The End of Blaugust

 

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I had a lot of fun this month participating in Blaugust this year. I did fall off the wagon hard in the last week and a half but those first couple weeks were awesome. I think I managed to post for 2 weeks straight, something I’ve never done before. Towards the end of the month, I ran out of steam and other things got in the way as life got busy.

I wanted to reflect on this month and this exercise as a whole. Those first 2 weeks I noticed a change in how I approached blogging and how I felt about blogging. It was the first time in 2 years where I felt like I was a blogger instead of a guy with a blog. I was constantly coming up with new ideas of things to write about. It felt great. And you know what else feels great? More than doubling my posts this year. Total of 16 posts this month as of this post.

Then there was the inevitable lapse and then the complete lapse of the last week or so. Part of that was because I just couldn’t figure out a good writing schedule. For the first half, I was getting up a half hour early to write. That worked for a little while but eventually, I was just so tired in the mornings I couldn’t bring myself to write much of anything. So now I have to find a new time to write. I think it’s really just a matter of blocking out the time to write and just writing. I’ve come to realize over this month that I enjoy writing a ton.

I also want to take advantage of the weekends more to schedule out some posts. There were a couple lazy Sunday mornings where I sat on my balcony with my laptop and coffee and just wrote for a few hours. I should do that more before the weather gets cold.

As of right now, I can’t really say if I can commit to a posting schedule. I do know that posting every day is not for me. But I do want to find a nice balance where I can get that “I’m a blogger” feeling again.

I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone’s’ posts every day. I can’t wait to read more. This event really seems to have infused just a little more activity into the game blogosphere

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2,185 Days Later

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2,185 days or 5.98 years. That’s how long it took me to get to the end of the Guild Wars 2 core personal story. I don’t know if that’s dedication or stubbornness. Towards the end, it felt a lot like stubbornness.

My problem with Guild Wars 2 is that I keep creating new characters but a few months ago I finally settled on a thief and I’ve taken him all the way through. I finished up the last story mission, Victory or Death, Saturday afternoon and now I can reflect on the story as a whole.

The first act was good with my character’s backstory, I liked the Durmahnd Priory part but as soon as they all formed the Pact I was no longer interested. It was less of a story and more of let’s go run these specific errands before we take down the big, bad, dragon. I really didn’t care for it but I was determined to see it through and finally get out of core Tyria.

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Some of the later missions were just plain annoying. Like the part where we were flying to Zhaitan’s lair on the airship and had to fight giant’s and dragons. I felt like I was too squishy as a thief to take out a lot of the spawning enemies and even though I had a bunch of allies on the airship, they didn’t want to help unless I was dead. And I was dead a lot during that mission. It also took me a while to understand what the heck I was supposed to so. Which was man the cannons and shoot until things spawned and then clear them out.

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The final mission, Victory or Death was done about as well as it could have been. It felt like an epic battle and I liked taking out Zhaitan with airship cannons rather than my character slapping him with a staff over and over. The cut scenes were pretty cool too. Destiny’s Edge showed back up after disappearing for half the game. I swear if I didn’t run a dungeon and figure out that’s where they all went I would have forgotten about them all together. I’ll have to get around to running all of the dungeons to get their story someday.

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What I did like were the Orr zones. They were desolate and weird but also strangely beautiful. I will definitely be visiting them later and fully explore them. I wanted to get the personal story out of the way so I was in a bit of a rush going from green star to green star. The Source of Orr is one of my favorite missions of the personal story. There is a part when fighting an Eye of Zhaitan where all of the sounds cuts out and is replaced by a nice piano solo. It gave the battle a calm, serene, and almost sad feel.

For as forgettable as the last act of the story was I’m glad I played it. It was fun leveling through the zones and seeing new places. after starting characters over an over again, I’ve seen the same things a hundred times. Buton this playthrough I actually got to see content I’ve never seen before. I’m looking forward to playing the living world season 2 and then moving into the first expansion with my thief. I think I’ll stick with him for a good long while. I’m kind of attached.

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My 5 Favorite Podcast

It turns out it’s hard to write a game blog when you haven’t played any games. It’s busy season at work which has meant a lot of overtime and very little free time. It also turns out that taking one day off from writing turns into 4 days off. I’ll have to remember that one. So this Friday I’ll be channeling my inner Buzzfeed to bring you 5 of my favorite podcasts. I’ve been listening to a lot of those lately.

I’m always looking for more to listen to so if you have any suggestions let me know!

5. Myths and Legends

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Each week, Jason Weiser, tell folklre stories from around the world and throughout history. He puts his own spin on the stories and injects a lot of sarcastic humor which I appretiate. Each episode is around 35 minutes and at the end always features a creature of the week. I’ve always wanted to hear weird folk lore stories from around the owrld and learn about mythical creatures s this is the perfect combination.

4. Hello From the Magic Tavern

Hello From The Magic Tavern

This is an entirely improvised show about a man who falls into a portal behind a burger king to the mystical land of Foon. Instead of trying to get out he decides to host a podcast where he interviews new guests each week. He’s joined by two co-hosts, a rather inept wizard and a talking badger. I didn’t realize how much I liked improv until I listened to this. Sometimes the story can get way off tangent and some of the most rediculous things can come up in their banter. It’s a long running show that started in 2015 and is still releasing weekley. It’s perfect if you have a lot of tie and need something to binge. Each episode is about a half hour.

3. Lore

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Every 2 weeks, Aaron Mahnke, digs up paranormal stories from history. It’s a little bit like Myths and Legends but with a more historical bent. If you like ghost stories and weird stories from history this is a perfect podcast. It also features great original piano scores. It’s spawned an Amazon Prime show and a few books but this is one of my favorite podcasts.

2. Massively OP Podcast

Massively OP

No surprise here that one of my top podcasts is Massively OP Podcast. I’ve been listening to this since the old Massively that was. It got me through a lot of boring days at my previous jobs. Justin and Bree do a great job about being informative and entertaining about the MMO industry.

1.Mission to Zyxx

Mission To Zyxx

Mission to Zyxx is another improv podcast though it is heavily edited it still manages to feel very improvised. I love the production value on every episode complete with sound effects and voice effects.  It’s a sci fi podcast entered around of a crew of ambassadors in the backwaters of space. The cast is amazing and their guests are always fantastic. There’s not an episode that didn’t have me laughing.

I discovered it one night when looking for something to listen to while playing Elite Dangerous. That night I think I binged half a season. I’ve listened to it a couple ties over while waiting for the next season to come out. Now that we’re on season two, Wednesdays are my new favorite day of the week.

One More Month of MoviePass

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I decided to stick out MoviePass for another month. Last week there was news that, while the service would be only offering 3 movies a month for $10,  they would also be doing away with the surge pricing. There wasn’t any answer either way about the new release restrictions. Originally, MoviePass said any movie opening in more than 1,000 theaters would be unavailable.

GOing from 31 movies a month to 3 seems at first like a downgrade. But I rarely go to more than 4 a month. One of the reasons I kept it this month was to see if the offerings were going to be any better after August 15th, when all the changes are supposed to take place. Lately, I haven’t had any movie listings at my local theaters on the weekends and if I do, it’s one showtime for one or two movies.

It’s a bit of a gamble but I can afford to lose afford to lose $10 in case the service doesn’t get any better. I’m visiting my parents in my hometown this weekend and just checking the app I can either go see Slender Man or the Meg. It’s a good thing I like terrible horror movies, not so great if I wanted to see anything else. I don’t know how they decide which movies are available what days. When I checked yesterday, all the movie listings in the theater were available.

Once August 15th rolls around I’ll see how the new changes are. If all the showtimes and movies are continually available I might continue to pay for the service. It is only $3.33 per movies and there is a discount being offered on tickets after your third movie. My fiance already canceled so the real test will be to see how many movies I’ll actually go to by myself.

This Week in Screenshots: Space, Space, and More Space

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It’s busy season at work so I haven’t had a ton of time to play games this week. But the time that I did have, I spent in No Man’s Sky. It’s so easy to take great screenshots and I just started playing around with the photo mode. I picked up the PC version on sale last weekend and played pretty much all day on Saturday. We streamed it on PS4 Tuesday but sadly I couldn’t find a USB drive to take the screenshots off the PS4.

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There Are No Bad Super Hero Games

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I’ve never played a bad superhero game. I don’t even know if it’s possible to make one. There’s just something about taking over an  iconic characters that instantly makes for an especially enjoyable time. With  new Spider-Man game coming to the PS4 this month I got to thinking about what superhero games I’ve played over the years.

Of course there is Spider-Man 2, a game I played for hundreds of hours on the Gamecube. Besides Super Smash Brothers Melee it’s probably one of my most played games ever and the reason why my original Gamecube controllers are so worn out.  I think this was my first open world game ever and I loved that you could go anywhere you wanted. I only beat the story once and the rest of the time was spent climbing buildings, swinging around New York, and fighting petty crime, and getting those sweet, sweet, collectibles.

Before Spider Man 2 there was Spider Man, naturally. This was another one of my favorites on the Gamecube. This one was more constricted, it had a set of levels you played through that were fairly linear. I remember how excited I was when I realized there was a cheat code to play as the Green Goblin.

The most recent super hero game I’ve played is Batman Arkham Asylum. Me and Batman have had our ups and downs over the years. Batman: The Animated series, easily one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Christopher Nolan’s edgy Batman turned me off to the character for many years. Then I started to read the comics around 2016 and I’m all for Batman again. I really liked Arkham Asylum and thought it was a good mix of a stealth game and an action game. I own Arkham City but haven’t played it yet.

It doesn’t matter the setting or the genre if it’s got super heroes I’m in. Marvel Heros’ (RIP) cast alone made me return to the game every so often  I’m not particularly a fan of fighting games but if i put in a ton of hours X-Men: Next Dimension for Gamecube. I even enjoyed the Incredibles game and I’m pretty sure that was just made to reap in the profits after the movie was released. Even the mobile games can be fun for a little while.

I know that there are a few super hero MMOs in the works right now. I never got to play City of Heros but I did play DC Universe Online for a little bit. Before playing DCUO I thought that the main appeal of super hero games would be being a specific character. But it turns out that flying and super strength are just as fun on characters you make up as well.

The point is there’s just something about Super Heroes that work for video games. Maybe it’s a dash of nostalgia mixed with familiarity. Maybe it’s getting to take control of the story now instead of reading or watching it. Maybe it’s seeing super powers come to life. Or maybe it’s the joy of my inner child getting to be a super hero for a little while.

Introducing Welp Squad TV

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Back in February of last year, 4 friends and I decided that we should try this whole Twitch thing. It’s been a great experience so far and we’re still at it a year and a half later. For the longest time I’ve been hesitant to mention that here. For some reason I thought that the blog and the stream should be separate, but these days I don’t remember the reason why I wanted that in the first place.

Starting the stream is one of the reasons my blog posts have been slacking. WWe played a variety of games and never stuck with one very long. The original idea was to have 5 streamers on one channel so that we could fill most of the week up with streams and then have a group stream at the end of the week. e were all very gung-ho about it in the beginning. It was new and exciting and it was a great way to share the fun we were having as a group with other people.

Things didn’t turn out that way though. What started out as a lot of solo streams turned into fewer co-op steams and then fewer streams all together. It eventually boiled down to one member streaming a lot more than the rest of us which was ok for a while until burn-out set in. We made affiliate last September which renewed our interest in the platform again. I tried to step up my streams a little but it was hard as I was studying for some IT certificates at the time and looking for a new job. As time went on, I was getting too caught up on the numbers and the fun was starting to be sucked out of it. I also had a lot of impostor syndrome that has kept me from streaming on my own on more than one occasion.

This summer we took a step way back from the numbers and the schedules and decided to just stream when we wanted to stream. I’ve been meaning to get back into it and try some streaming on my own again once my new job’s busy season is over. I think as a whole we’ve been enjoying it a lot more as a group now. We’re trying a few different things like D&D, silly character voices, and trying to play a lot of different games to see what we like. Greg and I had a long running weekley series of 7 Days to Die but I can only kill zombies for so long. Turns out after 150 hours it gets boring.

We’ve met a lot of great people through streaming. Our sole mod, Charmcuddler, has been with us since the beggining and I think we’d all consider her a dear friend. We’ve got a couple other regulars who always make our nights when they stop in to chat. This summer has been a lot more chill on the stream and I think it’s been good for us. Our plan now is to keep trying some stuff out and go full swing again in the fall.

So if you’re ever on Twitch and want to stop by you can find us here:  https://www.twitch.tv/welpsquadtv