Posted in Black Desert Online

BDO: Yet Another Class to 56…

Last week, I got my third class – Wizard – to level 56 in Black Desert Online. I also finished up his Awakening and Succession quests since I’ve heard so much about “Succ Wizards” being amazing in this game. However, rather than push on to continue playing my Wizard, I decided to continue to take advantage of the 1000% XP bonus event, especially since on the weekend, it runs all day long.

When BDO first launched, I rolled a Warrior. However, upon returning and learning that my old Warrior would be locked into the old story line, I decided to delete him and eventually wanted to re-roll him. What little I did play of my first Warrior at low level wasn’t super impressive – I had a lot of trouble playing through things my ranged characters did not. So I wanted to see if that would be different given the new storyline.

Early Saturday afternoon, I rerolled my Warrior. I spent some time learning about his skills, and now that I have a better understanding of the game, I knew what paths to take to move through the main storyline most efficiently.

Warrior turned out to be a lot better at pack clearing than I expected. While I didn’t play BDO all day – I took some time out for FFXIV and Valheim – a bit after midnight, my Warrior was officially level 50.

Yep, you read that right. Burning through the main story quests with just a bit of mild grinding during this XP event got me to level 50 in way under a day’s time. It took me longer to go from 50 to 56, actually, but last night I finished that up and got him his Oasis gear.

On Sunday, I finally convinced Syn to try out BDO. She’d picked it up when it was free back during the anniversary event. Amoon has also been playing it since I have been talking about my return, so I rolled up a Clan just for us to communicate more easily.

My Amon and Syn’s Scylla in BDO

She played a good chunk of an afternoon, and even as a brand new player moving casually through, she was able to level past 20 on her first day. So the XP bonus is real.

For now, I’m taking a break on leveling new classes. I only have two more character slots open as it is.

Tomorrow, BDO launches the newest class, the Sage. I’m curious about it and will probably roll one just to try it out. I’ll need to spend some time with it before I know if it’ll be another class I’ll take to 76 or not. Especially since everyone is going to be out there leveling theirs in a rush, too, which will make for contested mobs and quest areas.

Posted in Black Desert Online, MMORPGs

BDO: To Level 56 for the Third Time

I’ve been trying to throw as much time as I’m able at BDO each night while the 1000% XP boost is active. Earlier this week, I finished leveling my Archer, Amon, to 56. I got him his Oasis gear and went through his Awakening questline.

Apparently, this wolf is friendly and shares something of the Archer’s past.

It was neat to venture into the realms of the Elves, which were his homelands, for the first time. I’m looking at some of the big houses there as a possibility for my main residence. The only problem is that the city feels so far away from everything else!

Overall, I enjoyed the Shai’s awakening quests more, but that’s to be expected.

The third character in my roster is Benjamin who was a wizard that I rolled not long after launch – back when they finally gave wizards a young appearance to choose from. This means that this character is locked into the original old main story quest line – something I didn’t know until I started messing around with him sometime last month.

Any characters rolled before the change to the main story retain the old main story up until you hit the quests for Mediah. At first, I thought to reroll him since he was only level 18 when I picked him up to level him for this event. But then, I decided I was curious to see how much the story had changed.

And boy has it changed quite a bit!

Not only does the old story take you through nooks and crannies (and stories related to these locations) that the new one never touches, but there’s lots of fully voiced cutscenes that were removed throughout the game as well. I puzzled about this because that seems a waste of resources.

These stories were interesting, though suffered poor translation, and somewhere in the middle of the storyline, they just vanished completely for some reason. I don’t know if it was a consequence of the new story revamp, but I never got to see the ending – what happened to Edan and company – that kind of thing.

The game suddenly flitted from this main story with cutscenes and characters to a series of quests that lead you from one point to another across the map to fight battles and kill things. Still, I’m glad that I went through the old scenarios because it seems that some of the titles you earn may be locked behind boss fights that you got there.

Also, it took me to places I’d not explored before during the new quest lines, so that opened up a lot of new knowledge and NPCs. Though the ending of the old storyline is a lot more lackluster than the new. Basically, after you go through quest after quest to kill stuff, the Black Spirit just tells you that you’re all done here.

Good job me!

The new storyline, in contrast, has you face down Kzarka and gives you a nifty cutscene – but no one really explains much about who this guy is until after the fact. The old version, they actually mention him several times and explain way ahead of time that this is a dark god… but then, you never see him or face him at all. Again, I don’t know if this was how the old story worked back in the day or if it’s just fragmented now (or if I missed something).

Anyhow, it’s done on Ben, and I’m now merged into the Mediah quests just like all the other characters I have. Following in the footsteps of those who came before, I poked around at the bandits near Altinova for a while last night and pushed Ben up to level 55.

So, getting him to 56 should be a bit more grind on bandits tonight. And then off to get his Oasis gear.

With all of my characters almost at the same point in the game, I’ve been working on the Chenga Tome quest line on the side. I’ve heard that this substantially increases quest rewards and is a viable way to level from 56 to 61. So obtaining that is a goal, as is starting to work on my lifeskills soon.

I don’t think grinding for silver or doing boss fights is going to be a viable playstyle for me, so I’m looking at ways that lifeskills can earn me the silver I need to look at upgrades eventually.

Posted in Valheim

Valheim: Boss Fight and Trader Discovery on a New Island

Having charted most of the perimeter of our first island in the previous play session, when we came together last weekend, we decided to see if we could find the trader. So our first order of business was exploring the black forest areas more, and marking any burial chambers we found in the meantime.

During this, Kade joined our game. On his own playthrough, he’d already beat the Elder, and was poking around the swamps hoping to find iron. So while we were just a little behind, in terms of gear, we were about the same.

Turns out that there was no trader on our first island. That was fine – we just turned our attention to exploring the new island where we’d previously made a little portal camp.

Having four of us now, and two who already beat the Elder, we made our way in that direction with every intention to take him down. Thankfully, it seems as if there was a mountain range to the west, a protective barrier between the swamp and the meadow/black forest area that we needed to traverse to reach the Elder. So, actually getting there wasn’t difficult at all.

Thanks to the experience of the others, we were quickly shown how to fight the Elder – using bows and ducking behind pillars to avoid his massive AOEs.

The problem came from the forest itself, however. We must have had a spawner somewhere out there because we were getting a trickle of Greydwarves coming through from time to time to cause trouble for us.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see the boss go down because in one such Greydwarf attack, I was paying more mind to the Greydwarf Shaman than the boss. I thought I was shielded, but I was not, and he made short work of me with his vines.

I was the only death we had during that fight, but we all scored a Swamp Key.

More excitingly, as I was running back to find my gravestone, Kade asked, “Hey, what’s that bag icon on the map?”

Turns out, the trader was located only a short distance away from the Elder’s boss fight!

Uplifted by this turn of events, we quickly went to investigate and see what he had to offer. Most of it was quite expensive, but the two items we were advised to pay attention to were the circlet and the belt.

Quickly, we set about making plans to put a portal near the trader’s camp. We’d run across burial chambers on the way, and had the cores we needed. So I circled back to the meadows to get the fine wood.

This would result in my second death of the night.

In returning to the trader’s location, I passed a little too much to the east, unknowingly stepping foot in the plains for all of two seconds. I already knew what waited in the plains, and made a quick turn-around. But it was too late.

Deathsquito found me. Just that fast, too.

I’d just eaten, so I survived the first two hits it scored on me. But it followed me deep into the forest and my stamina couldn’t hold out. So, the third hit took me down.

Bummer.

Well, now we knew that this island didn’t just include swamp, but also plains. Lots of death and discovery.

It was yet another corpse run for me, but once we got back together, we set up the portal next to the trader. Now it was time to head back to the Forest Base, gather our gold and valuables, and see what we could buy from it.

We had enough to buy one circlet and one belt. Seeing Amoon already had a belt from his own playthrough, we began to focus on gearing up everyone else.

I suggested that Kade hop back on his game and bring his gold and valuables to purchase himself something from the trader, since he hasn’t found one on his game yet. He did that and was able to pick up the belt.

I opted to take the circlet and be the light for the time being. We had a bunch of burial chambers marked that we hadn’t explored, so that was our goal. We began to systematically hit up the chambers and trolls to gather gold and valuables, bringing that back to purchase pieces of gear bit by bit.

By the end of the play session, everyone had a belt and almost everyone came away with a circlet as well. All in all, a lot of progress for one night!

Next up for this upcoming weekend (hopefully), avoiding the plains and exploring the swamps!

Posted in Gaming

Overload: The Case of Too Many Games

This month, I’ve found myself in a predicament that I normally do not have: There are just too many games on my plate and not enough time to get to them all.

Lately, I’ve been juggling several games: FFXIV, BDO, Valheim, and wanting to dip my toe back into ESO. Not to mention the Switch games and Xbox Game Pass games that are on my to-play list.

BDO has had a huge pull on me due to the current 1000% XP event that lasts until March 31. I learned from Bhagpuss that this experience boost only happens at certain hours of the evening – for me, starting at 7PM each night. I completely overlooked that in the patch notes (probably due to the excitement of seeing such a big boost), but that limitation complicates things for me since I’m usually pulled into playing other games at that time of night.

For one, I try to run at least one FFXIV Alliance Roulette with Syn each night in order to keep leveling my alt’s White Mage bit by bit. This has been an ongoing thing since December of last year, and is the one bit of gameplay I share with my friend for little while each night. So it’s priority for me.

Valheim has been the weekend-night go-to game for my friend group for the most part. We’re really having fun with that, but that nixxes any time for BDO leveling boost on those nights unless I’m up super late.

And then there’s ESO. I just rolled a couple of new characters in the game right before BDO dropped the bonus reward event. I also joined Bel’s ESO guild with every intention to be somewhat social in a game where I’ve never had a guild before – so I felt a little bad when my previous weekend was consumed by BDO and Valheim instead.

I promise I’m going to play you soon!

And then, FFXIV has to come along and announce a Moogle Tome event starting next week, only lasting until patch 5.55, which is mid-April. So unlike other Moogle Tome events, this one doesn’t continue for months. There are about 6 mounts I really want from this event (some duplicates for alts), which means I’m going to have to figure out how to slide tome farming into the mix as well!

This is why I usually don’t play more than one MMO at a time! Things are getting a little crazy as they all vie for my attention and I’m excited for something in each of them!

On the other hand, it’s good to have so many things to be motivated about!

Posted in Gaming, Valheim

Valheim: You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Syn and I found ourselves at a point where we’d just about upgraded everything we wanted in terms of planning for taking on the second boss, the Elder. It was just a matter of trying to find where he was. We had a mark on our map, so we knew the location, but had never explored further north.

We decided to make an expedition in that direction… only to discover land didn’t actually stretch all the way up there. We were met with the shoreline to the north (and discovered that Mountain was only a little mountain location on the map and not an entire zone). This prompted an exploration session in which we followed the shoreline down to see what the perimeter of our island looked like.

The shape of our first island

We quickly came to the conclusion that the Elder was on another island somewhere else and that we’d need to build a larger boat to make it up there. And so, I journeyed back to Meadows Base and began to work on what I call the “Boat House.” I did some research on how to set up a dock so that boats don’t just float off on the ocean, and that seems to have worked overall.

This also gave me a chance to play around with building a bit more. Up until now, Syn and Amoon had done most of the structure building. I spent a good chunk of the play session building the Boat House, getting docks ready for a boat, while Syn decided to go back to the Forest Base and expand on it.

I was happy with how the Boat House turned out – it was just a little location on the coastal rocks right outside our Meadows Base. But I got to explore nice big windows and decorating with furniture – that sort of stuff.

Inside the Boat House
Nice Ocean View

Building the docks were a little more tricky because building on a rock near water is not quite as straightforward as building on dry land (which isn’t always straightforward, either). But finally, once I had the docks set up, I built us a bigger boat.

Not long after that, Amoon logged in to join us, and because he’s had some experience sailing in his solo play, we decided it was time to set sail and at least explore the area nearer to the Elder. We brought materials to make a portal – oh, yes, we’d made a portal system between the two bases at that point – and intended to create an outpost on the Elder’s island.

Sailing for the first time in Valheim is quite an experience, even if you’re not the one controlling the boat. We crossed over into open ocean for a little while, but most of the sailing was in the shallows. Nighttime ocean sailing was a bit tense and adventurous feeling.

We docked in a little bay once we reached the opposite shore and began to explore the area. It was only a little way in when we hit our first Swamp. I believe it was night time, so it wasn’t the best time to be exploring the area.

We skirted the swamp for a bit, travelling through black forest and fighting things off. Eventually, we came a bit too close to the swamp and creatures called draugr took interest in us. Our adventure nearly came to an abrupt end at that point as the draugr scored a kill on Syn and Amoon. I managed to survive the onslaught and was able to sneak over to Amoon’s gravestone to loot the items he was carrying to create a portal.

I did that, and they were able to come through the portal and loot their stones. We then broke down the portal for the materials and decided the best course of action was to go back to the boat and sail further around the island if possible… rather than try to push east through the swamp.

Sailing around the island, we discovered swap reached a larger area than we realized…

But we were able to find a Meadows on the coast almost directly south of the Elder’s location. So we docked, built a little portal outpost on the south coast and called it a night.

Posted in Black Desert Online, MMORPGs

BDO: My Musical Shai (Level 56!) and Into Mediah

Note: BDO has ramped up the experience gain to 1000% (no typo) during its 5th anniversary event! My experiences leveling may not reflect the normal experiences due to that.

Also Note: They’re giving out the base edition of BDO for free until March 10th!

Once I passed the 30 day mark of being on the Olvia servers, I had to sadly say goodbye to the safety of no PvP worlds. I somewhat set the game aside other than horse training, and had started to focus on other games for a bit.

Then along came the actual account transfers and the 5th anniversary event. Pearl Abyss is showering its players with reasons to log in, including a 1000% XP buff until March 31! They’re also giving out apparently amazing rewards, which included a set of accessories that you usually get after you hit leveling milestones at 60+.

I’m starting to understand things about end game BDO gear, but I still have a whole lot to learn. All I knew at the time was that these items they gave out for rewards were gold and upgrades, so I put them all on my main Shai.

Adventures With PVP

I guess this whole 1000% XP bonus has people pretty stirred up because despite hearing that PVP is rare, I had two run-ins with people who wanted to end my cute Shai’s life on two separate days.

One was the very FIRST night I decided to take advantage of the event and venture out into the dangerous world of open PVP. I’d left off at level 50 at the Catfishmen camp, which I guess is a pretty well known location for those at that level. I decided to turn in some quests, and found a few more quest givers out in the field – including one that requested “Kill 300 Catfishmen.”

Alright. So I settled down into it, not realizing just on the other side of some trees, another player had apparently decided all Catfishmen belonged to her. Because as soon as she caught wind I was out there, she was flagged up and all over me.

I didn’t want any part of that, so when I realized I was under player fire, I took off running. She actually chased me a good ways – so maybe she really wanted what seemed like an easy kill just as much as she wanted to run me out of the area. Despite mediocre gear, I was not really in danger of death as long as I kept running. Not to mention she was some melee class and I have self heals.

So I guess I could have stood my ground, but I was shaken up by the experience, and just changed servers. Thankfully, the new server had uncontested Catfishmen, and I was able to continue my night PVP-free.

But that’s got me looking at every square icon on my map (indicating another player) with scrutiny. I stay far away from other players now. It feels like I’m back in old-skool UO!

The second time I ran across PVP, I was actually the one there first, farming some orcs to finish up quests in a camp. Along came an archer who decided to run me out of the area. He flagged up and started firing on me. I ran away again, and he didn’t chase hardly at all, so I assume he just wanted the camp to himself.

That time, I got a little more stubborn and decided to stay on the server rather than leave it. I finished my quests (they were all looking for a small number of particular things) and just kept a wide distance from him.

I understand that the way this game is designed, it really sucks to have an objective of “Kill 300” of something and have another player come in taking “your” spawns – even thought spawns are pretty numerous. The right classes can seriously do a lot of clearing in a short time, but enemies respawn quickly, too.

So, that’s been my experience with PVP since level 50.

On the other hand, I had an experience on my Archer where I was – again – out at the Catfishmen camp. There was another player out there, and I was keeping wide distance with a set of trees between us. As I was leaving, having finished my quests, I noticed her idling there and getting beat on by a group of enemies.

Helpful instinct set in and I fired on them, pulled their aggro off her and I started killing them. She came back to keyboard in the middle of this, seemed a little disoriented (maybe newer player) and then helped me kill the last few still standing. I don’t know if she understood that I’d just pulled a mob of enemies off her that might have killed her otherwise, but she looked at me and I looked at her and we just kinda went our own way.

Seems like the most friendly exchange you can have out there with strangers.

“Finished” Exploring Calpheon

My goal was to get my Shai to level 56 so that I could experience the Awakening that I’ve heard so much about and unlock the musical talents she has. I basically followed the main quest line, and made sure to do those “Kill 200 XYZ” quests when I came across them.

I’m not sure if it was because of those gold accessories, but almost everything out there was conning grey to me. Still, I noticed that grey gave some experience despite that. When I did find things that were green, I spent a little more time farming here and there.

Farming seemed the most straightforward way to level, but I was starting to get interested in where the story was going. Before I knew it, I was witness to a pretty epic battle…

Not that I fully understand everything that’s going on here, but I get the jist. And for the first time so far, I feel like the story has a stronger focus on exactly what it is I’m trying to find and who I’m trying to stop.

Once I made it through this series of main quests, I was greeted with this announcement:

Now, I’m going to tell you, I’m FAR from being finished exploring Calpheon. But, I’ve heard of Mediah and the city of Altinova (where you can build wagons!). So, excited to be on the second leg of my BDO adventure, I picked up that questline at about level 55.

Level 55 seems to be a higher level than what the game usually expects. Because, again, just about everything I was fighting was grey to me. As I quested along the way to Altinova, I stopped for some bandit hunting at a camp alongside of the road, and scored level 56!

Into My Awakening

My adventures into Mediah then took a backseat for a bit as the Black Spirit encouraged me to do the Awakening questlines. This sent me all the way back to the homelands of the Shai – which I hadn’t actually journeyed to on this character.

One of the main story hooks from the beginning is that your character has lost their memories of the past. So apparently Awakening deals with learning a little bit about where they came from and who took those memories. I won’t get into details, but I found this to be pretty neat – the questions aren’t all answered, but I enjoyed taking a romp in my Shai’s peaceful homelands and seeing people who remembered her, though she did not remember them.

Doing hero things like fixing a leaky inn roof

Once that was complete, it was on to a series of quests that taught my Shai the basics of playing music. These were cute and non-combat, eventually unlocking the ability to play music as party buffs and explore the in-game music system.

I’m going to have to write a post about the music system all on its own. This post has gotten quite long as it is already!

Finding Gear at 56

The gear upgrade system is starting to make a little more sense to me now. I’m understanding the AP and the DP and such. But I was still at a loss as to what I could do to establish a baseline of gear at level 56.

During my leveling experience, the Black Spirit gifted my Shai with a pretty nice main hand weapon. I also figured out how to get a green off-hand weapon from turning in orc teeth. But when it came to a set of armor, I wasn’t sure where to look.

World chat to the rescue! …sorta…

I’m not a fan of world and server chat in BDO. It’s basically a free-for-all, and that comes with all of its toxicity – I quite liberally block people who consistently spam any form of vulgarity.

BUT. I keep it turned on because sometimes questions are asked and I learn things from the chat. This was one of them – Oasis event gear.

Someone was asking the same question I had: What gear should I get at level 56. The answer was the Oasis event gear.

Apparently this is “temporary” gear put into the game somewhat in response to Covid. It’s fairly decent gear, but players are encouraged to use it as a stepping stone to finding better gear as it will go away once the event is over. However, this event started over a year ago, and there’s no sign of it ending.

You can purchase a box of Oasis event gear, as well as a weapon and off-hand, for 1 silver at Ellie the Oasis Vendor in many different cities. I don’t think you can open the box until you’re level 56, however (?)

So, now my Shai is sitting pretty nice given I’m still a BDO noob.

I’ve focused on doing daily music quests for her now that I’ve gotten her to this point. I also want to take on the Chenga Tome questline because I’ve heard it’s worth it.

In the meantime, I spent Saturday night and Sunday working on Amon’s leveling. I’d also left him at 50, previously, and his first stop was the Catfishmen camp. As of yesterday afternoon, he’s sitting a just at bit into level 55 and still working on the main quest line – my goal is to hit 56 with him so that he can pick up Oasis gear, too, and work through Awakening.

Aside from that, I also have a wizard who is sitting at level 16, but is locked into the old main story quests. I went back and forth on whether to re-roll him, but I think I’m going to stick it out and see how fast this XP event pushes him through.

So much to do in BDO this month!!

Posted in Gaming, Valheim

Valheim: Cart Adventures

I interrupt this series of Valheim progress posts for a story about… carts.

Once we got things in place to produce bronze, one of the first things that Amoon chose to do was build a cart. Carts are interesting things in Valheim. You have to stand in the exact right position to be able to hook it to your character, but when you do, you’ve attached a pretty significant travelling storage unit to yourself.

Note that carts can get damaged when they slam up against things. They’re super finicky, too, and not all that easy to pull into hilly or forested areas. I’ve seen a cart flip over (it doesn’t lose its inventory, thankfully) and even once where a cart sunk into the ground until we managed to flip it out of whatever weird void it had fallen into.

They aren’t the easiest things to maneuver, but they do make for good outside-the-base storage even when not travelling. We often use carts to gather stacks of wood and leave them next to the kiln for processing.

But for the first cart, I had better ideas…

My own personal transportation!

As long as the cart isn’t full of storage, you can sit down and have someone else do all the work of toting you around for a while. 🙂

Okay… okay. So I didn’t really use it for that (very long). I just thought it was funny that you could AFK and travel along with someone else. Proof that this game could do things like horses and wagons. Really!

Amoon’s main reason for setting up the cart was that we’d left much of our inventory back at the Meadows Base. We didn’t have portals set up until much later, so it seemed like a good idea to go back with a cart, fill it up, and transport all of our stuff to the new base. Easier than us all making several trips on foot.

Hearing how the cart could get snagged and tumbled by just about anything along the way, Syn was inspired to begin tamping out a path between the bases to make the return trip easier. I was completely on board with this because it reminded me of all the time I spend in Minecraft games digging up roads between towns that I find and upgrade.

I don’t ever really know why I do this in Minecraft. I just do it. And so it goes.

Absolutely the same vibe

Syn went ahead of me, tamping a very rough path. I came behind smoothing it out, mining up rocks and cutting trees. We only got about halfway between the bases before our hoes needed repair, of course, but it was a fun little experiment.

Amoon did use the path on the return run and it made things far easier, as we hoped. Path success!

Now that we have portals, however, I doubt this little road will ever fully be completed. The world in Valheim continues to grow and expand for us, and that little Meadow Base doesn’t seem like such a priority anymore – I’ll talk a bit about that in an upcoming post!

Posted in Gaming, Valheim

Valheim: Into the Black Forest

One of the things I really like about Valheim is that the game keeps you moving forward on a path without being overly aggressive about it. There’s a set progression you need to go through in order to continue through the game – in the beginning, Hugin points things out to nudge you in the right direction. But that’s become less and less a thing the further we go.

The Black Forest is not just a zone but it’s also a progress check. Coming out of the Meadows, the difficulty ramps up just a bit – enough for the forest to feel dangerous but not undefeatable.

The first time you run across (and away from) a troll is full of dread and excitement. Once you figure out how to light him up as you kite him with flame arrows, you feel the success of moving forward. Walking around in a troll-hide cape is a bit like wearing a trophy of your accomplishment. This is the kind of thing that Valheim does very well.

The Black Forest introduces a number of elements that move the player not just through the zone, but beyond. For the first time, you now have the ability to mine. The forest provides copper and tin, which are the building blocks of new recipes such as the forge, kiln and furnace. From those, you create ingots that convert to bronze, which is a clear upgrade to your first metal weapons and gear.

Bronze sword – Now we’re talking!

Valheim also introduces the concept of burial chambers, which act as mini-dungeons. You need to explore these delves in order to discover the surtling cores you need to build the furnace and kiln for your bronze gear. Cores also craft other nice things… which I’ll talk about another time. Each one of these chambers we’ve entered has been different in size and content – the best of them are filled with treasure, cores and skeletons (as well as a few ghosts).

Found a core!

These chambers are scattered throughout the Black Forest zone, so they’re fun to discover, mark on the map and return in full force to explore as a group. Eventually, we ran across an altar in one of them that gave us the location of the next boss we’d need to fight – the Elder.

Again, this is how the game weaves subtle progression into the content you’re already doing. You’re exploring a cool little dungeon, looting and fighting monsters and then suddenly, your big boss objective is outlined for you – even more to look forward to!

We spent a good deal of time gathering resources and expanding our little outpost into a full blown base. Syn really got into the building aspects of the game (even more than I did) at this point. Seeing that we were using this base far more than the Meadow Base, she built it up into a full hall with walls of chests, supporting beams and a lot of living room.

Expanding the base

It was at this time we also started getting our first base raids. We quickly learned that when the message pops up “The forest is moving,” that meant that the Greydwarves were at our gates. Thankfully, we had strong gates, so they were never really a risk to our base or the structures inside. It’s just a fun random raid element that we were always able to fend off from time to time.

Not to say that the Greydwarves aren’t a challenge – they absolutely are when they come at you in a group when you’re undergeared. But again, they’re a challenge without being impossible to overcome. I’ve done my share of dying in the Black Forest as I’ve explored and hunted down ore, but we’ve gotten braver as our resources have allowed us to continue upgrading our gear.

I even ran across a zone called Mountain. I learned very quickly that I wasn’t geared to move into the biting cold of the zone, and backed out quickly.

Looking up the mountain

As of last weekend, we’re currently at the point where we are taking down trolls with ease and actively searching out the Elder. BUT. I have a number of OTHER stories to write before we get there!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Valheim!

Posted in Fiddle, Fiddle Progress Report

Fiddle Progress Report – February 2021

Just a short progress report from last month – a few things have changed!

It was the first full month of logging my practice into a Google Calendar system, and I think this is working just fine. It’s also the first month of hosting my fiddle content here on this blog. I haven’t been posting a lot about fiddling, I know, but at the same time, I don’t feel a big loss in not having it broken off into its own blog.

Another change is in the tools I’m using for practice. I picked up a new Samsung tablet with the intentions to replace the 7-year-old laptop that I’d been using as a dedicated practice machine. I moved all the practice files, music and sheet music to this tablet, along with the apps and programs I’ve been using. This has gone off seamlessly, and the tablet has 100% picked up doing everything the old laptop had done.

My new tablet used for fiddle practice

As for actual materials, I have moved on from a couple of songs during February. I felt like I’d put more than enough time into Liza Jane, and decided to work on a new tune from the Fiddle Primer: Blind Mary. I had no idea until I looked into it that it’s actually a song written by Turlough O’Carolan – one of my favorite traditional harpists. I eventually wanted to try to play some O’Carolan tunes, and didn’t expect to find one this early on!

I also finally moved on from EEI: Bingo after having played it for several weeks. It was simple enough that I felt I had a good grasp on it at this point. I’ve replaced it with a song called Variations on a Familiar Song which is actually just a couple of variations on Skip to my Lou.

I’ve been a lot more flexible with my practice this past month, especially on weekends. It seems like Saturdays are difficult days for me to swing a practice in particular. Despite not being as consistent as before, I don’t feel like it hurts my focus on practice on the days that I do. I also don’t feel like I am moving towards missing practice more consistently – I generally practice far more than I do not.

Posted in Gaming

March 2021 Gaming Goals

Welcome to March!

Spring is coming and it’s time to think about what goals I want to work towards this month. I think this time around will be pretty open and light seeing most of the more intricate goals are already taken care of. So let’s see what I can find.

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish crafting relics on Main
  • Continue leveling Amon’s White Mage
  • Start Shadowbringers on Ben

As I noted in my previous post, I’m going to finish up to last patch’s crafting relics on my Main, and maybe some on Amon. But beyond that, I don’t think I’m geared enough to finish the tools up.

I’ve been working on leveling Amon’s White Mage for the past few months. I might finish it up this month, but if I don’t, I’m not really in a rush. Just making progress there.

I’d like to start making progress with Ben in Shadowbringers. He’s right there at the start and it’s part of my goals to try to push him through the MSQ before the next expansion. So it’s a good time to get that started!

Really, not a whole lot of stuff to work on, but that’s okay because I have other goals I want to achieve!

MISC Goals

  • Switch: Progress on Link’s Awakening 
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

I’d really like to be ambitious and say “Finish Link’s Awakening” this month. But I’ll give myself some wiggle room instead. Just making progress on it is a good thing.

I’ve been making lots of progress on cleaning up my “Clear” games in my Steam backlog, so I’m going to continue doing this, trying to play one new game from that category each week.

I also downloaded a new game to try from the Xbox Game Pass for this month. Nothing that’s on the Leaving Soon list really caught my eye, but I have lots that are sitting in my Try it Later list for sure!

It feels like these goals are pretty vanilla this time around and I could even get by without having any goals at all. But I’m just going to set them anyhow since I have been progressing through backlog and things like that nicely the past couple months. No need to break the momentum!