A few hours in Civilization VI

Bookahnerk had pre-purchased Civilization VI for himself and for me and we’ve both been looking forward to the game’s release for weeks now. Since I’ve spent the week being sick while still going to work every day (thank you, painkillers, for helping me out), we spent Friday evening being very lazy. He brought home Subway sandwiches, so I did not have to cook. I had started a single player game on Friday morning before work, but in the evening, we decided to start a game together. Difficulty setting “Prince” gave us a very unpleasant experience. Within a couple of turns, we were both occupied by barbarians with no force to counter them.

Civilization VI playing as France

We restarted both with “Warlord” which is one difficulty setting below “Prince”. I think Warlord is too easy for us, but it worked fine to start and get to know the game. Especially if you’re playing together, it’s just too frustrating if you need to restart all the time because one of you got overrun by barbarians. ;)

In the single player game, I had chosen England as my civilization while I tried out France in the multiplayer one. The introduction video for France says that it’s a perfect civilization for those going for a cultural victory. I really like and prefer going for the non-domination victories, so it sounded like the perfect choice. But I’m not so sure right now. But that’s probably because I have not seen too much of the game yet and am not really sure what I’m doing, especially when it comes to focusing on one path for victory. I just always love the exploration part and England seems like a better choice there as it gives you an advantage in naval movement. It also seems that I go for the female leaders more than the male ones. Come to think of it, I don’t remember when I last willingly played a male leader in the Civilization games other than getting a random leader. Most of the time, the female leaders have the attributes or bonuses I want, though. Especially England!

The biggest controversy before the game’s release was probably the graphics. I even saw lots of comments about how the game was “dumbed down” which seemed to be related to the impression they got from the graphics (Halo Effect at its best, I assume). I myself was not a big fan of the graphics changes, but I also said from the beginning that the actual gameplay was much more important to me than the look of the game. My impression so far is that it does not look or feel like a “mobile game” at all. After all, it’s not even the graphics alone. It’s the combination of graphics, user interface, animations, sounds and music. If there were such a mobile game, I would probably start playing games on my mobile phone. :p

I had also heard the game’s main theme before playing and I was… disappointed. Of course, after Baba Yetu, it’s difficult to come up with something better if you ask me, but this song, “Sogno di Volare” just seemed so boring. However, I started the game and watched the introduction video which is where the main theme slowly starts playing and I can tell you: It fits perfectly. It’s no Baba Yetu, but it’s definitely a great song for the game. I also received a newsletter mail from the composer, Christopher Tin, who let us all know that the song can also be bought on several sites like Amazon or iTunes – just in case somebody is interested. :)

So altogether, after playing for a few hours, I can say that I am definitely not disappointed with the game. I have not found anything to be “dumbed down” so far and I really like the addition of the city districts. The builders only having a number of “charges” to improve fields before you need to build another builder is annoying, though. Probably very good, but annoying. I keep building other stuff in the city (like fighting units etc.) and forget that I also need builders to improve my city. It adds another strategic element, though, as you need to consider even more what you need to build in your city next and what you want to focus on.

My conclusion so far: It feels like a true Civilization game and a worthy successor to Civilization V… but I still don’t like the way the trees look. :p

WoW: Say cheeeeese!

Now who’s more photogenic, eh?

I like how silly World of Warcraft is sometimes. I had seen that they implemented the S.E.L.F.I.E. camera some time ago, but both my characters received their very own ones in the game today. Oddly enough, despite it being very silly, it’s not really breaking the immersion for me. Maybe because the game has always had pop references and the like (Haris Pilton…). I laughed quite a lot when I saw the picture I took with my draenei, but the pandaren is just adorable.

I have been playing my draenei mage as my main character ever since I first created her (when Burning Crusade released). However, when I went back to the game after Mists of Pandaria had released, I had created a little pandaren monk and I really liked that class. I made a different one (I wanted a different name), Gechi, and boosted her to level 100. But she has to wait as my draenei mage is questing her way through the previous expansion’s story content. I want to know what happened before I continue playing the current expansion! Although I somehow doubt it’s going to be too relevant considering the previous expansion put is in an alternate universe. Not really my cup of tea, but I’m also not a fan of Rift’s lore and I am slowly getting bored with the elder dragons in Guild Wars 2 as well. Let’s just say I apparently do not really care about the stories much but about the rest of the game. Anyway, this post is not about my love or hate for lore. It’s about my love for silly things in MMOs and this S.E.L.F.I.E. camera certainly is one of such things!

Finally got my Opie!

If you pre-purchased the expansion when Trion announced it and collected the Starfall Prophecy tokens by logging on every day (which fortunately, I was able to do), then you should have 50 of these tickets today and can get your Opie mount!

rift opie mount

I had seen pictures of the mount, but I never noticed that it shrinks you and that it’s actually tiny. Very cute! I haven’t tried out the other – functional – part of Opie yet. It’s not just a mount, it can help with collecting artifacts. It can jump very high making it easier to reach certain places. There was a concern that Trion would put in artifacts that are otherwise impossible to reach, but they promised they won’t do that. Additionally, Opie needs to be fed with pellets in order to be able to use these abilities and they will not drop too often.

In other words, I can just enjoy my new Opie mount and being tinier than usual (being a dwarven lady).

rift opie mount with sparkles

Paeroka’s Ponderings: When is a game worth your money?

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for column

I know there are a lot of gamers with a huge backlog of games and a bad conscience whenever they get yet another game even though there is this long list of games they never or hardly played.

Most of the time, I compare the money I spent on the game with the amount of time I played it. Obviously, not counting the ones that I did not like at all as these are obviously a waste of money. So far, my comparison was usually a ticket to the movies. Let’s be generous and say 8 € for 2 hours, because I don’t go to 3D movies and don’t need the extra comfortable seats in the back. :p But in a lot of games, you already spend half an hour or so in the tutorial! With that comparison, if a game has a long tutorial (or you just need longer to get through it like I usually do), a game for 8 € would be worth it already if I get through the tutorial. So while it is a good comparison in a way as its anchor is another pastime that costs money, I think it’s not too good considering the nature of games. That would be a bit more like me comparing it to the trailers that you see in the cinema before the actual movie starts. :p

A colleague of bookahnerk said to him: “I have an easy calculation: 1 € per hour played”. I like it because it’s easy to calculate, but also a lot stricter. For some weird reason, my brain really needs such a calculation, though, to justify getting yet another game. I like that this one is a lot stricter than mine but probably still reasonable and only slightly less arbitrary. :p

Let’s take a look at my Steam profile: The one with the most amount of time played is still Star Trek Online with 258 hours. I would say that I spent most of these hours trying to figure out how the space fights work and how to get a good ship. But MMOs are always different and Star Trek Online is a free to play game on top of it (I think I paid for it once and also bought the original series uniforms? I’m not too sure, but I do know they got some money from me). Then there’s Tropico 4, Civilization V, Tropico 5 and Prison Architect with 139 to 106 hours played. There is no question about these games: They were worth their money if you ask me! Where else can you get that much entertainment for that amount of money? Especially considering I got most of these games on sale.

But let’s look at Tropico 5 as I know I bought it for full price when it came out and only went for the sales for the extra DLCs. Summing everything up (I kept the emails), I spent 62 € on Tropico 5 for 109 hours of entertainment. So yes, it’s in the positive. Phew. Still, as I said, my brain needs some kind of justification and I think this formula will help with that. It will also keep me from buying impulsively, I hope. And I’m sure I’m not the only one coming up with some calculations, right?

And one day… one day I will try out all these tiny little games that I don’t care about because they were part of a bundle. And once I do, I will write about my experiences here. Sometimes these little ones are true gems. Sometimes they’re garbage. You never know until you tried, right?


I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place. Sometimes they will make sense, sometimes they won’t.

Revisiting World of Warcraft

WoW Death Knight starter areaWho isn’t back to World of Warcraft? This was the question I asked myself a lot lately when looking at blog posts or tweets. And once I mentioned it to bookahnerk, we were off on nostalgia lane. “Do you remember how…” and all that. We knew we would not go back to WoW ourselves. After all, my last expansion was Mists of Pandaria, which I had bought and levelled my mage a bit right before Rift announced going free to play at which point I immediately dropped WoW. But there was another expansion before Legion which I would have to get. Bookahnerk did not even have Mists of Pandaria. So, in order to only catch up, we would already have to buy three expansions plus the monthly fees.

Only that apparently, Blizzard gifted every account that owns the base game (so not the free trial accounts) every single expansion except for Legion! Once we saw that, we decided to gift ourselves three months of monthly fees and a long trip back to see what has happened, changed, been added to the game. There is one great thing about our WoW corner: It involves a guild. The guild that bookahnerk has been very active in back in Ultima Online. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s been with some of these guys since the early years of Ultima Online! And even though we’ve basically been away since Cataclysm, we are still members of the guild.

So, upon returning we decided to make new characters to get back into the game more easily and asked for invitations for these characters (WoW doesn’t have account-bound guild memberships). A few minutes later, he was on Teamspeak chatting with the guild members. We were welcomed back and I think this is a pretty big part of an MMO. You can leave easily and never look back when you know the people you played with are gone, too. But once you are part of a community, you never really leave, right?

I had chosen to give Death Knight a try. The last time I played, she had two blood, two death and two frost runes and I had to memorize which skill used which runes etc. Now she has six frost runes if she’s frost-specced and the skills do not require different types of runes anymore. Much easier, I have to say. Maybe too easy, but I have never been a fan of resource juggling when playing a character. I much prefer having to know which skills do what (like stuns, roots, damage over time effects and so on) over that.

WoW Death Knight on stolen mount

My main character was a frost mage and when I last played her, I got her to level 88. Mists of Pandaria had a maximum level of 90. Warlords of Draenor added 10 more levels. So I figured I should also level her a bit to see all the new content. The Death Knight is level 60 now, so she’s ready for Burning Crusade, which is the expansion that released back in 2007. :p I remembered most things about my mage, almost all hotkeys and even her macros were still working! It took me a while, however, to remember that frost mage actually has a water elemental. Whoops. All of a sudden, her damage got up a lot! ;) So I guess that was my really n00bish moment getting back into the game.

Now here is something that already annoys me a lot: I had played my Death Knight with a two-handed melee weapon. I love these weapons as long as the combat animations are quite fast. That was the case with the Death Knight. But now I got a message that the system changed and they are now required to fight with two one-handed weapons. No big deal, I thought. And then I remembered that I also started a pandaren monk who fights with a staff. Melee staff-wielders are my favourite when it comes to melee, but hardly any game ever offers you those. Most of the time, it’s casters with a staff in their hands. So I logged on with her and noticed I had mail… yep, Blizzard telling me that melee DPS monks no longer use a staff, but two one-handed weapons. Seriously… -.- That staff was the main reason I rolled a monk! I am not the only one who doesn’t like this change, but that doesn’t really help much. On the other hand, it makes me want to check out the thief in Guild Wars 2 again with her daredevil specialization!

Oh well, I have enough to do with my mage, after all – who yes, is holding a staff in her hands. ;) I am also already looking forward to checking out garrisons and what they are all about. Certainly not housing, though, so Rift won’t lose me any time soon. :p