Friday, 29 May 2015

Darkest Dungeon: Fiends and Frenzy

Great news from the great folks behind the marvellous Darkest Dungeon - their first major content patch, entitled Fiends and Frenzy, with a ton new features. If you haven't jumped in already, this is an outstanding but brutal rogue-like and well worth it!

  • New Hero Class! Man-At-Arms
  • New Hero Class! Arbalest
  • New Ruins Boss! Gibbering Prophet
  • New Warens Boss! Formless Flesh
  • New Weald Boss! Brigand Cannon
  • New Loot: “The Ancestor’s Trinket set” is a group of ultra-rare items once held by the Ancestor himself – be warned, some of these trinkets are only found in the pitch dark!
  • New Building! Ancestor’s Statue: Click the statue to open the Ancestor’s Memoirs – a record of all cutscenes and boss backstories!
  • Heart Attacks! Don’t let your heroes get too stressed. If your stress bar fills again past affliction…it’s over.
  • Sell your junk!  In the Trinket Inventory, hold shift to see sell back value, shift+click to sell trinkets
  • Crit-heals!  Heal, critically!
  • Tons of Party Names as created by Kickstarter and Humble backers!

#NBI2015Safari : Selfie Entry - H1Z1: Ready for the Apocolypse

As the month is not yet out, I felt another entry to the Safari, the challenge set by Murf of the Murf Vs Blog. was in order. This Selfie is of the latest incarnation of Knifesedge, a lone survivor, having just finished his base in the woods, cobbled together with metal sheets and planks. The helmet, looted from a nearby house, serves him well against zombie bites.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Blog Consolidation has begun

After getting some great advise from the folks at the Newbie Blogger Initiative, I have decided to stick with Blogger and consolidate everything to one blog under the banner along with my new logo.

This new site will contain everything from my gaming blog, my Indie Horror blog and my gardening blog. The three original sites will continue to be updated so if you only have interest in one of the topics you can continue to follow there or subscribe to the new feed and get everything.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Landscape: Tequatl in smoke #NBI2015Safari

My only entry to the NBISafari. A Guild Wars 2 shot of heroes charging the mighty dragon, Tequatl.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

#NBI2015 Talkback Challenge - The Secret Origin of Knifesedge Games

A little out of order as this was a previous talkback challenge set by the Newbie Blogger Initiative but I'm nothing if not unconventional and I believe in the mantra 'Better late than never'

So here's a potted history of my life with games. I did an article last year about how I discovered RPGs so this relates purely to the electronic form.

It pretty much started around 1978 at the tender age of 7. My neighbour had a Grandstand console with Bat and Ball, or Pong as it was known elsewhere in the world. From there I was fascinated with video games and was fortunate enough to watch them develop over the years.

A couple of years later, the first arcade machines began to popup and I distinctly remember the first time I saw Space Invaders in a local cafe. As it was on the route to my school, I spent many hours there, just watching the bigger kids play. That was soon followed by other games that since became classics -Asteroids, PAC Man and my favourite arcade game to this day, Kung Fu Master.

As the 80's arrived, along came affordable home computers, and for me that was the Sinclair Spectrum, complete with rubber keyboard. I bought my own, along with a little portable TV from money earns doing a paper round. I remember I saved for months to get it. I also had an Atari console one year as a Christmas present though the Spectrum became my favourite. Games on tape were plentiful and as years passed I upgraded the RAM with massive cartridges. 

Next up was the Commodore Amiga, a great machine with some fantastic games, Bard's Tale in particular I remember fondly. The whole Nintendo scene was happening at the same time but completely passed me by. From the Amiga I upgraded to a PC, some time in the early 90's and really got into PC gaming. I was there for The Realm, a precursor to MMOs.

By the mid nineties I got hold of a PS1, and being in London, had access to a plethora of imported Japanese and American games. The Playstation 2 followed and not long after, the XBox, all the while still playing PC games.

Several years later, I upgraded to PS3, my most recent console but PC gaming is still the centre of my life. I discovered MMO's with LOTRO around 2010 and have not looked back since. Guild Wars 2 is my mainstay at the moment, but I have dipped my toe into SWTOR, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, Secret World and many others. Gaming has been a big part of my life for many years and no doubt will continue to be for many more to come. I have two daughters both very much into games with very little influence from me so it must be genetic!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

#NBI2015 Talkback Challenge - The Seven Gaming Sins

This week, the NBI posed a series of questions around the 7 deadly sins, so here are mine...
Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?
Back in my more innocent teenage years, yes, in particular Lara Croft, but since being allowed to touch a real woman (thanks wifey :)) such avatars hold no interest for me.
Gluttony – Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?
Yes, Yes,  God YES!. My Steam catalogue, mostly made up of Humble Bundles obtained for a few dollars, buckles under it's own weight. The problem has become worse since I started playing MMO's where the game never really ends. In an attempt to encourage myself to play and finish more single player games, I started recording them on Facebook. Since January, I have still only completed one and even that was a Tell Tale game!
Greed – Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?
I always enjoy a freebie. Login rewards in MMO's work on me however the rewards have to be worth my time. I will play Guild Wars 2 every day to make sure I get the rewards as they are worth it but LOTRO has dropped the ball, and pretty much everything is worthless to me so I don't bother.
Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?
I have gone AFK doing Slayer Deeds in LOTRO, but only with the consent of my party and I always offer other kinmates to do the same if we are doing grouped runs. I don't discourage anyone from trying challenging content and never shy away. I also always help someone in need, because that's how expect other's to treat me.
Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?
Not so much angry but I have certainly argued with people in World chat if I don't agree with their views (usually in the case of rascism.) Usually this results in me bringing out the block hammer rather than stalking anyone.
Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?
I have been guilty of being envious of people with sweet cosmetics or titles, but certainly not related to content completion.
Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?
Absolutely not! I am totally against elitism in games and despise players that feel kicking players is necessary. The same people that complain about content not being challenging tend to be the same ones that insist team mates have the max gear and have run the instance 300 times before.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Darkest Dungeon - Take that you Swine (God)

Nice little achievement this evening, my party of level 5 characters took down the Swine God on their first attempt. By the end of the fight, three of them were at Death's Door and one more hit could have spelled disaster, but we did it!

With him down and the Necromancer Lord last week, I just have the level 3 and level 5 hag to take down. Not looking forward to that...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Gearing my Ranger in Guild Wars 2

This last week I've been getting into the nitty gritty of end game in GW2 or at least trying to figure out what gear my Ranger should be getting. In the space of a week I managed to get two new ascended weapons from the mighty Tequatl. As I have my sword and short bow already, I opted for torch for my offhand melee and a greatbow.

Up to now, I'd preferred the shortbow and had built my build as a 'condition ranger' - a specialist at making things bleed and keeping them bleeding (and/or burning) for as long as possible, or until they drop dead. But the seemingly 'better' or at least more desired spec is the longbow hunter. Pure DPS, so I found a build and decided to give the longbow a go. I managed get into an event train in the Silverwastes ( more on that later) and ran for close to two ours with the spec. I hated it. The skills fired off way too slowly and it just didn't feel right for my little Asura. The Greatbow has gone into storage, perhaps for the Warrior, Itsemekhona, and I'll stick with my trusty shortbow.

As I now seem to be all set for weapons, I now need to focus on weapons. I have a ton of mismatched items and for some time I've been delving into the Silverwastes, a zone where you can collect Bandit Crests. These can be traded in for various things and most notably a recipe I've been trying to get in order to craft 'Sinister' armour, a set that improves condition damage, seemingly a good fit. Every time I've been to the zone it's been solo and usually only get 10-20 crests each time. As the item I needed costs 400 this was set to be a long grind. Then I happened upon a group and started following them. Next thing I know, we were flying from event to event, racking up crests and within an hour I was well over my 400 target (as well as a ton of other random loot) lots of fun, and I managed to get something I've been working on for a couple of weeks, in one session.

So now begins he grind to craft the armour set as I can only make on per day. It doesn't look like I'll be getting any ascended armour anytime soon so at least I can get a set that will help with my build.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Talkback Challenge #2: Early Access and Kickstarter #NBI2015

The NBI Committee are offering topics of discussion and the current one is: 

Early Access and Kickstarter – Do you support unfinished games?

Kickstarter first came into my radar in the form of pen and paper RPG's. I have some contacts in the Indie Publishing Industry, particularly those related to gaming and had the pleasure to get free copies of certain works for review, in particular the outstanding Achtung! Cthulhu from Modiphius Games..

The first PC game that attracted my attention was H1Z1. I'd heard about it prior to release and what attracted me to it was the PVE aspect that was promised, setting it apart from the seemingly vicious gank-fest that was similar Z-game, Day-Z.

When it was offered for early access, I didn't care that it cost $20 for an apparently unfinished game, I snatched it up. It was never out of any wish to test the game or support the developers, I just wanted that experience and wanted it NOW. And I loved it! It didn't even feel like an unfinished game and as it developed even more it got even more awesome. The only downside I can see from it is burnout, that by the time it releases in a finished state, I'll have had my fill.

At around the time of playing H1Z1, I started watching Twitch streams, in particular the awesome CohhCarnage. This introduced me to other early access survival games, Rust and Reign of Kings. I obtained both and enjoyed them thoroughly. I've made a point of not playing them too much to see how I enjoy them once they release in their full state. I think watching these being played gives you an idea of exactly how 'unfinished' they are and if you want to sink your own money and time into them.

The final game I bought in this state, also influenced by Twitch, was Darkest Dungeon. I fell in love with this when I saw it being played and bought it within minutes of being released on Steam. It didn't feel unfinished. Brutal, yes, but worth every penny. To date I have sunk 119 hours into the game and at £14.99 that's incredible value.

So yes, I have supported unfinished games, but only out of my own desire to play them.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Meet Itsemekhona!

Since I started playing GW2 a year ago today, my four year old daughter has shown an interest in the game. Not long ago she wanted to have her own character, mostly so she could dress her up, and so Itsemekhona was born.

This Sylvari Warrior wouldn't be content to just have her wardrobe changed, soon she started adventuring and after a month or so, she is almost totally controlled by her creator with little help from me.

This has helped no end with my daughter's reading (she is already way ahead of her class) and now she know's about the Nightmare Court, the Priory and many other terms in the game. Already she has passed level 30 and is learning to craft as a jeweller.

But most of all, she LOVES to dance!

LOTRO Title Giveaway #2 ENDED

As with my recent mount giveaway for LOTRO, I have some codes for titles to hand out as modelled below by Captain Diaspora. Comment below with your choices (You can choose more than one, or all if you like!)

As before, leave a contact email or Twitter handle and I'll be in touch with the codes for the winners. Draw will take place on Friday May 15th.

Hero of the Small Folk (Winner - Jon Andrist)

The Wise (Winner - Ravanel Griffon)

The Celebratory (Winner - Indra Quintero)

The Sociable (Winner - Indra Quintero)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

When familiarity breeds contempt (and why mystery of an MMO's mechanics keeps me engaged)

My MMO gaming of late has taken a bit of a turn. Guild Wars 2 has become my game of choice, after 5 years of LOTRO. There were a number of reasons for this change, the game had become stale for me, my kinship were often absent at the times I was playing, I was not getting anywhere with my level 100 Warden and my alts were just repeating the same old content I had been through so many times before.

Guild Wars, on the other hand is fast (loading in seconds rather than minutes), it's fresh, the story is all new but most importantly, the systems are a complete mystery. My Asura Ranger, Jestro, is awesome and the cosmetic system is incredible.

LOTRO had become stale because I understood everything about pretty much every character class and while not by any means an expert, it wasn't exciting. GW2 offered not only a raft of classes to discover, each with their own storyline, but a depth to what a character needs to do running up to level cap and even more so beyond. The PVP, which I have never been a fan of, is easy to get into and actually fun! (As much as I love PVMP in LOTRO, you can run round the small zone and not find a single opponent if you're on at the wrong time)

Now a new update for LOTRO has arrived along with a new system, allowing you to Imbue your legendary items, a system I have no idea about and the excitement is back. Today I spent my time back on Landroval, trying to catch up to the current content and figure out how to get a First Age weapon instead of my trusty Second Age.

This excitement may not last forever but it coincides with the latest incarnation of the Coursera course which brought me to Landroval in the first place, so an influx of new players to the kinship (The Courserrim) may be just what we need. Pinestro the Warden is there to help them.

I'll still be back to GW2 each night to slap Tequatl though :)

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I've joined the Newbie Blogger Initiative!

It's the beginning of May which means the NBI 2015 has launched. Simply put it's an organised group of bloggers forming a community to help new bloggers. While I'm not that new, I still consider myself a Newbie and would like some tips on certain elements both technical and otherwise.

If you want to get involved or just find and support new gaming blogs, go check them out.