Nintendo Switch

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.

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?