3DS

June 2018 Goals

Druid class hall flight form

I’ve had a rather active month in May. I started working fulltime in my new position. I’ve jumped back on the FF wagon since the new patch dropped. I’ve been chasing Mage Tower challenges (and am currently sitting on 10/36 done) and my most recent unlock in World of Warcraft has been the new flight form for my Night Elf Druid. You get this instead of a Class Hall mount and I have to say it looks really good!

Looking ahead at June I find my game time to be rather limited. I work 40 hour weeks now so I only have time to game after dinner really, cutting my evenings short to about four hours. I also want to make it a bi-daily habit to go onto our crosstrainer (respectively weekends, Tuesdays and Thursdays) effectively cutting short my gaming time even further since following a workout I would obviously need a shower. There’s a few single player games I’ve picked up that I want to finish, I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy from the start and I’m reading my way through the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. All in all I’ve started a lot of projects over the past month and I want to use June to complete some of them, be it game related or not.

Gaming Goals June 2018

World of Warcraft

  • Get Rogue to level 110 and finish the first leg of the Class Hall Campaign
  • Do Mage Tower challenges on as many class/specs as I can. The ones I really want: Guardian/Feral Druid, Elemental Shaman, Holy Priest.
  • Unlock more Class Hall mounts.

WoW looks to be basically continuing what I’m already doing. I’m still focusing on completing as many Mage Tower stuff as possible but seeing how Legion is only about 2 months away things are starting to look a bit dire. I’m hoping Blizzard decides to permanently enable the Mage Tower at some point but I doubt it. So I’m trying to double down on gearing up my alts and getting stuff done. Luckily getting to about 920 ilvl isn’t that hard anymore and most challenges are doable at that gearlevel even without optmized gear. I also want to finish up leveling the last class I need to 110 and inbetween unlock a few more Class Hall mounts.

Final Fantasy XIV

  • Get my Machinist to 70 and start leveling something else
  • Get my Weaver to 70 and start leveling another crafter
  • Play on my Au’Ra and progress through Heavensward story

I’m trying to keep my FFXIV goals light. Right now I’m just doing dailies and ex roulette for cap and that’s it. My Machinist is sitting on level 68 now though and I think I should be hitting 70 sometime next week if I continue on doing what I’m doing. The same goes for my Weaver. She’s dinged 64 today thanks to the Namazu quests and I’m hoping to push her to 70 this month. Then I will need to start working on another crafter, I’m probably going to go with Carpenter since that one is level 37 and I want to get it to Heavensward so I can take advantage of the Moogle quests.
You also may have seen me mention my Au’Ra on Twitter. My Moogle FC unfortunately has disbanded and moved, in large part, to Cerberus. Not wanting to transfer my Miqo I instead opted to bring over my Au’Ra. She’s still in the start of the Heavensward Story so my goal for now is to slowly push through that as Monk.

Other games

  • Progress in Mario+Rabbids
  • Progress in Monster Hunter Stories

Seeing as most of my attention is going into my MMO’s I don’t have that much time for other games. However Mario+Rabbids seems to have me hooked for now and I’ve already made it to world 2-6 in the mainstory. This is also what I want to focus on moving forward this month. I hope to be able to make it through atleast the rest of World 2 and hopefully a good chunk of World 3 aswell. I’m really enjoying the game and can’t wait how it turns out.
Monster Hunter Stories is one of those games that you really need to bite into for a longer time to understand the concept and to just get through the story. I’ve made my N3DS my Monster Hunter machine for now (save games are stored on the console rather than the card) and I’m planning to play this on the train and during any form of transportation/inbetween time. It’s a nice bright game and I do want to see how it plays out.

Real life and non game related goals

  • Finish the second book of the Farseer Trilogy
  • Clean out and rearrange some cabinets
  • Use the crosstrainer more

I’ve alluded to these goals at the start of my post but I want to start working on my health a bit more, so I want to use the crosstrainer we have on the attic on a more regular basis. Weekend mornings seem to be ideal for this and I want to take atleast two nights a week on the thing aswell. I may expand my routine later on with some strength exercises but for now some extra cardio to build stamina and start losing weight is the way to go.
Another thing I want to be doing over the course of the year is continue cleaning out our attic and more importantly start picking out things of mine that can go. I’ve been told that my apartment will be done sooner than expected (June 2019 instead of September 2019) and it’s time I start making lists of things I still need and things I already have and things that I want to get rid of. I don’t want to end up like my dad with a house full of stuff so I need to think long and hard about what I want to take with me and what not. As bonus perk this helps my dad aswell with getting rid of things from the attic, thus creating more new space.

Finally I’ve kind of found my reading vibe again and I want to continue that. I’m over halfway done in the second book of the Farseer Trilogy and I want to atleast finish it and hopefully start on the third. I’ve unexpectedly fell in love with the series and I know there’s more trilogies ahead for me to buy, which has me quite excited. However I have a bunch of other books that I still need/want to read first so I’m probably going to hold off on more books in the saga untill I’ve read all the other ones I still have.

All in all I’ve tried to keep my goals realistic. With me class hopping on WoW (and focusing on one class at a time) I can do most of the daily stuff there in less than an hour. The same goes for my Final Fantasy XIV dailies. That leaves me with 1-2 hours a night to spend on whatever else I want. I can read, I can play more of WoW/FF if I feel like it. I can choose not to game at all and just relax with my tablet and a show. I just hope that when July starts I’ve made a lot of progress in all the things I want because then I’ll have even less time to game due to vacation and more business at work. For now though it’s time I logged off and started cleaning my room. The dust seems to be everywhere!

No Mother’s Day

Monster Hunter Stories

A ton of people around me are celebrating Mother’s Day here in Europe and I see a lot of things on my Twitter timeline from both EU and NA people but I’m not joining in with the holiday. I have no mother or grandmothers to wish a happy Mother’s Day to anymore and thus for me it’s a regular Sunday with no social obligations and lots of time to clean and game. Because it’s like this I’d like to talk a bit about a game I’ve started playing last week: Monster Hunter Stories.

Let’s start off with a bit of background. I have never really been interested in the Monster Hunter franchise. I was aware it existed and I was aware it has quite a hardcore community of people who completely adore the games and have spent hundreds to thousands of hours playing them. I’ve downloaded a demo on my 3Ds of either Generations or 4 Ultimate at some point and it didn’t really capture my interest. Then Monster Hunter World came out on the PS4 and I downloaded the demo again and again I decided the game was not for me. The whole “kill consecutively bigger Monsters” theme didn’t really hook me in and seeing the grind that came with it I just bounced hard and didn’t look back.
Now how comes Monster Hunter Stories into play? I am a big fan of traditional RPGs and the games that I have sinked by far the most hours into besides MMO’s have been Pokémon games. I like collecting things and I like simple turn based combat. Monster Hunter Stories plays into both of these tropes very well. Next to having a story you are also collecting Monster Eggs to build your team and the combat is rather simple turn based with some gimmicks. Next to that the game is cute and chibi like aswell as very colourful, some other things that really attract me and the interest was born.

I’m not going to build in Spoiler tags for this post, or any follow up ones on my progress, mostly because the game has been out since last year and everything is on the internet anyway. I just want to share my experience playing so far, how I like the game and if it might pull me into the franchise further.
So you start out the game going into the forest looking for Monster Eggs with two friends Lilia and Cheval. Lilia finds a nest full of eggs where one has a different colour and lo and behold the egg hatches and the little Rathalos (lovingly called Ratha) imprints on you as hero. At this point you have not seen the face of your character yet and with good reason, you are prompted into a character creation screen then where you can pick your gender and appearance which will then appear in subsequent cutscenes. After creating your character you get back to town where the people are apparently mad at you and your friends for sneaking into the forest without permission. After getting scolded but then forgiven by the village elder a mysterious shadow Monster attacks the village killing Cheval’s mother. Your Rathalos manages to chase the Shadow away but gets thrown into a ravine in the process, disappearing from your life.

The game cuts back to your character one year after these catastrophic events. You are now going to do an exam to become a “rider” which is a character that rides and battles with Monsters, or Monsties as they’re called here. During your initiation ritual you befriend a Felyne called Navirou and together with him and your first official Monstie that you hatch you’re basically set on the start of your story. In the meantime Cheval has undergone a serious character change and Lilia has decided that she doesn’t want to become a rider prompting her to seek another goal in life.

This is kind of where I am now. There is a mainstory to follow and at this point you have unlocked vendors, a buff shrine, your house,  sidequests and downloadable content. There are lot of staple Monster Hunter tropes in the game. When you battle Monsters in the wild they will drop items based on how well you do the fight and these items are needed to upgrade gear or cook or sell on the markets. You’re encouraged to explore around a lot so you find more Monster Eggs and other things. There is a ton of sidecontent and a big world to explore. The only real downside is that for some reason Capcom has decided to tie save games to your system instead of to the game cart. Which means that if I switch systems I will lose my save game and have to start over again.
From what I’ve seen so far though this game may not be as massive as other Monster Hunter games but it’s still a game that you can easily sink many hours into trying to 100% it. There’s a ton of downloadable, FREE, content for when you are done with all that the game has to offer and then there’s online battle stuff that I’ve not even touched yet.

All in all it looks like a game I could really lose myself in. I like that it is on my 3DS which means I’m more inclined to pick it up for short bursts on the train or when lying in bed, which is what I’ve been doing with most of my non MMO gametime anyway. I’ll let you guys know how I get on!

Why’s My Life So Boring?

Retribution Challenge Weapon

I’m having one of those weekends where I feel like my life is going by too fast and I’m wasting my time doing useless stuff. And with useless I mean lying on bed or spending a lot of time dallying in a game while not really making any progress anywhere.
Which is odd because I’ve been slowly ticking off goals for World of Warcraft (see the above screenshot of my proud Paladin and her Retribution Challenge Weapon) and managed to actually finish a game within a week of buying it. And yet I feel useless and bored, not to mention fat and ugly.

I think my depressive mood comes down to my less than ideal living situation and the fact that I lack the motivation to change anything about my life right now. My house is being built and I can’t move out untill next year. I’m still quite overweight but I can’t seem to get myself to start working out seriously and working on losing that weight. I’m also staring at a contract deadline which basically means I should find a new job by October 1st. Something I really really want aswell but I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything. I feel mentally exhausted and I’m not sure how to turn it around right now. I think the best thing I can do is focus on tackling one thing at a time and right now my health, and the slow deteriation of it, is my number one priority. Because next to being simply overweight all that extra cushion I’m dragging around is causing me other issues. I’m short of breath, my feet constantly hurt, my back hurts and I honestly look ridiculous in any clothes I’m wearing. Looking at myself in the mirror becomes harder by the day and I’m desperately finding a way to get motivated to lose weight.

I have considered tying gaming and working out together. Especially during weekends I just don’t get enough exercise/movement and so I’m thinking of a system to make sure I do not sit on my ass and game all day. I’ve been trying to apply it to my WoW sessions where I am taking breaks whenever I level up on my Rogue (which is rougly every 45 mins). During these breaks I either go get a drink, clean a bit of rubble from the attic or spend a few minutes just walking around, stretching and maybe walk up and down the stairs a few times just to get some movement in. I want to progress this further and stand on our crosstrainer or do some strength exercises inbetween my gaming sessions. Anything to start getting healthier again and be happier with the way I look and feel, seeing as this body has to last me atleast another 40-50 years.

In gaming land however…
I’ve been scratching off a lot of goals. I’ve completed 8/36 Mage Tower challenges now and I hope to be able to complete three more the next time the Tower rolls around. If I’m able to do that it means I have all the Mage Tower appearances for Monk, Paladin and Warrior and 2/3 for Hunter. Although the challenges still aren’t a walk in the park they’ve become significantly easier by gearing up my characters. I’m really close to getting the MM Hunter challenge done but I’m trying to get a better legendary than the ones I have in the hopes that it will help me actually kill off the stupid challenge. I’ve also picked up leveling my Rogue, who is my last class not on 110 yet, and I’ve made some pretty great strides today going from level 82 to almost level 87 in a few hours of play on and off. From level 90 onward I will be duoing up with a friend and we’ll make the final push to 110 together over a weekend, something we’ve been doing with a lot of our characters.
In terms of gameplay I don’t really enjoy Rogue all that much, there’s a reason why I’ve practically not touched this character since Wrath of the Lich King, but I want to get it to max level for completion sake so I will.
I’m also making a point to log into FFXIV once a week to do some beast tribe quests and to log into my house so that I don’t lose the plot. Even though my interest in the game has been waning a lot I’m not letting my sub lapse because I know I will get burned out on WoW at some point and will most likely return to FFXIV more fulltime then. In the meantime I’m super slowly leveling up my Machinist and just fiddling about getting my Beast Tribe rep up, I’m almost done with the Ananta now which means I can soon buy the pretty Gryphon mount. But since I’m only logging once a week or so it’s been going at a snail’s pace. Oh well.

In non MMO land I’ve bought Kirby Triple Deluxe on impulse Friday the 4th and finished it last Thursday. It reminded me of how much I love Kirby games and how nice and relaxing they are to play. I’ve yet to finish Star Allies on my Switch but seeing as I completely got sucked in by Triple Deluxe I’m taking a bit of a break and focusing on a game in an entirely different genre: Monster Hunter Stories. I’ve only started playing this game today so I’m not that far in but from what I’ve experienced so far it’s MH Light with a mix of Pokémon. It still has the Monster Hunting aspect, you still get a shitton of crafting mats and there’s a ton of sidemissions to do next to the main stuff, but this game actually has a story to follow and the gorgeous, colourful graphics had me hooked immediatly. I feel like this is by no means a simple game, but I’m determined to plant my feet in it and make progress this week and hopefully understand a bit more about how I have to actually play the game and if this may get me into other games in the Monster Hunter franchise.

For now though I’m going to sign off here and hopefully catch a good night’s sleep. I predict a ton of gaming and cleaning in my future tomorrow and I prefer not to have laid awake half the night before that.

Tons of WoW and a bit of Zelda

Violet Spellwing

Seeing as I’m taking the time to deep clean my room this week I figured I would dust off the blog aswell.
I’ve had a rather busy month last month. A lot of IRL stuff has happened. I said goodbye to one of my coworkers who has gone on maternity leave and to our interim manager who unfortunately had to leave us due to not getting a permanent contract. I’ve also transitioned into a new position at work, one I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while, and found myself immensly tired after being trained for two weeks. This week however I have a week off and I’m hoping to spend it reading books, playing games and continuing to get rid of stuff on our attic. Hayfever has kicked in immensly and the tons of dust that seem to nestle itself everywhere in my room has made me sneeze more than I want to admit but it’s nice to have a truly clean room again, even though I know it will only last for a week or two.

Next to the IRL business I’ve also spent a lot of time playing games, or more specifically a game: World of Warcraft. I have set a goal for myself to obtain as much of the Artifact skins as I possibly can before BfA launches, with a special focus on the Mage Tower ones. I really want to get atleast all the Warrior, Monk, Paladin and Priest skins and will probably take a jab at Hunter aswell for atleast Beast Mastery and Marksmanship. I feel the Mage Tower challenges are not that hard to do but having to gear all my characters to be able to do them takes a lot of time and I rather focus on the classes I actually play over the ones I levelled up just to experience the stories.
Speaking of that, I only have the Rogue left to level. My latest toon, the DK, has gotten to 110 and I’ve finished her class campaign. I hated it (SPOILERS AHEAD). I feel like a Lich King slave all over again, especially when I was basically forced to annihilate the Silver Hand just to attempt to resurrect Tirion Fordring. I don’t feel comfortable at all making more Death Knights and I certainly don’t appreciate the telepathic link the Lich King seems to have permanently instated in my head again. Out of all the class campaigns I’ve done so far I’ve liked this one the least purely because of the story. I know it’s strong storywriting on Blizzard’s account otherwise I wouldn’t have these strong feelings about it. And even though I hated how the story played out I’m curious to see what ramifications my actions had and how things will go in the future for the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Lich King himself.

Another goal I had on my list was to get the “Ahead of the Curve” achievement before BfA hits. I think the mount is super pretty and I would be sad to not have it. I have gotten every Ahead of the Curve achievement since it was instated in Warlords of Draenor except for the Kil’Jaeden one. So last Friday one of my best friends arranged for me and him to join an Antorus HC group. I was the lowest geared of everyone and didn’t have my Curve achiev but I think I did pretty well. I had minimum deaths and my DPS wasn’t super bad. All in all the run took about two hours after which I had my achievement, and my mount, and feel like I don’t have to do this raid anymore at all, which is a relief all on it’s own. My next big achievement is to get M+15 done. I’ve pushed up to +11 so far on my Monk and I’m confident I can get +15 done if I get a bit more gear.

Priest Class Mount

For now though I’m slowly ticking off goals of my list as BfA draws nearer. I’m slowly obtaining all my Class Hall mounts, working on the Field Medic achievement, gearing up to take on Mage Tower challenges and hunting Hidden Skins. It’s keeping me busy and I’m happy playing with my own goals set in mind. I’ve also almost decided what class I will be rolling as new main in BfA. Unfortunately since my Alliance guild is dead and I don’t really enjoy playing with the majority of people there I’ve decided to roll Horde so I can play with friends over there. I’m currently leaning heavily towards rolling a Protection Paladin but am still undecided because I just love my Windwalker Monk so much that I can’t make the final decision yet. It will mean that I am moving away from my Warrior at the start of BfA but I intend to level her up fast aswell so I can see the Alliance story.

Even though WoW is consuming a lot of my time I’ve still found some time to tackle other things. I’ve started reading the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and am halfway through The Assassin’s Apprentice. I’m also finishing off The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. Reading is a nice diversion from staring at a screen all day and seeing as I have about five books on my shelf that are still untouched I will be reading for a while to come.
I’ve also finally started my first serious playthrough of Ocarina of Time on my 3DS. I never had proper Nintendo consoles when I grew up, only handhelds, so I didn’t really experience any of the Zelda games. I bought Ocarina of Time when it became a select and now finally bit the bullet and started playing it. My first impressions are that it’s a rather confusing game which doesn’t give that many clues and the clues you do get are rather cryptic. I know there is a ton of side content to do in the various villages and I have been peeking into a walkthrough every now and then when I was really stuck but otherwise I’ve been trying to make it through on my own. OoT really is a game that wants you to explore and test and do a lot of things on your own so I’ve been wrecking every jar and box I’ve come across, headbutted every tree and talked to every dude in every village. I’ve made it to Dodongo Cave right now but I’m shivering when I think about what’s to come. I heard the Water Temple is legendary and notorious at the same time so I’m quite curious as to what it entails.
I’m also slowly advancing through Dragon Quest 8, for when I’m stuck and frustrated in Zelda, and completed my party by adding Angelo. I’m really enjoying the story, although the monsters are still very bizarre. I think I’m about 8 hours into the game where I know it’s about 80 hours or so long so I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface but still. It’s a nice game to fire up every now and then and play for an hour or two before putting it away again.

There’s more games I would like to focus on after I finish Zelda and/or Dragon Quest 8. I still have Persona 5 and Horizon Zero Dawn that I want to finish on my PS4 and Kirby: Star Allies on my Switch. For the time being though I only have one week off and not enough time in the world to do everything I would want. So I’ll see how far I come with my books and my games, aslong as I get to relax and be happy.

Sunday Summary: Jan 22-Jan 28

I’ve been doing some new things since the new year that I’m very pleased with. One of them is stop eating at restaurants when I’m actually full. I used to eat untill my plates were empty, three courses long, because I felt it would be a waste of money otherwise. Now not only do I feel the need to empty out the table/plates, I also don’t order three courses anymore. I feel like it’s much worse to come home after having a really lovely night and spend the time in bed in agony because of feeling nauseous or having stomach cramps from overeating.
Another thing I’ve been doing is taking general notes of what I’ve been up to during the week so I can translate that into a blogpost. Most of these things tend to be gaming related, since this is a gaming blog after all, but I also take note of significant real life things so I can incorporate that into my Sunday Summaries aswell.

So without further ado, what have I been up to this week?

In MMOs
I’ve been leveling a lot in both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. After dinging my Miner 70 I’ve picked up Fisher and leveled it up to level 44 this week. I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, namely the 35-45 levels but I hope I can get through that next week and push my Fisher up to level 50 atleast. From what I can tell the level 45-50 bit is already less painful and in Heavensward if you just fish for the Leves the leveling shouldn’t be too bad either.
Since I got a bit bored with Fisher though I’ve turned my attention to some battle classes again, and mostly Summoner. When I picked her up this week she was sitting just shy of level 59. Right now I’m halfway through level 62 and steadily making my way towards level 70. As added bonus my Scholar automatically levels along with it, meaning that when I do hit 70 all my Healing classes will be max level. When I’ve had some downtime inbetween running roulettes and beast tribe dailies I’ve picked up my Black Mage to run some Palace of the Dead. She’s currently level 51 and I really want to get her to 60 fast so I can get rid of the level 50 set. All in all I feel like I’m picking up the pace of leveling in FFXIV again and this makes me very happy. However this week also marked the official death of my static group, meaning I probably won’t raid in the next patch. Or atleast not cutting edge. I will probably try to pug some groups and see how that turns out. For now though my focus is on leveling mostly.
In World of Warcraft I’ve not done that much. I’ve been doing some dailies on my Warrior and logged my Paladin here and there. I didn’t even do any of the Timewalking Dungeons yet this time around and I’m not sure if I will before reset. I have however picked up leveling my Shaman again and she’s currently sitting on level 102… Where I’ve stalled out due to having to do the quest for the Enhancement and Restoration Artifacts. I know I will have to bite the bullet at some point and I probably will… If only to be able to continue with the Class Hall Campaign.

In Other Games
I’ve not played that much outside of my MMO’s to be honest with the exception of Yo Kai Watch 2. Even then I’ve spent maybe 2.5-3 hours playing it so it’s not that big of a deal. However in console land there have been some changes. I picked up the N2DSXL Pikachu edition which has gotten me more hooked than I would have initially thought. Maybe it’s also nice to not have a home menu littered with games that are distracting and maybe it’s due to the fact that it’s new and I adore it but I’ve been spending all my Yo Kai Watch time on that handheld as opposed to my 3DS. It’s also because I have to change the system language to English to be able to play it properly (Yo Kai Watch in Dutch is awful) and I don’t want to switch back and forth on my main handheld all the time. Making this Pikachu edition an ideal middle ground.
I’ve also taken the time to reinstall my WiiU. It’s currently sitting in a corner of my room, close to a power outlet, and I’m planning to mostly play on the gamepad. Seeing as I like lounging on bed in the evening anyway it’s a perfect solution and I will finally get to work on that backlog a bit, starting with Breath of the Wild.

In Real Life
It’s been a busy week for me last week when it came to real life stuff. They have officially started building the apartment complex where I will be living on Wednesday and they had a special event with all the buyers of the apartments. It was a nice little gathering, slightly ruined by the rainy weather. We’ve buried a treasure chest with messages from people in it so that when these apartments eventually get torn down and they start digging they’ll find messages from 2018. I loved the idea and my message is certainly in there.
On Friday after work we had a dinner with the department and a ton of ex-colleague’s as a sort of goodbye for everyone who left the past 6 months. It was also the official goodbye dinner for my old manager. We had a really nice evening filled with good Mexican food and laughter and afterwards a few of us relocated to a bar to have some drinks. We all greatly enjoyed seeing eachother again and we’re planning on making these dinners a bi-annual thing. Just to see eachother again, hear what everyone is up to and because we have such an amazing atmosphere in this team it’s really a joy to meet with them.
This also meant I was home late and quite exhausted. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world though.
As for the weekend. I’ve been doing my usual chores and I’ve written down my planning for next week. I’ve gotten a bunch of gaming magazines from one of my ex-colleagues on Friday and I’ve been reading them aswell. Other than that I’m following the LCS and am slowly picking my way through all the things I own and cleaning them out. It’s an ongoing project and one that needs doing because 1: I own too much stuff and 2: I don’t know where half of the stuff I own is. It also helps me in narrowing down the stuff I still need to buy in the coming year for my apartment, so it’s a win/win situation overall.

Hands on with the N2DSXL: Pikachu Edition

I want to say that I’m not an impulse buyer or that I’m not a sucker for cute things. But the moment the New Nintendo 2DS XL: Pikachu Edition was announced I was sold. I had to have this beauty of a console, even if it was only for just that: to have it.
So yesterday as it came out I made my way to my usual gaming store to pick it up and I’ve been poking around with it last evening and a bit this morning before the battery drained and it had to charge. I want to use this post to tell something about my impressions with the device as compared to the N3DSXL I’ve owned for the past two years and maybe aswell compared to the regular 2DS (limited Pokémon Red edition) that I have aswell.

First Impressions: The box and it’s contents

Pikachu N2DSXL box

Pikachu box contents

The box of the 2DS basically shows everything you need to know. They’ve put the design of the 2DS on the box and it looks amazingly cute. It was also rather tiny compared to the boxes that came with my 3DS and the other 2DS I own.
Inside the box there was the 2DS (obviously), a charger and the instruction manual with sealed Augmented Reality cards. I’m a bit baffled why they put these cards with 2DS systems since they were mostly designed to show off the 3D stuff for the 3DS and you are supposed to use them with the 3DS camera’s which as you can see are absent from the 2DS. Getting another charger was a godsent though since I had to give up one of the ones I had when I handed in my old 3DS for money. I’m quite happy Nintendo is including them again because honestly removing them in the first place from the newer generation 3DSes was a dick move.

The console itself
On the outside (as shown in the box content picture) the console looks snug and cute. The mouth of the Pikachu is raised a bit but overal it looks to have quite a solid design. The only thing I’m unhappy with is that the hinge is kind of strapped on top of the console itself. On my 3DS (as you will see later) the hinge is part of the console design so it doesn’t stick out as much as it does here. It’s a minor gripe but in my opinion a valid one. Especially since (as you can see quite clearly) the front facing camera doesn’t really get covered well when the console is closed.

Pikachu 2DS open

On the inside they have stuck with the Brown/Yellow color scheme. I’m unsure why the circle pad and nub are grey (I know they are this colour in all the 3DS/2DS variants but still). They kind of stick out. Because this 2DS is a bit more compact than the 3DS they had to reallocate the “home” button so that it’s under the d-pad. Personally I’m happier with this position than where it is on my 3DS (right below the screen) so that’s a plus. The buttons themself feel solid, even though the overal feel of the console is cheaper than my 3DS. It’s lighter and you can really feel that it’s made out of plastic, as opposed to my 3DS which is much sturdier.
The game card and micro SD have their own slot at the bottom of the console which is covered by a little flap, just like with the Switch. Even though I’m happy they did that, my games feel a bit better protected that way and you have easier access to the micro SD, actually opening up the flap is a bit of a hassle. The stylus has been tucked away next to the audio plug for headphones and is a bit trickier to get out than the one in the 3DS. It’s also a shorter stylus but seeing as I have tiny hands anyway I’m cool with that.
Overall the feel of the console in my hands is quite nice. It’s a bit smaller than my 3DS and it’s also lighter in weight, meaning that when I lie in bed to game my hands will get less tired from holding this console compared to my 3DS. Due to the way the screen closes however the edges are a bit raised and thus even though it feels nice to hold I have to adjust a bit, the 3DS doesn’t have raised edges. Instead it has a raised screen so that the buttons won’t touch the top screen.

All in all it feels like a good console, especially if you’re in the market for 3DS games I would advice you to get the new 2DS XL when you want to be able to play all the games but don’t have the budget for the more expensive 3DS. This is mostly based on the console on it’s own though and assuming you don’t already own a N3DS or N3DSXL.

Side by Side: 2DS vs 3DS
Ofcourse I’ve also laid both my consoles next to eachother to be able to really compare the differences.

2DS and 3 DS closed

Both consoles have about the same width, which isn’t that odd considering they both have about the same screen size and both need to have buttons next to the screens. The 3DS is a bit taller though and I think this is mostly due to having the extra back facing cameras built in aswell as having the hinge be part of the design instead of it being an almost separate entity on top of the console itself. When it comes down to weight the 3DS is notacibly heavier but not in a way that it would put you off playing it. Where my Pikachu console has a matte finish my 3DS has a shiny one which may also account for how they feel in your hand. As I mentioned before the Pikachu edition feels a bit cheap when you pick it up and hold it compared to the 3DS. I’m not sure if it’s just the design of this specific console or if it’s a N2DS thing in general but for me personally the 3DS just feels more “professional” and expensive.

2DS & 3DS open side by side

When putting both devices open side by side the differences become more clear. The 3DS is significantly bigger and, even though it’s marginal, also has bigger screens. As you can see the 3DS has a raised bottom screen, the home button below that and a bigger top screen. The latter is mostly because it houses both the front and back facing cameras. I feel like the front facing camera of the 3DS is in a much more logical position aswell. It actually faces you as you play, whereas on the Pikachu one it’s in the middle and I feel like it mostly looks towards your chin… Not the ideal positon for a camera to be in. Due to the removal of these cameras in the 2DS model however the top screen is very flat and leads to a flatter model to fit in your bag aswell. Specswise neither system is a loser. They are both powerful consoles that can play all the DS, 3DS and N3DS games. Both screens look good with vibrant colours and they’re both fast with loading. The only real thing separating them is that you obviously can’t turn on the 3D on the 2DS. And even though I know it’s not a widely used feature I actually enjoy playing games with 3D on, especially if the 3D is well incorporated.
As for the buttons. Again I feel like the 2DS ones just feel slightly cheaper. They remind me of Game Boy buttons instead of the sturdy buttons I’m used to from my 3DS. The home button is actually placed better though so I’m grateful to Nintendo for that one. The Micro SD card is easier to replace in the 2DS than in the 3DS (where you have to take off the entire back cover to get to it) and due to the flap there is less issues with dust getting into your system and into the card slot than there is with the 3DS. The flap itself is a bit clunky to deal with though but I guess you get used to that over time.
Both consoles have the top screen “snap” in place and the snap is louder on the 2DS than on the 3DS, which also comes down to the fact that I feel like it’s made with cheaper components. Both consoles have lights indicating their status, although the ones on the 3DS are a bit bigger and easier to see. Both consoles have a microphone and both consoles have speakers. However the speakers in the 3DS are worked into the top screen so the sound comes at you from the front. In the 2DS the speakers are at the bottom of the console in the corners. This means the sound of games is coming from below you and it also means that, if you have the sound a bit loud, you can feel it coming out of the console when playing. Personally I’m not a fan of this design. I get they did it because they wanted to keep the top screen as flat as possible but having the sound of a game coming from near your hands feels weird. The 3DS also clearly wins out on that detail. The sound itself however is fine so if you worry about quality it doesn’t really matter.

The Verdict
For the respectable price of €159 the New Nintendo 2DS XL: Pikachu Edition (seriously Nintendo where do you come up with these names?!) you get a console that does what it promises to do. You can play all the games on it, even the exclusive N3DS ones. It has two big bright screens with pretty colours. It’s a tad smaller than the N3DSXL which is nice for people with smaller hands. The buttons work fine and it’s easy to switch out micro SD cards. Your physical games are protected by a cover which does the job well even though it’s a bit of a hassle to open. The console has a matte finish which looks quite nice but also gives it a bit of a cheap feel. It’s not very heavy and it should easily fit into a bag so you can take it with you travelling.
If you don’t already own a 3DS in any shape or size I would definitely recommend picking up this console when you aren’t interested in playing in 3D.

However. If you already own a N3DS or N3DSXL I would stick to those. They feel much sturdier than this 2DS, have more features and have better placed cameras and sound. Not to mention there is less hassle to switch games, the stylus is a bit bigger and some people prefer the fact that it weighs a bit more. Plus some games have done the 3D thing really well and just for that I would just stick to what you have. If you are doubting to pick up a new console you need to consider the following points:
– Is 3D important to me?
– Do I want a sturdy/heavier console?
– Am I a bit of an audio freak and do I feel like I want to have more logical sound placement?
If you can answer all these questions with a “no” I would heartily recommend picking up the N2DSXL. It’s a good console for the pricepoint and especially the Pikachu and Pokéball designs are adorable.

Personally I’m probably going to use this 2DS in tandem with my 3DS. Play one when the other is charging. I do think I want to use this 2DS more for gaming in bed purely because it’s lighter and fits better in my hands. I may also put it in my bag to travel with to/from work since it’s smaller and lighter and I can only take one game with me anyway. I’m happy with my buy, mostly because I’m a sucker for cute things and I foresee a ton of joyous gaming hours to come.

January Wrap Up and February Goals

We’ve entered February so I thought it was time to look back at January and see what I’m happy with and what I need to improve.
I’ve had a few odd weeks where I’m trying to fit my life around a new schedule. I’ve been going to the gym 4-5 times a week and it has been heavily impacting my time spent behind the PC or any gaming device really. I don’t really mind that much because I find my health to be more important than the games I play, but it’s gotten me into a bit of an awkward position where I really have to plan everything I intend to do. On top of that I’ve been having some issues surrounding finishing up my master’s degree. Things have gotten a bit complicated and I am forced to redo a part of my thesis again thus delaying my graduation. I’m working hard on this though, but it means even less time to devote to games in general.

Now let’s look at my gaming goals for January:

FFXIV

  • Gear up AST with Lore gear
  • Level MCH to 60
  • Gear up NIN with Scripture gear
  • Do the Heavensturn event on Sandrian and Sarella
  • Work on Ninja relic

I’ve gotten a few of my FFXIV goals done. I managed to gear up my Astrologian really fast and she’s now sitting on 232 ilvl. I did the Heavensturn event on both my characters so that’s nice and I’ve managed to get 3 parts of scripture gear for my Ninja aswell as the first 10 Umbrites needed for the relic. All in all some decent progress. Unfortunately my Machinist is stuck on level 57. A loss of game time combined with a lot of real life obligations meant I couldn’t spend as much time on FFXIV as I would have liked.

WoW

  • Level up Arms Artifact weapon to level 34 on Warrior
  • Max out Fury Artifact weapon on Warrior
  • Max out MM Artifact weapon on Hunter

Unfortunately only one goal that I have been able to cross off. I’m really close though with my Arms artifact sitting at rank 32. My MM hunter artifact is rank 35 and I think I kind of want to stop it there. I’m happy with the 5% extra damage that it gives me but I think I want to focus on bringing up Beast Mastery now since it’s gotten a lot of love and seems to be doing better damage wise. As far as my Fury artifact goes, it’s almost rank 39. Again RL hindrances have kept me from playing so I’ve not really been grinding AP.

Other Games

  • Finish Pokémon Moon

To put it blunt: I’ve not played Pokémon at all this month. I just couldn’t put myself to playing it. I’m unsure why, maybe it’s because I’m a little bit burnt out with everything that’s going on that I just can’t seem to find the time to play an RPG. I did however make my way through the first regular 8 worlds of Super Mario 3D Land and have found myself really enjoying the game so I might switch my focus to finishing off that one. I’m currently at Special 3 and I’ve only missed 2 coins in all the levels so far, which isn’t too shabby.

Now.
Looking ahead to February there is a few game related things that I still want to do.

In FFXIV

  • Work on Ninja relic
  • Gear up Ninja with Scripture, Dun Scaithe and possibly Alexander gear
  • Clear Alexander normal
  • Kill Sephirot, Sophia and Zurvan (all non-extreme)
  • Level MCH to 60
  • Level MNK to 50
  • Level DRK to 50

I will still keep on working on gearing up my Ninja and her relic so I will devote all my Loretomes to that. I have a sufficiently geared offclass in my AST now that I can switch to if I want faster queues or if I want to play a different class. Next to that I can run Dun Scaithe for gear plus I want to clear Alexander normal and they drop items that can get me gear aswell. I also want to clear out my questlog and some of the quests remaining are the ones to kill the Warring Triad. I really want to clear them so I will focus on that. I also want to level more classes before Stormblood hits, so I will put Machinist back on the list together with Monk to 50 (I’m 46), DRK to 50 (32) and Warrior to 50 (35). It should be doable if I just focus a bit more time into FFXIV as a whole.

In WoW

  • Get my Arms artifact to 35
  • Work through the Illidan quesline
  • Work through the Artifact questline

I’m really close on my Arms artifact, currently sitting at rank 32 and about 80% to 33, so this should definately be doable. Ontop of that I’ve been slacking on two big questchains that I do really want to finish so I will probably focus on that. Our guild is making their way through Nighthold heroic aswell right now so I will also spend some time theorycrafting and trying to obtain all my BiS items.

Other Games

  • Finish Super Mario 3D Land
  • Get all the coins in Super Mario 3D Land
  • Finish 3rd island in Pokémon Moon

I really want to finish Super Mario 3D Land. The game is really interesting and well made and I hope to be able to get it done by the end of the month. I also want to get all the coins in all the levels which means I will have to go back to atleast two right now. That should be fine though. As for Pokémon. I really feel like I should make some progress in there. However instead of wanting to finish I want to play through another island. It’s a more realistic goal with my current time schedule and maybe I will get hooked again and play more after.

Gaming Goals: January 2017

Seeing as I’m finishing off some IRL stuff I can confidently start setting goals in games again per month. So let’s start with January for now.

I’m planning to play a lot of FFXIV and WoW so the biggest part of my goals will be tied to those two games.

First off FFXIV!

  • Gear up AST with Lore gear
  • Level MCH to 60
  • Gear up NIN with Scripture gear
  • Do the Heavensturn event on Sandrian and Sarella
  • Work on Ninja relic

My Astrologian dinged 60 today and I do want to be able to dungeons on her to shorten queue times and to have something besides DPS to play on. So my main goal is to get her into Lore gear atleast, before using said Lore to power up my Ninja relic. The scripture gear I want to invest on Ninja, since it’s still my main job. Next to that I’m focusing on my next class to level 60 which will be Machinist. She’s already level 53 so that shouldn’t take me too long.
Lastly I want to focus on doing the Heavensturn event on both my characters, which again shouldn’t take that long!

Then onto WoW

  • Level up Arms Artifact weapon on Warrior to level 34
  • Max out Fury Artifact weapon on Warrior
  • Max out MM Artifact weapon on Hunter

WoW is plain and simple and mostly about leveling up my Artifact weapons. I do hope to complete Trial of Valor heroic aswell before Nighthold comes out, but that’s more of a guild thing and not something I can do solo. With me getting Artifact Knowledge level 25 tomorrow on my Warrior leveling up my Arms weapon and getting close to maxing out my Fury weapon should be a piece of cake. I know I’m still quite far off, my Fury weapon is level 35 right now, but every point spent counts for something! I also want to focus on getting my Hunter’s Marksmanship weapon up to par. I’m sitting around level 31 now which is good, but not good enough yet. I do give this less priority than my Warrior weapon though, so I’m not too fussed if I don’t rank up that much.

Then as final goal..

  • Finish Pokémon Moon

As of writing this post I’m at the last trial of the second island. I really want to make some progress in this game and defeat the Elite Four and whatever postgame content there is before I turn my attention to filling up the Pokédex. For now I’m happy to just defeat the Elite Four though, so that is what my aim will be for this month.

I’ve tried to keep it light and easy on myself. It’s going to be a busy month and I want realistic goals that I can actually obtain.

It’s 2017?

It’s really odd coming back to my blog after this long of an absence. I’ve not really been in the mood to write for a long time now. Mostly because I feel I don’t really have something to say. But I guess I’ll take up my pen (well technically my keyboard) and start some writing again, because it’s 2017 and I get to start fresh!

I remember making a huge list of gaming goals for 2016, one that was probably a bit too enthusiastic. Mostly because it entailed finishing about 6 very long RPG’s while knowing that I can’t manage time for shit. So I want to throw that list out and start anew for 2017. No more year lists. Instead I want to draw off of other people’s blogs and make a monthly “to do” list for my games, something I have done in the past.
If you are curious about what I did manage to accomplish in 2016…

On the MMO front I have gotten three classes in FFXIV to max level. Almost four. My Astrologian is about 1/4th off a level off dinging 60. I’ve gotten all but three 2.0 relics and I do plan to go back to those and get them, but right now I want to focus on getting all my battle classes to max level. In August my FFXIV routine got severely disrupted with the launch of Legion. I’ve been immersed into WoW ever since and my Warrior is geared up nicely and has two Artifact weapons sitting at rank 35 (Fury) and 34 (Protection) respectively. Speaking about weapons… I am working on the current Ninja relic. The Umbrites and Sands step is taking quite a while though, but I am slowly progressing through. Seeing as how I’m planning to play more I should be able to make a lot of headway on gathering those materials.
I’ve also dabbled a bit in the Secret World, something I want to continue doing about once a week or so. I really like the different style of MMO that it represents and I hope that I can run it even better once I am able to obtain the new PC that I’m planning to buy around my birthday in March.

On the other games front I’ve played a little bit of everything. I’ve spent a lot of time on various platformers on my 3DS and also playing Pokémon. I’ve finished Kirby: Planet Robobot, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and the 50 and 100cc championships of Mario Kart 7 on my 3DS. Next to that I’m slowly working my way through Pokémon Moon at the moment, and have just arrived at the third island. After I finish up the mainstory of Pokémon I’ll probably pick up a game on my PS4 to play, most likely FFXV, while I’ll fall back to a platformer for my 3DS. I’ve realized I can only handle one RPG at a time, while I can play platformers to keep myself busy.

So yeah. I have been playing games, just not writing about them. I have been taking a lot of screenshots aswell, especially in WoW so I will share them when I have the chance. I want to take a lot more screenshots in general, so look forward to that!
And maybe, just maybe, once I start writing a little bit more again, I’ll start producing some better content. For now though I wish everyone the best for 2017 and let’s make it count gaming and blogging wise.

An Ode to Nintendo

It’s been unbearably hot where I live for the past 3-4 days. I’m happy my company has a really big airconditioned office, since that is mostly keeping me sane. However at home I’ve not been so lucky with the temperature in my room rocketing up to 30 degrees Celsius during the day. I’ve not really made use of my PC or my PS4 because of this. It’s way too warm for these machines to be on, plus they help push up the temperature even more. So it’s really not for me.
However during this time I’ve rekindled my love for my 3DS a lot. So much that I want to write an entire post dedicated to just Nintendo, in the form of a letter.

Dear Nintendo,
Thank you for being the amazing publisher that you are. Over the years your handhelds have given me a lot of joy, from the Gameboy Pocket to the New Nintendo 3DS XL, I grew up with your consoles, games and amazing community. I was sceptical when you announced your latest handheld, one with built in 3D. So I held off and held off untill I had to buy one to experience the new Pokémon game. I’ll be honest. The first generation 3DS didn’t really capture me. The 3D was decent but wonky and it would sometimes give me headaches. I didn’t buy too many games and didn’t use it too much, to my shame. Some time went by and then you annoucned your New 3DS. It had super stable 3D, a new colour scheme and was an upgrade over the old one.
I doubted, I twisted, I turned. Eventually you gave me the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle to pick up. Being a big Animal Crossing fan (New Leaf actually had me entertained for a very long time) I decided to bite the bullet and buy the New 3DS XL.
I haven’t looked back since.
The screens are amazing. The buttons are good. The content is even better. I can pick my console up and take it with me wherever I go. When it’s warm I can still game. When I’m travelling I can still game. It’s past, present and future all mixed into one.

Dear Nintendo,
I don’t know what you plan with your NX. I don’t know if you plan to replace the 3DS altogether or if you will still support it for a while to come. You still have me excited about all the games I can look forward to and all the games I can still finish. You gave me Kirby: Planet Robobot. You gave me Fire Emblem. You gave me Pokémon X and Alpha Sapphire and you will continue to give me many more amazing titles to come. Even though I know I’m miles away from obtaining all the amazing games you’ve released I know I’ll be buying more in the months and years to come. There’s so much still to discover and so much to revisit. Your 3DS has been my stalwart buddy for the last year. It travelled with me to Portugal. I take it with me to work. I’m addicted and I don’t care. You caught me in your net and I’m not planning to struggle to get out anytime soon. You satisfy my inner child. You cater to the gamer that is me. I love my 3DS till death do us part. Which I hope will never be.

Dear Nintendo,
Please don’t change your ways. Be your amazing self and give a new generation the chance to explore the amazing worlds you have created. You may not be the console king but in handheld territory you’re still number one. Keep improving what you do. Stay the best and cater to your fans (and maybe polish up the My Nintendo program a bit, please?).
Sony and Microsoft may have taken the crown in sales. But you are still the king of many gamers’ hearts.
Me and my 3DS will be around supporting you for a long while yet. So shine bright like the diamond you are and create an amazing future for many years to come.

Lots of love,
A stalwart fan.