Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, The Secret World

TSW: Meet Hedgemouse

Hedgemouse-2016-04-30-13-05-34

I bought The Secret World at launch, and even have a Grandmaster’s pack that I picked up shortly after that. The game was enthralling to me because it opened up questions and possibilities of lore in our own world. No other game to this date has sent me to wikis researching things like Ak’ab or Wendigo or Irusan.

But as much as I love the game, I’ve never been able to get past Transylvania. We were stuck in Egypt for about a year or so, too. The stories are great and the NPCs are top-notch, but when I set the game down, I tend to set it down for long stretches of time.

I also have a few alts lying around that I’ve done nothing with for years. I always wanted to explore the game from the view point of something other than Templar. So, I have an Illuminati and a few Dragon, but none of them got into Kingsmouth for whatever reason.

Rerolling that Alt

I’ve wanted to explore what the revamped new player experience is like in TSW for a while. I also wanted to re-roll one of my alts because I made them so long ago (mostly to save the nickname) that the newer faces and hairstyles weren’t available back then. Since I never got very far with any of them, it made sense to just reroll from the start.

I didn’t know exactly who I wanted to make. I only had the nickname “Hedgemouse.” But as I messed around with the character creation  process, a personality appeared.

A young woman. Of Irish heritage. Pale freckled skin. Red hair. Piercing blue eyes that are perpetually locked in this OMG expression.

hedgemouse-2016-04-30-02-18-49

 

She is Flynn “Hedgemouse” Flanagan, and she has no idea what the heck is happening to her. I love it!

In fact, she’s far more expressive and even better looking than my main character. With the limiting features of TSW character creator (sorry), it’s hard for me to make a character I really like… but I like Flynn. I even spent time looking up Irish names to pick something relevant (both her names mean some sort of “red”).

She should be, by all right, a Templar. But Dragon got to her first. Poor dear. At least they apologized to her later for the rough handling.

Hedgemouse-2016-04-30-01-52-06

I did decide to play through the opening tutorial since it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. I also struggled to pick a good weapon combination because if there’s anything I suck at, it’s making builds in this game. My main character started with Blade/Pistol, and did just fine. But in the later game (Transylvania), either because I’m just not getting the build system or the talisman system, I feel like she’s struggling.

So I wanted to try something new with Hedgemouse… but I’m stuck to Blade it seems. I just love the way it feels and find it very hard to play without it. This time, however, I picked up Assault Rifle secondary and hope there’s something I can build that can get me through the game solo.

Tips are welcome!

I got her through the Dragon’s intro (shudder) and into Kingsmouth where I left her up top the sheriff’s office with Andy. Figure she’ll be safe there until I can get back to her.

Hedgemouse-2016-04-30-13-07-01

I’d like to put a little time into this game at least once a week, finish a few quests and make some progress. It looks like there’s all kinds of experience boosts to my account now for being a Grandmaster. And, of course, I gave her the horse mount, since I unlocked that purposely for my entire account.

Now, I just have to decide on what she’s going to wear. 🙂

Posted in FFXI, FFXIV, Gaming, Minecraft, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS, The Secret World

Weekend Gaming Highlights: TSW, Minecraft, FFXI, FFXIV, LoZ!

 

hedgemouse-2016-04-30-02-18-49

I did quite a bit of gaming this weekend, and have already got to work on some of my May gaming goals. Most of these will need their own posts, but I wanted to consolidate them here so I don’t forget what I did! 😀

The Secret World

I’ve wanted to roll an alt character in TSW for a while, ever since they changed the new player experience. I like to go back to these things and see how they’ve changed. I also haven’t played the game from anything but a Templar point of view, so I wanted to see what differed between the factions. I only just got to Kingsmouth, so expect more blogging about this in the future. 🙂

Minecraft

Did you know that until this weekend, I was one of those people who had never played Minecraft before? Yeah. Believe it.

I’m only playing single player to learn things at this point, but having a great time. Expect more blogging on this in the future for sure!

That little Minecraft shack everyone builds their very first time.
That little Minecraft shack almost everyone builds their very first time.

FFXI

I’ve been leveling my Dark Knight, trying to make the goal of level 30 before the month is out. I started at level 4. Had her to level 22 before the night was out in very little time. I’m shocked at how fast solo leveling is in this game now.

I also activated what looks to be some sort of storyline quest that came with the expansions I picked up this weekend, which I need to investigate.

img_20160430_000415
Level 22 Dark Knight!

Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I am happy to report that as of last night, I am no longer stuck on the boss of the Desert Palace. That boss was tough for me! It didn’t help that I didn’t yet have the net (for some reason), which means I couldn’t carry around fairies in a bottle to revive me when I died. So, I went and got that rectified.

It took me three tries, but I finally nailed it. Woot! Progress and one of my May goals complete! 😀

WVW69jKs4Vg8Whhto-
“Thank You” is a good place to start.

FFXIV

I’ve taken a bit break from FFXIV for a while, so yesterday marked a grand return of sorts for me. Syn has been overseas on a work trip, and away for work before that, too. She just got back, and had it all set up to have a sort of “Celebration Day” for the FC when she did. A lot of folks are hitting milestones IRL – Finding new jobs, getting apartments, completing finals, and having birthdays (me, soon!).

Funny thing was, I’d almost forgotten it was also the FC’s 2nd Anniversary. So it all fell in place. Syn was (literally) buying any FC folks who wanted pizza gift cards to pizza places. They were pretty shocked that she was serious about it. XD

Aside from the FC birthday, I also healed the Crystal Tower Trio on my Scholar for the first time this weekend. That was a learning experience! Syn said I did well, but I feel like I still need a lot of practice. It’s been a while since I’ve healed a raid, and last time I did it, it was with White Mage. We ran a few of those towers with full FC groups, so it was less stressful if I messed up. I also hit level 51, and I’m seriously considering putting some more time into leveling Scholar at this point since I do find it a lot of fun.

Aside from that, I went back and cleaned up all the unfinished job quests I’ve left lying around on Zuri. That included two level 50 quests for Scholar, two level 45s and two level 50s on Summoner, a level 54 on Dragoon and a level 50 and level 52 on Monk. Whew. I’ve been lazy… but I got them done, finally!

ffxiv_05012016_200348

Feeling accomplished!

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, The Secret World

TSW: New Thoroughbred Horse Mount

Aywren-2016-04-28-22-41-48

I’m such a horse nut, you knew I knew I’d have to spring for the new Secret World horse mount. The horse doesn’t look particularly happy to be there… not that I blame him.

I keep thinking that I need to re-roll one of my TSW alts just to play the new player experience from the start again. I’ve never really done anything with my alts, and I have so much content I’ve never done yet, which is a shame.

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, Steam Challenge, The Secret World

Steam Challenge: The Park

Game: The Park
Time Played: 2.3 hours

It’s another game that shouldn’t be listed as a Steam Challenge, since I purchased and completed The Park all on the same day. So it’s not a backlog game, but I’m still dropping it in the same series. XD

The Park is a game I’ve been waiting for. It takes place in haunted amusement park in The Secret World MMO, a game that I’ve played and enjoyed since launch. Being almost Halloween, it seemed like the perfect fit. Plus, I really respect the designers and writers for The Secret World, and I’m all for supporting FunCom.

What is The Park?

The game describes itself as:

Set in a creepy amusement park hiding a dark and sinister secret, The Park is a first-person psychological horror experience focused on exploration and storytelling.

This does a good job at summing up the game.

I’m going to throw this out there right now. The Park is about a 2 hour long experience. I’ve heard some gnashing of teeth about cost vs. time, so that’s something to consider.

Some folks have described it as one in the “walking simulator” genre, and they wouldn’t be wrong. The whole point of the game is to explore the environments, investigate the items (notes, newspaper clippings, etc), ride the rides (mwahahah), and ultimately learn the story behind the main character, Lorraine.

There are no puzzles (aside from navigating a few mazelike rooms), there are no enemies that act as a threat to Lorraine. There are a few jump-scares, but most of the fear-factor comes from the heavy sense of dread and unease that fills the park.

You play Lorraine who has lost her young son, Callum, in the Atlantic Island Amusement Park. Or has she? Hmm…

 

Though it’s based on a location from TSW, and will be that more rich to players who are familiar with the park’s history already, playing TSW is not required to enjoy The Park. I will say, however, that I learned a lot more from the clippings and notes in The Park about this location and what was actually happening here than I did from all the quests I played in TSW. I guess I was more worried about beating off insane carnies in the MMO environment.

What Is The Park, Really?

Warning: Mild spoilers. 

It’s just impossible to talk about this game without going into the themes the game represents.

At first, the game appears to be about the park itself. The objective is to find Callum, Lorraine’s lost son. While walking through the creepy amusement park, you can prompt Lorraine to call out to Callum. Very often, Callum will respond, urging his mother to follow. Though sometimes, the response you get grows more and more disturbing.

The game sets up the dark atmosphere and history of the park perfectly. The place looks fantastic, and the rides, which are familiar to me from TSW, are great to see again. In fact, I got a hankering to log into TSW while exploring the park and learning about it.

About halfway through the exploration, the game starts to shift. It becomes less about the park (though the dark and twisted powers that are at work in  the park loom over every aspect of this story), and more about Lorraine. More about exploring her loss, and delving into some dark, dark thoughts dealing with parenting, depression and mental illness.

I won’t lie, it gets disturbing. And it’s up to the player to determine what really happened in the end… and why.

Who was to blame? Was it the twisted influence of the park that shredded everything these people ever loved and turned them into something they couldn’t recognize? Or was there already a darkness in their hearts, something that loss and abuse fostered, that prompted them to become what they did? Maybe a bit of both.

This is a slow game. Don’t expect horror, running, and things leaping out at you (often). Though it has a few jump scares, it very much focuses on the story and character.

This isn’t the  kind of game that you say “I enjoyed.” Perhaps it’s better to say “I appreciated” what The Park was attempting to do. To be completely honest, I went into this game expecting one thing – a scary game about a scary park – and came out of it with something totally different – a disturbing story about the loss of innocence and darkness.

I don’t know why, but I get the sense that this game started out as one thing that eventually morphed into another. The story wants to tell us about the freaky history of the park. The story also wants to tell us about the struggles of Lorraine. The story wants to try to layer and intertwine these two together… and I feel how well this works for you will determine how much you enjoy this game.

For me, I liked many of the storytelling and world building elements (oh that clever rubik’s cube!). Some parts were more engaging than others. But I still felt there was something missing in my connection to Lorraine and Callum as characters. It could be that I’m not a mother myself, so I can’t identify with the gripping fear of losing a child in a dark scary place. Though as sad and horrifying as Lorraine’s tale is, I just found it hard to feel a connection to her, especially by the end.

I think I just kept repeating to the monitor, “Oh, man. What did you do?”

Recommended: 

question

Your Mileage May Vary

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, The Secret World

Weekend Highlights: On a FFXIV Spree, Troving Again & Secret World Mounts

Fate Train! Woo woo!
Fate Train! Woo woo!

It’s funny how only a few weeks before the FFXIV Heavensward expansion the Fate Train in Coerthas is really ramping up. I was in the mood for some open-world frolicking, so I jumped on board with both feet with my left-behind White Mage while Syn was leveling Lancer and Marauder for the final Dragoon transformation.

I don’t know why Fate running is one of my favorite things to do… as long as there’s enough people out there to do them. I find it strangely exciting to follow a huge group of people from one event to another around the map, just burning down mobs and bosses. When there’s a big enough group running out there, experience really flows, and I was able to bump my White Mage from 34 to 39 over the weekend. This made me happy since I was a bit grouchy with the time I spent leveling Scholar to 38, since I’ve decided to main White Mage as a healing class.

Since I did put the effort into leveling Archanist to 38, I went ahead and unlocked Summoner and picked up the Ifrit and Titan Egis. I don’t know that I’ll ever play Summoner that much as the playstyle of the DPS mages in this game don’t mesh with me well, but I may as well do something with it!

Unlocking Summoner
Unlocking Summoner

ffxiv_06072015_191454On the crafting front, I’m still slowly getting my crafting classes to level 50. I was stoked to finally make it with my first class – Weaver – with several lingering in the level 49 area. After taking the advice of a high-level crafter friend, I dropped a bunch of gil on the beginning of gear upgrades. I poured over some guides and learned how to unlock the Master books, as well as the books for crafting my own glamours (yay!).

I now have the cute chocobo apron, but discovered that now I need to meld some materia into it. I’m not sure if I’m willing to put that kind of money into this gear, especially with Heavensward soon to be released. From what I understand, there will be new crafting gear and a less grindy way of achieving it once the expansion hits. So, as long as I’m able to do decent crafting, I’ll be content with the gear I have.

I also managed to score another 10K cactpot yesterday, which gave me enough to purchase the Gambler Boots for Zuri. Her outfit is coming along! And now that I can start crafting my own glamours, it’s not nearly as expensive to get the look I like.

Almost the whole Gambler set!
Almost the whole Gambler set!

Other than that, I broke out the Tai-tank to assist with a Garuda normal mode run for a FC member. It’s been months since I’ve actually attempted to tank something, but I’ve been piecing together some tank gear for him. That’s when I noticed that the Paladin ilvl 55 pants are nothing but white boxers…

These are Tai's tanking boxers. Any questions?
These are Tai’s tanking boxers. Any questions?

Need to get those replaced! XD

At this point, I’m actually considering leveling Dark Knight on Tai come Heavensward. I’m not sure if the playstyle will fit what I enjoy, but it sounds pretty cool from what I’ve heard. A tank that can DPS and leech for MP (and possibly some heals)? Heck yeah! I can see myself soloing some of the old dungeons just for the fun of it.

Trying Trove Again

2015-06-08 025041
Preparing to fight a boss

I picked up Trove back when they had a $5 alpha package sale in August of last year. I’ve dabbled with it every now and then, playing when they released in Beta and a few times here and there out of curiosity. I’ve been struggling with a personal goal in the game, but was encouraged to try the game again by Ironweakness’ Trove article series at Waiting for Rez.

With the game launching officially tomorrow, I thought it was worth a time to make good on my $5 purchase and explore through Trove some more. Even since the last time I’ve played, the game has changed quite a bit. With a stronger tutorial, more small and large dungeons on maps, larger maps with new and unusual biomes, and many new classes to work towards, I certainly feel like there’s more to do in the game than when I left it. I also crafted the deconstructor for the first time and stepped into the wide, wild world of collecting styles (which I never understood or unlocked before).

This game is geared for casual collectors, builders and explorers, with a bit of battle on the side. While I don’t think Trove would ever be a main game for me, I’m totally enjoying putting a little more time into learning what it has to offer. More articles are likely to come!

Dark Days in TSW

Somewhat inspired by my recent motorcycle get in The Secret World, Syn and I decided to visit Transylvania this weekend for a little while. We actually haven’t played the game since before the new player revisions, so it’s been a while. We were happy to discover that a quest that was previously kicking our tails before the changes has been toned down just enough that it still provides challenge while not slaughtering us. This was pretty encouraging, and we managed to round up a number of smaller quests and get those cleaned up.

My new bike!
My new bike!

With Heavensward early access coming on the 19th, we’re in that state of pausing end-game activities while trying to finish up lower level stuff at the same time. Going to be exciting times very soon, though!

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, The Secret World

The Secret World – Did You Know: Kingsmouth Website

kingsmouthChatting in comments on Isey’s new post about The Secret World reminded me of one of the things I love most about the game. The lengths the devs went to, both in game and outside game, to take advantage of the modern day elements.

blueridge-poster-3-copyBecause TSW is based in our current time, things like websites and browsers come into play. In fact, some quests require you to seek answers and information on outside websites, such as that of the Orochi Group. I was tickled when I discovered the in-game browser and ran across clever missions that put your Google skills to the test. 🙂

One thing that some folks may not know about is that Kingsmouth, one of my favorite zones in the game, actually has it’s own official website. I remember finding this back when the game first launched, and I puzzled about the very authentic, small-townsy, amateur web design style. I wondered at first if there really was a Kingsmouth… until I got to the Activities page that had a poster for the Blue Ridge Mines. 😉

If you’ve never taken a moment to check out this site, it’s a fun little trip. Especially since those who are familiar with Solomon’s Isle will understand all the references… which always give me a chuckle.