Landscapes #NBI2015Safari

Murf’s NBI Screenshot Safari is running all month, and there are several categories to choose from, so I’m sure I’ll be adding at least another one of these types of posts before May is over. The first selection I made was the Landscapes category, as it seemed the most self-explanatory. However, I was unable to pick just one, as I have a handful of really great shots here, some of which you will have seen before, but most have probably faded from memory.

I started with a pretty sunset shot from H1Z1. It almost makes you forget the zombie apocalypse is happen just around the bend.

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Next up, one of the many vistas from Guild Wars 2. I still love the art style of that game.

Lastly, a gallery of shots from Tamriel, aka the Elder Scrolls Online. Such a beautiful place.

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I really don’t have much commentary to add. Pictures are worth thousands of words, after all.

#NBI2015safari #screenshots #landscapes

State of the Game: A New Season

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Another week bites the dust. So what have I been up to this time around?

Well, obviously I’ve played a bunch of H1Z1, as my last few posts were all about it. I’m up to about ten hours of play time and despite learning a bunch of how the game works, I’m not making much progress. The reason for that is because every time I manage to scavenge up a bunch of goods and am doing good, I come across some asshole who kills me. But, this is the name of the game, and I have been loving it. I just know that having a life stretch across a few sessions and then losing all that progress will make you log out and come back another day. I have been seeing more player made structures popping up, and that’s encouraging, especially when during our conversation about the game on the last episode of Couch Podtatoes, Eri expressed concerns about no one building things. I can assure you, it’s happening.

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I have found that with minimal scavenging, you can actually head out into the woods and survive pretty well. Basically you need to find a source of fire, an axe (or other such bladed weapon), and a couple of empty bottles. From there, you can be a mountain man and you’ll be less likely to get ganked. Grab some sticks and cloth, and you can make a bow. From there, you can hunt deer and wolves (and bears if you don’t get mauled) for meat. Fill up the bottles in a river, cut down a tree for some wood logs, use the fire source to make a camp fire, and boil the water and cook the meat. You can survive with minimal contact.

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I also ended up opening up some of the crates using the crate keys provided with my Early Access purchase. That netted me some skins for hats and clothing items so I look a lot less like every other dude.

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But of course, you have to watch out for Zombies still, particularly when you make fires. They love that shit.

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In other news, the new ranked season of League of Legends got started, and the Spring Split NA LCS got started this weekend. I watched a single game on Saturday and three games today, and there were some good games played. I was shocked to see some underdog teams that are upstarts (either because of name changes or newly formed teasm) take out the #1 and #2 seeds from last year, TSM and C9. However, the season is young, so there’s many more games to be played. In my own personal play time, I’ve been working on the provisional games to see what tier I’ll end up in. There was word that the system is a little more harsh now, and some players I know that were in Gold last season started out towards the bottom of Bronze. Looks like I know where I’m starting. That’s ok though, I’ll move up the ranks if I have anything to do with it. So far I’m 4/4 out of the 10 games I have to play. I know that’s not stellar, so I imagine a Bronze III or IV start, but I’ve made my way to Silver before and the goal this year is to hit Gold. Here’s my history in ranked for the past few days:

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There’s been hype building because Guild Wars 2 finally announced an expansion coming down the pipeline. I haven’t really given the game a fair shot, as when I first got it, I only played long enough to check out all of the starting cities (races) and the different classes. I then moved on to other things. I came back to it a month or two ago because I decided I really wanted to check out the WvW and sPvP and ended up not being overly attracted to either. I didn’t really get too involved, but I did delete the characters I had and changed servers to hang out with Jeromai (and I think Eri is on that server too). I know that I can get involved with a guild over there too, but didn’t want to make that commitment if I wasn’t going to play often. Knowing an expansion is coming and most of the content usually ends up being end-game oriented, I figured I might as well actually do the PvE stuff and get through the game with at least one character so that I would be ready for that expansion when it comes. However, I did think about doing this with Rift (and I’m not that far off, being level 40 with my highest character) because of the Nightmare Tide expansion, but then I only played for a few hours and gave up on that as well. However, being a B2P title and not a F2P title, GW2 feels like a game I can play when I feel like it, and I don’t have to worry about sub fees or being behind on content because I would have to spend a shitload of money to get features I might like (which is part of why I dropped Rift again). So this time around I started up a new Norn Guardian, but I still have my Charr Thief, and I have a Asura Necro. So far I’m loving the Guardian, so I’m sticking with it for the time being. Double XP weekends make it easy to grind out levels so he’s already nearing 15.

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I also played a little more Diablo III, still plugging away at my Hardcore Monk who hit level 60 a couple of nights back. I’m pushing for 70 so I can get some paragon levels in for any other potential characters I might decide to play in that mode. I don’t really have much to share besides that tidbit, so here’s how he looks for the time being:

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Last bit of news, I want to give a big thank you to Isey from I Has PC for doing a giveaway for the game Project Zomboid. He received a copy from Eri who ran a contest, and that inspired him to run his own giveaway, and I managed to be one of the lucky winners. So thank you good sir. I only had one sit down session with it so far, but it does look to be pretty interesting. Graphically it’s not much to look at but it seems to have some depth when it comes to the sheer amount of different items in the game and I’m sure the crafting system is pretty intense. I only ran around for a while, looted some stuff, got frustrated that I couldn’t carry more, ran into zombies, couldn’t figure out how to attack, figured that out but by then I was critically injured, ran about some more and died. I think a multiplayer session is in order, because I need some guidance. I still can’t help but compare the game to H1Z1 though, and I have to say I still enjoy H1Z1 more at this point. Perhaps Eri or Isey will be able to show me the ropes and change my  mind.

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Oh yeah, we got a badass over here. So yeah, that’s about all for this week. I look forward to putting time into all of the above games for the foreseeable future, as I am pretty much invested in them all. I do have a considerable backlog still but sometimes you just gotta stick with a couple games for a while. We all know that this will probably change soon enough, I am so fickle after all. Til next week.

#stateofthegame #roundup #h1z1 #gw2 #leagueoflegends

State of the Game: Thanksgaming Again

Another week down, and it’s time for the round-up of my gaming endeavors once again. This week I spent my time in the same games I’ve been playing for a while, as I have yet to complete Demon’s Souls, I’m still waiting on the Steam Autumn sale which is rumored to start on Wednesday, and the other titles are on-going affairs. When that Steam sale gets under way, I’m hoping to either snag a copy of Dark Souls on the cheap, or something else from my wishlist that I haven’t picked up yet. Perhaps I’ll get luck and both Dark Souls games will go on sale and I can get both of them. That would probably take care of my gaming regimen for the remainder of the year, if not longer.

If you missed my post from yesterday, you’ll wonder if I’m still planning to play any MMOs or if I’m done with the genre again. Honestly I can’t answer that question. I’m on a day-to-day basis with it. I really do want to dive headfirst into an MMO and have it hook me, compelling me to play day in and day out, but there hasn’t been one to do that in nearly a decade. I am still interested in playing more Guild Wars 2, or even more Rift, and am still interested in playing a couple of titles I haven’t tried yet (Secret World and ESO). I’m just not willing to shell out the cash for them in the mood I have been in. Nor am I really feeling playing more than an hour or two here or there in the games I already have access to. I would be more likely to dive into the new Everquest title even if it was just a cut and paste of EQ or EQ2 with updated graphics, if that meant there was a playerbase there that made the world feel alive. The ghost towns of those games that I once loved are just a sad reminder that they are beyond their prime. I think I will still dip into GW2 and perhaps Rift here and there, but I’m uncertain if I will ever play to cap or get thoroughly invested in either. I played GW2 a little this week, leveling my Thief from 12-15 before being taken on a little tour by Jeromai, where she showed me a “jumping puzzle” where I earned a couple of chests worth of semi decent stuff.

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The first chest, a larger one was presented a few moments later.

We also ran through the Black Citadel to Lion’s Arch, and then jumped into some sPvP and I was sorely disappointed with that experience. I suppose with a group of people I know it would probably be pretty fun, as we’d be a little more coordinated, but we just ended up getting matched up against people who live in that mode, and decimated over and over. It is also just like any battleground PvP mode I’ve ever played, despite everyone being on a similar level because of there not being gear discrepancies and shit like that. I think if I put in quite a bit of time to practice and learn I’d probably perform better, but at that point it was not a fun learning experience. I think WvW would be more appealing, but I still haven’t done much with that. I’m hesitant to join Jeromai’s guild just because there’s the likelihood that I won’t play much. As much as I want to enjoy myself in the current crop of MMOs, I just don’t. It makes me angry, but I can’t help not being able to recapture those feelings. I’m weird like that though, because it’s likely that I’ll have the urge to play more soon enough. Can I just have a new MMO that appeals to me please?

In League of Legends, the preseason started, and with it came a slew of changes in the new patch. More are to come I’m sure, but I gave a run down of the patch notes in these posts:

Preseason 2015 part one
Preseason 2015 part two

I’ve been playing Summoner’s Rift almost exclusively, which is odd considering I avoided it for most of the 2014 season. Still, I have been having a blast playing different roles and checking out the new items and features added in. I saw Kalista in action last night, and she does look like she’d be fun, though the person controlling her wasn’t very good. We also had someone feed and then rage quit so that match was a wash a few minutes in. I have fallen in love with Maokai and can see why he was such a popular pick in Worlds. Not only is he ridiculously tanky, but has good sustain and does some decent damage with very little ability power. He’s one tank that doesn’t get nothing but assists.

In Awesomenauts I’ve been sticking with Scoop for the most part. I find that the ability to take more hits but still put out decent damage and make plays that benefit the team is better than just being the DPS. I guess you could say that Scoop is the equivalent of Maokai, as he has decent sustain with life steal and his self-heal, does good damage with his abilities, and the snare on his hammer can allow you to make plays for the team. It’s odd because when I started my MOBA career (for lack of a better term), I was drawn more to the carry and brawler types, whereas now I’m more into the support classes (including tanks). They are under appreciated because they don’t usually have a high amount of kills, but the assists that they earn and plays they can make that benefit the whole team are more appealing than just being the guy with 20 kills. Half the time those 20 kills came off the backs of the tanks and supports anyway. So anyway, I have managed to get into a higher league than ever before. If you take a look at my history with the PC version of Awesomenauts, I have been in league 3 the entire time. I managed to break through into league 2 just a couple of days ago, and actually placed higher than this screenshot, though still within the same league.

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My rank is still lower than I’d like, after having been in the top 900 range on the PS3 version of the game, but I’m still pleased with the progress. I have noticed that the games have come down to being a lot closer affairs now, where it looks like I’m going to lose early on, but then we manage to turn things around. Sometimes that goes the other way too, but it’s been more challenging that’s for sure. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it to league 1, but I don’t think it will be happening this season, as there are only a few days left to go. Perhaps next season I can push it up a bit.

Lastly, I’ve been plugging away at Demon’s Souls. When I left off, I had just beaten the Flamelurker, and had moved on to the Dragon God but hadn’t defeated him. It turns out that I am retarded. The entire time I’ve been playing the game I didn’t realize there was a sprint function. Press and hold circle, and viola. Previously I had though it only functioned as the roll button, which is the case if you just press the button quickly. Sprinting made getting to the second spear very easy, and from there the Dragon God was forced to the ground, where I could go give him a few pokes with my spear, defeating him and earning a silver trophy in the process.

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That meant the 2nd world was completely cleared, but I still had work to do in the first world. I ported back in at the Tower Knight archstone, and started the process of clearing the level and gathering all of the treasure. I managed to do that in a couple of tries, and made it to the next boss, the Penetrator.

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He seemed super difficult on my first try, but I knew there were a lot of souls to be earned on the level, so I farmed a bit and am sitting around soul level 40 now (EDIT: I’m actually over soul level 50, upon looking). My 2nd and third tries to down him were still unsuccessful but by then I had figured out his pattern. Beating him was actually really easy after that. Just have to be light on your feet is all. After him, there stood a new challenge, 3 black phantoms barring my path. I managed to kill one quite readily, but the 2nd one with a tower shield and spear has done nothing but destroy my equipment over and over. He also doesn’t seem to want to let me get behind him, so I don’t seem to be able to land many attacks without him blocking. A couple of hits even while blocking and he destroys my equipment. Repairing it is super expensive, so I’m not sure how I’m going to advance. Perhaps just kill him with the broken stuff and then go repair? I’ll figure it out. I think I’m nearing the midway point or perhaps I’m just over that now. The game does take a while to get through but I’m determined to see it to its end. Can’t wait to dive into Dark Souls. But yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. Until next time.

#stateofthegame #roundup #mobas #demonssouls

State of the Game: Thanksgaming Edition

This week’s round-up post is basically going to be a continuation of my last post, talking about the same four games. I have made some progress in each, so I thought I would share that (so this isn’t completely repetitive, just in titles, not in deeds). So let’s get right to it.

I only played Guild Wars 2 one of the past couple of nights. I didn’t play for too long, but I did level my Charr Thief from 9-12 (I had said I was level 10 already, but was actually short by a quarter of a level). Hitting level 10 now opens your personal story, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the NPE, or if it’s due to having made different choices during character creation, but my story is different than I remember. Then again, a few months between when I first got the game and tried it out and now could be skewing my memory. Either way, the story line lead me from being a lowly peon to the head of my very own Warband, along with recruiting a couple of new troops (after finishing their missions of course). The culmination occurred when I was thrown into the arena, and had to fight off legions of foes, a big monster, and finally the former leader of my Warband. I took a break afterwards and haven’t played since. Here’s some collected screens of my experience so far with the Thief:

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The reason I haven’t played as much GW2 as I had in the past week was because of my new found interest in Demon’s Souls. I’ll have to admit that I’ve almost given up on the game a couple of times. But like I’ve read elsewhere, I just can’t keep myself from coming back to it. I will throw my hands up in frustration, turn it off, do something else, and before I know it I’m theorizing what I need to do and I’m back to the game in no time. When I left off, I had beaten the Armored Spider boss, and was getting ready to continue on through the Stonefang Tunnel. Pushing forward, I was confronted by a choice of paths leading to the next boss, and I spend a couple of days playing through each path, figuring out where everything was and picking up all the loot. It took a while to figure out where the boss actually was, and when I finally found him, I was not prepared.

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That’s the boss, Flamelurker. He was a bastard. I died pretty readily, and then decided that I should rethink my strategy. I decided that I should throw some souls at my bow (I am a Hunter after all) and upgrade it, so that I might keep my distance. This mean hitting up the early mobs in the stage, retreating to the Nexus and doing some upgrades, and then doing that again and again. I ended up getting my bow to +5 in this fashion, and also got all of my equipment repaired, grabbed a couple of soul levels and consumables. It still took me a couple more tries to down that guy, but I finally got him down last night. I moved onto the next boss, which was directly down a hallway from Flamelurker, who is called the Dragon God. He’s a big ass dude, but the fight amounts to hiding, running, breaking some stuff, and shooting some harpoons into his sides. I haven’t gotten him down yet though, he manages to one shot me every time I’ve been heading to the 2nd harpoon. I’ll get him soon though. Mark my words.

Otherwise, I’ve been on that MOBA kick still. I managed to get the two icons in League of Legends that I had mentioned working towards in my last post. I managed a win on the red side on the new Summoner’s Rift, and since that takes place in the Team Builder queue, I’ve also been playing a lot of solo top with Shen as a tank to earn the tank icon. Now I’ve got to find an assassin that I like so I can earn the final icon.

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That’s really all I have to report there. As far as Awesomenauts goes, I can only say that I’ve actually gotten better rankings this season than any season before it (excluding my ranking on PS3, which is higher still, but never resets). Here’s a shot of my current ranking on the leaderboards:

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I’ve actually been higher, but not after the dust settles. What I mean by that is that when a new season starts it’s easy to jump towards the top, but after a few games you level out more where you belong. I’ve been in League 3 since coming to the Steam version of the game, so it seems that’s where I belong, though I’m moving on up. You can see what I mean with this shot of the history of my play:

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Scoop is also shown as my favorite character (most used) this season, and I have really started to love him. Also getting the hang of Genji these days.

That’s really all I have for today. More to come in the next week. See you soon.

#stateofthegame #demonssouls #leagueoflegends #awesomenauts #guildwars2

Pointless Things

Normally on Fridays I am posting the latest episode of Couch Podtatoes, but this week was a little different. I had an appointment on Wednesday when when we usually record, and Eri had been busy with family so we really hadn’t the time to plot our ideas. We went 21 straight weeks without missing a show, so I think one week off is in order! Plus, today is my 32nd birthday, and I’m taking the day to myself!

I haven’t posted for a couple of days though, and blogging is one of my favorite hobbies, so I decided to write this post even though it’s my “special day.” So far today I’ve slept in, watched the newest episode of American Horror Story, and caught up on my usual rounds of the blogosphere. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share what I’ve been up to gaming-wise, before diving into the dinner and cake that awaits. Plus there’s more gaming planned for the evening!

So, what have I been up to? Well, let’s just say that I have solidified a rotation again, that includes MOBAs, an MMO, and a single player RPG. Any of you who have been following this blog for any length of time will know that I have a love affair with the first genre, a varying opinion about the second, and the last spot tends to be filled with random games that seemingly change far too often. This is true, I have trouble sticking games out, as many of us do. However in the last few months I have been sticking to my guns and completing games from my backlog, although it is true that I have still added to the pile as much as I have subtracted. The backlog is an ever present demon.

As you know, I’ve dived back into League of Legends as of late, mainly because the 4th season ended and the 5th season is preparing to begin. I never really stopped playing, it’s been a game I can always jump into for a quick round and then not touch for weeks on end. Still, I have been playing daily for the past few weeks and really enjoying my time with it. For a number of months I played ARAM, far too much of it. I got away from the classic game mode and that showed especially when I decided it was time to start playing it again. But, I have knocked the dust off and have been playing fairly well. Recently the new-from-the-ground-up Summoner’s Rift was released in a beta state for the Team Builder queue, and I coincidentally had been playing that mode trying to earn the icons for each role. So I’ve been checking out the new map and I have to say it’s rather pretty! It’s also functional, and feels more immersive. Here’s a shot of the icons I’ve earned lately, for posterity:

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Most of those icons are from events from last year, but the 2nd row shows the Support, Marksman, Mage and Fighter icons. I have started working on Tank, and then I have Assassin to do and I’ll have collected them all. Around the time of Worlds, that World Championship icon was on sale for 1 IP (no that isn’t a typo), and the one to the left of it was sold for 1500 IP in the recent Harrowing. The next one over was from the Harrowing as well, but for winning 3 matches of Hexakill. Lastly, the newest icon (top left corner) is for winning on the blue side on the new Summoner’s Rift, and there’s also one for winning on the Red side which I have yet to do. That’s coming soon, along with the Tank and Assassin icons as well. I know, these are just cheap fluff achievements, but I don’t care. You have your WoW battle pets, I have these, ok?

In other League news, there’s a post from Riot here about how those of us who have had positive behavior during the season will be getting a 4-win IP boost, which is a nice gesture. It was also noted that 95% of the population has never been banned or flagged for bad behavior, so I’d say LoL is a lot less toxic than many would believe. There has also been an announcement about a late November skin sale which has some cool legacy skins discounted. Lastly, there’s been a Q&A for the new ADC Kalista, where Rioters have answered fan’s questions about the champion.

I’ve still been playing Awesomenauts daily as well, and loving it. My major news here is that I prestiged for the 3rd time on the PC version (this being after doing all 10 prestige levels on the PS3). I know, I’m crazy. But it makes me feel like I’m progressing in some fashion, since I’d be playing the game either way. 7 more to go.

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Speaking of Steam, I also recently earned two more badges, or the upgraded version of them:

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The first just passed yesterday, and pushed me to 5 years with Steam (although my original account that I lost the info for was created in ’05). Go me!? I guess? The second happened last week sometime, and I rolled over 100 games. I don’t know how that escalated so quickly, as I rolled over 50 games maybe 6 months ago? But I know it probably has much to do with the fact that I’ve found many avenues that offer free games, however crappy those games might end up being. Humble and other bundle stores are probably equally to blame.

Moving on, the MMO I’ve been playing is, you guessed it, Guild Wars 2. I have to say that I enjoy the fact that I can only play it for a couple hours here and there and still feel like I’ve made some progress. I like the arcade-y feel that it has, and how simple the gameplay feels. It really feels like a game I’d play on a console. That’s not to say it lacks depth (though maybe someone reading this would disagree), just that it feels very accessible. I absolutely love the art style, but I’ve rattled about that before. The biggest news here is that after my last post about WvW, I’ve made a server change. That was prompted by Jeromai pointing out how shitty the server I was on was at WvW, and with PvP being one of the major draws of the game for me, I wanted to rectify that. So I joined her server over on Tarnished Coast, which is one of the best WvW servers. I imagine I won’t be finding a barren graveyard the next time I visit the Mists. However, that meant I had to delete the characters I created. Droniac, also pointed out that the Ranger class wasn’t too effective in WvW so I decided to go back to my original class of Thief. So the move has been completed, the new character created, and I’ve leveled him to 10. I have yet to catch Jeromai on as of yet, but I’m probably going to get more involved with the WvW and guild stuff once I do catch her. More on that as it develops.

Lastly, I’ve re-installed Demon’s Souls on my PS3 and started playing it again. After finishing my goals in Skyrim, I needed to work on something else on the PS3 to work towards clearing out the backlog. I was also given a $20 Steam card by my sister, and having browsed through hundreds of games, the one that kept calling to me was Dark Souls. I had played Demon’s Souls in the past but hadn’t gotten too far, but I knew that I enjoyed that sort of game. I figured that Dark Souls would probably improve upon the formula, so I was leaning heavily towards buying it. However, knowing that I had the first game in the Souls series, I though I should play through that one first. I’m not sure why I had quit playing it, though I know I had always intended on going back. Then it probably got uninstalled to make room for some other game, and I forgot all about it. A couple of nights ago I found it on my download list and got it back on my system. As of last night, I picked up where I left off, after the 2nd boss, and worked my way to the 3rd, the Armored Spider. He was a bastard, but I did manage to kill him and earn a trophy in the process. I played for a little while after that as well, but called it a night after my next death. I intend to attempt to see this game through and then pick up Dark Souls.

I haven’t purchased it yet though. I’m wary that it might go on sale during the Autumn sale that is sure to pop up in a couple of weeks. I also have read that it required 3rd-party DRM in the form of Games For Windows Live, which is kind of sort of going the way of the dodo. Either way, Dark Souls is going to have that component removed and all stats and achievements migrated to Steam, and that’s supposed to be happening this month. I kind of want to wait until I finish Demon’s Souls to make sure that I still want to play through another similar game, but also want to wait for that whole fiasco to be done. And then there’s the potential of sales enabling me to get more bang for my buck, so I think I’m going to hold onto the credit on my account for right now. In the meantime, I’ll be playing the games I’ve described here. That’s all for today. Catch y’all later.

#gaming #mobas #guildwars2 #demonssouls #steam