Blaugust

Never thought I’d do that

“Just booked a short holiday and the first thought was: argh, have to schedule 4 posts!” as I wrote on Discord last night – so while I (for the first time in my 18+ years of sporadic blogging) made a real effort to prepare posts during an absence from my computer… I didn’t prepare something for today.
Also kinda sucks if it’s your last day at work before a short 1 week holiday and you got so much to do you don’t get to play much. Or maybe because you pre-wrote 3 blog posts… I guess I even at one point posted Blaugust is a bad time for continuous blogging for me because I tend to leave the country for at least a week every year. Only a few days this time though, and it only came together early this week, no planning months before.
I’m playing my Operative (Imperial Agent) right now, trying to get him to 70 asap. I needed to finish Yavin 4 (having finished Rishi yesterday) but – and I might be wrong – you can only do certain Weekly quests once per account, at least I couldn’t do Yavin twice when I tried, a few weeks ago. So I first had to do this on my Bounty Hunter (need to use up those Command Level XP boosts, and really, really want to reach CL 300 this month). Also did Black Hole on her, as it counts towards the weekly Conquest and then threw in a quick 15mins of Ziost. Didn’t I just say I had no time to play? Well it’s past 1 am already. So my Operative s 68 now and ready to start either Oricon, Ziost, or KotFE – I guess I’ll do Ziost to unlock the dailies first (as usual) and I think I never did Oricon – but I’ll hopefully be Level 70 by the time I finish Ziost (for the 5th? time?) and then I’ll probably switch to another character again – I don’t really enjoy this class, although the class story from 1-50 was kinda neat.
I also started a Sith Marauder in the last few days, finished Dromund Kaas and sitting at Level 20. Part of my ongoing project to a) have one of every advanced class at 50 or more and b) experience the same story line with a character of the other gender. So far I had done a female Jedi Shadow (after a male Sage) and now a female Marauder (after a male Juggernaut). Still a lot to do.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twenty-second post. And I have no shame to backdate it 2h – this counts for yesterday because I’m still awake.

Developer Appreciation Week Part 2

The Blaugust weekly structured format post is “Developer Appreciation Week” and I already made a post about that topic and mentioned an upcoming rant.
A big problem in the game industry is working too much and not being paid enough (and gamers being idiots), so I’ve decided very early on that I don’t want to work in games. I wish the industry was better for the people working there and I’m not upset if a game comes a year late, I’d prefer that to the poor souls working 80h weeks. But sure, I could do more – and maybe buy more games full price at launch, but if you scroll past my posts over the last few years you will notice I’m not really playing many games. I’d go as far as to say that I’m not the target demographic. I play a few games heavily, I even did that before MMOs were a thing. I’m also happy to pay a monthly subscription – but that’s a bit winner-takes-it-all, I’m then not buying other games for a while.
So I’d really appreciate if if game companies of a certain size would pay their developers enough money and most importantly stop the soul crushing crunch time.
This customer who buys your games (sample size: 1) usually doesn’t mind if anything gets delayed, as long as you keep the status quo of the game running. And if it’s not coming out yet.. maybe you shouldn’t have announced it a year early? How about announcing it and then capturing the hype from announcement until launch a few months later. Why would I care how I felt about your game last year? For indies it’s a bit different. If they’re a single person or duo or three people who do kind of bootstrap a startup as equals (and not abuse their employees)… sure that’s hard, but they chose this. They have all my support to do what they love, they just don’t get to whine about the world being a tough place. Feel free to see me as not eligible to comment if I may bot buy your game – but if I like it, I may buy it, but I’m not a games hoarder, I don’t even buy all the games I’m instantly excited about.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twenty-first post.

You might have heard about Mastodon lately

You might have heard about Mastodon lately, often being called an alternative to Twitter. Wikipedia calls it a “distributed, federated social network” and “microblogging” – you can also just see it as a messenger or public discussion platform (or simply an alternative to Twitter, like many people do). Whereas Twitter is very centralized and run by a single company with questionable business practices, this is mostly community-run and you can either join some server or host your own. One key benefit is that because there are several instances (servers) your name isn’t taken for sure yet, you can finally be Thrall instead of Thrall301, just like with email. An even greater benefit is that you not only have the timeline of people you follow, but many instances aren’t just general interest, but dedicated to a topic, this could be a common hobby, pastime, or anything. And you get a local timeline as well, so you can easily discover the people who also joined THAT gaming instance that sounded interesting to you. Kinda like you could discover interesting content via hashtags in Twitter’s starting phase, before the spambots and angry masses that join every trending topic. See it more as “your chosen IRC server” or “a forum you frequent”, just that it’s tightly integrated into the rest of the world (you can @ mention people on your instance simply by using their handle, and you can @ mention people on other instance by using @ name @instance.tld) – but you can still stay in your corner if you like to.
It’s not a new thing per se, the underlying protocols and (palpable) ideas date back to 2008 – so if you ever stumble upon one of the terms identi.ca, ActivityPub, GNUSocial, StatusNet, pump.io, Friendica, pleroma – they’re either fully compatible or at least closely related. So people are using Mastodon like Kleenex already. Sure, it’s not wrong, but there’s more that serves the same purpose, but I have to admit Mastodon kinda looks and feels the nicest. The latest episode of AggroChat also talks about this for a while, and I mostly agree on everything they said.
Anyway, I’m @Nogamara@tabletop.social for now (but there’s no problem signing up on more instances than one). elekk.xyz is an instance dedicated to gaming, so you might want to check that one – or just have a look at instances.social and sift through a list. There’s also botsin.space as a dedicated space to host your useful and useless bots 🙂 I migrated my Discord TimeZoneBot already: @timezonebot@botsin.space  – it doesn’t do much, but you can send it a time with timezone and it will try to convert it to a few common ones. Try it out!
I also love the fact that a post is called a “toot” like they’re called “tweets” on Twitter. Also don’t be surprised when people use “birdsite” a lot, some of them escaped Twitter and don’t want to look back and not even call it by name.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twentieth post.

The Gearing Conundrum

SWTOR’s double XP event ran out this noon and of course I’m kinda sad but on the other hand I’m also kinda glad that I can finally do something other than chain-run Daily Zones with Weeklies because I might miss out on that sweet, sweet XP 😛
I think I made really good progress on a handful of characters.
But as focused as I was these two weeks now I’m thinking about gear again. There’s some vendor-bought Tier 2/3/4 gear that looks really nice stat-wise (I think it’s some of the highest-level available, but as  I don’t do Operations I don’t really bother looking that up in detail). The problem is that you need 2 currencies to buy it – Command Tokens (of those I have 2500 (3000 cap) now) and Unassembled Parts. To buy a Tier 4 Weapon you need (if I didn’t miscalculate) 450 + 675 + 810, but I only have just over 1600 after all these opened Command Chests. Maybe a Tier 3 one would suffice, but I kinda wanted a max item level Lightsaber. We’ll see, I guess I’m still saving up a bit further. Of my 6 max-level Characters 3 are now at Item Rating 230 (to be 100% accurate, it’s 230, 230, and 228, so 1 item missing) and one is at 237 (thanks to the Tier 3 Chests). The last one is at 196, because I didn’t even bother to give her full Outlander green/blue gear at 210/220.
As usual I’m unsure what to do, besides trying to get to 300 Command Level on my main now (focusing, because there’s a buff waiting that will speed up the others by 25% – also being more diligent at doing Ziost every week on every character, it’s just too quick XP to pass if you want to progress).
I also just started Rishi on my Imperial Agent, he’s already 62 now. Got those 8 max-level character achievements in sight, but not sure yet how much time I’ll have the next days. 🙂
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my nineteenth post.

The power of 2

I’m a bit shocked to be honest, just used a +100% 2h Command XP boost, server-wide it’s also still +100%, so I’m running at triple XP and we did the Republic dailies + weeklies as a duo. Despite some stuttering that cost us like 5 mins we managed to do Ziost, Black Hole, Section X, CZ-198, and Yavin 4 in 1h 40m. That’s 40 Command Levels in 100 minutes. That’s why my Scoundrel is CL 60 now, but sadly still feels a little week. The only max-level character where I think I really need to tune my spec. Also I should really get one companion to 50, that should help as well.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my eighteenth post.

Blaugust Reborn point five

Half of the month is over and so far I managed to post daily. Most days it was easy, but I’m in a phase of playing games on a daily basis, which is not the norm.
Some days I was really glad I had a handful of drafts prepared, some days had filler posts I’d never make without the daily challenge I set for myself. At least I never forgot to post (had one scheduling fail where I typo’d the day, doh), but I posted just after midnight a few times before I went to bed. I dated those back to 23:59, that’s the amount of slack I’m allowing myself. Ald wrote something similar and I agree, I won’t force myself to post after August and be back to a highly irregular schedule.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my seventeenth post.
PPS: I typed this on my phone on the subway and it’s outrageous how much better autocomplete is in English over German on Android.

Developer Appreciation Week Part 1

The Blaugust weekly structured format post is “Developer Appreciation Week” and I do remember when Belghast first posted on that topic, years ago. And I applaud him for bringing that topic up.
That said, I drafted up a mega-rant on that topic yesterday, but I need to refine it, so here’s a list of things I really appreciate:

  • configurable key binding – I grew up with WASD and it just works[tm]
  • fullscreen windowed mode – I have Discord and IRC and whatever open. I like your game, but I’m really sorry, but I cannot use it exclusively, I must alt-tab.
  • for MMOs, an API like Blizzard’s battle.net API/Armory. I wanted to launch something with a lot of features like the well-known WoW sites for SWTOR back at launch, had a domain and everything – but they never let me access my characters’ data 🙁 Ragnarok Online’s euRO server also did this, it was glorious.
  • fix bugs instead of creating new content. I might be in the minority here, but I know how hard some bugs are to find, reproduce, and fix. You won’t hear me complaining about lack of new stuff in patch notes, but you’ll definitely hear me cheering if a bug I hit was fixed

Then again, these things are kinda the norm, so am I just ranting when they’re missing because I’m expecting them? OK, the first two are kinda standard but the third one is so rare I’d be really grateful!
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my sixteenth post.

Yay, Tier 3

As we had a public holiday today I had some time to play (unlike yesterday) and I reached one of my latest goals – my Bounty Hunter is now Command Level 192, whereas 181 was the important step, since that level I’m getting Tier 3 Command Crates with 240/242 Item Rating gear. Double XP combined with XP boosts and Daily Zones that include weekly quests is really fun and quick. My Sage is 56, my Commando 39, and my Sith Warrior 26 with just one flashpoint. Only downside is that I’m absolutely overflowing with items.
 
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my fifteenth post.

MMOs and focus

Every time I read about people who can play (and enjoy) multiple MMOs at the same time (I’m mostly thinking of Syp, but there are others) I’m astonished. Whenever I tried to pay for 2 subs at the same time (and yes, that small amount of money is still a real argument for me, in the sense of “I’m paying this monthly sub, I better be playing that game”) I might hold up for a week of alternating, but at some point I’ll highly gravitate towards one of the games and use up 99% of my gaming time in that week or month or that game – I just can’t seem to focus on more than one. The only exception might be EVE Online, where it’s feasible to pay for offline training and only actively play a few hours per month, but I’m more thinking of traditional MMOs here. I’m mostly ok with that, but if I knew it would work for me, I’d be joining WoW’s BfA expansion now, because I’m kinda nosy. But I’m having a blast in SW:TOR and I still have Dead Cells and Quake Champions here, and I’m already neglecting those 2.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my fourteenth post.

On character boosts

When I started digging through the backlog of some of the Blaugust participants’ blogs there was one topic I found pretty interesting: character boosts.
(I wrote down one specific post, it was this one, but I’m pretty sure I saw more).
I wouldn’t say I have a strong opinion, so why am I talking about them? I guess what you often see is this “Back in my day we had to walk uphill.. both ways” attitude, but if I ever held it, I regret it. Sure, if you’re playing a game where some stuff is gated behind a terrible grind… maybe the easy route shouldn’t be available. Same as “Buy this boost for money!” – although I usually prefer level playing fields, something in the range of a monthly subscription price (or 2 months) can be acceptable for everyone who wants to take part in endgame and skip the time sink.
The thing is… I usually don’t do it. In any game where I get a free max-level (or old-expansion-max-level) boost.. I just keep on stalling and not using it. I am actively playing SWTOR right now (I also wrote a lot about it) and I have one “Level 65 boost” sitting there, unused – I’m still not even sure for which character I want to use it. I think I’ll pick one of the missing pure DPS classes where I am not too fond of the mirror class, or where the fun part is missing, like the Gunslinger, where I liked the Scoundrel because of stealth, but didn’t love the combat.
In WildStar I did use a Level 50 boost (I have no clue where I got it from) for a class I hadn’t leveled much yet (Engineer) but it was a very forgettable experience – but I guess I didn’t play much after using the boost, so I never got to know my character very well.
In WoW, I remember using one boost to Level 60 – but I’m pretty sure it was refer-a-friend in TBC or WotLK, and I didn’t enjoy playing Mage in Vanilla at all. After he was 60, I leveled him in a normal way and by that time also had a ton of fun at times. I’m not sure we ever got another free boost, but a quick google search tells me you got a Level 100 boost for Legion. Thinking hard I might have used that one for my Alliance Paladin. I might have leveled her to 60 (via demon invasions? were they called that?) and then boosted to 100, because I had already leveled a Horde Paladin to 100. And apparently there will be 110 boost available if I purchase Battle for Azeroth. Doesn’t make much sense for a 91 Monk that I don’t enjoy playing anyway, but on the Alliance side I’m completely missing Warlock, Druid, and Monk, I have no Horde Demon Hunter, and the Alliance Mage is only 20 (but I wanted to level one to 60 the normal way anyway) and then there’s a 60 Hunter and a 7x Priest and an 80 Shaman. Oh, also no Alliance DK on my main account, but not a fan either. We’ll see, maybe it will stay unused just like in the other games.
Guild Wars 2 is an exception, because just by playing you get so many Tomes of Knowledge (click to advance a level) that you can level 3-4 characters to max level just by playing a handful to max level, nearly 2 for the price of 1, so to say. And you also get a complete boost, but I haven’t used that one either. Or do you even get 2? I don’t remember, but I had no shame using my Tomes on some characters to fill up some levels, e.g. personal story from 10-13, then 7 Tomes, personal story from 20-22, then 8 Tomes, and so on.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my thirteenth post.
Ninja edit: Hehe, of course Wilhelm also wrote about it, but I had this draft since late July, I swear 🙂