Blaugust: Day 1!

We are finally starting! Today is officially the first day of Blaugust. I’m seriously wondering what I have gotten myself into, but hey, I signed up so let’s make the best of it! Since the list of participating bloggers is huge (and I’m really unsure how to reflect this properly in my blogroll) here’s a link to the nook on Anook.com: http://www.anook.com/blog/blaugust
If you are interested in reading other people’s blogs during Blaugust go here!

The Job: Part 2
So I had my job interview yesterday and I actually  managed to get the job! It’s a very simple job for only three-four weeks that mostly revolves around data entry but I’m superhappy I got it. I’ve been sitting at home for far too long and the chance to get out of the house and earn some decent money on top of that has lifted my spirits a lot. I will probably be very tired (I will be working a 32 hour week minimum) but it will be totally worth it. I will finally have some money to my name again and it’s a bit of work experience I can add to my resumé. Anyway I hope this reignites my gaming fire a bit. I will have less time so I will have to make better choices what to do with that time.

Guild Wars 2
I finished off levelling through Caledon Forest a few days ago and am very pleased with how the levelling in this game has turned out. Compared to how it was at launch everything is much more smoothed out and easier to get into. I had to get used to the new specializations layout but in it’s current form it’s much better than it was.

I’m still amazed by some of the gorgeous environments in this game. A few of the vista’s show hidden waterfalls like the one below. And I found a underwater organ you can actually play!

Gear progression is still a bit weird for me. I’m not a fan of the looks of the low level gearsets for this game. I guess I’m too used to either the clown combinations of WoW or the spectacular gear that FFXIV offers to people levelling up. All the gear you get here is brown and bland (luckily there’s the option to dye it) and it all looks the same. It’s a good thing the cultural gear for Sylvari looks absolutely amazing and I will certainly buy it once I have the level and the money for it. For now I’m rocking the awesome facemask look…
And here’s to hoping that Kessex Hills offers a bit more gear variety!

Guild Wars and Job Wars

THE JOB

Today I finally managed to get through the first round of job interviews in a very long time. I have applied to a summer job for the month of August (data entry) and after a bit of an awkward conversation on the phone I was told I was through to the next round. I’m currently awaiting a phonecall to schedule a date and time for a job interview and I’m super excited about it. Even if it’s only a 4 week job it will still give me some work experience and ofcourse money. My fingers are crossed!
Guild Wars


So I downloaded and installed Guild Wars 2 again yesterday and started up a new character. It’s a Sylvari Ranger called Temari Dusk (although she prefers only Temari) and I’ve been rediscovering the game totally so far. They have changed a lot in the levelling up, guiding you through the maps more than they did before. They also changed the personal story (you get a new chapter every 10 levels now instead of from the start) and completely overhauled the talents/specializations system. Next to that they added atleast one little ingame tutorial (how to dodge) and you get a lot of rewards from simply leveling up. It feels like a completely different game and I am enjoying myself again.
Ofcourse one of the most awesome things is the beautiful screenshots you can make while visiting Vista’s, something I have started to do again. I almost forgot how pretty the Grove was! I’m currently sitting on level 8, working my way through all the hearts in the Sylvari starter zone and have completely discovered the Grove. Doing all the jumping puzzles again was entertaining. I hope I can finally level a character past level 26 though because I haven’t seen a lot of what this game actually has to offer!
The Beautiful Grove

Coming Home

After about 5 hours of travel last night I could finally greet my own bed again in the evening. Sweden has been a blast, I’ve done lots and lots of walking the past week, but being home again is very nice aswell.
I had to take care of a lot of things since apparently this household can’t really function without me present. So after doing a bulk of laundry, groceries, financial stuff and shoving in a quick lunch I can finally sit down and start to catch up on my games. I managed to purchase a game card for FFXIV  relatively cheap and will probably poke around in the game for a bit today. Apparently I’m hopelessly behind on esoterics already but well, it’s something I will have to deal with I guess.

I’ve also taken to reinstalling Guild Wars 2 again. I have played this game on and off for a very long time, but never got a character past level 30. I have always said that I prefer to game with other people, the same was true for Guild Wars, but I think I’m mostly cool with soloing stuff now. Since I have to level anyway I can decide my own pace and just have fun and take in the beautiful landscapes that GW2 has to offer. I will probably make a new character (mostly because I already forgot what I actually have) and go from there. I like the Sylvari race and lore a lot so I think I’ll pick one of those, just not sure yet what class. Knowing myself I will probably go Ranger or Guardian/Warrior since I prefer melee and hunters over everything else. It will be weird to start over again, but I guess I won’t lose out on too much.

In the meantime I have lots to catch up on Final Fantasy grinding wise and I have decided to get my Scholar up as next class. DPS times can be horrible and I prefer healing over tanking so the decision was easily made. I would have preferred White Mage but since it’s only level 34, and I can’t be arsed to level from that low again yet, my choices are limited. I also hope to be able to get a little more time in on my characer on Cactuar but for now I’m focussing on my main.
Only a week gone and so much to catch up on already! I guess I should get started as soon as I can…

Participation

I have signed myself up for Blaugust 2015. I hesitated at first, but maybe it’s good to try it, so I have a bit more commitment to writing on this blog.

Although this blog isn’t that old, I’m not really a newcomer when it comes to blogging. I’ve been blogging on and off on different domains, but always managed to let it slip and delete the blog after a bit. I have always felt that I would not be interesting enough to keep a solid readerbase so I just stopped caring at some point.
A part of me regrets shutting down my first blogs. I have some good memories from them and I can never get the stuff I wrote on them back, since I did completely delete them. I want to be more commited to this blog though, and trying to complete Blaugust will probably help me a lot with that. I am unsure of what to write about exactly, but I guess we will see along the way.

So on the 22nd the new Hearthstone expansion was announced: the Grand Tournament. From what I’ve seen of the cards so far it looks awesome. Blizzard has made this expansion themed around your Hero power and that is kind of cool. You have cards that boost your Hero power, reduces the cost of them or use the power to inspire a minion. I will have to see how all the cards play out ofcourse but for now I think I will be farming a lot of gold on Hearthstone so I can buy a lot of packs as the expansion comes out. I have been late to the party on this game so far. Even though I had beta acces it never captured me enough to play a lot, untill a friend explained and helped me play a little. I’m not as hooked on the game as he is, but I’m having some casual fun with unlocking new cards, working my way through the PvE adventures Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain and battling my way to rank 20 every month so I can get that month’s card back (especially the Cupcake card back is awesome to have).

The end of my vacation in Sweden is in sight aswell. I have spent a lovely week here with mostly good weather and I will be catching my flight home tomorrow from Copenhagen in the evening so I still have most of two days left here. Unfortunately atleast today looks to be bad weather wise so I will have to spend most of the time indoors. Maybe it’s an incentive to finally get some more time in on my Pokemon X, a game I had started a while ago but never really finished. Or I could battle to rank 20 on my Hearthstone account. So many choices!
I have to say I missed sleeping in my own bed a lot so I’m happy to go home in that regard but otherwise I will miss my time here. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back someday…

Greetings from Sweden

In my last blog I gave a short goodbye to World of Warcraft. I’ve spent this week on vacation in Sweden and I have to say, I don’t miss my MMO’s at all. I didn’t bring my authenticator with me on purpose so I only had some Hearthstone on my phone to play and the games I brought with me on my 3DS. Not being online for awhile has helped me relax. Although I’ve been assaulted by allergies during my time here (2 lovely kitties that share my room) I haven’t felt this relaxed and positive in ages.
My Swedish friend, who is hosting my stay, is an awesome hardworking guy and we have been having a lot of fun this week just going out and doing stuff. I’ve seen Copenhagen, spent time on the beach. Got to experience the lovely town of Lund and dwelled the university and inner city there. It has boost up my motivation to make something out of my life and myself again, after feeling horrible for months.

I want to hold on to this feeling and need to find a way to do so without excluding all games from my life. Because I still absolutely adore FFXIV, I even miss WoW a bit and I have a library full of games that I still need to work through, but I want to do it all on a slower pace. I don’t want to be stuck all day staring at a screen anymore. I want to be able to enjoy an hour of a game and then log off and go do something more usefull. The summer weather will probably help a lot with this, since it’s much more inviting to go outside with the sun shining than when it’s cold and rainy.
I want to be able to pick up, but also put down a game whenever I want which makes me doubt if it has been a good idea to commit to raiding groups. Ofcourse it’s only a few evenings during the week that I don’t really do something else, but it’s still binding in one way or another. I will have to think about this and decide whether I want to have this commitment or not.

On a different note, I’ve been having my ups and downs with playing Hearthstone. I have unlocked tavern brawl and have been having a very frustrating but also very fun time with it. I think I have decided it’s a nice game to play on my phone mostly since it’s usually fast games and you can just do a game or two and then leave it. I don’t like battling my way up the ladder so I just go for the rank needed to get that month’s card back and leave it at that. It’s casual gameplay and I like it that way.
The RNG element is what puts me off the most of wanting to be really competitive. Even if you have a very good understanding of the game, if someone just draws better cards than you, you’re basically screwed. This has caused a 15 game losing streak in Tavern Brawl for me before, something that frustrated me a lot. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. This week’s Tavern Brawl has been a bit more friendly for me with a highlight on a game I played today where I defeated my opponent in two turns. Sometimes it’s really nice to be on the side where you draw just the right cards. I can only hope that it happens more often!

The honeymoon is over

After Blizzard confirming that Hellfire Citadel would be the last raid of the Warlords of Draenor expansion I have been thinking about my WoW time and how I see the future.
I have always loved WoW as game, it has been my escape from reality, I have grinded many many hours to obtain rare items, defeat raid bosses and just  play and enjoy the game in general. Lately however I’ve not enjoyed the grind anymore.
For the past 3-4 weeks I’ve only logged in to raid. Even with patch 6.2 hitting it hasn’t increased my time spent on WoW. The polar opposite actually. With the nerfs to gold missions for followers and the addition of yet another table I felt like even my garrison (and shipyard) weren’t worth my time anymore.
The prospect of having to do dailies again to unlock things hasn’t appealed to me either, I’ve only done them with a friend, and in general I haven’t “enjoyed” any of the new content that 6.2 has has to offer.

So after 8 years of playing I’m seriously thinking about quitting the game. I’ll never say “forever” because I might get the itch again to play every now and then, but right now I don’t feel like it anymore at all. I might resub after my vacation to Sweden solely to defeat the last boss in Hellfire Citadel, complete my legendary and thus this expansion. But that’s mostly it. I’m not sure what Blizzard will think up as next expansion, but I don’t think I will be there to see it. For me the game has gone down in quality and content over the past years, with Warlords of Draenor being a huge disappointment expansion wise (after already not really enjoying Mists of Pandaria). I think it’s an appropriate time to start saying goodbye and focus on other things.

Thanks for all the fun times WoW, but for me this chapter has, most likely, come to an end.

Screaming My Lungs Out

Ever had the feeling that you just want to scream so loud your lungs give out? That you can’t speak for atleast a day, but that it feels like a huge relief? That’s the state I am in right now.
I want to scream for all the opportunities I’ve not taken. For all the tears I have and shall shed in my life. For all the wrongs and rights. For everything. Just scream untill I can’t scream anymore and everything is just out.

Gaming has been my outlet for years. I’ve buried myself in MMO after MMO to escape the failures in my life, to be able to be something or someone else that IS succesful and to have fun doing so. It’s worked, and it is still working, but not without taking a toll. I find it increasingly harder to tear myself away from the safe environment of my games. I feel comfortable there and prefer to just be online 24/7 without having to worry about anything else. Especially MMO’s are the ideal games to do this, because you are never really “done” with them. I take a look at FFXIV and all the stuff I want to get done there and I think I’ll be working on it for months to come.

Alternatively a different side of me has resurfaced lately, and this is where the Butcher picture comes into play. I am a very competitive person by nature. I have always done some sort of sports when I was younger (mostly individual) and loved to participate in competitions of all sorts.
I’ve had the privilige to test out Heroes of the Storm since it’s Alpha phase (something I barely did unfortunately) I feel myself majorly drawn to the game. I like testing my skills against others and would really like to devote some time to get truly good at the game, to a point where I would love to be atleast in top 20% of the players playing it (which means rank 10 or higher). Unfortunately Heroes suffers the same drawbacks that League of Legends has. First off the community is very very toxic. The moment something goes awry you get a lot of people that just start having a go at people for no reason and then decide the game is lost and will just either stand AFK at the fountain or make sure the other team wins by playing badly. Secondly there are a lot of people who don’t practice any form of communication whatsoever. I’ve met more people (mostly Russian and Eastern European, sorry but it’s true) that are unable or unwilling to speak English than I can reasonably keep track off. Thirdly next to being competitive I’m also highly insecure. This leads me to undermine myself, thinking that I will never be truly good enough to “carry” a game and will always be stuck in the lower regions of the game. Even though I have been told by more than one person that I have excellent game insight and “I play too well for my own good” I still suffer from the feeling that I’m just not good enough.
I would love to stream my progress in Heroes of the Storm because I know I have the skills to be better than average, but I’m way too insecure to do stuff like that. Not to mention my PC is not really stream equipped, or maybe it is now that I’ve installed a lot more memory, who knows. I’ll probably test it out later today.

For now I still want to scream. Maybe there will be a day when I don’t want to anymore.

Crafting in FFXIV: Where to start?

After poking about on my baby Ninja on Cactuar I had decided to pick up some Crafting classes so that I wouldn’t be falling behind on them as much as I have on my main on Moogle.
After some careful consideration on how I was going to do this I went ahead and started levelling the three crafter classes you can pick up in Limsa Lominsa (my homebase): Culinarian, Armorsmith and Blacksmith.

I don’t mean to write a guide on crafting, since there is more than enough of them out there already, but I would like to share some of the things that made it “easier” to level crafting on a brand new character.

Tip #1:
Pick up all the crafting classes in your starting town. From level five onwards you can pick between three rewards from quests. Because all starting towns conveniently have three crafts you can pick up you can level them up together and pick all the rewards from the quests simultaneously, making it much easier to “gear up” in general. You can get almost a full set this way for the first 10-15 levels.
From level 10 you can start looking into picking up accessories from the local Jeweler on the markets to fill up your right side. Since you won’t be provided any jewelry from the crafting quests.

Gear I got from doing only the level 5 and 10 quests for the 3 crafting classes in Limsa!

Tip #2:
Make all the recipes in your crafting log. Especially for the first 10-15 levels it will give you almost all the experience you need to level up. Added bonus: Up untill about level 15 you can get all the materials you need from the vendors. After that things will change but I will explain that in a later post.

Tip #3:
Levequests. Do them. Some professions don’t have that many recipes in their crafting log. When you plan to level from level 5 to level 10 just check the local levemete, see what items you need for the levequests and hold on to them, this goes for the entire levelling process by the way. They might give you that bit of experience you need to get to your next crafting quest! The rest of the items you can often sell, or hang onto, whatever you prefer. Especially when you are crafting tools for other jobs it’s nice to hang onto those since they can fill in the gaps that the crafting quests leave.
A special note here for levelling culinarian. Just keep the food. It helps you level other classes and you make it anyway, might aswell use it!

Tip #4:
Aim for filling up the quality bar as much as you can. From the moment you get the Master’s Mend skill (which is level 7 I believe) you can start fiddling around with HQing items. Make sure you always have two tries left to finish off the item (even if you would only need one) just incase the first one fails. Trying to HQ an item is always worth it seeing as with every step off quality you add succesfully you get increased experience from crafting the item. Play around with it and see how you like it. Sometimes you might get lucky and craft an HQ item for a levequest or for use!

Tip #5:
Branch out. Once you hit about level 15 you will notice that you are going to need items that you cannot buy from the vendors anymore. This is the point that you can start looking into picking up the gathering classes and the other crafting classes if you prefer. I know that levelling one crafter is a timesink, let alone multiple at a time. However it’s much easier to focus on a few at a time since all the crafting classes unlock usefull cross class skills that make your life much easier.

Tip #6:
Play your own way. For myself I figured that it was just the easiest to combine all the crafters in one city and attempt to level them up together because I have nothing on this particular server. However if you want to focus on just one at a time: go ahead! Nothing is stopping you from playing the game the way you want to. I prefer gathering everything myself so for me it’s an incredible timesink. You can however opt to buy everything of the market boards or just buy the completed items off the market boards and level solely on levequests… It’s all up to you! I just hope that some of the tips in my little post might be usefull when starting out.

I might be doing some more of these posts as I advance my crafts to higher levels. I hope you liked reading my tips. I know that they worked for me!
Levelling the gatherers and crafters is a nice way to break away from the mainstory or level a battle class for a bit. In the long run, if you’re serious about it, having high level crafters and gatherers can earn you lots of gil, make you fun glamour sets and even some pets, mounts and housing items!

Picking up the Pieces

For the past week or so I’ve been taking a long hard look at myself and my accomplishments in life and came to the (not so) shocking conclusion that life as I imagined it 10 years ago hasn’t turned out the way I wanted.
I have had to deal with a lot of roadbumps on the way, so to speak. Most of them were out of my control, others however I have created myself and the road to overcoming them is longer and harder than I thought it would be.

All my life I have been struggling with motivational issues. You could say I’m lazy, but I don’t feel that way, I just feel unmotivated. At primary school I was one of the more intelligent kids in class. Due to how the Dutch school system works however all the attention went to the kids who were struggling to keep up, whereas the ones who were struggling with boredom got more or less ignored. I never had homework the way others had, I learned fast and worked fast and got everything done at school so that I would have the afternoons and evenings to myself.
This continued, partially, on in high school. Subjects I enjoyed I would be done with on time. The ones I didn’t I kept postponing untill the last minute and then either failed or got just a high enough grade to pass the class.

Fast forward to university. I hated half the program. Science didn’t interest me, I wanted to be a therapist and all the courses I had to do that didn’t involve that I made sure I put as little effort in it as possible without failling them. I didn’t go to college a lot. I skipped almost all morning lectures, unless attendancy was measured and you had to be there or you would fail. I stretched deadlines and managed to maneuver my way through 5 years of this without getting caught in lies once. I know it’s not a healthy way to go about life, but it’s a way that I have been using for atleast the past 20 years and I’m not sure how to change it.

Right now I’m still suffering from the same issues. I have gained a lot of weight over the past two years, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, and finding the motivation to hit the gym consistently is hard. I rather stay in bed than get up and go. It’s the same with applying for jobs. I just can’t find the motivation to actively browse jobs, write letters, update my resumé and apply. It’s all detrimental to myself, I’ll never leave the house or get my own life if I don’t have work, and yet I can’t stop doing it. I’m just not motivated, at all.

The only motivation I seem to have is when it comes to playing video games. And even thent it’s waning. I can love a game for a while and then completely discard it a few months later. It’s the regular cycle on Diablo III for me, it’s becoming a bit of a cycle on World of Warcraft and it has happened on FFXIV aswell. Not to mention all the non MMO games I’ve bought over the past year and have barely played. I pick them up, play for an hour or so, put them down and then never look back. By the time I feel the need to play again I’m completely lost as to what and where the story is so I have to start over. Which I detest. So instead the games just lie there, gathering dust.

I do feel like I am on a crucial point in my life where I need to start changing some of my habits. I’m afraid I will be stuck in my infinite cycle otherwise with no way of getting out. And that scares the hell out of me.

Summer Sale and Blizzard Brawl

As we all have noticed, the Steam Summer Sale has started again. Although I had planned not to buy anything, there are some deals that I just can’t/couldn’t let slip and so I caved in this year and made a small budget for games I still want.
Child of Light was 75% off yesterday and so naturally I grabbed that together with Mickey’s Castle of Illusion (nostalgia!) which was 50% off. That should net me atleast a few hours of entertainment right there. I gave myself a €20 budget this year which I’ve spent half of now on those two games. I’m hoping Ori and the Blind Forest will get hugely discounted aswell so I can pick that one up and I have my eyes set on Rayman Origins, after having bought Legends with a huge discount last year.
All in all it would mean I would get to nab 4 awesome platformer games for only €20 if I’m lucky and I would be thrilled with that.

In other news, I have found myself becoming slightly addicted with Heroes of the Storm, Blizzards MOBA. After playing League of Legends for years, and having to admit that I can’t lasthit for my life and thus would never get out of bronze rankings, playing this game is a breath of relief for me. Due to the way Blizzard has developed the game there is much less focus on the individual skills of a player, instead the game is more about teamwork and taking objectives. Ofcourse if you get matched with one or two dopey people there is a big chance you will lose the game, but it’s much less brutal than League of Legends is.
I currently own 10 heroes, the minimum requirement to be able to play Hero League aka Ranked, and am saving up so I can finally get Sylvanas. Although Blizzard has a few bundles you can buy for real money to get into the game faster I feel like you are able to buy enough Heroes with gold as long as you do your dailies. From my personal experience I found that I have been able to buy atleast one Hero a week, sometimes two when I went for the “cheaper” ones.
Seeing as the game has only just officially released, and there aren’t that many Heroes to get yet (37 to be precise), it’s fairly easy to own a whole bunch of them in a relatively short time.

My favourite champion to play is Valla. I have clocked about 60 games on her. I feel her kit is strong and she’s exactly the type of champion I like to play. Hard hitting, can make/break a teamfight and she has an escape in the form of her E skill: vault. I have even broke my “I don’t want to spend any money on f2p games anymore” rule to get her Angelic skin when it was on sale for €5.

I look so cool in games now! Best skin (together with Blood Elf Tyrande)

It gave me an incentive to be even better and push even harder on this champion, because I have actually spent money on it now. Not to sound bigheaded, but I like to believe that I am proficient on Valla and that I know the champion well enough to perform well on every map, with multiple builds.

What I mostly like about Heroes is that a lot of my friends play it aswell. I can just queue up with 1-4 others and play. Blizzard rewards this aswell since you get an XP bonus for playing with friends. Most of us are casual, although I have one particular friend who has been playing the game like crazy. He mains Sylvanas and has played about 100 games on her so far. He’s really good on her, but spamming a champion that much will do that I guess. It’s dedication that I wish I had aswell. Although 60 games on Valla isn’t nothing either. I just need to pick one or two more champions to be good at so I can have some variety of play and to prevent burnout.
For now I fill a lot of time that I don’t spend on FFXIV with Heroes of the Storm and I’m having an absolute blast while doing so.