That’s a Wrap!

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Well, my friends, we’ve made it to the end of Blaugust. Today, this post right here marks the completion of 31 posts in 31 days. I actually can’t believe I’m writing that. If you asked me in the beginning if we’d be here right now I would have said: “maybe but probably not”. I’m going to be honest here, I’m proud of myself.

My goal this month for the event was to post more than last year which was 17 posts. I checked that off the list and kept on going hitting my ideal goal of all 31 days. I also wanted to comment on more blogs. I’ve also done that this month setting aside time to engage with other bloggers.

Here are some of my noteworthy stats for Blaugust. Currently, there are 163, including this one, posts on my blog over a 4 year period. This month accounts for 19% of my lifetime posts. 65% of my posts this year were published this month. August accounts for 50% of my views this year as well.

But you know what I got most out of Blaugust? Is that I have time to blog. One of my many hurdles with this blog over the years is that I’ve felt like I had too much going on to write. It turns out, if I actually make time to write, I can come up with something to post.

This month a majority of my writing has taken place an hour before bed or the hour before I have to leave for work. There have been days where I’ve spent two or three hours writing multiple posts because I had to get all of my ideas out. Other days I’ve cobbled a post together in 20 minutes before heading out the door. I can feel writing becoming a habit. I feel that tug to write around 10pm before bed and I feel a little guilty, not in a bad way if I put it off. I feel like I’ve become a better writer just in these 31 days.

Moving forward, I don’t see the need to stop posting everyday. I acknowledge that this might not last forever, it might be a Blaugust high, but right now I’m feeling good about writing. I may need to scale back as time goes on, and that’s ok.

I want to thank Belghast for putting this event together again this year. I’ve had a lot of fun challenging myself and seeing all of this activity in the community. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s blog posts this month and it’s been great seeing some new writers joining our ranks. I hope all you newbies keep writing well after the event ends.

It’s been one hell of a month!

 

A Little Advice From a Lazy Blogger

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Me heading towards the end of Blaugust.

This week’s topic is staying motivated. Seeing as we are nearing the end of the week I figured I’d write something on the subject. First of all, I have a confession, I am a lazy blogger. I’m the prime example of what happens when you only write when you’re motivated to do so. If you look through my archives on the sidebar over there you’ll see I’ve been posting since 2016. You’ll also see that for a while there was at least one post a month until February 2017. Then there’s a gap, a few more months in a row, and another large gap, and so on and so forth. So my first bit of advice, which I have been trying to follow myself this month, is to write even when you’re not motivated.

Motivation is fleeting, and it’s easy to rely on because it requires no concentrated effort to get. Motivation comes to you, you don’t even have to chase after it.

Discipline is reliable; motivation is momentary. The real question isn’t how to keep yourself motivated, it’s how to train yourself to work without it.

This quote gets to the heart of the problem I’ve had for years when it comes to blogging. Now you might ask if you’re not motivated to blog most of the time, Kluwes, then why do you keep blogging? And my answer to that is because it’s fun and I  enjoy it. I have found if I don’t put in the effort and only write when it’s easy that I don’t end up writing anywhere near as often as I’d like.  if you’re having trouble writing sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, sit down, and write something anyway. Yes, blogging is a hobby for a lot of us and not a job, but at least for myself, I’ve found that a little concentrated effort goes a long way in achieving my personal blogging goals.

My other bit of advice is about blogging after Blaugust. These events are great because it brings the community together and talking. Ideas get bounced around, there are too many posts to keep up with, and there are so many new voices out there to read. After the event, things start to go back to normal. All of a sudden there isn’t all this hype around blogging anymore and things go back to business as usual. That can be a real drain on your motivation to blog. But I encourage you to keep reading, commenting, and writing even after Blaugust is over.

Trove Team Letter 2019

 

Trove press.jpgTrove, as of the time of this writing, has been down for 50 hours. On August 27th, the team announced there would be a 12-hour downtime as they moved the server to a new location. They must have dropped it somewhere along the line, maybe down a flight of very large stairs. As usual, players are calling for fair compensation for not being able to play for 2 days. I’m more than content to play something else, maybe a certain MMO with a new classic server.

But there is good news on the Trove front. Out of the downtime came a Team Letter about the future of the game. They’ve now moved beyond what the team at Trion had planned when they released Gardening 2.0. Now it’s time to see what Gamigo has in store.

Moving forward, the plan is to release two major updates, two minor updates, two quality of life each year while continuing the hotfixes every other Tuesday. Consoles will also get these but rolled into 2 ultimate updates a year. There will continue to be 2-week events throughout the year, the team says they’re trying to get these events out at least every 2 months.

Four types of content updates for new gameplay, features, and bug fixing:

  • Major Content Update – Focused around a major feature like Crystal Combat or Gardening
  • Minor Content Update – A gameplay enhancement, like Bomber Royale Season 2
  • Quality of Life Update – Improvements to the gameplay experience, focusing on bug fixes.
  • Hotfixes – Small updates, as required, targeting new or critical issues.

So it looks like there are plans to keep producing content for Trove. Which is a relief, I was a bit worried after Gamigo bought Trion that the game would slowly fall into maintenance mode. There is an upcoming patch titled ” From the Deep!” that will focus on fixing the Club leveling system as well as add big, bad, bosses to the Geode Topside Worlds. These new types of bosses will have a higher rate of dropping crystal level 3 gear as well as some unique rewards. More new things to kill is technically new content.

There are some patch notes for From the Deep! currently on the PTS. This patch goes into a little more detail about the new Leviathan  World Bosses. They live underneath the surface of Geode Topside and will despawn if not defeated within 15 minutes of spawning. They’ll drop an ego potion for those who defeat them which makes your head bigger, this is something I very much want. They’ll also drop Torches which are temporary equipment that adds light. Presumably, to make it easier to get into higher-level Geode Topside Worlds.

At least there’s a bit of a plan laid out going forward. After the gardening update, it felt like there wasn’t much discussion on what comes next. I will definitely take a few new world bosses over no content at all. And with the Club leveling balances, maybe my small little Club could actually get some guild buffs. Now they just have to put that pesky server back together.

The latest update, at 2: 43 am EST, stated they’re looking to finish the server move today. No ETA on when the game will be back online.

 

 

A Brief Moment with WoW Classic

 

WoWScrnShot_082619_181511.jpgWhile waiting for Jay to log into Trove, I wanted to see if I could get into WoW Classic. I’d been reading queue times were horrendus so I didn’t have much hope at 6:30pm EST, a half hour after launch. The queue for my server, Myzrael, was 2 minutes. Much, much, MUCH, shorter than I was anticipating.

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When I got in I was greeted by dozens of dwarves. Dwarves and gnomes everywhere. Around the first quest giver, around the first spawn point, and there were plenty bludgeoning wolves just down the hill.

I don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t to burst our laughing. There was something just so funny about the sheer amount of characters running around. I joined the crowds for wolf slaying. Fighting for each spawn to collect a meager 8 meat. After 20 minutes I returned with my hard-won prize and settled in to do some more. Except that’s exactly when I was called away.

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I tried to get back in and play a bit more before bed. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be possible. I was greeted with a 76 minute wait.

Ah, that’s more like it.

 

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What game could you play for a year?

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I do not remember taking this screenshot but it’s fantastic

I’ve seen this question floating around a few blogs as of late or variations of it. I believe the original question was what game could you play for the rest of this year. That’s for about 4 months. But I think the harder question would be what game could I commit to and play for a year.

I haven’t played a game for more than a couple months in a very long time. The last time I was heavily invested in a game was Guild Wars in 2007 and before that, it was Runescape in 2005. Since then I’ve flitted between games trying to find the next one that I could latch on too.

I think I’ve been playing Trove for around 4 months straight now. Which if you told me that I would be doing that last year I would not have believed it. But even now, my interest in Trove has been waining the only reason I continue to play it on my own is to listen to podcasts.

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So what game could I play for a year if I had to pick one today?  I just can’t imagine playing the same story-based, single-player, game over and over for a year. Unless it was a very large one with a lot of content or replay value like a Bethesda Game. So I would need to play something with an online component or something that gets new content over the course of the year. Of course, nowadays this isn’t limited to online games as single-player games do often get content drops after launch too.  The other option is a game with endless progression a la Diablo 3. Maybe something procedurally generated or a PVP centric game where other players are your new content.

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But if you told me right now to pick a game that I would play for the rest of 2020 today I’d pick Elite Dangerous. Elite is a game that I’ve been away from for a while but each time I go back I find myself getting lost in it. You could say Elite is an inch deep and a mile wide but the systems and activities that are there I find very enjoyable. The game is always improving, adding and refining systems, it’s almost like a new game after every major update.

Every now and then this seems like it would be a great project to write about. Only playing one game for an entire year. But then the rational side of me kicks in and I realize there’s no way that would be fun for me or that I would have the discipline to actually do it.

Jumping on the WoW Classic Train

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I didn’t grow up with World of Warcraft. I wasn’t allowed to have an account in 2004 and my parents didn’t see the value in having a subscription for a video game. I don’t have any pining nostalgia for it. I don’t have a long personal history with it where friendships were forged and memories were made. But, nevertheless, I am interested in Classic. I’m interested to see how well it does, how well it’s received, and if it’s everything everyone wanted. I decided today that I will be exploring it when it launches next week.

WoW has always been this big, intimidating, game to me. It’s a 15-year-old game and there’s a lot of content and history with it. I’ve given it a go a few times and have found my time with it enjoyable but it’s never stuck. Classic feels like one of the big moments in gaming and I don’t want to miss out this time.

I’m interested to see where it all began. I know from my experience on EQ2 progression servers that this won’t be kin to launch. People already have the knowledge they need, they have the internet for the knowledge they don’t have, and there will be plenty of people rushing to the end. But I think it will still be a lot of fun to be a part of.

I’ve reserved names on a Fairbanks PVP server and Myzrael Normal server. I’m interested to experience what a PVP server is like but I want that back up option with my preferred name if I don’t end up liking it.

I want to see how this all plays out. People have been wanting this for years and now it’s finally here. I think it’ll do well for the first few months. I do wonder what the drop off will be after people have their fill of nostalgia. A part of me knows that forums and Reddit will be full of people complaining, but that’s par for the course.

And now we wait!

Downtime Compensation

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When I started up Trove yesterday I was asked to log in to my Glyph account. Since I play through Steam, this isn’t something I’ve had to do in a very long time. So I went through the process of changing my password and logged back in. I was asked if I wanted to link the account to steam, this was odd, the account had been linked to steam for years. When I clicked yes I got an error that it couldn’t be linked at this time. So I logged in again and skipped the linking and hoped I was logging in to the right account.

When I got into the game the general chat was full of people complaining about downtime. Apparently, the server had been down for the better part of a day. This is a very common occurrence in Trove. The server performance and uptime have long been a meme among the player base. If you’re not rubber banding, getting kicked out of the client, or crashing, you’re not getting the full Trove experience.

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The one thing Trove has always been good about is providing compensation for when the game is offline or generally bugged. A few months ago the leaderboards were broken for weeks and there was a decent compensation for it. Trove seems to have server outages every few months always with compensation to be doled out. Yesterday, we were given a 1-day patron pass, a Streamer Dream box(special ally/mounts), and 6 lustrous gem boxes (upgrade materials).

Players aren’t always happy with the rewards. Some argue that a few loot boxes and a bit of patron aren’t worth missing a day in the game. Other’s want more, usually in the form of a golden dragon effigy (a free dragon). While I think it’s nice that we’ve come to expect something when the servers go down, I’d much rather have more stable servers.

I don’t think I’ve played other games that handed out items for downtime. I remember playing a few games that had entire server role backs and just continued on as normal. Are there other games that give out compensation for downtime? Maybe other games just don’t go down enough to actually notice it.

Running the Whole Shadow Tower

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Monday night was the usual Trove affair. Mondays are the best days to complete shadow towers because of the bonuses for drops. The plan was to run through our usual Shadow Towers with the 2 of us and then spend the rest of the night farming for Binding Darkness.

Binding Darkness is a crafting material used to make gem augments to reroll of boost stats on gems. It’s an important material once you have all of your gems leveled up as it further increases your power rank. Binding Darkness has a chance to drop from all Shadow Tower monsters and will rarely drop from normal world bosses.

The idea is to find a floor of the Shadow Tower that has at least 2 dungeon phases. A floor can consist of dungeon phases or wave clear phases and ends with floor boss. The wave clears offer fewer monsters overall and aren’t ideal. The dungeons contain a higher concentration of enemies and also have world bosses so running these have a higher chance of dropping bindings

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Ultra Daughter of the Moon

Jay is under the impression that the higher the shadow tower difficulty is the more chance binding has to drop. I’m not sure how true this is but we ended up running Ultra Weeping Prophet multiple times this week. This was a good mix of difficulty for the two of us and had 2 dungeon phases. I ended up with 10 binding darkness in about a half-hour which was enough to craft a few gem augments I needed. We didn’t end up farming for long because we had some more people interested in doing more shadow towers.

We’ve been dipping our toes back into streaming the last few weeks and have made some friends through our Twitch chat. We ended up running Ultra Darknik Dreadnaught and Ultra Daughter of the Moon with 2 other people. Our times weren’t fantastic but that was the first time we’ve been able to run the whole Shadow Tower in a very long time. The increased rewards were nice but it was awesome getting to run these with other people for a change.

Quick Impressions: Valkyria Chronicles

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One of my goals this month was to beat another game from my backlog. At the beginning of the month, I was debating on whether to play Argarest Generations or Valkyria Chronicles. I had already put some time into Argarest before the month started but I have been wanting to play Valkyria Chronicles since I owned a PS3.  Realizing it was halfway through the month already, I had to make a decision, and quick. So I settled on Valkyria Chronicles this weekend.

I didn’t have a ton of time for gaming over this weekend. Saturday was one of my good friend’s wedding and Sunday we had some family obligations. I got in just enough playtime to sink my teeth into the game.

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Valkyria Chronicles is a game about war and the people it affects. The Second Europan War has begun as Imperial forces invade Federation land for the precious resource Ragnite. Caught in the middle is the neutral nation of Gallia where we meet our main characters Alicia, leader of the town militia, and Welkin, a scientist returning home to take his sister to the capital.

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This isn’t the game I thought it would be. I’ll admit I did very little research before buying it because JRPG World War 2 sounded like such an interesting concept. I was under the impression that this would something of a third-person shooter with some strategy elements. This was not the case. The gameplay is more akin to XCOM where you move units, give orders, and watch the action play out. Despite being a completely different game than what I thought, I quite enjoyed my time with it.

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I’m looking forward to playing more of this in the coming weeks. I’m not sure if I’ll finish it by the end of the month but it’s been a while since a single-player game has caught my attention.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

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Sometimes I get this thought in my head that I’d really like to play a mobile game. This is usually followed by an hour of scrolling through the Google Play store, downloading things, trying them out, and remembering why I don’t play mobile games.

This weekend, as I was scrolling through the Play store I saw a familiar name. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. I clicked on it to see who the developer was and sure enough, it was Ubisoft. You see, the Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, MQFEL from here on out, wasn’t always a mobile game. I believe it was even brought up in the Blaugust discord not too long ago.

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MQFEL Then

It was an ARPG with a unique twist. The castles and dungeons you raided were built by other players. You had your own castle and you set traps and monsters for others to fight to protect your own loot. It was a cool concept and I bought into it as soon as I heard about it. I believe this was the 3rd game I ever bought in Early Access. On February 5th, 2015,MQFEL was a free-to-play game with plenty of microtransactions. It was still an enjoyable experience though I really enjoyed the self-awareness of the dialog. Unfortunately, a little over a year later the Ubisoft ended all service for the game October 25th, 2016. I see this title in my Steam library every once and a while and reminisce about it. I’m sure there were problems with it but I honestly don’t remember what they might have been.

MQFEL Now:

It’s a fairly new mobile game released last month. It has all of the mobile game trappings: energy, chests you open with keys, autorun missions, even a battle pass type system. At its core, MQFEL a simple ARPG. You’re given 3 skills with various cooldowns and you tap to attack. Each castle has 2 stages, one where you run through a dungeon opening chests and fighting enemies, and one where you fight a large group of enemies or a boss all at once. There’s enough active gameplay there to make it feel like you’re playing a game which, in my experience, is not something I can say for a lot of mobile games I’ve tried. In fact, using the autorun feature will cause you to miss some chests in the first stage dungeons.Sadly, the castle building and rading feature is not in the mobile game as far as I can tell.

For a game called The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, there is surprisingly little loot. I’m getting maybe one or 2 pieces of gear from each castle. All of my upgrades thus far have come from the chests in the cash shop that requires keys. I guess the Mighty Quest for Chest Keys doesn’t have the same ring to it. There are other game modes, trials, that allow you to get materials to upgrade your gear after it reaches the max level. There’s a power rank that seems to be the determining factor for difficulty. As long as you’re above the rank the dungeon is easy.. It can still be done if you’re slightly below but you need to do a lot of dodging.

Right now it’s held my attention over the weekend. A lot of that was probably due to nostalgia for the old IP. But who knows, I’m enjoying my short time with it, I may keep it on my phone a little longer.