Posted in Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs, Wii U

Weekend Highlights: Super Mario Maker & H1Z1

This weekend was a truly casual gaming weekend with most of my focus being on trying out a variety of games on my new Wii U system. This includes EarthBound, Super Mario Kart 8 and the newly released Super Mario Maker. My zombie hunting troop was attached to H1Z1 as well, calling me along for the ride.

I’ve poked my head into FFXIV every now and then, but I’m somewhat taking a break from the daily dungeon running, and it feels good to do so. I can only run daily roulettes for so long before getting completely burned out, and I’m still struggling to find a class that I like as much as Dragoon to play on Zuri. Leveling my Paladin to 60 seems like a slow process, so I just haven’t had a lot of interest in logging in, though I’m very much looking forward to the new content.

H1Z1 Hijinks

My sister discovered the radio item in game, and we quickly learned that channel 1 was sometimes used as a server wide general voice channel. I was a little concerned about this at first, but it seems most the folks using it could mind their manners so far.

She got along with a few of the more experienced players and they hooked us up with our first vehicle this weekend. This, of course, meant I had to plunk down some time making a protective base for it.



It’s functional, just not very pretty. That’s one thing I miss about other building survival games is that you can often build things that look much more attractive than the ugly metal walls. By the time I was done this weekend, that base up above had a full second level of walls for extra protection.

Having a vehicle changes the game dynamics quite a bit. You have to protect it from other players who can try to blow it up and make it respawn or simply outright steal it. But it does speed up travel and looting significantly, while acting like a storage chest on wheels. Of course, it guzzles gas and it’s not always the easiest thing to drive, though I learned how to drive it decently before the night was over.

I’m riding shotgun…



It fits 5 people, including some in the back.



Super Mario Maker

aywrenmiiThe majority of gaming time this weekend I set aside for learning about my new Wii U. I’m really interested in how the whole Miiverse works, and can spend a lot of time just browsing the plaza looking at comments and other people’s Miis. I recreated my Mii to something a bit cuter over the weekend, inspired by elements I saw in others’ Miis.

I explored Super Mario Maker quite a bit since it was released on Friday. It’s a charming game, but what really makes it work for me is the community. The basics of Super Mario Maker is a user-friendly interface that allows you to create and publish your own Mario levels.

You start out with a limited amount of tools, which you can unlock over time – I should hopefully be getting my underwater world tools soon? What you can do with it is only limited by your imagination.

One thing that I liked was the stipulation that you must be able to clear your own level before you can publish it. While some of the levels are difficult, none of them are impossible. Though this one was pretty annoying.


Look at all those Hammer Brothers! Not pictured – lava things that jump up out of the floor.

All those “x” on the screen indicate places where other players have died. So I’m in good company. I did beat the level, btw.

You can leave a comment on the levels you play to encourage the maker. Comments include just typed messages, or messages you can draw with the stylus. The drawn messages also provide many fun Mario-themed stamps, which I messed around with quite a bit.

I also quickly learned that you could pause the level by pressing the “+”  button and write a comment in the middle of the course. This places a visible comment right where Mario is standing that anyone who plays the course after you can see. It was fun playing some of the more popular levels because of all the commentary other players left!


While making courses and publishing them is a big element of the game, you can also just sit back and play other people’s creation through the 100 Mario challenges. This puts you through a number of random levels (easy mode is 8 courses) that unlock a new character costume, including popular Nintendo characters (and even Sonic the Hedgehog – really?). You can unlock these by having amiibos as well, but since I don’t own a single one, it’s challenges for me!


The first thing I realized when I picked up Super Mario Maker was how rusty I’ve become playing Super Mario platforming games. I used to be really good at them as a kid, but I haven’t touched one since the N64. At first, I thought it might be the large gamepad giving me issues, but the more I played, the more muscle memory came back to me. I might not be up to my previous skill, but all the crazy courses in this game will certainly see that I’m challenged to re-learn.

Mario Kart 8

The same happened when I picked up Mario Kart 8 for the first time. Oh, man, I was terrible.

Again, I haven’t played a Mario Kart seriously since the N64 – but I was quite good at it back then! My first race (solo only) I finished 5th place, but after that, I started getting the hang of it again. I’m still trying to find a good balanced kart build that feels right for my playstyle, and I really like how much flexibility there is when you start mixing and matching kart pieces.

Unlocking new courses and characters is fun, and the new (and old) courses are all really well designed! It’s an excellent Kart game, though I have a lot of practicing to do before I play anywhere as well as I used to.


I’m slowly making progress through EarthBound as well. I learned how to take screenshots using Miiverse this weekend, so now I can post progress as I go along! I finally made it to Giant Step (I forgot how challenging old SNES JRPGs can be), and cleared the first town. It only took me 15 or so deaths to mice and ants. XD


This game is just as crazy as I remembered. Good times. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs

Weekend Highlights: FFXIV, Cities Skylines, H1Z1


Welcome back to cold, hard reality from a long three day weekend (for those who celebrate Labor Day). I’m trying to shake out the cobwebs and get back to the routine, but I have a feeling it’s going to take most the morning to do so. In the meantime, allow me to reflect on all the gaming done over the weekend.

FFXIV: The Two Year Reward

Gals look sharp in it, too.
Gals look sharp in it, too.

I’ve kinda been trying to sneak a break from FFXIV when I can lately, since all that’s on my roster is running EX daily dungeons for Eso armor. I re-iterate that dungeon running is not my favorite activity in FFXIV, but earning armor and progressing with Syn keeps me somewhat on track. I’m at the point where I personally don’t care about capping Eso for the week (not that I ever cared about capping any tomes that had a cap in the past, to be honest), so just getting a few runs down at a more leisurely pace is actually a good thing for me.

The FC did decide to blitz through all three floors of the Crystal Tower on Friday night to unlock the content for folks who had never done it before. I think they were also working on clearing EX Primals on Sunday, though this still remains an activity I’m not very interested in for myself. Maybe I’ll do them someday, but if I don’t, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on an integral part of the game.

In the middle of it all, I forgot to note that I earned my 720 Day Vet Reward in FFXIV – the Advent Attire. Meant to look like Cloud’s outfit from Advent Children, I’m supposing. It’s a neat reward (though I’ll have yet to see if any of my characters actually will wear it), and mind boggling to think that I’ve been subbed to FFXIV for 2 years straight now. I pay my sub monthly, so this isn’t a reward in advance or anything.

I don’t think I can remember ever being subbed to a game for 2 years without a break before. That’s really a testament to FFXIV (despite my dungeon grumbles).

Cities Skylines

Last week, I was stoked to be the recipient of the Blaugust Anook Community Choice Award! I was given a choice of the prize that I wanted, and I selected Cities Skylines, which is a game that’s been sitting at the top of my Steam wishlist since it first released.

I really wanted to make some time to try this out, and since it was a gift/prize, thought it was only polite to do so. Right?

Anyhow, almost 16 hours later, I have nothing but good things to say about this game. It really is a blend of a more modern feeling city builder with a lot of the old skool gameplay (I remember the days of connecting tons of water pipes under my Sim City and still wondering why the wasn’t water getting to my residents).

It does have some measure of challenge to it – guides encouraged me to not get frustrated if I needed to scrap and restart cities, and to learn from the experiences. That’s exactly what I’ve done, as I run across little snags here and there that ended up sending what looked like a flourishing city straight into failville in matters of minutes. My newest city, however, seems to be surviving, and I’ve reached the Grand City level, which thankfully unlocked a solar power plant.


I haven’t even touched mods or anything like that and I’m still having a ball. I can only imagine what I’ll do once I start messing with player-created content. 🙂


My zombie hunting troop surprised me when they requested to revisit H1Z1 this weekend. It’s been a long time since we’ve loaded up this game, and everything I built previously has long been washed away in the restarts. Despite that, we rolled up new characters and headed back to our favorite spot at the church.

There were a number of features and improvements that struck us from almost the moment we logged in. First, and best of all, they made it so that nighttime wasn’t so dark and nasty. I know there was a thing where Smed (back when he was still heading this up) noted that players just tend to log off or hole up for the night in H1Z1, and it’s because it was simply too dark to do anything constructive. Well, they fixed that, and very slowly, my team started to grasp that going out to do stuff at night was actually a thing now.



This is a good thing, because night cut our productivity and game time down drastically before. It was the point where I’d previously just hole up in the base, or hover around the base to do cooking or something. Now, we can actually go out and scavenge, cut wood, explore, or whatever freely during the night. Thank you dev team!

The next thing we noticed was the start of a weather system. For the first time ever, we saw it rain in game. Of course, being alpha, this is still in the works. It was raining out of a sunny or clear night sky. But the rain has some neat effects – the water and reflections on surfaces look good, and it’s neat to hear the drumming of the rain on buildings when you go inside.

A wet deck reflecting torchlight at night.

There’s also some cons to the rain, such as campfires in the world getting too soggy to light. We even built a deck extension over our campfire to keep it out of the rain. It lit for a while, but once it went out, we couldn’t light it again until the rain stopped. And sometimes the rain goes on for days.

We really appreciated the changes to grouping that were added. Now, when you group, you see your team members off on the left side, and you can actually voice chat only within your group if you need to. Also, people in your group have a large green chevron (as my team calls it) over their head, indicating position and making it easier to see team members from a distance. Nice changes!

Aside from that, the number of bears have been reduced significantly. Prior versions of this game, it was more like we played keep-away from bears than anything else. We always had like two or three wandering around our camp area we had to keep an eye on, and only sniped them later when we had the guns and ammo to take them down. This version, we played quite a bit over two days and only had a few run-ins with bears. Much more balanced.

They’ve also fixed wolves – which used to dance and jump around people sporadically while attacking, making it really hard to kill them. They hold still now, and it’s much more reasonable to try to survive against them.

There’s been a lot of improvements with building, too. Mostly little things that I noticed – like deck additions, easier alignment and placement, small shacks that sit on the ground, but can also be built on the deck. Nice progress in this area.

Our little base by the church.

Overall, though, I still don’t see a large population of people playing this game (on our PvE server). I also still feel though the foundation of the game is there, there’s not enough here for me to feel drawn to play for a long period of time. There’s no reason to build anything up right now because wipes will just clear it eventually. And the one time we tried to explore an actual town (Cranberry), the place was so shockingly overrun by zombies that we couldn’t even come close to approaching it. We tried, and it was like an endless spawn or something, way more than the four of us could handle.

So H1Z1 is getting polished up, but still has a long way to go.

Wii U

The other big news of the weekend is that I bought a Wii U. But this is too much to tack on to the end of this post. I’ll write about it later. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs

Weekend Highlights: Crafting Forever in FFXIV, Base Building in H1Z1, More Windward!

I discovered you can dye the gambler's coat!
I discovered you can dye the gambler’s coat!
My Pretty New Ship!
My Pretty New Ship!

I’m just coming off a three day weekend, which is always tough to do. For all the time off, I didn’t really do anything super exciting in the gaming world. I think part of that is just that lull before the expansion in FFXIV.


I’ll start with Windward because first thing Saturday, my net went down for about 5 hours. Bleh. So, anything I played had to be offline, therefore, I put a good bit more time into Windward. The game is slowly getting more difficult, and has its frustrations, but I still enjoy it overall. I think I have enough time under my belt to write a proper review this week!

FFXIV: Crafting Forever

Closer... Closer...

I’m slowly, slowly crawling towards level 50 on all of my crafting and gathering classes. I’m still totally focused on doing just the daily Grand Company turn-ins. It’s kinda random how much experience I get from these, since it all depends on whether you manage a HQ turn in, and if you have a special bonus for a particular class that day.

I do the best I can to turn in the best I can make. But between crafting, gathering, running out of materials to craft, then having to gather more, and figuring out where materials are stored on my retainers, even a good night clocks me in over an hour’s worth of time every day. Sometimes up to 3 if I’m really unlucky with the materials I need.

I’m trying to hang in there and push on to cap – I know I can at least get my gathering classes up there. I do know that come expansion, I’ll just have to push towards 60 anyhow, so I’m honestly not even really sure why I’m focusing so hard on this. I guess it’s just a goal because I need other non-combat goals from time to time. 🙂


Just as we were finishing up our first base in H1Z1, Smed decided it was a good time to completely wipe the servers again. Something about hackers and banning and security stuff that had no effect on me. Wiping my base, however, did. So we had to start all over again this weekend.

Learning from the first time, I decided to try building a base with a ground tamper. This seems more safe, because we had times where creatures could run up under the deck-style foundations and kill us from underneath. Not cool. After finishing walls and doors, I built some platforms for my zombie hunting troop to snipe bears, and they were content.

Building a New Base
Building a New Base

Steam Stuff – Watching a Game vs. Playing It

I also played a bit of Majesty, which I wrote about here.

Along side of that, I put some time into Lone Survivor for my Steam Challenge series. I like the game so far, but (don’t shoot me, this is bad, I know) I almost feel like it’s a game I’d rather watch someone play than play it myself. I don’t even know why… this is the first time (aside from Five Nights at Freddy’s) where I am truly interested in the story of a game, think the idea and atmosphere are both great, but just don’t want the pressure of actually playing the game. I’d rather watch it.

Have you ever had that happen? Does that mean I’m getting old when I’d rather watch a game than play it? XD

I may have to write a post about that. Hmmm.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, H1Z1, Landmark, MMORPGs

Gaming Weekend Highlights: FFXIV, Landmark, H1Z1, Windward

Midgardsormr is my new gathering/crafting buddy.
Midgardsormr is my new gathering/crafting buddy.

How was your weekend? Got much gaming in? I did a little bit of a lot of things, I suppose, and here’s my highlights!

FFXIV: Crafting, Crafting, Crafting

craftingprogressI’m continuing to make that push to finish up as much crafting as I can before Heavensward drops. I’m moving slowly, but surely, to getting all of my classes to 50. The gathering classes have been much easier than the crafting, but as of last night, I’m at least level 40 in all disciplines! Yay!

I was also in the middle of indecision with which healing class I wanted to finish to 50. I had been working on Scholar, but I’m a little intimidated by the thought of trying to micro-manage the healing pet, heal and DPS all at once. I’m not a healer by practice, so I thought that maybe I should concentrate on White Mage, which was actually the first class I ever began leveling, and get a feel for healing before I try something more complex. I have a ton of ilvl 100+ gear waiting for me to finish leveling one or the other (I’ll likely do both since Scholar is at level 38), so I’d like to start working on some of that in between crafting when I can.

Otherwise, things are pretty quiet in the game. It’s getting to be that lull time as summer rolls in, and a lot of FC folks are taking breaks or logging in far less than they used to. Only have a month to wait until early access for Heavensward, and I’m ready for it!

Landmark: Finally A Monster!

OMG! I found one!
OMG! I found one!

I hopped in Landmark briefly this weekend, looking to see if I could finally finish that “Kill a Monster” in the caves quest objective. As I noted before, this isn’t as easy as I’d hoped because it seems the monster respawns are broken. So they’re almost impossible to find unless you can drill down deeper and stumble upon hidden caves.

Only, you can’t do that easily without the pulverizer. And you don’t get the pulverizer unless you can kill one monster to complete the achievement. So it’s a vicious cycle of getting nowhere.

I logged in early morning Saturday and hopped to different islands searching out a monster to kill. I finally did find a few, and was quite happy to complete the objective. Only to find that the objective that follows it is “Kill 10 Monsters.” Thanks. I would if I could find that many.

Instead, I went ahead and crafted a new sword (because that’s an objective, too). Killing monsters in Landmark with nothing but starter gear is tough. I always get really close to death every time I try to take down anything there. Of course, I’ve only seen chompers and abominations, which I remember being the tougher monsters. And this probably changes once you get some gear, which I don’t have.

I’ll keep trying to make progress bit by bit, and hope they fix the spawning thing soon.

Mwahahah! Pulverizer!


H1Z1: Base Building

Things have been pretty uneventful in H1Z1. The team has manage to stay alive for the most part, and we continue to build up our base. The newest patch has given us the gift of “Max Number” crafting, which means we no longer have to craft one painful thing at a time. So, things are getting better there.

We’re working on setting up two adjoined metal bases on two upraised platforms side by side. This takes a lot of metal, but will be worth it when it’s done. We already had a run-in with a couple of jerks who thought it was okay to come and steal metal out of our furnace while I was trying to melt it down for crafting. They were running around in a car already, so it wasn’t as if they really needed it. Getting those walls up will help prevent stuff like that, so I’m working hard at getting that done.

Don't I look like I'm working hard? Oh, right. It's night. We don't do things at night.
Don’t I look like I’m working hard? Oh, right. It’s night. We don’t do things at night.

I was interested in the Reddit feedback thread where Smed announced:

We had a very interesting report run just now. It shows a much higher percentage of people log out when it gets to night. We play the game too, and we’ve tuned it as best we could to be fun and not too dark, but the data is quite stark. We are considering experimenting for a few days with no nighttime on the core PVP servers (hardcore would still have it).

Personally I love the night, but data is data and it’s you, our players doing the logging out when it gets dark. You are literally voting with your feet on this issue. We may also end up with a compromise..

I thought it was pretty interesting, though I personally don’t go roaming around at night in H1Z1, and am more likely to log out or hug camp when it gets dark. For my monitor, it’s just too dark at night (see above screenshot) to brave the one-hit-kill-bears and annoying wolves. There’s no gamma adjustment, so I adjust with my behavior and don’t take stupid risks. Instead, I do my building, crafting, cooking and sometimes nearby tree-chopping come night. Come day, my team heads out to scavenge and explore.

That’s just how it goes until we can see better. It looks like that might be coming, too, as per Smed:

We’re also going to make night shorter and maybe try to brighten it up a bit more.

Thank you!


Syn got me Windward as a birthday present, and I’ve been playing this on and off when I find the time. I’m having a lot of fun, actually, and almost have my first little ship up to level 10. While some of the quests you do are repetitive in nature, it’s really a pretty cool game to just relax and chill with. Navel battles can kick it up a few notches, but those are pretty fun to play, too.

Once I get a few more hours under my belt, and explore a little more, I’ll write up a proper post for it. Until then, look at this lovely ship and ocean! This game is really pretty!

Ahoy there little town!
Posted in Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs

Revisiting H1Z1


This past week, my zombie hunting troop has decided to revisit H1Z1 after months of letting it build up its alpha state. The newest patch added in female avatars amongst other things, and wiped all the servers. So, we felt it was a good time to see what has changed since our initial experiences.

Note that we play on a PVE only server, so my thoughts and impressions are influenced by that.

My sister's female avatar
My sister’s female avatar

While character creation is still non-existent, I do like being able to choose a female avatar now. I think the avatars are tastefully designed, too, and pleased that she looks like an average-Jill you’d actually find running around in jeans and a t-shirt. Thank you for that, Daybreak. (Oh, it’s going to be so weird calling them Daybreak…)

Speaking of Daybreak, all players got a free Daybreak cosmetic t-shirt in game with that edgy and slightly intimidating new logo on it. Bright red, it’s not something you’d want to wear on a PvP server. But I did like how cosmetics applied to any shirt you picked up easily, and was interested that they’ve already considered a rudimentary kind of mini-wardrobe for cosmetics.

Grouping. What can I say about grouping? I’m glad it’s being worked on, but I don’t really see that it has any effect on gameplay aside from changing the color of someone’s floating name. We still can’t see each other on the map, nor does it do anything useful like causing a party member who dies to rez closer to the party. Hopefully this kind of thing will be coming.

In game map and grid system. This is much better than no map at all. Our initial experience with this game was running and running and running forever trying to figure out directions and coordinates to get everyone in our group to meet up. I think we actually spent more time looking for each other than playing together. And then, when we finally did group up, a bear made short work of our reunion.

There’s still a lot of running to meet up if you die (a big pet peeve of mine… we need a way to fix respawn points, at least on a PvE server). But it’s much easier to know where you are thanks to the positional grid and the map. If you get lucky, you can find an improved version of the map by looting, too.

Loot. Finally. Back when we were playing, there was no loot anywhere. Period. I think in the 11 hours I played, I found one combat knife and a few empty bottles or something. We knew they’d tweak the loot, and it’s a whole lot better now.

Crafting. Because loot is now working, I finally get to do what I wanted to do – try crafting. Limited inventory is a real pain in the butt. However, even with just a satchel, I was able to set up a couple of shacks (not the small ones) and get some storage chests running. I’ve learned a lot about crafting this time around, and it remains part of what I like to do most since I’m a crafter and builder more than a hunter.

Our two shacks of awesome
Our two shacks of awesome

We’re mostly hanging out around the church we found and building just down the hill from it. We’re in close proximity with plenty of lootable places, but we don’t get bombarded by too many zombies or hordes.

Honestly, though, it’s still the wildlife that is the most dangerous. Wolves and bears can tear you apart in no time. They still seem to follow forever, which is super annoying. I hope that’s something that’ll get changed eventually.

Little sister antics - standing on the torch
Little sister antics – standing on the torch

Aside from that, there isn’t a ton to say about this game right now. From a PvE viewpoint, it’s mostly gathering materials and figuring out how to build stuff. We fight zombies if we have to and stay away from bears. Aside from finding better backpacks and maybe some guns, though, I don’t see a lot about how I can make my character more powerful. I know there’s armor in this game, but seeing how a single wolf can take my life down from 100% to 26% in short time, we really need to have a way to protect ourselves.

I can’t get a feel for this progression, and because of it, the game seems stagnant to me. There’s no reward for killing zombies (unlike 7D2D, where there is a leveling system). In fact, all there is is risk of death, the punishment being the most annoying thing to me – randomly respawning in the middle of no where, losing all my stuff (progress), and having to run back to my base. So, even death is more frustrating than it is frightening.

I don’t see an incentive to do much of anything but build a shack, carefully scavenge, hunt some deer, and turtle the rest of the time to avoid the frustration of death. If there’s something more that I’m missing right now, please tell me. I really would like a goal and a way to progress, but I don’t see one.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the work that’s gone into the game. I think it’s already come a long way for an alpha. But for a PvE player, it needs to keep developing and providing ways to strengthen my character and build up my little settlement to make it my own.

I'm hanging out in my shack with my Daybreak t-shirt on
I’m hanging out in my shack with my Daybreak t-shirt on
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs, Sims 4

Gaming Weekend Highlights: H1Z1, Sims 4, FFXIV, More!

I continue to throw a bit of variety into my gaming sessions this week, mostly working on single player games. I wanted to do what I call “gift week” this week (since Saturday is my birthday). I thought it was only fitting that I spend some time playing through games that were gifted to me by other folks. These games are also on my Steam challenge list of want-to-play. So, that’s part of what I’ve been doing.

Here’s my roundup!

FFXIV: Crafting to Heavensward

I continue to take a break from dungeons and heavy content in FFXIV, letting myself wind down a bit in this time leading up to Heavensward. I still try to log in every day to take care of FC stuff (we just celebrated our first year birthday!), but most of my concentration has been on doing crafting dailies. While this is by far not the fastest way to level crafting, I know, I just want to casually make progress on all of my crafting and gathering classes at once. This is a good way to do that.

This weekend, I bumped my botanist, miner and goldsmith up to level 40. The rest of my classes are hovering in the high 30s with nothing below 37. Pretty happy with that progress, though I can’t be certain I’ll have everything to 50 come expansion. That’s fine, though. I have a feeling the gap between 50 and 60 is going to take quite some time, and I’m in no rush.

Zuri's Current Crafting Progress
Zuri’s Current Crafting Progress

H1Z1: The Return

We set up camp next to this spooky looking church.
We set up camp next to this spooky looking church.

I’ve been keeping an ear out for all of H1Z1’s updates lately, and was very pleased to see the new female avatars appear in game this week, along with grouping and a server wipe. So, when my zombie hunting troop decided to play H1Z1 for the first time since January (I believe), I was happy to come in and check out all the changes in the game.

The game is much, much improved. There’s actually loot now, which allows us to actually play the game, rather than play a berry-picking simulator. I was able to actually try out the crafting system this time, since tools, food and weapons weren’t impossible to get like they were the first time we played. I successfully made a wood shack, learned how to make storage containers, and am generally having a lot more fun than I did the first time (sans bears).

I’m still not sure what good grouping actually does in the game, though. You can’t see members of your group on the map (don’t know if that changes when you find a compass because none of us have one). But I’m glad that grouping is at least a thing that’s being developed.

I’ll write up a more in-depth post about this later as I have a feeling we’ll be playing this a bit this week.

Sims 4: Get to Work

I’ve been spending a lot of my gaming time binging on Sims 4, playing through all of the new career tracks from the Get to Work expansion. I’ll probably write a full article about this, too, as I have a lot to say about this expansion… and probably will have more once I finally get to the retail portion of the game.


I maxed out the detective career, have made it pretty far in the doctor career, and finally started playing the scientist career, which I saved for my KiNa/Kip character in particular. Oh, man… I’m having a blast with the scientist career – it’s absolutely perfect for Kip! Not only does he get to geek out creating inventions, but he can use this ray gun he crafted to mind control his co-workers into doing things. The best part? When he successfully mind controls people, he gives the HAHAHAH evil laugh (and gets a Mwahahah moodlet), just like he’d really do.

So, that, amongst contacting aliens… getting abducted… and simmers know where that leads. Yeah. It’s been an interesting ride this week. I’m trying to figure out how to weave it all into my Sygnus Sims storyline in the future. So much content to write about!

Divinity: Original Sin

This was a Christmas gift (thank you!), so it’s been on my I-need-to-try list for a while. I’ve spent some time with it, but not enough time for me to feel like I can give it a really good writing-about. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually tried to work through a long-form single-player RPG, so I’m feeling pretty rusty.

From the outset, though, the game surprised me at character creation by allowing me to create not one, but two, characters to start with. I knew it was a co-op game, but I didn’t realize that I’d be creating half my party from the outset. This actually enthralled me, and I promptly rolled the tank/mage combo of a Leona and Ben. Best choice ever… as I love how the characters banter between each other.

Ben and Leona at character creation

I’m only a few hours in, but I’ve already been tasked with a quest to save time (and hence the world) itself. So, I’d say things are looking pretty epic. The game is sure placing a lot of hopes on a rusty gamer like me, though. I’m glad you can save anywhere you want, because choices you make stick with you. And when the game warns you not to dig things up, you should probably listen.

This is definitely a game that’ll get a Steam Challenge post later, once I have a stronger feel for it.

Analogue: A Hate Story

2015-05-03_00002This was also a gift game (thank you!), and the first visual novel I’ve ever played. I did play through to the end of the story (or, what the game considers being 94%), though the game has several different endings that I went and looked up later.

What can I even say about this game in just a few paragraphs. It really can’t be done. There’s too much to talk about and too many conflicting feelings I have walking away from it. I laud the game for excellent design and clever methods of storytelling. But I can’t say that I liked the story… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing! In fact, the more I thought about it afterwards (it’s a good sign when the game makes me think about it afterwards), the more I think that I wasn’t supposed to like this story.

Now whether I was meant to dislike the characters (which I did), I’m not so sure. But I laud the game for giving me that moral choice. I, of course, being a softie took Hyun-ae with me at the end… but if I were to do it over again, I’d leave her butt there on the ship like she deserves!

Anyhow… probably a full Steam Challenge discussion for this game later! It deserves a full article.

Neko Atsume

2015-05-03 15.43.28The Japanese cat app that a lot of folks online are talking about made itself at home on my iPhone this weekend. It’s a cute, low-maintenance cat collecting game that I passed on to my sister.

While it does have some freemium elements to it, they’re not so overpowering as to be off-putting. It’s kinda a phone-zen sort of thing, something to check from time to time throughout the day, just to see which cats have come to play with stuff and what they’ve left you.


This week, I’m looking forward to a long three day weekend to celebrate my birthday! I know I’ll be hitting up H1Z1 some more with the zombie troop as my sister is also on vacation from work this week. Along with that, I’d like to delve into more Divinity, try Project Zomboid (another game gift), and keep spinning stories with Sims 4.

I have a lot to write about, as well. Happy to be trying out a lot of Steam games lately. That keeps the inspiration flowing!

Posted in Everquest 2, Gaming, H1Z1, Landmark, MMORPGs

Dismayed and Torn: Daybreak Layoff Response


So, as most folks probably already know, it was announced today that Daybreak (formerly SOE) will be laying off a number of staff. For money reasons, of course. Only, the folks on the chopping block are some of the most passionate people I know on the team, such as Dave Georgeson (Smokejumper) and Linda Carlson (Brasse).

// may not have written a lot about Landmark lately, but Smokejumper has been a huge part of this beta experience for me. From the moment you launch the game, he welcomed the community and set the feel for the Landmark world. His passion, and the passion of Brasse, shown through in all the games they were a part of. They made it welcoming and inclusive. It was part of what I loved about the community… and their loss will be widely felt.

And while I don’t wish evil on anyone, I marvel that someone as sharply sarcastic as Smed still remains. You can call me out for holding a grudge, but I still haven’t forgotten his snide comments on the “disgusting PVE carebear servers” that would launch with H1Z1, and how he’d just have to deal with the fact that casuals who don’t like KOS PVP are playing his game. That was a total turn off, an absolute contrast to the welcoming feeling I got from games such as Landmark.

The part I’m torn about… do I continue to play Daybreak games?

I know these people put so much of themselves into these creations. I’ve put lots of money and time into some of these games myself (EQ2). Do I leave the games they worked on in frustration of the company’s direction? Or do I continue to play (even if I play very casually) because they did put so much of themselves into these games, that they’d want people to continue to enjoy them, even if they’re not on the team anymore?

Even Smokejumper requests:

It’s rather hard… Where to stand on this? Either way, it’s crushing news and a really bad move (IMHO) for those in charge at Daybreak. I wish the best to those who are being forced to move on. 😦

Sunset. Not Daybreak.


Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, H1Z1, MMORPGs

A Very Primal Weekend: FFXIV, GW2 H1Z1


GW2: The Big News

heartofthornsSeems like many folks were caught afire with the confirmation of the new GW2 expansion. I kinda forgot that whole thing was going on (too busy with FFXIV and H1z1), so I got my info from the blogger round-ups. Some things sound interesting to me, such as the new class, sub-classes, expanding on weapons the current classes have.

Some things, like guild halls, are two years too late – our little medium-size guild died after the release of the guild challenges when we discovered the whole system really catered to larger guilds. Just never could put the guild back together after that, and I became too discouraged with the game to keep pouring effort into it.

But there are some things that I’ve heard that I’m not a big fan of. For example, Bhagpuss noted here that:

He placed enormous emphasis on how “challenging” the new maps would be and how group-focused the expansion is.

That’s a double ew for me. I haven’t liked Anet’s definition of “challenging” for quite a while, because usually that just means annoying mechanics that hinders me from having fun (ala the Karkas and the Mordrem). Also, I’m not sure I like the whole “group-focused” thing. If this means we have open-world group goodness, such as the dynamic events we had when the game first released, I’m all for it. If this means forced grouping in the terms of dungeons, no thanks.

No new race and only one zone of jungle are disappointments considering how much GW1 could pack into a single expansion back in the days. Not interested in GvG, WvW or Legendaries.

So overall, I’m in a wait-and-see stance. I may not even pick this up on day one… might wait for reviews, patches and sales.


I used to be a zombie hunter, but then I took an arrow to the head... Only on PVE servers. :)
I used to be a zombie hunter, but then I took an arrow to the head…

Played a bit more in H1Z1 and still echo that it’s very very frustrating trying to regroup with friends after tragedy strikes in this game. We managed to get into the game right after the patch on Friday night, and that meant we finally scored some loot for once. After finding a backpack, knives, hatchets and all sorts of good stuff, I finally felt pretty good about my status in the game.

We were making the long trek to pick up a new fourth member of our group. Climbing a steep cliff, I came face to face with a bear at the top. One swipe of its claw took half my life. I started to run. The bear simply wouldn’t stop chasing no matter what. Eventually, I was able to reconnect with my friends, and they did everything they could to try to take the bear down as it chased me in circles around them. Finally, my stamina gave out and it mauled me to death, then turned and mauled two other members of my group before they could get away.

Okay, so I know this is a survival game. But how fair is it that a bear can kill in two hits and you can never, never run away from it because it simply won’t stop chasing you?

So we lost all we had, got scattered across the map yet again, and spent another 3 hours trying to get our group together again before we could have any meaningful play. By then, all buildings were once again picked over, and with no loot to be found, it became yet another night of fruitless time wasted.

I know they’re putting out patches to fix this. And they need to. Our H1Z1 team didn’t even meet yesterday, and I wonder if their interest is already waning.

FFXIV: Primal Time

I put a lot of time into FFXIV this weekend, continuing through the main story scenarios. While the story and language has its quirks, I still feel this has been some of the best story-oriented gameplay I’ve had in an MMO in a long time.

Leviathan Battle

As I get closer to the newer content, it feels like the team really started to hit their stride. There’s much more voice acting. The story knows how to ramp up the tension by building a backdrop of rebellion boiling in the shadows of Ul’dah. On the other hand, the Scions are dealing with primal after primal – some more vicious than others.

We also get a lot of foreshadowing, proving that the team has known where it wanted to take the game’s development for a while. We get the first hint of the new dragon race that will be coming with the expansion, see how Mor Dohna is starting to be built up, and the logic behind the previously released rogue class, which leads to ninja. Very cool!

Moral questions are brought to light in the middle of all this. Beastmen summon primals out of fear of man and desire to be protected. Man, in turn becomes threatened by the primals, and strikes back with violence. Don’t both sides have a right to live in peace? Who is in the right? How is peace ever to be obtained if neither side tries to come to terms with each other?

And me, the Warrior of Light, continues to be put at the lead of the story as a person who stands out above the rest. Even the wisdom of Ramuh judged my character and found the truth. While other primals, such as Leviathan, simply lash out in fury and destruction without desire for understanding.

So I’ve finally beat Leviathan and Ramuh, and currently sit in the middle of the patch 2.3 content. I’m also working hard on getting pieces of my ilvl 100 armor, and slowly accumulating more atma for my weapon upgrade. I feel pretty good about my progress on Zuri, and think that I should be able to catch up with the storyline before the expansion in March.

Ramuh judges Zuri
Posted in Gaming, H1Z1, MMORPGs

H1Z1: First Impressions & Wishlist


While I was really turned off by Smed’s attitude (even joking attitude) towards PVEers, and the whole P2W airdrop fiasco was a bit headshaking, I got dragged into H1Z1 anyhow. I really would have rather waited until development was further along (and I could play for free), but my sister got hooked on watching H1Z1 Twitch streams, then bought the game. I knew I was probably doomed because I when my little sister and her hubby pick up something to play, it’s hard for me to stick to my guns and tell them “no.”

SO. I figure if I’m going to play it, I might as well talk about my first two nights on H1Z1.

It’s obviously early access. But at least its early access has a lot more systems in place than Landmark early beta did. There’s zombie (and PVP – depending on your server) fights with various weapons, a crafting system, a survival food/hydration/health system, in-game voice chat by proximity, vehicles, fairly nice atmosphere and… well… that’s the extent of what I’ve seen.

Romero's is my favorite supermarket chain!
Romero’s is my favorite supermarket chain!

We play on a “disgusting PVE carebear” server. I don’t find pleasure in being killed on sight and having to run away from every other player I see. So my experiences will come from that.

Most of what I did on the first night was run and run and run and run and run (seriously, hours of running) just to try to get our randomly-spawned team together in one group. I’m going to be ticked if I die and get sent halfway around the world from my folks. You don’t start with a compass or map (maybe get them later?), so all your team has to go by are the /loc coordinates. And that’s a huge pain.

Thank the devs for berry bushes! Everything was picked over when I did find a POI to try and loot. All I was able to loot all night was berries and sticks. I did what I could with what I had (made a bow and arrows), but it was rather disappointing that there wasn’t a single thing left to find. And man, I really need more inventory space. What my pants pockets and fanny pack can carry is very limited. (How do you carry arrows in your pants?)

Having to switch to the inventory screen to eat berries one at a time is rather annoying. I much prefer the 7D2D method where you can place food and drink on your main inventory bar to use them. That way, you don’t have to take your eyes away from what’s going on around you.

Zombies seemed to spawn mostly around POIs, which was good and bad. Running across country was pretty uneventful. But considering I spent hours doing that just to find my group members, I’d prefer not getting slammed in the face with zombies along the way.

Zombie battle is somewhat clunky right now. I did take a few out with arrows, and was happy to see I sometimes got my arrow back as loot.

I really like the discovery tab and how you can learn new recipes as you find new items in the world. Crafting seems like something I’ll enjoy eventually, though building looks to be contained to these little player shacks I’ve seen sitting around. At least things players make do place in the world in a consistent way.

But for a builder/crafter like me, I don’t see myself sinking anywhere as much time into this as 7D2D. The voxel mining/crafting/building aspect of that game is far more deep and enthralling for me.

At the moment, it seems the most there is to do is run around and try to loot things that are probably already looted. The world itself looks nice, and the ambiance is certainly there. It’s got promise for an early access, but it needs a lot more for those of us who easily get bored by just fighting zombies and looting buildings.

On night two of playing, I did get super lucky to find a backpack after killing a random zombie. It was one in 20-something I killed to find it. Not very good odds. But for as many hours as I’ve put into this game, finding nothing but an empty water bottle and a piece of charcoal in buildings is really off-putting. They need to do something about the lack of loot, especially on PVE servers, because there’s no reason for me to play if I can’t ever find anything to advance with.

What H1Z1 Needs (And Soon)

I hope these things are coming. They need to make it soon.

  • Friends list
  • Grouping feature
  • A way to FIND people in your group (even if you don’t have a map or compass…) I mean, really! I know it’s survival, but it’s an MMO. I want to group with my friends and not spend hours running across the map because all we have to go on are confusing coordinates.
  • A way to eat/drink without going to the inventory screen.

What I’d Love to See in H1Z1 Eventually

I have no idea what they have on the list for the future, as I haven’t read up on this game and its roadmap yet. But here are the things they’ll need to add to hook me to liking it more than its current competitors.

  • Female avatars (I think they’re coming)
  • Character customization
  • Fishing! 🙂
  • Expanded building system. I wanna build a house for my group and decorate it!
  • Farming! 🙂
H1Z1 can be quite atmospheric at times.
H1Z1 can be quite atmospheric at times.