Returning to Summoner’s Rift

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Wow, I underestimated how busy this month would be. Where the heck did it all go? Me and my fiance were doing some last minute wedding things before the big day next month and suddenly it’s the 23rd of September?!

I haven’t played anything most of the month partly because of a busy schedule and partly because I just wasn’t feeling it. Every now and then I’ll end up in a gaming rut and just don’t want to play anything for a week or two. Sometimes I just need something new whether it’s reading a book or watching TV. But I’m back to my regular gaming schedule now.

Actually, last week took an unexpected turn. One of my friends asked if I wanted to come over a play League of Legends. Feeling a little nostalgic I said sure. I used to be really into League of Legends in college right when the game was at its peak. My whole dorm floor played and we always played with and against each other. It was awesome. But after college, it just wasn’t the same playing alone so I drifted away from the game for the past few years. The last time I played, Braum had just come out. Now there are almost 2 dozen new champions I’ve never heard of.

We ended up playing 10 matches. We both hadn’t played in a while and made new accounts so we wouldn’t be placed out of our skill level starting out.  We won some, we lost some but it was a great time.  I don’t usually like PVP, I get in my own head too much about playing against other humans but playing with friends seems to take the pressure off. I still don’t think I’ll be playing much by myself. The community seems to be just as friendly as when I left it, which is to say not friendly at all. I found it amusing that Riot added voice chat. I guess when you get tired of being harassed in text chat you can take a break by getting yelled at over voice chat.

With a renewed interest in League of Legends, my friend also reminded me that LCS was a thing. I’ve always liked watching the League of Legends Championship series more than playing it. But every year I forget that it exists until the season is basically over. The same has happened this year, except I caught it right around the summer finals and right before the World tournament. I’m still surprised how good the production value is and I understand just enough about the game for pro play to be interesting. I kind of took a deep dive into the whole thing recently, listening to as many podcasts as I could find and watching the Gauntlet series to determine the 3rd team in North America to go to Worlds.

I do this a lot though. I find something super interesting and want to learn all about it and then after a point I lose all interest. This kind of feels like one of those things but I’m having fun learning about it all the same.

 

 

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Where in the world…

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I was introduced to Geogusser by a friend over the weekend. I was getting Christian set up with OBS now that he has decent internet so he can stream on our channel. I ended up hanging out with him during his stream and trying to play along too.

The game puts you in a random place in the world in Google Maps street view and then you have to figure out where you are and mark it on the map. Each game is separated into 5 rounds and you’re awarded points based on how close your guess is to the location you start each round. There isn’t a time limit or a limit, unless you do challenge mode, on how much you can move around so some rounds take longer than others. Especially when you’re dropped in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road with no signs or landmarks. Also, good luck if you end up somewhere in Russia.

You can choose which maps you want to play in. They can be as broad as the entire world and as specific as, I kid you not, Call of Duty map locations. The world map is really challenging. I watched Christian stream a couple games. He’s played for a while and has come up with some great strategies for more accurate guesses. Like if you can find a sign with a web address you can usually figure out what country you’re in based on what it ends with. Or if you see the same word over and over again on signs it’s a safe assumption that the town name.

I’ve played a few games and I quite like the United States map. First of all everything in English and second I like the challenge of trying to figure out the state and town. For the most part, the town is easy to figure out and the state becomes the real challenge. I’ve only played a few games in the United States and it’s hard to find the state name unless you come across a state park or a highway. Also, it’s a challenge to find those small towns within the state.

Much like Euro Truck simulator, this is something that shouldn’t be as fun as it is. Geogusser even more so because at least in ETS you’re driving a truck. If you told me it would be fun to click on 360-degree photos for 20 minutes I wouldn’t have believed you. Adding that extra layer of scoring you on how close you can get to your exact location brings it all together in a rather pleasing way. It’s also relaxing and a fun way to see things you probably wouldn’t have seen any other way. I’m sure it will probably lose its charm after a while but I would highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet.

This Week in Screenshots: A Very Large Dragon, Orr, and Bedroom Eyes

I didn’t have much time to play this week. I had a little free time on Friday and decided to finish up the Guild Wars 2 core story once and for all which I’ll write about next week.

The cutscenes in the battle with Zhaitan led to some pretty cool screenshots.

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I know Orr is supposed to be a decrepit wasteland but sometimes it looks alien and beautiful. I want to spend more time in these zones now that I have the personal story out of the way.

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I think the Eye of Zhaitan are my favorite enemies I’ve encountered so far in Guild Wars 2.  At first glance, I thought they were big floating eyes but looking closer you can really see the details. It’s more like a floating skeleton holding a giant eye.

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Let the Games (Blogs) Begin

 

It’s officially the start of Blaugust and this year I’m actually going to try and push out a post every day for the month. There’s been so much activity over on the discord that I’ve been motivated to get posting after a very long hiatus. Nothing gets me more excited than a little challenge and a community around it. I did start this blog for the Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 after all. It’s also been super motivating this last week reading all of the Blaugust prep week posts. I think I may like reading about writing a bit more than actually writing.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for 2 years now. I haven’t been around lately as I’ve taken up another project with a few friends to start up a twitch channel. But twitch is starting to lose a little of it’s appeal as the summer gets into full swing and I really do miss writing. So here I am, back for at least the month of August and hopefully more regularly in the future.

As it’s the beginning of the event and the beginning of the month I thought I’d outline some goals for August. Mostly because I like reading other peoples monthly goal posts and I like to try to write stuff that I would like to read. That’s my only tidbit of blogging wisdom right there.

  • Post every day for the month of August.
  • Finally beat Guild Wars 2 core story
  • Beat a game from my backlog because I haven’t done that in a while

I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about this month. I’ve been wrapping up a few games I’ve been playing for a long time. I’ve got a clean slate as far as gaming goes right now but that makes things even more exciting.

Happy blogging everyone!

Tower Down: This is still broken?

I spent the weekend trying to finish up the core game personal story in Guild Wars 2 For the most part this was pretty painless as I was way ahead in levels for the quest line. Until I got to the quest Tower Down.

Tower Down has you run around to different Orian towers and have the explosives expert Tonn destroy them. It’s a straight forward mission, follow the party, kill the enemies, blow up the towers, done. Should take about 20 minutes or so I thought.

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See the first time I did this mission, I got to the end and couldn’t complete it. All the cutscenes played through and the quest tracker in the corner said “Talk to Tonn” as the last step. Except I couldn’t talk to Tonn. I tried a couple of times and all I got was the greet prompt. So assuming I was missing something I went to the internet to find an answer.

That’s when I found a forum thread from early last week addressing the issue. The players found a number of ways around this bug none of them included playing the mission as it was intended. Some had luck just running to the towers without killing anything and Tonn would blow them up. Another solution was to kill everything in the area before moving on to the next. I tried both to no avail. Either I’d get to the end and couldn’t talk to Tonn or he’d get stuck at the second tower and wouldn’t move. There’s a section at the third tower where your tasked with killing the undead on the beach including a veteran but if you accidentally pull the Kraits in the water out too early it will also cause the quest to bug and be uncompletable.

 

After running this mission another 4 times with no progress being made I was getting a bit frustrated. Back to the internet. I found another recent thread where the solution was to not even talk to Tonn to start the mission and instead go around and kill everything on the map and then start the mission. It was this last attempt that worked for me. I ran through and killed everything in the cave, then the third tower spawns including the kraits, moved on to the second tower, and finally took out the first and made my way back to the beginning. At this point I talked to Tonn, the mission dialog started and we palled around the map blowing up empty towers.

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In the last thread the player mentioned that there’s a work around on the wiki. The wiki points to a forum post from 2012. Now maybe I’m unlucky and not everyone has this issue with this mission but how has this bug been around for so long? It’s not like this is optional side content, it’s the main story everyone has to go through. It’s a bit frustrating that I had to spend so much time to complete a fairly straight forward mission with a not very straight forward bug work around.

The very next mission, The Battle of Fort Trinity, me and Trahearne got stuck inside a set piece. I ended up having to use /stuck to continue the mission. At least I didn’t have to start over. Up until this point I hadn’t encounter any bugs in the personal story. I’m hoping Tower Down is a fluke and the rest of the main story will be painless. For now, I’ve completed as much as I can at level 78 and now I have to get those last 2 levels to wrap everything up.

WoW Me!

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It’s that time of year again. The tie when the blogosphere gets me hyped for a 14 year old game I’ve never played. Seriously, no matter if your excited or pretty meh, everyone is talking about Battle for Azeroth and it’s infectious.

This happens every time a new World of Warcraft expansion comes out. There’s a lot of buzz, people talk about all the good times they have had with WoW, people talk about all the changes, and I go and putter around in the free trial.

WoW has always seemed intimidating. There’s 14 years of discussion, history, and content behind it. It’s a huge game that people have grown up with, one that I grew up around  friends stories and second hand accounts. I’ve always loved the big, cartoony, colorful art and I love reading about peoples time in Azeroth but I’ve never put enough time in to say I’ve “played” World of Warcraft. I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs Horde. Sometimes it can feel like I’m theres a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.

I know I’m in a weird minority of MMO players. WoW was a a lot of people’s gateway MMO. Mine was Runescape and then an assortment of free to play games.But even so, when an expansion is announced or released I get a little bit exited. That feeling usually fades as time goes on and there’s less to read about it as everything becomes old hat again. But for a few weeks out of the year I have the strongest urge to play.

That’s why I’m glad the free trial exists. It takes a while to level to 20. Just long enough, in fact, because by the time I hit level 15 or so I find myself losing interest. A part of me wants to stick it out some time and see the world I’ve spent so much time hearing about. Kind of like a curious explorer.

What is WoW like in 2018 for new players? I’ve heard a lot about what WoW was like for new players in 2004, and I’m gonna be honest guys, it all sounded a bit tedious.  Of course, over the years it’s the internet says it’s been dumbed-down to the point of being unplayable…or so I’ve heard. There seems like there is plenty to do, and a variety of ways to play, which there better be with 14 years of content to sift through. On the other hand, I have so many  games to play do I really have time to play the largest MMO out there?

Maybe my this time around will be different. I might just make a go at getting past level 20 and continuing on. Blizzard did just announce that purchasing the base game was no longer necessary. I’m participating in Blaugust this year so I’ll need something to write about for sure. In all likely hood I’ll be going through the motions of the trial again and move on to something else but who knows?

 

Getting Creative

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7 Days to Die is my second most played game on Steam sitting at just under 150 hours. Late one night me and a friend, Jay, were looking through multiplayer games and just happened to find this one. It also just happened to be on sale for under $10. Neither of us having played a survival sandbox decided to try it out. And we haven’t stopped playing since.

We get together at least once a week to fight off zombie hordes, scavange for crafting materials, and chop down trees for hours on end.  Believe it or not , that gameplay loop was pretty satisfying until recently. We’ve gone through 2 maps. The first one we played for almost 100 days and our most recent one we’ve played for about 40 days. The material grind is immense sometimes and after learning how to effectively dispatch zombies, there isn’t much of a challenge there anymore either.

So I had the bright idea this weekend to turn on “cheat mode” aka creative mode. This gives you access to the creative menu in a standard game offering every block and item in the game.  I never liked building in the normal game mode because the blocks take so much materials to made and if you misplace one you have to destroy it. Plus, how can you have time to build when there’s so much foraging and gathering to do.

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We set out to build a giant underground bunker because why not? Having access to everything makes building so much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, to make an underground bunker we had to first dig underground and hollow out a big enough space. . Once we hollowed everything out we got to work building the structure. I had a vision of a giant steril looking vault, complete with a ridiculous amount of ammo, weapons, tools and materials. A place that would have been amazing to stumble upon when we were actually playing. I must say, it tuned out quite nicely.

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I’ve been experimenting with the console commands much to Jay’s ire. Apparently filling our underground bunker with zombie vultures was not ideal.

Creative mode isn’t just great for building it’s also great for trying things you would never get to in the base game. For example, I wanted to find out if, given enough gas barrels, I could bring down a sky scraper. What followed was the longest explosion ever because setting off that many barrels at once destroyed the frame rate. I was almost certain the game was going to crash. After all of that, the building remained standing.

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Creative mode has given me a much needed break from the core game play loop while still playing 7 Days to Die. The plan for right now is to continue building and experimenting with creative until the next patch comes out. Maybe then I’ll feel like jumping back in to standard mode.