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

Primalist and cross-promotions

All of Trion’s own games (Defiance, Rift and Trove) are receiving some cross-promotion rewards when you log into their newest game, Atlas Reactor, this weekend (to be more precise, between Friday, Oct. 7 at 5:00pm (PT) and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11:59pm (PT)). In Rift, everybody gets 15 days of free Patron time. If you’re in the USA, you can also win a pack with all of their mounts. In Trove, you get two Empowered Gem Boxes. In Defiance, you get 15 days of Patron time (if you’re playing on the PC) and 2 x 15 inventory slots (both for PC and console players).

Logging into Atlas Reactor seems to be enough to get these rewards. So if you really don’t care about the game, just install it briefly, log in, check if you got the rewards in your game(s) and uninstall the game again. Or… give it a try! :p Despite it being advertised as a turn-based PvP game, you can perfectly play it as a PvE game with or without other players, by the way!

So with 15 days of Patron time in Rift also comes a 10 % discount in their store. I completely missed that they had reduced the cost of their additional class, the Primalist, back in April. It’s still not cheap if you ask me, – about 28 € without the discount – but with the discount, I decided it’s time to get the Primalist. I like having all classes unlocked in my MMOs! What I had not considered was that I also needed another character slot. Thankfully, I was not at the maximum amount already (12) and “only” had to buy another slot and character slots are reasonably cheap.

After that, the usual “obstacles” occurred. Do I really want a 5th dwarf? I already have one elf in both factions and for me, that’s about 1.5 elves more than I have on average in most other games that have that race. ;) I chose to try out a human on guardian side (a Mathosian) instead since I do not have one. Yeah, I’m not a fan of humans either, because they are too ordinary for fantasy games. So I’m not really sure why I chose this one… I just figured it might be nice to have something non-dwarf for once and the other non-elf non-human is the Bahmi race which I found too big and bulky for my taste. So, welcome, little Ghamina. May you grow a few levels before the expansion arrives and you’ll be put back on the shelf as my dwarf cleric will take over again! Also, I can’t believe I had not saved or used the name Ghamina on that shard until now…


Atlas Reactor: Win 1 of 5 Lockwood Citadel Skins

(Update: Giveaway is closed. Winners will be receiving their codes shortly – We decided to give away 6 codes instead of 5, so everybody’s a winner! :D)

Atlas Reactor entered its headstart (which you can join immediately if you purchase the founder pack). If you don’t own a founder’s pack, you will have to wait until the game’s official launch to play the game for free. But don’t worry: This day is tomorrow!

The launcher states that the game will launch at 8 am PDT (click the link to see the time in your own time zone) – so in less than 24 hours! And to celebrate this occasion, we were given special skins (Lockwood Citadel Skins) to give away to our readers! Skins are purely cosmetic, of course. Lockwood is the freelancer you get to try during the tutorial, by the way. He is one of my favourite freelancers and I think purple suits him very well! So if you want one of these skins for yourself as well, read the rules below and leave a comment. :)

Atlas Reactor Lockwood Citadel Skin

  1. Rules and Important Notes – Read these before participating in our giveaway! They will tell you what to do in order to enter successfully.
  2. This giveaway will run from today until 8. October (9 pm our time!). Click the link to check for the time in your timezone.
  3. Leave a comment saying “I have read and agree with the giveaway’s rules” if you want to enter the giveaway for the Lockwood Citadel Skin. No other keyword is necessary here (since we only have this skin to give away in the first place).
  4. The codes will expire on November 6, so if you win it, make sure to enter it before that date!

Last but not least, good luck to everybody who participates!

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (September 2016)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchFirst of all, we have Rift and some tiny news about its upcoming expansion “Starfall Prophecy”. We still do not have a date for the expansion’s launch, unfortunately. I speculated about the time range before, but other than that, it’s all guessing. Of course, us players are getting impatient as we would love to hop into the new content right away! But the latest post about it was a definite “no launch date yet”. However, we now know that there will be a beta (since Trion usually does these with Rift, it was to be expected, but confirmation is still nice!) and that news about beta will come “well before we announce a date”.

Thankfully, Guild Wars 2 will launch its next piece of content update “Rising Flames” next Tuesday, so I won’t have to starve for too long with nothing to do (totally ignoring the fact I also just got World of Warcraft’s Legion… :p). I am not hyped as with Guild Wars 2, I strongly prefer not having any expectations and then just enjoying what’s given to me. However, I like that there will be a new map again!

Atlas Reactor Charr Freelancer Rask

Last piece of news from me but most exciting: Atlas Reactor just got a launch date! The game will officially release on October 5. From everything I have seen and experienced, I can tell you that I am confident that this game is ready for release! But you do not need to trust my words here, as you can hop into the game for free already (note that there will be a wipe prior to release!). And from September 15 (wait – that’s today I just realized) until September 25 the game will be in open beta and you will get everything unlocked! The game will be free to play when it launches but certain things are locked until you pay a one-time fee (all heroes, called freelancers here, will be unlocked then, for example).

“Bookahneer’s Geekwatch” is the place where we take a look at all those little pieces of gaming news that have attracted our interest and/or talk about what’s recently been in the spotlight of other fansites.

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