About this blog

MMOs are multiplayer games. Maybe.

As I was just standing in the kitchen on a short break from work, making a coffee, I had some sort of epiphany. Not the grandiose kind that would make me rich and famous, but this sort of personal insight.

In our EVE Slack there recently was talk about cohesion and people not going on stratops (we don’t have mandatory anything in BRAVE) and I noticed that while I noped out of the war, since we declared a loss I’ve been doing a lot more, including undocking. So my playstyle has shifted from “purely solo” in the last year to “mostly group activities” again.

And I noticed the same both in WoW Retail and Classic. I log on to Classic once per week for our group and don’t feel a lot of excitement otherwise, and I log on to raid twice a week in retail and maybe a bit more, but only for chores like weekly/dailies or opening the vault and sorting enchants for the next raid. Nothing solo.

In FFXIV it’s a bit of a weird mix. This week I focused on crafting and my Beast Tribe Dailies and a little bit of story progress, and I mostly lump in duty roulette and random LFG activies as solo play. I say hi, I might write or read a few sentences about strategies, but I’m not engaging. This is not my guild/FC or a group of friends, just temporary allies for 20 minutes. They could be bots, I don’t care. But it’s fine like that.

I’m happy to have one game for solo play and one or two or three for group play. I guess from the point I started BfA until I planned to start raiding again with Shadowlands launch, I was playing WoW Retail as my solo game. I talked to my guild in guild chat, but I’m not sure I went to voice chat more than twice in those 2 years. When Classic launched it was a mix of solo and group activity, separated by which toon I played.

Not a huge epiphany, but I think doing “group and solo” only works when I am 100% engaged in a single game, I guess Shadowlands launch counts, leveling up solo, doing dungeons in groups, then raiding in groups. Then solo leveling all the alts. But in general, it’s either group or solo.

Blaugust finished

Belghast already put up the postmortem, I have officially reached silver with my 16 posts in August. Thanks to Bel for organizing it again and thanks to all participants for giving me lots of reading material!

There are many badges like this, but this one is mine

Today I didn’t push a lot in FFXIV, but I got all my DoH jobs to 71, so I can finally equip the gear I bought. Then I went to the marketboard and instead of spending 80k per job for a Level 71 MH+OH combo I sorted by level and went down the list until I could buy an MH+OH combo for around 10k per job, usually landing me Level 65 or 68 items. Good enough of an upgrade over the Level 50 stuff and I will probably replace it at 80 anyway.

Also after a lot of searching I managed to unlock Custom Deliveries and already used it to get some Crafting XP. Pro tip: Actually try to speak with the NPCs mentioned in the guide, they might have a second “blue” quest and then you won’t notice on the minimap. Ask me how I know…

Finally I took the time and linked some glamour plates to gear sets, something I’d put off for a while, and I don’t even know why. WHM had the glamour, but unlinked. PLD got one of the job armor sets, DNC got the Miqo’te starter gear, for ARC, MCH, DRK I made custom ones. And maybe I forgot a class, but I need to make screenshots anyway.

Staying motivated, 2021 edition

Every time this topic comes around for Blaugust (or elsewhere) I feel torn.

On the one hand, this blog is more of a diary of stuff that happened in games, mostly as something I will come back to, but with a little bit of commentary on issues sprinkled in. For this I don’t really need to feel motivated. I want to write it down, so I just need to find a little time to actually do it. Not a huge problem.

On the other hand I set myself a tentative goal of getting 15 posts in for Blaugust, which is just an arbitrary number. If I do 3 posts a month it’s fine, if I do 20 it’s fine. The only thing is that I don’t let a month lapse without a post and a very quick look tells me that the last month I didn’t post was May 2018. So this is my low bar for motivation, don’t let it look as if I had abandoned the blog. I had some breaks in the past and that’s also fine, but I try to get in at least one post per week, and this works out most months.

Will this help you? Probably not, but if you don’t feel like posting, don’t post. But this is not a blanket statement, just a temporary solution.

Also I have no numbers to back this up, but my consumption of other blogs is also very sporadic. I used to read 1h per day when commuting via subway. I often don’t read more than 10 minutes per day if I don’t have time. And sometimes I’m not even in the mood. But if I like your blog and you post once per week, there’s a very good chance I will catch up, even if it’s a month late because I only read your handful of posts in one sitting. I also don’t remove blogs from my reader if they’ve gone silent for a while, it costs me nothing and I’m happy if you come back after a year. Or three. But other readers might be different. And if your sole reason for blogging is to reach a big audience then I can’t help you, because that’s not what I do and so I can’t give any advice.

It’s Blaugust again and this is post number 13.

Server move

It’s been a little over 2 years since I moved the blog off of wordpress.com and on to host it myself. Everything has been running smoothly, but I had to upgrade a few things and so if you can read this post it’s being served from the new server. Please shout at me in the comments or on Twitter or Discord if you notice anything off or not working.

A few boring technical details:

  • Hoster: still scaleway.com, but from a START1-XS instance to a STARDUST1-S, as the former was discontinued
  • Domain: still namecheap.com
  • OS: From Debian Stretch to Ubuntu Focal (I know I’m late)
  • PHP: From 7.0.33 to 8.0.3
  • WordPress: still the latest version, this had been upgraded regularly
  • Theme: still Astra

Site reorg and cleanup

For some reason I felt the need to change a few things around this morning while I am afking in Ardenweald because I actually wanted to do one of my Stitchmasters weekly quests there…

Oh well, I split off most of the MMO content from the About page into its own page: MMOs & Me and rewrote parts of both.

Also added links to Twitter and the Blaugust Discord because that’s where I usually talk to real humans about gaming stuff instead of shouting into the void here.

I also reintroduced the Blogroll on the right side again, in a slimmed down version with only the blogs I check daily in my feed reader, for now. I guess I’ll expand it again but I’ve not been diligently reading blog posts the last few weeks and the unread count is huge – sorry to the others who didn’t make the cut, I’m still reading your blogs and I’m not one to easily click “mark all read”, but I will usually catch up at some point, just not very timely. (Also why does the WordPress Custom HTML widget tell me to “please indent with tabs and not spaces”?).

2020 in review

It’s the last day of the year and so it’s review time again!

What a year. I don’t think I need to go into specifics but let’s say my gaming time was exorbitant in comparison to other years, but so were my expenses.

What I played a lot:

  • EVE Online
  • World of Warcraft – Retail
  • SW: TOR

Other things I played:

  • Diablo 3
  • Forgotten Anne
  • Anno 1404
  • Stellaris
  • Borderlands 3
  • The Cycle

Gaming expenses in 2020:

  • SW:TOR: 5x 13 EUR = 65 EUR for subscriptions
  • WoW: 214 EUR, of which 79 go in the 2021 bucket
    • 4x 36 EUR = 144 EUR for 4x a 3 month subscription
    • 1x 40 EUR for the Shadowlands expansion
    • 1x 66 EUR for the 6 month subscription that comes with the transmog set
  • EVE Online: 897 EUR, of which ~179 go to the 2021 bucket
    • 1x 20 EUR for a character transfer
    • 120 EUR for several packs
    • 36 EUR for Skill Extractors
    • 212 EUR for PLEX
    • 8x 49 EUR for 8x a 3 month subscription incl 3 MCT
    • 3x 39 EUR for 3x a 3 month subscription
  • Humble: 8 EUR for Forgotten Anne
  • GOG: 0 EUR
  • Steam: 4 EUR for Renowned Explorers + 10 EUR for Stellaris
  • Epic: 0 EUR

And the usual stats:

  • Amount of MMOs played: 3
  • Amount of MMO subscriptions months paid: 5 (SWTOR)+12 (WOW) + 33 (EVE, but really only 20 for this year) = 37 / 50
  • Amount of games purchased: 3
  • Amount of MMO expansions purchased: 1
  • Amount of money for ingame/services stuff: 120 + 36 + 212 = 368 EUR
  • Amount of games I got for free and played a lot: 0
  • Amount of games I got for free and didn’t play: too many
  • Amount of games I bought and then didn’t play: 1 (Renowned Explorers)

So for both EVE and WoW I have paid subscriptions far into the next year, so I’ll separate those out. Sure, I spent it this year but it’s a subscription for 2021 and it’s such a huge chunk that I want to jot down both numbers.

Also: why so many? So I was subscribed to WoW for the whole year, that’s 12. I was subscribed to SWTOR from June through October, that’s 5. And in March/April I came back to EVE in full swing and first transferred my old NullSec alt to a second account, and basically ran three accounts for 3/4 of the year. That’s also why I burnt out a little and didn’t really play EVE since Shadowlands launched, but I plan to return in January.

So yes, it looks even worse than when I did a preliminary tally a while ago, 1234 EUR, at 102.83 EUR per month. Separating out the 2021 pre-payments, I get to 976 EUR, at 81.34 EUR per month. Still the highest amount ever and unlikely to be topped. Then again, 100 EUR for basically ALL your spare time entertainment per month is still a really good deal.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that all these budgets for the year 2020 were not exhausted at all or kept at the bare minimum:

  • vacation – not zero, but a single very short trip by train + bike with a few nights in a hotel
  • public transport and bike repairs – close to zero
  • going out for drinks – zero
  • going out for lunch/dinner – a few times in the summer when we could sit outside, with a table for ourselves
  • ordering stuff online – surprisingly, despite spending all the time at home I did order a lot less stuff at Amazon or elsewhere

Also I really planned to buy Horizon: Zero Dawn when it came out for PC in August, and buy that new graphics card I had postponed buying last November when I replaced my PC. And I’d been trying to get my hands on a 3060 Ti or 3070 for 2 weeks (for a reasonable price), but to no avail. I didn’t buy a new because I spent all my time playing EVE in August, and then transitioned to WoW and Shadowlands. And now I’m changing the wording of this paragraph as I had indeed managed to order a 3070 on Dec 28th and was eagerly awaiting it being shipped today on the 31st, but it didn’t happen.

So in the end I have a guilty conscience but realistically I guess I shouldn’t – a few nights out a month would easily cost more than these gaming expenses I’m making such a fuzz about.

There’s such a huge list of games I got for free in 2020 and didn’t play, but I’m actually interested in these, it’s just (as always) the thing about freeing some gaming time from the thing I am giving 100% at the moment, usually an MMO.

  • Prison Architect
  • My Time at Portia (I actually played someone else’s copy for an hour or two when it launched)
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Cities: Skylines (hey, I bought this one a while ago)
  • Tyranny
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • ARK
  • GTA V
  • Assassins Creed Syndicate
Happy New Year!

Five Games?

Naithin’s blog posts about the Five Game Challenge keep popping up in my reader and I think it’s an interesting thing to talk about from my point of view.

Put yourself into the hypothetical situation of being made to choose just five games to last you an entire year of gaming (and post what they are!)

The implied meaning is “wow, that sounds hard, just 5 games in a whole year”, but for me that sounds pretty normal.

Looking at my 2019 Year in Review post, I mentioned both versions of WoW, FFXIV, SW:TOR, EVE, and Borderlands 3. And one sort of mobile game I could’ve ignored, that’s not really more than five.

And in 2020 I’m not even sure I got to five. There’s EVE, there’s SW:TOR and then WoW. Then I bought and played Stellaris, but not enough to have it on a must-play list, even though I liked it a lot. Then there’s Forgotten Anne which lasted for a few hours and I also played 7 Wonders. So if I disregard some puzzle games there’s only a few MMOs left and maybe one large (AAA?) game…
2018 even had me between 15 and 20 games, that number sounds high though.

Well, people are different 🙂

Meh

Work has been crazy the last two weeks, I’m not sleeping well and that’s probably the main reason why I didn’t post.

Been logging in to WoW for only 5 mins most days, collecting and starting Legion Champion missions. So close to 500 on my Rogue, but I might just end up having to grab new resources at like 497.

Been progressing slowly and steadily in SWTOR (9 75s, one at 73). I’m in a bit of a rut now though, I am not happy with the way gear works. Maybe I’m not playing enough (getting the conquest on 2 toons per night usually) but my Renown ranks are not progressing very fast and I’m just barely at 276 iLevel on my best set of gear. As the gear you get is based on what you’re wearing (as I understood it) I’ve been shifting a single set of gear from toon to toon, which gets old really fast. Just an hour ago I deconstructed a ton of 270 gear, keeping only 8 sets of 272-276 gear and one set of 268 that can be worn at Level 71 already. Actually not sure if I’ll continue after this month, but maybe my overall mood will improve next week.

Also not been playing a ton of EVE, the war is boring me already after a week. I wasn’t happy to put my death clone to our war staging as I usually hate traveling just for the sake of it anyway, but at least I’ve been roaming a bit on my alt, doing a bit of PI. Haven’t joined any fleets in a few days though. Maybe all the people who had been playing for months or years were indeed bored and eager for the war, but I’ve only returned 3-4 months ago and was just on a fun ride and experiencing NullSec properly. Then the war came and everything is hectic and different and it held me up by making the things that I was just (re-)learning different.

MMOs and being involved

I just watched a few videos about a casual (one night per week) approach to MMOs and was reminded about Kanter’s recent posts (I think Syp would also fall into that category for the sake of my argument, playing so many different games).

This has made me realize that I can’t remember ever approaching an MMO like this. Neither having a dedicated day of the week for this, or being so strapped for time for a prolonged period that I could only make room for one sitting of 2-3h per week for an MMO. Maybe I should consider myself lucky here, but with no kids and a job that’s usually not too demanding in terms of overtime, I’d say it’s not too unique, as we’re not the types to spend several nights out, every week.

So either I’m in the mood for an MMO, then I go full blast (and often enough I have 2 MMO subs running, so I can either split my evenings with gaming time or take turns) or I am not at all in the mood for MMOs or games in general, then I don’t play at all, but not one evening.

Not a really substantial thought, but nevertheless it got me thinking. Apparently I can only take shooters in moderation, but not MMOs.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 18.

Favorite Game Series

It’s rare that a topic that’s making the rounds in our Blaugust-centric gaming blog circle applies to this blog, most often I’m an interested bystander who can’t really take part. The “Five Favorite Game Series” (started by Krikket) might be just another one of those.

My first thought was “Favorite Game Series? That’s hard.” Then it was “Five of them? Even harder.” So let’s have a look at some of the commonly nominated ones, the default picks for many people maybe.

  • The Elder Scrolls – TESO was cool, but the other one I played I didn’t like. Can never remember if it was Morrowind or Oblivion.
  • Civilization – nope, not my cup of tea
  • StarCraft – only loved #1, didn’t play #2
  • WarCraft – Oh yeah, this might fly. I loved 2, I liked 1+3, I play WoW
  • The Witcher – started with 2, it was ok.
  • Age of Empires – 1 was fun, didn’t play 2
  • Torchlight – 1 was fun, 2 was meh
  • Final Fantasy – I only played XIV. It’s good!
  • Zelda – the SNES one was ok, not great. That’s when I lost interest
  • Pokémon – the one I tried (Red? Ruby? on GBA) was ok, but a little boring
  • Guild Wars – I didn’t like 1 at all, 2 was fun
  • The Settlers – 2 was awesome, then.. mhm

See how hard this is? Even when I liked or loved it, maybe part 2 took so long to come out that I had lost interest already, but thinking very hard there’s really a few series I actually liked.

  • Anno – I played 1602 a lot, 1503 a bit, I recently bought 1404 – yeah.
  • Assassin’s Creed – I think I overdid it at some point, but I’m generally a fan
  • Quake – I played 1 and 2 for many years and 3 for years, so I guess: yes.
  • Super Mario Land (GB) + Bros (NES) + World (SNES) – I actually played 5 of these, yay

So in the loosest of definitions where I could say “I liked at least half of the titles, up to, or from a certain point”, then I can name these 4. Plus WarCraft.

Intermission, one day later:

Awesome, that’s what happens when your brain doesn’t work for a day. I originally wanted to write this post because of the Mass Effect trilogy, because it absolutely needs to be in the top five, although I didn’t play the fourth game, Andromeda. Also I totally forgot Diablo, where I actually played 1, 2, and 3. Also maybe Super Mario should be discounted because I ignored the last 25 years. And finally another series I forgot, was “The Dark Eye Trilogy”, Blade of Destiny, Star Trail, and Shadows over Riva, (Realms of Arkania in English) which came out in 1992, 1994, and 1997 (originally in German). The Dark Eye is the German D&D, there’s no way around it. No idea how the pen & paper landscape looks today, but from the late 80s to at least the 00s, German roleplayers were more likely to play this system over D&D. The games were good and if you liked the world, that’s how you could dive in. So yeah, I blame it on my headache that I kinda forget not one but three of my favorite series. Sometimes you should sleep instead of blog.

Old post resumes here:

And still this kind of misses the point. There are only 5 series I played as a series. And if I didn’t like a game as much, why would I continue to play the series? And is Mario even a series? I know, I’m overcomplicating it, but if you don’t go out to buy games left and right this is really hard.

Finally, the interesting question that came up on Discord is whether 2 games can be a series of there need to be 3 of them 🙂

It’s Blapril and this is post number 16.