State of the Game: All Over the Place

Another week down, and the month is coming to a close. I think I may have written more blog posts this month than any other month in my “career.” I’d say the NBI has a lot to do with that. Sadly, the event comes to a close today, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop playing games and being a community. It just means the sanctioned events are coming to an end. From here on out, it’s up to us to keep blogging, keep creating content, and keep the movement strong. I know I’ve been doing my part, you should be too.

I strayed away from my current MMO of choice, partly because none of the people I had mentioned playing with have been playing all that much, but also because I’ve been involved in playing a number of games with the NBI crew (more on this is a bit). So really the only progress I made during the course of the week was two levels on my Cleric, and a couple of levels on my Rogue. Free players are only allowed two character slots, so at least I can’t be tempted to make any more alts. The levels on my Rogue came from straight PvP, I don’t think I’m going to do any traditional questing on that character. As it is, I’m kind of doing the same thing on the Cleric, as I have seriously gotten bored with themepark questing in MMOs. I do a few quests here and there still (particularly carnage or body drop quests/major event stuff). Sadly, the kill ten rats variety is still more fun that some of the “innovative” quests that some developers try to throw at us. Speaking of which, there’s a world event going on, and it’s called Unicornalia or some such nonsense. I could give a rat’s ass about having a unicorn mount. As the MMO Troll made mention of in his latest Massive Failure podcast, Unicorns don’t belong in the world of Rift. I agree with his sentiments. However, the event had some repeatable quests (used to grind for a special currency to buy the mounts) that gave massive amounts of xp and some decent coin. As such, I spent a portion of my time doing those, along with instant adventures, a couple dungeon runs, and some PvP. The best part of the event was having to close a special rift, which was actually semi involved. Rescuing unicorns, closing fire rifts, and then killing a raid-like boss. He died far too quickly for me to get the update the first couple times I tried to get him, but eventually I took him out.



My session-based gaming obsession continues, with the typical MOBA, CCG and Rogue-like titles filling in spaces between my more time consuming games (and real life). I spent time with Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Broforce, Binding of Issac, Nuclear Throne, Wizard Wars and even Rogue Legacy.

I had a pretty awesome game in Awesomenauts the other day (several actually), and still believe that Ayla is the coolest character the title has to offer. In this particular game, I think I got the most kills in a single match I’ve ever done, along with having nearly a 4.0 KDA. Some of you PvP friendly NBI peeps need to get your hands on this game. It’s $18 to get the base game plus expansion. Think about it.


Riot never fails to keep coming up with reasons for me to play League of Legends. They’re also pretty good at making me enjoy the lore. The fictional band, “Pentakill” whose T-shirt I wear regularly, isn’t so fictional anymore. Seriously, this music rocks. I was impressed. Another featured game mode was released this week as well: One For All: Mirror Mode. You may recall I played the original One For All, and I wasn’t a fan. This time around, I love it. There are some key differences. First, the old version was played on Summoner’s Rift. The new version is on Howling Abyss. Next, the old version made each team pick one champion for all five of its members to play. This made you have to take into account each role typically played on SR, and pick a champ that was flexible enough to do it all. The new version plays just like ARAM, but now there’s only one choice of champion period. Meaning ten of the same champ in one lane. Chaos incarnate. A hell of a lot of fun. The only flaw I’ve seen is the fact that it’s a lotto pick, based on who nominates who. Meaning if I nominate Teemo and so do the other four players on my team, there’s a 50% chance in favor of that champ being selected. However, the other five champions that were picked have a 10% chance to still be the lotto winner. I saw this happen twice last night, where a champion that had three or more nominations lost out to one that had only one nomination. That’s dumb to me. And resulted in a game where we played ten Tarics. I fucking hate Taric. Here’s one of the more memorable rounds:



In Hearthstone it’s been more of the same: doing dailies to get dat gold to do arenas. It felt like it took forever to amass 400 dust, but I finally did and made myself a Preparation for my Rogue deck. It’s a bursty miracle design, mostly copied from the internet somewhere. I’ve had a hell of a time getting much success with it. In fact, I haven’t won a game yet. I want an Edwin and another Preparation. Here’s to the endless dust grind. In case you’re wondering what the deck looks like:


Magika: Wizard Wars went into open beta this week. It appeared to be a fun little PvP MOBA, minus the item buying and traditional lane scheme. It ended up being less that I expected. I had a little bit of fun with it, but I can see where the cash shop is instantly pay to win. I don’t normal care about psuedo advantages, like buying packs of cards in Hearthstone or exp potions in other games. I do care when you can buy items that affect your in game performance (gear) for real cash, and the barrier to entry for someone not willing to open their wallet is extreme. Hawken was like that. You don’t see me playing that game anymore either do you? I have to much to do to have to grind in another game. Scratch this one from the list.

Broforce had an update this week, adding a couple new Bros to the force, along with a ride-able bad guy machine. I got to see that bit first hand, because the level I had left off on had one in it. It’s basically a mech with jet boots and a couple of missile launchers, but it still was pretty cool, and makes the game feel more like a Metal Slug now. However, it runs out of gas fairly quickly, and landing too hard on the ground means burying yourself, never to get out. So they’re only useful for a couple minutes. I finally opened up Ellen Ripbro (the sole female character for now), which was the last character I needed to open before this new update added two more. So I’ll comment on the new guys when I get to them.

I acquired that copy of Nuclear Throne, just like I said I would last week. I’ve spent a couple of hours with it, definitely not enough time to have beaten the game just yet, but it’s been a great time waster, and is more in line with Binding of Issac than some of the slower paced dungeon crawling ones. It’s faster paced than even BoI though. And there’s guns. And explosions. Awesome. I found out about challenges that the steam community has been running, and as a result I had to try the newest one: The Passive Challenge. The rules were simple, don’t use your character’s special ability (basically no right clicking) and you have to turn the HUD off. It sounds easy, but is harder than it sounds. Some of the active abilities are pretty damn useful, and not knowing if you’re low on health or bullets makes things tricky. I recorded a video of one of my runs:

In the other Rogue-likes (Binding of Issac, Rogue Legacy), I just played a few minutes here and there, nothing much to report, besides I still love these games and the genre.

Finally, last weekend J3w3l started up a Terraria server for the NBI, and we have had some cool adventures thus far. I only played a little bit last weekend, but yesterday I had a binge day and played for around six hours. I think the bug has bitten me, as I’m starting to understand the mechanics and systems a bit more and am hungry for more exploration. I’m sure there’s still a lot I don’t know though, so we’ll just say that I have a basic understanding and am enjoying the game. Here’s some shots from the game:

Super Mario art by Jeromai of Why I Game
The tippy top of the massive treehouse by Talarian of Gamer By Design
Fighting the Eye of Cthulu with J3w3l and Doone
My underground “Cavernous Heart” (in progress)

It’s been another crazy week. Next weekend will be here soon enough, and I’ll have more for ya then.

#stateofthegame #roundup #gaming #multigaming

Contributing to the Peril

Edit (6/2/14): The podcast is now up, and you can listen to it here.

This last week I was asked by Roger of Contains Moderate Peril to be on his show. The email stated that he would like to do a bit on the NBI due to the fact the event is rounding to a close. He wanted to have someone from the sponsor side of the fence, along with a new initiate to give their views on what the NBI means to them. I was the sponsor, the newbie in question was Missy, of Missy’s Mojo.

First, let me just say that Roger and Brian are absolute professionals and are a credit to the podcasting community. You can tell they’ve been doing this a long time, and they made me feel right at home. Missy, being a little on the shy side, said that she had been very nervous doing the show, but I don’t think anyone will be able to tell once you get to hear the podcast. Even with English as a second language she totally knocked it out of the park. I will say that I was probably a little too wordy, but I’m sure Roger will have no problem editing the shit out of me.

We did the recording over Skype, and I’m pretty familiar with the program so getting into the call with everyone was a breeze. We all had a chat before hand, and finally Roger said that he was going to get the questions rolling. I think we did a good job of giving our individual opinions on the NBI and what a great community it is, but the conversation grew into something more. I went into it thinking that it would be a stiff regimented sort of Q&A, and by the end we were telling jokes and making fun of each other. Brian even reminded me of a comment I made on the CMP website after last week’s show, where I “revoked” his nerd card for not enjoying the Hobbit movies. Little bits like that goes to show that writing this blog and being a part of this community really touches other people’s lives. It may just be a silly comment you made somewhere, but knowing that people actually do see those and make a mental note to talk to you about it later makes this all feel worthwhile. That goes for all of my “tens of readers” (stolen and reworked for context from Brian): Thanks for making this feel like a real community and something more than just me scribbling down notes for my mom to read.

This sounds like a good time to plug a new project I have in the works. I’ve been waiting til the end of the NBI to formally announce it, mainly because the end of the event signals more free time. I loved every minute of this year’s NBI, but having less to run means I can pour that effort into other ideas. So, the big reveal. Sort of.

I proposed the idea to Doone and J3w3l that we should do our own podcast. I really wanted to be a guest on one first to see how it goes, and having done that I feel like I could do it myself. One bit I’ll have to learn is where to host it, where to get connected (i.e. where people will be able to subscribe to it) and how to edit the recorded audio. I already know that there are members of the NBI community doing this outside of the CMP podcast, so I should be able to find help when needed (plus a plethora of potential guests). When I mentioned this idea to Roger and Brian, they were both very supportive and seemed willing to give advice. A couple of cool cats, them.

So there has been some brainstorming and deliberation between the aforementioned people and I, and we are still developing our “gimmick” and even the title of the show. Details will be worked out though, and I hope by this time next month you’ll be able to hear what we’ve come up with. I think between the three of our reader bases, we already have the potential for tens of listeners. At least.

A positive experience, indeed.

#containsmoderateperil #nbi2014 #newbiebloggerinitiative #experiences

Changes to IGC, Starting June

It has been announced that a change is coming next month for the Playstation Plus service. The Instant Game Collection, which started approximately two years ago is changing its format. I was predicting a change to a large portion of the line-up for last month (or at the latest this month), because that’s what happened around this time last year, on the anniversary of the IGC’s introduction. However, Sony has decided to change the way the whole system works. Instead of only one PS4 title and a handful of titles for the PS3 and Vita systems, there’s now going to be an even two titles for each console. The balance makes sense, but I was really hoping for a handful of new titles to play all at once. Speaking of all at once, that’s another change to the program: all of the titles are available instantly on the first Tuesday of the month, and will only rotate once per month. So in a way this is pretty cool, and in another way it kind of sucks. We no longer have a reason to be excited every Tuesday (although some Tuesdays are lackluster, I’ll admit). But we don’t have to wait til the end of the month to get the title we really want. Anyway, on with the video:

The games for the PS4 are Trine 2: Complete Story, and Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate. Seeing as how both of these games were previously available on PS3, these aren’t really new titles. Trine 2 was free for PS3 Plus members over a year ago, and it was a cool game, but there’s no real replay value there. I’ve never experienced any of the Pixeljunk games, but I’ve read positive feedback, and there’s more than one title in the series so they must be somewhat successful. These will just go in my queue and be added to my ever growing backlog of PS4 games.

For PS3, we’re getting NBA2k14, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Last month it was a Soccer game, this month a Basketball game. Why couldn’t it have been Madden? Maybe next month? C’mon man, Football is the best! Yeah so I didn’t even add the Soccer game to my download list, as it’s something I would never play, and I pretty much feel the same about this title. Madden I’d play though. There was one of the Sly Cooper titles that was on Plus quite some time ago that I have access to. I believe it was one of the PS2 ports, and it was okay as far as platformers go, but this is a pretty weak month for me. That’s ok, I have a big enough backlog as it is.

On the Vita, Terraria and Mutant Mudds Deluxe (also the Sly Cooper title is cross-buy and I’d be more likely to play it on the Vita tbh). Having purchased Terraria for the PS3 and receiving a copy as a gift through Steam (thanks j3w3l!) I’ll now own the game on 3 platforms. Yay. Or something. The latter game I know nothing about, but it’s another bit that I can try on that fateful day when I buy a PSVita. Maybe next year. Maybe never. Who knows.

#playstation #playstationplus #IGC #instantgamecollection

In Sheep’s Clothing

As usual, the choices I made first:

WP_20140528_001 WP_20140528_002

I’m going to comment on my choices first, because I find it interesting that during every other episode of this game, I picked with the majority on the majority of choices. There were a couple where I deviated from the crowd, but for the most part, I was with them. In this episode, I was with the overwhelming minority. Only two of the choices even hit 50%, all the others were much lower than that. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s interesting from a social commentary point of view. It seems that despite the rules for unglamoured fables to be relegated to the Farm, that doesn’t seem like the right choice to me. Yes, rules are rules, but these are fables that I care about to a degree, and don’t want to see them imprisoned. Other people just stuck to the rules, and sometimes I think rules need to be broken for the greater good. I also don’t understand why more people didn’t try to remove the ribbon round Nerissa’s neck, but I suppose they just chose other dialogue options. Finally, responding to the crooked man really didn’t change the end, as the episode ends there. However, I felt that lighting a cigarette was the most bad ass way to respond, and well, I used to be a smoker so I guess I could relate to that. With all that said, on to the play through.

When we left off, Bigby had just killed one of the Tweedle’s, because fuck those assholes. They shot Bigby a bunch of times. Bloody Mary then shot him with a silver bullet, and broke his arm. When the new scene opens, Bigby is getting worked on by the doctor, as Snow and Colin watch worriedly. There’s some dialogue, the doctor leaves and Snow starts in on Colin, and about how unglamoured fables should be at the farm. Bigby comes to his defense, much to Snow’s chagrin, but the issue is dropped as the phone rings. Someone is in Bigby’s office, so off he goes.

When arriving at the Sheriff’s office, Bigby finds Nerissa waiting for him. She sort of gave him some help in an earlier episode, when pointing him to the motel where “snow” (Holly’s sister) had been murdered. It appears that she’s trying to help again, but won’t come right out and say anything. Bigby comes to realize that there’s something up with the ribbon around her neck, and figures that it is magical and is somehow keeping her from talking. The natural reaction is to remove the ribbon, but Nerissa jumps up and pulls away, scared to have it removed. Soon thereafter, Snow comes into the office and mentions Beauty having called, needing help with something. Nerissa tells Bigby that he SHOULD investigate that further, and leaves. So off we go to see Beauty and Beast.

At their apartment, Bigby hears them arguing through the door. Knocking loudly, the argument stops and Beast cracks open the door. He’s hostile, and doesn’t want to let Bigby in. The threat of having his door broken down makes Beast change his mind. Beauty pulls Beast into their bedroom while Bigby takes a look around the apartment. Strange that they have so many nice things, yet we already know that Beauty had taken a loan from the Crooked Man. When they return to the room, they ask Bigby for help. He has to cut through their shit, but eventually gets the truth out of both of them. Beauty took the loan because they are “used to a certain lifestyle” but they are unable to pay it back. The loans are coming out of the Lucky Pawn shop. Beast had taken a job working for the Crooked Man, at the Butcher’s Shop, delivering odd packages here and there. With a choice to make, Bigby heads to the Pawn Shop first.

Upon arriving, Jack is running things behind the counter. He is evasive to questions, and continuously tries to get Bigby to leave. He swears that Jersey (The Jersey Devil) isn’t around, and that he doesn’t know anything about Bloody Mary, or the Woodsman’s ax that had been almost used on Bigby the night before. Looking around, Bigby finds the sign in a display case where the Woodsman’s ax had been. He starts getting crazy with Jack, when Jersey and the Woodsman enter the shop. Turns out the Woodsman is also looking for his ax, and is telling Jersey that he didn’t sell it, it had been stolen. Jersey talks tough with Bigby, and a fight breaks out. Smashing his face into a display case, the Devil shows his true colors. The fight goes on for a while before the Woodsman finds his ax, and joins in. Helping Bigby incapacitate Jersey, they get a few more answers out of him, but nothing overwhelming. It was time to head over to the Butcher’s shop.

Once there, the place seems empty, and none of the goods on display look appetizing either. It definitely appears to be a cover for something else. The Butcher finally appears from the back room, and is also avoiding any questions that Bigby has. Knowing enough, he pushes his way into the back room, but not before The Butcher hits the silent alarm and tries to hid among all sorts of carcasses. Finding him, he also discovers a “secret” room, and busts in. The silent alarm had already warned whoever was in this back room, and it was devoid of people. It was littered with magic ingredients, packages, and a chemistry lab. There were also shackles on the floor and spots of blood. A chalkboard on the wall had been wiped clean. A shame, lots of potential evidence gone. Finding Ichabod Crane’s coat, the one thing that Bigby had been looking for was found. The missing shard of the Magic Mirror in his possession, Bigby heads back to the business office.

Once there, he sees Snow being bombarded by Bluebeard and Toad. Putting them off, Snow talks to Bigby. Buffkin is given the shard to try and fix the magic mirror, and Snow asks for help with Toad. She fixes whatever issues Bluebeard has, and Bigby gives Toad the money pilfered from Crane’s coat. The two depart, and Buffkin announces that the mirror is fixed. Snow wants to know where Crane had gone, so she says the rhyme and he is shown, talking to Bloody Mary. Mary is telling him to get on a plane to Paris and to never contact anyone. She then feels being watched, and due to her relationships with mirrors, causes the magic mirror enough pain that he declines showing them anymore. Bigby then asks where the Crooked Man is, and the symbol that is used on all of his packages (learned about at the Butcher’s shop) appears on a door in central park. Bigby rushes to the location.

Busting open the door, a portal is revealed. Once through, the portal and symbol disappear. Tiny Tim (who just wants to be called Tim) is waiting for him. Apparently the Crooked Man already knew Bigby was coming. Tim takes Bigby through the Crooked Man’s castle, to his meeting room of sorts. Once inside, he sees all of the villians he had been dealing with throughout the course of the episodes, along with the Crooked Man, who hadn’t been seen up to this point. He asks Bigby to sit down so they can talk. Bigby lights a cigarette, and the episode ends.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next. I hate cliffhangers!

#thewolfamongus #telltalegames #episode4

Foot in Mouth

I read a lot of posts about the topic of inclusiveness, and the commentary made by Blizzard.

I made a response post.

I hastily commented and had some heated discussion on J3w3l’s post.

I then read a bunch of other posts about the experiences of female gamers, along with all of the comments that picked apart everything I said, on both my blog and over on J3w3l’s.  Some of the commentary made by men (when they find out a player is a girl) is downright ridiculous, and I can’t believe the nerve of some guys. I have made the mistake of idolizing a “hot gamer girl” like the rest of em, but I would never dream of saying some of the things they come up with. I don’t even say this kind of stuff to other dudes.

I started to think about how I might not outright deny those experiences, but I am actually contributing to the problem with the attitudes expressed in my post/comments, because I am ignorant or dismissive of the world’s problems. In typical man fashion, I was raised to not bitch about my problems. I don’t usually bitch about my problems on a public forum, and as such I was attacking those that do, in essence belittling their experiences. That was not my intention.

My narrow world view comes from a variety of sources, mainly from the examples I’ve seen in my life. My own experiences are all I have to compare with, and I wasn’t actively looking into these topics until now. I have a sister. She too enjoyed playing back then and plays video games to this day. She has never expressed any sort of discrimination via gaming (maybe she just never revealed she was a girl, and I know she doesn’t ever use a headset). It’s true, when we played competitively I was usually better than her, but that didn’t cause me to believe that no women play video games or they all suck. However, in my experience with romantic partners, I have yet to date a woman that games. A couple tried briefly (or to humor me maybe) but weren’t ever gamers from the get go. As such, I would love to meet a gamer that could be a long term partner.

I also feel like the men I associate with and I aren’t the types of guys who abuse women. We’ve had our fights with significant others sure, but none of us are violent or degrading, or sexually abusive overall. I also have never had a woman tell me she was raped or assaulted, but that’s also not something most people would want to talk about. These things contribute to my worldview.

I guess what I am saying is that I came across the wrong way because I haven’t been looking at the big picture. I’ve been looking at things from my own life experience, and I’ve experienced a rosy version of the truth when these subjects are concerned. I play games with other women (family included), I enjoy a strong female character in my media, I haven’t been abusive and don’t associate with those types of people. I do enjoy the female form, but I understand that a bikini really doesn’t offer any protection in combat or from the elements. I also know that not everyone has a perfect body, myself included. I may be an opinionated dickhead sometimes, but I understand what everyone has been trying to make me see. I just needed some time to reflect.

My pride makes me want to say “fuck that, my worldview is correct.” But I always think of myself as someone who can come to see other points of view, to admit when I was wrong, even if I see it as more of a misunderstanding. I was wrong to not give a shit. I hope this post can convey my apologies to anyone I’ve offended. I can’t promise I’ll boycott every sexist thing I come across, but I can agree that this is a problem that needs a solution, and I’ll try to stop being so moderate about it.