sandrian

The League Project

I have alluded to this project in my 2021 year goals post but I guess it’s time to spill the beans and fill you guys in on why I suddenly have League of Legends related goals on my yearly list, what exactly it entails and how it’s been going so far.
So let’s start at the beginning…

Renewed interest in playing League of Legends
Somewhere during worlds, I think at the beginning of October or at the end of September, I stumbled across a LoL stream of a pro player that had made his debut casting as guest this year. The last time I really followed individual streamers on Twitch has been years ago but this guy had something about him that made his streams very nice to watch. I kind of got sucked into his Discord community and, because I was enjoying the content so much, I decided to sub to his channel. He was experimenting with coaching subs on his channel and after he announced not being a pro for the next split he decided to set up a program via Patreon to coach amateurs in LoL solo queue.
At first this didn’t interest me. I hadn’t played LoL seriously in over 7 years, my last ranked game being somewhere back in 2013. I didn’t know if I had the time, and energy, to commit to grinding solo queue. Being on his discord though had reignited the will to at least try. Not in last place fueled by a small Discord tournament that was held, in which I participated, and where I managed to reach the “finals” with our roughly thrown together team. So I signed up on a whim to see if he could give me some tips to get started again and then we would see what happened from there.

Sessions and struggles
So what happened next? Well I signed up for his Patreon in December and managed to get two coaching sessions in. Basically these coaching sessions entail that I play a game of LoL in ranked solo queue and he watches and comments. Afterwards we go over the VOD of the game together for more tips and tricks and additional questions that I may have. Next to that I’m free to DM him with any LoL related questions as well as having access to tier lists per role and other content on his Patreon.
We both recognize that I’m basically a beginning player again and even though I may know a lot about the game by just following the e-sports side of things for years that doesn’t mean I’m automatically good in solo queue. He coached me through my very first placement match in 7 years and then another session where I was slowly climbing out of Bronze tier in pre-season. Both games were a bit of a stomp but I got some nice pointers nonetheless. Learning to work with the map and watching what happens in teamfights. Where to place down wards. When to engage and when to back off. It was fun and he’s a very good coach.
I’ve taken what I’ve learned so far with me into solo queue and even though I’m back in Bronze after season start, I managed to climb my way up to Silver 3 in pre-season, I feel like I’m already leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at the start of December when it comes to certain in game things. However I’m also noticing that there are things I struggle with. A lot of it will probably get resolved with playing the game more and getting more practice in on various champions but there are other things that I would like to discuss with him in our next upcoming session.
Due to solo queue being solo queue there is no perfect coordination with your teammates. You do what you can in game but it’s not the same as having everyone on voice chat and arranging things that way. As such I had to make a very big mental adjustment when it comes to losing games. I would get really upset and frustrated at first but I’m at the stage where, even though I still can get frustrated, I learn to accept a loss and move on. I’m mostly struggling with expanding my champion pool, I’m only really comfortable on two champions right now, and what to do when my lane falls behind. I’m also trying to find a schedule to play since I have a fulltime job and especially during the week finding the time to play is a struggle.

So where am I heading with this?
After a lot of thinking the past few weeks I realized that I don’t want to do something like this on a whim. I have shied away from many opportunities and commitments in life because I’m afraid to fail. It has led to some of the biggest regrets about things that I unfortunately can’t change anymore. So I want to use this project to break that cycle. I want to commit fully and wholeheartedly, not just to prove to others that I can do it but to also prove to myself I can do it.
I have a notebook in which I’m writing stuff down. I’m planning to download some VODs from games to analyze. I’ve been scheduling nights/days to play LoL and just grind. I take regular breaks tough and if I lose two games in a row I shut down the client and go do something else for a couple of hours or the rest of the day so I can shake it off and start fresh again later.
I have a clear first goal I want to reach, getting to Gold Tier, and I want to expand on that further once I get there. Because I know I will get there with time and coaching help.
I also really want to keep my readers involved in this journey with me. The successes, the frustrations. I plan to use Sundays to give a League update, whether or not I had a coaching session, what rank I currently am and anything I may have been struggling with the past week. I’m excited to tackle this the coming year and I hope it will help me break out of a vicious cycle I’ve found myself in since my teenage years.

For now it’s back to the grind. I’m currently in Bronze 2 but I have my eyes set on getting back into Silver. Let’s see how that goes shall we.

World of Warcraft: A Mood

Shadowlands. Since I’ve not really used my blog since September last year I’ve not gotten around to do a post about it yet. And even though I realize the expansion has been out for almost two months now, I still feel like I want to say something about it and my current state of playing WoW.

Originally I took time off at the end of October so I could enjoy Shadowlands launch and don’t get too far behind with leveling compared to the rest of the guild. Unfortunately with Blizzard pushing the release date back I had to cancel that free time and wasn’t able to take it off for the new launch date. As such when I finally got around to playing a lot of my guildies were already max level and gearing up while I was still struggling to get to level 60. I made it eventually and started to slowly tank things on my Warrior when I realized that, once again, Blizzard had decided that Protection Warriors had too much fun in Battle for Azeroth and completely broke the spec. I don’t think I’ve felt like this much of a paper tank since the launch of Mists of Pandaria, another infamous stroke of Blizzard nerfing Prot Warriors genius. I struggled a lot, didn’t like my class and didn’t enjoy tanking because I felt I was more of a burden than a tank.
As such I wasn’t online nearly as often as I intended to be. I wasn’t there to tank Mythic and later Mythic+ and as such I lost my tank spot for raids. A part of me understands but I was gutted. I don’t like playing DPS Warrior and there was apparently no way I was getting my tankspot back for this raidtier. So after a lot of agonizing and feeling like shit I decided to take a step back from raiding after we cleared normal. I play this game to have fun and if I don’t have fun and only feel frustrated then what’s the point in playing? So I stepped back and tried alts and just poking about in different things. For now I’m mostly trying to keep up with the bare minimum in content and it’s been quite liberating. I have a lot of time to play other games now and it’s really nice. Now that I’ve cleared up I’m more or less a casual player for the moment let’s get down to what really matters.

What do I actually think of the expansion itself?
Honestly, I’m very 50/50 about it. The zones are once again well made and, especially in case of Bastion, stunning. The covenant stories are fun and make me want to play through all of them atleast once. I’ve finished the Kyrian campaign this week and am slowly working on the Night Fae one on my Horde Mage. I have a Monk that I went the Maldraxxus covenant with so that only leaves Revendreth. The stories are nice and I like that they spaced it out so you had something to look forward to every week.
Overall I’m enjoying the lore. The raid lore, the dungeon lore, the Maw and Torghast lore. Blizzard never failed at making stories interesting so there’s that.

But honestly that’s kind of where my excitement ends for the moment. I really, really, dislike Torghast. It feels forced and unfun and it’s horrible to play solo. I only go there for the weekly quest and then make sure I get the hell out again. It’s not my cup of tea and the only way I’ll run it is if I do it with others while talking on Discord because I need the banter as distraction.
Endgame in WoW is still the same as it was in BfA. There is PvP, there are Mythic+ dungeons to run and there is raiding. I’m currently not doing any of that. I do want to get into Mythic+ again at some point, even if it’s just to get the reward for doing everything on +15 and I may even want to dabble in Arena to earn that mount but otherwise the endgame for me is a bit of a no-go right now. Alternatively Professions have been a bit of a bust aswell. There is no Archaeology in Shadowlands and I’ve already maxed out Cooking, Mining and Blacksmithing. They removed the star system for recipes and by the time you unlock the good stuff you’ve already outgeared it.

All in all, as much as I do like casually putzing about and leveling alts and other shit, the expansion hasn’t been able to fully grasp me so far. It kind off feels like a rerun of BfA to me and that expansion in my eyes failed terribly. Maybe I’m slowly getting to the point where I’m able to let go of WoW and move on to other things. But I have said this before and I always seem to come back. Who knows, maybe I’ll get gripped by the sudden urge to play in a few months and will pour all my time into it again. Only time will tell.

2021: A Brighter Future Thanks To Goals

I guess I’m a bit late to the party, but I would like to talk about my goals for 2021, both on a personal level aswell as gaming related.
I had a bit of time to think about it the past week, seeing as I finally had some time off, and I think I’ve managed to formulate some decent goals to work on. The focus this year will be mostly on personal non-gaming related goals, but as always some gaming has snuck it’s way in because it’s my biggest hobby.

So what do I want to achieve in 2021?
I think the most important overarching goal is get to a better physical and mental health level. Both of those have suffered considerably in 2020 and I don’t think I can sustain how I’m living right now and come out good at the other end. So I’ve set a few goals to help me get back on track. In no particular order they are:

  • Establish a healthy sleeping pattern
  • Exercise every day
  • Work on losing weight, dropping below 70kg is the goal
  • Take better care of myself personally, both inside and out

I was on track with these goals at the start of 2020 but the pandemic threw me back a lot. I’m at my heaviest point right now and I’ve had weeks where I would barely leave my house. It’s been very unhealthy and it’s been causing me both physical and mental issues. As such I really want to take better care of myself. Get myself on a healthy sleep schedule so I’m not exhausted at work every morning and feel like I need hours and hours of sleep once I have a few days off. I’ve noticed that getting some sort of exercise in every day helps with sleeping at night, so I’ve been making an effort to go for a walk every day. Atleast 30 minutes but I’m up to 45-50 most days now. When the weather is bad I’m planning to use my Ring Fit Adventure that I bought on release but barely used. I just need to keep my body moving and this is the perfect way to do it.
Next to exercise I also want to take better care of myself in other aspects. I’ve been very lazy when it comes to some personal hygiene and care and need to fix that. Stuff like picking up flossing again instead of only brushing my teeth. Take better care of my skin. Keep an eye on what I eat, meal plan in advance and stick to it. I’ve been eating way too much junkfood and need to get to cooking more healthy things. No more skipping meals. No more eating breakfast 3 hours after I started working. Just keep a healthy food rhythm going.

Additionally I want to establish/achieve the following:

  • Plan my weeks every week and stick to my planning.
  • Get a cleaning routine going in the weekends
  • Learn to cook more/healthier dishes

Next to not really taking care of myself properly on a personal level I’ve also let my house cleaning slide. I don’t want to say that it’s unliveable here, because it’s really not, but I notice I get lazy and then don’t clean for 2-3 weeks at a time. I let the laundry pile up, and dishes, and I don’t think I’ve cleaned my windows in months. That’s going to change. Sunday is my designated chores day and I’ve made a list of everything that I need to do weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. On Saturday morning I look at my list and plan my chores accordingly for Sunday and actually do them. I started doing this last weekend and I notice that I feel much better once my house is decluttered and cleaned. It also massively helps with my allergies so that’s an extra bonus.
Setting structure in general is going to be important to me, aswell as sticking to said structure. I have a weekly planner that I’ve started using to plan what I do in my weeks outside of work. This covers weekly meal planning, task planning, when to blog, when to call people to make appointments and what games I want to play on which days. It helps me with not just lying down on the couch after work and then doing absolutely nothing but wallow in misery all night. I don’t plan everything into detail but I do write down the things I want to be doing during the evening and try to stick to it. It’s been working so far.

Finally I want to learn to cook more dishes than I currently do. There’s so many things I can experiment with and especially during weekends I have a bit more time to do so. I will probably use that to create some posts on here. Speaking of the blog… I’ve currently planned three days a week for blog posts. I have enough content to write about the coming months, as I will describe in my gaming goals bit, and I just need a steady outlet for the chaos in my head. Right now I have blog posts planned on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Let’s see if I can stick to that shall we?

Of course a goals for 2021 post wouldn’t be complete without writing down gaming goals. This is mainly a gaming blog after all and throughout the pandemic I atleast haven’t stopped playing games so there’s that.

What are my plans for gaming in 2021?

Actually I don’t have that many big plans for gaming in 2021. Or maybe I do, but they’re condensed to less games, making them seem smaller. For now though these are the main things I will be working on gaming wise in 2021:

  • Climb the solo/duo queue ladder in League of Legends. I want to get to atleast Gold tier, but climbing higher is the aim.
  • Keep up with content in Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft
  • Finish atleast one single player game per month

Only three goals. So small and yet so big. I think the most important one for me will be the League of Legends one. I guess some elaboration is needed and that will come in a future post but let’s just say that I’ve been completely sucked back into LoL since last Worlds. I’ve been following two streamers and am active within their communities. On top of that I’m dabbling in a bit of coaching related stuff to get me better at the game. Again I will detail this more in a coming post but this project will probably dominate a lot of 2021 for me.
Keeping up with the two MMO’s I play will be a standard thing aswell. I’ve been struggling with Shadowlands in WoW and am currently taking a break from raiding for a myriad amount of reasons, but I do want to keep up with the lore and renown cap every week. I’ve been taking a small break from FFXIV, mostly due to Shadowlands launch, but want to pick that back up again and keep up with the content there aswell.

Finally I’m once again going to try and tackle my backlog. I’ve not bought that many games last year and I have actually been slowly pouring more time in single player games over the past few weeks. My aim is to complete one game a month, this can be a long game or a short game, as long as I see the credits roll. As always that is my main goal with playing games, any time I spend extra on it is a bonus.

So yeah. These are my goals for 2021. I feel like I’ve made a good start on them this week, now I just need to grit my teeth and follow through. For now though I’m pretty happy with what I’ve set to achieve for myself and I will keep you updated on how things develop.

2020: The year that was lost.

2020. A year that the world will never forget. Even if the year has been over for 10 days now, it’s effects will be felt for a long while yet. The pandemic is still running rampant. We are still collectively in lockdown. People are still getting infected and with the mutations of the virus it seems we will live through a very bleak life for the next couple of months still. Yet there is hope. Multiple vaccines have been developed and are being administered world wide. An end into the global lockdown may finally be in sight and I for one welcome a return back to something that we could consider “normalcy”.

The past few months have been very rough on me on a personal level. Getting sent home halfway through March and hoping that this would all blow over in a few weeks has turned into working from home for most of the year last year. I was lucky enough to be able to go back into the office for a few days a week over the summer, but the moment the second wave of COVID hit the Netherlands at the start of September we were all sent home again, where I have been honestly going slightly batshit insane. Being alone, as I am, in a small flat for 7 days a week almost 24 hours a day does crazy things to the brain. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this lonely and vulnerable in a very long time and it’s a feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I miss real world contact so much. Not being able to hug people out of fear of a disease has been heartbreaking. Not being able to go out and do fun things. Not being able to go on vacation so you can relax and unwind and change scenery has been tough. Mentally I’ve balanced on the edge so many times this year. Feeling anxious, feeling depressed and not knowing what to do with myself. I’ve cried so much, especially near the end of the year which is already a harder time for me than normal. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much of a hard time with being single than I have in the past few months and still have today. It’s been awful and horrible and I’m so done with all of it.

In a lot of ways I consider 2020 to be a lost year. When the year started I was well on my way to establish a healthy schedule for myself. I was going to the gym twice a week and I went to the swimming pool 1-2 times a week aswell. I was working on healthier eating habits and preparing for my dream trip to Japan that was supposed to take place at the end of March. I was thinking about putting myself out there in the dating world again and I wanted to pick up a new hobby so I could meet new people. All of that has kind of gone out the window. My lifestyle has become considerably worse with having to work from home. My health has considerably declined, both physical and mental. The dream trip never happened and I don’t know when it will. It’s a year that I feel like should be erased from my life as soon as possible so I can move on and work towards new goals. The whole “new year, new me” feeling hasn’t ever appealed to me that much, but now it feels different. I don’t want to have another year lost and I don’t want to feel the way I do anymore and the only one who can change that is me.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to get out of this year on a personal level and hobby related. I’ve cautiously started to write down what I want to achieve and am thinking about how I want to achieve it. A part of it is definitely reviving this blog and getting some structure set up. Another part is self improvement, both physically and mentally. Finally there are some goals related to gaming, as usual, but I’ve tried to keep them small.
As I get my goals more defined I will post about them here, aswell as updates on working towards said goals. Not everything will be game related but… This is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it. So with that out of the way I’m looking forward to sharing my life and my gaming love with you all again. See you soon!

Sandy’s MMO Sunday: Gone Fishing

What a long strange week it’s been. I’ve been sick. There was a lot of watching League of Legends and a lot of playing Final Fantasy XIV. Even though I guess I wanted to take a bit of a break from farming a lot in this game I couldn’t resist the pull and have been spending this past week back on the leveling grind. This time for my crafters and Fisher, which was the last gathering job I didn’t have at level 80 yet.
Of course that couldn’t stand, so I looked at where I was on my Fisher and started tackling, haha, the Fisher quests from level 60-70 that I hadn’t completed yet. I also used a few levequests to get to 70 and then I started doing the gathering dailies that were added a while ago to supplement my Fisher with even more experience. And today I handed in the final few fish for the Crystarium questchain to push me over the edge and get to level 80. Another job leveled and another notch on my belt in FFXIV.

This leaves me with figuring out what my daily routine in FFXIV will be. I expect to spend a lot of time here untill Shadowlands launches at least, seeing as I don’t think I’ll play that much during pre-patch. Of course I’m going to do the event but I’ve already chosen my class so apart from getting used to “new” rotations and talents I think I’m all covered on the WoW front. So that brings me back to FFXIV. Since I’m leveling my crafting jobs anyway the Dwarven beast tribe dailies will stay a daily item on my list. Other than that I’m focused on gearing up my battle jobs so Expert Roulette will be a daily occurence aswell. I may throw in other roulettes aswell, even if it’s just to earn Poetics so I can buy the last few Shadowbringers relic weapons that I’m missing. All together that should provide me with about an hour to an hour and a half of time that I “need” to spend on FFXIV to get my stuff done on a daily basis. Not too bad at all, especially considering the fact that I’ve picked up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 again and want to spend some time getting properly into that game and hopefully finish it in the forseeable future.
Next to the daily stuff I want to finish off the Crystarium quests for Fisher and unlock the title that comes from that. If it’s as easy as the ones I’ve had so far that should be a breeze and probably doable in a single evening or day. There’s also some other Crystarium stuff that I can still do that is related to my crafting jobs. I may look into that aswell. All of this is not that urgent though, but a “nice to do” type of thing. With having all my battle jobs leveled and, hopefully, soon all my crafting jobs aswell I’m rapidly approaching the point where I really need to think about what I want to be doing in FFXIV, especially since I don’t really tackle endgame content there. However my time will probably be cut short by Shadowlands at that point, so I will deal with that once I get there.

All in all I’m pretty happy with my progress in FFXIV and I hope to be able to keep it up and get everything to level 80 sooner rather than later. For now I’ve happily cleared out my inventory of all my old leveling gear and can enjoy the look of a mostly empty armour bag again. Now I just hope I can keep it that way.

Toxic Fans: The Dark Side of E-Sports

League of Legends: Worlds 2020 Group Stage draw to take place September 15  - Millenium

Worlds. The biggest tournament in the year for the League of Legends franchise. Every team aspires to qualify for this tournament during the regular season of their respective region. Only 24 tickets to give away. Some regions are more fortunate than others and get more tickets. Some regions will never get past the play in stage or won’t qualify at all. With all World Championships a lot is at stake for the teams. Who will crown themselves king for a year? Which region can “brag” at the end of the day? And for who has all the hard work paid off the most?

I look forward to Worlds every year as an avid LoL fan. I cheer for the European region first and within that my “allegiance” lies with G2 Esports. The League of Legends seasons are long. The year is usually divided up in two splits, Spring and Summer, that start somewhere in February and run all the way up to the end of August. Inbetween splits there usually is a Mid Season Invitational for the top teams of every region to compete against eachother and from the end of September untill the beginning of November the World Championships are held. Then there is All-Stars after that, which is a bit more of a for fun tournament but which nevertheless taxes the players who get nominated to go there. As player there is virtually no time “off”. They are living and breathing League of Legends for most of their teenage years (from 16 or 17) untill their mid twenties. This game isn’t just a game anymore, it’s their job. And where we as normal people can clock out after an 8 hour work day these players can play LoL for up to 14 hours a day honing their skills, playing competitively or just practicing against other teams, something called scrims. It’s a lot to take on when you’re still a child. Because let’s be honest, the players who are new to the Leagues are often in their late teens and in no way adults. I can’t imagine how it must be to lead the “pro” life and I really think that the current generation of players has a much better team surrounding them than say 5-6 years ago. It must be exhausting and stressful having to perform week after week, your whole life revolving around this one single game. To quote G2 Perkz from the G2 documentary “Chasing the Dream” (go watch it, it’s good content!) about how he just wants to feel human again after having to perform for so well for so long strikes me through the heart everytime I hear it. We can’t understand how it is to live that life, and honestly I wouldn’t want to trade.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post. For the past years LoL has been steadily climbing in popularity. Viewership is very high as more and more people tune in to one of the biggest e-sports we have right now. With all the growth and attention there has also been a staggering incline in the amount of toxicity in the community. Not only in the game itself, which is why I rarely play more than their “fun” modes, but also among the fanbase. Like with traditional sports there is always a core of fans that will tear teams down when they perform badly. How many times haven’t we seen here in the EU that people call for a coach or player to be fired or benched in football? The same trend is showing up in e-sports. This is obviously to be expected but what makes this so bad in e-sports are two factors:

– The average player age is much younger than other professional sports. Imagine having to play Champion’s League football full time at 16-17 years old, week after week. You’ve gone from your parents’ house to a player house where all your focus is on you playing the game the best you can. Learning to deal with the outside world isn’t a big thing. These are still kids who are growing and learning and whose brain is still in full development phase. It’s so easy to take everything to heart and to get down and depressed from whatever negative feedback you see online.
– Which brings me to my second point: unlike professional sports teams where individual players don’t interact with their fans through social media platforms, they do in League of Legends. Almost all players have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit accounts. Their social media is managed by themselves and it’s a way for them to interact with fans. It also means that they see every single negative comment that is thrown their way, unless they block all social media interaction. It’s one of the things that I personally like about LoL, because the players don’t become these distant unreachable superstars, but it has a definite negative downside. Especially to these young people who just don’t have the mental capacity yet to distinguish the important messages from the noise.

MAD Lions LoL English on Twitter: "We're going to #Worlds! Our next #LEC  series is vs @Rogue on Sunday!… "

This year we as European region have sent four teams to compete at the World Championships. Three teams advanced to the group stages immediatly but the fourth team has to battle their way through the play-in stage to get there. This team is the one shown above, MAD Lions.
It’s a young team. They have one player who has more than one season of experience of playing in the highest league and the rest are all rookies. This is their first real tournament outside of Europe and I can’t imagine how incredibly happy they must have been that they qualified. Going all the way to Shanghai to compete for the biggest prize after one year of playing isn’t something to take lightly.
They looked incredibly dominating for most of the Summer split, with an unfortunate slump at the end of it during play-offs. Nevertheless they made it and we as Europe have hyped them up a lot, with unwavering confidence that they would make it through play-ins. Maybe it isn’t smart to put such expectations on these players but it has happened and I’m sure it has boosted their confidence. However so far they have been struggling, losing two out of the three games they played. It happens. Life isn’t a fairytale and there can only be one winner or loser. The opponent team was simply better and, of course, they made some mistakes that they could and should learn from. Remember that these are rookies. It’s all new to them and it must be hard to not live up to expectations in the first place.

Yet despite this knowledge people still think it’s okay to absolutely shit on these players and the team over social media. Horrible comments on Twitter aimed at specific players, to the point that other players from other teams speak up on Twitter to tell “fans” to back down. I can’t understand why people would do this. Who in their right minds thinks it’s okay to absolutely tear someone down over a lost game. And remember they’re not tearing down a fully grown adult who doesn’t bat an eye, they’re tearing down what are essentially still children. What is the point of being so toxic on the internet? Do people think it’s okay to talk to people like this in real life aswell? Or is it the relative “anonimity” that the internet provides that makes people think it’s okay to behave like this? Do people have no empathy anymore? Are people incapable of putting themselves in other people’s shoes anymore? Imagine getting torn a new one if you made a mistake at your job to the point that people you’ve never met tell you you should’ve never chosen your career. There is no way that happens. Yet it seems that it’s the norm after every game lost. Fans don’t even enjoy cheering for their teams anymore, instead only focusing on the bad. It’s a toxic cesspool that I wish didn’t exist, but unfortunately it does. And it makes me sad and angry. If you think it’s okay to behave like this, I sincerely suggest that you may want to take a look at your own life and then kindly fuck off.

There are lines and they are being heavily crossed, yet it seems impossible to shut up the toxic underbelly of the internet. I’m afraid that it will eventually lead to a complete social media blackout from all pro players and instead we will go the route of “normal” professional sports where individual voices aren’t heard and everything is heavily moderated for the players, and that they themselves won’t interact with the general public anymore. It would be tragic if that would happen, since I feel it would cost LoL a lot of it’s “charm”. Maybe mandatory social media training should be part of playing for a pro team, but I’m not sure how feasible that idea is at this point and where the focus would need to lie exactly.

For now the only thing we can and must do is speak up against the toxicity and cheer for our teams and hope that in the stream of horrible comments they’re able to pick out the ones that support them no matter what. We are out there, I can only hope they’ll hear us.

Vacation Blues

A bit of a short one today.
I got my test results yesterday morning, or Wednesday late at night if you prefer, and I’m not infected with COVID-19. A lot of people have expressed relief for me, but to be honest I wouldn’t have been shattered if it would have been the dreaded virus. I was virtually symptom free yesterday anyway and I would’ve only had to be inside untill today according to official guidelines. It would have meant that I would have started making antibodies in my system which could have turned into me donating blood to people who are very bad off with the virus. But it turns out that it was probably a common cold, so there’s that. I went out yesterday to the supermarket. It was nice to step foot outside of my apartment again after 5 days of being “locked up” but otherwise not much has changed in my situation.

My two week vacation has come to an end and this Monday I will return to my working from home schedule. I have to say that being at home alone all the time at some point gets to me and as such I’ve been struggling a bit with a funk the past week. I miss real life interactions with people a lot, I miss going to the pool without all the hassle and to the gym without having to reserve a spot in advance. I just really wish that things would’ve been blown over by now but it doesn’t look like the end is in sight for a long time yet. It’s bringing me down and as a result I’m struggling with myself a lot these days. Which in itself is always hard to admit because I don’t want to bother others with my inner demons.

As result I’ve been really low on my energy, or spoons as some other bloggers call it, and I need to find a way to get out of this mood before it takes me over completely. Luckily one of the events I’m looking forwards to every year, the League of Legends World Championship, has started today and as such I will have my days filled with a lot of League of Legends the coming 5-6 weeks. So that should keep me atleast a bit occupied. For now though it’s time to enjoy the final few days of no work obligations before the horror starts back up on Monday. And what better way than to do so with some games?

Donkey Kong Is No Joke

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) Review — DarkStation

I’ve just come back from having my throat and nose swabbed by a woman in a white hazmat suit with facial protection. The joys of suspecting you may have corona symptoms and then needing to be tested to see if this is indeed the case. I started feeling sick on Saturday, although initially I thought I was having some allergy symptoms. Runny nose, watery eyes. I didn’t immediatly make the connection that it could be anything else. Then on Sunday I started feeling like I had a bad cold. Runny nose, constant sneezing, throat ache and coughing. Normally I’d not make a fuzz about it but the climate being how it is these days I couldn’t rule out if I may have been infected with corona at some point last week. So I scheduled a test and went to get it done about an hour ago. I can’t really recommend it. There’s multiple q-tips involved that go way too far up your nose and down your throat. Now I just have to wait 48 hours to see if it is indeed corona or if I’ve just been struck down with a common cold. Time will tell.

Right now I’m in my second week of a two week holiday. I was supposed to go to Spain for a week of lounging at a pool with a cocktail and not a care in the world. Unfortunately due to multpile outbreaks of corona across Europe that vacation was cancelled and left me sitting at home for two weeks trying to decide what I wanted to be doing with my time instead. As it so happens my best friend was off for a week aswell last week. We had already agreed to meet up, you can here in the Netherlands, but I thought it would also be fun if we would start the same game to spend our vacation time on. We both own a Switch and a 3DS and he has some Switch games that I have on my WiiU so there was plenty to pick from.

He decided on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. A game that had been sitting in my library for a bit, and that I was supposed to tackle over the summer anyway, and one he borrowed from a co-worker with the intent of playing it and returning it as soon as possible. So after that decision was made we both set out to complete the game before the week was over. Initially things seemed to be going well for the both of us and I was already in world number 3 when he started complaining that the game was “too hard”. I had warned him beforehand that reviews of this game indicated that it was no joke and had a few levels that required some pretty tight platforming. Since he had the Switch version of the game though, instead of dropping it he opted to play “Funky Mode” and, not surprising, blew past me once he made the swap over to that. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury to switch to an easier mode so I plodded along playing on the normal difficulty. In the end I didn’t have that many issues. Way less than I had with New Super Mario Bros U anyway. I think one of the only levels that really got to me was a level where you’re riding a rocket in the final world. Steering the rocket was a bit of a pain in the ass to begin with and then I had to maneuver my way through really tight corridors with only two chances to hit something and nowhere to replenish a heart once I lost one.
Other than that I really enjoyed the game. It took me back to being a kid and playing Donkey Kong on my Gameboy. I remember being hooked on those games and spent a lot of time trying to get all the stuff I could back then. I made it in the end though and managed to finish the “final” boss and get to the credits yesterday. It was a relatively short game, according to my WiiU log it took me around 9 hours to finish it. Then again I did skip out on most of the collectibles and finding hidden exits to levels and all that stuff. I just wanted to get to the credit roll and call it a day. I know that eventually another world unlocks if you do all the bonus stuff like get all the KONG letters, unlock all hidden levels and all that jazz but I’m not really feeling up to doing that right now. Maybe at some point in the future when I’ve played through some other games and I feel the need to go back and get games to 100% completion. But the tight platforming and sheer determination that is needed to do all that is not something I want to spend time and energy on as of right now.
That being said I really hope that Nintendo will drop a new Donkey Kong game somewhere in the near future. Tropical Freeze was initially brought to the WiiU in 2014 so it’s high time they come with a new entry in the franchise. I’m certain to be more hyped for that than for anything they would bring out with the Mario label.

For now though I’m happy that I’ve finished off another game from my backlog. I’ve been really inconsistent with playing single player games over the summer, even though I had really big plans. I guess life happens. For now though me and my best friend have picked a new game to play through, one of my choice this time. It’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the Switch. A game that I started a long time ago but kind of gave up on when I was 8 hours in. We both started a new game and I’m running around again in the first little town you get to. It’s a vastly different game from Donkey Kong but I feel like I can do with a longer JRPG right now. So I guess we’ll see where that ship strands. I hope that having someone else play the game simultaneously will keep me motivated to play aswell so that we can share our thoughts on stories and fights. Maybe this is what I needed all along to finally tackle my backlog…

Thank you, next?

And another goal down.
I’m on a roll this week. Filled up my Pokédex, got my last battle job to 80 in Final Fantasy XIV. I knew it was coming this week but didn’t realize both would happen on basically the same day. I’m thrilled though. Another big goal of the list. I guess it was easier getting all my battle jobs to 80 in this expansion since I had leveled everything to 70 in Stormblood and the only two that required more than 10 levels were the newly added Dancer and Gunbreaker class. So yeah.
After leveling everything now there are two clear favourite battle jobs for me: White Mage and Dancer. I’ve always liked the healing in FFXIV and White Mage is in an amazing spot this expansion. I love the renewed Lillies mechanic, the healing is strong and you can still do some decent dps aswell. I’m much more comfortable on this healer than any of the other two, with Scholar being an absolute lowpoint for me. Dancer has more or less replaced Bard, which was another favourite for a long time, and I think it will stay that way for now. I quite happily play almost all the classes in the game though, with exception to Scholar and Black Mage. I’ve never clicked with Scholar to begin with and Black Mage is just way too much of a static class for me to enjoyl. I know it gives the big booms but having to, ideally, stand still for an entire fight is just not really exciting to me. So I have leveled them and I have gotten the Shadowbringers Relic weapons for them but I don’t actively play them

The real question is.. what’s next? I’m still in a bit of Warcraft lull as we wait on the new expansion. I’ve spent a lot of time in Pokémon and as such I’m kind of done with that game for the time being aswell. In FFXIV I now no longer have to run a shit ton of roulettes every day to level up my jobs… So what’s next on the horizon? I guess I have a few options…
First off, I still have to level up Blue Mage. I know that I could just ask a friend to party up with me and get boosted up, and maybe when I’m desperate enough I will, but for now I can just casually kill things and level up slowly that way. I don’t really enjoy the whole Blue Mage shtick a lot but may aswell have something to do when I don’t know what to do, right?
Secondly, I still have my crafters to level. Most of them are around level 70 right now, with the exception of Carpenter (80) and Weaver (79). I’m leveling them with the Dwarven Beast Tribe quests though, which means I only have to do those three daily quests and I’m good.
Finally, gear up my classes now that they’re all max level. This will probably involve me running ex-roulette atleast every day. I also want to unlock Puppet’s Bunker so I can run that on the weekly reset. Other than that I’m probably going to run level roulette on a tank every day, purely so I can work towards the tanking mounts that, eventually, come from that. First up will be Gunbreaker because I just really enjoy the class.

All of the above does mean less time spent in FFXIV grinding away, which is mostly what I’m aiming for. I’m available for friends if they want to do content aswell, I think we are aiming for floor 100 in Heaven on High at some point, but I do want to take a bit of a step back and breathe so I don’t get too burned out on the game. I’m also aware that with the launch of Shadowlands next month I will probably spend less time in FFXIV anyway, so figuring out a “minimal” weekly routine early on is nice. All in all though I’m happy I got this out of the way so I can focus on the next big thing. Whatever that turns out to be.

Gotta Catch ’em All!

As of today I can actually call myself a Pokémon Master. I have caught them all! Well atleast I caught all the Pokémon of the Galar region Pokédex, which still amounts to having to have registered 400 mons in total. I’m thrilled! I knew I set this as goal when I got the game and I have been working towards it on and off for the past half year or so. I’d have weekends where I would sit down and grind for a few hours to get everything into the correct evolutions or where I would fish/walk around for a while to catch that one elusive Pokémon. I’ve even tampered with the date settings on my Switch to get the right weather type to spawn, since some of the final Pokémon I needed only spawned in one or two locations and then also with only with a certain weather type.
Eventually it all came down to needing some Shield exclusives, some Pokémon that would only evolve by trading them and then four or five more Pokémon that I could catch in Sword. I went over to my best friend yesterday to get the Shield exclusives and the trading done. I got there needing 30 Pokémon still and by the time I left I was down to four more. I managed to get three of them at home yesterday evening and then I only needed Sylveon, which I could either wait for to spawn in the wild or train up an Eevee and hope it would evolve into Sylveon. The second method would require me to make quite some effort to get it to love me. But lo and behold, another friend happened to have Sylveon and was willing to trade it to me, even if it was just for me to register it in the Dex. So we did just that this morning and now I’m finally complete!

I’m really happy with this achievement. Pokémon as a series has been the only gameseries that I’ve played consistently since I was a kid. There’s only two generations of games that I’ve skipped, them being Black/White 2 and UltraSun/Moon. I think the time inbetween those games and the previous installments coming out were just too short so I skipped over them. I do intend to go back at some point and play them, but for now I’m content with having those skipped. It’s also the first time I’ve actually completed a Pokédex since the beginning. As I mentioned in an earlier post I remember having around 146 Pokémon registered on my original copy of Blue but then for some reason I reset the game. I think I also did quite an attempt of getting them all on my copy of Pokémon Silver, but that save has been lost by the battery running empty. After that I have made attempts here and there to atleast complete the regional Dex of any game that I played but with every new installment coming out that got more and more difficult. I think the last “big” attempt for me was with Pokémon Moon, but I stopped trying at some point and never really picked it back up.
So yeah, big accomplishment for me and a big goal of my “ultimate gamer goals” list has been crossed off.

Of course with the addition of the Isle of Armor (and the Crown Tundra in the near future) more Pokémon have been added. There luckily is some overlap with the normal Galar Dex so I don’t have to catch an additional 211 Pokémon but only around a 100 or so. However I think I’ve had my fill of Pokémon for the time being so I’m going to put catching more Pokémon on hold so I don’t burn out completely on the game.