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9th June 2019: Surviving A Blizzard

I don't think I booted a single computer game during March and April, with all my spare hobby time going into finishing my Warhammer 40K Tyranids. But in late May, I got hit by the same nostalgia wave that hit me around the same time last year.

Not only was it the anniversary of TB's passing, but the beta test for Classic WoW also started, and nearly every streamer I watch on Twitch dove into it. I don't know what came over me, as I never thought I'd play the game again, but I decided to re-install it. I couldn't help it. I just had to scratch that itch.

While all the streamers were going back and doing the same things they had done nearly 15 years ago, I went back into the game with a different objective: to do some things I'd never done.
See, while I've surprised myself by playing the game again, I still point blank refuse to pay any sub fees, as I just don't think the game is worth it. As the free account level caps your characters to 20, this left me with just one thing I could do, and that was to play through all the start zones that I had never played back in the day.

Up first was the Worgen start zone. Now I did make a Worgen at one point, named Kreethen, but I never finished the intro story and I think that character remains at level 7 on my original account. I made a new one named Kreethy, maybe a distant relative, and got cracking.
The story was alright I guess, though with some crowbar moments. The biggest problem I had with it was all the lag. At first I assumed the Classic beta had stirred up some new interest in the game, and a lot of people were jumping back in, like me. However, when I moved on to my next character all the lag was gone entirely, which was odd.
Kreethy ended his journey at level 15.

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Secondly, I started a Gnome called Huejackman, named after my original character Huejun. Back in the day, the Gnomes shared a start zone with the Dwarves, and I had played those quests several times on my alts. But in Cata, the Gnomes were given their own little intro area that I had never done. While I liked using the little dude, I ended up getting spat back out into Dun Morogh at level 5. Frankly, I was expecting more. Oh well.

Huejackman gets smacked around

Huejackman gets smacked around

Up next was the turn of the Draenei, as I had never done their start zones either. My only Draenei before this was a Death Knight, as I had really liked using my main DK Undeadbarry, and I created the Draenei just to do their start quests again.
I chose to make this character a female named Kallisto, but only as it wouldn't let me use Xenia or Karynna which were my first picks. I did end up regretting this decision, as the female Draenei has very annoying battle yells, and I couldn't find a way to turn them off. What was worse, was that these start zones were the longest and most boring of this little return to the game. There was just so much running backwards and forwards through large areas, constantly being sent back to areas I'd already been to. Thankfully, this character reached level 20, though only 2 quests before the end. But that meant I could mount up for those 2 quests and boy did it feel good.
It was definitely obvious that these areas and quests were designed earlier in WoW's development. They certainly gave me more of a classic WoW experience than I had expected. There were so many kill quests and fetch quests with poor to moderate drop rates. It felt like 2005 all over again.
The only real interesting thing was that this character was a pally, and holy shit they play so different now from when I played as Jackgooty back in vanilla.

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

This guy's missing his log

This guy's missing his log

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Not an area for arachnophobes

Not an area for arachnophobes

I have the power!

I have the power!

Up next was my first ever Pandaren, who I called Vizna. This was a breath of fresh air after the slog that was the Draenei zones. Though there were still a lot of the usual WoW kill and fetch quests, they all just flowed so much faster, and were situated much closer together. Like the Worgen quest line, there was a much better story that ran through the whole area.
My main issue was the fact that I'd chosen a hunter. I'd read that the hunters now get their pets from level 1, which I liked, but I didn't realise that you couldn't control it until level 10, which irritated me. But oh well.
Vizna ended her journey at level 14, after joining the Horde and travelling to Orgrimmar.

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Runnin' and gunnin'

Runnin' and gunnin'

You gotta be kidding me

You gotta be kidding me

That's one big ass turtle

That's one big ass turtle

Last on the list was the Trolls, who like the Gnomes were given their own little start area back in Cataclysm. As I'd never played a monk class, I went ahead and created one called Kraputkin, who in my head canon is actually Kropotkin's drunk and bad tempered uncle.
Just like for the Gnomes, this little area only got me to level 5 before it spat me back out into the rest of Durotar, so that's where I called it. I didn't really get enough time with the monk to differentiate it much from other classes that use energy, but the start area was definitely fairly quick and snappy, unlike the Draenei zones.

Though many things are different with the game now compared to when I used to play it, it was still a huge nostalgia trip to spend these hours playing it again. And to be honest there was certainly a pull to subscribe just for one month so I could play my proper characters again. But when I take a step back and not let the nostalgia cloud my vision, it's just so obvious that the game is just too dull to be worthy of me putting any more money into it.

So while it's been pretty cool and relaxing to chill out in the game, the way I feel right now is that I'll never visit Azeroth ever again. However, it must be noted that two weeks ago I would have said the same thing. I've also recently bought the first two Warcraft games from GoG, which may trigger another urge to come and play this in the future.
So while it will take something special for me to play, especially subscribe, again, I guess I can never say never.

High kick somehow works on a crab

High kick somehow works on a crab

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

2nd December 2018: Galactic Farewells

So all right, this entry is not really about finishing a game, as this is a game that can not really be finished. But I've allowed myself to do this as I have finished something within a game. And the something I have finished has taken hours.

This last month or so I've had a big run on The Old Republic again after not really touching it since back in July. This run ended yesterday when I finally finished the class storyline for Kreethen, my Jedi Consular.
And boy, I'm glad it's over.

As MMORPGs go, I think this is arguably the one I would pick to play again if I absolutely had to. I think the way it tells its story content, with the choices and fully voiced dialogue, just made me more interested to see what was going to happen next, compared to other such games like WOW where you just get a wall of text that few people actually read.

That being said, the game is still a very typical MMORPG, filled with dull as fuck loot quests, kill quests, and endless travelling back and forth. Actually getting to the end of one character's story has been quite the miracle, and there are seven other characters to choose from, as well as all the expansion content.
But yeah, I'm going to happily forget all that stuff even exists.

To be fair, a few times I did actually think whether I should subscribe and get the expansions, but in the end I think I've had enough of this type of game to last me the next few years. I did however at one point put a little money into the game just so that I could hide what Kreethen was wearing on his head, as the helmet designs were getting more and more ridiculous as I went through the game.

But for now, and probably for ever, this game is done, and has now been uninstalled.

Kreethen's fashion sense is top notch

Kreethen's fashion sense is top notch

Bad dude tries to dodge

Bad dude tries to dodge

Gold digger

Gold digger

Blocking some Sith lightning

Blocking some Sith lightning

Senator Grell has a Sullustan-shaped growth

Senator Grell has a Sullustan-shaped growth

Kreethen uses a proton pack

Kreethen uses a proton pack

Dead guy floats

Dead guy floats

My companion Nadia takes on a Sith

My companion Nadia takes on a Sith

Bad kitties

Bad kitties

Invisible Jedi

Invisible Jedi

Getting well and truly zapped

Getting well and truly zapped

Defeating the end boss

Defeating the end boss

Taking all the plaudits

Taking all the plaudits

Level 50 Kreethen

Level 50 Kreethen

3rd July 2018: The Old Republic Update

The other game I've been playing, though not really a lot, is Star Wars The Old Republic. I got back into this for a few reasons, most of them related to World Of Warcraft. See, back in May, a couple of things happened that really got me nostalgic for my WoW days.

Firstly, a Youtuber I had watched since the WoW Cataclysm beta, named TotalBiscuit, passed away from cancer. That got me thinking about those first vids I watched of his and just looking back at my very short time in that expansion.
Then, another online personality I watch sometimes called Crendor, started to do a challenge in WoW with his mates called the Darkest Dungeon challenge. I watched a few of those streams as they played through the first few dungeons as Alliance characters, and that got me thinking back to my early days as Jack Gooty going through those same dungeons.

At this point, I was hankering for a bit of MMORPG action, but as I still refuse to pay sub fees I decided to re-install TOR instead. This at least made some sense, as I've never hit top level in that game or even completed a single character's storyline.

I've literally just been chilling out in this game. I went back to the planets I raced through last time, being Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before catching up to where I left off in Kreethen's story on Alderaan. And that's pretty much where I'm at right now.

Nothing's really changed in the game, though this time I installed it without BitRaider so I'm having no problems at all logging in.

Kreethen and Qyzen in action

Kreethen and Qyzen in action

Twonking some elite dude

Twonking some elite dude

He's a bit tall

He's a bit tall

Kalda decks some Imperial fuckwit

Kalda decks some Imperial fuckwit

Duelling with the Sith

Duelling with the Sith

Qyzen crashes my obligatory new lightsaber shot

Qyzen crashes my obligatory new lightsaber shot

Just chillin' out on a trip through hyperspace

Just chillin' out on a trip through hyperspace

25th March 2017: Tera Update

Back in January I logged into Tera for the first time in several months. I made a new character, the brawler Kallisto Blaze, just to mess around and give the game one more chance to win me over. Alas, it was not to be, and it has now been uninstalled.

Kallisto spins to win

Kallisto spins to win

Fisting an enemy

Fisting an enemy

Kallisto ready for action

Kallisto ready for action

21st September 2016: Tera Update

Our adventures through Arborea continued for a while, though we've not played for some weeks. While I quite like it for the most part, there are some awkward things about it that stop me from getting really invested. I find the controls a bit awkward, but that's nothing new for this type of game. When the mouse and W,A,S,D keys move you around, I always feel like I need an extra hand for activating skills. This has always been true for all the MMOs I've played, as well as games like Smite.
I'm also struggling to get involved in the world and the lore. You level so fast in this game that you can bypass three quarters of the zones, as by the time you finish one zone you're already too high level for many others. While that's probably a good thing if you plan on levelling alts, as you can go through different zones with them, for us it just makes all that content seem like a waste. Last time we played, we switched our questing tactics so we only did story quests and not all the little zone-specific quests. Hopefully this will keep our levels down longer, and allow us to visit more places, if for shorter amounts of time.

Not long back, they merged a bunch of servers and we lost a lot of items that we hadn't claimed yet, so that pissed us off a bit. We're unsure at the moment whether we'll go back to this.

It's a big bugger

It's a big bugger

Meeting a zombie-bear-thing

Meeting a zombie-bear-thing

Duke Volperon wants my booty

Duke Volperon wants my booty

Took us ages to kill this thing

Took us ages to kill this thing

Though I may play LoL again at some point, it's doubtful I'll be going back to Marvel Heroes. As expected, Scoob didn't want to carry on, but I tried to continue and finished chapter 2. I quickly got tired by the frequent and huge updates, as with my net speed it meant it often took twenty minutes or so to log in. I don't have that kind of patience. Shame, as despite its flaws it has some good things going on, especially for free.

Taking out The Hood

Taking out The Hood

25th July 2016: Marvel Heroes

Though I've been working on finishing a couple of other games these last few weeks, the vast majority of my time has been spent playing games that don't really have an end. Up first, I dived into Marvel Heroes for the first time along with Scoob, as we're both fans of Marvel and it seemed wrong that we hadn't tried it before.
You're allowed to pick your first hero without paying, so I unlocked Psylocke as she's one of my favourite X-Men. Still pissed off they made her a villain in the last movie, but oh well. Alongside Scoob's Wolverine I got chopping and slashing villains left and right, and we went through the first chapter and started the second.

Still a little bit unsure of my thoughts on this game. It's a pretty standard isometric button masher like Torchlight or Diablo, but I think I'd rather play this than those other games because of the theme and characters. I also like how you can try all the heroes up to level 10 before deciding which ones to buy. However, as its only servers are in the U.S. the performance is a little laggy, and the fact that loads of other players are running around make it a bit chaotic at times, adding to the button mashy mayhem. It's a shame they don't make European servers, or even better have developed it as a standalone type game with online and LAN options.

I don't think Scoob is really bothered about carrying on. But I might come back to it at another time. Maybe.

Getting ready to chop

Getting ready to chop

Kicking some villain butt

Kicking some villain butt

Arrgh, bright light!

Arrgh, bright light!

Scrappin with some Venom symbiotes

Scrappin with some Venom symbiotes

In a surprising turn of events, I've also spent a lot of time exploring new, and re-exploring old, MMORPGs these last few weeks.

Up first was The Old Republic. I didn't play this that much a year ago because I only really wanted to play the class quests, but was being made to play a lot of grind quests in order to stay levelled. Recently I read on a forum somewhere that it might now be possible to level up doing only those quests, while adding in one or two other quests here and there to keep the levels up. So I thought I'd give it a try.

I quickly found out that what I'd read was not true. On my Jedi Kreethen's third planet, Taris, I needed to go up 5 levels to match the level of the next quest but I only went up 3. From then on it became about how far I could go until the enemies were too strong for me to take out. Honestly, I got a lot further than I thought I would, getting through Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before finally reaching a quest on Alderaan that was too high level. As all the enemies were 6-7 levels higher, and kept resisting or dodging my attacks, there was no way I could win. Oh well.

Still, I haven't minded playing it this time, even though every planet's class quest was essentially the same: find an ill Jedi, beat them into submission, then cure them, so maybe I'm a bit more open to the MMO style of gameplay at the minute.

Yet, there were some things that annoyed the hell out of me. For instance, quite early on the game gives you a massive ship which you can fly around the galaxy in, but you need to be level 20 to learn how to ride a tiny speeder. How does that make sense? Also, if I used my mouse to turn and move the camera, rather than turn using the keyboard, the camera would very often leap around all over the place in a very hyperactive way, especially when in combat. Pain in the ass. There was also a hell of a lot of running around involved, especially before I had my speeder. I know I was skipping a lot of grind quests, but this felt worse than the old Star Trek Online exploration missions at times.

Probably the biggest bug I had wasn't to do with the game at all, but the launcher. A few times when logging in, the launcher would take ages re-organizing the game data and verifying, a known bug with the BitRaider distribution platform which the game uses. It's somehow tied to multi-core processors, but guess what: every computer these days has a multicore processor. How that has not been fixed yet is beyond me. Apparently there is a way to remove BitRaider and download the game another way, but it doesn't seem worth it unless I feel motivated to go back to it later.

Need a lift soldier?

Need a lift soldier?

The invisible speeder

The invisible speeder

Is my Jedi gonna get to visit a strip club?

Is my Jedi gonna get to visit a strip club?

They're not gonna make my task any easier are they?

They're not gonna make my task any easier are they?

Naughty Qyzen! Get off the furniture!

Naughty Qyzen! Get off the furniture!

I'll have it blue

I'll have it blue

Twonking some elite droid

Twonking some elite droid

Hadoken!

Hadoken!

Why does every Star Wars game end up on Tatooine at some point?

Why does every Star Wars game end up on Tatooine at some point?

This thing was supposed to be an almost-invisible shadow. Hmmmm.

This thing was supposed to be an almost-invisible shadow. Hmmmm.

Can't visit Tatooine without killing some Tusken Raiders

Can't visit Tatooine without killing some Tusken Raiders

Meeting my match on Alderaan

Meeting my match on Alderaan

After giving Star Wars another go it was only fair to give Star Trek the same treatment, and I reinstalled STO. Initially, I had no intention of playing this again at all, as I was only interested in seeing what they had changed when they redesigned the galaxy map. As it turns out, I was very disappointed with the map, as it's still not all in one piece, though it is vastly improved over the original sector blocks.
What got me sticking around for a while was finding out that they had added a bunch of new missions for players who were 50+. A huge problem with this game when I played it last was the lack of content when they raised the level cap from 50 to 60, but with the new missions I was hoping things had changed.

It always takes me a while when I come back to this game to get my head around things, as it is quite different to other MMORPGs. It didn't help that in these intervening months they had completely changed the skill trees and I had to learn what was going on with that to get Macan and his crew back into action. In addition, something strange had also happened to several of my ships, and their appearances had been reset. Gone were their cool dark blue patterns to be replaced by the dull, plain Federation standard. Bums.

Once I was up to speed I was off to the Delta Quadrant and plugging away at the missions. This time, I was able to go through all of the Delta missions, and the Iconian missions, and was able to hit level 60. I think a good chunk of that also came from doing daily quests, red alerts, and other rep quests as I was trying to get some better gear and extra traits. Without those extra missions, I think I would have probably stalled around level 57 or 58.

The game is mostly still the same, that being a huge buggy mess. And it's such a shame, because if this was completely fixed it would be a decent game. In just a couple of weeks play I had my away team officers getting stuck on terrain, lots of server timeouts, graphics bugs, and quests failing to continue or complete. The ground combat is still shockingly bad, and a complete janky pile of crap. But space combat is really interesting, even if I still don't know what's fully happening.
At times when playing it, I was wondering whether to subscribe for a month and then work towards getting a better ship, but overall I don't really think it's worth much more of my time. Also, a lot of the new ships look pretty crap, and not very Trek-like at all. Some seem to be from the future, some from different timelines altogether, and some are from other species that just seem weird mixed in with the classic Federation, Klingon or Romulan ships I'm used to. And I really wouldn't want to spend good money on any of those.

Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?

Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?

Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit

Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit

Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs

Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs

The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing

The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing

Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff

Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff

There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now

There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now

Hanging out with the Voyager crew

Hanging out with the Voyager crew

A huge three-way scrap breaks out

A huge three-way scrap breaks out

Kinda nippy in here

Kinda nippy in here

Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission

Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission

This guy stands on his chair to give me orders

This guy stands on his chair to give me orders

Neelix hides

Neelix hides

Now, now, ladies. Settle down.

Now, now, ladies. Settle down.

Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.

Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.

This happens way too often

This happens way too often

Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock

Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock

Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.

Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.

This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair

This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair

Anyone up for some basketball?

Anyone up for some basketball?

This is not how you carry a wounded ally

This is not how you carry a wounded ally

Not one to be outdone, the Scoob has also been delving back into the world of MMORPGs. He's even been playing WoW again after many years away from it. As a lot would have to change for me to play that waste of time and money again, and he had no real interest in playing Star Wars or Star Trek again, we needed a new MMO we could both have a bash at so we could play along together.
We decided to go with Tera, a Korean MMO that went free to play a couple of years back, that I had mostly heard good things about.

When I was looking at good race/class combos for this game, a lot of people recommended going for the child-like (and creepy as fuck I might add) elin characters, as most think they are slightly harder to hit in PvP. While we thought it unlikely we would ever do PvP in this game, it was nevertheless in the back of my mind when I made my character. I ended up with a human, as they have some PvP skills that the other races don't have. I also bucked my usual trend and went with a woman instead of a man, just in case being smaller did have some benefit in PvP. And let's face it - I was never going to be an elin.
And so I entered the world as mystic Gaia Light, named after one of my Amazon Blood Bowl players. Scoob created Kharnragnar, a human berserker, mainly because he wanted to swing a massive axe around.

We're quite new at this one, so haven't puzzled it all out yet. There are few things that really annoy us, especially the dual minimaps that do different things, rather than slapping them all on one like in most MMOs. This also contributes to another problem - I find the UI quite cluttered, especially during combat. Things just pop up all over the place, and it's annoying.

Other than that, it seems quite alright so far. And the free-to-play model of this game is insane. It doesn't look like you really have to pay for anything, with subscribers just getting more EXP and reputation, and having it easier to move around the world. Seems like a good deal to me.

Shortly after beginning our adventure

Shortly after beginning our adventure

Scoob going for the big twonk

Scoob going for the big twonk

I swear my character runs like an aerobics instructor

I swear my character runs like an aerobics instructor

Getting serious WoW flashbacks up here

Getting serious WoW flashbacks up here

Hmm, the Teletubbies seem to be in this game

Hmm, the Teletubbies seem to be in this game

Unleashing some lovely magics on our enemies

Unleashing some lovely magics on our enemies

Some characters, like this, look really cool. Shame about the creepy kid-things.

Some characters, like this, look really cool. Shame about the creepy kid-things.

Scoob does his best Garen impression

Scoob does his best Garen impression

Fighting our first instance boss

Fighting our first instance boss

This is no time to be practising your dance moves

This is no time to be practising your dance moves

21st August 2015: The Old Republic Update

As expected we didn't play Star Wars The Old Republic for all that long. Me and Scoob managed to get through the starting world with our Sith characters, and I trudged through the first two worlds with my Jedi, but MMOs are just too boring, and it couldn't keep hold of our attention. I really wanted to continue the stories, but the game forces you to do all the typical MMO grind quests to get high enough level to do the story quests.
No thanks.

Arrggh, everything burns!

Arrggh, everything burns!

Time to die big guy

Time to die big guy

Klapdud gets pistol-whipping

Klapdud gets pistol-whipping

Kreethen gets his lightsaber

Kreethen gets his lightsaber

Die, Sith scum

Die, Sith scum

How am I reaching through this wall?

How am I reaching through this wall?

Are we in the Construct?

Are we in the Construct?

Finally looking like a Jedi

Finally looking like a Jedi

Is that you Han?

Is that you Han?

Strange graphics bug makes Klapdud's companion lose her clothes

Strange graphics bug makes Klapdud's companion lose her clothes

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