Last few weeks I’ve been slightly pigging out when it comes to food. March is a ridiculous month when it comes to birthdays so every weekend I was stuffing my face with all types of snacks, crisps, cake and other shit. Obviously this is bad when you’re trying to lose weight, so I’m putting myself back on some dietary restrictions. Trying to eat healthier (get some fruit instead of candy) and just eating less in general. I’m aiming for eating around 1200-1400 calories a day, mostly because 1200 is the minimum amount you  need to eat to keep on feeling healthy, and I don’t want my body to go into starvation mode.
Next to dietary restrictions I’m also trying to set some rules on my money spending habits. I’ve been spending a LOT of money on my new Wii U and getting games for it… So I should lay low for a while and stop spending. I’ve given myself a budget of €100 to spend each month on games and/or make-up. Seeing as Ratchet and Clank comes out in a few weeks that’s already some bucks gone, so I really need to think about what I want to buy next to that.

Seeing as it’s Easter, and I managed to get 5 days of free time due to lucky scheduling, I’ve been spending a lot of time just playing games. I can finally sit down for a longer time and get stuff done, instead of getting 2-3 hours of playtime in on a weekday where you can barely do a dungeon or mission in a game and then you need to start watching the clock to log off. I’ve also taken the opportunity to binge watch my way through Daredevil season 2 (which I loved) and start watching Jessica Jones (which I don’t nearly love as much). All in all I’m really using this elongated weekend to relax, play and get some “me” time in.

Sandrian Noble 19/03/2016 13:59:22

PS4 Shenaningans
I’ve been spending a lot of time playing on my PS4 in various games. Mostly FFXIV and The Division and I’ve been making some steady progress in both games.
In FFXIV I finally managed to get my hands on the Vath flying mount and oh my god it’s adorable. I really like the didgeridoo type of sound when it makes as I’m flying everywhere and it just reminds me of a really weird seahorse.
The Vath itself have been a silly but cute beasttribe. It reminded me in many ways of the Borg in Star Trek, and Square Enix did it’s best to incorporate some clear references to them aswell. I’m kind of sad that the Vath and Vanu Vanu appear to be the only beast tribes for this expansion, although you never know with Square Enix and maybe they will let us rank up with the Moogles aswell? Who knows.

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Division seems to be the hot game of the moment right now and ofcourse I couldn’t stay behind in playing it. Although I might not be as fast as most people playing, I’ve been making some steady progress. I really love roaming around in New York discovering stuff. I like taking my time and going into buildings and alleys and collecting all the random little lore bits, instead of just rushing ahead through the story without giving other things a second look.
I’m currently level 15 and roaming around in the Clinton District. I won’t deny that due to the nature of the game I’ve almost thrown my controller through the room in frustration multiple times. Shooters aren’t really my main genre and even if this is a more tactical one, I die a lot and am pretty bad in weapon handling.

The only real downside to Division for me seems to be the female character creator and the fact that lady characters absolutely look godawful if you give them a headpiece to wear. I’m really disappointed about this. Although Ubisoft clearly tried to attract a wider audience with this game, I wish they would actually not just give us variations of butch lesbian haircuts to choose from. Not to mention the seriously weird ass options you have for Caucasian female faces.
Ohwell.

 

Today has been surreal.
After the attacks in Paris a few months ago the world was shocked. Europe was shocked. It confronted us with people who had been operating in secret, in our supposedly private and safe world. It showed us that no matter how safe you think you are, there is always some lunatics willing to kill innocents for no good reason at all.
The last few weeks I’ve been eyeing the situation in Turkey, how there too innocent people fall victim to things they shouldn’t be involved in in the first place. The Turkey conflict has an extra dimension though, since they are in active conflict with the Kurds who default to guerilla tactics since army wise they will never win the conflict.
I look at the innocents getting caught and my heart bleeds. I don’t understand, and I will never understand, why innocent people need to get caught in the crossfire.

When I got the news about the attacs on Brussels this morning I was shocked. I have a good friend stationed for work there so the first thing I did was send him a message to make sure he was safe, and he was. After more news popped up things got more and more terrifying. Two explosions at the airport, another one at the metro network. All still in Brussels, but I couldn’t help but think that if I wanted to, I could take the train and be there in 1.5 hours.
When the first news arrived that here in the Netherlands around the Schiphol area they had locked down a trainstation and stopped multiple trains my initial shock began to turn into genuine fear. Schiphol is a major airport hub here and it’s really easy to get to from Brussels. What if they planned to come here too?
Luckily nothing actually happened, there were a few false alarms and thing were handled mostly correctly and quietly. But the fear never really ceased for me.

I’m terrified. I’m worried. I’m angry and I’m alone. I’m not questioning where the next strike will happen, because I’m positive my home country is one of their targets aswell. But I am wondering when, and that thought alone is enough to keep me terrified for a very long time.

Sunday evening, 21.00. We finally come home from yet another birthday. March is a really busy month and I haven’t had a weekend to myself at all. I notice I’m tired once again, a state I’ve been in for a very long time now and it’s starting to annoy me. All I want to do is sit on my ass and stare at my PC or tablet screen, not really doing anything useful.
I come home like this every day after work. It’s a crazy job with lots to do and at the end of the day I’m completely exhausted and happy to go home. But then the actual real struggle starts: staying awake and making use of my evening. I’ve been considering going to the gym after work, mostly because people say you get energy back from working out. However due to the fact that I still live at home, by the time I get to the gym it’s 20.00 because dinner comes first. At 20.00 I really can’t be arsed to haul my ass to the gym for an hour, come home, shower and then essentially head straight to bed. I want to spend my evening in a more fun way, so that’s out of the question.

I’m trying really hard to not lie down on bed after I get home or after I have eaten. I know that if/when I do, I’ll immediatly fall asleep and won’t wake up for the next 40-60 minutes, and after I do I only feel more tired than I was before.
So yeah, right now I could really use some energy pills to keep me going during the evenings and my day off. I have set many goals for myself this year, both on and offline, and I’m not really getting to any of them due to feeling tired all the time.
I’ve tried adjusting my food habits, and it has helped a bit. For now I just want to get into a rythm for my evenings so that I can relax after work, but still get stuff done without feeling like I just want to head to bed the moment I get home.

I think I also really need to enforce not taking my tablet or phone to bed with me anymore. It keeps me up for too long, the light makes my brain think it’s not sleeping time yet and I notice my sleep quality is much better if I just lie down and attempt to fall asleep, instead of scrolling through whatever website or app for an hour before my eyes finally fall shut. Because when I get a good night’s sleep, I wake up after 8-8.5 hours on my own, feeling rested and ready to take on the day. Instead of waking up and feeling like I just want to go back to sleep again immediatly.

I have played World of Warcraft since 2007. I remember exactly how my adventure started: on a crappy computer making a mage on my ex’s account. I could barely play for 5 minutes straight without everything freezing up, but I played and I loved it.
Since then the Blizzard franchise has grown enormously, I got into playing Diablo 3 when it was released. And I knew about Starcraft (although RTS really isn’t my genre). Now next to those classic three titles we also have Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. Blizzard’s empire grows.

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One of the things that Blizzard has refined to an art is crossgame rewards. I don’t even know where it started exactly, but right now it’s perfectly normal to get items for all of your Blizzard games when you buy a Blizzcon ticket or a Collector’s edition of one of their games. Sometimes they will do promotions, and one of the last ones was getting a new hero portrait in Hearthstone for dinging a new character level 20 in World of Warcraft.
Being the collector that I am, I dusted off my World of Warcraft account and created a Warlock. It’s one of those classes I barely touched, and seeing as it was only level 20 I just picked up something new to keep the flavour fresh.
I think I started levelling on Thursday and I just dinged 20 about 10 minutes ago. It was fast and easy and it felt nice running around on Azeroth again, but it didn’t make me want to renew my sub.

I am happy with my reward though. Lady Liadrin is kickass and I much rather look at her as Paladin hero than Uther. Not to mention you unlock her as golden, animated hero which I just love to bits and pieces. This might actually make me play Hearthstone again, although right now I don’t really see where I can find the time to do so.

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I really hope Blizzard keeps doing these types of cross-promotions. It attracts new players to some of their games, or makes old players come back. It’s nice that you can earn stuff like this without having to pay for it (level 20 character is doable on a WoW starter account, meaning you play for free) and for someone like me who likes to collect and finish everything it really scratches a certain itch.

The next crossgame goodies I get are the ones that come with the Overwatch release… And I really can’t wait to get my hands on some of them.

I celebrated my 27th birthday yesterday. Even writing this up it makes me feel old. Looking back to my teens and growing up and where I am now, I would not have imagined to still live at home at this age. I used to be full of wild plans, essentially wanting to move out at 18 and get my own place and my own life.
Alas depression, PTSD and a father with cancer cancelled all of this so here I am, still at home and struggling to find my way. It’s okay though, I’ve been through a lot worse and right now my life is mostly stable. I have a job that earns me a decent income, I have a nice group of friends around me that love me and support me and I’ve been working on getting healthier and losing weight, so there’s that. The only thing I really miss is someone to share it all with… But I hope that day will come soon aswell.

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Seeing as I now have a nice income I treated myself this year. I bought a Wii U, which I’ve been wanting to have for a while due to Nintendo exclusive games. It came with Xenoblade chronicles X and man do I have to say that that is a very pretty looking game for the Wii U as console. Ofcourse it still pales in comparison to what my PS4 can produce graphics wise, but it’s really nice to look at anyway. The story so far seems decent aswell and it’s a JRPG, a genre which I actually like very much. I’ve read some reviews aswell which showcase it to be a huge open world game where you can easily sink hours and hours into exploring alone… Which actually makes me quite excited to play.
I also picked up a few other games. I couldn’t really resist Yoshi’s Woolly World (I love cutesy games like this) and Epic Mickey was on sale for only €9,99. Being the huge Disney fan I am I HAD to pick it up so there’s that.
I’ve also been trying to get into the Zelda series, having Majora’s Mask on my 3DS. Twilight Princess is supposed to be a very good game and graphically it looks nice aswell so I went ahead and picked that up aswell.

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All in all I have quite a bit to play right now. My activities in MMO’s have been going down unfortunately. I only really actively play FFXIV because my WoW guild is on hiatus untill Legion. I have the Division going on my PS4 and am also thinking of popping back into Destiny to take a look around with a big update coming in April… There’s enough plans atleast… And that’s not even counting having to fit in Daredevil season 2 somewhere aswell.

Ever since I started work in November my life has been messed up quite a lot. Going from having all the time in the world, to suddenly having to plan what I do with my time has been rough on me. And the moment I finally get used to my normal work schedule, I get asked to work extra. Which not only totally messes up my normal routine, but also makes me very very tired, leaving me to just go to bed after dinner and a shower rather than staying up and game.
The past two or three weeks have been absolutely insane for me, working a lot of hours and having my weekends booked with all types of activities, including a company party. But after sleeping for about 9 hours last night I finally feel refreshed enough to sit down and write something on here again.

So what have I been up to then?
I have been gaming over the last few weeks. Mostly focusing my time on FFXIV and The Division. I never thought I would pick up the Division, shooters aren’t really my genre, but I’m very happy that I did. I absolutely love the tactical gameplay. I love that taking cover is a huge thing in firefights. And I love the exploration and RPG part of the game.
My entire experience with the Division has been positive so far, with only one tiny thing that I was unhappy with: female character customization. To be blunt, if I want a Caucasian female look I end up with a character with a seriously weird face that can’t even have longer hair than a tiny ponytail. I like the fact that I can play as a woman though, I just wish they were designed better.

In FFXIV I’ve mostly been trying to get Lore cap and work on my relic. I’m a bit burnt out on levelling, so it’s nice to focus on something else for a bit. It’s also very relaxing to know you only really have to do ex-roulette as you log on and then can do random silly things instead of hardcore levelling or raiding.

Other interests
I’ve finally finished off season 3 of Hannibal and am now officially done with the show. It’s been a long ride and I have loved every minute of it. You can see the makers clearly intended for another season, as there is an extra scene after the end credits of the last episode that makes the ending very open. Alas NBC ended the contract and I fear we will never see a season 4 of Hannibal.
I have also resubbed to Netflix and am now devouring Daredevil. Currently on episode 9 of season 1, I should be finished on time for season 2. I really love the dark grittiness of the show, and my word the guy who plays Daredevil is hot. I will definately watch season 2 as soon as it’s out and after that I will probably turn my attention to Jessica Jones.

Something else I’ve gotten really into lately is make-up and beauty products. Working in an environment full of women some things rub off on you eventually and I notice I really like fiddling around with how I look. So over the past week I’ve really been investing into quality make-up products (brands like OPI, Clinique and MAC) that will last me a while, instead of the €3 lipsticks I’ve been buying up untill now. I’m still a rookie when it comes to a lot of things, I can’t contour my face for the life of me, but I enjoy picking out lipsticks and nailpolish for the day and week and just take a few minutes to make myself look pretty.
It really cuts into my budget though. A “prestige” brand will charge easily over €20 for a single lipstick, but seeing as it will last you a very long time and it just looks good AND doesn’t dry out my lips like cheaper brands do I feel like it’s a solid investment. Not to mention it makes me look much more professional at work.

So what is next?
For the time being I’m just going with the flow of things. When I’m tired I turn away from games and towards Netflix. I’ll try to blog a bit more regularly and will probably blog a bit more about my other interests besides gaming aswell… Although that will always be my main subject.
Seeing as March is a seriously busy month for me I really need to get my sleep schedule in order aswell, because coming home extremely tired every night is seriously sucky and not something I plan on doing for the weeks to come.

After my recent levelling spree, I decided to turn my attention to the last “A Realm Reborn” beast tribe I needed to get max rank reputatin with: The Ehcatl Nine (better known as the Ixali). A group of Ixali who don’t believe in worshipping Garuda, but instead searching for a way to get back into Ayatlan, a floating paradise high up in the sky… And their home.
Over the course of the quests you help build components for their airship, making it a unique Beast tribe… Seeing as the quests were meant to be completed on Disciples of the Hand, rather than Battle Classes/Jobs.
I was very happy to see the happy ending here, which mostly constitutes of the airship you helped build doing a succesful test flight.

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After I completed this tribe, I picked up a new questchain (SPOILERS AHEAD) that would send back to all the old beast tribes. At first I had to return Little Solace and the Sylphs, where they had me steal back a batch of podlings that were kidnapped from their camp. While surveying the Sylphlands I encounter a mysterious lady called Sylvie, who tells me the podlings were kidnapped as part of a bigger, darker plot… And then she heads off to La Noscea.
After that I paid a visit to the Sapsa Spawning Grounds and the Sagahin, where the youngest of Novv’s clutch has been kidnapped by a mysteriously masked Miqo’te… Who then almost murders Novv!
Going out on a short sidenote here, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sahagin. The story of their Beast Tribe is about protecting family most of all, and in this questchain Novv tells you you are like a daughter to him, not only that, his only and strongest daughter. It really struck a chord with me and reminds me how Square Enix has absolute gems of story in their game.

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Our story continues with Sylvie showing up in Aleport, telling me she is after the same masked Miqo’te that I just encountered. Apparently he is known as the Ebon Claw. She sents me to Baderon in the Drowning Wench, who starts the next part of the chain which sends me to the Kobolds of the 789th Order in Outer la Noscea. Where entire scores of Kobolds have been disappearing.
(How do you kidnap so many at once, really!)
Our friend Sylvie is at the scene and gets wounded by the mysterious “Ebon Claw”. She tells us the Ixali are the next target, so I hurry to Ehcatl Nine, hoping to get answers there.
The Ebon Claw raided a party of Ixali near Hyrstmill and luckily for us, a part of his airship fell off and I could take it back for identification. Which then sends me to Ul’dah where I encounter an Amal’jaa from the Ashen Brotherhood frantically running around in the city, who tells me the Ebon Claw stole mere hatchlings away from the encampment in Southern Thanalan. After a brief talk with the Warleader, and (involuntarily) recruiting Loonh Gah the Miqo’te to my search for the Ebon Claw, Sylvie introduces me to the chairmain of the organization she works for: The Ashcrown Consortium. It has been dealing with friendly beast tribes forever and wants to put an end to the kidnappings.

For the last leg of the quest I have a few friends that help me track down the Ebon Claw and the organization he works for: The Laughing Alchemists. After running around all over the city talking to various people it’s time to for the encounter with the Ebon Claw, who confirms earlier suspicions that the head of the Laughing Alchemists, Memeriga, has been kidnapping the beast tribe younglings to turn them into an undead army! Sylvie turns out to be Silbexio, a Sylph who escaped death by the Ebon Claw before.
A final battle ensues in the Invisible City in Eastern Thanalan. We save the day, blow up Memeriga’s cauldron with zombie mixture and kill the Ebon Claw and put a stop to all the Beast tribe abductions once and for all. Beast tribes unite!
A lot more details happen in the quest obviously, but you really need to play through it yourself to fully grasp the story.

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So yeah, that was my Saturday evening! That last Beast tribe chain quest was quite a monster and took me about 2 hours to complete. In the end I managed to get an achievement and I unlocked additional wares to buy from all the old Beast tribes, including pets. So my collector’s heart is at ease.
Oh, I also managed to obtain my Lore tome chest for Ninja… Doesn’t it look pretty?

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After dinging 58 this week on my Bard I got my ass in gear and picked up the Bard quest where I left it and landed at Moghome. Curious to see the ending to the search for the Ballad of Oblivion I pushed my Bard hard this week… And managed to ding 60 tonight!

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After I dinged I set out to complete the level 60 Bard quest. Where we were pitted against a harpy (of course).

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And where Guydelot comes to “save the day”, telling us instead of looking for the Ballad of Oblivion, we should write our own about how we killed this particular wretch.
Needless to say, she didn’t like us much.

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After all of it I finally got my last Bard skill: Sidewinder. And the achievement for completing the level 60 Bard quest!

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This is now my third class to level 60 and so far I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in the route Square Enix has decided to take on Bard. They effectively turned them into casters, basically “forcing” us to use Wanderer’s Minuet when we are able to stand still on a fight. Although I’m sure I can get used to this new type of gameplay (switching in and out of WM according to fight needs), I’m not too keen on having my mobility taken away on a hunter type character. I’ve always loved the hunter/archer archetype and I feel like I’ve become some sort of melee mage now. Nevertheless I kind of enjoyed the Bard story to 60, my search for a non-existing song and the five new abilities I have gotten.

Also I totally need to show off the Dravanian Set of Aiming, which are dungeon drop items from the new Ex-Roulette dungeons: Lost City of Amdapor (Hard) and The Antitower. Don’t I look absolutely amazing with my hat?

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