Monday, February 6, 2023

Dragonflight Paused (for now)

 

Max level (again)
Nothing major to post but I wanted to note where I left Dragonlands and what else I'm playing.

It took me about 2 weeks to reach max level in Dragonlands and another week playing less to finish the initial questline.  Generally, I like it and I even enjoyed some of the activities like finding lost ducks but, once I didn't have a goal I stopped logging in.  Eventually I realized my subscription was going to expire soon, I check, it had expired the day before and I decided it was I sign I didn't need to be playing now.

I wasn't subscribed since I had a free month and I wasn't sure whether to subscribe or, if I did, whether to subscribe for more than one month.  This decided it for me.  I have a vacation scheduled for the  middle of February so I'll probably resubscribe after that for a month and see how much I play.  I'm interested in leveling some alts and, possibly, my Dracthyr.  There is also a roadmap (good for them) and there should be some new content coming out but I'm not very interested in the Trading Post that just came out and I'm not sure if anything else will be available in March.

I did go back and play some more of Horizon Forbidden West.  I hadn't played in months and I was just at a critical plot point when I left.  With some looking up controls, looking up hints, and replaying parts, I was able to finish this section and move on to the next section of the plot but it was frustrating.  Hopefully I can play more regularly so I don't need to relearn it again.  I'll need to decide if I want to do some of the side quests I skipped to increase my level and, hopefully, allow more people to participate later in the game (at least that is how it worked in Horizon Zero Dawn).

I am also still playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons most days.  There were pretty clear next steps up until about a week ago but now there is a more vague 'improve your island' in order to have a concert there.  I'm not even sure I want the concert so I'm not as motivated as I was.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Back in World of Warcraft for Dragonflight and other Gaming

 

Side content in World of Warcraft Dragonflight

As has been my pattern, I bought the latest World of Warcraft expansion once it came at a discount (and I've been posting very little when not playing it).  This time, it was 30 days of game time rather than dollars off the expansion, but it comes to the same thing.  I bought it just before Christmas when it went on sale (in addition to three free days that you could play a Dracthyr (the new 'sort of' dragon characters).  They start at level 68 and the introductory story was fine (didn't seem quite as elaborate as the Pandarens (race), Death Knights (class), or Demon Hunters (class), that were previously introduced.  But I was ok with that.  Nice to get an extra character that I can use in the new zones.

I think I played for two days and reached level 61 and decided I wanted to play Kanter, my first character, a hunter, so I went ahead and purchased the expansion then.  It was nice to know I was going to have a good long break where I could explore the game when I wasn't working.  My break ends today as this is posted (on 1/4) though I have now caught COVID so my work will be limited tomorrow.

I thought the first zone, Waking Shores, was very good.  I did all the quests to get the two achievements and it seemed like pretty much the perfect length and kept me interested.  Scenery was very nice as well.  However, that immediately changes with the second zone, Ohn'ahran Plains.  One sign of how uninteresting I found it was there is a point where they send you on quests about the four tribes of centaurs and then they ask you questions about them.  I had no idea, even though I had read the quest text.  I looked them up without any remorse since I'm really not interested.  There has only been one dragon so far in this zone and I'm ready to get back to the dragon stories.  I'm not sure why they decided to do this but it feels like filler.  Maybe it can't be all dragons all the time (though it might have been better that way).

I'll wait to fully judge the zone when I'm done with it (I'd guess I'm half way at level 66) but I'm already looking forward to the next zone or at least when we get back to the green dragons (ostensibly why I'm there).  My hunter seems like easy mode as usual and I'm definitely ok with that.  I know I've died through inattention but nice just to be able to play the game and not worry about min/maxing.

In other gaming, I bought one of my daughter's who will be going to college next year her own Switch which meant I could play Animal Crossing on the old one.  I'm finding it very relaxing, just playing it a little bit every morning.  Reading some things online, it seems like people tried to find the shortest way to get things done but I'm glad to take it at a relaxed pace.  I was able to visit my daughter's island, which was nice as well.  Gathering iron for the next quest is taking some time but the game doesn't penalize you for just playing a little bit every day.   However, it was quite fun to have a house and the museum on the same day a few days ago.

I'm a little stuck on what to play on our PlayStation 5.  I was primarily playing Ghost of Tsushima.  I think the game so far has been great but it seems like it would take forever to finish it, particularly since my primary objective is to visit all the fox shrines.  Really good ideas in this game but I just don't have the focus for it now.  I stopped playing Horizon Forbidden West pretty early in the game and I think I'll go back to it but there are also so may free games I have available on the PlayStation through Plus Extra that part of me would just like to dabble in them (tops are probably the two Spiderman games, the three Mass Effect games, and the Bioshock games but there are many).  I was also really enjoying the original Borderlands game with my two daughters and it would be nice to go back to that.  Right now they are focused on Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.  It's been nice having Pokemon be a annual Christmas tradition for the two of them and, now that we have two Switches, there is more they can do together.

Thanks to anyone still reading my blog after my many breaks.  I hope all is well.  I believe COVID will be a relatively short disruption (I'm very glad to be fully vaccinated).  I do enjoy writing when I'm actually playing and MMO.  Not so much otherwise.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Stray, Firewatch, and What Remains of Edith Finch Complete

 

Firewatch graphic since I used Stray last time

Three relatively short games that I finished recently and just wanted to record my thoughts.  I'm hoping to keep this going about monthly so I can keep some track of my gaming here.

Stray was my favorite of the three, mainly because most of it felt like it allowed you to be a cat.  Yes, there were parts where no cat would intentionally do what I did but the animation and the interactive parts felt appropriate for a cat.  As mentioned in my previous post, it encouraged to get Playstation Plus Extra and I have no regrets.  I did die a lot on some of the platforming and I did take advantage of the built in hint system I few times but I never felt like I couldn't do it.  I have limited play time and it certainly saved me some trial an error, particularly on some of the longer platforming runs.

Who can resist a photo op with a snuggled cat?

Above is the loan screenshot I've used from my PS5 (or PS4 for that matter).  I guess this means I can do it and it looks like they've made it easier using the PS App.  Besides the places you could rest (how appropriate for a cat), there were places you could scratch using back and forth paw motions. I have heard concern about having the cat get hurt in the game but, as with most games, I just see it as part of the challenge and it didn't bother me (other than when I made the same mistake too may times).  For the record, I'm not particularly good at platforming and it took me about 8 hours according to my Playstation.  The fact that it seems like I played it longer I see as a good thing.  I definitely enjoyed my time.

I started What Remains of Edith Finch (2015, Edith Finch going forward) after Firewatch but completed it first so I'll include it here.  I saw that it was also published by Annapurna that published Stray and it was a way to see what else they did for free since it was also available on PS Plus Extra.  It had been on my I did take one wrong turn which confused me, but generally this is more of a walking simulator.  They did have creative ways through the imagination of the different members of the Finch family to change the appearance and navigation within an almost completely linear game.

It was beautiful and I'm glad I played it but I am also glad it was as short as was (3 hours for me).

My first photo from Firewatch

Firewatch had the most depressing start of a game I have ever experienced.  It again had been on my wish list for years (published in 2016) and one of my daughters bought it for me on Steam (Thank you!).  Overall I'm glad I played it, but, again, I don't see myself returning to it.  It is beautiful but I did experience some motion sickness from the movement (I did adjust it in the setting and it helped some).  Even thought I used to be primarily a PC gamer, I did connect my PS4 remote to my computer and it felt better playing with it than with keyboard and mouse.

I felt invested in the characters even though, by the end, I don't think my choices changed the outcome.   It was mostly walking around a beautiful forest (for 2016 graphics) and talking to a single person.  However, it was more of a game then Edith Finch because you felt the choices made a difference. I had one issue with the controls in that I would be looking at the map (required for much of the game) and a dialog would come up and I couldn't respond in time because I kept trying to respond rather than closing the map first.  The two characters felt real and felt like they were dealing with real problems, not the normal topic of a video game.  According to Steam I played 5 hours and that seems about right.

Next up I think will be Ghost of Tsushima, another Playstation Plus Extra game.  I'm doubtful whether I will finish it.  When I was younger I'd love to get hours and hours from games like Warlords or Civilization but these days I'd rather experience more games.  I also want to go back to Horizon Forbidden West, a game I do want to finish after finishing Zero Dawn but I'm not in a rush.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Gaming in 2022 so far

 

Gaming as a cat

It's been more than a year since my last post.  I thought about joining Blaugust but I knew I wasn't motivated to more than one post but I do have one post in me so I'm writing the day after Blaugust (seems appropriate).

Almost all of this blog has been about World of Warcraft so it's appropriate to start there.  I did resubscribe for the 9.2 patch.  I joined thinking I would go through the new content and then finally run through the other Shadowlands Covenants on my other characters.  That didn't happen.  However, I did finish the 9.2 quest content on Kanter so that's done.  Shadowlands didn't motivate me and it hasn't seemed to motivate many people however I think it has more to do with me than it does the game.  I'm still surprised by how much content I was able to motivate myself during Battle for Azeroth.

The games I've played the most over the last year have been on my tablet.  I play Microsoft Solitaire, Sudoku and Plants vs Zombie almost every day.  Not particularly involving, but it's a nice way to keep my mind busy when I'm not up to anything more.  I've also spent a lot of time playing Merge Dragons.  Like most free mobile games, at base it is pay to win.  However it has a few things going for it.  There are no ads unless you opt in for them to get rid of a timer.  You can get everything without paying, but it'll take more time.  Once you've played a while and have enough dragons, there is always plenty of content without paying for anything.  And they still keep adding things (like most successful free to play games).  I have paid for some gems and they've helped but it was more because I felt like I had enjoyed the content enough that they had earned it, particularly since they didn't earn anything from ads (since I didn't see any).

I am surprised at how little I played our Switch.  I did play a little of Breath of the Wild but it didn't really motivate me.  I also started 

Finally, I have been playing our PS5.  I was looking for a co-op game to play with my daughters and we settled on the original Borderlands remake.  All three of us are enjoy it and it does feel rewarding when you get a better weapon and my daughters both enjoy driving over enemies.  I've enjoyed Horizon Forbidden West but haven't played it recently.  The graphics are gorgeous and I enjoy the game play but since I have played frequently, there is always some struggle to re-remember the controls.  I'd guess I played almost half way through Death Stranding.  It was visually and aurally nice but I enjoyed the path finding more than the combat and it seemed like there was more combat as I went further into the game.  Finally, I'm probably 3/4s of the way done with Stray so I feel pretty confident that I'll finish it soon.  The play as a cat is great.  Between meowing, curling up, scratching things and intentionally knocking things over it really does feel like you are playing a cat.  Some things you do are totally un-cat-like but they are few enough it isn't too bad.  Stray also motivated me to pay for Playstation Plus Extra.  I was pretty much ready to buy it for $30 but for that same amount I could upgrade my membership and get both Spiderman games, Ghost of Tsushima, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.  I've heard some speculation for the value but I feel I will get my money's worth and don't really feel a need to buy another game anytime soon.

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading, but I've given myself a summary of where I am in gaming, so I'll be glad to have it anyway.  Happy gaming and we'll see the next time I'll post. Definitely don't hold your breath.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Blizzard, Supporting Victims and World of Warcraft

 

Blizzard has a lot to answer for.

I haven't posted for about six weeks now.  Some of that has to do with a two week vacation I came back from last week but a lot of it has to do with this post.  First, let me say I believe Blizzard Entertainment has to change today, that I support the victims, many currently still working for the company and that nothing that has been done by Blizzard up to this point shows that they have made the changes required as a company.  As someone in management, I am always very aware of the need I have to support those who work for me and make sure I can do everything I can to prevent any perception of improper activities either by myself or by others.  As a white male in IT I understand that there is extra responsibility to encourage diversity and listen to those who may have a different view.

I believe Blizzard Watch did a good job of summarizing what we know and supporting employees who are trying to hold their employer accountable for the required changes.  Yes, this is an old post and more has come out and I believe Blizzard Watch has done a good job keeping up with the news in a way that says the company has to change but that doesn't support totally abandoning the games and the good people who develop them.

Finally, I am still playing World of Warcraft.  I know for many people they had to stop playing Blizzard games based on the news that came out and I understand and support the decision for them.  For me, as a casual player who has tried other MMOs without success, I am going to keep playing World of Warcraft until my next natural break.  It will take time for Blizzard to change and, I believe, if it doesn't change, it will fail.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Shadowlands 9.1: I Like It!

I can fly!

World of Warcraft Shadowlands 9.1 is a little over a week old and, I have to say, as a casual player, I really like it so far.  In pretty quick succession they allowed mounts in the Maw, removed the Eye of the Jailor (which prevented staying to long in the Maw), and granted flying for not just your main, but any alts (outside of the Maw).  This is in addition to quite a bit of story and content in a new section of the Maw.  I stated in my previous post that I would prefer to wait to work on alts until I got flying, and now that I know how quickly I got it, I'm glad I waited!

Some could argue that enjoyment by making things artificially difficult and then removing that difficulty is less than ideal and, logically, that makes sense.  However, grinds are a part of all MMOs by nature of having to provide content that lasts a long time.  I do think adding barriers that get removed makes sense both from giving the player the pleasure of seeing it removed and also of giving players who start later a way to catch up without getting frustrated.

Looking back I see it's almost been a month since my last post.  I did craft my first Legendary item not long after that post.  It didn't provide a huge boost but, on it's own, it let me complete another level of Torghast. Since then, after getting upgrades in 9.1, I reached iLvl 190 and so I upgraded it to iLvl 210.  Since I had been soloing Torghast most weeks, it wasn't too expensive to do, I just had to purchase the upgraded base item in the auction house.  I also went through the Maw introductory quest with my warrior, Kantro, and sent him to Maldraxxus to wait for flying.

Between upgrading the sanctum on Kanter and working through the Covenant levels and story and seeing the other Covenants on alts, I feel like I'm in a good place for a while.  Of course, I didn't experience the frustration of the wait for 9.1 that many others did because I started so late.  I wonder if Blizzard delayed 9.1 due to wanting to release Burning Crusade Classic first and misjudged how frustrating it would be for many players.  All I can say is it looks like I'll be busy for a while now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Shadowlands 9.0 Night Fae Renown and Torghast Questlines Complete

 

No get-up is complete without matching mount (Runestag)

There was recently a new Blizzard post about how Flying in Shadowlands will mainly require Renown and Covenant Campaign completion.  As a very casual player, I've already done all I can in 9.0 since I have now reached maxed Renown (40) and already completed the existing questline as of my last post.

Oddly, this is sort of disincentivizing play since I've done most of what I'd really like to do on Kanter and, if I wait, I'll be able to get flight to make leveling my alts easier.  I have stuff I have been accumulating, but I don't really care about most of it since gear isn't a big deal.  I have Soul Ash for a legendary, I have Stigia for Ve'nari, I have Grateful Offerings for ... I'm not sure what it's for, I have Spirit's for the Queen's Conservatory, and I have Anima improving my Sanctum among other things.  I don't have any goals I particularly want to pursue at this point, though I am interested in what will come with 9.1.

I did complete the Torghast questline and recovered Baine, Jaina, and Thrall from the Maw and was motivated to see them back.  I learned there are a couple more quests but they are locked behind the Castle Natria raid and I'm not sure I want to do group content.  There is also a spirit for the Queen's Conservatory behind a dungeon.  Maybe I'll feel up to it at some point but I don't really like forced group content.  I was able to join some groups for some world quests and those were without drama.

I'll keep playing for a bit and certainly come back for 9.1 but I'm not sure if I'll stay with trying to build some Anima for my Sanctum but I don't have anything I really want there.  I am interested in seeing the other Covenant quest lines, but, as stated above, wonder if it would be better to wait until I've unlocked flying.

I've enjoyed my time but, if starting 4 months late, I already feel a lack of motivation, I can understand why people are saying there isn't enough compelling content in this expansion so far.  It'll be interesting to see how soon they release 9.1.  They may want to give some time for people to be less involved with Burning Crusade Classic, something I don't care about at all.