Random people from the internet saved me

As I wrote earlier, I’d been stuck on the “Katagawa Ball” boss in Borderlands 3 for a while now. Stuck as in: no matter how often I try the encounter, I get one-shot or die when the boss is still above 90% – it’s probably doable, but I don’t know how, even after reading several guides. It really made me want to quit the game.

Welcome Home

So because all two people I know who also play BL3 (and I don’t even know on which platform) weren’t available to ask them for help I clicked around in the social menu and discovered you can actually play online! In the campaign! And you can set a “Looking for help” flag. Nice. So I joined a game… and it was confusing. At first all 3 were displayed at the other end of the map (middle) whereas I spawned at the start, but all enemies were still here. Respawns? Something else? No clue. So I made my way towards them (as far as I know I can’t fast-travel to them if the map only has one quick travel point at the start of the level, but I could be wrong) and while I was killing the first pack of mobs they kicked me. Ah well, to be expected. No communication, idiots abound, whatever. So I waited 5 minutes, tried to find out if I could have teleported to them (didn’t find anything) and queued again… just to placed in the same group, so I left.

A few hours later I tried it again, got a group where I started together with one other player at the level entrance and two others somewhere, but we both moved in the direction and actually caught up to the other two after a while, played through the level and managed to get to the dreaded boss. I learned that you can heal/rez your co-op players (like in GW2) and after a while we actually killed the boss. Just like that. The road block was removed and I can continue playing Borderlands 3 on my own, slowly, on Easy Mode. Nice. Thank you, random people from the internet! (But only those in the second group.)

2019 in review

The year is ending and so it’s time for a review post. 2019 was an odd year.

What I played a lot:

  • World of Warcraft – Retail
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • World of Warcraft – Classic

Where I spent a decent amount of time:

  • SW:TOR
  • EVE Online
  • Borderlands 3

Played a bit:

  • Shadowrun Returns
  • several Picross titles on mobile, but not really worth mentioning

Gaming expenses in 2019:

  • SW:TOR: 3×13 EUR = 39 EUR for subscriptions
  • WoW:
    • 7×13 EUR + 6×12 EUR = 163 EUR for subscriptions
    • 3x 17.50 EUR = 52.50 EUR for discounted server transfers
  • FFXIV:
    • 9x 11 EUR for subscriptions = 99 EUR
    • 5x 1.40 EUR for retainers = 7 EUR
    • 20+35 EUR for expansions = 55 EUR
  • EVE Online: 1×11 + 3x 13 EUR = 50 EUR for subscriptions
  • GOG: 0 EUR
  • Humble: 0 EUR
  • Steam: 2,50 EUR for Islanders, it’s really cool
  • Epic: 0 EUR
  • Got Borderlands 3 for free for buying an AMD Ryzen CPU.

In total that’s 467 EUR in 2019, at 39.66 EUR per month – I think that’s a record expense for me, because I was indeed subscribed to 3 MMOs except in the summer, but the server transfers made up for that. So again sorry to all game creators who don’t happen to be making MMOs ๐Ÿ™
It seems like a lot, comparing it to the last years, even exceeding 2014’s 450 EUR by a bit, but overall I think it’s still a really good figure for your main hobby, if you exclude upgrading your gaming PC – but I don’t do that very often (this year I did).
Also I could subtract ~26 EUR for prepaying EVE and WoW into January, but I paid this year, so I’ll keep it in.

  • Amount of MMO subscription months paid: 29
  • Amount of games purchased: 0
  • Amount of expansions bought: 2 for FFXIV: ShB + SB (actually, 3, but SB included HW)
  • Amount of money for ingame/services stuff: 60 EUR
  • Amount of games I got for free and played a lot: 1 (Borderlands 3)
  • Amount of games I got for free and didn’t play at all: ~10? (mostly Epic Store)

Yeah, this was an odd year I guess.

A final look at my wishlist/winter sales didn’t bring any surprises. There are a few games I might like, but right now I can’t think of anything that gets me really excited, except the new SW:TOR expansion, which I haven’t checked out yet. So I don’t think I will buy anything, as I don’t see myself playing anything in the near future.

Too busy to play games

No post for nearly 4 weeks. I did continue playing Borderlands 3, but got stuck on one boss soon after the last post and then I kinda didn’t play anything for the last 3 weeks, but at least I managed to log in to grab my daily rewards in EVE most of the days.
Christmas stuff happened, was meeting friends and former coworkers over mulled wine, and in general was busy with other things. I just prepared my “Year in review” post and scheduled it for the 31st. Let’s see if I will have time to play anything in the remaining days of the year.

Vault Hunter

After the last post and one of the big goals done I’m apparently less incentivised to do stuff in WoW, on the other hand it’s maybe not so bad to dial back a bit on the excessive daily login and get stuff done.

Sanctuary

I’m also kinda happy with Borderlands 3, slowly chipping away at the content 1-2 quests at a time. I’m level 13 now and about to start the third planet. Playing on easy really is kinda easy, but I hate dying and the gunplay isn’t really my favorite. I love the quests and the characters though. And it looks pretty. Other people should go play hard shooters, I’m here for the story and the humor.

I did find it a little weird that the third boss was a lot easier than the second, but ok.

Overall I’m also pretty happy with the game, there’s only one minor bug. When selling weapons/equip and scrolling through and/or filtering by type the icons are wrong. So the grenade in the uppermost left slot might still have a weapon’s icon. Not the end of the world as at least the tooltip is correct, but I would’ve thought they’d fix that in the few weeks since I had it.

Ding #20, all Horde done

Blood Elf Demon Hunter in ugly Benthic gear

Totally forgot to post this, on Friday I managed to get my Horde Demon Hunter (boo, another Blood Elf) to 120, which makes it toon #20, but more importantly: the last missing Horde class.

Bet I screenshotted this already a few times

Again I kinda forsake the gear grind, just got her a set of Benthic gear, did the Nazjatar starter quests and then got 2 half-decent rings and trinkets and a 2nd weapon. iLvl 386 after ~3h at 120. I don’t really plan to do much more, would rather focus on my other DH which is already decked out a lot better

This is the first toon where I jotted down the times for each level:

  • at ding 110: 6:04
  • 111: 19 minutes
  • 112: 30 minutes
  • 113: 31 minutes
  • 114: 51 minutes
  • 115: 36 minutes
  • 116: 41 minutes
  • 117: 41 minutes
  • 118: 46 minutes,
  • 119: 37 minutes, doing the 3 strongholds for the war campaign
  • 120: 49 minutes and quite a few deaths despite 10% spillover from last one
  • total: 6h 22 minutes, mostly rested and 100% uptime on the +15% anniversary buff

So yes, it’s a Demon Hunter that starts at Level 98, but iLvl 386 after 12,5h of playtime is a little ridiculous. 6h for Legion, 6h for BfA.

MMOs that lived and died

Paeroka linked to an interesting post of 25 MMOs that came and went since WoW went live and the overlap to what I played or even know a little about is a lot smaller than I expected.

  • The Matrix Online – I was interested in the franchise, but it launched around the time I was still playing Ragnarok and had just started with WoW. Bad timing
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Online – I can’t imagine I missed this so it’s much more likely that I dismissed it, because like The Matrix, the original film in this series is one of my favorite movies of all time.
  • Hello Kitty Online – I tried it for a day because someone said it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. I think it was a little boring, if I remember correctly.
  • Darkfall – I only knew about this game because Syncaine wrote about it a lot
  • Everquest Landmark & Next – I tried EQ2 for a day and didn’t really like it, then I tried WoW and did like it. End of the story.
  • Tabula Rasa – Another one of those “sounds interesting, but I’m busy with other stuff”. Incidentally, “Blue Turns to Grey”, the final track is one of my favorite MMO pieces:

And now the ones I actually played:

  • Warhammer: Age of Reckoning – I was pretty excited for this one and the Collector’s Edition box still sits where I can see it. Sadly the game didn’t hold me for very long. It just wasn’t as good as WoW, no one I knew played it and it had some problems with endgame as I heard. I think I started reading Syp‘s blog posts back on his old Warhammer blog, so that’s a good 10 years.
  • WildStar – I wrote quite a bit about this game on this blog, maybe not enough. It was awesome at the start, it was fun in the middle… but in the end the raiding didn’t seem fun and even the 5mans weren’t my thing, They did a lot of things very right but apparently also enough things not right enough.
  • Marvel Heroes – now this is the game I played the most on this list, by a long stretch even. Sure I did take breaks, but I spent ~1500 hours between late December 2014 and summer 2017 in this game, played 56 heroes in this game and even did a cosmic prestige once. I blame Green Armadillo for this one.

PS: Naithin recommended the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin to finally have OpenGraph blurbs and pictures so I’ve been dying to get a new post up for the last few days. Let’s see if this works ๐Ÿ˜›

PPS: And I just noticed again how long I’ve been following some bloggers, so three cheers for the people who also have kept blogging for 10 years ๐Ÿ™‚

PPPS: Everwake and Rakuno also posted on the topic

Playing shooters in moderation

Last week I upgraded my computer and AMD was nice enough to let me choose between The Outer Worlds and Borderlands 3 for buying a Ryzen CPU. I took Borderlands 3 because I’m not into solo RPGs right now and if I was, I’d play Mass Effect Andromeda first, or continue with one of the Witchers. Or play Pillars of Eternity.

Hello, Lilith

Anyway, it’s fun. A typical Borderlands game. I liked BL2, but I found some things a little annoying. Maybe because it’s a shooter. So this time I’m playing on easy mode and I’m already not sure if Zane was the right choice but I’m having fun – in moderation, playing one story mission a day. This seems to be the sweet spot for not being turned off. Oh, and it’s pretty. And some funny things.

I laughed really hard

Theme changed for layout tweaks

When I moved this blog off wordpress.com 8 months ago I was only 90% happy with my new theme, trying very hard to preserve the old basic look I’ve had since 2009. My CSS skills are a bit rusty and I really wasn’t in the mood to fiddle with everything endlessly, but I was getting less and less happy with something I couldn’t express 100%.

Something annoys me here

Inspired by Rakuno’s post I instantly noticed what was bugging me most, the author blurb/posted on/meta part.

The meta information about the post is in one line

So as I had a little time I went digging for a theme where I could do this better after spending half an hour fiddling with the CSS on the old theme and overwriting 20 rules. It was close, but not perfect and then I noticed 2-3 other things..

Yes, much better.

Long story short, now I have a new theme, Astra, and I only had to override one thing with CSS and the rest can be configured. Awesome. Let’s see if I stay happy with this evolution of the basic look.

Before
After
  • Kinda missing the dark border
  • not yet 100% sure how to align the site title
  • Maybe get rid of that space before the first post

But overall I think I’m happier.

Spending money on games

An interesting topic I saw going round: How much to spend for games? Paeroka wrote about it, Naithin did, and Krikket started it.

I’ve been summing up my gaming expenses in the end of year posts since 2014, that post isn’t due for 2 months but the current state for me seems to be that I have allowed myself to pay 3 MMO subscriptions at the same time, maybe for the first time ever. I can justify that because I don’t think I bought any game this year, with the exception of FFXIV’s Shadowbringers expansion, if you want to count that. I resisted any sale and I’ve been busy enough to not be lured in by any new release of any games coming out this year. The only things on my current “I really want to play that” list is Horizon: Zero Dawn and Beat Saber (and I’m certainly not buying a PS4 or VR gear for those). Also the Switch sounds nice, but I suppose I should play all my XBox 360 games first before buying another console.

That average playtime figure is oddly high

Compared to the others I linked above my number of games is ridiculously low, and I still played only half of them, but I think I can also pull the bundle excuse – for example the complete idSoftware-Pack. I did play those games, before I bought the bundle, even have some of the CDs somewhere. And I have zero regrets for that purchase, as an example.

Does anyone I know have a lower value here? ๐Ÿ˜›

So the final tally is still out and I’m too lazy to do the math now, but I guess I’ll come up with the same ballpark as every year, roughly 30 EUR per month for games, which is 1 EUR per day – quite cheap for a hobby that takes up a major part of my spare time.

And yes, overall I feel quite bad to always just buy games on sale and only support MMOs that seem to do well anyway, but I don’t really see why I should hand out money for games I’m simply not really interested in playing. Sometimes I get the urge, but nothing but MMOs seems to really stick in the last years. There simply wasn’t a major release that has me pumped and excited in a way where I could reasonably guess I’d even spend 20 hours on a full price game for 60 EUR. Maybe Cyberpunk 2077 is the first one in years. Maybe.

And in conclusion, maybe I should look up my /played times of various MMOs, that would certainly justify being subscribed there. Marvel Heroes said just shy of 65 days, that’s 1554 hours.