Animal Crossing

Cleaning House = Cleaning Brain

Mondays. Usually they are the start of the new work week and the harbinger of another five days of constantly having to answer questions. Not today though. Today it was a day of sleeping in, cooking a nice meal and starting the big spring cleaning process that I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of weeks now. The weekends are always too short to do projects like this though so it’s nice that I have more time now to really dive into all the stuff I’ve been hoarding and, hopefully, getting rid of a lot of it.
Today I started with personal hygiene and care products. Working at the head office of a big drugstore chain has gotten me a lot of free stuff on the make-up, shower, perfume and body care spectrum. A lot of stuff that I don’t use or that has gone bad over the years of not using it up. I dove into two bags and a crate of the stuff and ended up with two bags full of things that I could throw out. Body creams and sunblock gone bad. Perfumes that were free samples but smelled absolutely horrible. Hairsprays that didn’t really work anymore and the list goes on. It felt liberating throwing everything out and now I’m left with a crate of stuff that I actually use and keep in my bathroom. It’s mostly shampoo/conditioner, shower gels and foams, body care products and some toothpaste. I’m prepared for summer with two different types of sunblock and some after sun. I also own a ton of facial cleansing products since I like to clean my face before I go to bed and put night cream on so I feel clean and hydrated in the morning.

I notice that next to working towards a cleaner and less cluttered house, it’s also decluttering my brain. Not having to be annoyed at random bags in my bedroom anymore feels really nice. Being left with stuff that I know that I will actually use is even nicer. I don’t want to say that I’m a minimalist, because I’m really not, but I don’t want to take stuff home with me anymore that I know I won’t use that someone else actually will. So now I’m left with the necessities and it’s making me happy.

I also realized that I’ve owned Animal Crossing for more than 10 days on my Switch now which means that I can actually see how much time I’ve put into the game so far. According to my Switch it’s somewhere between 15 and 20 hours. Which means I’m playing a little over an hour each day and that sounds about right. I’m actually not really actively working towards anything right now. I’m mostly just running around my island and making sure I dig up my fossils every day aswell as find the money rock and do some fishing and bug catching. I guess I’m aiming to get the next installment of my house paid so I can upgrade again and start making some individual themed rooms instead of the one big room I have now.
I’m kind of amazed with how other people have shaped their island by all the pictures I see on Reddit and Twitter. I know a lot of people do “time traveling” to unlock stuff. Which basically means they’ve been tampering with their date and time settings on their Switch. Personally I don’t feel the need for that and instead am just doing my own thing. Which is fine aswell.

I’m not sure why I suddenly feel the need to blog so much. Maybe without my work I finally have the headspace to focus on other things. If I had more than one week off I would have considered joining Blapril as active participant since it seems like writing is coming much more naturally now that I have the time. However since I have only one week off and my work will probably be slightly crazy as I get back to it I’m going to shy away from Blapril and just do what I feel like in the moment. No stress. No commitment. It’s nice for a bit.

Taking a breather

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus I’ve been working at home for the past two weeks. Next week though I’ll still be at home but not working.
I was looking forward to a four week vacation at the start of the year. Three of those weeks I would be spending traveling around Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto and then ending at Nagasaki. That vacation has obviously been cancelled due to everything going on in the world. However I felt that I needed some time off still since I’ve not had proper time off since last september. I’m quite exhausted and in severe need of some mental reset time, especially when it comes to work. My manager offered I could take two weeks off but since the country is as good as on lockdown it’s no real use taking that much time off when I can’t really go anywhere to enjoy it. So a week it is and I’m hoping that during this week I can get back to a bit more relaxed level and be ready to tackle work again for a while once the week is over.
I can honestly say though that the whole working from home thing has gotten to me. I feel crazy isolated, even more than normal. I managed to completely ruin my sleep schedule in a single week and I’ve been struggling with cooking healthy meals or eat at normal times. I’m trying to undo this damage now and atleast my food times have gone back to normal but I’m still battling major feelings of loneliness and depression right now.

As you’ve undoubtedly seen on other people’s blog this year we’re not doing Blaugust but Blapril. Mostly to give people some social interactions during the very daunting month that is looming ahead of us. I think the idea is great but I’m still on the fence about participating. As I said I’m in a really bad headspace right now and I don’t want to vent too much about it on here. I want to keep my blog a mostly positive space where I can write about what I’m up to in my gaming life and not all the anxiety that I’m experiencing on a daily basis right now. And I can’t seem to write a post without exactly that seeping through, as this post is a good example off. So I will definitely participate as bystander and cheer people on from the sidelines but I doubt I’m going to commit to anything myself.
My mood may change though so I’m not going to pin myself on anything yet, but for now I’m happy to not add extra pressure on myself to maintain any kind of regular blogging schedule on top of trying to fix everything else that has gone awry for me in the past two to three weeks or so.

One of the things that has helped me get through the days has been Animal Crossing. It launched at exactly the right time for a lot of people and I’m one of them. I’ve had the pleasure to visit a few friends’ islands and I’ve tried opening up my own island to people aswell but it seems like whenever I do no one is really online. Oh well.
I’m taking a very relaxed stance towards the game, playing for about an hour every day, sometimes two. I go around my island every day to dig up fossils and catch some fish and some bugs. I also make sure I always harvest all of my fruits and I’ve had my first bridge expansion done. Which also lead to three more villagers joining my island so now I have five goofy animals running around instead of just two. My villagers so far are Hamlet, Lydia, Alfonso, Pinky and Fauna. I enjoy all of them and I actually invited Pinky myself from the island I found her on.
Today the little tent that Tom Nook occupied finally got built into a visitor’s centre whichs means I’ll get Isabelle back on my island aswell. I can’t wait!
From here I kind of want to start getting some of those surprise island tickets to see if I can get to the fabled tarantula island but mostly so I can get off my own little island for a bit.
All in all I’m enjoying myself and the game is helping me relax at the end of a busy day of work so that’s always a good thing. Right?

Now for my week off I have a few specific things in mind that I want to get done. I’ve already gone through my clothes closet today and made a bag for donations which I will probably drop off in a special bin tomorrow. Next to that I took a ton of stuff with my from my dad’s house that I couldn’t really decide on whether I still used it or not. Seeing as most of the stuff has been in one of my drawers under my bed for almost a year now and I’ve not had to use any of it leadse me to think that I may aswell get rid of most of it because right now it’s just taking up space. So that is exactly what I’m going to be doing this week. Get rid of stuff I don’t use so I have space for other things that I do use or that are now sitting around in a bag somewhere waiting to be stored in a better place, like my christmas decorations.

I also have some plans when it comes to gaming. I’m still leveling my Void Elf Warlock, she just hit level 90 about two hours ago, and I want to get her up to level 120. And then maybe start on a new character after that. I also want to get back into FFXIV to tackle all the new content and do the Easter event. I’m not sure why I’ve bounced so hard from that game but for some reason I have and I want to get back into it and get my few remaining battle classes to level 80 and catch up on the story and tackle the new raids and dungeons.

Finally I’m going to finally take a decent shot at playing through either Final Fantasy XV or World of Final Fantasy as preparation for the Final Fantasy VII remake that is coming in about two weeks. Both games have been sitting on my shelf for a very long time and it’s about time I start playing through them. I’ll probably start anew because I have no idea where I left off in my last save game and I’m sure with an entire week off I have enough time to actually get a decent way into the story of either one of them.

For now though I’m going to back to leveling my Warlock the rest of the evening while half watching some League of Legends streams. What are you doing this weekend?

A tale of two

It’s been a weird couple of weeks. I’ve been sent home as of Friday the 13th to start to work remotely from home together with most of the people in my office. The Netherlands isn’t officially on lockdown due to the Corona virus just yet but we are slowly building up towards it. The government is urging everyone to stay inside as much as possible, to work from home and, if you have to go outside for whatever reason, to keep atleast 1.5m distance from others. Which is easier said than done.
This whole situation feels very surreal. Shops are closing, vacations are cancelled, entire countries are on lockdown. On the other hand the company I work for is thriving because supermarkets and drugstores are considered vital chains and as such are relied upon to be open and stocked at all times. It seems like the worst of the people stocking up has happened and as such everyone seems to be able to do their groceries shopping as normal again. The shelves are full, the stores aren’t packed to the roof with people anymore. We’re all holding our breaths as to whether we are getting even stricter rules enforced on top of the ones we already have or if the Dutch government remains a bit more lax. I guess it depends on how many people contract the virus this week.

With this pandemic making it’s way across the globe a number of gaming companies have kind of jumped in and assisted their playerbase in different ways. Square Enix is giving away free (older) games. The makers of Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online are offering all their paid content in the form of expansions as free to play to all players for a limited time. There’s free games on the Epic and Steam stores.
Blizzard has chosen to implement a 30 day experience boost to all retail characters in World of Warcraft. It’s this last action that I can personally enjoy the most. As mentioned before I’ve been leveling up a new Warlock on retail on a server that houses some friends. On my last post I made it to Northern Stranglethorn but as you can see in the screenshot at the start of the post I am already questing in Outland right now. Yesterday I powerleveled my way through Hellfire Peninsula and ended at level 70 around midnight. I think the whole 60-70 leg took me maybe three hours total. It’s really insane. With all heirlooms stacked, the 30% experience boost from having War Mode on, the 25% zone experience boost from Hellfire Peninsula and the 100% experience boost from the event just makes leveling a breeze right now. I may actually take advantage of this completely by rolling up more Allied Races so I can unlock their respective Heritage Armors. For now though I’m sticking to leveling this Void Elf Warlock. I only have 50 levels to go and with the current speed of leveling I expect to be 120 in no time.

Hellfire Peninsula was a bit of a ride on it’s own however. I think it’s one of the most contested zones to quest in with War Mode on. There seemed to be a constant battle between various levels of Horde and Alliance going on. It wasn’t as bad as Northern Stranglethorn where max level Horde characters would straight up camp one of the Alliance hubs for hours on end but… I ended up avoiding a few players nonetheless. Luckily HFP is a big zone with enough quests to do spread out across it so if there were a few Horde people in one part of the zone I just moved to another part. Right now I’m making my way to Sholazar Basin in Northrend to hopefully get from level 70 to 80 today.

The other game where I’ve been steadily making progress in has been Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As mentioned in my previous post I managed to obtain the game a few days early and I’ve been playing it every day for atleast an hour since. I’ve not been hardcore grinding anything but spreading things out a bit. As such I’ve only unlocked the store today, after finally obtaining 30 clumps of iron, and I’m waiting for my museum to be finished tomorrow. I did finally use my first Nook Miles coupon and went to a suprise isle where I met Pinky the panda, as shown above. I’ve asked her to move to my island but apparently I need to be able to build houses for that and I’m not near completion for that yet. So I don’t think I’ll see her appear for a few days atleast.
I do like the surprise island trip mechanics. You get sent to a random island that may or may not have an inhabitant. There you are free to gather whatever you want up to the limit of what you can actually carry. Unfortunately for me this particular island contained orange trees, which I have on my own island aswell, and not that many special flowers that I wanted to take back with me. On the other hand there were palm trees with coconuts so I shook all of those out of the trees so I can start planting them on my own island.

Right now I’m mostly in unlock mode. I want to get the shop built and my museum to open. Then I want to be able to connect a second part of my island via a bridge, I need to pay off my mortgage for that, so I can build more houses. Once that is under wraps I think I’m going to start thinking about terraforming/rearranging my island a bit. I have a ton of ideas but I need to figure out how everything works first.
So for now I just make sure that I dig up all the fossils around the island, collect all the seashells and shake the trees every day. I’ve expanded my inventory (yay!) and I’m working on unlocking more hairstyles and colours aswell. I think if I wanted I could play this game all day and still find more stuff to do. So I rather set small goals and work on those so that I don’t burn out and get the most enjoyment and longevity out of the game.
The only thing I really want to do still is visit the island of someone on my friends’ list. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to do that yet but I’m going to try again tonight.

All in all this forced sitting at home has kind of pushed me into playing games again. Animal Crossing released at a real opportune time and I’m finding it very relaxing to play. On the other side of the spectrum I’ve finally gotten motivated to pick up Allied Races in WoW again and I’m enjoying myself while doing so. I hope I can add some Final Fantasy XIV into the mix aswell and from there it’s just waiting untill the next big release on my radar: the Final Fantasy VII remake. I’ve pre-ordered it digitally and can’t wait to start playing it when it comes out. I’m kind of bummed that Square Enix cut up the game into multiple pieces but I hope the story is going to be as epic as I’ve been told. I’ve never actually played Final Fantasy VII so I can’t wait to dive into it and make up for all the things that I apparently missed out on.
I will have enough time to do so anyway since I don’t see the end to working remotely in sight yet. For now though it’s time to dive back into Azeroth and tackle some Sholazar Basin quests.

What are you playing this weekend?

Animal Crossing is crack

So with almost everyone getting their copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons today I can finally spill the beans about what I think about the game so far for myself. I managed to get my copy two days early due to the chain where I ordered it having to close shops. Why close shops? Well unless you’ve been living under a rock… This particular chain decided to close to protect their employees from the COVID-19 virus. Since they allowed everyone to pick up their physical copy from the store two days earlier they also decided to do the mailing two days earlier. As such I ended up with my copy on the 18th and I was pretty happy to once not get the short end of the stick.

So far I’m really enjoying the game. It’s a bit like crack in that I’m instantly addicted and I keep wanting to do more and play more whenever I take a bit of a break because I need to do something else.
It really plays like any other Animal Crossing game. You start out with a tent which you can then upgrade to a, progressively bigger, house. Tom Nook is there with Timmy and Tommy and they run the island shop. Blathers is there aswell and I’m currently working on the museum stuff. I have two inhabitants, Hammlet and Lydia, and I’m running around collecting various materials and catching fish and bugs. Oh and planting flowers.

This game is one for the long haul. Obviously I want to unlock everything as fast as I possibly can and be able to expand on my island and make it look pretty. The native trees on my island contain oranges but I’ve also planted a few cherry trees. The graphics look smooth and pretty while still keeping that familiar Animal Crossing vibe. I want to start posting screenshots from my island soon but since I don’t want to spoil things too much I’m just sticking to this short post for now.

Happy playing everyone!

Relaxing Games

The last week I’ve been steadily plowing away at my reputations in WoW. If my calculations are correct I should be full Exalted with both Hand of the Prophet and Order of the Awakened by next weekend, which leaves me with just The Saberstalkers. Luckily for me that is the one reputation you can actually advance by farming so I will probably get that to Exalted quite fast aswell.
I’ve arrived at a nice rythm where I take about 30 mins to do my dailies on my Priest in WoW after having breakfast in the morning, which frees up the rest of my day to do what I want. I’m also trying to get in some Heroes of the Storm games every evening before going to bed and it has advanced my Valla on my project account to level 8 and sitting over 30 games played.
I took the time to clean up my Twitch account aswell, adding a customized banner and customized buttons to my channel and setting up a streaming schedule… Which I’m not really sticking to right now since LoL worlds is still going and I find watching that more fun than streaming. Sorry guys! There’s also been some issues with my microphone and graphics so I’m still sorting through that stuff aswell. I have done some test streams, one of which I only had music, and I will probably do a few more short streams in the next couple of days.

I’ve also been enjoying my new Animal Crossing game more than I thought I would. It’s a nice game design where you unlock something new every day but are not pressured to play. I can decide what I want to do, design a new house, design a new facility or visit an old client and redo their house? So many choices! And it doesn’t matter what you pick to do, you will always be rewarded with new furniture and other stuff to use as you advance in the game.
I’ve unlocked the Happy Home Network this morning which allows me to share my room designs with other people playing the game, so that is nice aswell. It also lets me look at other people’s designs and I’ve already gotten some great ideas for new houses!
This game really allows me to relax, think a bit about what I want to do and feel satisfied whenever I finish something. There’s no pressure, no expectations, no other people involved. It’s nice and easy and I find myself picking up my 3DS every morning or evening to design a house when I’m lying in bed.

Mostly I’m trying to spend my times in games the least stressy way I possibly can. When I’m on Destiny I tend to team up with a friend so I don’t have to solo my way through a lot of shitty missions and on Wildstar I’m mostly focussing on leveling right now. Which is going slowly (my engineer dinged level 10 today) but steadily. I really don’t want to feel rushed and want to take the time to enjoy this game, explore everything it has to offer and in general just enjoy myself.
I managed to score a Fancy Pants Jacket from a code on Twitter so I look even better now. My Twitter profile picture should give a nice indication anyway. I also unlocked a few more dye colours from Boom Boxes… And I’m not that far off of being able to buy a pet or mount from the ingame shop. I really want that hoverboard or the kitty pet, not really sure just yet. The people from Black Dagger Society (my guild on Entity) have all been really nice so far and I’m enjoying the friendly atmosphere. Alas I don’t think I’ll be able to raid with them due to time differences… But I’m not too fussed about that really.

In real life things aren’t looking so sunny. I’ve been having some health issues which I attribute to the fact that I haven’t had any physical exercise for the past 2-3 weeks. Sitting around playing stuff or watching streams or reading is seriously detrimental for my body. It’s gotten so bad that I actually have a muscle ache from biking back and forth to the store for 10 minutes. So I need to pick up going to the gym again, because this is seriously not a fun state to be in.
Mentally I’m trying to retreat from a lot of drama going on. I have a friend that is using me as some sort of complaint wall about stuff he does himself aswell and it’s exhausting me. Add to that there’s some serious fucked up mindgames going on in my WoW guild right now… I just need to not get involved. I feel more stable than I have in a long time and I don’t want it to get ruined by random drama from “people from the internet”. So I’m not online as often and when I am I avoid most interaction. When someone talks to me I answer, but that’s about it.
Instead I’m focusing my attention more on my IRL friends and hanging out with them more often. Especially now that I’m an auntie again… I need to spoil two little girls now!

3D Days

Friday my new 3DS with Animal Crossing: Happy Home designers arrived and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I already had a 3DS but it was the very first model (I got it on sale somewhere) and I started to notice very much that it was beginning to get outdated. Being slow, 3D actually giving me more of a headache than fun… So when I saw the Animal Crossing bundle I went ahead and ordered it. I also switched from a regular 3DS to an XL one and boy, can I notice the difference!
The new 3DS has something called superstable 3D which means that it doesn’t matter from what angle you look at the screen, it will stay 3D, something I thoroughly enjoy. The screen size is also a huge difference to me, I’ve always been used to staring at relatively small screens and this device is rather large. It’s giving me a much more relaxed gaming experience though, I don’t have to pinch my eyes at certain stuff… And it’s easier for me to just sit back and enjoy gaming on a bigger screen.
Not saying the smaller 3DS is bad, but right now I just enjoy the XL way more.

Transferring data
Over the years I have downloaded some games on my 3DS and built up a lot of save games. The cool thing that Nintendo lets you do is transfer data from one 3DS to another. There’s a few catches with this though. It will format the 3DS where the data is transferred from seeing as you can only have one 3DS attached to a Nintendo Network ID (which you need to purchase stuff from the e-shop nowadays). I was a bit hesitant to do the data transfer, since I was scared I would lose my preinstalled game but that wasn’t an issue so I went ahead and did the transfer. The total process took about 30 mins but now I have all my save games and downloaded games on the new 3DS and I can just continue with stuff on there!
This leaves me with a formatted handheld though and I’m not sure what I want to do with it. I am a bit of a collector and I’ve kept all my old Gameboys… So I think I’ll just hold on to it for the time being. Maybe I’ll trade it in at some point for credit at my favourite game store, but this is something to worry about for the future.

Playing Interior Designer
So far I’ve enjoyed the game that came preinstalled with my handheld. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. The name actually says all that is to the game, you are an interior (and later) exterior designer. You get a request from a customer and it’s your job to fulfill it the best you can. For instance my latest client wanted a room that was completely black and white. Another one wanted a room where she would be “surrounded by books”. You can decorate the room with wallpaper and flooring, furniture, rugs and things to hang on the walls. Every time you open up a new client new furniture and other things get added to the catalogue you get to choose from. With the tools provided you can make some really cool designs and you can also share your designs with others via Miiverse.
There’s only one catch to designing. All of your clients have some furniture already present that they want to keep, so it’s up to you to make sure that furniture fits in the final design.
So far designing rooms has been fairly simple but I assume things start to get more challenging along the way.
As the game progresses you get more and bigger tasks while you are also supposed to stay in touch with the client list you have built up… Regardless it’s a very nice relaxing game to play and, unlike New Leaf, it doesn’t seem to punish you when you don’t play it for a few days.
A nice addition to the game is the amiibo cards you can get for it. All the amiibo cards contain one character to unlock that is otherwise not (or difficult to find) found within the game. I got one card with my game, which I haven’t been able to use yet. Apparently you unlock this feature as you go so I’ll find out soon enough.
For now I find this game a nice little distraction. I can play it for 15-20 mins, decorate a house, visit some clients and then shut it down again. It’s small, simple and enjoyable and it’s getting me back into handheld gaming again.

I also made a new game in Kingdom Hearts 3D (Dream Drop Distance) since I for the life of me couldn’t remember where I was. The game looks so incredibly good with bigger screens and more stable 3D so I’m looking very much forward to playing through it entirely. I predict a more handheld focused gaming month for me…

I Survived Blaugust… And more!

So. Belghast did a nice tally on his blog yesterday and I came out of the bus as one of the Blaugust Survivors. Which means I’ve written atleast 15 posts during Blaugust. I’m pretty happy with it. I had hoped I would make it to the full 31, but as I explained before my real life got in the way of things and well that was that. Even then, posting 24 posts on a blog that normally sees only about 7-8 posts a month is pretty amazing in my book, so I’m pretty happy with myself.

September Gaming Goals
As promised, here’s the actual purpose of my post. My gaming goals for september!
Blizzard Games:
  • Finish Legendary ring on Sarelly in World of Warcraft
  • Battle my way to the highest rank possible in Hearthstone
  • Unlock wing two of Naxx and BRM in Hearthstone
  • Get my Seasonal Crusader to level 70 in Diablo III
  • Continue Heroes Project. 100 games on Valla. Pick up new hero.
Other games
  • Level WHM to 50 in FFXIV
  • Finish off act 2 in Mickey’s Castle of Illusion
  • Play through FFX on PS4 (as far as I can).

As you can see, a much shorter list than my previous ones and it’s mostly evolving around Blizzard games. I seem to spend most of my time there anyway so I guess it’s only logical.
I think the biggest challenge from these will be finishing off my legendary ring on Sarelly and leveling my Seasonal Crusader on Diablo. My motivation to do either is very low at the moment. I’m half and half burned out on WoW (I really only log it to raid these days) and Diablo is on and off for me. I log for an hour or so, do some bounties or a rift and log back off again. I don’t really feel the need to play with anyone either (seeing as that will only turn into boosts atm) and I’m mostly grumping and sulking my way through the game. But I really want the seasonal rewards so I guess I’ll just have to suck up and level at some point.
Another thing I really want to start doing is play through one of my many console games. I bought FFX/X-2 remastered and barely touched it. The same goes for Thief, FF Type-0 and Destiny. Seeing as I’m in a bit of a solo mood I figured I’d pick one of the Final Fantasy’s and just start playing from there. I really want to start finishing off games before I invest into new ones. This goes for my PS4 and PC equally since I have a Steam Library filled with games I barely touched as well. And there we land at the Mickey game. I really wanted to finish Act 2 last month, but I guess I’ll have to do it this month.
I’m unsure why I’m so fussy about playing solo/offline games. I really like them, I just can’t seem to focus my attention on playing any of them though.
The big spend
I really, really, really tried to keep my spending to a minimum this month. I wanted to build up a reserve with all the money I earned from having a job… But when I saw this Animal Crossing edition of the new 3DS XL I caved and pre-ordered it. 
I still have an old 3DS (the first version actually) and although it works fine I notice that it’s aging. It’s slow, the games take longer to load, the internet connection is slow and the screen isn’t as clear as the newer versions. So yeah. I caved, I preordered and it cost me a bit of money… But it’s too damn cute to let slip!