That Second Screen Life

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I’ve been having a little debate with myself for months. Do I want a second monitor? Yes. Do I need a second monitor? Well, it’d be nice. What would you even do with it? Oh you know, stuff….

For the longest time, I wanted a 27″ monitor but that would look weird with the 24″ so I’d have to buy 2. It turns out I don’t have the desk space or the funds to buy 2 nice ones. So I settled on getting another 24″ monitor and a VESA mount for the same price as a low end 27″. This was Sunday night.

Fast forward to Monday. I forgot Amazon Prime has that whole 1-day shipping thing now and was quite surprised when I got a notification that they were both delivered. Now I live in an apartment complex. This is important because Amazon delivered it to my door, in its original packaging. The thing practically screamed, “I’m an expensive electronic come get me”. I would very much like to know how Amazon decides what gets delivered to my door and what gets delivered to the apartment office where someone has to sign for it. I mean I’ve had to sign for socks before Amazon, freaking socks. But this monitor, Nah leave at the door it’ll be fine.

 

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This is the best before picture I had. Plus a kitty! Oreo, say hi to all the nice readers.

 

Anyways, I spent an hour and a half last night setting up the mount and managing all my cables. I took the opportunity to clean off my desk, clean the area around my desk, and vacuum places that haven’t been vacuumed in a while. After all was said and done, it looked a lot nicer than it had before.

I got it all set up just in time to play some Trove with Jay. We ended up streaminig, which isn’t something we’ve done for a while. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the second screen definitely had some allure for streaming. Also, I can have Evernote open while I play games and take notes for future blog posts, see it’s totally necessary.

I am very much in the new toy phase with this purchase. I haven’t had an upgrade for my PC since I built it in early 2017 so it was time.

Now that it’s all set up and I’ve used it for a bit all I can say is…I might need a third.

For those curious, I purchased a second 24″ Asus VE248 monitor with  Vivo Dual Monitor Stand.

 

Backlogged: The Last Door- Season 2

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The Last Door: Season 2 took me longer to finish than the first season both in hours played and the time I took between each episode. Season 1 grabbed me and didn’t let go, the story was interesting with each episode leaving me with such a good cliff hanger I just had to know what happened. Plus, it was the first point and click game I’ve played in a while so the novelty also had a strong pull on my playtime. Season 2 on the other hand, had a good story but wasn’t nearly as compelling and I spread it out over a few weeks. It took me 7 hours in total to get through all 4 chapters. There were a few achievements I missed so there is more content there if I ever went back for a second playthrough.

I chose to both games of the series through Steam but they are also available on mobile devices.

Story

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I was a bit worried when season 2 was not a direct continuation from season 1. This season has us following Dr. Wakefield, Jeremiah Devitt’s psychologist as tries to unravel the mystery of where his patient’s disappearance. He consults with his colleague, Dr. Kaufmann, who has more knowledge about the occult circumstances of Devitt’s disappearance.

Episode 3 was by far my favorite. The setting, Elis Mor, was amazing. This was an island with weird rituals, creepy residents, and an ominous deep hole where a monster supposedly slept.

Gameplay

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Much like season 1, the gameplay in The Last Door – Season 2 does not get too in the way of the story. The puzzles aren’t easy but with a little thought, they can be solved fairly quickly. I did find myself running between rooms and areas frequently as I had missed a small detail or had a new idea for a solution.

I liked the inclusion of multiple areas and a map this time around. Each episode in the first game

When it comes to gameplay, Episode 2 was my favorite. It was filled with riddles and made me feel smart when I could figure them out without looking up a guide. Thanks for stroking my ego!

Episode 3 was by far the hardest for me. I will admit to looking up the solution for a particular part but that was only after a half-hour of running around trying objects with different things. I forgot that objects can be used with people as well. To be fair though, I probably wouldn’t have ended up figuring this out on my own and I wanted to keep progressing in the story.

Sound

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The Last Door would be a much less exciting experience without the fantastic soundtrack and sound design. I’m not usually paying enough attention to the sound for it to matter in most games but The Last Door does everything right in this category. There are intense moments that are heightened by the sound. The sound is also the only way for this game to really deliver jumps scares, which it does sparingly but in the right places.

Graphics

The art style The Game Kitchen chose for The Last Door works in a way I didn’t think it would. The low resolution actually makes some of the monsters and settings creepier. You can’t tell exactly what they are but your mind fills in the rest. I find that this works very well for this style of game.

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Final Thoughts

I found this season creepier overall than the first game but the story and mystery weren’t quite as compelling for me. The season did bring some nice changes from Season 1 in terms of gameplay. The story did start to get a little fuzzy towards the end of Episode 4 but I wasn’t disappointed in the ending. It was as close to closure as you can get with this type of story. A good thing too since there are no plans for a third season.

So if you’re looking for a horror game with a great story I cannot recommend The Last Door enough.

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Why Read Video Game Blogs?

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I’ve been reading game blogs longer than I’ve been writing one. I don’t quite remember how I found this corner of the internet but once I found it I didn’t want to leave. As inactive as this blog may be at times, I have never stopped reading others’ blogs. It’s become part of my daily routine to catch up with the blogs I follow over breakfast or on a lunch break. It’s as much as part of my life as gaming is.

But why read game blogs?

Well if you’re reading this you already know why you read these types of blogs. So rather…Why do I find myself reading game blogs?

I could easily watch a streamer or a youtube video. You’d get the whole picture of what a game is and how it plays. I’ve never been one to consume video content on the internet. I never have understood how someone could binge youtube videos or tune into streams every day. For me, video content is inconvenient and doesn’t fit into my life. Written content, however, I can read in the bits of time I have throughout the day.

The main reason I’ve stuck to reading game blogs though is that they impart the sense of fun. And isn’t that what video games are supposed to be? My favorite posts to read are in the “this is what I did today in X game” style. I will read posts about games I’ve never played and I get excited because the author is excited. What helps with this is that as game bloggers we leave the boring stuff out. We can gloss over a grind in a sentence or two and talk about the interesting things. Blogs stoke my imagination. I don’t see exactly what the game is but what the game is to the writer.

If anything, reading blogs enhances the hobby for me. More than game news or editorials from established sites. I like experiences and ideas from people like me, the players and consumers of the content. So if you’re ever wondering, is anyone actually going to read this? Is anyone out there? I’m probably there and I’m sure many others are too.

 

 

Pinatas and Dragons

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I took a few weeks break from Trove after playing heavily for the last 2 or 3 months. For a while, I just wasn’t making any progress on my main classes and I had gotten a little bored of the No Sleep Podcast.  So I logged in on Mondays for my rewards and hoped I’d get a nice empowered gem from a box and didn’t do much else for the rest of the week.

Right now, I’m in a comfortable place in Trove. I have things to work on when I log in even if it’s just filling up tomes for the week. Currently, I’m working on getting my PR up for my Draco. It’s been so long since I had a reason to do anything with him but I finally pulled a good empowered gem to make some more progress on him

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Tysorion, Steward of New Beginnings.

Being away for a few weeks I almost missed the Sunfest event entirely. Events in Trove aren’t usually more than a few quests long with some sort of mount or ally unlocked at the end of the chain. On a rare occasion, events will offer a bit more. The main reward of Sunfest was the Worldspring Dragon Egg which was “easy” to obtain as long as you had around 80K flux.  Tysorion gives decent stats too, the most notable are 3% critical damage and 250 physical damage.

Coming in at the tail end of the event I didn’t get many of the unlocks. I did manage to pick up the Party Pup ally and the House Panatea Battle Standard to complete my Dracolyte’s party pinata look. I was really struggling to get the last few quests done in the day before the event ended. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the Kill 50 pinatas quest to get the permanent battle standard. It turns out if you hang out in the hub long enough people drop enough pinatas to complete it.

 

 

Blaugust Gaming Goals

This arguably is the most important month of the year to have some goals. Something to guide me over the course of the month. Something that I will probably largely ignore and see how much I’ve actually done in September when we do this all again. No, but seriously I like these posts, I like reading these posts from other people, and I like writing these posts.

So without further ado: August Gaming Goals!

FFXIV

I’m subbed up until August 14th I believe. In that time I would like to get into Heavensward and see some of the stories before deciding to resub or not.

Backlog

I’m aiming to beat 2 recently acquired games from my backlog this month. The first is The Last Door- Season 2 which I’m already halfway through. No, it’s not cheating…The other I haven’t decided on yet. I’m leaning torn between Agarest: Generations of War and Valkyria Chronicles. I’ll see what I feel like playing once I’m dome with The Last Door.

Blaugust

I have an ideal goal of posting all 31 days of August. I have a more solid and probably more attainable goal of posting more than I did last year in the month of August. I’m also trying to comment more and participate more in the community this year. Y’all are awesome bloggers but I am very much a lurker at heart.

Hero Siege: Shield Lancer and Plague Doctor

 

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It’s always weird starting at the beginning of a season after playing a high-level character. Everything feels slower and it gives me that race to the end mentality because I know what the end game is like and I quite enjoy it. Plus the damage numbers are low and it takes so long to kill everything. But I love loot collecting in ARPGs. I rarely share loot between characters because it’s always a rush when you find that one item that puts you over the edge for the next area of difficulty.

I picked up the Shield Lancer and Plague Doctor classes just to support the developer and complete my collection of the classes. I started a solo playthrough with the Shield Lancer. Shield Lancer has a much different playstyle than most of the classes. Where most of the classes want to avoid damage at all costs, getting one-shotted in the higher levels is common, the Sheild Lancer wants to take damage to deal damage. It’s hard to switch from dodge everything mentality to sit in the AOE to charge up my counter-attack. I’m looking forward to how he performs in this games version of greater rifts, wormholes.

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Shield Lancer doesn’t really come online until level 48. At level 36 you unlock Shield Wall which summons a ring of shields around you. At level 48 you unlock Spiked Shield which makes the orbiting shields actually do damage. So for the build, I’m running, the play is to run into a group of enemies, taunt them to lower their defense, pop shield wall and watch everything die. Anything still alive after shield wall runs out can be taken care of with a counter-attack which has been charging every time you got hit. I find this to be super satisfying.

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In my co-op playthrough, I’m playing the Plague Doctor. I didn’t pick this up when it first came out because I was maining a different class for the season. The theme of this class is fantastic. It has an army of rats to spread the plague to enemies, it throws jars of leaches, and does a lot of damage over time. Just like the Lancer, the Plague Doctor really starts doing a lot of damage at level 48. The skill The Last Patient explodes all of the corpses around you spreading a poison gas. You get enough dead trash mobs around an elite and pop it, that 100K health elite is demolished.  My buddy, Jay, is playing the pyromancer that does a lot of burst AOE damage so we’ve been shredding through the Acts. We just got into Nightmare difficulty on Saturday and the increase in difficulty is actually surprising. Luckily, the quality of loot is improving as well. We made it to Act 3 out of 7 this weekend in Nightmare

I want to try a few more classes out before I decide on one to climb the wormholes with. Last season, I was rocking it on the Marauder and ended up on the top 10 softcore leaderboards for a while. But I also didn’t play anything else for a few months. I want to find another class that clicks for me. So far it’s looking like the Lancer but Jay and I are going to try a few more classes co-op.

 

 

Generating Ideas

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Part of the reason I enjoy participating in Blaugust is that it forces me to think more. What you’ll generally see here are posts about my game time, what my thoughts are on games I’ve finished. I like writing these because their easy and because there the kind of posts I like to read the most from other blogs. The challenge with writing these kinds of posts every day for an event is that there are some days I just don’t play anything. For these occasions I find myself struggling to come up with something to write about. Last year I actually suprised myself with some of the ideas I came up with.

This year I’m trying to think about these ideas ahead of time. I used to be able to read about games and think about game-related topics a lot more. I was a security guard for 2 years and there was a lot of downtime. Getting a new job this last year has given me a lot less time to immerse myself in gaming news and editorials. And since I’ve been blogging a lot less, I haven’t really thought too much about the bigger ideas.

As cliche as it is, my best brainstorming sessions happen in the shower. I actually have a waterproof notepad that I recently found again. That thing is going back where it belongs. So many post ideas have been outlined in there. I redownloaded Evernote as well. I used to use it all the time but when I got a new phone I never redownloaded it. Evernote has been great in the past when I suddenly get an idea and I’m out and about. Last but not least, challenging myself to post every day is also a challenge to generate more things to actually write about. We’ll see how it goes.

To anyone out there who would like to share, how do you come up with your topics when you post?