• BDO: Fishing Corsair Style

    Every time I think I’m falling out of BDO, something manages to reel me back in. This time around, it was a special log-in reward coupon called a Weight & Inventory Exchange.

    What exactly does this do? Well, in BDO, like many F2P games, you don’t start with all of your inventory slots unlocked. You can get unlocks through quests, sometimes from special events or giveaways, and (of course) buying it from the store. Aside from paying loyalties now and then, this is one thing I won’t buy from the store.

    What does this have to do with fishing and why did it reel me back in?

    Well, back in April of last year, I rolled a character that I wanted to use specifically for fishing named Finch. I made sure that she never leveled past 49 so that she couldn’t be targeted for PVP and I could fish in peace.

    I did the best I could to make her look like a seafaring character, and she was fine. But then, the Corsair class released in June and… well, let’s just say if you’re going to have a seafaring fishing character, Corsair is the proper class. I was a little miffed about this because I much would have rather made my Corsair the fisher and consolidated character slots.

    What, you might ask, is the big deal? Just level the Corsair as a fisher.

    Right. But two things stopped me:

    • I’d leveled my Corsair past 49 back in the days when you could get oasis gear at level 56 – so she could be PvPed
    • I’d funneled all the inventory slot upgrades I’d been getting to Finch since she’s my fisher – the more slots you have as a fisher the more fish you can carry before you need to return to town

    So until now, I was stuck with Finch as my fisher. Which was fine. Just not perfect (and you know how I am).

    Along comes the Weight & Inventory Exchange coupon. I had no idea this even existed. I double checked the description wondering if it was telling me what I thought it was.

    Yes, indeed. This coupon would exchange the inventory limit of one character with another. This was my ticket to finally consolidating fisher on a Corsair!

    Of course, the one little catch was that I’d leveled my Corsair, Petrel, beyond 49. That was an easy fix, though. I just deleted her and rerolled again the next day. I was slightly worried I might lose the name, but it all went well.

    I leveled my baby Corsair to about 15, then jumped over to Finch to use the coupon.

    It worked perfectly! 175 slots moved over to Petrel!

    Now I have a Corsair with all the inventory space needed to properly fish. So, I’ve been leaving Petrel to level up fishing AFK over the weekend. Finch had all the way up to Arisan level fishing, so Petrel has a way to go. Though she’s already made Skilled 10 in just a few days, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

    I also passed all of Finch’s fishing equipment to Petrel, which makes leveling far faster. I was interested to see that Petrel’s combat class is leveling as I catch fish, too. I didn’t know that was a thing – when I started fishing, she was level 15, and now she’s level 22 without me doing anything but fishing.

    I haven’t taken her out on the ocean just yet as I’ve been keeping her around town at such a low level. Eventually, maybe once she hits Artisan, I’ll put her on the ship and try to remember my favorite fishing spot in the ocean. I’ll also delete Finch and free up a character slot as I’m not really that interested in playing the Brawler-type class that Finch is.

    So, back to fishing in BDO!

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  • Calculating Your Backlog With Steam Dynamic Collections

    Yesterday I had a bit of a grouch about the changes Steam Calculator has made to how they calculate your backlog and percentage played. It’s a silly thing to complain about in the bigger picture of things, but I’m glad I did.

    Thanks to Krikket, I don’t have to scrap all the time I’ve put towards my Steam Challenge because I have a more accurate replacement for the Calculator. It was right in front of my nose all along (isn’t it always?) – Steam Collections.

    I’ve been using Steam collections for quite a while to keep track of the games that I want to play, have played, are gifts, etc. But for some reason it never occurred to me to use it as a means of calculating my backlog.

    My Collections

    When I decided to look into using collections as a backlog tool, I noticed something I’d not messed around with before – Dynamic Collections. When you go to create a new collection, you have the option to make it dynamic.

    I didn’t realize how very useful this feature was until I explored it more.

    So, when you create a dynamic collection, you can set specific filters on that collection that will automatically move titles into it when that title meets the proper criteria. For example, you can make a dynamic collection of games you’ve already played like so:

    Now, every time you play a new game, Steam automatically categorizes it as “Played” and moves it into this collection.

    You can do this with unplayed and with games currently installed to make categories such as Not Played or Currently Playing as I have.

    Because some of the titles overlap in my other categories (for example, a game can be a Gift, but still be Really Want to Play), it’s a more accurate snapshot for me to create dynamic collections for both Played and Unplayed games.

    I can then add those together to get a total number of owned games – and games only, because you can control what your collections include when it comes to games vs tools vs soundtracks vs software. I can then do the math to see where my percent played stands and…

    Yes! I’m back to the 69% played that I had before the Steam Calculator site went on the fritz!

    It’s not as pretty as the Steam Calculator page, but as accurate as can possibly be. Thank you again Krikket for the suggestion – I’d never have looked into it this deeply without your input!

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  • Steam Calculator Changes Make Me Sad

    Next Day Update: Ironically (or maybe not), after posting about Steam Calculator not calculating correctly, today, I checked and it’s accurate again. Go figure (and thanks for fixing).

    As some of you might know, I’ve taken an ongoing challenge in hopes to get my Steam backlog into a more manageable state. I’ve called this the Steam Challenge, something that I started back in 2014.

    In order to track my progress, I’ve been using the Steam Calculator to tell me how much of my backlog I’ve played vs. not played. Up until now, it’s done me well, and I frequently check it to keep an eye on things.

    Back in January, I was so, so happy that I’d reached a milestone of 66% played. My goal for the year was to get 65% played, so I was well over that. In fact, I pushed onward and eventually got to 69% played with a whopping 70% within sight!

    But then, something happened, and I have no idea what it was. I feel like before I went on vacation, I was still at 69%. But when I came back, I saw this!

    What the heck? How did I DROP to 64%?

    I mean, yes, I’ve bought a few games since the beginning of the year, but I’ve played almost all of the games I bought.

    What really puzzles me is this… Here’s the numbers I posted back in January.

    I had 296 games at the time.

    Based on the new calculator, it thinks I added 31 games between January and now. That’s just not correct!

    Here’s what I activated – I left one in December so that you’d see the cut off for last year.

    This is NOT 31 games. So where did that all come from?

    Are they now counting things like soundtracks and software? If so, that still doesn’t compute because I only have 20 of those combined, and most of the software I own I have used at least for a little while.

    Actually – in the middle of writing this, I did some quick “research.” Steam Calculator does now, indeed, include things like software and soundtracks. See image below where it counts game making software in my backlog now.

    Not just that, but it’s also added all kinds of weird tools, drivers and stuff that don’t even count as games!

    Not to mention a bunch of free games that I’ve never downloaded, have no connection to the kinds of games I play, and I have no interest in playing.

    I am quite disappointed! How am I supposed to accurately track and measure my actual backlog of games when the calculator goes and shoves things in my backlog that I can’t do anything about? I don’t own Killing Floor, Red Orchestra 2, or Linux, for example. Why are those things now in my list of products?

    Not to mention soundtracks. You can only download them – so you can never put any time into them on Steam, thus marking them as “played.”

    I know it’s an insignificant thing to grouch about, but I really hope this is just a bug. It’s something I’ve been working on for many years, and to see my measurement tool all messed up is extremely frustrating. Especially since I was just getting to a point where I was happy with where I was at.

    Is this the end of the Steam Challenge? Should I just let it go at this point, now that my backlog is in better shape than it was and I have no real way of measuring just the games I own?

    Or should I push on knowing that the numbers are now bloated by things I can’t do anything about?

    I haven’t decided yet.

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  • Vacation: To Helen (Back Again)

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve written here – not for the lack of topics as you’ll see soon enough! Last week, Syn and I went on vacation to a mountain town in Georgia called Helen. It was our first time renting an airbnb, and we had a wonderful experience.

    Oh, and when you see all these pictures of bears around Helen, believe them. We actually saw a wandering bear back behind our rental cabin while we were out roasting marshmallows – that was quite a scare!

    I have a few pictures to share from our trip. The neat thing about Helen is that it has a very German/Alpine aesthetic. We also went at just the right time of year – before it got too hot and too crowded. I can only imagine what this place might be like in the summer!

    Our cabin was located in the woods, right across from the stream. Anytime you walked outside, there was a very woodsy and rustic smell in the air that I really loved.

    Bearable Cabin was more than bearable! Note the bear-proof trash can on the right.
    The lovely little stream across from our cabin
    Getting the fire going for marshmallow roasting

    The town of Helen certainly has its own look and feel! At nighttime, it’s all lit up.

    We also stopped by the park which had a little river running through it. Apparently fishing and river tubing are big things there.

    It’s certainly a place we’d like to return to – a few days is not long enough to see all there is to see! Now that we’ve got the experience under our belts, we can hopefully visit again and explore further!

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  • LOTRO: Rohan & Gondor Houses

    A long, long time ago, before this blog was established, LOTRO was once what I’d consider my main MMO. It’s hard to believe since I’ve rarely written about it.

    With all the excitement about the 15th year anniversary and gifts, I was drawn to log in again last week. Interestingly, I’d just re-installed the game sometime in March in order to change my password for account security purposes.

    In looking back, I did find one post about LOTRO from 2015 where I shared the box (that I still own) from my original pre-order. It came from Best Buy – I remember that because I still have the pre-order cloak that was specific to Best Buy (and I thought it was one of the better cloaks).

    Anyhow, I noted two important things from that post:

    • I bought a lifetime subscription
    • I stuck around the game, even though we weren’t really playing it anymore, until the day I accidentally didn’t pay upkeep on my LOTRO house and lost it.

    Losing my house in LOTRO was the final straw for me, and I stopped logging in after that. That was right around when Rohan released – I know because I’d pre-ordered the expansion but never set foot in it. So it’s probably been about 10 years since I’ve actively played the game.

    I know that I did log in when they released the Beorning, and had purchased the race for LOTRO points… because I rolled a Beorning alt. I didn’t get very far with her, however.

    There was also a time when the Posse also played the Moors PVP on the monster side for a while. But we haven’t done that in a very long time.

    I don’t recall exactly why I put down LOTRO. I do remember that we were seeing some really bad lag and rubberbanding on Brandywine the last time we played, which was a turn-off. I think that’s also about the time when Guild Wars 2 was releasing, so we probably just set LOTRO down for greener pastures.

    But anyhow, back to the important topic: housing.

    Premium Housing

    I’ve heard that over the years, LOTRO has tried to nudge cash shop purchases forefront, sometimes to the ire of the playerbase. One such thing was the Premium Housing.

    Because I’m a housing fan, I did pause to look into this at the time of release. Bigger housing with more of their infamous hooks sounded nice. But then I saw that it was a cash shop purchase – and not a cheap one – and gave a little dismissive frown.

    I had no interest in buying a house with real money that I could lose if I didn’t pay upkeep – I still had that taste in my mouth from losing my original LOTRO house. However, I learned more recently that VIP players do not have to pay upkeep for premium housing.

    I’m not sure when that happened, but that’s very good! I also poked around a bit more and learned that Lifetimers such as myself are considered perma VIP. Another major plus for me.

    So… that meant if I bought a premium house, I would never lose it because I’m forever VIP. That got me interested. Interested enough to seek out the premium housing areas to at least take a peek when I logged in last week.

    Kingstead Meadows

    First, I had to figure out how to get to the neighborhoods to view the housing and determine if this was something I wanted. I’d never been to Rohan or Gondor before, so how was I supposed to reach the housing areas?

    After digging around a bit, I learned there’s a building right near the Bree Town Hall that’s simply labeled “Broker”. Inside the Housing Broker, you can find a bunch of NPCs that will send you to all the housing areas to tour the different styles and purchase housing if you like.

    I spent an afternoon touring the different neighborhoods, getting the vibes of the locations and looking for spots that resonated with me. No surprise that I was taken by the horse-themed housing in Kingstead Meadows. But I also thought the ocean view of the Gondor property was very nice!

    I learned that the newer Gondor housing has three types – fancy, fancier, and kinhall – whereas Rohan just has house and kinhall options. So individuals have two sizes of houses to choose from in Gondor and just one with the same layout in the Rohan neighborhoods.

    Do keep in mind the layout of the houses is different between Kingstead Meadows and Eastfold Hills, so it’s sorta like you get a choice between two housing styles in Rohan in that respect. Also, it seems one house in every Rohan neighborhood has either a cave or a tower – though good luck in getting that one because I have a feeling those are all snatched up.

    I picked a spot – you knew I was going to fall for this, right? – I fell in love with 1 Mare Street, which was next to a pond with weeping willows and wild horses. Very nice.

    LOTRO Point Hoard

    Then, it just came down to actually making the purchase. You know how I said I’ve been a lifetimer who hasn’t logged in much for about 10 years? Well… my LOTRO points balance speaks to this.

    LOTRO has been loyally paying me 500 points every month, even though I haven’t been playing. I came back to 58,252 points in the bank.

    When I logged in back in March and saw this, my first thought was to use them to buy expansions. Thankfully, I didn’t because they just gave us most of that for free, including new races and classes.

    To buy a premium house in LOTRO, it costs Mithril Coins or Housing Writs, both which you can buy with points. I think it cost me something like 4,000 points to purchase the Mithril needed for the housing cost.

    This… was obviously not a problem given how much I had banked.

    In fact, I bought two houses and still have lots of points left over even after that and maxing out my storage options.

    My Gondor House

    I found a nice spot in the Gondor housing area that was just up hill from all the vendors and storage and commodities that you’d ever want. So I picked up a house there simply for convenience. All my characters have a free warp there and it includes a long-range stablemaster among those NPCs – so I can just ride away wherever I need to go after I take care of business.

    I realize this post is getting much longer than I expected it to, though I have a lot more to write about these houses. So I guess I’ll call it a post here and pick up with a part two later!

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