Author Archives: paeroka

Coming to Trove next: Welcome Screen, Meownts & Budgies

Trove’s development isn’t slowing down. Here you can find the written notes from last Friday’s livestream. You can also watch the video on Twitch. Everything they showed during the livestream (as opposed to merely mentioning and talking about it) will go live this Tuesday!

The video settings will find a place in the user interface, so you won’t have to memorize what to type in order to activate them. I just wish they would add that to the club interface as well. Anyway, another time, I suppose. :)

Trove Graphic Settings

Graphic Settings

As Avarem mentioned in the last “AMA” in the Twitch chat, they are going to add more things to buy with glim. I am usually around 10k glim, so 60k sounds like a lot of new stuff but not too much to be overwhelming. You literally get glim by just riding through the world (the grass and flowers on the ground can be harvested when you ride through it with your mount and it drops glim) or fished up. So, no matter whether you take time out of adventuring to go fishing or if you just go adventuring (which will always have you on a mount because it’s much faster to travel this way), you will earn glim! I am mostly looking forward to the new mounts.

So far, we have had a lot of dog-mounts, the Pemblocks. Finally, the cat-lovers among us will get their mounts as well: Meownts are entering Trove! They will basically work like Pemblocks do. You need the basic mount (“Pemblock” or “Meownt”) to craft the special versions. So when you drop your first Meownt (or Pemblock), you will have to make a choice whether to keep the basic version as a mount or use it in the crafting station to craft another version, e.g., the Permafrost Meownt.

Trove Permafrost Meownt

Permafrost Meownt

For me, the biggest addition to the game will be the new Welcome Screen. It won’t just say “Hello! Good to see you again!” it will also tell you about the bonuses that will be active on every single weekday. This is a new feature. So far, we can get 500 cubits by doing the star-quest every day and that amount is raised to 1000 on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, we will get different bonuses on the other week days: Mondays will be +20 % for harvesting (this is related to the gardening profession). Tuesdays, you will get +50 % ore when out in the world mining. On Wednesdays, you will get 100 % more glim from adventuring. This is important: It is NOT more glim by fishing, but by riding through the world on your mount as explained above. On Thursdays, monsters will drop more special crafting items (bleached bones, faerie dust and so on) as well as adventure boxes. The items within the adventure boxes will have the same drop chances as on any other days. And on Fridays, you will get 50 % more shards from doing Shadow Arenas and Dark Hearts (those are in the sky biome).

Trove Welcome Screen

Welcome Screen

So far, when I did not have much time for playing Trove, I saved my gaming time for Saturday or Sunday to get more cubits. But now, with the new bonuses every day, I can choose which bonus I want and try to get some gaming time in on that day. The only downside I see is that if, for example, you always have to work late on Thursdays, you will always miss out on that bonus as the bonuses are specific to certain days. But in the long run, these may not even make such a big difference.

Trove Pink Budgie Buddy

Pink Budgie Buddy

The new Welcome Screen will also show you what kind of Adventure Boxes are currently dropping. The new ones (probably also releasing this Tuesday, I assume) are Budgie ones which can contain a Budgie mount. No longer are those Rift-only. :p The general drop rate for Adventure boxes will be reduced come next patch, by the way, but as mentioned above, the drop rate will be increased on Thursdays. So if you’re really only after the Budgie and have limited play time, try to get gaming time in on Thursdays. Of course, I brought up the example of work and Thursdays because that is the one day during the week where I have to work longer and won’t have that much time to game. :p But yeah, I don’t think this will be a big issue. One day, I will have my Budgie!

Trove: New UI & graphics settings

The latest patch, “Blitz and Glitz Edition“, got released today. It is mostly new costumes (in the shop). But they also added the new UI to the game and some new graphics settings to test out. A few days ago, they had already posted a teaser for the UI and it did get some criticism. So, Avarem asked to test it out first and give feedback then.

Of course, I had to test the changes right away. Not the costumes, as I don’t care too much about costumes in Trove. But I wanted to have a look at the shiny new user interface!

New user interface

Here is the direct comparison. Old on the left, new on the right.

Here is my opinion: The icons seem to be much smaller than before. Looking at it closely, they probably aren’t. I guess because of the rest of the design, they just look small. What I really like is that the shortcuts are now listed above the actual icon which means that the icon itself isn’t hidden by white text. Yet, I am missing two clues that were very important for me when I had just started playing: The display of the “hub” icon (“Press H to get to the main hub”) and the two indicators above the “hub” button indicating whether you’re showing your adventuring skill bar or your crafting skill bar. I do not need those images anymore now, but I clearly remember that they helped me starting out in the game because I could easily see that I had the wrong action bar activated – after seeing that there are two different action bars to begin with thanks to those two icons in the middle. This is no big deal, it’s just something I would like to see there.

One thing I definitely criticize is that the amount of charges left for my healing potion (the “Q” skill) is still not easy to see. Those are 13 charges I have there, not 3.

I like the colours and the general look of the new UI, though. The quest/star bar on the upper right also looks nice, although it wasn’t bad before either. With the new colour, I think it stands out more, though, which could help especially newcomers to notice the star bar up there in the first place.

New UI: Crafting bar

New UI: Crafting bar

The picture above shows the UI with the crafting bar activated. The green background (seen on the icon at the “2” skill) highlights which button you have activated now. So I would place green blocks now with pressing my left mouse button. The “5” skill isn’t too ideal, though. It’s the non-activated grey blocks… I think. No, it’s actually “charcoal”. I’m not sure if it was easier to see before, but I am noticing now that it’s difficult to figure out what colour it is exactly unless you’ve got it highlighted or look in your inventory for the tooltip. Yes, while the skills in the action bar have tooltips when you hover above the icon with your mouse, the crafting bar does not have this feature. Another thing I would like to see.

So, in short: I would really like to see tooltips on the crafting bar as well as an easier to see number of remaining charges for my healing potion. I would also like to see the action bar indicators and the “hub” icon back. Other than that, I’m really happy about the new UI!

When you're in the middle of a fight, the dark red in front of the dark grey background is easy to miss...

When you’re in the middle of a fight, the dark red in front of the dark grey background is easy to miss…

Edited to add: After playing with the new UI, I noticed that I don’t notice my health dropping low with the new UI. The health bar is only half of the sphere now and the red is too dark to be noticed fast since the background is also quite dark. This is, of course, less than ideal. ;)

Graphics changes

“There are now some new graphics settings that are testable for high end users (coming soon to actual video settings near you).
Type /postbloom to test out bloom
Type /postssao to test out ambient occlusion.”

In case you want to test them: You can disable them again by typing “/postbloom off” and “postssao off”.

The Bloom setting:

The Ambient Occlusion setting:

I don’t think there is even one game where I like the bloom setting. I turned it off again after taking the screenshots. But I actually like the ambient occlusion. So far, it also works nicely on my PC, but I stood in the club world, afk while writing this blog post. ;)

The thing is: Those screenshots don’t show that much. Especially with bloom, I actually don’t see a difference and in game, I don’t see that much either. Ambient occlusion, on the other hand, looks very nice in game! On the screenshots, a lot gets lost again. But look closely at the glass house on the left.

Still, I don’t play Trove for its fabulous graphics, so this isn’t important for me either way. The user interface is the much more important change for me and I think I can certainly live with it quite well. :)

Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove: Part 2 (Lore)

GW2 vs Rift vs Trove logo

This is the second part of the blog post series “Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove”. The first part was about “Basic information“. This part now focuses on the lore of the games. Once again, my goal is not to say which game has a better lore. Neither do I want to bore you with lots and lots of tiny details of the story. Instead, I want to give you an overview of what the main story is about and to give you a feeling of the world that you will enter should you decide to pick up the game and play. There will be a comparison, but I will definitely not call any game superior here.

Warning!

As the title and introduction text already suggest, this is a blog post about the lore in those three games. Do not continue reading if you don’t want any story spoilers!

I am now going to start the lore part with the big mystery question:

Does Trove have lore?

trove-logoThe answer isn’t as easy as one may think or hope. Yes, it does have lore, apparently. It just doesn’t really seem like it. The game does not have a consistent world, but rather ever-changing maps which are generated as soon as players enter the map. It has biomes with undead, with pirates, but also with candy-fied enemy NPCs. It has lava, water plasma and chocolate lakes. It even has candy fish! And fish in lava, too. But so far, there is no coherent story part and no real background lore. With the recent revamp of the tutorial, they added lore cubes to it, but those aren’t present in the general world. Those cubes tell a very short story.

The tutorial takes place in the ruins of the Sun Goddess’s temple. Apparently, the Moon had become jealous of her. Something – it says “a great shadow” got released and the only way to save the world was for the Sun Goddess to sacrifice herself.

The main story in Rift when you first enter the game

Rift_Logo_transparentThe lore in Rift is delivered mainly through quests. There is a comic book that came with the original Collector’s Edition, but as far as I know, this is all there is outside of the game. Some more information can be found on the website, like general information on Nightmare Tide, the game’s second expansion and in the lore forum, a sub-section of the official forum. The developers posted a timeline there about the events in Rift back in 2011.

Rift_Lore_Book CollectionApart from quests, you can also “collect” books in Rift which, once collected, you can click on and read through. Of course, those aren’t real books with several hundred pages. But they do give additional lore and they are neatly stores in the collections tab of your character panel.

I actually had to go and read through several postings on various different places to find out more about the lore myself. I’ve known bits but I admit, I’m not the person who always reads the quest texts. :p There are lots and lots of names to memorize when you want to get into the lore and I have always had problems telling the important figures apart (who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy? And who is the good guy turned bad? ^^). So, I will try to summarize the basic lore as much as possible. Let’s start with the world of Rift as a whole. It consists of several planes of reality. Each plane “belongs” to a certain element. E.g. water, air, but also death and life. The name of the physical world we are on is “Telara” and it is located between those planes. Telara was created by five gods called “The Vigil” who used a material called Sourcestone to do that. The names of the gods are Bahralt, Tavril, Thedeor, Mariel-Taun and Thontic. For this short introduction to the lore, the names aren’t going to be important anymore. I just thought I should add them in case you start playing and come across the names in the game. However, the Vigil aren’t the only gods in this world. In fact, the exact number of gods is unknown. Another group of gods that is known and that caused quite a lot of trouble is called the “Blood Storm“, six dragon gods. Each of them represents a different plane of reality: Regulos (Death), Maelforge (Fire), Laethys (Earth), Greenscale (Life), Crucia (Air) and Akylios (Water). All of them wanted to control Telara and tried to invade it with their legions while also fighting against each other. This gave the inhabitants of Telara and the Vigil the opportunity to eventually fight back. All Blood Storm gods with the exception of Regulos were imprisoned on Telara. Additionally, the Vigil placed a Ward around Telara to protect it from the invading forces from the planes. All could have been peaceful and well now.

So, let me summarize: We’ve got Telara in the middle of the planes now with a Ward made by the creators of Telara, the Vigil, to keep the invaders out.

The bad thing with this Ward is that it’s been getting weaker through the centuries. I mentioned the Sourcestone above already. The Guardians (one of the two factions for player characters in the game) use this to commune with the Vigil. The other faction, the Defiant, use it to build and power their machines. Jostir, king of the Mathosians (the playable human race on Guardian side), died about 25 years before “current game time”. His two sons (Aedraxis and Zareph) fought over the throne. Aedraxis used machines powered with Sourcestone and managed to get a crack into the Ward in the process. Additionally, he was corrupted by Regulos. To put it shortly: With this crack, the Rifts came. Rifts are tears through which the forces from the planes can enter Telara. In game, they are open world events… more on that in the PvE part of this blog post series. Hardly any place is safe from the rifts. I will leave the rest of the story to be told in the game.

The role of your character in this world

You are still following, right? So, Aedraxis was corrupted by Regulos. Longer story short: Regulos is back in action.

You can either play a character in the Guardian or in the Defiant faction – and you are an Ascendant (more on that in a bit). Guardians get their Ascendant status from the Vigil, while Defiants use their sourcestone-powered machines built by Eth  (the human race on Defiant side). The Guardians are strictly against using sourcestone in this way, see it as blasphemous and some also claim it to be the source of their current problems (as sourcestone was used when the Rifts appeared – see above).

Defiant or Guardian - Choose now

Defiant or Guardian – Choose now

Now it’s getting a bit trickier. In the “original timeline”, the Vigil chose people to be Ascendants! They returned them back from the dead to fight against Regulos and his legions. However, only those who believed in them and followed them

Asha Catari

Asha Catari

rigorously got chosen. Asha Catari was not one of them. She did get resurrected by Orphiel, a Defiant who used a source-stone powered machine for this resurrection process. The Guardians fought against the Defiants and wanted to destroy not only their machines, but their whole existence. At the same time, apparently, they failed the fight against Regulos. This is where Defiant players enter the game. All hope is lost, basically. But they are able to resurrect their own Ascendants by using their machines and – this is why telling the lore gets a bit tricky now – they also have a time machine and send you, the player, back in time to before Regulos won the fight.

While your character, being an Ascendant, is basically a “special snowflake” in the world, there are many Ascendants. I don’t like it that much when an MMO treats the story as you are the only and the strongest special person around. Having several special people is much more realistic considering all the other players around you fulfill the same role anyway.

The game has been out for four years now, so of course, a lot of things have happened already. I am not going to write about all of these happenings here, however, because I don’t want to spoil all content for you. This is just the basic and short summary for you to get to know what the main story is all about when you enter the game. If you still want to know more about what has happened since the game’s release, I found a nice little summary in the lore section of the official forum.

The main story in Guild Wars 2 before you first enter the game

GW2_Logo_kl_transparentGuild Wars 2 takes a slightly different approach to delivering the story to its players. There are no traditional quests in the game. Most of the main storyline is delivered by their living world and personal story concept. The personal story starts out differently depending on which race and which options you chose during the character selection screen and also by what you choose at certain points throughout the personal story. It does eventually end the same for every character, though. The personal story is finished at some point and does not continue. Instead, the living world concept took over after the game’s release. The living world so far has seen two “seasons”. Season 1 was only temporary and cannot be played through and experienced anymore now. If you want to know what happened there, you have to rely on outside sources. Season 2 needs to be bought or played through with a player who previously unlocked it. It is similar to quests. You just don’t need to visit a quest giver in the world, but instead, can access each story’s steps in your character panel. This is also where you can find very short summaries of what happened in each story step (both for the personal story as well as for the second season of the living story).

As the name already suggests, Guild Wars 2 is a sequel. The original game, Guild Wars, takes place 250 years prior to where we are in Guild Wars 2. If you want to experience the original story, you can buy the game (3 campaigns and 1 expansion – the campaigns are all “standalone games” and can be played through without owning the others) and play through the story.

Additionally, there are three novels that take place before the main story of Guild Wars 2 starts: Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny and Sea of Sorrows. They were written to bridge the time between the original Guild Wars and the sequel.

The world of Guild Wars 2 is called “Tyria“. Do not confuse this Tyria with the other Tyria, the continent. ;) Tyria, the world, is only one among several in the Mists, the “proto-reality that exists between the worlds”.

Tyria, the world, consists of several continents of which Tyria, Cantha and Elona are the major known ones. In the current time, players do not have access to Cantha or Elona and we do not, in fact, know what is going on over there. The land route to Elona has been sealed on Queen Jennah‘s order because of “dark events” going on there. Jennah is the Queen of Kryta and Kryta is one of the regions in Tyria mainly inhabited by humans. Cantha, on the other hand, is cut off from Tyria because of Zhaitan, one of the Elder Dragons (more about those in a bit). With Zhaitan awake and active again, any ship trying to sail to Cantha would be sunk.

So, about those Elder Dragons now – they started to rise about 250 years ago with Primordus being the first. There are six different Elder Dragons in total: Primordus (Fire), Jormag (Ice), Zhaitan (Death and Shadow), Kralkatorrik (Crystal), Mordremoth (Plant and Mind) and a dragon suspected to be in the Unending Ocean. The name of the sixth Elder Dragon is not yet known and since nobody has heard anything, it is assumed that this dragon hasn’t awoken yet.

The Elder Dragons had been asleep for about 11,000 years. Naturally, not much is known about the history in the present time, though the dwarves – now near-extinct and the ones alive are turned to stone – had preserved some knowledge in their legends as did the Jotun. Now they are back and together with their champions and their minions, they destroy everything in their paths – or, even worse, turn every creature into their mindless and will-less minions that fight for them.

One group of adventurers, called “Destiny’s Edge“, was the first to slay one of the Elder Dragon’s champions, the Dragonspwawn. They rose to fame for this heroic deed, but when something went wrong, they – all coming from different racial backgrounds (Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari) – could not overcome their partly culturally based distrust for one another, some blamed each other for the death of a beloved former group member and the rest of the group eventually split up. Not long after, your character enters the scene…

The role of your character in this world

Every character enters the world near their racial main city. You begin with a story related to choices you have made during the character creation process. I would say the story is pretty “local”. You certainly do not start out as a hero and throughout the personal story as well as the living story, you gain recognition among the NPCs. In Season 2, you will have some NPCs even calling you “boss”. It is also safe to say that of course, your path will lead you closer to the Elder Dragons and you will play a role in fighting against them.

As you can tell, I’m being deliberately vague here. While I do want to introduce you to the basic lore of the game, I do not want to give you too many spoilers, because I think this would seriously diminish your fun in the game. I will get more into the different races’ in the next piece of this blog post series where we will look at the options available during the character creation process. So, this is all I am going to tell you about your character right now.

If you still want to know more about the history of Tyria, I can recommend the lore videos by WoodenPotatoes.

Conclusion so far

Rift’s strength, if you ask me, is that they also give you the collections to go out there and find all the little lore pieces. Additionally, you can feel the threat everywhere and the open world events make sense. And last but not least, neither faction is the “good” one. Both believe that what they are doing is right.

Guild Wars 2’s strength, on the other hand, is the strong and active community making sure that you can read all about the lore or listen to podcasts telling you about it. The continuous addition of content (up until season 2, at least. At the moment, we’re waiting for the expansion) has moved the main storyline further quickly. There is also lots of information to be found outside of the game including novels and the first game, Guild Wars.

One note about fantasy and steampunk: Even though I mainly mentioned machines in the Rift section, Guild Wars 2 has just as many steampunk elements in it. So if you really cannot stand steampunk in your game lore, neither of those games is a good match for you. Other than that, if you care about lore and want to get into a world full of story, I think both of those games will give you that. Trove, on the other hand, is very, very, very light on lore.

The next blog post will focus on the character creation as well as on the playable races and their background lore.

Coming to Trove next: Chocolate Fishing and Ship Cannons

trove-logoAnother livestream on Twitch was planned, but due to a “forced software update” technical issues arose, apparently, leading to Trion cancelling the Trove stream. As of this moment, they’re working on getting the stream set up for ArcheAge and Rift later on, but they weren’t able to show us a preview of what’s coming next in Trove.

Avarem, lead developer of Trove, answered a few questions in the Twitch chat that were asked by viewers. The chat scrolled by too fast (I really dislike auto-scrolling chat text, by the way), so I could not catch everything and I definitely missed the beginning of him answering questions. But what I did catch, I copied, so you can read it now. The “centered” text is directly copied from the chat.

1nsaint: @Avarem what was planned as preview on todays stream?
Avarem: @1nsaint it was the Meownt, Phoenix mount adventure box, chocolate fishing, ship cannons, and the new UI

The Meownt preview week in the chaos chest will start next week. This probably means that the Meownt will be added to the loot table of possible drops out of the chaos chests which you can buy for credits in the store. I looked for a hint of what the “Meownt” is, but could not find anything. I would assume it’s a mount, but no guarantee here. It’s just a guess. On the other hand, Avarem also said:

Avarem: it has a whole CATegory (get it) so you can guess where that is headed

With the latest patch, we got fishing, but only for water and lava. The other liquids (chocolate and plasma) have no fishing so far. But Avarem confirmed that chocolate fishing will come next week! Something else will change as well, though:

Shockfusion: @Avarem any changes to rares in fishing or the amount of glim from fishing?
Avarem: @Shockfusion Uncommon fish will go down some in how often they appear, so rewards for fishing will go down a bit, but not a lot, we’re also going to add more to buy with glim

Something else concerning fishing:

Avarem: also there’s a reason to have the lady of the lake fishing pole
Avarem: so don’t be sad, you people who were sad about that

I am not sure the “sad”-part belongs to the fishing pole. Again, the chat scrolled by too fast and I missed the beginning.

One last thing:

Avarem: If you haven’t seen our UI preview (not out next week, but some the week after) check out our official twitter account (@trovegame) or mine (@heyandrewk)

I assume Andrew referred to their tweet with a picture showing the ship cannons. I did not even look at the UI until I saw this chat message. But here you go:

Trove Teaser: Ship Cannons and new UI

Teaser: Ship Cannons and new UI

(Source: https://twitter.com/HeyAndrewK/status/586326784293015552)

I guess we’ll have to wait and watch the official forum to see more info on what is coming to Trove next week.

Liebster Award x2

Liebster AwardAbout a month ago, I was already nominated for The Mystical Mesmer and almost forgot about it. However, I now received another nomination from Rakuno of Shards of Imagination. That’s 22 questions in total. Of course, I feel honored that they thought of me in their blog posts and I’m happy to participate now. :)

First, an introduction of the Liebster award: As the icon suggests, it’s a way to discover new blogs for the readers of your own blog, but this isn’t simply done by saying: Go read their stuff! If they accept the award, they agree to give 11 random facts about themselves, answer 11 questions that you give them and they will give out 11 questions to 5 people they nominate themselves. In other words, you can get to know them a little bit better this way.

11 random facts about me

  1. I’m a psychologist, and work in the field of special education needs.
  2. My first computer was a Commodore 64 and the seonc one had Windows 2000.
  3. I cannot choose a favourite colour, because there are so many great ones (though orange and green hues are on top right now. Red is great, too, but a rather boring colour at the same time, if you ask me).
  4. I used to be obsessed with rabbits when I was a kid. I had about 30 or 40 rabbit plushies – and yes, two real rabbits as well at some point.
  5. My favourite ice-cream flavour is “Straciatella”.
  6. I have one brother who is 5 years older than me.
  7. My brain tends to give me really bad nightmares whenever it finds something it can use to scare me which is why I tend to avoid watching horror movies.
  8. I find seafood disgusting (except for some kinds of fish).
  9. I’m afraid of heights, but bought two annual tickets for myself and bookahnerk for a ropes course in a forest nearby.
  10. I used to draw comic snails when I was a kid.
  11. If I’d been a boy, my parents would have named me “Matthias”. One of my younger cousins got that name then.

The 11 questions I got from The Mystical Mesmer

1. What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?

I’m not sure what exactly “elements” refers to. So, I’m just going to say what comes to my mind here. :p It definitely has to have open world PvP areas (without PvP being 100 % optional and not required for the game at all if you don’t want to PvP). Then it has to have housing. And it has to have interesting classes that are more than the standard ones warrior, mage, ranger etc.

2. Big city, suburb, or countryside?

Neither. Near the city centre in a medium-sized town (around 100k inhabitants). Basically, exactly where we are living now. :) Or Hamburg which is a city with 1.7 million inhabitants but it doesn’t feel this huge or even crowded with lots of green areas, a lake and more than 2400 bridges. :p

3. What’s the origin of your blogging name?

I chose “Paeroka” when I started writing about games. It just fit. Back when I’d written a story for Nanowrimo, one of the characters in that story was named “Paeroka”. I liked the sound of it, so I used it for my first character on Horde side in World of Warcraft. When I started blogging about games, I did not know which name I could use, so I chose my character’s name. So, I basically named myself after a character that is named after a character I created back in 2005.

4. Aeris lives and you’re hired to retell Final Fantasy 7. What role does she play?

I’m sorry. My knowledge of Final Fantasy ends right with that name “Final Fantasy”. No idea who Aeris is. I did try out the MMO once for an hour or two, but that’s really all I know about this IP. Oh, and chocobos.

5. What’s your favorite biome?

I can give you examples from games, because I always love the same kind of area.

6. Write a haiku love poem to this morning’s breakfast.

Three mugs of coffee
With a hot bagel to go
Not much time for food.

So this isn’t exactly a love poem. But my breakfast, even though it was yummy, was more a necessity, because I’d needed to take a painkiller and that thing also kills my stomach if I don’t eat something first. :p Still, coffee is a must. I should have maybe written a haiku on coffee.

7. What’s your preferred device for reading blogs?

My PC most of the time. It used to be my mobile phone on my way to work when I had a commute of 1.5 to 2 hours every day. But now that I don’t have that anymore, I prefer my PC with its large monitor and fast internet connection.

8. If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?

Erm… sorry, I’m totally unimaginative when it comes to naming things. I’d probably ask bookahnerk to think of something.

9. Which of the Seven Dwarves would you be and why?

I had to look them up now, I admit. ;) Probably “Grumpy” from that list. I do get grumpy fast when things don’t go my way.

10. What form of exercise do you find to be the most effective?

Jogging. I can’t do it at the moment because I’m still having issues with my skin and it starts itching like crazy when I start to sweat. So, for the time being, it’s my elliptical trainer. Probably not the most effective, but I can watch a TV series while exercising and that’s really motivating (and entertaining) for me… and everything that gets you to exercise and is fun is effective, right?

11. How long is a piece of string?

Huh? I don’t get that question. ;)

The 11 questions from Rakuno

1. Why did you decide to blog about your chosen topic (for instance, why MMOs or why your chosen game)?

I started blogging a long time ago. On Deadjournal, actually, and then Livejournal when I’d gotten an invite code from an acquaintance. Over there on Livejournal, somebody started a German community journal for World of Warcraft. I joined it, because I knew the person who had started the community and because bookahnerk had just started playing that game. I’d wanted to know more about his hobby and I also liked the world that the game is set in (from what bookahnerk had told me about it, at least). So, it wasn’t that I woke up one day knowing I want to blog about gaming. I kind of slowly shifted into it. I had written posts on that German WoW community after I had started playing myself and then wanted to have a blog on my own because it gives me more freedom. It took a bit longer until I decided to start a blog, though. I also like WordPress and Blogspot more than Livejournal as a platform to write about games which is why I came here, to WordPress. As for why gaming? Because I like gaming and I like writing. Additionally, I wanted to practice my English more and I needed something to write about.

2. What do you feel is the hardest part about blogging?

The constant self-doubt and inner critic. That voice inside of me saying: “Nobody wants to read that.” or “You should really rewrite this paragraph… no, better that whole post! It sounds like a little kid wrote that.”

3. What is your favorite part about blogging?

Having people approach me and start a conversation because of something that I wrote (either here in the blog or somewhere else). I also admit, it was awesome to have people approach us in real life to tell me and bookahnerk that they like our blog. That’s not our “favourite” part, but it’s at least a nice bonus.

4. How did you get into MMOs?

Bookahnerk. ;) Well, kind of. I’ve always loved fantasy worlds (in books mostly), enjoyed science fiction (Star Trek more than anything else) and I already played a text-based dungeon-crawling game that you play online with others. Then bookahnerk started playing World of Warcraft and he sometimes, slowly told me about that game (that was at the beginning of our relationship). It took a while until I asked him if I could try WoW. I was a bit anxious because I was just about to start preparing for an important exam and did not want to get sucked into this game. Two days after trying WoW, I got a call from him telling me the serial code of my own WoW copy. :D I also used it as an incentive after a full day of studying (same as with Rift and my final exams later).

5. Sandbox or Themepark? Why?

Sandbox with a bit of themepark. If the game is only sandbox with no direction, I can easily feel lost. But if it’s only themepark without giving me any freedom, it’s not good either. For example, Rift is a very themepark game in that it has quests, dungeons, raids, set classes which doesn’t give you much freedom in choosing which weapons to use, for example. But it does, at least, have housing which lets you freely build structures and so on. It’s definitely more than just placing a table here and a bed there. It’s still a themepark game, so some more freedom would be nice.

6. When you are starting on a new game what makes you choose a certain race/class?

Race is rather easy: The one I like the most visually. I usually do not create a human. For me, it’s the boring choice. Here we are, in a fantasy world where everything is possible – hey, let’s make a human because that’s what I am, too. ;) I tend to go with smaller races because they’re usually quirkier and funnier to watch. Also, dwarves. When a game has dwarves, I’m really happy. As for class, it used to be spellcasters as my first choice, usually one with a few tricks up their sleeve (frost mage or warlock in WoW, mesmer in GW2). But depending on the combat system, I actually prefer heavy-armored melee classes, mostly with a sword and a shield or dual-wielding weapons. I don’t like two-handed weapons unless it’s a staff. So this limits my choices down pretty well most of the time.

7. If you had unlimited resources and time what game would you make? This can be an original idea of yours or based on an existing IP.

I would make a game around the fantasy world I had started to create around the Nanowrimo stories I have written, with dwarves, boring humans who are always at war with each other and the nimari – a race that explaining would take too long here since I’d have to go into the whole background of how that world was created. :p It would definitely be a mix of themepark and sandbox MMO with housing, crafting (best items in the game would come from crafting only), PvE as well as PvP with the latter being optional (a bit like the RvR areas in Warhammer Online, I think). Sadly, I don’t think I ever will have unlimited resources, so I will just stick with writing the stories instead. ;)

8. What is your favorite book?

The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie. During a particularly boring vacation with my parents, I had finished reading the three books I had brought with me within less than two days. It had been raining constantly, so we had basically been stuck in the house. We went shopping and I was looking for a book with lots of pages that would last longer than the ones I had brought, with a maybe interesting plot. I went for this one because it is about people from a Germanic tribe and Romans and it seemed like an interesting combination to read about. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I had to, my parents forced me to, but I really didn’t want to! I also got the original version (I had only read the German translation at first) from bookahnerk back when we had been “just friends”, but this very present first showed me that he is a very special person that I want and need in my life. So, this book isn’t only my favourite, it’s also connected with quite a bit of nostalgia by now.

9. What, in your opinion, is the best game of all time?

Hmm… A lot come to my mind for very different reasons. For example, Tetris, for being the game that connected me and my family back when we bought two gameboys. One just wasn’t enough for 4 people. ;) So we had two gameboys, two of us were playing Tetris, the other two were watching and cheering. World of Warcraft for getting MMORPGs out of their niche and into a broader market, maybe. For me personally, Cultures 1, because it brought me so many hours of entertainment. But best game of all time… probably not one of them. It always depends on what you interpret as “best” – best for what? :)

10. Someone challenged you to a duel at dawn. Since you are the one being challenged you are given the choice of weapons. What would be your choice? Keep in mind the challenger will be able to use the same weapons.

We’re talking about a gaming environment, right? Then a staff to go with my frost mage’s abilities. :p In reality: Nothing. I doubt there’s anything I could use as a weapon which would make me come out the winner.

11. The robot uprising happened at the same time of the zombie apocalypse. The robots see the zombies as a threat and the zombies react to the robots hostile actions instinctively. Who would win, the robots or the zombies and which one would be worse for the last surviving humans?

Another tough question. I find zombies annoying and overdone lately. So, I would vote for robots. On the other hand are robots scarier because they can probably hurt you more, seeing how they’re made of metal and with the latest technology, I assume. ;)

My 11 questions for the people I am going to nominate:

  1. What was your first gaming rig?
  2. Do you prefer games based on existing IPs (e.g., Star Wars, or that infamous probably never-to-be Harry Potter MMO) or new IPs?
  3. If you could resurrect any online game that is no longer (officially) available, which one would it be?
  4. Let’s imagine you’re put into a higher-up developer position of your favourite MMO with enough power to decide: Which one thing would you want to change about the game immediately?
  5. Is there a blog post you really would have wished you had written but haven’t (yet)?
  6. If you feel a writer’s block approaching, what do you do to overcome it?
  7. Blogging and gaming – how do you balance those two?
  8. What one advice would you give a new blogger?
  9. Other than gaming and blogging, what is your favourite pastime?
  10. How much time do you spend in the character creation screen for one character?
  11. If you could actually live in your favourite MMO, which place / town / area would you choose?

And now it’s probably time to actually nominate some people, right? I’m actually supposed to name 5, but eh, I was already nominated by two people. Jaedia, whom I would have liked to nominate as well, has just done this, too. All of this kind of narrows down my own choices. :p So, I will just say that I nominate a) the guys from Dragon Season (mostly TheValliant and Tilion, but all the other writers on there are welcome to join as well!) and bookahnerk – yes, from my own blog. So what? ;)

The annual question: Do I still want to write about games?

… Or isn’t a cooking blog what I want to do instead… Hmm… tough decision, really. While I’m pondering whether I’ll quit writing about games, I’ll give you a recipe of a lentil soup that I’ve known for ages. My mum often made it and even though our tastes in food are rather different by now, this is one of the few recipes from her that I regularly make for me and bookahnerk – and friends, too, of course!

Linsensuppe_Bild 5

Be careful, though. As is common for typical German dishes, this one isn’t exactly low on calories. I usually prepare it on days when I’ve exercised. :p Also, the amounts I’m giving you are just the amounts I’ve used when I prepared it the last time. But really, it’s up to you how much you want to add of which ingredient (e.g. much more potatoes, not that much sausage). The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy, fail proof and it can be altered! :)

Ingredients:

  • Lentils (“Tellerlinsen” to be more precise)
  • (Waxy) Potatoes
  • Pork Sausage
  • Cabanossi (we tried Chorizo once, that worked as well. The pictures here show some other kind of red sausage, but I can’t find a good translation for it)
  • Water, salt and pepper

For the amount I use in the recipe, try this converter if you’re not working with grammes usually.

Put about 200 g of the lentils in a pot. Then take about 3 potatoes (300 grammes), wash them, then simply cut them into pieces and put them with the lentils. If you prefer, you can also peel the skin off first. I’m just usually too lazy and since we like it with the skin anyway, we just don’t bother. The potatoes we use here are waxy ones, by the way, so it’s not bad if they’re boiling a bit longer. Add about 3 litres of water to the lentils and the potatoes and then turn on the stove. Let them boil for 45 minutes. Very important: Do not add salt or the process will take longer! Also make sure the water isn’t boiling too much, so it doesn’t boil over.

Cut the sausages into small pieces (get rid of the skin if it’s not edible!). When the lentils are done, add the sausages, salt and pepper. Let it boil for a few more minutes.

And – that’s it. Really. It’s an easy soup. Nothing special or fancy, but as I said, I really love it. There are a lot of variations out there and I guess almost every household has a different recipe. Ours belongs to the “very simple” kind. :p You can also add carrot pieces if you like. Since my stomach doesn’t like raw carrots, I only ever buy them if we have several meals planned with cooked or baked carrots. Which means that most often, we don’t add any carrots to this soup. But it is a great addition. And some more vegetables never hurt, right? ;)

Related posts: