Games Played – November 2017

This GW2 jumping puzzle is not fun. Also, jumping puzzles seem harder as a Charr.

The Guild Wars franchise wins the month.

  • Guild Wars 2 – 37 hours
  • Guild Wars 1 – 21 hours
  • Dark Souls III – 6 hours
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 4 hours

I played a little Dark Souls III because I still need a new character to finish my The Ringed City DLC blind playthrough.

I feel like it’s been an extremely light gaming month, but when I add up all those hours and divide by 30, it comes out to a bit more than 2 hours of gaming every day. I know there have been many days when I have played nothing, or only a half hour at most. I usually load up a game while I’m watching news on television, so maybe that accounts for it. I wish ManicTime had more detailed reporting capabilities. I need an hour-by-hour analysis. :)

Games Played – October 2017

As a bit of a data junkie, I’m nauseated to report that I forgot to re-install ManicTime after I had to reinstall Windows this month. Did I even mention that on the blog? Well, if I didn’t, my SSD failed earlier this month, so I had to reinstall.

That means I am missing game-playing statistics from the period of roughly October 11th through October 28th, rendering my report for the month of October completely useless, and indeed any report I planned to do for the entire year of 2017. Ugh. If the data isn’t perfect it’s not even worth bothering!

But from the best of my recollections, I would say that I played, in an indeterminate order:

  • Guild Wars 2
  • Final Fantasy XIV

In fact, since October 11th, those two and a few Steam titles are the only games installed on my PC.

Games Played – September 2017

September was a fairly low-energy, chaotic gaming month. I tried a lot of different games but nothing really clicked. Most of my time in GW2 was spent on either Living Story Season 3 or mindlessly working on map completion while watching television.

  • Guild Wars 2 – 25 hours
  • Elite: Dangerous – 11 hours
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 5 hours
  • 7 Days To Die – 3 hours
  • Lord of the Rings Online – 3 hours
  • Rift – 2 hours
  • Assassin’s Creed 3 – 1 hour
  • Stellaris – 1 hour

Games Played – August 2017

Final Fantasy XIV slipped to third place in August, behind LotRO and, amazingly enough, Guild Wars 2.

  • Lord of the Rings Online – 45 hours
  • Guild Wars 2 – 27 hours
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 21 hours
  • Subnautica – 2 hours

All tied for 1 hour or less: Destiny 2 Open Beta, Dark and Light, Secret World Legends, Dark Souls III, WildStar.

 

LotRO – Level 59 and Khazad-dûm

My Hunter reached level 59 and the famous Bridge of Khazad-dûm yesterday–what’s left of the bridge, at least. I was following the side quest of a dwarf Svanr who was on some kind of pilgrimage to see all of the Mines of Moria, and we got to the Bridge. Then my character took his first steps back outside in seemingly forever. It’s surely been over a year of real time since before my Hunter entered Moria.

Spent most of my time searching for these.

Everywhere in Moria seems like a great archaeological discovery. “Oh! That’s where this happened! Oh! That’s where that happened!” I’m a bit of a history buff and even though it’s an entirely fictional history it still sort of presses those buttons.

I don’t know if anything happened here, but it sure looks neat.

Again I have to say they did a fantastic job of making Moria look super cool. LotRO is one of the best games for walking around exploring and looking at stuff. This is a game that you simply can’t play in a rush. At least I can’t. I find that I enjoy the game much more when I accept the fact that sprinting to the endgame isn’t going to happen, which gives me permission to wander around and enjoy the ride.

Using ManicTime, I calculated that it took 3 hours and 50 minutes of game time to level from 58 to 59. (A large percentage of that time was spent searching for piles of old weapons.) In an era when it usually doesn’t take more than an hour of game time to level in a modern MMORPG, it’s quite a throwback.

Outdoors again!

 

Random Friday Tidbits

Another brief post just to post something today.

GW2. I did in fact retry Chapter 16, “Hearts and Minds,” and beat it after two more attempts Thursday night, which took another hour. If you leave the instance for any reason, by the way, you have to start all over. So take my advice: Don’t rage quit if you die to the last boss. :) I’ll probably start Living Story Season 3 this weekend although I’m kind of burned out on GW2 already.

LOTRO. I’m continuing to wander around in the Mines of Moria, slowly chipping my way up from level 58 to 59. I’ll probably be working on that today. I spend a lot of time lost, trying to find my way to the quest markers. I have completely forgotten that the Mordor expansion even exists. The “huge MMORPG cultural event” of entering Mordor that I thought would happen didn’t really materialize and everyone is just like, “Meh. It’s Morder. Whatever.”

FFXIV. Nothing much to report. I keep forgetting to login. I only got 360 of the 450 Tomestones last week. The times I do login, I queue up for an Expert Roulette, look at the wait time, then log back off. So yeah, I’m behind on Creation Tomestones. I don’t regret it. The Creation Tomestone Bard gear set looks awful anyway.

Eclipse. I’m not quite in the path of totality but it’s really tempting to jump in a car and drive a couple hundred miles southwest on Monday. Undoubtedly it would be a huge mistake to try. I don’t have any solar eclipse gear anyway. But it’s literally never going to be closer in my lifetime. I’m old enough now to appreciate what “once-in-a-lifetime” actually means. :)

Politics. *deep breath before writing a huge novel* Oh nevermind.

GW2 – HoT Progress and Thoughts

Progress!

I mentioned going through Heart of Thorns and the Living Story Season 3 in my last post, so I started working on that again. At least until I got to Heart of Thorns, Chapter 12, “The Way In.” This requires a Nuhoch Hunting Mastery before you can access it. Boo.

And people complain about FFXIV locking content behind a Main Scenario Quest!

I had previously completed up through Chapter 8, “City of Hope.” In that post, I predicted it would take six months to get to Chapter 9, but in fact it took about eleven months.

I would like to nominate Chapter 9, “The Predator’s Path,” as one of the most annoying chapters in the Heart of Thorns story. In this chapter, basically all you have to do is run from one map point to the next to look at Taimi’s hologram or whatever. Except that there are hordes of mobs at every turn and you can never just stand there and listen to the hologram. You either have to clear out the hordes of mobs (a dicey prospect by yourself), or you have to trigger the holograms on the run and flee for your life. And of course, every time Taimi speaks she says something cute and funny, which after all the annoyance of getting to her, makes you just want to punch her smug little face all the more. There’s a time for comedy, people, and right after annoying your players to death is not it.

Anyway.

Chapter 10 and 11 were fairly benign and unmemorable, thankfully.

Now we can start making predictions about how long it will take me to get that one Mastery point and continue into Chapter 12.

Here’s something else that consistently irritates me about the GW2 story: The characters talk in modern vernacular and American accents. Where are all the Fantasy British accents! :) I am half-joking there, but also half-serious.

Blog Discussions

There have been some great conversations about GW2 in the blogosphere. Here are some great blog posts about GW2 to read:

Inventory Full: Taking It Easy, From A Distance

Why I Game: Path of Fire Weekend Demo, Help Me, I’m New or Returning

Aywren: Trying to Give it Another Chance, Further Progress. Aywren and I have similar experiences. :)

Jeromai’s posts on Why I Game and his comment here are extremely informative. Most of the things he describes as basic GW2 knowledge are completely unknown to me. (Sometimes I can’t even understand the words he uses.) I no know (duh!) almost nothing about what kind of attacks individual mobs have out in the world at level 80… he speaks of them as if each individual mob is a boss with specific mechanics that must be learned. I have never in my life felt the need to learn and absorb the mechanics of mobs out in the world of an MMORPG. I suppose if I were to play a lot I would learn them over time by osmosis, but I just don’t play that much.

I’m sure there are other GW2 posts but I feel like I’m losing touch with the blogosphere. Long-time bloggers aren’t blogging much anymore, and I don’t know where to find new bloggers. :/ That’s a whole different topic, though.

There’s far more in those posts than I can respond to, but here are some thoughts.

The Two GW2 Games

I personally consider GW2 to be two entirely different games: 1) The “casual” game you play leveling from 1 through 79, and 2) the “hardcore” game you play at level 80.

I love the leveling game from 1 to 79. That game is casual, easy, fun, carefree, filled with exploration and adventure. (I like leveling in most MMORPGs, to be honest.)

I don’t much care for the level 80 endgame, starting in Orr. That game is more work than fun. It’s as if they want to force us to live the life of a hardcore endgame raider, even when we simply want to run from one part of the map to another part of the map to look at something. (Jeromai’s description of world mobs as having boss-style mechanics sort of reinforces this.)

In other MMORPGs, you have to organize a group of players and enter an instance to do hardcore endgame raiding. That’s great. I don’t have a problem with people doing that. I even like doing that sometimes myself. But I have to be in the right mindset to do that. I have to mentally and physically prepare for it. I have to make sure the cat isn’t walking all over the keyboard, and the dog is fed, and I’ve eaten some food, and have a drink nearby. I have to set aside a block of time. I have to make sure I understand my role and know the fights.

Most of the time, when I play an MMORPG, I don’t want to do any of that. I usually don’t even want to give the game my full attention. I want to take my hand off the mouse occasionally and take a drink. I want to take my hand off the keyboard and fiddle with the remote control for the television. I want to stand up and go to the door and let the dog in or out. Sometimes I’m eating food while I’m playing, clicking hotbars with the mouse and holding down left-button+right-button to move.

In GW2 from level 1 to 79, I can play that way if I want to. But at level 80, I can’t (usually). In these Heart of Thorns zones, I can’t even stand up and stretch because I have a hard time finding places to park my character for two minutes where he won’t get killed by a wandering mob or dynamic event.

GW2 Combat

Bhagpuss said this:

“Exactly, in other words, just what I love most about combat in GW2. It’s explosive, colorful, exuberant and above all utterly chaotic.”

This is clearly a personal preference… because that statement utterly baffles me. I want to feel like I’m controlling the battlefield. With GW2 fights, I always feel like I’m reacting–like I’m always on the defensive. Most other MMORPGs I can watch the enemies and predict what is going to happen and take the right steps to mitigate or avoid the attacks. In GW2, I never know what is coming and I always have to dive out of the way of red circles that magically appear under my feet and pray that my heal skill comes off cooldown before I die. It feels totally random and that’s outside my comfort zone.

Bhagpuss described moving with the keyboard and clicking hotbar abilities with the mouse:

“GW2 has all the flexibility, all the dynamism of that kind of set-up and yet I can play it exactly the way I prefer – using the keyboard for nothing but movement and conversation and the mouse for the purpose God intended – clicking hotbars.”

I think that probably helps a lot in GW2. I have to contort my fingers to hit T, R, G, V, B, H, 5, and 4 while I’m constantly holding down E, S, D, and/or F. I have the same problem with WildStar actually, but it’s far worse there. It’s physically awkward to play games where you have to move and dive constantly while simultaneously pressing hotkeys to fire off abilities. We never learned how to do that in touch-typing class back in high school.

Bhagpuss mentioned that he always fights at range. Jeromai mentioned issues with melee. Over the last several days that I’ve returned to GW2, I’ve noticed that I’ve been gravitating away from the Necro Reaper… I’ll start a fight running into the middle of the fray with the Greatsword, then realize, “Egad! This is not going well,” and run away and switch to the Staff. The Staff feels a lot weaker but at least I don’t feel like I’m going to die any second. Yesterday I started using an Axe again on my Necro and I feel like it’s working a lot better. I think I’m going to ditch the Reaper spec entirely, even though I loved it when HoT first came out.

Bhagpuss also mentioned a “Bearbow” Ranger spec. I leveled a Ranger to 80 after launch but I never really felt like any of the pets held aggro very well. It never felt like a WoW Hunter, in other words. Maybe I should try it again. :)

LotRO – Hunter Level 58!

I just wanted to announce that my Hunter made it to level 58 in Moria. Gaining another level in LotRO (when you’re not subscribed or anything) is a major accomplishment.

I am not really sure what is going on with the epic story here. I am on Volume II, Book 4, Chapter 3 as of this writing. The dwarves are just sort of rooting around looking for chambers and relics and books and stuff. I’m not paying that much attention because none of the characters have much personality. Dwarves are all the same–loud, bombastic, and either Scottish or Russian. :)

It’s really difficult to capture the scale of how massive the Mines of Moria is.

Incidentally, I was looking forward to dual-wielding legendary swords but apparently you can only wield one legendary sword at a time. Bummer.