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)


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.”)

Post 101: This Week

This is post #101 for The MMOist. I guess I have written more than I thought! I will try to make the next 100 even better.

Today is my birthday. I am 49 years old. I have been playing MMORPGs since I was 27 years old. I’ve lived long enough for my online gaming self to be an adult. (And my online gaming self is not so far away from 30 if you count MUDs and multiplayer BBS door games.)

Wednesday is the day that pre-creation starts for the Guardian class in Black Desert Online in preparation for the release on the 22nd. I am already hyped for the new class, and this will turn the hype up to 11 for me. I know that’s the point of the event and I am a lemming for falling for it, but I was the same way with the release of the Lahn, the Archer, and the Shai. I can’t wait!


In between, I will likely be playing Villagers and Heroes. I think I tried it once a long time ago, but I don’t remember it being good. I decided to check it out since it shares an award with Project Gorgon for Massively OP’s 2019 Indie Game of the Year and it is surprisingly… well, good.

I also plan to show a variety of MMOs to my husband to see if he’s interested in any of them. I think I’ve almost got him reeled in. Now I just have to hook my mom, and my nefarious plot to spread MMO gaming will be complete.


Black Desert Online continued to dominate my gaming (in any genre) in 2019. I played a little bit of a lot of games otherwise, most notably Riders of Icarus, which was my main game for a couple of months. In the final weeks of the year, I took up Destiny 2, which is really fun, despite how very bad I am at shooters. I also finally got around to purchasing Elsweyr expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online.

I want to try some new things, both in gaming and blogging, in 2020.

First, I want to give The Elder Scrolls Online a fair shake. I have had some fun playing it, but I seem to jump in during those periods when my real life doesn’t actually leave a lot of time for gaming. That’s a shame because I can see that there’s a really solid game there. I want to give it its due. And I am a pretty hot dude in that game.


I want to get back to bringing all my BDO characters up to level 50+. That doesn’t actually take too long, but lately, I have had a hard time finding play sessions long enough to make progress on that goal. I do have a bunch of characters that have hit the target, but there are a bunch lagging behind. That can happen when you have 15 characters in a game. I am all excited about the new Guardian class, which will make it 16.


But my main goal for MMO gaming in 2020 is to be more social, both in-game and in the communities that surround the games and the genre. I might even invite other people to join my BDO guild.

I wasn’t gonna, but then I did.


I wasn’t going to buy anything from the Steam Winter Sale, but then I did. First I purchased a few cheap titles for family members, and next thing you know, I was checking out a cart full of stuff for myself. My consolation is that everything I bought was at a deep discount and was all stuff I have had wishlisted forever.  None of it was MMORPG related, but there are titles in there I am very excited for anyway. Farming Simulator 19, here I come!

I did install some MMORPGs while on Christmas vacation though. I discovered that Luna Online, which I was pretty sure had sunsetted, is on Steam as Luna Online: Reborn I have some fond but very vague memories of that game, so I installed it. I think I saw one other player when I jumped on to try it out, but I am not going to assume the game is completely empty. It is still cute and grindy, just like the good old days.

Yep. Back to Newbville, population: me. 


I also installed Conqueror’s Blade, which has been on my “when I get around to it” list since it came out. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. I will come back with my thoughts on it when I do.

I am still on a Skyrim kick. I started over to play an unmodded playthrough in order to check off more achievements on Steam. I am not sure why I care, except that I have a good number of them already and want to complete the set.

I wrote a retrospective of the games I have played and written about for Massively OP. I was also one of the folks at the end of the year roundtable episode of the podcast. I can’t bring myself to listen to it because I feel weird about hearing my voice. (I am going to have to get over that if I ever want to do some podcasting of my own, and I have been thinking about that possibility for some time.)

I also started a new blog project that’s related to tracking my progress toward self-improvement over the next decade, but that’s not even remotely gaming related. I am cutting back on social media to make time for writing, so expect to see more of me all over the place.


Astellia Free Trial Weekends

If you’ve been on the fence about buying Astellia, here’s a bit of good news: Beginning this Friday (12/20/19) through Sunday, January 5, 2020, Astellia will be having three free trial weekends. To take advantage of this, go to their site, create an account, and enter the code HAPPYHOLIDAYWEEKENDS .

(The space between the code and the period is to make it easier for my fellow copy-&-paste people.)

Brad McQuaid has passed away

I tried to come up with a better title, but I couldn’t think of one. We’ve lost Brad McQuaid. Visionary Realms made the announcement on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s a link to the Massively OP article, if you want to go over there and commiserate with other people in the comments.

Brad McQuaid made worlds that people lived in and loved. Those worlds changed lives. He was a true believer in what MMORPGs can be. And his interactions with the community showed him to be a good human being. I hope Pantheon ends up being everything he would have wanted to be.

My heart goes out to his family. I am so sorry for their loss.