Some extra news: Uemeu is due to release a new patch later this week – and it’s quite a special one, judging by this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4xA1pRIH7Y. Woh.
I have 8 blog posts, I counted them, circling in my head like aeroplanes waiting to land. But before I embark on those, which are in fact all written with only the writing missing, I am going to gather all the small, disparate bits and bobs that are also sitting in my head marked (wistfully) “blog?” and do a Blah. Here it is then :
It has been an astonishingly busy year, but not much has happened. The busy is mostly people treadmilling harder and harder to stay afloat. Much activity, hardly any movement. People want to see you more often, more forms need filling in, whatever it people do, they’ve been doing it *more* for all they’re worth. Bless. Roughly every two weeks, something has fallen apart too. Cuts in staff do that. (It has taken over a year for some totally routine passport stuff to make it’s way through a backlogged system). Having to field the problems all this causes is death to productivity but wahey everyone’s very very busy so that’s ok then. Wee grumble there. Predictably everyone is also very very tired – punchdrunk I call it. So the summer hols are rolling in not a second too late. And with the make-busies all off their treadmills or winding down, space and time have expanded, and I can blog. Yay!
As always my sanity has been preserved and protected and safely girded in the Legendary Armour of Armourness by being able to log into a game when the day’s work is done. Gaming keeps my wits in and my countenance serene in a way that passive media just cannot. Actually the passive stuff just induces impotent fury. One thing I won’t be blogging in detail about is the Independence Referendum here in Scotland. It’s little known, but the rules regarding blogging/tweeting about it in the run up to the day are very catch-all. So far nobody has cited them, but its Power with a capital p that this referendum is about, big wheels gnashing, not everything totally fair or square. On the other hand I can’t exactly ignore something so huge, so there will be general comments.
I’m pretty sure I AM allowed to say that the debate has been amazing. The debate really has been amazing. If you give people a whiff of democracy, they perk up no end! The main media has been using the tired Tribal model to report our referendum like some sporting event, (gnnnnh ! (err that was impotent fury)). I stay away. I can tell you faithfully from here, in the middle of it, on the ground, that what I’m seeing is nothing so infantile. I see people finding stuff out, thinking stuff through, and having lively interesting discussions about just about every aspect of our governance. It’s a privilege to be here at this time, and I get more accurate news from Twitter by now anyway.
My how I used to hate Twitter. But now it’s something I don’t think I could do without. Interactive peer-reviewed news suits me perfectly well. It’s fine. And it’s weird. I did used to sit in a chair for hours, idle, passive, watching like… it’s strange to think of watching TV now. What a peculiar thing to do. I haven’t unpacked mine yet. I haven’t watched it for think 3 years or so. It isn’t missed. The set itself is ancient too (pre-switchover whatever that was) and won’t be replaced.
No, Chickens, when I want relax I go computer! And the gaming’s been great. Added to that our long-saved for computer has opened some new doors. So between Twitter and video-gaming my sanity has been perfectly safe. And now I get to write about it too – truly life is wonderful! There’s a lot of ground to cover. I have been playing new games and old games and games that are still being made. I have discovered Skyrim! And I am totally besotted with it! And as a result I’m gradually reaching a grudging state of not minding too much about Steam. Which is now having a sale, so even more games there. I’ve discovered Android gaming. It’s been wild, I tell you, wild! And relaxing :)
I’ll start with the new games that I don’t intend to do whole blogposts about, but “I was there at the beginning so here’s what I thought” is what I’d like to write. Those would be Landmark, Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar.
I played a little of the alpha on Landmark, and I’ll visit again when it’s properly launched. It’s very pretty, and looks to become a nice game, but I stopped playing quite fast – two reasons. One, having to hold the left mouse button for ages to chop wood – it made my fingers hurt. I know there was a workaround (I could have adjusted my hardware) but I wasn’t gripped enough to do that. And Two, (this is silly) my avatar’s legs reminded me of milk bottles (thin thighs, big whitish sausagey calves). The mouse problem is maybe solved by now, at least I hope so. I’m not sure I’m ever going to get over the sausagey calves but I’ll try. (I know it’s silly, but it was that thing. Where once you’ve noticed something it keeps attracting your attention.) When I was playing all the building tools and interfaces weren’t working properly yet, though some were there. I think mainly for this game I’ll try it when it’s done. It was ok. It is a pleasant-looking world and building is right up my street. I’m not sure about the procedural generation. I have a feeling the human brain needs a lot of elements to feel interested. I climbed hills to find more of the same, but then player-made structures will presumably change that, and give places a more unique feel. We’ll see. It’s on the “try a few months later” list.
I very much liked the Elder Scrolls Online. It does not have the visceral grip of Skyrim which literally reached out of the screen and pulled me into that world the first time I played, but ESO is a fine game and there were many things I really loved about it. Yet, I hit the unsub button. The economy is thin. Players earn little ingame coin and spend much. Inventory, mounts and repairs. As in real life, if people can’t thrive and survive on what they can earn legitimately they find other ways – I’ve never seen so many bots!
Usually one would manage to garner extra ingame currency via an Auction House, trading with other players, but in this game there’s a wall. At the time I was playing I would have had to belong to a guild which could then trade with some other guilds. I read that this is some notion about localising markets. Well, they are localised right enough. To the extent that non-guilded players are barred.
Well, I am a busy woman. I do not have time to join and maintain relationships in one guild let alone five. Which meant (at time of playing) I couldn’t do AH trade. And that last point was the Unsub.
My self-esteem just isn’t low enough to pay full price (and a sub at that) for a gimp. I am delighted that guildy people have a guildy game, but I won’t be humbly subsidising the preferred-playstyle anytime soon. At least not on a regular basis. ESO is on the “visit sometime” list.
I do want to play this. That’s because the weather is fantastic, the lore is huge and satisfying, there are critters! and I for one liked the combat. In particular I liked this about the combat: my avatar did not move like slug while the mobs moved like quickfish. Well, it did, but the differential wasn’t as big as is usual in other games. I found, that if I had been playing ESO then played another game, it was very very noticeable that the enemy got to move normally or fast, and I was moving. in. slow. motion. The ESO balance feels far more natural and enjoyable. I like this game. Pity I’m not the kind of player they want. About that “visit sometime” list. WoW is on that list. It’s been 4 years since I played it. I’m back now having a visit. As more games appear the turnaround takes longer. The “visit sometime” list is a bit of a dusty attic.
The third new and big game I played was Wildstar. I think Wildstar is going to be a winner. I’m still subbed but I do have a problem. I’m one of the unfortunates that gets a bad headache from the display. I like the game enough to have tweaked my graphics card settings every which way and later today I’ll try the addon that adjusts FOV but I truly cannot play it for more than 15 minutes without inducing a pounding, horrid 7 hour headache. Quite bad. The plan is to limp along until I manage to get a house (at level 14 I think it is) and then make a decision about whether to keep subbed. Mostly, and all importantly, the game is FUN. It’s engaging, there is plenty to do, and the combat pulls me in. It’s like “one more chocolate”, the combat. I’m playing a medic. My progress is slow due to having to stop after 10/15 minutes, but I’m definitely enjoying this journey and if I do unsub, it will be with huge regret.
I want to add that I’m not keen on the Wildstar graphics as they are right now (on personal taste grounds). But I’m also not sure how much (or if) they contribute to the headache issue. Cartoony is fine. I am absolutely loving how I feel as if I’m playing a Pixar type movie, but the palette is very strident indeed. A house is always an attraction for me but got to say living in a 3d-but-flatter, neon world detracts. I’m not one for going home to a road-workers’-jacket coloured garden, or acid pink anything :) Well, maybe I’ll surprise myself. I’ll let you know when I get that house. My tweaked graphics save my sensibilities from luridness, for now. But it is clear that some tolerances perhaps shouldn’t be exceeded when it comes to displays – something I was only dimly aware of before. I did know that flickering in some displays can cause epileptic fits, but never realised there might be other things that could be harmful. Live and learn.
Quick note: most enjoyed and regularly played PC games right now: Skyrim, Uemeu, Terraria, Skyrim, Wildstar, Neverwinter, and more Skyrim. Yes, besotted is the word.
Here’s some of the what I call the ‘Referendum Effect’. Instead of just writing this blog I ended up having a solid think about health and safety, since two of the games are currently uncomfortable to play and would cause me harm if I continue, albeit probably minor harm. I think Health and Safety Regulations get bad press for foolishness, but I don’t trust any company to keep me healthy and safe. I want those regulations. If they are silly, let’s change them! Meanwhile I hope both Landmark and Wildstar get more comfortable to play. (Landmark may have already sorted the hold-down-left-mousebutton-for-far-too-long thing, I have not been checking).
Going to leave it there for now because this is already a wall o’text.
(and Saor Alba)