What I've Been Playing: 9/04/2013

Long time no see Duders! Hoping to get back into blogging so...we'll see how this goes...

Quickly my fine, feathered, friend!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn shouldn't really be on my What I’ve Been Playing post, but more what have I been mashing 0 to or having the luck of picking the worst times to attempt to log in with. What lil bits I have gotten to play though have been alright so far. The long and short of it is it’s an MMO. You get quests. You kill X things, gain Y drops from them, turn it in and rinse and repeat. Square is making no efforts to drastically change the MMO scene, unlike some companies, but instead seemed to focus on just making it run smoother and seem more playable. Every creature that drops items automatically puts it into your inventory, there’s very little inventory management that has to be done (unless you just wanna sell stuff but you don’t really need to), specific mobs you need to kill are marked with icons, and due to a Hunter Log system you’re even gaining quest level, or better, experience points from monsters not related to the quest you’re currently one. Allowing “trash mobs” to actually be worth your time.

I sadly can’t comment on much else due to being only level 15, to which the game supposedly starts opening up and has you traveling the world and soon entering actual dungeons. So hopefully I’ll comment on it more when I finally get to raid a dungeon or two!

While I haven’t had as much time to explore the world of Hydaelyn as I’d like, it’s given me more time to plow through the craziness that is Saints Row IV. Much as 3 did before it, it just gets crazier and crazier as you dive deeper into it. I don’t seem to be suffering from as much of a “Oh God, another driving mission” as much as the last game, mainly due to skipping straight to the story missions. Sadly, it suffers from the same problem in that I can’t really say too much without revealing or spoiling things for other people. I suppose it’s safe to say, as a man who grew up playing Genesis and SNES, I absolutely loved the process of bring Gat back into the fold and the use of music is just perfect in several of the missions (Why yes, there is a VERY good reason “The Boys are Back” is included in a mostly hip-hop/dubstep soundtrack!).

Lastly, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, is slowly starting to come on the tail end of it’s craze with me, I believe. I’m now at the point where I only log in to make payments on my house to keep it expanding, and waiting until all that is done before actually spending time to plan out an actual house design. I might have to hit the turnip market one more time, but after that, unless I can find an effective way to plan out designs for my town, I believe mayor Vaancor can enjoy a nice, quiet, retirement in the biggest house to ever hit Wubsville.

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What I've Been Playing - 7/20/2012

Hopefully this will be a weekly post that'll talk about, well...what I've been playing! I'm mainly doing this to get my blog writing habit going again (Stop me if you've heard this before) plus give me a place to rant and vent without pestering my friends. Fair warning though, I tend to stick to a handful of games until completion or 100%ing the achievements.

Guild Wars

Yes, the game that came out in 2005 from a team started by a few guys who left Blizzard, is still getting a lot of action these days. While not as active and lively as WoW, quite a few communities are still playing it strong. Perhaps the biggest reason though is everyone's trying to get the last few points for their Hall of Monuments. These set of achievements, or HoM for short, is one of the ways Arenanet is linking Guild Wars to it's upcoming sequel and rewards players with unique weapons, skins, pets, and titles. Some of them looking pretty bad ass while most are just throwbacks to the original GW1 days. I've been following a handful of guides on reddit to go after my goal of 30/50, since anything after that is just a title. I'm just about to finish the Nightfall expansion. Leaving me to get a few quests in Prophecies (The core game), pets, then grinding out money for a few epic items to go.

Fun fact: Anyone who gets 50/50 is either a hardcore veteran whose been playing strong since day one or crazy, perhaps a bit of both. Arenanet even agrees by rewarding you with this little image should you get all 50 accomplishments.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

More specifically, the Vietnam expansion pack. Yes, yes, I know Battlefield 3 is out, and honestly I prefer it, but I've got some achievements left to earn and with it being an EA game I'd like to knock them out as soon as possible. Now I'm going after Ecstasy of Gold which requires getting 100 kills with each of the main guns in each kit. That's over 1,600 kills.

It's actually not that difficult, mainly due to me actually enjoying playing Battlefield. The only annoyance is finding a decent amount of people to play. It's not so much quality of players being the issue, I'll just have some days where every match I'm in is a full 8 on 8 and some where we barely have a 1 on 1 match. Days like that I usually just quit and play some pinball.

Pokémon Black/White

Yeah I dunno if it's due to all the DS talk or because a sequels coming out, but I'm trying to get my first clear through on Pokemon Black. Honestly? The most difficult aspect of this game is I know it too well. Just the fact I know how to make a balanced team and use moves properly, never mind that uncontrollable itch to start EV training everything that looks half way cool, leads to me spending days leaving the DS running and looking up stats or trying to level out my team instead of actually making progress in the story. Which, while I'll admit it's gotten a lot better this time around, is still very easy to just plow through, especially if you have stronger monsters then you should, which due to the Nintendo Events I have quite a few of.

Could stomp everything with this guy.
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So long Azeroth, thanks for all the fish.

Well, after seven years of Blasting Lichs, grinding dailies, and queuing for PvP,, I've finally hung up my stave, DoTs, and Succubus for good. I've been on a “break” from WoW for a good four plus months now, and I've really got no intention of coming back.

As my last two posts have pointed out, I spent a large period of time grinding day after day on the awful original quests before the latest expansion, Cataclysm, came out and that's done a wonderful job of burning me out! Though, I guess this is to be expected. I was grinding through the worst, most boring aspects of the game while new, exciting and fun content was being pushed out. I mainly did this to try to acquire the Loremaster achievements before the release of Cata, believing that they would change or no longer exist. However, joke was on me, as the achievements where not only still obtainable, but much more fun to acquire since it required you to do something you already wanted to do; Play the new, exciting, world from start to finish. So, instead of hunting up old world pieces or dealing with horrific drop rates, I should have spent that time focusing on Outland (which never got updated and ended up becoming a stopping point for many due to being so grindy) or join the rest of the game population and try to squeeze every last frozen drop of content from Northrend, maybe even try to take down the Lich King.

Another major reason I choose to quit was due to never getting around to joining end game. This is even after having about the best situation to do so. I was in one of, if not the biggest guild in the game (AIE), I had several real life friends playing along with me, and no real life responsibilities other then work. Hell, the only way it could have been any better would be if I had a significant other (Girlfriend, Wife) playing as well. Yet, even with all that, I still couldn't get myself to put in the time or effort to work towards raiding every week. I was either just too interested in other games, always felt like I wasn't up to “snuff”, or I'd feel no desire to do so since I knew Blizz would just make it a cake walk in a few months time since they've shown time and time again that they're perfectly OK with changing things around to meet the needs of the lowest common denominator.

I've spent a large portion of my life playing and enjoying this game. I have to admit, this is probably the first game I've invested a significant amount of time and money into and have been able to leave without throwing a huge nerd rage fit or damning the devs forever. Blizzard has simply grown and changed their focus, as well have I. That being said, I look forward to seeing all the awesome stuff they'll make in the future for this game. Although this time around, I'll just save my time and money and watch the “pros” do it on Youtube.

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Quest for Loremaster: Cataclysm edition


 You guys go on ahead, I'll catch up.

After much wait and many hours grinding, I failed in my goal of reaching Loremaster before the Cataclysm hit. My biggest opponent was time, I really had no idea how long the old world quests would take, espesally Kalimdor. I did, however, complete the "old world" achivments before they switched to the new one. Thankfully, Blizzard grandfathers you in to the new Loremaster achevement, and gives the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor parts without even touching them. Which is a good thing, since judging from the new progress counter, I'd be starting all over again on Azeroth!
 
So what now? Easy, I finish my goal. While everyone else is running around a torn apart world with a giant flaming dragon chasing them, I'm going around Outlands, catching up on long forgotten and completely skipped quests.
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Quest for Loremaster Progress

Last week I got a large step out of the way for Loremaster, I knocked Eastern Kingdoms out of the way.
 

Eastern Kingdoms Loremaster Achievement


Right now I'm about 150 away from knocking Kalimdor out of the way, unfortunately the recent patch to 4.0.1 has broken all but a few of the addons I've been using to help!
 
Anyways, sorry for the short blog blurp, I'll try and make a bigger one later on.
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The Quest for Loremaster

With the upcoming Cataclysmic event in WoW, I'm trying to spend what time is left gathering up the old world stuff and doing events that I might never see again. One achivment in particular I'm after is the coveted Loremaster title.  

How does one aquire this? Why it's simple, just complete all the quest achivments in Outlands, Northrend, and complete 550 quests in Eastern Kingdom, and 700 in Kalimdor. Being a level 80 Warlock makes it pretty easy-cheesy to complete said quests in the old world, however the hard part comes in finding the blasted things! Thankfully, Blizzard made it a little bit easier by putting code in the UI to let addons see what quests you have completed, as well as let you see the ! markers on the minimap. 
 
So, to those of you poor souls that are trying to complete this as well, I offer my tool set. Here's the 3 things that are helping make this long journey somewhat reasonable:
 
WoW Pro: Old school WoW players, or atleast from the Burning Crucade era, will probably remember this addon as "Tour Guide". It basiclly offers a guide to quickly and effeciently complete quests within an area and, thanks to the use of Tomtom, give you a big pointy arrow to follow. This game will simply become "Follow arrow, kill things, reap rewards" and you'll be breezing through content in no time.  

That's not to say it's without it's downfalls. While the guide does use the new UI commands to autofill quests you've done 4 years ago and forgot about, it can sometimes get hung on things. I've searched around Brill for 30 minutes one time looking for a quest that either I've completed or just simply isn't in the game anymore. Also, due to this guide being written orginally for speed, offecency, and getting the most experience for your buck, it often skips a few quests in the zone. Which is a good thing if you're wanting to hit 80 as soon as possable, not so good if you're trying to get all the quests in the zone.
 
That being said, it's a great tool to help with a "general sweep" of the areas. As far as getting nit picky and singling out quests, that's when a recent discovery comes into play:
 
WoW Profile Quest Page: After doing a quick install, running a quick command line in game, and letting the app upload your data to the site, you'll end up with a  lovely set of information. Lists of all your quests, broken down by continant, zone, and complete or incomplete. After 4 clicks I can see that I've still got 3 quests in Ashenvaile, for example. Even more important however, I can see what zones I've barely touched, such as finding out Dustwellow Marsh is just ready for the picking.
 
 Music and Podcasts: Finally get yourself something to do while running around. I've found listening to podcasts and music on Last.fm or Youtube works well. As far as recommended podcasts, well, that's a post for another day.

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Now Playing: Merchs 2 and WoW

 So, in an attempt to get my blog on here going, I thought I'd make a quick post about what I'm currently playing and my goals gaming wise.
 
I've gotten head first back into WoW. Due to the expansion coming up soon and thanks to finding a lovely add on that's basically the new Tour Guide, I'm taking a crack at getting the Loremaster Achievement. I'm currently working on knocking  the Northrend quest achievements out of the way, both due to it having the best/most fun design in the entire game and it being the best spot to get cash. Which also helps with my other goal, get a motorcycle mount.
 
On the Xbox side, I'm still trying to finish Army of Two and Mercenaries 2 before EA shuts there servers down. No, there's no announcement of them doing it anytime soon, but I'd like to go ahead and get these out of the way just in case. Unfortunately I'm at the point now in Army of Two where I'm doing the online grinding achievements, Retirement Plan and 300 Barrels. This wouldn't be that big of a deal if it wasn't a pain to try and get 3 other people together and being able to dedicate the one to two hours needed to unlock it. Plus my work schedule being unpredictable makes it difficult enough to try to commit to anything.
 
I'm making a lot of progress with Mercs 2, last I checked I'm at 70% completion. I've nearly finished the "tricky" achievement, Ace's High, that requires me to capture all High Valued Targets alive. After a few more captures it's just clearing out missions to get all the items unlocked for Digital Man  before I get the game ending mission.
 
That's about all for now. Hopefully I'll be back with some more details about my WoW plans and some funny stories about crazy stuff happening in Mercs 2.

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