2021 Gaming Plans

It’s coming up on that time of the year when people do their retrospectives and set new goals. I am going to skip the retrospective and get on with the goal setting.

  1. Play more, write more. If I am going to write about games, it would be helpful for me to play them. If I am going to play games, I might as well write about them.
  2. Try something new every month. A new game, a new class, whatever it takes to keep things fresh and moving along.
  3. Give DC Universe Online and Champions Online a fair shake. I have started both, but they are both just sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to come back to my little newblets.
  4. Persuade my husband and mother to give video games a try. I have been trying to do this for a few years now, but maybe this will be the year.

I hate to commit to anything more than that, given the unpredictability of life, the universe, and everything.

What’s up? (Personal stuff, mainly)

I am going to spare you the “2020 sucks” opener here. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole lot of suckage going on. But everyone knows that.

So, moving on. I haven’t been playing MMORPGs much lately. That’s pretty out-of-character for me. I just haven’t been feeling it. It might be burn out, it might just be a mood swing. Who knows? I’ll undoubtedly be back in MMOs eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been playing just a little bit of a bunch of other games.

I have been playing Oblivion and Skyrim. (Yes. Oblivion.) And even though I finished the main story and many other quest lines in a playthrough long ago, I feel like somehow I have a better grasp on the game now. After countless hours in Skyrim, I have a better feel for The Elder Scrolls games in general. I definitely prefer the Skyrim controls, but it took me no longer than 15 minutes to adapt.

I have played a little bit of Among Us and some Phasmophobia as well. It’s not like me to be so close to “on trend.” I usually come around 2 or 3 years late. You can play Among Us on mobile for free. I bought it for PC after trying it on mobile. Both games are definitely worth the money and the download.

Rimworld is still occupying some of my late night playtime, but I am not playing it quite as much as I had been. I think when I get a new day job, I will get the Royalty expansion and start again. (I shouldn’t have spent the money on the previously mentioned games either, but I just wanted to play with my friends and family, so there are no regrets about that at all.)

No Man’s Sky has pulled me back in. I loved the game from day one, while other people were hating on it because it didn’t meet their expectations. Not having expectations, I loved it for what it was. The updates since then have been stellar, if you’ll forgive the pun. It was an ugly duckling but has turned into a beautiful and much more popular swan. And all of those updates were free. It is truly a completely different game. And I still love it. I just wish I could devote more time to it– longer play sessions, a little more frequently. That’s just not what my life allows right now.

And that’s about it. I have been feeling the urge to play more city/colony building games, so I may yet drop into Tropico 5, Frostpunk, Banished, and/or Dawn of Man. I already own all those and a few others that may yet be called up from the minors. I am in no position to shell out money for anything new.

Late at night when I am too tired to play anything, I check out other games on YouTube. Godhood looks like it might be up my alley. But first, I need to scramble around and find money to live on.

Re: YouTube — I also watch a lot of house building and renovation videos. I love some of the art channels. I like those channels where people make stuff out of resin. Watching ribbons of resin shoot off while they are spinning something on a lathe is just soothing to me. I almost feel like I want to shout out some of my favorite channels here, but then I would want to link them, and I am too tired to do that right now. I feel like one of my other blogs might be a better fit for that, though. My favorite game channels ought to be here, though. Some other time.

I am off to bed so that I can jump into the upcoming week with both feet. I would promise you that I’d post more often, but we both know that my good intentions aren’t worth much when chaos reigns in my home.

Black Desert Burn Out

I was excited for the release of the Hashashin class and the second season, but by the time I got to the end of the first season, I had burnt myself out. I just can’t make myself do it right now. The last part of the first season was intense for me, so the thought of grinding it all out again just does not appeal to me at all. It’s like eating a gallon of chocolate pudding; at first it is delicious and seems like a good idea, but at some point you lose your taste for it. By the end, there’s nothing you want less. It’s all tummy ache and regret.

My blueberry Hashashin

To everything there is a season (server) [BDO]

The cat rides with me.

I have spent a great deal of time playing on Black Desert Online’s first Season server. That’s the Mystic I have been playing in the picture above. The season will end on August 26, and I still have so many things left to do. It seemed like I had plenty of time when the server started. It turns out I also have a family and obligations. The time just melted away. I probably won’t achieve all I wanted to before the lights go out on the first season, but I have hit a new high level and a new level of gear with my seasonal character, so I will count it as a success when she is converted into a normal, non-seasonal character.

And then it will be time to start preparing for the next season. There’s a new class, the Hashashin, being introduced at the same time. He’s some sort of desert assassin. Pre-creation for the Hashashin class and new seasonal characters starts on August 26 with the release of the class and the new seasonal server on Sept 2. I will be one of thousands of Hashashins on that server. The seasonal server seems to be the way to go to grow a character up in a hurry.

(Source: https://www.blackdesertonline.com/news/view/4196)

The Big News Edition

Phantasy Star Online 2 has launched on Steam. This is great news for people who found the Microsoft store frustrating. There’s also a major overhaul coming in 2021 called PSO2: New Genesis. It will be a stand alone game, with the original PSO2 remaining in operation as well. You can read about it here.

Final Fantasy XIV also had some big news. In addition to the new 5.3 patch (which I haven’t really investigated yet), if you own the Starter Edition (the base game), it will be upgraded on August 11 to include Heavensward. The free trial will also be upgraded. This is a great time to try to convince your friends and family to come check it out with you.

Over in Black Desert Online, the Summer Season server will be ending sooner than originally announced. The new end date is August 26. The second season will coincide with the release of the new Hashashin class on September 2. Pre-creation for the new season characters and the Hashashin class will start on the 26th. There are generally some rewards for precreating characters, so if you’re interested in being a desert assassin, you’ll probably want to jump on that. You can grab the details here.

None of those links are affiliate links or anything. It might have been nice if they were, since I am currently unemployed and could use a little cash. Strangely, being at home all the time with my family hasn’t freed up a lot of time for writing or gaming. We are adjusting to this new normal now, accepting that it is here to stay, so I hope my family will back off and let me do things other than pay attention to them 24/7.

With the gaming time I have managed to scrape together, I have been playing Black Desert. I have really enjoyed playing on the season server. Having a deadline to do what you’re going to do in game adds a new facet to the game that I like a lot. I am playing a mystic, so this is a new class for me as well. If you’re looking to jump into the game, you could try out the season server– it is very much geared toward the growth of your character, and your character will convert to a regular character at the end.

It might be just as well to wait for the new season, though. I will be rolling Hashashin for the next season server. So will everyone else. That’s how new class releases work.

My husband is calling and the kids want dinner. Back to real reality.

2020 might not be so bad after all…

No, no, hear me out…

Sure, there’s a crazy pandemic going on and every time you turn around some disaster is happening somewhere, but on the other hand, Phantasy Star Online 2 for PC is almost here, Blue Protocol looks like it is shaping up to be something I’d like to play, and New World will almost certainly maybe perhaps release before the end of the year (if it doesn’t hit the August date they’ve announced.)

I have been cynical about the hype around upcoming games in the past. And, as you may have just noticed, I am still extremely skeptical of announced release dates. PSO2, however, is not a new game and its track record in Japan speaks for itself. It’s a game people have waited years for. Blue Protocol looks gorgeous and the gameplay videos I have seen from the Japanese closed beta appear promising. And I preordered New World based on the alpha last fall; all the changes they’ve announced just make me more sure of that decision. We should get at least ONE decent game out of those three, and that will be more than we’ve gotten during some years of the Great MMO Drought.

Then there’s Greymoor hitting The Elder Scrolls Online. And, although it is of little interest to most people, EverQuest has two new progression servers debuting on May 27th. (I subscribed to All Access for 3 months to play on Aradune. That’s right. I gave Daybreak money on purpose.)

See, 2020 does have a silver lining. A very thinly plated silver lining, but that’s better than nothing.

Major ESO Update Coming 2/24

The Elder Scrolls Online will undergo a change to patching that will require a complete client re-download. This should improve performance for everyone, but especially console players. More importantly, the thank-you gift for the inconvenience is a free Crimson Torchbug Pet from the Crown Store. By now, dear readers, you know how I feel about free digital doodads. Must have them.

Crimson Torchbug Pet

This is a link to the official announcement on the ESO site. 

Non-game games: Playne, Kind Words

I bought a bunch of games during the Steam winter sale after saying I was definitely not going to do that. Among the things I bought are two things that aren’t really games as such, “Playne” and “Kind Words [low fi chill beats to write to].”

I was going to say that Playne is a PC-based meditation app in disguise, but it really isn’t in disguise at all. It’s just about meditating. It’s got a timer, a circle that grows and shrinks for you to breathe along to, and a fox who tells you that you’re going to save the world by meditating. I knew what it was when I bought it. I have wanted to start meditating for a while now. Why not do it with a fox?

Kind Words is a “game” that lets you send out short anonymous letters and receive short anonymous replies. Many of the letters are people trying to work through their problems, but sometimes people will send out letters asking for a list of things that make you happy or what you like about yourself.  You can thank people for their replies with stickers, which are used for both decorating your room and to send out to thank others for their replies. You can also send out paper airplanes– very short messages sent to the community at large with no reply option. Messages are delivered by the mail deer, which is like a mail carrier, except it’s a deer. The mail deer is very positive and encouraging too. As the title suggests, it comes with a variety of music tracks that can be changed via the radio on your shelf in your little bedroom, which is all there is to the game world itself. Thus far, Kind Words has been positive and uplifting for me.

I enjoy both these titles. I think they are both fine examples of the artform that video games have evolved into. The possibilities for applying video game technologies and mechanics to created new kinds of virtual experiences are truly endless.

 

I preordered New World. On purpose.

I don’t normally pre-order things. In fact, over the last several years, I can only think of two other games I have pre-ordered: No Man’s Sky, just days before the initial launch, and ArcheAge Unchained. Unlike other people, I liked No Man’s Sky right out of the box because I didn’t know what it was supposed to be. It was recommended to me by someone I trust, so I bought it and had no regrets. It was love at first play for me and it has only gotten better. And although ArcheAge Unchained has had its issues, I wanted to vote with dollars for the monetization model they were trying out. And it is a decent MMORPG if you aren’t allergic to PvP.

So that brings me to this most recent pre-order. While other people are howling into the void that the game is ruined and will be just terrible, I am betting that it will turn out ok. I played it during the alpha, and it was a gorgeous world I wanted to spend more time in, even though I generally despise survival sandboxes. I call games in that genre “treepunchers.” I hate punching trees. But I hated the survival aspects of New World somewhat less than I usually do. By the time they shut down that alpha, I knew I would buy it just to be there. And to spear turkeys.

Now that they’ve announced that it is going to be a different kind of game, I am even more interested. I don’t hate open PvP– I wouldn’t have lasted long in BDO if I did– but I prefer PvE and I am looking forward to more of that experience.  It sounds like it will be even more my kind of game now, but I was, as I mentioned, willing to buy it the way it was before.

I hope Amazon doesn’t disappoint me. I am forgiving and patient, but sometimes when a studio goes back to retool a game, it comes out worse for the wear. This has the potential to be one of the big releases of 2020 if they can just not screw it up.

BDO Guardian (First try, anyway)

2020-01-17_78875449

The character customization in Black Desert is the best part of the game, according to my son. I happen to like the rest of the game, but it is hard to argue with his point. This is my first attempt at customization of the new Guardian class. I am going to play around with it again tonight. (If you like this customization, I saved it as “Guardienne.”)