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Category Archives: Fun

By the light of alien stars: A tale of a terrible takeoff and a lovely little landing…

By now you’ll know of my near fanboi crush in Isinona, and you may also know I’m not alone as his amazing videos have been picked up by Frontier Developments themselves as shining examples of how to be amazing in their sandbox world – given he was making these amazing videos about Elite: Frontier, a 20 year old game at this point, as recently as a year or so ago I think it’s only fittings he (or she, I don’t know) is given a mention by FD because he/she obviously bloody loves what FD do.

What you may not know is that Isinona’s style has inspired me to start making videos myself. I had wanted to for a while now but I’ve struggled with the style as I’m not much of a talker and getting a decent patch of time to myself is hard. Well Isinona’s style is perfect because there is no voice over, only minimal text on screen to tell the story, which means I can stitch a tale together from various short recordings. So I’ve been trying it out this weekend. I still need to work on the overall look, but I like where I’m heading and have a much longer one planned documenting a very successful salvage trip from start to (profitable) finish. In the meantime here are the two short offerings I have come up with, one showing a terrible take off and the other a much cooler landing. Enjoy :)

 
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Posted by on 14 September, 2014 in Elite Dangerous, Fun, Games, Video, YouTube

 

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By the light of alien stars: An Elite Dangerous combat guide.

I’m not a fighter, I’m a flier. Not for me the swoop and shoot of deadly combat, instead I like the Zen blur of star systems supercruising by.

But the universe is a cruel beast at times and a peaceful soul such as me is occasionally drawn into a brawl. At moments such as these it’s touch and go whether or not I survive which is why I appreciate the time and effort fellow players put into guides such as this:

http://barkandbyte.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/byte-elite-dangerous-combat-guide-or.html

If you, like me, are also struggling with fending off suicidal AI pilots or ganking jerks then you could do a whole heap worse than read Iain’s guide. At the very least you won’t make a tit of yourself by squeaking out a strangled “gnm!”  sound like me…

 
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Posted by on 29 August, 2014 in Elite Dangerous, Fun, Games, Video, YouTube

 

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Exploring the Big Black: The True Cost of Elite Dangerous…

Blimey! It’s costing me a fair bit and that’s for sure and I don’t mean because I bought into the premium beta.

Also because ED is a truly beautiful game it pays to have a decent system to run it with the highest settings you can manage but I’m lucky I bought a beast of a system a couple of years back sporting an i7 quad core processor with a crapton of RAM and a two-year-old-but-still good nVidia graphics card.

What I hadn’t taken into account  was that is need to upgrade my bloody external equipment quite so much!

  • A new monitor was needed as the old, small one just wasn’t cutting it. The first time I switched the new one on I found I could actually see the engine flares of the ships in the far distance!
  • New headset was required as the old stereo one fell apart and was, in all honesty, bloody uncomfortable. I had to remove it every 10-15 mins to get blood back into my ears! The new ones are super comfy and 7.1 virtual surround – I can now hear ships moving behind me, turn and pinpoint them every time.
  • Two new joysticks! I started with a Thrustmaster X but have replaced that with a Saitek X52 Pro. I don’t know how people play ED with a mouse and keyboard, all I know is I can’t…
  • EDTracker. So far this is my only “waste” of money. I bought the pre-built option but can not get it working at all despite many, many attempts and conversations with the lovely chaps who developed it. I’ve given up for now and am looking at going for…
  • HeadTrackNOIR instead. It’s free and seems to work, all I need to do is source a free/cheap (but good!) web cam and I can try it out. Hopefully that will work but if not then I’m looking at…
  • TrackIR – the beast of all head tracking solutions! The cost alone is off-putting but if I’m honest I don’t want to spend too much money on this when I could be waiting for the prefect…
  • VR Headset! Be it the Oculus Rift or the Sony Morpheus or something else, what almost every ED pilot wants is a high-def VR headset and that’s what I’m really holding our for :)

So far the damn game is costing me a small fortune and it hasn’t even launched yet!

 
 

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Life in Tyria: The Tyranny of Gold…

I’m by no means rich in RL. I have a job but also a mortgage and kids so I have to make choices every days about what I spend my money on and, if I’m honest, that sucks, yet it’s also life and there is no point in worrying about it. But that’s not to say I want that experience in my games and if there’s one thing I’ve discovered I hate hate hate about MMOs such as LOTRO and GW2 it’s that I’m always poor in there too!

In LOTRO I spent ages trying to get enough gold to buy enough equipment to make me more or less effective and it got me nothing. In GW2 I’m always on the edge of poverty and having to sell everything I can just to fund the purchase of armour and weapons for one character. I’ve had 100 gold pieces recently but that didn’t last long and I’m usually hovering between 20 to 50 as I buy new exotic sets for my Engineer builds. I don’t craft and I’m not saving up for a legendary, I salvage and gather and therefore you think I’d be rolling in moolah but I’m not and that ticks me off. And there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get gold in GW2 outside of mindlessly running dungeons.

Frankly I don’t want to be poor in two worlds. Sigh.

 
 

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Life in Tyria: All the fun of the Festival!

Some people are calling it filler and bemoaning both the reuse of “old” content and the lack of Living Story but I’m actually rather enjoying the Festival of the Four Winds in Guild Wars 2 and I don’t care who knows it.

Partly it’s because I missed the Bazaar of the Four Winds last year (along with all of Season 1 of the Living Story until the attack on Lion’s Arch this year) but largely it’s because it’s damn good fun! The Boss Blitz is a blast and the Labyrinthine Cliffs are seriously beautiful. The rewards are pretty nice, I’m enjoying the expanding stories of the main characters and there seems to be some rather nice teasers dotted around that I hope will lead to something down the line. All in all, apart from the grind of getting the reward tokens (and that wasn’t really all that bad, trust me), I’ve had a fun time. Let me break down my thoughts a little…

Boss Blitz: Wowsers this was fun! True it’s a circle-zerg but I quite like zerg content. And this was clever zerg-content in that that whilst a zerg could do it, it could be done faster (and for greater reward) by a small number of co-ordinated groups. To be honest, were I a more structured player I may have found this very aspect annoying as the public nature of the event meant that even with a coordinated group zergs could drop in and blow all the good work by scaling up the bosses, but I’m not so I liked it. I got bronze most times (i.e. zerging it) and a couple of silvers when I ran with people desperately trying to organise a coordinated effort (all of which were fekked up by zergs). The worst part was map chat which became a furious rant-fest so I turned it off.

Gauntlet Matches: I only had a brief goo at these and they were fun. In the end, duels are just not my bag so I had little interest in them. Still they looked and played beautifully (love the opening floor idea!)

Charged Crystals and Baby Doylak Racing: Both were great fun. I love the cliffs and the idea of the aspect crystals and I made as many tokens here as I did in the blitz, just with a lot less map-chat rage and carpal tunnel than with the blitz.

Crystal hunting and other cliff events: Jumping puzzles tend to annoy me and PvP stuff just isn’t for me so I never tried those. Sorry Anet, I’m sure they were great though :)

Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs: I really miss the Great Collapse in DR. Sure the Queen’s Pavillion is amazing (and it really is!) but I can’t help thinking that the Collapse was such a wonderful well of story ideas that was erased in favour of an arena, albeit a very beautiful one. The Zepherytes’ cliff-side home is just beautiful! What an amazing build! I would love Anet to make it even bigger so I can spend more time exploring – and using aspects to get around is a joy, what a shame I can’t smuggle those powers out into the rest of Tyria ;)

Living Story: I know there’s not much as it’s not a LS release, but the summary of Season 1 for the Chinese & returning players is really nice. I know there have been criticism of the charactisation and writing of the heroes known as “Edge of Destiny 2.0”, but I’m really enjoying their exchanges. Tiami is funny as hell, it’s nice to see a couple in love with Kasmeer & Majorie and I think the Braham & Rox team is a really interesting friendship to watch develop. Hopefully they’ll avoid making the Norn too dumb as I’d find it harder to identify with a dunce then I do with a simple man of action. Ultimately though this don’t give any more clues as to what will come in Season 2 and I don’t mind that. Time and place, I say, time and place..

Other story type stuff: Now, beyond the summary of LS season 1 I think Anet have been clever about sprinkling a few tidbits around that could (hopefully will) lead to more storylines that could be (hopefully will be) unrelated to LS Season 2. Taimi is talking about the Zephryites getting ready for a long journey – but where to, when & why? What about the Jade Fish Statue? Does that link to the Jade Sea and therefore Cantha? And then what about the paranoid guy Carden? He’s forever trying to desperately sell something shady but when the Zephyrites see whatever it is they won’t deal with him anymore because of what it is and who he got it from – what is it and who did Carden take it from? I’m sure there are more hooks I’ve missed but these stand out as potentially really interesting adventure leads that, were this an open world or paper-based RPG, I’d be following instead of the road leading to the jungle dragon.

So there you have it. I’m really enjoying the Festival of the Four Winds and I don’t care who knows it :)

p.s. Kookoochoo is amazing! See him now!

 
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Posted by on 28 May, 2014 in Fun, Games, Guild Wars 2

 

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Life in Tyria: Legendaries are another miss, just like in LOTRO.

OK, let me start this by stating two things:1) GW2 legendaries are *not* as bad as LOTRO’s clusterhump system, and 2) I don’t actually own a legendary in GW2 so have never used one but I still think they suck and here is why.

1) It’s grindy, complex and frigging expensive to make one. I just haven’t the time or the money to do it so owning such a weapon (and armour should it ever be added) will be out of my reach. Given that the next level down, Ascended, seems to be just as much of a ballache to craft it looks like my gear progression in GW2 stops at Exotic and this strikes me as a damn shame.

2) They are as ugly as hell. Jebus H Pressley but the GW2 devs like to design some tacky, spiky shit. True, this is purely subjective but the fact remains there are almost no legendary weapons I’d want to be seen with anyway. Hell, look at Orcrist from The Hobbit, it doesn’t look like they were bought in a Blackpool £1 shop does it? Here, let me demonstrate.

Orcrist - how lovely, almost as if created by talented craftspeople/elves.

Orcrist – how lovely, almost as if created by talented craftspeople/elves.

A fugly sword bought from a cheap kid's toys shop and made with no love or care.

A fugly sword bought from a cheap kid’s toys shop for £1.99.

Some weird looking legendary sword from GW2 - it makes my eyes sad.

Some weird looking legendary sword from GW2 that makes my eyes sad.

So given that I will never be able to get a legendary weapon in GW2 and if I ever did I’d never want to be seen with one, why am I moaning about it in this post, beyond something to post & moan about I mean? Well just because I don’t want to be seen with a legendary weapon that looks like it was made by my seven year old and coloured in by my 4 year old doesn’t mean I don’t want a legendary weapon. Let me explain something about the way I play my games, from SL to LOTRO to GW2.

I carefully design the look of my characters. Now this may come as a little bit of a shock to some of you, but I think long-term readers and old friends who know me well and have played along side me in SL will know that I always find a look and then I stick to it. HeadBurro Antfarm went through a few trials before I hit on the half-gazelle skin in urban clothing and ethnic jewellery. Hell, just finding that backpack was a huge undertaking that I still remember fondly. In LOTRO I dressed all my guys in what I considered to be appropriate gear – the hobbits in Bounder’s garb, the human warrior in armour but with a backpack fit for the scholar he was, the dwarf and elf in similarly suitable ethnic & profession gear. None of them have been showy or ostentatious, none have gone in for garish colours or effects, weapons have been suitable for the lore & professions, armour has been muted and, as far as possible, realistic in nature.

And then I come to GW2. Oh boy. Someone in Arenanet has a spike fetish. Someone likes huge shoulderpads. Someone dreams of bling. Just look at this unholy monstrosity!

Jesus. H. Christ.

Jesus. H. Christ.

Who in the name of all that is holy would wear that? It would be fuck all use in a fight and if she as much as coughed her tits would pop out. And how is she going to get in to any tavern with that stupid hat on and those mahoooosive shoulder… things strapped to her? And curly toes? Jesus.

Look, I can live in a world where this shit exists but is it too much to ask for some of the armour and weapons at the top of the tree not to look like the vomit pattern of a caffeine & red bull riddled mentalist?

Oh, what’s that you say? There’s a Transmutation system? I can give this amazing stuff the look of my boring looking armour and we are all happy? Hardly. That costs money in GW2 and at about a quid a pop which could make transmuting all your armour and weapons cost you upwards of ten British pounds every time you upgrade them en masse. Call me odd if you like but the thought of paying multiples of monies just to keep the look of my character the same somehow doesn’t appeal.

Now my understanding, without ever having owned or used one, is that these legendary weapons are not a huge stat boost. Arenanet, wisely in my opinion, veers away from sudden and huge jumps in the power of gear and instead makes the changes small but relies on the ‘improved’ looks they design to entice players in for the bigger, brighter shiny. As I think we have discovered this won’t work on me and given that the power uppage is small why do I want one?

Because I do. Because it’s a game genre about, among other things, continually improving your gear.Part of the fantasy (and scifi and spy and etc…) genre is the finding of the bigger, better weapon and playing an MMO RPG should be no different. I’m not dashing all over Tyria helping people out for the good of my health you know, I want a reward. Several rewards. I want a legendary weapon. I just don’t want the ones Arenanet are offering.

So what is the answer? What is it I want? Well dear reader, I’ll tell you that in another post soon…

 
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Posted by on 24 April, 2014 in Fun, Games, Guild Wars 2, LOTRO

 

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Life in Tyria: Big changes are a-coming, starting with traits…

In mid-April Arenanet are releasing their first ever feature only update (I was away for so long I hadn’t realised that they were releasing feature changes along with living story updates) and it’s looking like it’s like it’s going to be huge!

There is a post from Arenanet all about the first changes which are going to overhaul the whole traits system but I really liked the video from Wooden Potatoes which explains in a lot more depth why this is important and how game play might change. I’m looking forward to it but if you are playing GW2, what do you think?

 

 
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Posted by on 21 March, 2014 in Fun, Games, Guild Wars 2

 

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