New hairstyles for GW2 characters

The latest patch came yesterday and it did not bring new living story achievements to hunt for. I find that quite refreshing as it lets me catch my breath a bit.

There was not that much in the patch, but what did come were new hairstyles. This finally made me use the Total Makeover Kit I had dropped some time ago, as I had been ogling the stripe markings for my asura warrior for quite a while. And now I could finally combine it with an awesome hairstyle! Much better than the cute and sweet one she had before. Bookahnerk also found a great new hairstyle, but for him, a Self-Style Hair Kit was good enough, since he only changed the hairstyle and the hair colour and not the markings on his skin.

It is a bit sad that you can only get those new hairstyles with those kits, because they’re awesome and if I remember correctly, asura have less default hairstyles than other races. Still, they look awesome now and thanks to drop luck, we did not pay for them. ;)

bookahnerk_hairstyle Paerjja_hairstyle

Wildstar: First Impressions

Wildstar Beta Linya EngineerCarbine Studios lifted the NDA for Wildstar some days ago, so I can finally share my impressions about this game. This also includes screenshots with watermarks, so this is what you’ll see here. I have tried to include new ones which I took after they removed the watermarks, because the watermark is indeed very ugly. ;) But in quite a few of the screenshots (see the gallery at the end of this post), you can see the watermarks showing a number or my name. I’m sorry about that. Just ignore them! They’re also not of any special quality, etc. since the watermark made them looking good obsolete and I didn’t think I would get to actually show them to others. ;)

First things first, I would have loved to dedicate much more time to this game, but I couldn’t for various reasons. Also, a standard disclaimer: This is not a review and this is not going to be objective! It is about my “first impressions” of the game.

The TL;DR version is as follows: I really like the game. The music is awesome. The world is full of humour that made me smile and chuckle several times. The housing looks solid and like something I could be interested in for a long time. But, it comes with a monthly sub and since my RL job just gave me a great opportunity, I won’t have the time to be playing Guild Wars 2, Rift and Wildstar and thus, the one that costs the most is the one I won’t be playing.

Now for the longer version. When I first got into the closed beta, I actually wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. I had seen the videos that Carbine had published and had really liked the humour. I had read a bit about the game and while it looked “cute” (as in: comics graphics) and I loved the humour, it still did not seem like a game I would want to play on a regular basis. The longer I played in the beta, the more that changed. Now, when I say “the longer I played”, I do not mean that I got to any high levels. If you know how I play my MMOs, you know that I can spend hours online without gaining a single XP point. This is just how I am. So no, my characters did not get far and you need to keep this in mind, because while I think I can write down my impressions, they are, of course, limited to the bits I have seen.

The character creation was quite solid, but also mildly disappointing. While there are lots of options for your chin, nose, eyes, etc. there is no option to change your body height or size. If you are interested in Wildstar, you have probably read about that point before. It even led to Carbine reducing the breast size of the female characters, but they still all have an hourglass figure. And don’t worry, the breasts can still be seen without applying a magnifying glass! ;) I don’t mind the female body shapes per se, but I do mind not having a choice. This choice could be either being able to change the body shape a bit or having alternative races which feature a different body shape. In Wildstar’s case, this means Chua or male characters, as all the female characters have the hourglass figure.

Before I started playing, I had a look at the available races and while I prefered the story of the Exiles, I thought I’d actually want to play a Chua. The Chua are a “genderless race“, whatever that means. I had imagined it to mean that they are like asura (more in Guild Wars 1 than Guild Wars 2) where neither the “typical male” or “typical female” stereotypes apply (you know, breasts, beards, that sort of thing…). But apparently, Carbine meant “Lord of the Rings dwarves” where all Chua look more male than female (still no breasts, but lots of beards). I love the first, but not the latter. So, while I still liked the look of the Chua I created, I can’t think of him as being female.

My personal favourites are the Mordesh. They remind me a bit of the Undead from World of Warcraft or the Xadaganians from Allods Online. Unfortunately, while I like the Mordesh, I chose mine to be an engineer and I did not like that class. But more about this later.

One big thing was the housing. I only got to try it out during an earlier beta phase. I’m not going to get into any details here, because they made some changes and the points I would have criticized aren’t there anymore. Housing looks solid now and if you’re into this kind of thing, I’m pretty sure you will have fun! One great thing is that you do not just have a plot and place a house on there. You can get something out of it like buffs or rested XP. If you still prefer checking out housing before you buy the game for its housing, you can already find several videos (for example, here and here).

What I did not enjoy much was the questing and the combat. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that this game also requires you to move and dodge. But the telegraph system always made me try to position myself according to the pixel bars in front of my character and I did not really pay attention to any of the combat animations. I only paid attention to where the bars on the floor were facing. Part of that was also because I did not like the engineer class much. I would have imagined it to be a very agile and mobile class, but compared to others I had tried, it seemed sluggish. I tried out the medic and enjoyed that one a lot more. The medic can both be a healer or a DPS class. It depends on which skills you are using, which stats you’re wearing with your equipment and so on. I liked the skills system, by the way. It reminded me a bit of Guild Wars 1 where you unlocked skills and then chose which ones you take with you to combat. The higher in level you get, the more skills you’re allowed to take with you to combat up to a total of 8 skills.

If you’re worried about playing with others in crowded starting areas when the game releases: It now features open tagging. So you can attack a mob that somebody else is already attacking. There is no need to be in a party with them, you will get your experience points, your loot and can even advance in your quest if the mob belonged to one. Speaking of quests, some are pretty standard “kill those mobs over there!”, but some are actually fun and entertaining. I think in general, it’s a nice mix. At least in the lower level regions.

As I mentioned above, I still did not like the quests too much. Instead of stating how many mobs you have to kill, you get a bar that fills up. It may sound like the same, but it’s actually different. A weaker mob does not let you progress as much as killing a stronger mob. So while similar, it still allows for a bit more freedom in choosing which mobs to hunt. What I did not like was the map design and with that, the lack of being able to navigate around easily. I was constantly trying to figure out where to go for each quest (yes, even after reading the quest text!). This was not as bad when I had just accepted two quests and did them. But after going out to explore the region, accepting a few quests here and there and then taking a break of a few days, I found it difficult to get back into the quests.

Another area where I think the game wins is the world design and possible exploration. I also loved all the weird animals. My personal favourite here is the “Jabbit”. As I just wrote, I did go on to explore the maps a bit and the things I found were quite often beautiful and in a few cases, surprising and made me laugh. I will not go into details, because I do not want to put spoilers in here with the exception of the video below. This is a challenge. A challenge is usually something time-limited. Up until that point, I had only had kill challenges. This one is different, though. It does not only show the quirky world, it also is a great example of how the music just fits perfectly to your environment.

The soundtrack in general is amazing. I do hope they will make it available for purchase somehow, because I would love to get my hands on it. As an example and to hear something less silly then the song in the challenge video above, you can listen to the character creation theme here.

In general, I’ve enjoyed my time in the beta, even though it was brief and I was lacking time (and sometimes, motivation). My main caveat is the character design as I would have loved to get more options and not knowing what awaits us at the endgame stage. We do know there will be raids, but I am not a raider. So the question is, how many other things will be available, how much fun it is, etc. At least, the game has lots of “fluff content” as I like to call things like housing and cosmetic items for your character to wear.

But with my lack of free time and two MMOs I’m already playing, this isn’t a question for me. As I said, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to play a game with a monthly fee. So, is this Wildstar’s fault? Only as far as the monthly sub requirement goes. The game itself, however, seems solid to me and I had a good time in the game.

3 years of Nerdy Bookahs and the winners of our giveaways

GW2 Spooktacular CostumesI’ve already been down nostalgia road in my recent post, so there is no need to go down there again. We’ve been around for three years today and we are certainly not planning to stop updating our two blogs any time soon. :) But that’s not why you are here anyway!

First things first, thank you all for participating! Unfortunately, our funds are limited, so there can only be two winners. The fluff item packages goes to Fruit Flies! And Maragonia has won the 800 gems. Congratulations to both of you! :D

In case you were wondering, the correct answers were that I have three level 80 asura (mesmer, warrior and guardian). The little label/tag on the Tybalt backpack is an apple.

The item package contains two minis (Zojja and Mini PK 632Z), one Endless Mystery Quaggan Tonic,  55 unidentified dyes and one rare dye (Icing Dye). Good luck with opening the unidentified dyes. We added the one rare dye, so you can be sure to at least get one rare dye, in case RNG is mean to you. :p Have fun with the items!

Rift: Carnival companion picture gallery

The “Carnival of the Ascended” just went into its second week. This was originally meant to be the final week, but due to popular demand by players, Trion Worlds decided to extend the carnival by a week. This means that if you haven’t gotten enough prize tickets yet to get the rewards you want, there is still plenty of time left.

One Carnival Celebration Crate costs 150 prize tickets. If you do the weekly quest, which involves doing 50 carnival quests, you will get a crate as a reward. These crates can contain a companion. If you collect one of each kind, you will get Tito, another companion, as a reward. I initially didn’t want to complete the set, but then I got an item out of one of those crates which is worth quite a lot, so I could actually buy all the other companions of the auction house.

I find some of them plain ugly, to be honest. I like that not all companions in Rift are cute and cuddly, but that still doesn’t mean I’m a fan of such atrocities. ;) Anyway, I did not easily find pictures of some of them, so I didn’t know what I was getting until I had collected them and once you do that, they are bound to your character. Which is why I decided to make a screenshot gallery, in case others have the same issue and want to see what they are getting before buying or binding a companion.

Rift_Deadwater height

Deadwater at full height

I was most impressed with Deadwater. It does not look dead to me at all. ;) The pictures probably don’t do it enough justice. It really looks like it’s some kind of liquid form moving and morphing. Also, its height is very impressive, at least to a dwarf. However, there are also several other companions that I do not like at all. Coradus and Bubbles, for example. And some are what I would call cute, at least for Rift’s standards which does feature some very unique looking creatures. Fuzzworth most notably. And Lubbytubs looks like a big friendly puppy. It can also get on its hind legs!

The gallery is complete. All companions that you need for the achievement plus Tito which you get as a reward for having all the others are pictured below! A big thank you to bookahnerk who helped along the way.

Rift_Alfred

Alfred

Rift_Anuxy

Anuxy

Rift_Aschbacher

Aschbacher

Rift_Bubbles

Bubbles

Rift_Cliklik

Cliklik

Rift_Conflagurous

Conflagurous

Rift_Coradus

Coradus

Rift_Deadwater

Deadwater

Rift_Fuzzworth

Fuzzworth

Rift_Gusto

Gusto

Rift_Kepple

Kepple

Rift_Kipp

Kipp

Rift_Lubbytubs

Lubbytubs

Rift_Moonshadow

Moonshadow

Rift_Noms

Noms

Rift_Sola

Sola

Rift_The Tickle Monster

The Tickle Monster

Rift_Tito

Tito

3 year anniversary giveaway: Fluff items

NB_3 year anniversaryClick here for the German paragraph / Klickt hier, um die Instruktionen auf Deutsch zu lesen.

You can win a fluff item pack for Guild Wars 2! We won’t spoil the fun and say what is in the pack, but think dyes and minis here (EDIT: At this time, the item pack is worth almost 39 gold!). All you have to do in order to be eligible to win is leave a comment below and answer the following question: How many level 80 asura does Paeroka have? Hint: Read the previous post to find the answer. This fluff item giveaway is open for all GW2 players. There are no restrictions in sending items across the pond. ;)

As usual, the rules are as follows
1. The winner will be randomly chosen out of all correct answers in the comment section. Both German and English answers will be considered.
2. The Giveaway is open for comments/participants until March 12, 2014, 6pm Berlin Time.
3. One entry per person (IP addresses are always logged by wordpress.com when somebody comments)! We reserve the right to exclude entries when we think you’re trying to cheat by entering multiple times. Stay fair, please. :)
4. Leave your account name (name.1234 – NOT the email address you use to log in to the game) and we will contact you in the game if you have won.
5. The winner will be contacted in game. Please reply until March 19, 2014. If you do not reply within that time frame, we will choose another winner.
6. No debating about the outcome!

Last but not least, go here for a chance to win 800 gems!

Ihr könnt hier ein kleines Paket mit Items gewinnen. Was genau in dem Paket ist, verraten wir nicht, um die Überraschung nicht zu verderben. Denkt aber in Richtung Farben und Minis. ;) Alles, was ihr tun müsst, um eine Chance auf den Gewinn zu haben, ist die folgende Frage zu beantworten: Wie viele Level 80 Asura hat Paeroka? Ein kleiner Tipp: Lest den vorherigen Eintrag. Er ist zwar auf Englisch, aber ihr solltet die Stelle trotzdem finden können. ;) Dieser Item-Giveaway ist für alle offen, egal ob EU- oder US-Account. Items können an jeden Spieler geschickt werden. :)

Wie immer gilt es, einige Regeln zu beachten
1. Der Gewinner wird aus allen richtigen Antworten in den Kommentaren zufällig ausgewählt. Sowohl deutsche als auch englische Antworten werden berücksichtigt werden.
2. Ihr könnt bis zum 12. März 2014, 18 Uhr deutsche Zeit teilnehmen.
3. Pro Person nur ein Eintrag (IP-Adressen werden bei jedem Kommentar automatisch von WordPress erfasst)! Wir erlauben es uns, Kommentare nicht zu berücksichtigen, wenn wir denken, dass ihr gegen diese Regel verstoßt und mehrfach teilnehmt. Bleibt bitte fair! :)
4. Wenn ihr kommentiert, hinterlasst bitte euren Accountnamen (Name.1234 – NICHT die E-Mail-Adresse, mit der ihr euch im Spiel einloggt) und wir werden euch, wenn ihr gewinnt, im Spiel kontaktieren.
5. Der Gewinner wird im Spiel kontaktiert werden. Antwortet bitte bis spätestens 19. März 2014. Wenn ihr innerhalb dieser Zeit nicht antwortet, werden wir einen anderen Gewinner auslosen.
6. Es gibt keine Diskussionen über das Ergebnis!

Und zum Schluss noch der Link zu unserem 800 Edelstein-Giveaway!

3 years of Nerdy Bookahs – and 2 giveaways!

Edit: The Giveaways are over. You cannot participate anymore.

It’s that time of the year to get all nostalgic again. Nerdy Bookahs is celebrating its 3 year anniversary on March 12. As we have recently “expanded” and added a German blog, we are also going to host a giveaway in each blog. If you don’t care about my nostalgia and only care about the giveaway, click on the images. Otherwise, read on and click on the images afterwards. ;)

NB_3 year anniversary_800 gemsNB_3 year anniversary_fluff items

Back in August 2010, I had made the decision to start blogging about games. I knew I wanted it to be in English. Reaching more people was one of the reasons, but not in order to gain more page views. I’ve just always enjoyed the heterogenity that comes with people from different parts of the world. And I knew I could not reach all of you if I wrote in German. The other reason was that I wanted to practice my written English skills. During my studies, I’d done a lot of reading of English scientific papers, but not that much writing or speaking. I also knew I wasn’t and still am not in it for any money. No ads, no trying to get as many hits as possible in a month. This is for fun only. At some point, bookahnerk wanted to join the fun as well and we decided that it would make more sense to have one blog together. He does not write much here, but he’s quite often reading my blog posts before I publish them and gives me feedback. He is also in charge of the good videos on our YouTube channel. ;) And recently, we decided to have two blogs, after all! Why not have a German branch of Nerdy Bookahs! We’ve switched roles for that part and bookahnerk is responsible for publishing posts while I take on the editor role. When it comes to nice-looking videos, nothing has changed. That is his domain. ;)

Oddly enough, while Guild Wars 2 had been on my radar from the beginning, Rift had been, too. And just when Rift launched in March 2011, Nerdy Bookahs launched as well! This is a coincidence, but I still quite like it. :) It had also been the time where I’d been studying for my university diploma. I succeeded and started my work at a university a few months later (I like universities too much. They won’t get rid of me easily). Hated the job I got, looked for another one, found one in April last year and couldn’t be happier. So much about my private life in the background. ;) But all of this has happened in those three years and it’s nice to look back at this as well.

Gaming-wise, when we started Nerdy Bookahs, I was still playing Lord of the Rings Online, had found Rift but soon realized that I do not want to play games with monthly subs anymore and was looking forward to playing Guild Wars 2. By now, I am playing Guild Wars 2 and since Rift went f2p, I’ve been playing this game again as well. I got my warrior in Rift to level 54 and only need 6 more levels to reach the current level cap. In Guild Wars 2, I have gotten 3 asura to level 80 (mesmer, warrior, guardian) and added one level 80 sylvari ranger and one level 80 charr engineer to the mix. I have a love-hate relationship with my asura elementalist and just can’t warm up to the other professions, unfortunately. I would love if ArenaNet could release a profession close to the GW1 dervish. I never got her to max level, but I still loved that style! ;)

Some of you have been around for the last three years. Thank you for that! And even more visited at some point in between, of course. I always love receiving comments with your thoughts as that is what I love about blogging the most. And now that I managed switch from talking about our blog to you, our readers, let us continue with the giveaway: We’re going to have two, actually! One will be here and will be open for EU and US GW2 players. The second one is only open for owners of a EU GW2 account (because the code is only valid for those. Sorry!) and can be found in bookahnerk’s blog. Click the images above to jump to the blog posts.

Folk Tale Location Editor – The good and the bad

As I mentioned yesterday, Games Foundry added the Location Editor Preview in December and I dipped my toes into this feature. It took me a bit to get into the controls, but they released a reference guide and by now, I have memorized the important commands. I strongly recommend reading that one, before you start working on a map!

I would have loved to build a map from scratch. I do have a blurry vision of a map with a valley and a river and lake nearby. Then some mountains and hills around it and more flat areas behind the mountains which you can reach through a small path through those mountains. However, I tried and I just failed getting this vague vision into the game. I either had to try several times until I finally found that one tile that fit into the gap or I couldn’t even find one. On top of that, I compared it to the map the developers had added to the game and that one is just so much better! This resulted in me losing interest. Additionally, the tile-rotating either doesn’t work properly or – more likely – I haven’t been able to work out where the “anchor” is to move the mouse around and get the tile to behave in the way I want. You can rotate the square tiles into four different positions and it always takes me quite a bit to get a tile rotated so it fits. This isn’t an issue at all when placing items on the tiles. The rotating works seamlessly there.

So, I went a different route. I took the map that the developers made and changed a few things. At first, I removed all the items they had put on it like trees and buildings. Then I added a river, removed one at another place and changed a few of the hills. Nothing too major, but still changes to make it feel a little bit more like it was actually mine. ;) That’s only on one part of the map, but I still spent quite a long time until it was done.

Then the fun part started: I could finally start putting buildings on the map. I’m mainly placing things wherever I think they look good with no greater concept or plan at the moment. Though I would like to add something like a “village center” somewhere with a church, lots of buildings and a main road. I just think I’ll have to make the area flatter to achieve that and make it look nicer… maybe I will have my valley one day, after all. ;)

Don’t get me wrong, though. While the placing of tiles has been a bit frustrating, it has also been a fun experience. If you know me by now, you would certainly expect me to throw the game away and give up if it wasn’t any fun. ;) I just think the interface could be easier to work with! As you can see in the video, I sometimes have to position the camera differently, so I can actually “grab” one of the circles (like the red one) to move an item around or to rotate it. You can “lock” the tiles, thankfully. This setting was enabled in the video. It means that you cannot move or select any of the floor tiles. It’s a lot easier to select a tree this way. However, as you can also see in the video, it’s still a bit difficult to select something small when it is next to or even on top of a bigger item. I usually scroll closely to the smaller item – in this case the squirrel – to be able to select it. When I’m further away with the camera, I just keep re-selecting the bigger tree. I would also love to be able to place items by entering the coordinates.

However, I can see myself using this feature later on when the game is released and I know I will continue filling this map with details. The developers are slowly adding more kits which let you place more stuff like monsters (well, kobolds mostly at the moment) and I can’t wait for the moment to see my map come to life. All in all, the location editor is fun to use and I’ve seen some amazing examples of what players can do. If you want to have a look yourself, there is a thread in the Steam forums where players can link to their creations.