Author Archives: paeroka

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.

Lion’s Arch post-Scarlet

Back during the beta weekend events, I already did a screenshot gallery of Lion’s Arch. I’ve always loved the style of the city and I couldn’t believe it could be a target and be destroyed one day. I did take the cues, though, and before anything happened, I did another screenshot gallery, just so I’d have enough pictures of the city. During the attack, I took just a few screenshots, as I was usually too busy trying to fight and survive in there.

Now that the dust is settling, I felt that I had to go there again and capture the scenery after Scarlet’s attack on Lion’s Arch. Yep, it’s definitely destroyed. There are places and areas where you think: “It’s not that bad.” And other corners, where you realize just how bad the attack really was. But, as usual, I’m not here to just go on and on and rant about the look of the city. I’m here to show you the pictures I have taken. So judge for yourselves! :)

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

Get ready for Healing Over Time!

In a bit less than two hours (at 10am GMT), Healing Over Time will start. This is a charity event, run by several guilds who will be playing and streaming multiple games for 24 hours! You can see who is participating on their official website.

You may have already heard of such gaming marathons. They are often pretty much the same: A person or a team of people plays for 24 hours, streams it, asks for donations and often hands out prizes should they get to certain donation milestones. HoT is a bit different from most that I’ve watched as they are not just “one group” but rather, Sam, the organizer of the event, managed to get 8 gaming communities to join. Seven of them will be streaming. Our guild, Dragon Season, had been invited, too, but unfortunately, nobody from us is able to stream for such a long time. Either because of technical reasons or as in my case, the inability to stay awake for 24 hours. As much as I would like to do that for charity, I’m just not capable. You will see Tilion, me and bookahnerk in the chats of MYST’s streams, though, and we may also join in for a few of the games. Where HoT does not differ is that they, too, will have some prizes to hand out (just have a look at the list of supporters!).

As is usual with such marathons, the participants do get breaks, of course. ;) You can see the schedule as well as a list of the games that are going to be played here. Relics of Orr, Subterfuge and Viking Nation are going to start 3 hours later (at 10am EST) than the rest since they are US-based. Of course, they will also be playing and streaming for 24 hours once they have started!

Now on to the most important part: Why are they doing that?

For charity! But to be more specific, their goal is to raise $5000 for Child’s Play, an organization that provides children in hospitals and in domestic abuse shelters with gaming equipment, so they can play, have a little bit of fun and forget about their worries at least for a little while. If you want to know more, you can read all about their goals here.

I’m proud to participate and help out in such an event!

Foostival 2014: Your chance to win 400 gems (EU-only!)

quagganUpdate March 31, 2014: The winners have been chosen. Congratulations to VedGWII.5281, stjf.7180, BlueIceshard.8495 and Iris.5918!

The Foostival may be over, but we still have some stuff left that we want to give away: 4 little gem cards worth 400 gems each! As is usually the case with gem cards, they are “region-locked” which means that you can only use them if you’ve got a European account. And as usual, we are sorry about this, but there is nothing we can do about that restriction.

On to what you need to do. For a chance to win one of those gem cards, reply to this blog post and tell us:

What is the colour of the t-shirt that Ramon was wearing at Foostival 2014?

If you don’t know, it’s very easy to find the answer. Have a look at either the Guildnews video, the video hosted by Wartower or the translation of the interview with Ramon here on our blog. Also, sooner or later you can probably just cheat and look at what others answered (this may also be helpful if you’re colourblind because it may be a mean question otherwise).

As usual, the rules are as follows
1. One person can win only one gem card! The winners will be randomly chosen out of all correct answers in the comment section. Slight variations of the colour’s name are acceptable (but you can’t say purple when it’s green, etc.!).
2. The Giveaway is open for comments/participants until March 31, 2014, 8 pm 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 April 6, 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, this is not your only chance to win something! Guildnews has two giveaways. You can find the instructions here (the post is in German) for a total of 8 gem codes!