2018 in Hindsight

So, there are only a few notable things this year that stand out to me. One is that earlier in year the whole local group quit playing FFXIV, to which we haven’t really returned yet.

The other, quite obviously, is this blog. Everything else just sort of disappears in the daily routine. That very same routine is, in a way, like a cotter pin. It holds everything together.

So when I look back at what I’ve done on the blog this year I’ve got exactly 160 posts, not including this one. In a perfect world around 22 of those would be Something New posts, which I’ve been pretty consistent about. I just had to fix a half dozen or so posts that didn’t even have the something new tag.

  1. 8/19 – Guild Wars 2
  2. 8/26 – Bless Online
  3. 9/2 – Battletech
  4. 9/9 – MU Legend
  5. 9/16 – Abyss Oddysey
  6. 9/23 – Alien: Isolation
  7. 9/30 – Torchlight
  8. 10/7 – Torchlight 2
  9. 10/14 – Maplestory 2
  10. 10/21 – Alchemist’s Awakening
  11. 10/28 – Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  12. 11/4 – Galaxy Squad
  13. 11/11 – Lord of the Rings Online
  14. 11/25 – Secrets of Grindea
  15. 12/2 – EverSpace
  16. 12/9 – Treasure Adventure World
  17. 12/16 – Farm Together
  18. 12/30 – The Division

Not a bad run if I say so myself. It’s nice to see all the various new things I managed to get into this year. I’ve got quite a backlog going into 2019, a blessing and a curse, in a way.

Speaking of the new year, I don’t really do the resolution thing. There’s no special magic that makes things started now any different from something started another time. Like this blog, I’ve found it’s better to strike while the iron is hot. If you allow it to cool  you’re only going to break it.

While I was at it, I looked at my top three categories on the blog, other than something new that is.

  1. Rambling Thoughts – 56 Posts
  2. #blaugustreborn – 32 Posts
  3. Warframe – 18 Posts

I guess I do ramble a lot. I actually don’t like using that tag, for exactly that reason. I suppose at the end of the day that’s about a third of everything I’ve posted. In a way, I wouldn’t be me and the blog wouldn’t be itself without them.

The blaugust posts make sense, I suppose. I considered removing them, since I can expect it to roughly double if it happens again in 2019. I might, should I do a review like this again. This year, however, it should be there. As I have said many times in many places, I’m only typing this right now because that event happened.

Warframe ended up with roughly the same number as something new. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, as both of them were weekly posts. I probably need to make my way back to Warframe at some point, but I’ve got to figure out where I’m headed, schedule-wise.

I’ve been really hitting my head against the lack of time within a day to get around to everything. Something needs to change in order to get where I want to be. I just haven’t identified what needs to change just yet. I’m sure something will work itself out eventually, just gotta be patient and keep going until I find a good path forward.

Y’all take care, don’t let The Year of the Justifiably Defensive Lobster hit you on the way out.

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Something New To Me – The Division

Man, this title’s name is so appropriately ironic. Ubisoft got slammed when this title launched. I don’t particularly recall everything, but I remember there being an issue with some exploits creating obscenely overpowered gear which had a direct impact on the PvP zone, I imagine. It was very public and very bad.

I wasn’t playing then, so, uh, I don’t care? I participated in the XBox One beta back before the launch. I looked good, sure, but I wasn’t willing to pay for it. Now, however, I can and did pick up the “Gold Edition” on Uplay for $13.50 so I figured why not?

I must say, I’m rather enjoying the game, and probably would have back in the day too. This is because I play pretty much exclusively with my brother as a two man party. I only see other players in the PvE areas when I’m in the hub areas. Obviously the Dark Zone, or whatever it’s called, would be an entirely different matter.

wings.png

The first several missions see you running around saving select people to unlock wings in your base of operations. You do additional missions and side missions to earn the various types of supplies needed to purchase upgrades for each wing. Each upgrade gives you additional skills, skill variants, talents, and/or perks. As you can see we’ve switched from our normal roles and I’m a little more healer/support than normal.

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It also has this cute little crafting system that uses a few different items that can be found in the world or obtained from disassembling old gear. There are higher rarity blueprints, like the blue ones, that require matching rarity components. These can be difficult to come by, but you can also exchange/upgrade a number of the lower quality ones for a higher quality one.

cosmetics.png

They also have a cosmetic clothing system. These items drop occasionally as loot and/or come from what I assume was DLC that’s included in the Gold Edition. I’m actually mildly annoyed that the “holiday hat” only comes in red and green. I wanted a blue one.

Where gameplay is concerned firefights were a lot more lethal than I’m accustomed to. Elite space ninjas and god-like heisters need not apply. Once we got a handle on the overall gameplay I started launching our missions in the “hard” difficulty, which is respectably difficult. We went from an occasional failure to sometimes 5-10 failures for large fights. The rewards are typically pretty good though, so it’s probably worth it if you’re not in a hurry to blow through the content.

Overall I’d say it goes a very good job of taking the tactical gunplay of Tom Clancy series games and mixing it with a more MMO type of format. I’d say that at this point, on the verge of the sequel, it’s actually a pretty solid title for it’s current sale price. I’ll get my $14 dollars worth anyway. I went ahead and threw my hat in the ring for the beta as well, though I certainly have no intention of pre-ordering the sequel. Ubisoft’s The Crew is the very reason why I no longer favor the pre-order method of purchasing things. Let others shoulder the risk, I’ll wait for the reviews and the gameplay videos.

Y’all take care, stay away from people with the future plague, whatever it’s called.

Micropost

Okay, so I have plenty of new stuff I’ve been messing around with, which is great for keeping those something new spots going, but not so good for most of the week. Unfortunately the only thing I’ve been playing outside that range lately is Repop, and I really don’t like talking about the same game too often.

It’s pretty much midnight though, so I’ll leave this post in the micro-post range. Y’all stay safe.

Abandoned Pets

So one of the odd side effects of living in the middle of nowhere is that we frequently get lost and abandoned pets showing up around the house. There’s a dirt lot on the corner near the house that I’m assuming most people use for this purpose, among others.

puppy.png

Today it was this poor little guy. We managed to lure her out and get he dried off. We’ve made arrangements with a breeder to have her rehomed, as we’re really not interested in taking in a new critter at the moment.

It’s actually hard to get an idea of scale from this picture, but this puppy is much larger and heavier than I’m accustomed to, especially considering how young she seems to be. I’d say she seems kinda like a saint bernard in build and overall fluff level.

Very sweet, but also very jumpy. She responded very positively to my presence but wouldn’t come closer than five feet without being lured. If I stepped on a stick and it snapped she would immediately run back to the little hole she was hiding out in.

Sadly, I’m assuming she’s an abandoned Christmas gift. A real shame too, though I’m glad we’ve managed to find a home instead of having to resort to a shelter. My experience with the local shelter isn’t particularly positive, but at least the animals there get food and shelter.

I’m also assuming that’s why so many poor critters get abandoned too. It’s easier to drive out into the countryside and toss them out than drive to the other end of the county and deal with the animal shelter. This is likely especially true given they’re probably flooded with unwanted pets already.

I find it sad and frustrating when I consider how many probably don’t make it to our house from the corner. While we don’t have a ton of coyotes, there are some in the area. There are also some more opportunistic critters running around. We had an opossum eating cat food off our porch for a while until we quit putting it out. Small and curious pets could easily run afoul of such creatures unintentionally.

On top of that, at least one of my neighbors is more likely to shoot stray critters than capture and rehome them, and there’s a major road right there. Many a thing has failed to cross the road by the house and it’s a fairly accident prone location on top of that.

Either way, this fuzzy little critter is lucky. Today, anyway. I’m gonna go pet the fuzzball and head towards bed. Y’all take care, please don’t abandon your pets in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t always end this happily.

Aquaman – A Wedding Anniversary

So, I don’t really talk about movies much because I typically don’t bother to watch any these days. Even outside of theaters I don’t tend to make any considerable effort. The one exception are special events like taking my wife out two to three times a year. In fact, the last movie I think I saw in theaters was The Last Jedi, which was probably for our anniversary last year.

I also don’t count my opinions for much, as I’m very easy to please. Far and few between are the titles that I can’t tolerate long enough to enjoy.

It should come as no surprise then, that I liked Aquaman. It wasn’t my first choice, as I personally would have chosen Mortal Engines. There was, of course, some teasing of my wife about only wanting to see it due to it featuring a sometimes shirtless and frequently wet Jason Mamoa.

I’m admittedly not very familiar with the source material. My only experience with aquaman was from old cartoons, which I don’t recall every going into detail. He was just kinda there.

I’m sure there were plenty of nods for the real fans though, and they did an okay job at making his classic costume look less…. classic.

Speaking of wet, it’s raining cats and dogs here, pretty much for the next 24 hours. What a wonderful way to finish off the week. On the bright side, I get another four day weekend after tomorrow. Maybe I can manage to not miss a post this time.

On that note, it’s late and I still have to go to work, so I’m headed to be. Y’all take care, remember to take selfies with that fish boy from tv if you run into him.

The Repopulation – Crafting Shenanigans

So, Repop was trying to be a new place for all the old Star Wars Galaxies fans to go. One of the things that made SWG unique, then and now, is it’s crafting system. I can’t say that I’ve seen much like it myself. Little pieces, here and there, but nothing quite so involved and technical.

 Materials

Okay, so in SWG materials were rotated weekly, I think. Any given week would have a set of semi-random resources with varying stats. The stats were seemingly random at first, but actually had a range. Copper always tended to be more conductive than iron, but a given batch could be more or less conductive than last week.

It added a nice layer of complexity, picking and choosing different materials for different purposes and stats, but also led to a slightly skewed market. The best material for a given application was referred to as “server best” and was often highly coveted and commanded quite a high price. People who weren’t around when it was up, or weren’t in a position to stockpile large amounts of it, had to purchase it if they wanted to compete in top tier goods.

base calibrite bar
This
hardwood firewood
Refined with this
finished calibrite bar
Makes this.

I believe Repop sought to address this with their system. A given resource always contributes the same amount of the same stat modifier. Calibrite refined with sulfur will always possess physical penetration, for example. Combining different refining agents allows you to tailor the modifiers of the ingot for a specific result.

quality wheel

What they did instead, though, was introduce a quality system throughout. Graded much like an assignment, F-A ascending, and 0-9 ascending within each letter. Essentially a 1-50 scale. This does affect the end result in a significant manner, if you have the skill to use it properly, but I feel that it’s easier to get an A grade resource in Repop than it is to wait for 999 conductivity copper to rng itself back around in SWG.

Crafting

In theory, a game like this would have a large player base feeding into and off of the economy. One of the other features of SWG was it’s focus on a player-driven economy. There were very few npc vendors. This isn’t the case with Repop, but what you can get from an npc vendor is somewhat limited to basic items, usually of very low quality.

The thing is, Repop crafting is extremely involved. You can’t simply throw some cloth material into a crafting station and pop some cloth out. One of the natural cloth recipes looks like this:

hudson cloth

These trees aren’t in-game, by the way, they’re taken from http://aena.at/craftmap/

The Hudson Moss is easy. Basic heat sources like firewood are easy to come by, and distilled water is something you’re always making for various recipes. Additionally, the Destructive Distillation: Softwood recipe is part of the crafting tutorial.

The Sterilizing Agent is somewhat more difficult, but you can buy the basic version in white from a vendor. It’s F0 quality, but it works. All the others are recipes in their own right, of varying difficulties and complexities.

hok locations

That Potassium Bioxalate though. While not hard to make, depending on your location, it requires a very specific plant, Hok Weed. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out where I could even get some. None of these locations are super close to me. I’ve tried to get some from the Leverstow area, but it wasn’t safe and I ended up dead.

database.png

It’s all so very complicated that most of the information is available via in-game database, which is where those locations were pulled from.

Unfortunately the zone line mob is currently the toughest one in the game, resulting in quite a few crashes and odd effects. This means travel can turn into an ordeal.

For all it’s flaws, I like it. I liked SWG gathering and crafting too, even if I wasn’t all that great at it. Takes all kinds, we couldn’t all be top tier crafters. Someone had to make low tier budget gear.

Y’all take care, try not to give yourself a headache looking at all this mess. It’s hard enough to follow when you want to.

Heh, I Skipped A Day

Yep, I skipped a day. Not really on purpose, to be honest, but the clock in the other room was apparently 30 minutes slow, so when I left the project that was being worked on to write a post it was already a quarter past, so I went to bed.

This is actually the quietest it’s been all day, I think. Something about kids being excited for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on. Not without it’s casualties, to be sure. Their cousins were over this week and managed to set my lizard free. The chances of me finding and capturing him are slim to none. I’ll just have to assume he can make it on his own.

It’s back to work tomorrow though, at least for a few days. It’ll be nice to get a little routine back in there to set my thoughts in order. I’ve got a few things to cover now, I just have to decide when.

I also have to sort out the details of our wedding anniversary, which is Thursday. Nine years, for the curious. Never really seems like that long, and at the same time, it’s hard to remember anything else.

On that note though, I’m going to round up my things and get to bed. Merry Christmas y’all, and to all a good night.