Sun morning, perfect) by a Dry Top guild that has generously decided to take on the task of herding cats.

Eventually, even if regular player interest in the Silverwastes dies out, there will be the weekly or bi-weekly organized event to do it successfully.

Especially if there’s a final raid-like world boss waiting at the end of the zone. *keeps fingers crossed*

Any feeling of player urgency is self-imposed. You want the shiny stuff NOW. That’s the heart of it.

The NOW demand is what lets other players profit off the impatient at the TP. Been there, done that, from both angles.

It’s a tradeoff that you just have to suck it up and recognize. Same as in real life.

If I want to play Evolve when it launches, I have to pay $60. (*nervous twitch* Why yes, I’m still brooding over that decision.)

If I’m willing to wait a week or few months later, I can probably get a 25-33% discount. If I hold out to a Steam sale, I can probably get it at 50% in about half a year to a year, tops.

If I’m feeling miserly and not terribly in need of the game, I can probably get it at 75% off some time in between one and two years, and it might even drop to $5 like Left 4 Dead after two years.

If I want to be one of the first all shiny Luminescent and being a “Light in the Darkness,” then I’m going to have to play a LOT of Silverwastes and spend many hours in the zone. (Weren’t people asking for a time-and-effort based prestige armor, rather than gem store armor some time ago?)

If I wanted to be one of the first people with Mawdrey, I probably had to drop a ton of gold on the Trading Post, buying outsourced effort for the materials.

Or I could take my time with it and work on it as a long or medium term goal, when the demand has dropped and things are cheaper. (Or in the case of time-and-effort-based objects requiring groups of players, it may take longer. But one will still get there in the end.)

Finally, beyond the Silverwastes, Seeds of Truth also comes with a new spruce up for PvP.

Much shinier UI. I kinda wish they'd allow us to choose what rank emote shows up when we /rank. Kinda reluctant to move beyond Dolyak.

Much shinier UI. Still not much of a PvPer. I kinda wish they’d allow us to choose what rank emote shows up when we /rank. Kinda reluctant to move beyond Dolyak because Dolyak stampede is so shiny.

Despite my limited time, I got two games in.

I was mildly amused with being able to vote on which map came up.

-Especially- amused when RNG picked the 1 person who voted for one map, while the other 4 and 5 people had voted for other maps. (Why can’t I have 1 in 10 lucky RNG like that in the PvE game, eh? For the record, I was one of the 5, so maybe not so lucky.)

I honestly can’t say if the matchmaking’s any better or worse than before, but I do have to say that it’s a lot easier and more encouraging to hit “Unranked Arena” and just -play- a proper game, rather than be relegated to the dregs of hotjoin where people shamelessly stack their way to victory.

I am going to assume it’s easier to actually queue up with friends as a party and play Unranked (without risking your MMR plunging), as opposed to the old system where if you actually wanted to play a proper game, you HAD to play ranked, and your only choice was between Solo queue or Team queue.

There’s content there too, in the form of a new crowd attracted by the changes (though time will tell if it’s temporary or if it lasts.)

Anyhow, with my limited time these few weeks, I’d rather spend more time playing GW2 than blogging about it, which I guess speaks volumes about what I think about the last few updates.