Category Archives: Rants

Summer break for Nerdy Bookahs

GW2 Skkia in Divinity's Reach

Skkia, my thief and 4th asura who made it to level 80.

The days are getting warmer and warmer and summer is fast approaching. But unfortunately, this is not the reason for this post’s title. For the next month or two, both bookahnerk and I will be very busy in that thing called “real life”. Additionally, we are going to move to a new flat which also needs some renovating first. We decided it’s finally time to switch our basement flat to one with more sun coming in! :D

I just thought our regular readers should get a heads-up on why it’s going to be really quiet here for a while. We’re still here, we’re still invested in Guild Wars 2 and we’ll continue blogging once we have finished moving. But for the time being, we decided that the little free time we’ll get, we will use for gaming instead of blogging. ;) I’m not saying we won’t post anything at all in the next weeks, but it won’t be much. So, don’t worry, we’re fine and we will be back in a bit more than a month (if all goes well… especially with the internet provider!).

Rebuilding Lion’s Arch…?

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt crafting stationsWhen the latest patch got released, I headed over to the forum to read the patch notes as I always do, but when I read the part about Lion’s Arch, I logged into the game to see it with my own eyes. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was – and yes, I may have ranted and raged a bit here in front of my PC. But let me explain what happened.

When, before the patch, I had read that the Zepyhrites would be offering their help to rebuild Lion’s Arch, I had imagined that we, as players, would be helping as well. I thought that this meant that with the next few patches, this would be part of the living story content. Imagine this: helping the citizens of Lion’s Arch out and with the next Living Story release, the bank would be back in place. After that, the lion statue, then the Trading Post. Up until in the very end, the portals would finally be back and fully working!

Or why not let us all collaborate? Make it a race between the regions: EU and US servers – which region gets Lion’s Arch back on its feet first? Different challenges, activities, etc. drop and award different special materials that are needed for the rebuilding process. Make it a game, give us a mini lion’s statue that is placed in our home instance as a reward. Make it fun!

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt mapInstead, after logging into the game, I found that everything we need is already back. Yes, Lion’s Arch itself is still in ruins! But it’s fully functional again. 3 crafting areas, 4 banks, 4 trading posts, the portals, mystic forge, etc. One could say that it’s better than before – or more convenient, as you can choose which area of Lion’s Arch you want to spend your time at while putting items into the bank. This isn’t “helping rebuild”. In fact, I fail to see why they would need any help from the Zephyrites or anybody else. The amount of vendors, banks, trading posts (just think of all the trading post fees we’re paying!) should be more than enough to pay for the rebuilding of the rest of the city.

This was a swoosh with a wand and some fairies granted us a wish and made it flawlessly perfect. But at the same time, at least for me, utterly boring. I had been looking forward to getting the rebuilding process as content, to tell all the future newcomers: “I was there. I saw this city before it was attacked, I saw it and defended it while it was attacked, I saw it when it was in ruins and I was here helping rebuild it! This is partly my doing!” Instead, I was handed everything on a silver platter within a few minutes.

We can maybe help make the city look pretty again, but for me, there’s no sense of urgency to it. And yeah, while it may be good to give citizens back their homes, I have to admit that as long as I don’t get my own house, I don’t care where the NPCs are living either. ;) At the same time, I do hope that we will be asked to help out in some way in a future patch and get to rebuild something. Maybe not a trading post or the portals, but at this point, anything would be nice.

And this is probably also why I shouldn’t assume and imagine things. Expectations can lead to great disappointment…

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen_onions and baconUpdate April 10: I forgot to edit this post to say that this is, of course, just an April Fool’s Joke, but to be honest, I did not expect anybody to fall for it anyway. ;) I just remembered that last year, I had posted a nice recipe on April 1 already and wanted to continue with this tradition. The recipe is real, though! :oD

We had to wait 1,5 years for  ArenaNet to announce quite a lot of the  features coming on April 15 that the community has been asking for. Is it a coincidence that all of them are ready for release at the same date? I don’t think so. Instead, I am absolutely certain that they postponed all of them to shove that stupid Living Story down our throats. You may have noticed it, but the content here in this blog has become about so many other games recently and we hardly ever write about Guild Wars 2 anymore. It’s just not a game that I enjoy playing anymore. I’m sorry, but here it is. The truth is out. The decision was made even easier for me, since our guild has recently decided to move back to Guild Wars 1.

But what about our tiny little blog here? I had previously tried to add some more flavour to this blog by adding a baking recipe. The truth is, while I can bake cakes and muffins, I don’t do it often nor am I really that good. But I can cook! So, from now on, I will concentrate on other things that I enjoy more. For example, my new gaming addiction: Sim games. I’ve tried out a pig sim which was fun enough. Then I tried out a railroad sim and the last game I have gotten addicted to is a cooking sim which even lets you add your very own recipes! This is perfect and lets me combine my two hobbies! I will try out cooking recipes in this sim and if my sim people like it, I will present the recipes here. So don’t worry, I will still be writing about games here, but it will only be about the cooking sim from now on!

The Flammkuchen recipe will make the start. That’s tarte flambée in English – although I’d prefer calling it “flame cake” instead. ;)

Dough
250 gr flour
125 ml water
2 spoons of oil (vegetable oil preferably, nothing like olive oil as the taste is too strong)
a bit of salt
Sauce
100 gr sour cream
100 gr crème fraîche
salt and pepper
Toppings (can vary)
1 big onion (sliced in rings)
200 gr bacon (pieces)

Pre-heat the oven (250°C). Get the flour, add the salt and the oil and then carefully add the water. Try adding less than the amount mentioned above first. The resulting dough should not be sticky! Depending on your kind of flour, you may need less or more than the water mentioned above. Also, taste if there’s enough salt in your dough. It shouldn’t be too much, but the dough shouldn’t be „tasteless“ either. Then roll out the dough very thinly on baking parchment. It’s important that it’s thin. This is not a pizza! ;) You may find that the dough is actually enough for about 1,5 baking trays. That depends on how thin you actually manage to make it. Now mix the sour cream and the crème fraîche. Add as much salt and pepper as you like. Coat the dough with it. Add the onions and the bacon on top. Put everything in the oven (~ 7 minutes, 250°C). The amount of time it needs depends on your oven, so stay there and watch it! Take it out if it’s getting too brown.

Flammkuchen_rocket goat cheeseThe toppings can vary according to your taste. Get creative here! What I mentioned in the list above is the Alsacian tarte flambée, but really, you can add just about anything you like. Use e.g., tomatoes, mozzarella, rocket, mushrooms, leek, brie,… – even olives and feta work quite well! Just never overdo it with the cheese. As I said above, this isn’t a pizza. In the picture below, you see a variation made with rocket and goat cream cheese. An important tip: Keep the rocket off the dough until it is finished baking! I had a brainless moment once and had put the rocket into the oven. ;) Only put the goat cream cheese on it and when it’s finished baking and out of the oven, add the rocket. We also experimented a bit with the sauce. The Flammkuchen on the picture below was made with sour cream and low fat curd cheese which makes the whole Flammkuchen a lot lighter and thus, allows for things like goat cheese without feeling bad about all the calories in it. ;) It does taste a bit differently than the original recipe, but it was still really good!

Flammkuchen_rocket goat cheese 2

That’s it for today. Just remember: From now on, this blog will feature cooking recipes and my reviews of first person shooters. :D

One month of daily blog posts

I know, I know, I still have one more day to go. However, I have a certain blog post I want to post tomorrow, so I decided to have the “end of November” blog post with a recap today instead. ;)

Fireworks_2nd anniversary_2

I participated in November’s NaBloPoMo as a substitute to NaNoWriMo. I have to say, comparing both, that NaNoWriMo is definitely harder. While you can skip a day of writing and just write more the day afterwards, a novel with 50,000 words altogether is still an awful lot! On the other hand, blogging every day meant that I could not skip a day. But I could just make a very short post with only a picture in it. I think I did this twice this month. Actually, only once: “A charr and her swords” which really did not need many words. The other one was my invitation to our guild’s Christmas party, which does have more than just a picture in it.

With having to publish something every day came some pressure. A blog is usually in a public space unlike a novel that you can write just for yourself far away from other people’s eyes. Readers stop by every day and they can see what I produced and nod or shake their head at it. I was a bit afraid, the quality of my posts would suffer. Not that I claim to write any high-quality posts, but I don’t think they’re low-quality either. ;)

In sum, I put up three posts I did not like that much (“Too many games…”, “Shopping spree in Rift” and “The online game you’ve been playing the longest”). I had feared I would publish more posts that I’d end up not liking, but three seems like a good amount for a whole month with limited time. The last of those three is also the only post I had pre-scheduled. We had friends visiting on that day and there was just no time to write a blog post on top of that and friends were more important. All other posts were published on the day I had finished writing them. My favourite post is “Jumping Puzzles: Challenging or frustrating?”. It’s also one that sparked the most discussions/conversations, even if not all of them took place here on the blog. However, I also just realized that I owe a comment to two of you in that post.

This month also made me write two posts that I’d been trying to write for some days/weeks: “Blogging in a foreign language” and “My favourite profession in Guild Wars 2″.

Throughout the month, we also got several new followers: Welcome! If you’re also a fan of Guild Wars 2, you may be interested in tomorrow’s post. ;)

My favourite part altogether was definitely the increased amount of conversations here on the blog and outside of the blog. This is one of the reasons I started blogging, after all.

Last and probably least: I also realized that I’m really bad with finding good, fitting, maybe even witty subject lines for my blog posts.

Here’s to many more months of blogging – just with a slightly decreased amount of posts each month!

Too many games…

Diablo3_paerokabetaI’m currently waiting for Diablo 3 to arrive. Unfortunately, it seems it won’t be here tomorrow, but hopefully on Thursday then. I got the game during (German) Amazon’s Cyber Monday Week… how silly is that, by the way? Cyber Monday Week. It got released in May 2012 and so far, I’ve never seen it cheap anywhere. The 25€ I paid for it now seemed like a very good deal.

In the end, this could be yet another game in a long list of games that I bought and there are so many that I really want to play, but in the end, don’t. We’re currently planning to play Diablo 3 together, just me and bookahnerk. I got the game for him when it came out and he never got far. So together we can hopefully conquer the world! I also promised I would turn off Skype, twitter, my browser while playing the game together. Fewer distractions that way and more “us time” even if we’re at the PC.

We’re also currently watching the Warlock 2 world Premiere on Twitch. Another game I definitely want to buy when it releases. But Warlock 1 is one of the few games I’ve spent lots of hours playing, so this one will probably at least have a tiny chance. ;)

I think I’d play those kinds of games (meaning: Non-MMOs) much more often if I didn’t play MMOs. Just now, I spent about an hour researching which gear I want for my mesmer after I got some superior traveller runes from ArcherAvatar! Thanks again, you made my day. :D Now I only need to find gear to put them on… hmm… And decide which class I want to play in Diablo 3.

The online game you’ve been playing the longest…

I am always shocked when I see the sign-up date below my character’s name in World of Dungeons, which I’ve been playing since May 2005. Without a break even. The servers restart every 2 years or so and I’ve just never managed to get away from that game.

It’s not an MMO, but it’s not your standard browser game either. It requires a fixed group of players (if one leaves, you’ll have to find another one as playing with less than 12 heroes gets very difficult) and it’s 100% text-based (and the dungeons are on a 7-hour schedule). In a time where action and graphics are more important than anything else, this is still a very rare jewels in the world of browser games.

I know I’ve mentioned this game several times over the life of this blog. It still is to this day one of my favourite games – quite obviously, or there’d be no sense in playing it for that many years. However, it makes me wonder… apart from the obvious problem of games shutting down and closing servers, are the current MMOs I’m playing games that could keep me for this long? Amazingly enough, World of Warcraft may be such a game if only I hadn’t grown tired of paying monthly subs. ;) But it’s not a real comparison since I had taken breaks from the game. A break is not possible in that browser game since the rest of the group marches on through the dungeons and your character always strolls along (thankfully, they do that automatically, so you won’t have to be in front of the PC once every 7 hours…). However, you can give control over your character to somebody else for the time you’re away from your PC or are too busy with something else (exams at university were the reasons I had the most often that kept me away from playing).

In this game’s case, it’s also partly the community, I guess. The small group has gotten a core of four members that have been together for most of those years. Bookahnerk, me and two others. We don’t know much about each other’s private lives, though, as we mostly just chat about the game and communication is almost exclusively on the forum.

Which online games have you, dear readers or passers-by, been playing for the longest time? Or was a game closed that you just know you’d still play if it was still available?