Posted in Blogging, Gaming, IRL, Uncategorized

Vegas Pokemon Conglomeration

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a really random post. Mostly, it has reference to a number of recent posts I’ve made, and a little to do with geeking and gaming. So, I figured it was relevant enough to ramble about.

Yesterday was my birthday. Syn, who has been my best friend for many years, was cooking something devious up, and I knew it. She mentioned it the night before, but I had no clue exactly what she meant to do.

Last night, she dropped the bomb on me: She bought me VIP tickets and a Photo op with my favorite band in the whole world – The Moody Blues. In Las Vegas. This September.

I was beside myself — mostly because it wasn’t cheap (but she had it in her head to do this, so I accepted the gift as graciously as I could). And then I thought of the planning I’d need to do for the trip.

And finally, the fact I really need to get into better shape before going on another trip. I spend my work time sitting in an office all day, and the time after that on the computer at home… and have for many years. I’m embarrassed to admit that my personal endurance and level of activity are both rock bottom, and have been for a while.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I needed to start paying more attention to diet and exercise now that I’m not as young as I used to be. (Git off my lawn! :p ) And there’s nothing like a trip that requires being out of your normal elements to show you just how out of shape you are.

We had thoughts of attending the FFXIV Fan Fest again this year (not sure if that’s a thing that’s going to happen or not), and I told myself that I needed to get more active so I could feel better when I was in Vegas. Well, now I have show tickets, and am going to meet my musical heroes face to face. I really need to start moving!

And that leads back to Pokemon Go.

Yesterday, I joked and said that catching my first shiny was a sign that I needed to get back into the game. Well, here’s another sign that I need to get back to it, for health’s sake.

The nice thing is that there’s now a Pokestop in the local mall. Summer is starting up full force already — it’s going to be 90+ degrees today — and braving the heat at the local park is just too much (and dangerous).

While the park is much better due to having 2 gyms and several stops, having one stop in the air conditioned mall gives me a reason to walk the mall. Previously, the mall didn’t have a stop, much less many Pokemon to speak of (it was odd – lots of Pokemon in the parking lot, few inside the mall itself). I hope that’s changed!

Anyhow, that’s my ramble for today. I’m taking tomorrow off in celebration of my birthday, so I’m going to have a long weekend. Hopefully I can spend some time with Death Road to Canada and have something to write at you guys next week. 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Pokemon GO

Pokemon Go: First Shiny!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written about Pokemon Go. I’ve been a little out of touch with the game for a while, but I’ve kept it on my phone, and I check the news from time to time.

I keep thinking I should get back into it since it’s added things that sound fun — like quests, weather and things. And lots of Pokemon I haven’t caught yet. I wasn’t that into the whole raid thing, but I’ve heard good things about all the newer changes.

I guess this is a sign.

We went out to the local Mellow Mushroom for my birthday lunch today. The fountain there is one of my most visited Pokestops. I just haven’t been in a long while. In fact, I’m so low on Pokeballs that it’s one reason why I haven’t played much.

So, as we were eating, I was spinning the stops and catching whatever random Pokemon popped up. I’m not very familiar with the 3rd gen Pokemon, and I wasn’t paying much attention to what I was catching. I was more interested in getting stuff I didn’t have and filling that “Catch 10 Pokemon” quest.

Later on, I logged back in to review the quests I had (which I haven’t done much with) and see what I caught. That’s when I noticed an odd icon next to one of them.

2018-05-09 15.07.33

Hold on a second… could that be?

An actual Shiny Meditite?

Can I just say this is the first ever shiny Pokemon I’ve caught in any Pokemon game. I mean, aside from the one time someone transferred a Shiny Steelix  to me that was infected with Pokerus.

And on my birthday, too!

I guess it’s a sign I need to get back into this game. 😉

Posted in Blogging, IRL

The 4th Decade

Nintendo sure knows how to spruce up a birthday, doesn’t it? Growing up a Nintendo kid, I couldn’t resist using the above image as my PC wallpaper. They also sent along some cute little paper craft templates, stuff that reminds me passingly of the new Switch Labo stuff.

So, today is my 40th birthday. Time for a little rambling.

I’d like to think that to see me and talk to me, my age isn’t very apparent. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing to say about yourself.

vintage78Every time you hit a decade milestone, though, it makes you stop and reflect a bit. I remember being antsy about the idea of turning 30. I was told “30 is the new 20, don’t fret about it.”

And they were pretty much right. I did a lot in the past 10 years to set a foundation under me — pay off bills, start a real career, get a place of my own that I own, buy my first new car… all of those adulting things. I’ve managed to survive it all somehow.

This year, I’ll have both my home and car paid off by fall. I still have some student loan stuff I’m working on, but my finances are good.

I feel like I’m in a position to start saving and thinking about where to go next. There’s still lots to see, do and look forward to. I’ve chosen to do things solo so far, so I have a lot of freedom to come and go as I please. I have good friends and family, and I’m a bit of a hermit by nature, so I’m alright with it.

However, year after year I tell myself that I need to pay better attention to my diet and health. I’m still saying that this year, and I have a feeling I’m going to really need to start to act on that.

gogbirthday
Thanks Green Man Gaming… I think?

Anyhow, my sister got me a $35 Nintendo eShop card, and I picked up the new Death Road to Canada since it’s on sale for Switch right now. I haven’t put a ton of time into it, but I’ll be sure to post about it once I have!

I’m struggling to decide what to use the rest of my card on, though. So many games on my Switch wishlist – it’s a good problem to have. 🙂

Have a great day!  

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Thoughts: Nintendo Switch Online Announcement, No Virtual Console

I’ve been waiting to hear information on the Nintendo Switch Online service, like many gamers, since last year. This was originally supposed to launch sometime last fall, but now is set to go this September.

Until that point, we’ll be able to enjoy online multiplayer in games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart and ARMS without having to pay for a service. We were told from the beginning this would eventually change, but the price point would be affordable.

Now keep in mind that I don’t own any of the new Playstations or a single XBox, so I’ve not been a console gamer where paying for online services costed me extra.

The Cost

The cost is per account, not per system, but there’s a pretty affordable yearly family option.

  • One month: $3.99
  • Three months: $7.99
  • Twelve months: $19.99
  • Twelve Month Family Membership: $34.99 (Up to 8 people)

I personally don’t have a problem with the cost of the service, and will be handing over my $20 without hesitation.

What You Get

Paying for the service provides:

  • Online play
  • Access to free NES games  (only NES? – don’t know yet)
  • Nintendo Switch App
  • Save Data Cloud Backup

I want to take a look at each of these.

Online play. We knew it was coming, the day when we’d need to pay to be able to play games online. I never had any illusions about this, but the fact of the matter is that releasing this service renders games like Splatoon 2 unplayable without it.

2017090211045500-CBA841B50A92A904E313AE06DF4EF71A

It was nice of them to let us play for free during this period of time, but I still feel this should have been in place before these online-required games released. I dunno. Maybe I’m a little sad that I’ll probably never play online Mario Kart with my sister again because she’s not going to pony up the cost to play online. This was never a problem with older Nintendo systems.

I can only imagine how it’s going to hinder things like Pokemon games, which traditionally are greatly enhanced through online features.

I know I sound wishy-washy because on one hand, I don’t think the cost is outrageous. On the other hand, I still question having the cost at all.

Access to free NES games. This is a nice little perk… however… it leads to something that I was afraid was going to happen.

Nintendo has announced there will be no Virtual Console for Switch.

This is a big bummer for me. I mean, Virtual Console was pretty much the selling point that got me to pick up a Wii U back in the day.

wii-u-gamepad

Instead of a Virtual Console, they are giving us a Netflix-like service for NES games. Looking at the list, these are all Nintendo-developed games, too.

The games are supposed to have online and even multiplayer features, though I have no idea how they’d add that to a game like Legend of Zelda. I guess that only applies to games where online play makes sense.

It looks like they want 3rd party developers just to put their retro games in the eShop. Some have already, but I still feel the lack of a label like Virtual Console won’t encourage devs to do this quite as much as they would have with the label. I’d love to have some oldskool Final Fantasy and JRPGs on the system, but will companies bring them over to the Switch without the Virtual Console label?

I kinda don’t know how to feel about renting the games instead of owning them. I guess I own most of these in their original format, and do have an NES Mini if I really want them.

I’m choosing to look at this as an extra perk, but still miss the idea of the Virtual Console.

Nintendo Switch App. I have it on my phone somewhere. It’s pretty lackluster at the moment. Theey talk about enhancing gameplay with voice chat, but I’d just as well use Discord, honestly.

Not to mention none of my close friends/family are going to be buying into the service, and I don’t willingly voice chat with strangers, so I doubt I’ll ever have a use for it. I’m sure someone will.

Save Data Cloud Backup. Ah. This is the huge one. The one that everyone has been asking for.

I guess I can understand that save data in the cloud probably costs something for storage. But I still feel like putting a feature like this behind a paywall is a little crummy. I really do think this is a feature that should have been built in and available to everyone from the start… especially since I hear the horror stories of people sending in their Switches to get fixed, only to have their device wiped and returned to them with all content lost.

Or, at least give people the ability to back saves up on a separate drive somewhere if the cloud can’t be free. This is just basic needed functionality… I’ve been able to do this for yeras on other systems without problems.

Not only that, but it’s been hinted that not every game will support cloud saves. So, we’ll see.

TL;DR Final Thoughts

Wow, this all came off sounding a lot more negative than I meant it to be. Please don’t misunderstand… I absolutely adore my Switch. Overall, I like Nintendo bunches. But I still think that there are some things that should have been done differently.

Let me recap: 

  • I’m willing to pay the cost for the service. I feel the price is affordable.
  • If you offer a service for free, even with good will, but then stamp a price on it, some people are going to see that as taking service away. Especially when it deals with games you play pretty much 100% online. If you’re planning on doing that, do it from the start.
  • I’m going to miss the Virtual Console. I do appreciate the offer of renting free old games added in to the service, but I’d rather just buy my games outright. I feel a little squirmy about the direction that’s going.
  • The app is meh to me and remains meh.
  • Being able to back up save data is something everyone should have. If it’s not in the form of cloud saves, at least allow backing up to another drive.

Do you have any thoughts on the Switch Online service?

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

SL Stories: Close Encounters of the Dragon Kind

Pictured above: Someone’s awesome dragon avatar flying above Erstwhile at the Second Life Fantasy Faire.

My weekend was made up of a combination of mutliplayer Stardew Valley with my sister and time spent at events in Second Life. We attended Relay Stock and said farewell to the Fantasy Faire with a final round of exploration.

I also spent time working on new content for my Water Horse shop. And that’s where this story comes from.

I still feel a little bad about not having “exciting” new content to post here like I have in the past. There just isn’t much to write about when it comes to multiplayer Stardew (aside from the fact it continues to be fun) and making horse content in SL.

So I’ve decided that whenever something funny that warrants a story happens in SL, I’ll work on writing it up here. Kinda like Tales from the Duty Finder… just SL instead. So, here’s my first SL Story.

Being the Dragon

One amazing aspect of Second Life (once you get past the learning curve) is that you can be just about anything you can imagine. The new bento mesh avatars make this a million times better. I’ve talked about how great they are for people avatars and for riding horses. But they can also take the form of infinite other things.

Like this amazing dragon avatar. I actually own this, but haven’t spent time customizing mine yet or writing about it.

_Dragon_Pictures__Dragonfire
Image credit: Second Life Marketplace

And yes, the avatar can breathe fire (and other elements). It’s great fun!

When Dragons Attack

It was Saturday afternoon and the Posse was away. So I was at my home, the Riverwalk Mountain View, working on my newest Water Horse coats. When I’m painting horses, I need to see as much of the coat as I can, so I make the tack and the person part of my avatar invisible. This leaves just the horse… and almost makes it look like I have a horse-only avatar. Like this:

Snapshot_416

So, I was just minding my own business at home, when suddenly, a dragon (the avatar I posted above) swooped down out of the sky. I knew this was just a person wearing a dragon avatar, and I was looking like a horse… but I did what any self-preserving horse would do when a dragon appears.

I ran.

The dragon chased me.

I live next to the Riverwalk Park, the Renaissance Fair area to be precise, which affords a lot of open area to romp around in. I wish I’d taken pictures of it, but at the time, the only thing I could think of was to playfully run away from the dragon.

I hid in water, he found me. He chased me all over the sim. It was great fun.

Then, I turned around and transformed into my own copy of the dragon avatar.

I don’t think he expected that. But he had a very good response to it. He transformed into something much more massive.

Snapshot_389

Yes, and for scale, he’s far bigger than the buildings – almost as large as the windmill!

I laughed and gave up, telling him there was no way for me to outdo that. He laughed, too – the first spoken interaction I had from him, showing he was indeed being friendly. I decided to pull out my tiny corgi avatar.

He turned into a raptor. We had another little chase around until we finally ended up laughing and talking.

Snapshot_390

He asked if I lived here, and I showed him my place. I asked if he usually swoops down on horses as a dragon. He told me that he had a tower nearby and that he’d seen me from the top of it (he also told me later he doesn’t go around watching people usually… I guess my horse just caught his eye).

So, we traveled back to his tower and he showed me around. We climbed it, and sure enough, I could see my plot from the top.

We spent a little time talking, and it turns out he lives in Puerto Rico. He’s been away from SL due to the state of things in his country, and is only just returning. We discussed how things are recovering after the hurricane, and how they’re taking precautions for this upcoming hurricane season. It was a pleasant and eye-opening exchange, actually.

Eventually, the Posse came around, so I said goodbye to my new neighbor. But this just shows how if you go with the flow, random can be good fun in Second Life.

Posted in Gaming, Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Multiplayer: It’s More Fun with Friends

Stardew Valley launched beta patch 1.3 two days ago. Last night, my sister and I jumped into our first try at a multiplayer game. The verdict – there’s a few small bugs, but overall, Stardew handles multiplayer almost flawlessly… even in beta form!

If you have Stardew on Steam, you can follow the instructions in the official blog post to opt into the beta. The GoG version is coming very soon. And, there IS cross-platform multiplayer between Steam and GoG through using codes to invite friends to your farm.

Once you’ve opted into the beta, you get a new Co-op option on the main menu screen. This is where the fun happens.

20180501222244_1

You can host and join multiplayer games there. You can also make an existing game into a co-op game, but we chose to start a brand new farm using the co-opt hosting.

We had no problem at all hosting or joining the game via the Steam friends list. No need to open up ports or anything. No muss or fuss. I like it!

20180501222252_1

Since both my sister and I have many hours of Stardew under our belt, we both approached this from a “I’m returning and remembering how to play this. How is this going to work in multiplayer?” standpoint.

Changes for Multiplayer

The first thing I realized was that the game no longer pauses when you open up your menu — keep this in mind for when you’re down in the mines fighting monsters! There’s no pause time!

The game host can still pause the game, though, by opening up chat (Press “T”) and typing /pause. Since Stardew days are short, and everything revolves around time, this is a huge feature to take advantage of, especially if one of your players dropped connection.

20180501183743_1

We also learned that certain things, such as going to sleep at night and festival cut scenes, have a built-in feature that waits for the other players to confirm. For example, if I go to sleep and my sister hasn’t yet, I see this until she jumps in bed and confirms she wants to sleep:

20180501185012_1

This makes it a little nail-biting when your friend is running home at ten-till 1 am. 😀

I have no idea what happens if one player sleeps an the other doesn’t. Do you both get the penalty? Or just one?

Shared and Not Shared

The biggest thing we ran across was figuring out what was shared and not shared.

Money is shared. This means that you need to buy two of everything – upgrades and the like. Thankfully, more than one of you working around the farm can get twice as much done. Someone can be foraging on the beach and another in the mines while another is watering the crops.

20180501185219_1

It seems like quests, stats, skills and NPC relationships are not shared.

But other things, such as progress made on the community center and clearing floors in the mine, are shared. It’s fun to battle through the mine and have someone else with you searching for the next path down.

Just know that the treasure chest you loot in the mine seems to only give one reward. Not sure if this was intentional or a bug.

20180501195528_1

Overall

We only ran across a few things that I would consider a true bug. The biggest one was with sounds carrying much further than they should. Sometimes I could hear Vix chopping trees or fighting monsters in the mine when I was nowhere near her.

Directional sound also doesn’t carry very well from the other player. I can hear her walking around on the farm, for example, but can’t tell from the sound what direction she’s located from my position.

These aren’t anything that break the game, and I’m sure these sorts of things will get fixed. Overall, this is a very solid beta, and I’m certainly looking forward to continuing to build our farm. We might even get a few more to join us down the line.

20180501185444_1

 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

May 2018 Gaming Goals

Welcome to Goals: Let’s Try it Again edition. Last month, I didn’t do so well on finishing what I hoped to accomplish. I’ve been caught up in a flurry of creativity, and haven’t been in the mood for gaming, so I have an excuse.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to get stuff done, though. So, here’s some holdovers from last month.

FFXIV Leveling Goals

  • Level Ninja to 50 ✓
  • Level Some Job (to 70)

I’m not sure which job I’m going to focus on for my Roulettes-to-70 next. I started White Mage, but healing makes me anxious. I know I should just stick with it, practice and get it done with, though. I’ll probably do that. Will have to wait and see.

FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals

  • Ninja – Lv 40+45 Quests ✓
  • Warrior – Lv 40 Quest ✓
  • Summoner – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Scholar – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Machinist – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Paladin – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Miner – Lv 70 Quest
  • Botanist – Lv 70 Quest
  • Fisher – Lv 60-something – 70 Quest
  • Check all Crafters to make sure they’ve completed up to Lv 60 Quest at least

This list just got longer since I finished leveling Summoner and Scholar last month. Getting so far behind feels bad. I need to clean up my crafting quests, especially since we’ll get a crafting-oriented beast tribe series later this month. I know I’ll be taking advantage of those!

And… honestly… with the new patch coming out and my fixation on painting horses in Second Life, I think I’ll leave my goal setting right here for the month. That list of job quests is intimidating enough!

Have a great May!