Posted in Gaming

SNES Classic SCORE!

I had other things on my mind to blog about today, but that all went out the window. I got a SNES Classic this morning! 

Honestly, I wasn’t going to even try to get one of these after what happened with the NES Classic. I wanted one, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t think there was a chance.

Well, after reading the mega thread on Reddit and seeing how many success stories there were — the fact that there was often more stock than people after them (I think people were like me and were discouraged from trying due to the NES Classic)….

Well, I did a quick search at Brickseek (SKU: 741659089), and saw that the Target down the road from work was supposed to still have 11 in stock. Note, this was an hour and a half AFTER the store opened. So I made a rush before scrum — the worst that could happen was that Brickseek was wrong.

But it was right! Not only did they have some for sale, but the guy at the counter was opening a whole new box of them even after I bought one! He did say there were a number of folks waiting in line before the store opened, but honestly, that wasn’t needed.

Anyhow, if you have a desire for a SNES Classic, I’ll encourage you to hit up your local store THIS MORNING because you’ll probably have decent chance in scoring one. But go for it now, because the closer it gets to the holidays, the tougher it may be.

Good luck!

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, Secret World Legends

SWL: Jolly Cooperation (And Tinfoil Hats)

It seems like Secret World Legends has a bit of stickiness with our group, because folks are asking to continue to play it. We’re still bopping around Kingsmouth, doing quests and just figuring things out.

I reached level 10, which ranked me up with Templars and allowed me to create our cabal. Based on group suggestions, I named it “We Wear Tinfoil Hats.”

It’s been so long since I’ve played most of the Kingsmouth quests that I only have the faintest memory of how any of it goes. This is a good thing, because I don’t go around giving away answers to everything to our new folks. Even I have to spend some time figuring quests out.

manhole

Last night, I think the investigation mission The Kingsmouth Code really started to show them exactly what they were getting into with SWL. Again, it’s been so long since I did this quest… I probably just threw up my hands the first time and used the walkthrough to finish it.

But between four of us (Vix was away), we were able to work together and figure it out last night. It went something like this:

  • Syn deduced that we needed to follow the way the manhole covers pointed to find our second location
  • I asked what the Latin on the manhole cover said (because I’ve learned to question everything about the clues give in this game)
  • Amoon knew that it translated to “light conquers all”
  • I figured out the third location based off of clues written on a plaque
  • Amoon figured out which painting we needed to investigate there to progress
  • I figured out that we needed to look at a clock for the “hands of time” clue
  • I found a clock and saw the time was stopped at 10:10
  • Xaa figured out that the clue also referenced a specific book in the Bible
  • It dawned on me that 10:10 could also reference a Bible passage in that book
  • I used the built-in browser to find the Bible passage online and read it to the others
  • We stumbled about until Amoon discovered a secret keypad at the final destination
  • Xaa suggested that Amoon enter a number that’s referenced in the Bible passage as the keypad password (this worked!)
  • Finally, we had to hack a computer in which “light conquers all” was the password hint… which told us to use the Latin we saw on the manhole cover

And it just all worked!

I mean, we stumbled around a lot more than I made it sound here, but when that number in the Bible passage actually worked to open the keypad, I was just in awe for a moment. It took all of us thinking and exploring, but we were able to finish this.

swlpainting

I think this mission earned some respect, as Xaa kept talking about how deep it went. I know that things just get deeper from here, and I suspect this group will really enjoy some future missions if everyone keeps playing!

So far, I’ve been having a really good time. I’m glad that I had this chance and inspiration to play SWL again in a different way — playing with friends really does improve the experience so much.

I’ve also noticed how much this game has been streamlined and how much work has gone into trying to make it more accessible for new players. I’m not sure how well the game is doing, but consider me a supporter. I’m sure there will be plenty of time to plug it as it gets nearer to Halloween.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Stardew Valley

Is Stardew Valley Out on Nintendo Switch Yet? (Hype)

The answer is:

almostout

But if you really want to know, all you have to do is go to this website:

https://isstardewvalleyoutonnintendoswitchyet.com/

Here’s some background. Fans of Stardew Valley have eagerly awaited the game’s release on Nintendo Switch. I’m one of those.

However, the “summer” window has come and gone, and fans have gotten more and more antsy as the season passed. In fact, there’s hardly a week when we don’t see a post — fan or dev created — on the Nintendo Switch Reddit that is either asking “Is it out?” or “Is there an update yet?”

It’s to the point where the hype has become a game itself, something to help deal with the wait. Now, while I’m not in the same boat as some of the other fans, I can watch from the sidelines and appreciate the gentle humor that the Switch community is poking at itself.

In fact, this is what (I think) spawned the website:

https://isstardewvalleyoutonnintendoswitchyet.com/

Up until yesterday, the page was a #sad place to be. I wish I’d saved a screenshot of the previous version of the page!

You got the word “NO” with a counter underneath:

2017-09-27 09_51_00-#sad

The background image was this sad kid sitting in the rain:

sad

There were some pretty amazing raindrop javascript, which looked like this (but with heavier rain).

And to bring it all together, there was one of two random songs playing: Mad World or Everybody Hurts.

It was truly a sad place to be, but it was so masterful in a way that only the Internet can pull off!

Well, yesterday, the announcement came that Stardew Valley has been approved by Nintendo and is just awaiting a release window!

As you’d expect, this has drummed up a Reddit post with more than 1000 comments! This has also prompted the designer of https://isstardewvalleyoutonnintendoswitchyet.com/ to update his page (I checked immediately upon seeing the announcement). I was not disappointed.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the page is going to look like when the game releases! In fact, though I’m buying Stardew on day one, and itching to get my farm going on the Switch version, I’m going to be just a little sad to see the good natured hype die down. It’s been a lot of fun… and I just thought to capture and share this (rather pointless, but amusing) bit of gaming culture here.

Edit: Stardew Valley is out today (Oct 5), here’s what the site looks like now!

stardewvalley
He has a very good point about game save backups for the Switch are needed.
Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

GW2: Path of Fire First Impressions

I know the expansion has been out since Friday and many people have already finished it, but I’m still slowly taking my time and making my way through. I actually almost didn’t want to write about it yet, because I’m afraid that ANet is going to do something to tarnish the story or the fun I’ve been having with PoF… and then I’d have to come back and reverse all the good things I’m about to say here.

What’s that?

Someone who had almost given up on GW2 completely, who has been grouchy with the direction of the game for years… admitting to having fun and saying good things about the newest expansion?

You heard it here!

Story Thoughts

No major story spoilers.

I’ll just say that so far, I’m on board with the story in PoF for the most part. I was dubious about the whole Balthazar thing coming into it, and there are still a lot of questions unanswered. So far, it’s taken me in directions I didn’t expect and has done it well.

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Seems like folks in Amnoon are also questioning Balthazar.

I’ve only gotten up to the point where I unlocked the Springer mount in the second zone, so there’s still plenty of time for the story to jump the shark. I remain wary. But also hopeful that maybe… maybe… ANet has figured some things out in the storytelling area.

Character Thoughts

I think one of the things that has made the biggest difference is that the writers have hand-picked the NPC companions you take with you, and they actually work for once. Instead of constantly having all of the Loser’s Club of Destiny’s Edge 2.0 hanging around, they picked up Rytlock, Canach and Kas to take into the fray.

Rytlock and Canach are great! They play off each other well, and I really, really enjoy having them in my group. Their dialogue is just fun, and there’s a sense of begrudgingly growing friendship between the two.

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And while Kas has been on my list of least liked NPCs, when you let her stand on her own away from Jory… and she’s not fawning all over her girlfriend and sucking face constantly… she’s actually starting to earn some respect in my eyes. She’s a more gentle presence in the group, one that represents the struggling human who is questioning everything seeing that one of her own gods has seemingly turned on them.

Honestly, the one character I like least is my own. If I have any complaints about this story it’s that the voice acting and dialogue written for my “commander” character is completely NOT what my character would actually say. It’s brash, overbearing, and often eye rolling. I’m actually hoping my character fails and gets taken down a notch or two because man… he’s gotten really pushy in the latest story line.

Combat Thoughts

So far, I haven’t had any real issues with the new zone or instances in terms of being able to survive. The open area of the desert, while it has plenty of danger, gives a lot more room to move than the enclosed jungle. Also, the basic trash mobs hanging around the desert are no where near as punishing as the Mordrem of the jungle, thankfully.

I’ve never found myself without something to do — events are plenty and varied. Yet, it doesn’t feel suffocating and overwhelming like a few of the zones did in HoT. I still haven’t finished the HoT story yet, as I jumped ahead to get my mounts in hopes they will make my path through the previous expansion easier.

The major battle instances are spaced apart well enough, and are challenging for a single player. But not impossible. The Forged Bastion boss gave me a bit of trouble, but they’ve seriously improved a lot of mechanics around fighting bosses in instances.

For example, your NPC buddies are more useful — they actually rez you when you’re down. And rather than be fodder that die once and lie there on the floor dead at the boss’ feet, leaving you to a chain of rez-rushing the boss until you defeat them somehow, NPCs actually return with you to the starting point when you die (alive) and follow you back into the fight!

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Yay for useful NPCs!

Not only that, but I didn’t see the boss regaining health after I rez-rushed back in a few times. That’s not to say that the boss will never regain health after you failed to kill it, but it didn’t at that point.

I also have to say that there have been a few boss fights that I was impressed by — once I saw and understood the visual cues for mechanics. The Herald of Balthazar was one of them. Not quite on the level of FFXIV mechanics, but getting there. And almost… almost as understandable in terms of telegraphs. Much improved.

Zone Thoughts

I touched on a bit of how the open zone has improved my experience with this expansion. Not to mention a lot of nods back to GW1 — many of which I haven’t encountered yet (but have heard about). I’m a fan of the new map designs and a fan of the way you use mounts to solve puzzles and get around.

Which leads to…

Mount Thoughts

Naturally, I love the mounts! I love it even more that when I unlock a mount, it unlocks for all of my characters!

gw169

I wasn’t going to talk much about the 5th hidden mount… but anyone who has been in any of the main cities has probably already seen lots of people riding around on it. The griffon mount was not advertised, and left to the community to discover.

It came as a surprise to me — not exactly a full-fledged flying mount, but pretty darn close. I didn’t expect them to put something like that in the game.

However, earning it will take a player like me some time. I’m excited by the prospect. I’m also excited that everything about it can be earned through exploration and open world content. While I need to save up about 100 more gold in order to be able to afford the mount, it is a long-term goal I know I want to shoot for.

So, overall… yeah. I’m having fun. I’m not regretting giving GW2 another chance. There’s a possibility they may win me back. I’ll tell you which way it goes, later… once I finish the expansion’s story. 😉

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, Secret World Legends, Uncategorized

SWL: New Templars in Town

I actually had quite a varied weekend of gameplay — everything from GW2‘s new expansion to 7D2D to Secret World Legends. I still have a lot to digest about GW2 Path of Fire, so I want to play that some more before I jump into my thoughts on it (so far, I’m having a fun time).

In FFXIV, I’ve been focusing on leveling Zemi and getting him through the MSQ. I’ve had a few Expert Roulettes on the side, but most my time has gone into alts. Not a lot of exciting things to talk about there, but we’ve got a new patch and a Live Letter on the horizon.

So, back to SWL.

I’m not sure how we got on the topic of Secret World with Amoon. Maybe it’s because around Halloween, we tend to get the itch to poke our heads back into Kingsmouth. But one thing led to another, and after mentioning SWL during our Saturday 7D2D zombie run, suddenly everyone was downloading the game on Sunday.

So yesterday, Syn and I coached the team through the tutorial bits and got them all to Kingsmouth. Though I encouraged them to pick their own faction, somehow we all still ended up Templars.

We haven’t gotten too far, and we’re way overpowered as a group of five. But it’s been fun — at least, I hope they’re also having fun. I’m not sure how long we’ll entice this group to stick around, but seeing that the game is F2P and a number of them are into creepy stories and modern horror, it might be enough to keep us playing a few times a week.

Since transfers of content were re-opened for a second time to those of us who already transferred stuff, I went back to TSW to see if I missed anything cosmetic-wise. I actually had — I’d forgotten to claim a couple sprint styles (a bike and hover board). I also saw that I had a bunch of credits on my account again, despite having spent most of them last time I logged in.

So I indulged in a bunch of grab bags and actually ended up with some pretty nice things — like this faction racehorse sprint and police dog pet.

Aywren-2017-09-24-15-00-52

All the new stuff transferred over quite nicely, so I’m happy to have a second chance at that.

I’m still trying to figure out all the changes to this game. Interestingly, I’m considered a subscriber due to coming in with a lifetime Grandmaster account from TSW. So, I have plans to create our own little cabal eventually (which I’ve never done before).

Maybe with a full group of folks, we can also try some content, like lairs, that I’ve never attempted. Might be fun!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Duty Finder: The RPing Xaela Tank

This Tales is more of an amusing one than one of frustration. I didn’t have anything to complain about in this particular run — the tank actually took it slowly, which was fine, compared to our July 1st tank story.

So we load into Kugane Castle – Syn/Zeb as White Mage, Amoon on Ninja, and I on Red Mage. We get a Xaela (I checked) Paladin random as a tank. We exchange our greetings with him, and are off.

After we finish off the second pull (he’s pulling small), the tank pauses for a moment. The three of us exchange curious comments in voice chat. Then, finally, we see the following from the tank:

rptank1

At first we were confused. It took me a moment to realize the tank was standing over the body of the soldier we’d just dispatched (the enemy’s name is a “Joi Blade”). And sure enough, this defeated soldier was a Xaela AuRa.

That’s when it struck me, and I proclaimed to Syn/Zeb and Amoon in voice chat, “He’s role playing!!”

Not quite sure how to respond to this, we decided to encourage it. I walked over to where the tank was standing and acknowledged:

rptank2

I thought about the lore I was familiar with for a moment, and said in voice chat, “You know, he’s got a pretty valid question, actually.”

Further encouragement as we made our way slowly, but nicely laid back, through this dungeon:

rptank3

The run went smoothly, despite the tank stopping from time to time to discuss his curiosities. Sometimes he was full-blown RPing, sometimes he was out of character. But all through the dungeon, he expressed his honest desire to know more about this Xaela curiosity (and we kept encouraging it). He even mentioned perhaps we’d see more lore or information in the Hard Mode of Kugane Castle.

I didn’t get screenshots of everything he said (since I was trying to DPS), but it was certainly a… different… kind of run. But one that I prefer over the wall-to-wall pulls we normally get.

After the dungeon was over with, we parted ways with one final conversation:

rptank4

Syn has too much fun with this stuff. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Duty Finder – The July 1st Tank

I’m not sure what it is about roulettes lately, but they’ve been a constant source of blog posts. Since it’s mostly been the three of us running (Zeb, Amoon, myself), we’ve been picking up a random to fill in the blank. That’s usually a tank for Expert roulette.

Tanks seem to come in one of two flavors lately: A bit strange, but gentle with the pulls… or insane and wall-to-wall.

Now, I get that some tanks want to pull big to get the dungeon done more quickly. But last night, the tank chided me for using a limit break on a boss…. instead of the massive trash pull he planned to make later on.

wtf

 

Okay, so first, this Dark Knight tank zones in to Ala Mhigo wearing the Moonfire Faire speedos as a glamour. Ugh. This looks ok on female characters but on males… I’m not a fan. It’s about as impressive as tanks who glamour underwear.

Syn examines him and notes that his gear isn’t all that great. I’m not a healer, so I don’t really know what to look for. I just know that the guy constantly pulled big and that she could hardly do any DPS for fear that he would die if she wasn’t spamming heals.

So, despite crazy big pulls, we’re doing just fine. I know Ala Mhigo pretty well as it’s a common dungeon we roll on Expert. I’d finally upgraded all my gear like a good DPS, so I was feeling out my damage output, and pretty pleased with my AOEs.

Then we get to the second boss, and I limit break as I normally would. The tank pauses, and then:

july1-2

What?

Did the tank just snark at me for using a limit break on the boss… instead of a trash pull? Who uses a limit break on a trash pull?

Well, apparently, I wasn’t reading his mind… because I discovered exactly which pull he’d expected me to LB down… because suddenly, he exclaims:

july1-3

And he does this HUGE pull of just about everything from point A to B… three or four big groups. Only problem? He sprinted ahead of us, and the rest of the party got left behind, dodging an AOE… because we had no idea what “going to the gate” actually meant. In all the runs of this dungeon, I’ve never had a tank who did this.

Well, he died pretty quickly, followed by the rest of us.

This earned a “…” from me. Which is me showing disapproval without actually saying everything I really wanted to say to him about this mess. Syn and Amoon tried to explain:

july1-4

What does the tank do? Proceed to insult the party.

july1-5

This indicated that he would have to *sigh* pull slower for the noobs who didn’t know how to play with the big-boys… like you had to do back in July when the dungeon was still new. When he was the one who caused the wipe to start with.

At that point, I was really annoyed, and decided that he wasn’t getting a single AOE skill out of me for the rest of the dungeon, since he was in such a rush (we were close to the end anyhow). Syn had better ideas. After we easily cleared the first few individual pulls, this was how the conversation went:

july1-6

By then, we were on the last boss, and he proclaimed:

july1-7

Yeah, buddy. If that’s true, try acting your age.

Anyhow, not much else was said after that. Not sure if he got the point that not everyone can read his mind and that we aren’t all there for crazy speed runs. If you’re with your FC where you can communicate tactics like that, that’s fine. But in a roulette with randoms, don’t chide your DPS for doing what’s normally done, and run off without your healer expecting to stay alive. Just don’t.

These people don’t know how silly they come off. Or that they’re going to get blogged about. >:)

After the run talk:

july1-8

Oh yeah. That’s right. The RPing tank. We’ll have to do that one tomorrow! 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Kingdom: New Lands

Almost two years ago, I picked up the game Kingdom on Steam. I put almost 10 hours into the game, immersed for a solid weekend, which is quite a bit for me.

When Kingdom: New Lands was released a little less than a year later, those who bought the original Kingdom got New Lands as a free update. I was back to playing the game for a bit, but never got off the first island in the end. The game had changed in significant ways, and I appreciated getting the updated version for free.

Last week, Kingdom: New Lands was released on Switch (digital only). I went back and forth on whether to double dip and buy the game again. But I remembered how much I enjoyed Kingdom on Steam, and the team earned good-will with the free update, so I knew that I’d give into the temptation…

That’s what happened this past weekend.

I spent most my day Saturday lost in the retro graphics and simple-to-learn but difficult-to-beat game. First, I was impressed how well Kingdom transferred to using Switch controls.

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Kingdom is not mechanically complex, which was always a huge draw to me. You can grasp how to play the game very quickly, and be on your way.

However, it’s a game that’s deceptively simple and doesn’t hold your hand. It’s about managing your resources, understanding proper timing with the day/night cycle and planning ahead.

There’s a lot to discover in the game play, and nothing actually explains what anything does. Take for example, the merchant.

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This is an NPC that drops a load of gold each morning for you to collect. However, you have to pay him one gold per day for him to return the next. If you forget to do this, he simply will hang around and be useless.

Also, he has a hut in the forest, which is usually not very far from your kingdom’s borders. If you accidentally clear out the land near his hut, he disappears for the rest of the game. So, you have to weigh the cost of destroying his hut for the progress of  your borders — do you have a solid enough of an income to do without him? How early into the game should you build (I read most people say to keep him around for 7-8 days)?

On my play through of the first island, I simply never demolished his hut at all. This did put some strain on my defenses as time went on, but seeing that winter comes quickly on the first island, I made a beeline to crafting my ship and getting off that island.

When winter comes in this game, spring never returns. Your farmers (often a large source of income) stop producing, and things get really hard to maintain. So the idea is to find and build the ship (which is somewhere on the map) so that you and some of your men can sail on to the next island.

This is easier said than done, though. The ship takes a lot of gold to build and launch. And then, once it’s built, it can take days for your men to transport it to the dock. This weekend was the first time I cleared the first island.

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But then, the challenge of the second island was much harder. Not only did you have monster portals on both sides to contend with, but you have to destroy one of the portals in order to unlock the docks for your ship.

This was the first time I’d built up an army to take on a portal. We did successfully knock it down!

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But, then I discovered that I’d destroyed the portal on the wrong side. Oops. There was only another larger portal behind this one… not the docks I’d hoped for.

That was game over for me. I didn’t have the defenses or cash to build up an army on the other side to take out the second portal. And winter was coming… I knew it was time to call it when I started getting Greed beasts like this on my blood moon nights.

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My army did eventually defeat it (it spits out smaller monsters)… but it had destroyed so many of my walls, took out all my farmers, killed my builders… I just couldn’t recover from it.

I guess it’s time to give it another shot! Live (or die) and learn. 🙂

Next year, Kingdom is releasing yet another version called Two Crowns. This will be a significant change to the game, and allow for local co-op play for two people. That should be lots of fun!