Some games, it just doesn’t work out

My recently played games list from Steam

I’ve been playing through games in my Steam library lately. A week or two back I was hit with the urge to play Civ V again but found I never redownloaded the game after getting my new hard drive this past Christmas. I had, however, downloaded and installed Civ: Beyond Earth so I gave it another shot. I wasn’t sure I’d like it given the first time I played I felt a little iffy on it. It’s like Civilization games but it’s also different enough to stand out a bit and the miasma drove me nuts. This go round I enjoyed it more and although there’s still a lot I’m learning, I’m having some fun with the game. I prefer the cookie-cutter preset parameters of Civ V but I’m starting to understand more about the choices you are presented with and how they affect your game. That said, I really hope the next Civ game is more like Civ V than this one.

Clicker Heroes has had a few updates and I’m scratching my head trying to understand how ancients work, for instance, but finding I may not care, as much as I once did, to understand them much right now. I’ve been more into puzzle/point and click games anyway, which accounts for most of the games I’ve played this past week. The Room has beautiful graphics, intriguing puzzles and a hint system to help you out if you get stuck. I did have to pull up a guide for a few puzzles but I enjoyed the game! Charnel House Trilogy, another point and click story driven puzzle game, was … weird. It’s not bad! It was just a bit weird and the second book, Sepulchre, had a huge ‘out of left field’ moment for me that made me wonder if I’d missed something big or if the story writers went a little too far in trying not to give away the ending too soon. Dunno. That said, I enjoyed playing it as well. I started Murdered: Soul Suspect last night thinking I wouldn’t be able to get into it and played two hours before going to bed. I’m really liking this one.

There were a couple of games I tried, however, that I just couldn’t get into.

That Dragon, Cancer is a game I bought because I wanted to feel. I wanted to get lost in the story and maybe even cry a little. Cancer is a scary thing that has certainly been a part of my life in one way or another and, perhaps for this reason, I was drawn to this title. I really wish I hadn’t bought it now. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t connect with the story, I felt a disconnect if that makes sense. I’m not sure why either, it just didn’t work for me. I played for about a half hour, waiting to feel that connection, that draw, with the story but I had to fight distraction the entire time. This may sound stupid but the biggest turn off for me was that Joel doesn’t have a face. I’m assuming this was done so you could put your own face to Joel in order to help you connect on a more personal level? I dunno, but I wanted the game to put a face to Joel for me and, in as much as I played, it didn’t. That bugged the crap out of me and I couldn’t stop wondering about his non-existent face. He wasn’t “real” to me without a face and, I guess, that’s why I couldn’t sympathize with Joel or his family.

I also gave Aura: Fate of the Ages a short try. I played maybe 15 minutes which, I’d usually say, isn’t enough time to really get into a game. BUT. I just couldn’t get into this title at all. I have NO idea why because I tend to like stories such as the one in this game, the setting and puzzles. Originally I stopped playing to watch videos on YouTube of folks who’d played the game, their playthroughs, in hopes I’d see something to make me want to play. I still don’t know why but I took an immediate dislike to the game. I may try this again at a later date but, at the same time, I think it’s okay to not like every game you buy. Right? It could be as simple as the graphics are seriously outdated but that didn’t stop me from falling head-over-heels in love with Dragon Age: Origins.

Sigh.

I’m looking forward to playing more of my Steam library before the Summer sale hits. I have no games on a ‘sale’ watch list yet but if I do see something I like I’ll feel a bit more justified if I’m actually playing games I bought on previous sales … or something like that. Confessions of a Steam gamer and all that.

 

 

LotRO: What’s in a name?

Original Ranni, my Lore-Master in LotRO

The Original Ranni as she was created.

Many moons ago I beta-tested lots of games. My character names of choice were Ranika and Rakina and I used them for years! When I was accepted into the closed beta for LotRO I created characters with those names but, when open beta started, I decided I was tired of those names. I’d used them for so long I wanted a name *from* them, a way to, I guess, honor those character names but I wanted new at the same time. That’s how I came up with the name Ranni. It was, for me, a shortened and cuter version and I thought I was being original. It wasn’t until a few years later that I finally looked up the name Ranni to see what it meant.

I’d been getting gob_tons of weird tweets on Twitter that I did not understand. Most were in a language I didn’t understand but, almost daily, for a couple of years, those tweets came in by the bucketful! I learned that Ranni was the name of a village in India and meant “Queen of the Eastern Hill lands”. There is also a Bollywood actor and a sports person with Ranni, or some form of, in their names. Those last two, I learned, were the reason for the tons of tweets I was getting.

Anyway.

I’ve been a bit dismayed with my main server’s world chat lately. The fighting, the elitism and the religious and political debates are happening more frequently and, at times, it kills my want to play. I could turn world chat off, yes, but I like to keep it on for the lively conversations (that are light-hearted and fun) as well as questions from folks just starting the game. Easy going banter doesn’t always break the immersion for me but that’s not happening as much when I’m playing so I decided to create a new character on Laurelin, the EN-RP server hoping to find a more peaceful world chat community. Given this is the official RP server I didn’t want to slap any ole name on my character but I couldn’t think of anything fitting. I decided to use the random name generator on the character creation screen to make sure my new Minstrel had a name befitting Middle Earth on an RP server. After much click-through I saw a name I really liked.

Piba, my new Hobbit Minstrel in LotRO

This is the best of the 3 pictures I have of her.

I created her knowing I wanted to give her a back story. I thought about this as I was folding laundry, before creating her, and decided she’d be a Minstrel and a cook who wanted to travel past the bounds of The Shire in order to please folks with her music and her goodies, you know, make a name for herself. We used to have these story telling events on Windfola where people would bring their baked goods and a poem or song they’d written and, usually, around a campfire, we’d enjoy an hour or so together as a break from the heavy ‘war is coming’ story lines of Middle Earth. This was the inspiration for this character.  I knew I wanted a short name, one that was unique and easy to remember. When I saw the name Piba I immediately thought of the pibgorn in game. HOW CUTE? And fitting, no? I accepted the name and entered the world quite pleased with myself. I was standing in Archet about to start on her Bio when I decided to look up the meaning of this name so I could work it into my story.

People. Look.

Screenshot of the definition of the word Piba

What is that? What the ever_lovin_heck is that? I can’t use that in my back story else it’d give a whole new meaning to making people happy with my goodies. A.R.G.

So, for now, Piba doesn’t have a back story on her bio page. I thought about rerolling her but, in the end, I really like this name. I don’t yet have a last name and that’s bugging me. I want a name to reflect her baking/cooking but I’m clueless. It’ll come. I had an amazing time on Laurelin last night and it was exactly what I needed. Hopefully I’ll have her story worked out and a last name for Piba soon.

 

Stardew Valley is my new obsession!

Scene from the fair in Stardew Valley

I started seeing tweets from Twitter buds Friday about a new game called Stardew Valley. I almost NEVAH get a game when it first releases but, because I really wanted to be one of the cool kids for a change and see what this game was about, I bought and installed it, mostly on a whim. It was exciting, the idea that I was playing this new release along with several other friends and, I imagined, gobs of people, so I eagerly fired the game up to check it out.

I didn’t like it at first. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to be doing with my time. I was taking over my Grandpa’s very over-grown farm, had very little to plant and the idea of hacking up sticks of wood on the ground or pecking away exposed rocks so I could uncover more farm land, it didn’t appeal to me. Especially since I’d already planted what few seeds I’d found. I decided my time would be better spent exploring. I hoped I’d find something else to do and maybe the game would start to make sense.

I walked everywhere I could, walked long after dark, into the night, because I was lost. SO. FREAKING. LOST! According to the in-game map I was at my farm but I couldn’t get back to the farmhouse to save my life. It finally occurred to me that I left my farm equipped with my trusty pickaxe as well as my axe and if I started clearing a path in the direction I believed the house to be in, perhaps I’d get home. That plan would have worked well had I not passed out from sheer exhaustion. And probably anxiety.

Nah, the anxiety didn’t hit my little farmer until she awoke 50 gold lighter. That’s right, I lost 50 gold because I passed out and someone rushed me to the doctor. You’d have thought that the country doctor would have taken pity on my farmer given she was a new comer, a city slicker lost in the over growth of her dear Grandpa’s seriously neglected farm, and NOT charged me. I soon found out a 50 gold doctor bill wasn’t so bad.

I was in the mines hunting copper ore and killing mobs when I hit the MOTHER LOAD of copper ore! I had around 45-50 pieces of copper ore in my pack when I passed out. In the mine. Because I was so excited over my copper find I forget to keep an eye on my energy level. When Linus woke me up someone had absconded with all my copper, (and I mean ALL of it) my sword and six other items I had in my inventory pack. That kind of ticked me off a little bit, if I’m honest. I really needed that copper! And what kind of adventurer looses her sword???

Sigh.

Guys, I love this game so much! I started a new play through Sunday. My first one, the one I lost Friday and Saturday to (I could NOT stop playing! I just one more day‘d myself right into Sunday!), was fun but I felt like I’d missed something vital and wanted to start over. I was about to hit Winter, Year 1 in the first one. This second play through, I’m waiting on my most awesome melons to grow the last bit so I can harvest them. (Summer, Year 1) I named my farmer Condi for my first game. Condi didn’t have too much trouble working up her social skills and had a couple of friends. Ranni, my second farmer, isn’t have much luck at all. Ranni’s even been yelled at by Pam for tracking mud in the house. (?) Condi kept running out of money. Ranni understands the value of hard work and is raking it in on the garden front! That said, Ranni’s usually in bed for the night by 2pm. Hard worker, that Ranni!

I have two chickens so far but no silo. I’m not sure what triggers the silo recipe but I haven’t gotten it in either game. I’ve completed a couple of boxes for the community center on Ranni but when I saw that one requires me to fish I stopped working on it. I hate fishing in this game. I do not understand what to do and would say it’s impossible to catch anything other than broken glasses, algae, soggy newspapers and trash but my son sat down and caught two fish for me. The fishing system absolutely escapes me! ARG! There’s so much else to do, however, that it doesn’t bother me for now.

I’m not sure exactly how I went from not really liking the game to not being able to put it down but Stardew Valley has it’s hooks in me. Deeply! I can’t wait to see Winter in game! I also can’t wait until I get the hang of some of the mini-games. I’m working towards saving for a kitchen add-on to the farmhouse so I can, hopefully, start cooking with all the recipes I’m learning from the TV in the mornings. Would make my trips to the mines a bit cheaper if I can make my own food rather than buy from the Saloon every time.

Stormfall: Age of War is the RTS game I’ve been craving!

Map screenshot from Stormfall: Age of War

I have not seriously played an RTS (browser/flash) war game in a couple of years. I’ve wanted to, so badly have I wanted to, but I hadn’t found one that felt right. I think it was Stargrace posted about a game she’d found that sounded interesting. I didn’t hold out much hope as I’m very particular about RTS games (there’s a ton out there, most of them are blatant cash grabs with very little substance) and, as I said, I’ve looked and just not found one I liked. I checked it out anyway, two days ago I think, and OMGAMIHOOKED!

Stormfall: Age of War has much of what I want from an RTS. It’s a F2P with a fair cash shop, meaning, there are items for sale to help you advance but you don’t have to buy them. You can earn your way up, albeit at a slower pace than if you had endless pockets, but it’s a viable way to play the game. The graphics aren’t super hokey. Matter of fact, some of the buildings are very nice looking! The chat system isn’t too complicated. You’re allowed to play on more than one server. Leagues, otherwise known as kins or tribes or guilds, to name a few, in other games, are ranked, begging you to work with your league members to better each other. The saying ‘You’re as strong as your weakest member’ only goes so far in games like this but if you find the right league, a group of helpful and friendly people, you’ll be stronger for it. I lucked out on my second server and found a lively, friendly and very helpful league to join. My first server … the league is dead quiet. I have no qualms with them, they just don’t … talk.

Back to what I like about this game, there are objectives to both give you something to do while waiting on your building queues to finish and reward you for doing so. Stormfall: AoW takes this to levels I haven’t experienced myself yet. There are ‘no risk’ quests you can do where you only have to click a button and wait a timer out. One quest may ask you to shave a dwarf’s eyebrows, for instance. You accept the quest and go do something else while you wait the timer out. You won’t lose a single fighter or any resources “doing” the quest! Once the timer is up you’re rewarded with a few resources. These ‘no risk’ quests pop, as far as I can tell, twice a day.

There are also events that offer bigger rewards. If you’re in a league (something I can’t suggest highly enough!) there are events your league can work together to achieve, such as building your armies. You may get an event that only rewards you if you raid someone’s castle and pilfer a certain number of resources. I’ve seen a few different event offerings so far and I do my best to achieve them because the rewards are pretty sweet! You also, once a day, have quests through a building in your castle called the Eagle’s Nest. The Eagle’s Nest locates all the orc camps, refugee camps and what-have-you and tells you what type of battle, the level and where the camp is. You click a button within the Nest interface and from there can pick your troops and send them off to deal with the scourge around your castle. Here, also, the rewards are sweet and usually include a few resources, points toward the different ranking systems, troops, paragon status, shard chests, …

There’s so much to this game! The scroll system is a ‘talent’ or research system that allows you to learn new technologies. It has a tree and some of the techs have levels you’ll need to work up. Once you’ve got the basic ones started you have to collect scrolls to open new techs. You’re granted one random scroll a day but you can, if I’m understanding this correctly, trade via the market, friends or league mates for up to two more scrolls a day. I understand the basics but I’m still a little confused by the system at the same time. A league-mate gave me a quick run down but I didn’t think to specify questions  at the time. I will later!

Most all of my neighbors are now enemies as, unless it’s an ally, I’ve been raiding them for resources. Heh. I think only one of them is playing seriously so I may test the waters of the almight olive branch with that one. I under estimated them today and, although I wiped their troops, it wiped half of mine to do so. I should have known better! Anyway, we’ll see if this neighbor wants to play nice. Won’t blame them if they doesn’t, but … I’m hoping.

This was just going to be a quick post but my word count is over 800 already. Hmm. I’m having a blast in the game with an ear to ear smile plastered on my face as I play. I’ve pretty much lost the last couple of days to this game and I couldn’t care less. (I’m still getting real life stuff done but only because we have to eat and need clean clothes.) I think my second server league is more of a defense-minded group where as I usually play a hard offensive type of game, but I really like them so I want to stick this out, see where it goes. Want to play with me? I think this (friend) link will work. See you in game!

Oh, and I believe you can play this on your phone or tablet. I’m playing on my desktop but I want to get it on my tablet as well.

LotRO: The Treacherous Hole!

The Treacherous Hole yard decoration Bingo Boffin item

Little bit of snow outside my Hobbit hole

I did last week’s Bingo Boffin episode with Minni and found I didn’t have enough Bingo Badges to get everything I wanted off of Bert Bartleby this time. I decided to run Condi through and collect more badges so I could barter for all the decoration items I wanted. The Treacherous Hole was NOT one I wanted but, after buying the other large map and getting the Moria Hatrack I still had more than a few Bingo Badges left so I decided to grab it as well. I placed it in the yard of my kin house and thought, ‘Oof, snow. Doesn’t really look like it belongs.’ and then exited out of decoration mode.

And, without realizing I was about to, right clicked on the Treacherous Hole.

Standing in the Morfil cave in Angmar, LotRO

Morfil??

See, I was talking over my shoulder to my husband while I put my new Bingo shinies into place. When I clicked on the Treacherous Hole I wasn’t looking at my screen. So when I casually glanced towards my monitor and saw Condi standing in Morfil, an orc cave in Angmar, I was stunned. Actually, it took a moment for it to sink in. I snapped my head back in a double take and had to really stare at my screen to understand I was no longer in The Shire. I grabbed this screenshot, at first, so I could submit a bug report … I thought something had gone very wrong to port me away from my home so … quickly! Once I’d thought it through, that I’d been standing by my new yard decoration after turning deco-mode off, it started dawning on me.

That darn hole!

Sprigley's cellar, Archet, LotRO

I decided to go back home and see if I could reproduce this strange teleport to make sure it was the Treacherous Hole and not another crazy bug. My second treacherous teleport landed me in Sprigley’s Cellar in Archet and the third, in the Mirkstone Tunnels in the Thorin’s Gate area. How cool is that?? It teleports you to random caves in the game!! I can’t tell you how much I love this hole! I did a search on the forums and found there’s a list of ten discovered places. I don’t know if there’s more than ten or not but I can tell you I will treacherously teleport to each and every one of them. Know what I really want, though?

I want to teleport to an underground river and ride that sucker down while in a barrel. I don’t want for much, do I?

I don’t know how they’ll top this deco item. Then again, I thought the same with each of the teleporting kegs! Bingo will be in Mirkwood this week and I have both Minni and Condi ready for him. Not sure I’ll take them both through but at least Condi is ready to earn more badges should the need arise. Though, I think she still has 50-70 some on her at the moment.