My latest favorite is Windward. For years I played Sid Meier’s Pirates! and would just sail around plundering Spanish galleons with little care for the plot. That alone amused me far longer than it should have with simple controls for firing your cannons and sailing against and with the wind.
Flash forward some years and we have Windward. Immediately I was caught by the Steam sale advert video. The game looked beautiful and it is. Gameplay is simple, you sail to and from towns while trading goods or running Quests and you’ll loot floating crates and barrels that have one of the commodities: Gold, Stone, Wood and Gunpowder Each commodity has it’s use though you’ll amass far more than you’ll likely ever use. Combat is almost automatic, as you sale upon an enemy ship your cannons will fire and you have a selection of manual use abilities that feature some targeting.
The world is generated when you start the game, though your progress is saved to a character name you create. I’ve sailed in single player games and Internet games with 30+ players all with the same progress as I learn the ropes. It features some easy internet sharing, so I can create a game and have my friends join me. I can even redraw the map, supposing I don’t like what it generated, I can mold the map borders to my liking.
I find a lot to like in the design, it’s very peaceful and easy to play for 5 minutes or 5 hours. This is easily my favorite game this year!
I was hanging with Katie of katieplays.com who sometimes streams her antics via Twitch and some of her friends when Battlefield 4 went on sale. 18 bucks for Premium and I had all the hot content and priority queueing. Between this and another blog I was (and still am) reading, September went rather quickly.
Battlefield and it’s kin, amuse me for the strategy and the action. Like a digital football. But I’m an MMO player, I like progression and advancement. BF4 provides an excellent instant-action venue for it’s gameplay. There’s always a server up you can join, “shoot some dudes” and have a pretty good time. And yes, there’s a level system, there’s a progression of unlocks as you move through the game. But aircraft are something of a joke and too often you get a map dominated by some excellently skilled players in helicopters. But for what it provides I would easily recommend BF4 for anyone looking for a modern combat experience. This isn’t a refined simulation, on the contrary it’s quite arcade-like.
That being said, I got about two weeks into BF4 when someone brought up Planetside 2. Planetside 2 brings just about everything BF4 brings but it’s persistent. You can spend hours fighting over a tower or a hillside as the sides fighting ebb and flow trying to seize territory. In BF, we’re talking about matches. Lose the round? Oh, well better luck next time. Planetside will have you taking and losing and retaking structures in the ever present war. If the fighting here is too intense or too quiet you can redeploy to another region for more war. Or if you’re feeling like flying around the map and look at the scenery, you can retreat away from the front lines to putter about.
Planetside 2 is made by Day Break Games (or at least supported by them). Also in their lineup is H1Z1 which is on my docket for October. I’m enjoying the roam and scavenge survivalism. It’s something I like about Fallout and i’m eagerly awaiting Fallout 4 in November. H1Z1 has it’s moments of brilliance. Radios you can loot, let you join a global voice chat. Make a compass to get general direction with crafting. Some usual crafty stuff. There’s a character wipe tomorrow morning so I’m likely to spend some hours Wednesday learning my way through the world.
I’m planning a play of H1Z1 for Halloween. A LAN party if I can get the volunteers, a streamed solo session if I can’t. I’ll link here when I have better information.
Mobile gaming. In my new paradigm for gaming, I’ve allowed mobile games to have some of my money. So I’ve been through Puzzles and Dragons, Fallout Shelter, a very sparing amount of Alphabear and most recently Dragonvale and Crusader’s Quest.
PAD is among my favorites for it’s puzzles. It gives you a collection system for gathering various monsters, doesn’t require any cash investment and the gameplay is among the best features. At once “Bejeweled” but with adventure elements and your turns aren’t timed so you’re working to make awesome combos. Limited Time events, a calendar rotation of special dungeons and a normal progression that will keep you challenged for months, PAD ranks as #1 on my “got time to kill on your commute” list.
Also, if you’re the research intensive gamer as I am, here are two sites that can help you get a grasp on what you’re looking at.
Puzzle and Dragons database
In fact, here is my updated PADherder page, a wall of trophies if you will.
PAD on Google Play
PAD on iTunes
Crusader’s Quest is my newest addiction. Gameplay so reminiscent of old Super Nintendo style that I’ve found it wholly distracting. Coupled with minimalist gameplay, its easy to pick up for a single area and then put it down again while you stand in line or wait for the bus.
That’s it for today. I picked up Battlefield 4 recently, Premium Edition is on sale at roughly 20 bucks. Some of my other friends are playing, notably Katie of katieplays.com and we team up for hijinx and mayhem as occasion allows.
I finished the main plot in Elder Scrolls Online. Not really dramatic or thriller stuff but certainly interesting from a game perspective.
Neverwinter is next and I have what sounds like a good week or two ahead of me just, to finish leveling and plot. On top of a list of other objectives for collecting hench-persons and bags there’s a plethora of user-created content that has my eye.
The heat wave has passed and my computer is once again reasonable to use during the day. I’ve cycled into maintenance tasks in Minecraft. I’ve reached the crux of the mods I’m working with and i’m up to farming beans (magic beans) to hybridize and build out my supply of Thaumcraft Essentia.
I spent several days hanging out with Katie of katilimade.com where we talked about Pathfinder, WoW and EVE Online.
I suspect we’ll have more coverage ideas on this blog in the nearing future. I’m planning a brief jaunt into Neverwinter with dropping some money and playing some content. I haven’t topped level cap there yet. I topped ESO and completed the first-run plot, so I’m story-complete as far as I’m concerned. Though I’ve toyed with the notion of running the other faction stories just to see how they compare.
I’ve played a prodigious amount of Minecraft in the last month or so. Coupled with a heat wave that made my computer unbearable I have little to talk about.
I considered delving into rocketry again. Something a coworker said reminded me of Estes Rockets and now that I have money and time I thought I could get back into the hobby. Sadly, I don’t have space to do the kind of construction it requires nor the venue to launch and recover from. It’s on my to-do list, but something that will take more than 5 minutes Amazon research to work out.
A friend of mine is playing FFXIV and it’s new expansion as well as Witcher 3. Such that I haven’t seen him in a few weeks so I’m assuming they’re quite good. I watched him stream Witcher one night, it’s very pretty and appears very well done.
I picked up a new phone and Puzzles and Dragons again for some mobile entertainment. Taking a break from reading my book in the morning meant finding something else to fill the time. I like the mix of Pokemon and Bejeweled, certainly gives me something to enjoy on the commute.
I have the worst luck. Off traipsing across the countryside in Minecraft semi-aware of my own mortality looking for rare flowers and roots. I’d actually found several when I fell into a watery hole I couldn’t escape.
..I nearly threw my mouse across the room. That’s the hazard of a wireless mouse.
In other news, I’m trying to organize a guest blog about Witcher 3. We’ll see what happens.
..nearly the end. At least for my Minecraft server. I was plagued by problems I couldn’t seem to resolve. I spent most of this recent Memorial Day weekend troubleshooting an odd amount of CPU lag that resulted in terrible gameplay performance.
It was Mystcraft. And while I shall miss it, the adventures it was sure to provide, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The server runs much better and I’m nearly back to where I was Saturday evening when it all came apart.
For the interested I’m running these mods under Minecraft 1.7.10
Ars Magica 2
These mods are additive and provide an alternate course through the normal Minecraft progression. Ars Magica being focused around spells you carry with you in a spellbook and various boss monsters you can summon. Thaumcraft is more about Alchemy and Artifice and about combining elements to create new bits. Golems, enchanted lanterns and powerful staves are to be found here. Together with Bibliocraft I have things to build, discover and collect and a means to keep them. Bibliocraft on it’s own is quite enjoyable as it gives you bookcases and potion racks you can see your items stored upon.
Biomes O’Plenty for the plethora of additional terrain features. Treecapitator for a quality of life upgrade.
Thuamic Tinkerer and Forbidden Magic are addons for Thaumcraft adding some elements to the system I’d played with before and that I really liked. Chickenchunks as it lets me setup a farm that will cook over time while the server is running. If you play single-player this isn’t useful at all. Antique Atlas as it provides a classic “old-time” book you can build that is immediately better than the ingame map (and for less effort). There’s some tweaks for making it work with Biomes O’Plenty but that’s a discussion you can follow on the official minecraft forums.
I’ll finalize this with one of my more favorite mods in the collection, Butterflymania. This is pure personal interest. With over 200 butterflies of varying rarity and biome requirement it’s there as a rainy-day “Let’s just run around and do whatever” focus.
It was delving into Tekkit around day 3 that I started to see what this was about. Some mods focus on automating tedium of mining, collecting, refining and producing. Operating within FTB’s “Magic World 2” there were so many chests in my fortress, you almost needed a map to know where things were. But it was an adventure as each little extra bit of the mods asked for another resource I hadn’t stocked up.
Tekkit added a lot of materials to build, a lot of technology to improve upon the experience. But to me, Minecraft has always been a magical journey. A world wracked by strange forces.
So I started thinking about an earlier idea. Building my own modpack.
I did it and so I once again construct a fortress of solitude. Though this time I can husband Bees and collect Butterflies.
I decided to fire up another minecraft server. Poke around with some high-tech stuff, see how it compares to the magic I experienced in another modpack. Almost immediately I found a portal to a netherspace where I encountered a big red eye and spent 10 minutes falling through Limbo. I found my way out, but I experienced a sense of loathing and fear I hadn’t had in a long time.
Actually, the fear I hadn’t felt since my first days play Dying Light. An experience I’m not interested in revisiting.
I haven’t actually built anything tech-related yet. So far it’s “Build a house, start a farm, fend off zombies”.