Posted in Gaming

Epic Reels Me in with Free Subnautica

There’s been a bit of a debate lately with the Epic Games Store and Discord both elbowing into the digital game storefront, offering developers a larger cut of the profit than Steam. I’ve been side-eyeing the whole thing, interested but not really invested enough to take a position one way or another. 

Competition is good. But folks who already have a vast game library on Steam (and GoG… and Origin… and Switch…) may need a bit more persuading when it comes to downloading and purchasing from yet another launcher. A basic consensus is — Yes, but, I already have so many games on Steam, and I like my games all in one place. 

While I’m not really super loyal to any one launcher, I do have a bit of OCD when it comes to my backlog. I generally won’t by a newer game on GoG — not because I don’t like Galaxy or the sales aren’t good, but because I’ve regulated GoG to be the “Good Old Games” like the name says. So older games stay on that platform (aside from the occasional times a game overlaps with Steam, and I’m given the option to import it to GoG for DRM free), and newer games are on Steam.

That being said, I hadn’t even looked at the Epic launcher until this weekend when Syn promptly told me, “Subnautica is free on Epic.” 

Puzzled, I took a look. And sure enough, Subnautica is free on Epic. And it’s the first of apparently a rotating list of games that will be free to the launcher every two weeks

Now… Subnautica has been high on my Steam wishlist since 2015. For some reason or another, I just never bought it. I deliberated over it during a few Steam sales, but always chose another game over it. However, it was still on my “I’m very interested” list of games to get. 

So, now I have it. 

Well played, Epic Games. You got my foot in the door and your launcher on my computer. You also have my interest with rotating free games. 

Overall, the launcher worked just fine, and the download was fairly quick. I rather like the large-block design they opted to go with, featuring images and clips of the games. Steam always feels like it’s bombarding you with a ton of games in tiny boxes all over the place. Of course, this could be because Epic Games only has a small selection of games to choose from right now… but it’s still a pleasing design choice. 

Anyhow. What’s done is done. One less game on my Steam wishlist (I’ve been moving a lot of the indies over to my Switch wishlist this past year), and one free game on my PC. Now let’s just hope this launcher doesn’t get a backlog! 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Year-End Goal Achieved!

It is done! As of this weekend, I have completed my overall 2018 goal of leveling all of my lagging-behind jobs to 50 on my main! Woo! 

Warrior was the final job I needed, and once that dinged, a flow of achievements came in. I also finished up the job quest for Warrior and that got me another few achievements and a title for completing all of the job quests up to level 50. 

While I’m not super serious about pushing these jobs to 60 yet (that might be next year’s goal), I did start doing a few beast tribe quests on my Astro over this weekend just to get things started. I don’t know if I’ll be super focused on this right now, but it would be nice to have most of my jobs in a good spot once the expansion comes out next year. 

Unexpected Dragoon

While I was out doing beast tribe quests, I noticed that the next checkpoint for a Dragoon job quest was out in the same zone. I’d run across the start of the level 60-70 line and picked it up weeks ago, but never followed it. Since I was there and it was there, I just went ahead and took the leap. 

I’m glad I did. The quest line wasn’t super long, and I actually really enjoyed the story, especially seeing Estenien again. It’s hard to gauge exactly where his character stands from the few bits and pieces you see of him in Stormblood. But interacting with him in the Dragoon quests gives a much stronger feeling of how his character has developed in some ways without losing what made him who he was. I was pretty pleased. 

He even smiles a bit! Though, I admit, his smile looks a bit odd.

The level 70 Dragoon artifact armor is one of those things that I didn’t know I needed until I got it. I think this is one of the nicer sets of Dragoon gear I’ve seen. I even like the little dragon on the spear. 

I put away the half-finished Anima weapon I’d worked on during the last expansion since this spear was better stat-wise. Not to mention, I really have no desire to glamour that weird face-thing on to this cute dragon. 

While I don’t ever see myself going back to Dragoon as a main, it was kinda nice to revisit the job again after all this time. And I’m happy to have worked through the cute little questline about dragons and get a nice set of gear. This really does encourage me to try and go back to finish more of these job quests! 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Monk Level 70!

Last night, with a combination of Beast Tribes and a few level 69 quests, I was finally able to hit level 70 on my Monk! Note that she’s still using the fist drops from Palace of the Dead. No, those are not glamours. 

That just shows you how dedicated I was to that job. Sorry Monk… I just could never get into that play style. 

This means that one of my monthly goals is checked off, and I can move on to leveling another job. I’m really thinking it’s going to be SAM since it shares gear with Monk. I only have two level 60 jobs left to pick from, though – SAM and NIN. 

I’ve been knocking out a squad run with my Warrior every night, slowly inching towards level 50 on the job. Once that’s done, that will bring all of my jobs to at least 50, which was my goal for the end of the year. 

After that, I’m going to try and see how squads work in the 50-60 level dungeons. This will be completely new ground to me, but seeing that I have squad members who are level 59-60 already, I hope it won’t be hard to get them to carry me through. I’m thinking about starting with my Astro. It’s the last healing job I have that’s not 70, and consolidating all healing gear would be fantastic. 

Oh, and I did pick up that new hairstyle that drops from Eureka the other day. It dropped below 2.5 mil on my server, I had the gil on hand, so I snapped it up. The last time I bought it for an alt, it cost almost double the price. 

This is why I’m always broke. 

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Beware DogSnekPigMan Alpha 17

A few weeks back, 7D2D dropped Alpha 17 for PC users. This was a HUGE patch that we’ve been waiting for since… well sometime during the summer. It kept getting pushed back, but it’s available now to opt into as an experimental build.

Our Zombie Team has put some hours into the new build over the past couple of weekends. While I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what’s there, and haven’t seen anything that constitutes as end game (we had to start over twice — once because of a patch incompatibility), I think I’ve got a feel for it enough to write some stuff.

Welcome to Fort DogSnekPigMan

See that picture above? This is Fort DogSnekPigMan, our newest digs. In the past, we usually made a beeline to find a forge house to reinforce as a fort. But with changes to the game (they removed my beloved Log Spikes), this just isn’t as feasible to do by the first blood moon anymore. 

So when we had to restart the last time, we decided to go the route of finding a pre-existing building with a roof we could hold up at. Fort DogSnekPigMan became it. 

And actually, it did a pretty good job! 

First Blood Moon Horde

The first blood moon horde was nothing to sneeze at. It even had a couple of cops… which you traditionally don’t see to later in the game. But Fort DogSnekPigMan already had some traps (spikes and mines) in place before we got there, and it had this spiffy little side yard area that helped a lot with defenses. 

So, in the end, it was a good pick. 

I don’t think we’ll use this forever, but for a place to start, it was a good one. 

Lots of Changes

There are so many changes to the game with Alpha 17, I just can’t even begin to remember to talk about them all. Everything from how battle works to how you earn XP was completely overhauled. I don’t agree with all the changes (zombies should not be able to jump like they do!), but it does make for an interesting time. 

New party system that lets you share experience and see where your friends are at a glance

Here’s some things I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Grouping and shared experience (builder lifesaver!)
  • More RPG elements – NPC quests, skill “trees”, etc
  • Stamina cap is based on hunger, so food is important
  • Stamina useage – you use more, but regain it back faster
  • Houses that act as dungeons – there’s a specific path through a house to find a “treasure” at the end
  • Lots and lots of traps and tricks – don’t just rush into any building anymore, use the intended path for better results
  • New melee combat system – power swings!
  • Retrieve arrows from zombies (yay!) 
  • New vehicles (though I haven’t seen any yet)
  • Zombies no longer drop loot (but they also don’t leave bodies behind)
  • Updated graphics (it seems)
  • …other stuff I’ve probably forgotten… 

Most of this is pretty fun. But some things still need a lot of tweaks. 

For example, if you’re a builder, you’re out of luck when it comes to earning experience for leveling. Zombie kills are the prime means of XP, and unless your buddies are sharing experience and racking up kills around you, you’re going to get left in the dust. Syn helped to offset this by tweaking building experience so that it’s a bit better in the .XML files. But really, this shouldn’t have to be a player tweak. 

7D2D was such a fun game because it allowed players of all interests to work together to overcome the threat. If you liked to build, you could create the safe house. If you liked to explore, you could bring back supplies. If you like to fight, you could fend of hordes. 

But the way that it’s balanced now, this isn’t true anymore. Not to mention, a number of items were taken away (log spikes) and zombies that jump… make builders have to rethink their approach to designing a place that’s safe for the team during a horde night. 

RIP Color Crayon Spikes 😦

The jury is still out on how progression moves in the long run. We’ve only just cleared the first Day 7 horde. And I have a feeling there will be other patches that come along for fixes to this alpha… likely to ask us to start over again, I wouldn’t doubt. 

7D2D still remains my favorite zombie survival game — I’ve put more hours into it than any other game on Steam. I’m interested to know where it’s going and how it’s going to develop now there’s a much more RPG slant to it. I guess only time will tell!

Posted in Blogging

Great Tumblr Kerfuffle

Tumblr is an interesting thing. It’s a blogging platform firmly entrenched in social media elements that’s fairly user-friendly in design. I actually have always really liked most of the functionality of Tumblr (really wish I could totally nix the private message/chat, though — that was never there when I originally used Tumblr and I’d just as well wish it wasn’t.)

The site is home to many creatives, which is how it started out for me when I first created my own Tumblr. Then it became a home to fandoms, which is how I expanded further into Tumblr, originally with GW2 role play and story blogs. 

It’s retained this sense of being a place for creative freedom… but we all know how there tends to be a dark underbelly to any freedom when it comes to being on the Internet. It’s a sad reality, and Tumblr also became known for being a place of adult content. Once that sort of thing gets started, it’s really hard to keep in check.

And that’s kinda what got Tumblr in trouble as of late, and their iOS app removed from the Apple Store completely

Obvious to those who follow this blog, I’m not they type to post adult content of any sort. When I launched a Tumblr for my FFXIV RP alt, I took a lot of steps to block NSFW tags, blogs, phrases and images. I personally have no desire to see these things, and have done a pretty good job of avoiding this content since I returned to Tumblr back in June. 

Migrating Slowly

I got an itchy feeling last week about the whole situation, especially when someone brought up the demise of GeoCities and Live Journal, both platforms I used in my past. While I wouldn’t fall apart if my RP Tumblr vanished (and some people are losing their Tumblrs into thin air during this), I do have writing I want to save. 

Last month, I started moving some of my writing over to AO3, just as a backup option, and an attempt to expand the audience. 

But last week, I decided to take the plunge and set up a full transfer of content to my own self-hosted WordPress. So I picked up the domain and have been working on cleaning up the content (images don’t fully transfer off Tumblr in many instances). 

I also launched a Twitter account for my RP character… which didn’t see much in the way of activity until yesterday. What happened yesterday? Well… 

Tumblr’s Big Decision 

Yesterday, Tumblr announced that they will no longer allow adult content (mostly images) on their platform. Of course this unfolded a lot like what you’d expect. 

Folks who saw Tumblr as a free and safe space to post anything and everything to were suddenly informed there are new rules and consequences. While I don’t completely disagree with this turn of events, especially in terms of images that portray children in adult content, even I can see that Tumblr is flagging down a lot of innocent posts in its zeal to roll out this choice. 

I haven’t had content flagged of my own (that I’ve seen), but I’ve reblogged things that were flagged, and know blogs that disappeared completely. Trust me, there is no adult content in something I reblog, and what I saw flagged was really silly.

So these false flags are not helping the public opinion. 

Interestingly, it seems that some Tumblr folks are migrating over to Twitter now, if only just to give it a try. This is ironic, given that I’d just set up a Twitter last week. So, in the space of a day, I’ve seen my account go from 2 followers to 52 followers, and a bunch of interaction between folks that I knew from Tumblr. 

I don’t know how sticky Twitter will be for these people, but I am learning a lot about how Twitter works. While I’ve had a main Twitter account for many years, I admit that I never really dove into it much — lately topics tend to get a bit too political for my tastes. But the more I’ve fiddled with settings and explored options, the more I really do like it as a place for tiny snippets of RP interaction. 

What’s going to happen with Tumblr? Is this the death knell that people are making it out to be? Will it go the way of GeoCities and Live Journal? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Until then, I still have a Tumblr for some community interaction, but I’m really going to focus on expanding my creative options. 

Posted in Gaming

December 2018 Gaming Goals

Every year, I always say it’s hard to believe it’s December. This year, especially, it’s been quite a ride to get here. 

In terms of my Dad’s recovery, he’s home from the hospital now, but there’s still a lot of recovering for him to do. I’m on call to troubleshoot and take care of things for him, and so my free time is going to be a bit up in the air for a while. Due to that, I’m going to keep most of my goals pretty scaled back. 

I did get through much of what I wanted to do last month, which is awesome. Most of my goals this month will be just to stay on track and finish up what I’ve started. 

FFXIV Goals – Main

  • Level Warrior to 50 
  • Finish Summoner Job Quests 
  • Level Monk  to 70 
  • Start leveling next job to 70 
  • Gear up Crafters (Scrips) 

These are all pretty simple. The major goal is to finish leveling Warrior to 50 to finish up my year-end goal of getting all jobs to 50. This should be a handful of squad runs and done.  

My Monk is level 69, but I’ve not been doing much except beast tribe quests to progress her, so going is slow. I might toss in an alliance roulette to boost that when I get the chance and just get all that leveling completed. 

I’m not sure which job I’m going to level next. My choices are between Samurai and Ninja, though. Those are the only level 60 jobs I actually have left! 

I might go SAM because it shares gear with Monk, and part of doing all this leveling is to clear out space in my inventory. 

Gearing up my crafters through weekly turn-ins is just something that’s going to happen anyhow, so may as well drop it on my list. 

FFXIV Goals – RP Alt

  • Level Armorer to 60 
  • Level Fisher to 60 
  • Level Miner to 70 
  • Level Alchemist to 50 
  • Get other crafters to 15

Most of Amon’s goals are just to keep progressing in crafting and gathering. I’m happy that last night I finally hit level 50 on Armorer, which means he’s graduated to Moogle quests for that job. This is good, since I haven’t actually maxed out Moogle rank yet, and I want that dance for him! I should get all that by the time this job hits 60. 

My Miner is in the 60s and working on Namazu quests for leveling. In the meantime, I’m picking up my Alchemist again (which is in the lower 30s) and using my remaining Ixali beast tribe quests to level that to 50. 

That’s a lot of daily beast tribes, trust me! 

I also want to pick up the rest of my crafting jobs and get them to 15. There are a number of crafting jobs I haven’t even unlocked yet, and for the sake of clearing out some old gear, it would be nice to get them on the same page. 

I’m also slowly leveling Fisher towards 60 as well. Once I hit that, Namazu should take it to 70 and clear out some more gear inventory as all level 70 scrip gear is shared. 

And, really, that’s all I’m going to shoot for this month. I think that’s quite enough. I’m getting mentally prepared for Patch 4.5, which is coming in January, just in case that’s when they drop Blue Mage. Then a LOT of goals are going to shift again! 🙂 

What’s on your list this December?