Summer Sale 2016 – Part 2

And then there were four new games. In my defense, I only bought one of those and got the other one from a friend. :)

The first is Democracy 3. I had it on my wishlist for quite some time already and then decided that I really want it. Now. Not during the next sale. Yes, it was a spontaneous buy, but it was also below 10 €, at least. My first reaction after starting the game was something like: What is this? – Blue, red, white buttons. Red lines, green lines. It’s all so confusing (see screenshot below :p). Or, as bookahnerk said with a grin on his face: Have fun governing your country!

Democracy 3 Main Screen

I did slowly get into the game after playing for an hour or two (or more? I did not check the clock). The one thing I can say is annoying is that there is a strong bias for US American politics. That is, not in which policies you can activate. But here is one example: Even though I chose Germany as my country, there are only two parties in the election. Our system has much more than just two parties. I know that I should not expect one game to follow all countries’ political systems, but it is a bit strange nonetheless. I guess I am just too used to our political system.

Most of what you see above is the game. Policies that are active, consequences that need your attention (red), and the factions of your country in the middle. You get “power” every turn (seen as the fist on the upper left) and every action you make costs some of that power. Your cabinet determines how much power you get every quarter. And you can also hire and fire new members for your cabinet. I like “slow” turn-based games like this one once in a while. Especially when watching a TV series or a film at the same time. Or after a stressful day at work when I want to play, but cannot concentrate too much anymore.

The other game that I added to my library is Windward. I know I had it on my wishlist once, but I don’t think I still had it there when said friend gave it to me. She had bought a 4-pack for herself and another friend. Then she gave one copy to me and the 4th to bookahnerk. I have not played this much yet, but what I saw was really very good! I have yet to test the multiplayer. Then again, maybe I should first learn how to play before thinking about that. :p What I find difficult is moving your ship so you can fire your cannons. And I admit, I never paid attention to ships and how they are built. I actually had to ask bookahnerk: “The game says my cannons can’t reach the target. Are my cannons on the front or on the side?” – Yes, you may laugh now. Thinking about it and how a ship looks, I know they are usually on the side. But in the middle of the battle against pirates, I didn’t!

Windward

So as you can guess, there is still a lot to learn for me. But hey, at least I found how to customize your fleet’s look. I am not a fan of pink/rose at all, actually. But when I started playing the game Warlock, I somehow ended up with pink as my colour and this has sticked with me ever since. I once tried to play with a different colour and had a hard time finding my towns on the map. :p So, whenever I can, I now use pink for myself. As I said, I have not done much yet, but I did destroy a few pirate ships, did my first trade, handed in a few quests and just strolled along the coastline – or whatever you do with a ship. :p With this very limited bit of experience, I would still recommend the game. It’s only 4 €, after all. That’s two cups of espresso.

Thankfully, the Steam sale is ending in a few days. My wallet will be safe again! Though I also have to say that I really like that Steam got rid of its flash sales and extra daily deals. Now there is no “stress” anymore to try to get the best of the best of the sales. You can just ponder and mull over your wishlist’s games for a couple of weeks and calmly decide which games you actually want.

How bad is the Steam Summer Sale?

For your wallet, of course. :p

I only bought three items: Remember Me and the Ascended Souls for Rift twice. The latter for me and for bookahnerk.

After that, we created new characters to level together. He is playing a mage with the Frostkeeper soul which is a healer. I decided to level a cleric as Runeshaper which is a magic damage dealer… it plays a bit like a fire mage. We both have a mage and a cleric respectively, but the builds in Rift can be quite confusing (for players like us who don’t play regularly, at least), so we thought it’d make sense to start fresh with two low level characters and play them through dungeons to get to know the builds step by step. Only that we found that sometimes, the dungeon queue pops faster when I queue as support instead of damage dealer. In Rift, dungeons can be played with 5 players: Two damage dealers, one tank, one support and one healer. So, I switched to the cleric’s support soul, the Oracle, instead. I never thought I would like that soul, because when I first read about it, it sounded very boring. It’s definitely not and I actually quite enjoy shielding my fellow party members. If only the low level dungeons weren’t as easy as they are. But we hope that this will change later on when we get to higher levels (or veteran dungeons).

Rift Eth Mage and Cleric

Remember Me is the “spiritual predecessor” to Life is Strange from the same company – or at least, I am calling it like that. It is similar, yet very different at the same time. The combat especially – most of all, there is no combat in Life is Strange. :p But on top of that, I also find it tedious in Remember Me and would prefer if the game did not have any combat. As far as I noticed so far, it’s “click, click, click” at the same pace. You can choose whether the second click in this sequence deals damage or heals and you can choose what kind of combat animation the character does. There are different sequences that you can use, but it seems to be this pattern all the time. But there is dodging as well and so far, my “damage-heal-damage” sequence, while kind of boring to click, seems to work perfectly. And the rest of the game is quite good so far, especially the story sounds intriguing and the atmosphere is really nice, so I do not regret the purchase.

Remember Me

Other than that, I have actually kept my wallet closed. There are games I am interested in, but I currently do have a few other games that I actually want to play. So, those games will stay on my wishlist until Winter sale, I guess. ;)

NBI 2016: Blogging can be life-changing

Yes, I admit, the headline is probably a bit too dramatic. ;) So before you get too excited: Blogging will not make you rich and it is very unlikely that you will become famous. However, looking back at the past five years with this blog, a few things happened that did influence our lives in positive ways.

Even though writing, and thus blogging, per se is a solitary pastime, having a blog ultimately leads to being read. If you allow comments on your blog, then the interaction with your readers can be a very direct one, obviously. In case you are wondering: Should I allow comments? – I can recommend this post by Contains Moderate Peril. If you opt for a wordpress.com blog, I would suggest enabling the feature that when somebody comments for the first time, this comment will be put in “moderation” and you manually allow it (or not). This way, you can catch trolls and delete their comment without it being public. No harm done. As soon as you allow somebody’s comment, future comments will not be put in the moderation queue and will appear immediately. So far in the five years, this setting has helped us a lot – not that we actually did get troll comments. We only sometimes get spam comments that the automatic spam filter doesn’t catch. This is still a very good feature for these situations.

But back to the topic of this blog post: If you allow comments, then you will sooner or later get a few people who will comment on your blog. It will very likely not be a huge amount as the vast majority belongs to the “quiet readers”. What I personally really like is when people comment and add their thoughts that a post of mine provoked.

On top of that, blogging about specific games also means that you are part of a gaming community. This is also where comments come into play. Reach out to other bloggers that you like reading. Comment in their blogs, add them to your blogroll or reply to a post they made with a post of your own (always remember to link to them and use trackbacks as that is a good way to notify them of your post).

In my case, some other person (Marc, the founder of GuildMag) had noticed our blog and when ArenaNet was wondering who to invite to their European community gathering before Guild Wars 2 launched, the UK community manager at the time reached out to us and invited us to come to Brighton. Now this was probably a lot of luck for us! This trip was back in 2012 when I was still relatively new to the blogging world, but without this blog, I obviously wouldn’t have been able to go because all of us were bloggers or writers for Guild Wars 2 fansites. I accepted the invitation (gladly, of course!) and then found myself on a plane to the UK. I had never been to the UK before (and still haven’t returned which is quite sad, because I really want to visit that country), so I was even more excited. Finally! Even if it was only for a bit more than 24 hours. And I’ll be eternally grateful to Tasha for pulling me back when I had forgotten that cars drive on the left side over there.

Group picture EUFanDay

While there, I got to know some Greek dude who had mentioned his Guild Wars 2 guild. Once back here at home when we were trying to find a good guild for us, I sent him a message and asked if we could join. And that’s how we got accepted to Dragon Season. This guy (those who know Dragon Season probably know by now that it’s Tilion that I am talking about) has become a very close friend of mine and if nothing goes wrong, we will finally get to meet again this summer!

Another example is the Foostival. Foostival is a real life event from fans for fans of Guild Wars 2 which has taken place in several European countries for a couple of years already. It is mostly organized by those of us with Guild Wars 2 fansites. Since we are German but blog in English, we did not actually have any connections to the existing German fansites. But when GuildNews joined Foostival back in 2014, I was invited to help organize this event (by Tilion, actually) and I happily accepted. Through the Foostival, we have met several more great people and hope to stay in touch even outside of Guild Wars 2. Since they are all German, meeting in “real life” is also a lot easier since there is less distance to travel!

Last but not least, being one little blogger with one little blog can also lead to something more “professional”: Justin from Massively mentions that a lot of them started off as individual bloggers. And some of the Massively staff actually ended up working for game companies (like Rubi who now works for ArenaNet and Celestrata who joined Turbine and later switched to TrionWorlds).

GW2 Pink Day Plaza - Aurora Glade

I guess what this post aims at is that blogging is actually not so much a solitary pastime, but a very social one with lots of opportunities to reach out to others, connect and find friends who share your interests. Thanks to the internet – and if you use a widespread language like English – even all over the world. But even if you decide to blog in your native tongue, you can still reach out to a lot of people you would probably not meet otherwise. And I personally just really enjoy participating in something bigger, something community-driven (“Pink Day in LA” should also be mentioned here which I once helped organize on our server Aurora Glade).

(Side note: I had originally wanted to be a lot more active during NBI, but due to health issues concerning my fingers and a strict “NO TYPING!” from my doctor, I tried to restrict typing to my day job. :p)

Wildstar E3 Pack: Gnix pet and Hoverboard

No, one can never have enough hoverboards. At least not in Wildstar. :p

Humble Bundle is selling the “E3 2016 Digital Ticket” with lots of goodies and a couple of games in between. I actually was not interested in most of those items (though I have always wanted to feel the excitement of being a mountain…) except for the Wildstar E3 Pack. The Flask of Advancement in this Wildstar pack is nice, as it gives you some extra experience and my alts will certainly be happy to receive this. I also did get the Junkyard Dog Hoverboard previously. Carbine handed it out to players who tested the new tutorial during a couple of specific time frames they had given. Those mounts were single-claim, though, meaning that only one character could get them on my account. Up to 4 of those hoverboards could be “earned”. With this bundle, all items are multi-claim which means that every character on your account can receive this bundle once.

The main reason I had to get this bundle, however, is the Gnix pet! It’s a little stone… something. My Granok (my main character’s race) is a big stone… something. They’re a match made in heaven! :D

The Wildstar pack is in the cheapest tier which means that you can pay only $1.00 to receive the item pack! That is certainly a bargain. And if you’re still not sure, you have about 7 more days to decide whether you want that bundle or not. And in case you’re not familiar with Humble Bundle, you can pay, e.g., $1.00 and later upgrade if you change your mind and want the next tier (for $4.00 which has the “more content coming soon” next to it).

NBI 2016: Screenshot prompt “The New”

A prompt to make a blog post with screenshots? I’m in! So, this is part of the “Newbie Blogger Initiative”. You can find more information on what the Newbie Blogger Initiative is in a previous post of mine (as well as in the other posts I’m linking to there).

But let’s get to the prompt itself:

This week I was thinking “the new”. A moment in game you experienced something unexpected, learnt something new, or just a visual element or object you had never seen before.

I tried to come up with something good, funny, creative – and I failed. But then I remembered my recent rant about expansions and the new regions introduced and figured: This is just perfect, isn’t it? “The new” parts of the world that an expansion gives a player: Guild Wars 2 expanded its world by giving its players more of the Maguuma Jungle, called “Heart of Maguuma”, while Rift gave us the Nightmare Tide zones. So, one features a jungle with trees and several floors to experience. They also added gliding, so you can vertically explore the game while the other gives us nightmares in a mostly underwater world. In my personal case, this really is a nightmare sometimes because of my phobia of “deep dark water” and “the things that live there”. So in case you are scared as well, be careful!

Rift’s Nightmare Tide was released in October 2014 and Guild Wars 2 released almost a year later in October 2015, which also means that both expansions are not exactly “new” anymore. But back then, they very much were, of course, and that’s where I’m digging for screenshots. So the screenshots you will see were taken when I first played in those new zones.

Rift: Nightmare Tide

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Maguuma