Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Alpha 16 Release

So, while the Posse is fidgeting and waiting for Stormblood to drop, 7D2D released Alpha 16 last weekend… just in time to give us a little taste of it before FFXIV whisks us away. This update upped the stakes and increased the difficulty of the game, which was something we could tell instantly (even though we play on lower settings).

I say this as a positive thing. A16 keeps you on your toes, even if you’ve been playing the game for years, like we have. Sleeper zombies are a new thing — they lay there until you get close and just wake up out of nowhere. You can put them down if you sneak up on them before they wake, but man, do these things make exploring new locations a startle-fest.

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I tried to place these chests on the floor, but they attached to the fridge instead. They are our new “fridge magnets.” (We actually call them that in game, too: “I put the food in the bottom fridge magnet.”)

Also, new wildlife, such as wolves and buzzards are in. Wolves (and dire wolves) are almost everywhere, and attack much the same as the zombie dogs used to. At first, I thought this would be annoying, but then, when I realized you could harvest them for meat, fat and hide, they’ve become more of a good thing. Instead of running after pigs and deer, you can let dinner come to you!

It looks like the old roaming zombie hoards are back. I missed hearing the frightening sounds of running zombies at night. And these hordes are pretty sizable, giving a good challenge no matter the time of day.

Despite all these things, we were able to reinforce a starting location in time for the first blood moon. The 7 day hordes are now adjustable in size — we left ours at 8 zombies (per person, I believe), but you can make them bigger. With five of us playing, we had quite a lot of zombies rushing our base.

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We found a few bugs (zombies and wolves running in circles but hardly doing damage, short weapon range, falling through the world, way too many screamers), and a few changes… but overall, we had a good time with the new build. I’m looking forward to exploring the new painting tools and making our base look faaaabulous!

But, first… who’s going to clean this all up??

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, FFXIV, Gaming, Minecraft, MMORPGs, RPG Maker

Weekend Gaming Highlights: FFXIV, Minecraft, 7D2D, RPG Maker

This was a weekend of exciting announcements for FFXIV players, and lots of random gaming for me. There’s so many small things going on, but nothing huge, so it felt right to make a highlights post today. I may go into detail on some of these later!

FFXIV: Treasures and Tanking

This weekend marked our FC’s first organized Treasure Hunt night. We’ve been running the Aquapolis from time to time, when people remembered. Folks are having so much fun, and there are still some who have never tried it, so we put it on the calendar as a light event on Friday nights.

We had such a turn-out that we had to organize two groups to accommodate everyone who wanted to run. And while our group didn’t have the best luck getting the portal to open, when we finally did, we reached Chamber 7 again this time (as did our second group)!

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As I announced earlier this weekend, I also finally leveled my Paladin to 50! I got some Ironworks gear for her, and I have to grudgingly admit that I think Paladin looks good on my character.

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Paladin Wren!

This weekend I also co-tanked the Labyrinth of the Ancients raid in Crystal Tower, which is the first time I’ve tanked a raid of any kind. I was mostly playing the off-tank, just trying to get a feel for how things worked from a tank’s point of view. But it seemed less stressful overall than tanking a whole dungeon where all the pulls rest on your shoulders.

I didn’t think to get any screens of it since I was too busy figuring out my role, but I wouldn’t be against trying it again sometime. Aside from that, I’ve been doing beast tribe dailies and some random FATEs, continuing to level Paladin on the side. At this point, Beast Tribe quests actually give a good chunk of daily experience, while I am working on earning FATE crystals for my Paladin relic by activating the Monk Anima quest instead.

Minecraft: Finding Fishing

Minecraft remains that game that I play for short bursts when I have some down time or just want to chill. I have been working on expanding my island base with actual dirt blocks to allow the grass to grow there, as I mentioned earlier.

I also learned that there is fishing in Minecraft. Anyone who knows me knows that if there’s fishing in a game, I’m going to be doing it! Especially since you can cook the fish and use it as a food source. Even better, there’s a chance at reeling in treasure — I especially have my eye on finding a saddle.

I haven’t seen a horse in game yet, but when I do, I want it so badly! So, for now, I’m exploring fishing in the little oasis pond next to my Dune Village.

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7D2D: Tri-Biome Home

This weekend, our Posse decided to restart our game of 7D2D. So we seeded up a new map called “Spriggan” after my kitten, and that went just about as well as it sounded like it would. This map dropped us in a pretty harsh environment with a lot of mountains and desert. Not to mention, our trader quest took us two days away from our first house find.

Thankfully, there was a little house fairly close to this trader, and it has a very interesting placement.

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As you can see in this picture, I’m standing in a green forest biome. This transitions into desert, where the house is actually located. But to the right, both green forest and desert turn into snow biome!

This makes for very interesting weather patterns. If it’s raining in the forest, you can stand on one side of the base and get rained on, while moving towards the desert side makes the rain stop!

I had a horde approach the house from the back, where desert and snow met, while there was a snow storm happening in the snow biome. It looked like this:

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Snowing in the desert!

If I were to take a few steps to the left, you’d see the snow stop, replaced by desert instead. Very trippy! XD

RPG Maker Saturday

While this isn’t really playing a game, it’s a good chunk of time Syn and I put towards spinning up the beginning of our Nefol RPG. We haven’t put as much time towards this as I’d like, but I feel like we made up for that this weekend.

We scripted up the introduction, and I got to work on relearning how to script events in RPG Maker. I’d forgotten a lot, including how to properly use switches, which led to hours of time trying to debug events that did exactly what I was telling them to do, but not what I was hoping. I’ll write a longer post about this on the Nefol page… but in the meantime, I wanted to close with this demo screen of our heroes in a boss fight. 🙂

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Minibikes, Drawbridges and Greenhouses

While I’ve mostly been writing about adventures in FFXIV, the Posse has also spent a good deal of time in 7D2D over the past few weeks. We’ve gotten further than we have in a while — we survived the Night 36 horde last time we played.

Tales of a Greenhouse

Now that we’ve put this much time into one location, we’ve been able to experiment with building things we don’t normally get to in a shorter game. Much of this is trial and error based on how zombies respond to things that I build.

For example, I noticed that zombies could trash our garden if they got caught on the plants during a horde. So, I started fencing it in. But that hardly did anything to stop them. So I built a wood wall around the garden.

Well, for some reason, that prompted zombies to spawn on top of my garden wall! And because I connected the garden wall to the base wall with a catwalk, they were strolling right on in. Sometimes they fell down inside of the garden instead. Not good.

I decided to put a roof on the garden. But this has to still let light through, so it became a greenhouse.

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Inside the greenhouse

To stop zombies from strolling along the catwalk into our base, I destroyed its connection to our walls. I decided to experiment with the fancy new metal hatch. It looks really awesome!

So I put one hatch in the garden…

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Then I dug an underground tunnel to the base and put another hatch inside. We now have a secret passage from the base to the garden, and no more zombies seem to have spawned on top of the greenhouse.

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Minibike Chronicles

Another thing that the Posse wanted to experiment with that we never have before was building minibikes. Until this game, we never had the books and the resources, and just didn’t play the game long enough on one map to build a minibike. So, we made it a goal to make them, and we were successful!

But the thing about minibikes is that you have to store them somewhere safe. Since we use ladders to get in and out of our base, I had to devise a sort of protected garage for our new bikes.

I decided to be flamboyant and learn about drawbridges. That’s right. I built a garage with a drawbridge that spans over a pit of spikes for the curious zombies that come our way.

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Garage with a drawbridge

If you look, you can see the cement ramp located just under the hammer there. The drawbridge’s footprint is such that you can stand on the ramp and still open and close it. So you just drive your bike up, open the door, and ride inside the little garage to park!

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Minibikes inside the garage

The minibikes are a bit buggy and difficult to learn to drive at first, but they sure do speed up travel time. Of course, to ride the bikes, you have to have gas. So, Syn did her research and learned how to mine oil shale. She also learned how to make the chemistry station, which in turn, creates the gas.

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Chemistry Station

From there, we started getting gas production going. I think we’re pretty set on this…

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Against the Horde

Our base is slowly being upgraded to the first level of steel. But with the hordes we’ve been getting lately, we need everything we can get!

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Steel walls around the base

Even the screamer zombie hordes are getting harder. The last one spawned a zombie bear, which is the first we’ve ever seen. Syn discovered quickly that going 1v1 with a zombie bear with just a crossbow was not a good idea.

The bear then learned the superior power of our spikes and firearms.

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Dead zombie bear

The night 36 horde was massive. We had zombie corpses littering everywhere when it was done.

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Next to the garage…
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Along the wall…
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Syn gets restless and runs out to attack stragglers as we snipe them from the walls…

The base held up just fine under all this. A major success!

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PSA: It’s not polite to rob the only trader in your area… (Unless it’s Trader Rekt. He’s a jerk.)
Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Zombies are Testing My New Video Card

As I noted, over the weekend, I installed a pretty significant upgrade to my video card. So far, it’s been pretty painless – just needed to get an display port adapter for one of my monitors and had to fight with my Cintiq tablet’s drivers as it’s adjusting to the new setup. But as far as playing games are concerned, it’s taken to everything wonderfully.

The Posse has gotten back into 7D2D over the holidays, and we’ve been playing it almost nightly now. On our current game, we’ve worked up to night 19 again. This was after restarting the game a few times due to the desire for a better seed.

We discovered that there’s a way to view the randomly generated maps based on the seed name, and we’ve used it to glance at maps to determine which ones are best . In a few of the games we rolled, we had a hard time finding a viable city near our base.

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We even have a deck with a couple chairs up there!

While I can be content sitting at home building all day, a few in our party are explorers. They need cool points of interest to explore, and the newest build of this game really places a lot of emphasis on scavenging for parts and recipes. I think our newest map has a pretty good balance of what we need, and our base sits on the merger of three or more biomes, and quite near to the trader, which is always a fun thing.

Testing the Video Card

Seeing that 7D2D is a voxel sandbox game with fairly realistic graphics and a randomly generated world that often throws hordes of zombies at you, I figured it was a good game to test out my new video card. I’ve always played this game for function rather than graphics, so I never even took notice of all the higher settings I could choose. I thought the game looked good even on the lower settings.

So I turned on all the fancy shadows, reflections, better trees, higher grass and even god rays. Gosh… I had no idea all that was there! I pushed all the textures up, and man, what a difference. I didn’t realize that all this time I was playing with anti-aliasing turned off! Oops.

The result? My team had to hear me squee about how “fluffy” the world had become.

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I don’t know! Maybe it’s because the grass is fuller and the graphics have taken on a softer tone, but “fluffy” is the best word I could find for it!

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And it all runs just fine. I’ve slowly adjusted the settings higher and higher to continue testing it. I’ve had no problem no matter what I’ve done with it so far, aside from some wonky water reflections (it’s alpha).

But anyhow, I don’t have any new pictures of the updated base, but we’re starting to upgrade to cement walls. I also have built some fortification around our garden after a sad setback that took out most of our seedling potatoes. Apparently, zombies can and still will destroy crops. We haven’t had that happen in a while, so I didn’t know it was a risk. Bummer.

We are way ahead of the blood-moon hordes in terms of fortifications, so I’m feeling pretty confident in starting to explore other builds and add-ons to our base. I’m thinking about some catwalks, towers and other interesting additions. Our ultimate goal of this game is to finally make a mini-bike, though!

I have no idea why, but as many times as we’ve started a new game in 7D2D over the past years, we always have fun. Clocking in at 570+ hours,  the most of any game I’ve played on Steam, this is one game I absolutely got my money’s worth from.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

7D2D: Slaying Zombies & FFXIV: Making Friends

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The newest alpha of 7D2D is up on Steam, and our Posse has been back to building bases, exploring the world and beating down zombies. This game continues to do nothing but get better and better. This time around, it not only looks fantastic with its new further draw distance, but it plays very balanced.

We found a fixer-upper house in an absolutely fantastic location, tucked in between mountains in a forest next to a lake. Honestly, I think this is one of the best houses we’ve found location-wise in all the games we’ve run.

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By the time we got a few days in, and after the first blood moon horde, we had a pretty strong start on fortifying it against the hordes. And boy are there a lot of them in this version of alpha.

It keeps us on our toes since we’ve been used to not seeing hordes unless we had a blood moon or a screamer. So, a good change in pace. I’m looking forward to exploring this map some more and building up our base of awesome!

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Making Friends in FFXIV

It’s been a quiet weekend in FFXIV. Folks are taking a break and waiting for the patch to drop. I don’t blame them. In the middle of this lull time, I finally met up with fellow blogger and game developer Psychochild in game.

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Now, I knew that he was on our server. But me being shy, and not wanting to seem like a creeper, I never sought him out. In fact, I don’t think I’ve actually seen his character in game until this weekend when I happened to run into him in Idlyshire, and I threw him a passing /eureka emote before running away. 😀

Anyhow, little did I know that he’s been helping out some folks in our free company with runs, and that Zeb had even grouped with him in the past! It’s a small world on Midgardsormr, I suppose. I kinda like that.

We all struck up conversation, and he was invited for a Weeping City run that didn’t happen. But we did get a chance to meet up on Discord, and (I hope) we all had a pleasant time.

While waiting for the queue that never popped, he showed me one of his glamours + catbat minion. If you see this, Psycho, I hope you don’t mind I posted it. 🙂

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Other than that, I finally got off my butt and ran a CT trio with my FC that pushed my long-ignored Monk to level 55. I’d been at level 54 for what felt like forever. And then, when I did a Weeping run, I ended up getting a Monk drop. Heh.

Next month, I need to dedicate myself to leveling these jobs a bit more. I have two (three if you count the Scholar/Summoner duo) that are sitting at 55 right now. The rest of my jobs are just hanging out in the thirties. And I need leveling roulette for Lore tomes for gear and umbrite. Bleh… so much work to do! Too little time!

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, Black Desert Online, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

BDO: Training Expert, Camp NaNo Writing, and Dat Funk

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I did, indeed, reach my goal of Skilled 1 Trainer in BDO last night. This gave me a new title, Training Expert, which I wear proudly.

I just wish it would give more female T4s when breeding, though. I’ve had absolutely no luck in breeding a single T4 female in four tries, and the horse breeding calculator says I should have over 50% chance at it given the levels I raised my horses to. It was right about getting T3 females… so either it’s just RNG hating me this weekend or something’s not quite right with the calculator.

So far, all my T4s look very much the same, too, which is a little disappointing. My painted T3 female remains my prettiest horse, so I think I’m going to hold on to her for cosmetic riding reasons. Maybe even try pushing her to level 30 before I breed her. Just don’t know if I have the patience to wait for all that, though. XD

Dat Funk

blah I don’t usually write about myself in terms of feelings and RL issues because folks have enough of that already. But over the weekend, I’ve been in a funk… that I have absolutely no reason or right to be.

Overall, things are going well for me. Work is fine, home life is fine, I have lots of great games to play and people to play them with, I just got my tax return money back (so money is fine), I’ve been working on re-writing Dreigiau and trying to stay inspired – I have no excuse for being in a funk.

I have, however, not been feeling so well as of last week. I’ve just felt the need to sleep and sleep and sleep, and have been dealing with flushed face and sometimes nasty night headaches. It eventually led me to just feeling unmotivated, unenergized, and restless over the weekend.

If you know anything about creative folks, one of the worst feelings is being restless… because it leads to all sorts of discontent and bummed-outness.

For example, I just wasn’t interested in any games I’ve been playing lately. I mean, I set my horses on auto-loop this weekend, but I had no desire to actually play BDO. I didn’t game at all on Saturday, but I had the itch to try something world-buildy or sandboxy… I just didn’t know what. I looked at my list of Steam games for inspiration, but nothing appealed to me. I resisted the temptation to buy something new (Stardew Valley was in my thoughts) on the restless whim because I already have enough games as it is.

I did end up playing some FFXIV on Sunday, mostly just finishing the Crystal Tower trio for the weekly. My monk is almost at level 53, which is something that should excite me a little bit. Just not feeling it. My zombie hunting troupe did sit down with a little 7D2D late last night, which did get my focus for a bit.

I’m actually feeling a little bit better this morning physically (though I’m still dragging and sleepy). So I’m hoping this will pass.

It probably doesn’t help that this is technically week two of Camp NaNoWriMo and I’ve been burning creative juices and inspiration hard to get this writing done. When I’m expelling more creativity than I can absorb, it often leads me to feeling burned out, so this could be part of it.

Camp NaNoWriMo

camp_nano_logoWeek two is traditionally the hardest week for writers in any sort of NaNoWriMo. You’ve gotten past that new story smell, have made those initial introductions to people, places, things and ideas in your fictional world, and now the burden of actually doing stuff with them is upon your shoulders.

For me, the challenge is re-writing a story I started writing in 2001-2002 without looking back at the source material. Even though I’ve edited the original story several times since “completing” it, my memory is pretty fuzzy as to what all I actually did write. This could be a good (or a bad) thing.

Overall, I don’t feel like I’m parroting the original story at all. Everything I’ve written has been from scratch and, though it makes reference to the original plot and structure, flows very differently. I like what I’ve done so far, but I worry that other people might not.

I finally got up the courage to show Syn the first 6 chapters this weekend, and she seemed okay with it. She tends to not like when I alter things too much, so I’m using her reactions to get a feel for how other people might respond to it.

I am at the point of trying to start writing a journey that needs to happen in the story, but doing so with logic and reason behind it. Then figuring out what all needs to happen along the way. Don’t believe it when people tell you the fantasy journey trope is an easy one to write! Nope. In my experience, it’s always been one of the most difficult ones, though rewarding if you do it well.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Sims 4

Weekend Gaming: FFXIV, Sims 4 & 7D2D

Farewell Zero Fortune, my first racing chocobo!
Farewell Zero Fortune, my first racing chocobo!

This weekend was a mish-mash of gaming, which was actually quite a nice, relaxing blend. Despite piddling around in various games, I even knocked out some of my FFXIV goals.

Sims 4

One of the things I wanted to get done before it vanished for good was this year’s Sims 4 Spring challenge. Like last year, there are Easter eggs to find from gathering and harvesting. Two new ones are added to the collection this time, and new colors to the bunny plushie you get for completing the set.

Cute new bunny plush colors!
Cute new bunny plush colors!

There’s also a new Growfruit Challenge that rewards two new gardening planters. I fired up the game and focused on playing a family that has the Sim with the highest gardening skill I could remember, and got right on that. The first planter is rewarded for growing 20 Growfruit and turning them into the NPC. The second was much more involved and required you to evolve the Growfruit trees to Perfect quality and turn in one Perfect Growfruit.

New Spring Challenge planters obtained!
New Spring Challenge planters obtained!

I did complete them both, but it took a number of game hours to finally evolve the tree in the end. So, I got a good bit of Sims 4 time in.

7D2D

Last week 7D2D released Alpha 14, so the Zombie Hunting Crew has been testing and playing that quite a bit. They’ve had some trouble with the build that’s caused some CTDs, but we’ve found some work-arounds for it through installing the 32 bit version on those PCs.

I found a creepy floating graveyard, complete with raining zombies and floating coffins.
I found a creepy floating graveyard, complete with raining zombies and floating coffins.

Overall, the game’s introduction has improved a lot, and the beginning experience is much smoother and kinder to a new player. We’ve been building up a new fort and having a lot of fun fending off the hordes. I wish I had more pictures to share – like of our base and how incredibly real the skybox in the game looks now – but it seems the screenshot key is on the fritz, too, since the last few patches.

FFXIV

Though I haven’t made FFXIV my focus this weekend, I still got a good bit done in the game. First, I finished my first goal of leveling my Culinarian to 60, which pretty much entailed me making massive numbers of Ishgardian Muffins. I suddenly realized that this means I only have 3 crafting jobs left to level to 60. That’s pretty crazy!

The FC has also been running the Crystal Tower raids over and over this week, due to the fact that the queue times are much better now that there’s a relic item reward for finishing the weekly quest. We helped some newer folks through for their first time, and other FC members are practicing new level 50 classes in the raids, just like we used to do when CT was all the rage.

I’m using it to practice my monk rotation and level the job some. The experience isn’t overwhelming, but it’s there. I hit level 52 without doing much else, so my goal of leveling monk past 50 is well underway.

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Chocobo breeding for the first time!

My sister and I spent some time trying out the newly revamped Chocobo Racing in the Gold Saucer as well. I originally raced a bit when the Gold Saucer first came out, but the whole racing/training/breeding thing was so expensive that I gave up before I ever retired my first chocobo. Now that racing is much more profitable and the cost of training/breeding is more reasonable, we dove into learning about the whole system and raced into the early morning hours, a lot like we used to play old Mario Kart games.

It was good times!

I finally raced my first chocobo, Zero Fortune, to rank 40, retired him, and bred him for my first tier 2 chocobo to produce my newest chocobo, Ghost Odyssee. I also won my first chocobo challenge race, which had a really nice payout in the end. I’m enjoying these new changes and was happy to find a racing buddy who was enjoying them too! 🙂

Coming in first and second in the races.
Coming in first and second in the races.

The rest of this week I’m going to focus on getting my writing for Camp NaNoWriMo done. I’m sure I’ll be gaming some, but blogging might be a bit more sparse this month, or at least, a bit shorter. We’ll see!