GW2 – It’s the little things

Although I can’t play much at the moment (and really didn’t want to play too much before launch) I decided to update Guild Wars 2 and take a peek anyway.  I have known since way back when that I wanted to play Asura, I guess it goes with the territory of hobbits and gnomes and all things small and cute :P.

Now we’re talking!

Instant love! Bring on August 28 … now!



Filed under Guild Wars 2, MMO

Real life and gaming

Yes, real life gets in the way, and this was the subject of a couple of posts I read yesterday, namely The Decline of Hardcore, a guest post on BioBreak, and  On “The Decline of Hardcore” from I Have Touched the Sky.  Of course they were talking about hardcore gamers, but really it was about growing up, getting a life, and not having as much time to play games any more (even though there are plenty of versions of ‘us’ from 10 or more years ago filling in those slots I’m sure).

I’ve never been a hardcore gamer if you go by the majority definition, no 6 night a week raiding or anything like that, but I do consider myself a hardcore gamer in that I spend a ‘significant’ number of hours every week playing games.  Mostly MMO’s, but also plenty of Steam games and iPad games (and I’m about to lose many tens of hours in Fieldrunners 2!).

I love Fieldrunners, and now it’s even better!

Although gaming blogs are about gaming, it’s nice to get to know the people behind the posts, and Rakuno’s was great to read, inspired by Ambermist’s July challenge :).

So here’s a bit about me:

  • I’m an Aussie from way back, at least 4 generations that I know of.  Before then I think it’s mostly England, Scotland, France.
  • My husband and I are a mini Brady Bunch (without Alice unfortunately), 4 teenagers between us, all of them gamers … naturally 😀
  • We are busy packing to move :(, so gaming time is limited at the moment, one of the down sides to renting is that there’s no guarantee that you can stay in one house for more than a year or so.   Melbourne and Sydney houses are incredibly expensive to buy, and why buy a massive house when most of the kids will be out of home in a few short years … maybe 😛
  • Leelu comes from the movie The Fifth Element, I love Gary Oldman movies, Dracula from back in 1992 being my favourite.
  • I was very sad when, after pre-ordering The Secret World and being able to put a name aside, that Leelu was already taken.  My current character is Leeftea instead, after re-rolling to Templar from Dragon so that our little wandering guild could all get together in a Cabal. I will miss the butterflies.
  • I’ve been playing games since … well, a long time.  My first memory of playing games was on the Merlin, I thought it was ace, then came the Commodore 64 which meant more games, and coding :D.
  • My collection of Steam Games is down right embarrassing.  How dare they do such tempting sales.
  • I work in what little is left of the gaming industry here, and for that I am extremely grateful!


Filed under Single Player

The Eternal Butterfly

Whenever I log into The Secret World I have a good time.  So why do I have to stop myself from thinking about logging into LotRO or Aion or something altogether different instead? Why am I craving for GW2?  Is it simply me being my usual butterfly self, or a case of the Better the Devil You Know?  Maybe I’m limiting myself too much and should follow Syp’s Plan and juggle a few MMO’s.  I have trouble focusing on multiple MMO’s however, they’re big games that require a lot of attention and time is precious.

Of course I haven’t had any huge play sessions yet.  I haven’t managed to even finish the first area, Kingsmouth completely yet, unlike MMO Gamer Chick. While I’ve been under the weather I’ve been making use of my DS  and VITA, playing ChronoTrigger, FFIV, some timeless and terrific old RPG’s 😀 and then logging into Secret World for an hour or two here or there.

Maybe the best way to analyse my thoughts is to write down the tried and tested like / dislike list:


  • Variety of quests.  I love that they’re tiered and that most of them make you think at least a little.
  • Ambience.  This is one scary scary world.
  • Decks. They are a good guide for beginners as to where to put your Skill Points and Action Points.  I could write a whole post on this, maybe that’s next.
  • Grouping. Even when you separate to do solo instances for quests you remained grouped at the other end.
  • Cross-server grouping.  This is truly great, no more regretting what faction / server you rolled on.
  • Bags.  Wow, bags in TSW are awesome.   You start with 50 slots (pay in-game currency to add more), and these slots can be divided up into player named bags.  You can even have one or more of them allocated to show permanently on the screen.
  • Clothes, wear what looks good, create an entire wardrobe! No more fugly gear while you’re levelling.  There’s even a toolkit for changing how your weapon looks based on another weapon.

The inventory system is very flexible, it’s great!

  • Crafting.  Good and bad.  More tutorials please.  More toolkits dropping please.   For those after a tutorial, TenTonHammer has an excellent one up on their website, but with a crafting system so different to the norm you’d think that Funcom would put more effort into teaching you how it works.
  • No levels.  I know that we have Skill Points, Action Points, Decks etc but I miss my levels.  I guess I’m just so used to levels after ever RPG since time began has had them.  Maybe I’ll feel better about this after more time in-game.
  • Not many friends playing.  This is where GW2 will win win win!
  • Bugs.  This is good and bad.  There are a few horrendous quest bugs, but you can change instances (group with a player on another dimension / shard) and find one that works.
  • Missing features. No AH yet.  This would be good for more toolkits!
  • No ‘follow’.  C’mon, when we’re making each other cups of tea and running to a quest area, ‘follow’ is a nice thing to have.
  • No custom decks.

Hmmm, looks like TSW is worth at least the remaining 2 months until GW2 comes out 🙂

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Filed under MMO, RPG, Single Player, The Secret World

Exploring a new world

Been a bad few days on painkillers, so I’ve pretty much slept for the last 2 1/2 days straight (on the mend fast now, so all good :)).   At least today I’ve finally been awake enough to try out The Secret World and know that my character will still be around tomorrow 🙂

My character, Leeftea “Leelue” Brown  (a Dragon) is so far a hammer wielding force to be reckoned with 😛

I’ve only played for a few hours so far, but I’m looking forward to playing more.   Crafting will take a while to get used to, but I think it will be fun down the track.  Crafting basically works by crafting different items with the same materials simply based on the shape that the components make.  It would be nice to have a crafting book to refer to with recipes you’ve already learnt, but I guess after time you’ll know the shapes of the recipes that you use on a regular basis.

So far I’m not finding the lack of levels a bad thing like I thought I might.  You become so engrossed in the quests that the hours disappear and before you know it, you have a few AP (Ability Points) and SP (Skill Points) to allocate.  I already have 7 active and 7 passive skills which means from now I’ll be having to choose which skills to put on my hotbars.  That part of the game reminds me of the original Guild Wars, but with more freedom given that you’re not limited to skills of a particular class (of course, you still have to learn all of the weapons and skills that you can choose from).  Switching your skills in and out of the hotbar or passive bar is very simple and fast.

The quests are great, and the puzzle ones really get you thinking.  My husband and I were worried that all the answers to the puzzle quests would be available in general chat, but for the most part people playing are very reluctant to give out anything except vague clues.  Hopefully that’s a sign of a generally more mature audience.  I’m glad we have 2 heads to think things through though, some of the quests are seriously tricky!

More thoughts when I get to play some more after work this week 🙂

Don’t hold back on the gore

150 years into Crusader Kings, and with Secret World out now, it might be a ‘while’ before I finish the epic 400 years journey 😛

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Filed under MMO, The Secret World

Long live the (next) King

So my first Duke (Murchad I) lasted until the grand old age of 78, not bad even for today’s standards!  Things got extremely hectic straight after that.  This game can be both incredibly busy (thanks goodness you can pause time), or incredibly slow (but you can fast forward pretty rapidly too).

Death comes to us all

Having my first Duke die was a good learning tool for understanding the laws of succession better.  My new Duke now has a son, I have named him Frederich and even though he’s only 1 I have high hopes for him!  But first I need to get him to the throne.  To do this, I need to change the laws of succession, and to do that I need to have ruled for 10 years and have every vassal like me.  That last bit is tricky, I tried to revoke the title of the ruler of Leinster a while back (so that I could own it outright) and didn’t do a great job.  The siege ended but nothing seemed to happen, so I called peace and retreated.  Clearly I was no longer on his favourite person list.  So, a couple of years later I tried again (with a bit more of an understanding of battles) and this time succeeded.  I now have fewer vassals (by 1) and they all like me.  Once I hit 10 years, I shall change the laws and all will be good (in my dreams) 😛

Another aspect to the game (which I still don’t fully have my head around) is upgrades to your county’s, such as walls, markets, harbours etc.   I’m upgrading things, but I’m just not sure whether they’re the right things. Again, more research required.

You want, we can build it, for a price.

Some games in Steam have a link to the manual on the right hand side of the library page, CK2 doesn’t for some reason, but I found it here for anyone interested.  This Wiki is also great for beginner help and strategies.

EDIT: Actually you can get to the manual from within Steam, just the store page rather than the library page.

My husband likes games that are self explanatory, where you don’t have to do a lot of research, reading, watching etc.  This is not one of those games 😛

I think I’ll keep plugging away and post a summary when I’m finished.  Kind of like a mini review.  Already I can say that for a complex game, and me not being a great strategy game player, it’s surprisingly good fun and as long as you do a bit of homework first, you can jump in and at least give it a try without the game ending too fast 🙂


Filed under Crusader Kings 2, Single Player

Crusader Kings 2 – 23 years on …

Yay, I survived Smallpox (meaning that I was lucky enough not to catch it) 🙂

I’ve played quite a lot today, but only managed to get through 23 years.  I am now waiting with a tinge of sadness for my 63 year old ruler to kick the bucket.  At least his 16 year old son will take over, and not my eldest, who is still, in my opinion, a creep.  I decided not to kill him but instead made him hate me even more by changing the succession laws to elective and nominating my second youngest son.  Lucky for me, that tactic seems to have worked.

1/3 of Ireland down, 2/3’s the go

I now have four county’s to my name, after coming to blows with a few of my neighbours, and things are chugging along nicely (for at least the last few minutes anyway).  Again, like a good book, the further in I get the more attached I’m becoming attached to my little world.

Given that there are multiple centuries ahead of me, I’m coming to the realization that these are loooong games, but for some reason it’s capturing my attention more than a standard 4X game.  I find 4X games appealing in concept but I get bored pretty quickly … not so with this game.  There are plots to unravel, people to marry, advice to give your kids when they’re stupid, armies to manage, taxes to collect, ambitions to strive for and much more.  Lucky I’m used to MMO’s :P.  But of course it also could also mean that unless I do something wrong it may well take longer than a week to complete.  I will have to start using the super fast forward button when not much is happening.

Crusader Kings 2 is very diligent about reminding you of the important things too.  There are aspects to the game, such as providing children with guardians for their education once they reach the age of six, that would be very easy (read: almost guaranteed) to forget if you weren’t reminded.

I’m slowly getting the hang of things, but need to do more Let’s Play watching.  There are plenty of times when I know ‘what‘ I want to do, but not ‘how‘.  Hopefully it won’t feel too overwhelming as I gather more and more counties, plus I’m fully aware that things could go terribly wrong very easily.


Filed under Crusader Kings 2, Single Player

Crusader Kings 2 – First Play

I started off my first Crusader Kings 2 game as Duke Muchad I of Munster, Ireland, with the initial aim of being King of Ireland.  Let me just say from the start that this game is really out to get you!

More than half of my starting council hated me (well into the red zone).  To improve things (not knowing what I’m doing at all mind you) I decided to put on a great feast.  I invited 3 very important people, 2 of whom immediately declined.  The one that did come refused more wine, an apparently insulting gesture. Why oh why did I spend up so lavishly on food :(.

So much for a feast to improve things

Every man and his dog comes running to me to find them wives, which is quite difficult given the number of nasty traits that many of the eligible women are burdened with (including gluttony and syphilis).  But setting up these marriages was interesting, I clearly invited the wrong people to my feast because the fathers of the women I’m finding for all my relatives shower me with praise and accept the proposals (most of the time).

One of the nice things about not-always-online single player games is that some of your learning can come from saving a game before doing something big (such as attacking your neighbour).  Let’s just say that for my first invasion I was mighty glad I had a save to go back to!  No more invading for me for a while.

It’s currently the year 1072, a meager 6 years after starting.  My heir hates me and I hate him.  I uncovered his nasty plots, threw him in jail and then threw him out of the county all together.  I was hoping this would no longer make him my heir, but sadly he still is.  I’m now saving to get him assassinated because if I die and he’s still my heir I will be very sad (maybe even sad enough to start again).  I have 3 tiny children to a brand new wife (goodness only knows where this awful eldest son came from). These tiny children are all still babies (two are from a set of twins).   I just need to live long enough to see them grow up (now that’s every parents wish isn’t it :)).

So far I’m really enjoying it, and I know full well that this first game (and probably the next couple) will be filled with learnings and mistakes, it’s just too complex to know everything from the get go.

The best way I could describe Crusader Kings 2 is that it’s like getting lost in a good book, everything that happens springs to life in your imagination.  There is really very little on the screen (in comparison to other genres) other than stats and messages and maps, which I think is a good thing for immersion in this sort of game.

The in-game music is absolutely terrific too!

Did I mention that there seems to be a very infectious outburst of Smallpox? I hope I survive it …


Filed under Crusader Kings 2, Single Player