To Boldly Nerd…

Wildstar, games and other nerdery

21/08/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Jasyla’s Gaming Questionnaire

You can tell I am off work this week, because I actually have time to blog.

Jasyla over at Cannot Be Tamed just made the transition over from WoW to general video gaming blog. In order to settle into her own niche, she started a gaming questionnaire that I thought is pretty neat. Also, I highly recommend her blog, I really enjoy her game commentary.

  1. When did you start playing video games?

    I must have been 9 years old, when I first saw and played a video game. I actively started playing them on my own when I was 14 years old and begged my parents to buy me a Commodore computer.
  2. What is the first game you remember playing?

    The first video game I remember playing was Pong, at my best friend’s house. I must have been 8 or 9 years old. They had one of those new-fangled consoles. I was so amazed, and a touch jealous. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I sucked at it though. Then for a while there was nothing, until suddenly little handheld games got popular in Germany. My friends all had Pac-Man. My parents bought me a game called Tutankham. I played this months. It had a little thumbstick you used to control your dude through the maze. Good times.
    This was the handheld I had. Oh man, I feel 13 all over again.

    This was the handheld I had. Oh man, I feel 13 all over again.

  3. PC or Console?

    PC, aaaaaaaall the way. I bought my first PC in 1992, and while I convinced my ex that it was for studying, it really was all about the games, even then. The first game I got for it was Civilization, the first one, and that already went way over my head. I never ever owned a console. Ever. There wasn’t a single game that I wanted to play that I couldn’t play on PC as well. This has changed in recent years, and I am seriously considering getting a console.
  4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

    If I were to buy a console, it would be a Playstation 4. I would love to play Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us, those are really two of the games that convince me that a PS4 is a must. Also, I dunno, I don’t like some of the things that Microsoft are doing with XBoxOne, including that aggravating exclusivity deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider. I was never tempted by a Wii, because I knew if I used the fitness stuff, it’d be a fad and I’d never touch it again after a week.
  5. What’s the best game you’ve ever played?

    That’s a very subjective question, because over the years there have been many ‘best’ games. As a whole, I would probably say the Mass Effect series considered as a whole. It’s one of those once in a lifetime experiences for me.
  6. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

    I try to pick the games that I play carefully so that I don’t end up with total shite. I’d probably have to say Ultima VIII. Ultima IV until both parts of VII were amazing games, so expectations for VIII were incredibly high. And then you ended up with a buggy game with platforming, no more turn-based combat and above all a deeply disappointing story. I never tried Ultima IX after this disaster.
  7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

    Civ IV. Everyone seems to call it the pinnacle of the series. I bought the whole package including all expansions during a Steam sale. I played the tutorial, didn’t get it at all and gave up in frustration. I just don’t get Civ-games. My runner-up would be Skyrim. Take your sandbox games and love them, but stay away from me.
  8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

    Dragon Age 2. People like to claim that this is when Bioware jumped the shark. It has a user score of 4.3 on Metacritic. It recycles almost all of the game areas, because I think the devs had a lot of pressure to release this game earlier than it should have been. And yet for me it beats DA:O hands-down, for better story and by far the deeper characters. Some of the best characters Bioware ever wrote. I love this game. – As runner-up, I want to mention Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which I thought was a fitting end to the Ezio trilogy of games, who is one of my all-time beloved video game characters ever. I seem to be the only one who really enjoyed it. It could have done without the Tower Defense mini-game, that part sucked.
  9. What are your favourite game genres?

    RPGs, good action-adventures, stealth games.
  10. Who is your favourite game protagonist?

    My favorites would be FemShep, sassy Lady Hawke and Ezio Auditore.
  11. Describe your perfect video game.

    My perfect video game excels through story-telling. It makes me deeply care about the characters in it. The genre almost doesn’t matter. I would love for a crazy conspiracy theory setting. A bit like The Secret World, but single-player. Maybe even dystopian. That’d be cool.
  12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?

    Probably Lady Hawke, or Liara T’Soni. FemShep is too intimidating.
  13. What game has the best music?

    For video game music, I am afraid nothing gives me the shivers as much as the World of Warcraft vanilla soundtrack. I also enjoy listening to the Mass Effect soundtrack a lot.
  14. Most memorable moment in a game:

    When you get the Reaper reveal in Mass Effect 1. Total game changer. It changed everything. What a stunner. Watch the video at your own risk, major spoiler for ME1.

  15. Scariest moment in a game:

    I don’t play horror games because I am a big sissy. I also don’t watch horror movies, but have read all Stephen King books, go figure. The one exception being The Walking Dead. The whole of Episode 2 in season 1 filled me with such terrible foreboding. When you then find Mark at the dairy, late in the episode, I thought that was just utterly dreadful.
  16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

    I sobbed my eyes out when I played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The whole last stretch of the game. Utterly heartbreaking.
  17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

    As far as websites go, I enjoy reading Polygon. I also read Eurogamer, but tend to avoid the cesspit of comments there. Lastly, I go to Rock, Paper, Shotgun as gaming blog.
  18. What’s the last game you finished?

    The Wolf Among Us
  19. What future releases are you most excited about?

    Dragon Age: Inquisition, arrrrrr. Curious about Mass Effect 4. I would have added Rise of the Tomb Raider, but meh!
  20. Do you identify as a gamer?

    Yes. I have played video games since I was a kid, and it was always this pastime that was just as important as reading to me, and more important than watching TV or movies. I love knowing fellow gamers and being able to talk about fantastic game experiences with them. I love games enough to write about them.
  21. Why do you play video games?

    As form of entertainment that I personally find more engaging and immersive than, say, watching TV or a lot of movies. Games suck me in and allow me to experience stories first-hand, or challenge the mind. For me, there’s always something joyous when I start a new game, and fall in love with the medium all over again.

20/08/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Steam Pile: Bastion

As I described in a previous post, my return to work co-incided with a sudden lack of time to actually play games, plus a Steam sale that magically sucked money out of my wallet. With a fresh badge of Steam games acquired, I decided I would use my time to actually finish games in my library that I had started before. The first game that I completed then was Bastion. This means that it definitely wasn’t Liore who finished this game last, hah.

Bastion is the first game by the indie developers Supergiant Games. They have since released a second game, Transistor, which was one of my summer purchases. But back to Bastion. It’s a colorful action-adventure. I first started playing this months ago, and to put it kindly, I pretty much sucked at it. I have since acquired an XBox controller for my PC and find that many games that were released on multiple platforms are actually way more enjoyable when you use a controller instead. Bastion is one of those games.

In Bastion, your character never has a name, though the narrator refers to him as The Kid. He wakes up in the City of Caelondia which has fallen into ruin after an event called the Calamity. As you move about, the ground forms under your feet, isometric-style, and your story gets told by the only other survivor you meet, Rucks, an old man. Once The Kid makes it to the Bastion, a place of safety, Rucks sends him to other parts of the ravaged world, to collect Cores to power the Bastion.

The Bastion that lends the game its title

The Bastion that lends the game its title

While in the beginning, you know absolutely nothing about what happened to the world, the story-telling is done completely by the narrator, who reveals more and more of the truth of what really happened. By the time the end of the game came about, I was deeply moved by the story. There’s a seriously haunting moment in the game when The Kid has to make a decision, and this moment combined with a really fantastic soundtrack really made the game for me. The narrator does not only provide more and more background info, but also directly comments on what’s going on, for example if you happen to fall off the platforms (like I managed multiple times) or if you chuff one health tonic after the other.

As for the gameplay, you play various highly colorful levels with isometric view and fight your way through them until you have found the core or later in game the shard. A variety of different monster types are in your way, from small scumbags, to bigger creatures, and you have to adjust your battle strategies accordingly. You have to choose a main weapon and a special attack at a blacksmith, e.g. at the Bastion before you go to another area, but sometimes you find new weapons in levels and can swap to them on the go. Weapons include a hammer, a very fast sword, various kinds of guns, etc. It’s always a strategic decision and I switched it up a lot. Each level you complete allows you to use the core to build something in the Bastion that allows you to improve the various weapon, or if you like challenging modes to make the game harder for higher experience rewards. The Kid levels up and gets more powerful, though it’s not a huge part of the game. I think I was level 5 by the time I completed the story.

Interspersed are areas where you can practice the different weapons and the better you do, the better the reward you get for defeating the practice challenge. I never got more than silver for the challenges, because I am not that awesome.

The art-style is very steampunk meets Firefly, with a wild west vibe in the way The Kid dresses, and the soundtrack strongly suggests this as well. As mentioned above, the art is very colorful and never dull. Levels are vastly different. From bogs and marshes where you can never see what might be lurking in the tall grasses, to the crumbling city of Caelondia, to sky ships carrying you through the air while air defenses shoot at you from every angle. It’s quite diverse, and I thought it was beautiful.

Combat with these fellas requires a lot of dodging their painful hammer blows.

Combat with these fellas requires a lot of dodging their painful hammer blows.

Bastion is a short game, clocking at 9 hours for me for my playthrough. There’s a New Game+ that gives you access to all weapons and abilities right at the start, but I wasn’t tempted to play that. If you enjoy action-adventures, it’s a fun one to play for sure. The unusual story-telling through the narrator might not be to everyone’s liking and probably makes or breaks the enjoyment of the game. Or maybe that was just me. In any case, if you do enjoy action-adventures, I highly recommend picking it up. It’s usually one of the items that gets a heavy discount during the Steam sales.

18/08/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

WoW: Kadomi takes the 10 Years – 10 Questions survey

Disclaimer: I am not currently playing WoW. I stopped playing in December 2013. I am undecided about picking it up again in November with WoD. I probably will, but I am most certainly not counting days until release.

The Godmother over at ALT: ernative has been busy blogging about WoW as ever, and one of her projects is a survey about the game. WoW will have it’s 10 year anniversary in November, and in honor of that anniversary, she’s asking 10 questions. I decided I would share my answers.

ten

  1. Why did you start playing World of Warcraft?

    It was early 2005, and WoW had been released in Europe in February. The hype train was in full mode. One of my co-workers had been in the closed beta and raved about the game at me. As a long-term Warcraft player (since 2), I was curious and decided to try the free month that came with the box. Actually getting the box wasn’t very easy, WoW was actually sold out in German retail stores and there was no digital distribution yet. I had to wait til March 5, 2005 to be able to pick it up.
  2. What was the first character you ever rolled?

    The most unlikely character for me ever: a female night elf hunter. Anyone who’s ever played WoW with me will probably boggle at me now. I had never completed Warcraft 3. I almost finished it, but never quite did. The last mission I played was in the Night Elf Campaign, mission 4, you’re supposed to wake up the druids. Then came WoW. What I clearly remembered from Warcraft 3 was how much Tyrande kicked ass, and how cool Night Elf huntresses seemed. The only other notable female character in Warcraft 3 had been Jaina. I don’t even remember my character’s name now. I hadn’t got the slightest clue what I was doing. My earliest associations with WoW are trees, forests, the music of Teldrassil and Ashenvale and getting stuck in caves. Also, falling off Teldrassil and getting stuck on a root halfway down, trying to get away from there for hours. I also vividly remember a level 10 deathrun through the Wetlands in order to get to Ironforge and Stormwind. I quit playing her in the middle of Darkshire, equipped with a blue int dagger (night elf hunters started with the dagger weapon skill) with a melee proc. Whenever I felt too uppity about my mad WoW skills I only had to log her on, my perpetual badge of noob shame.
  3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

    None whatsoever. I paid no mind to faction. I had my mind set on becoming a kickass night elf hunter, they were Alliance, so I went Alliance. Then later, I re-rolled on the US servers to play with friends, and they picked Alliance. Due to timezone differences, we never actually got to play with our friends, and so the SO and I rolled horde and fell in love. It simply clicked for us. Since then, fall 2005, I have been a dedicated horde player. Horde is where the heart is.
  4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

    When you have played a game consistently for almost 9 years, in my case, there are many memorable moments. A lot of them are tied to my former position as raid leader of the guild I was in from 2005 until 2012. I remember of first setting foot in Karazhan and the elation of the first raid boss kill we worked for so hard. The triumph of acquiring the Champion of the Naaru title during The Burning Crusade. The joy of playing with friends. The feeling of loss when my SO Schmitt got bored with the game and quit in November 2009. But my most memorable event is probably still the success of having obtained our dreadsteeds in vanilla, when my SO and I both played warlocks. At the time, it was a very long and sophisticated quest chain. It was a concerted effort with a lot of help from the guild, with people helping with the farming requirements of the chain and the gold required, and grouping up for our Scholomance and Dire Maul West runs. So my eternal gratitude goes out to Nagna, our orc warrior tank, Zade, our undead priest, Tryna aka glyneth on Twitter, undead warlock with most of the mats required, and of course my SO. A party with three undead warlocks. The best of times.
  5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

    Tricky! I am jaded and am one of those old farts with the rose-tinted goggles. Which is why I can list things I loved and no longer do. In the past I would have said questing. In vanilla WoW there was only questing, and I loved checking out all the various races, start zones. I have played everything. Unfortunately I don’t think modern WoW questing can be compared to the old experience from pre-Cataclysm. Questing today is too streamlined, with little to no replay value, which is why people rush through content by sticking with dungeon queues. I have been guilty of this as well. It’s simply too easy to outlevel quest areas which makes quests too trivial, and the stories don’t lend themselves to replay. Then you walk through the Dark Portal and end up in BC questing, and it’s all an even more disjointed mess as you end up level 64-65 in Hellfire, a zone you would leave as 61 or 62 when the content was fresh. – Hm, now I think I have made a good case for questing not being my favorite aspect anymore. Another favorite aspect were heroic 5-mans. It’s really what I did most of the time. In TBC they were so difficult that everything else after has been a joke. They were fantastic. I loved tanking heroics. Then two things happened: heroics were made easier, and LFD was introduced. Nowadays you get your challenges in CM dungeons, but if challenge=speed, then I don’t want to be challenged anymore. – It’ll have to be raids then. Here I must differentiate that I do not enjoy raiding for raiding’s sake. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have quit in December, when my guild had just killed Siegemaster on normal. I love the thrill of learning new fights, of killing new bosses. That’s exciting and unbelievably rewarding. I always wanted to raid. In vanilla, I got a shot at Zul’Gurub with another guild, and loved the excitement, even though this raid group was utterly frustrating and we killed maybe two bosses. But I wanted to experience more encounters like that, and get iconic rewards. Since then, raiding, albeit casual, has been the best part for me.
  6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

    Not really. I am not exactly a role-player in WoW though I enjoy RP realms the most. If there’s a place I would call home in WoW it’d either be the Barrens before Cata, or Nagrand. The Barrens at sunrise can still give me the shivers.
  7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

    I am afraid I can’t answer this question, as I do not have an active subscription. I can say that it’s been entirely too long. My US account had insane amounts of hours. I can’t even guess right now. As for the continuous part, no. I unsubbed from WoW in the Cataclysm content lull between expansions, in May 2012. I came back in September after the Mists beta got me excited again. I unsubbed again in June this year, even though I stopped playing in December 13, because I was on a 6 months plan and slept right through renewal.
  8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

    If I do the quest for the first time ever, yes. If I am on an alt and have done it before, I skim.
  9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

    I don’t know, that’s tough to answer. Sometimes I wish I was less German. During my stint as guild officer, my blunt manner probably pissed off a lot of people. I just don’t have it in me to sugar-coat much. I like to consider myself as a nice but very honest person, which can be lethal when you’re supposed to be a raid leader. But yeah, I wish sometimes I had been less blunt and maybe nicer.
  10. What effects has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

    I met a ton of wonderful people through WoW. Some only online, unfortunately, but I value their friendships. People who sent me condolence flowers when my mom died. A couple of weeks ago my friend Erin married her boyfriend who she met online, and I was invited. Wish I’d been able to go. I’d be happy to see all of my DotH friends anytime. Same with ARC, my fantastic European guild. I got to meet a lot of people I raided with last summer. I started blogging, first only about WoW, then about games and such in general, and through blogging met more awesome people. A big shout-out to Spinks, who I greatly value as a friend and blogger. You guys really need to come visit us in Germany. :) All in all, it hasn’t only wasted hours of my life away, but given me precious connections to cool people. Maybe even boosted confidence that I can be a leader, though I am still working more on actually applying that RL.
chandler

14/08/2014
by Kadomi
8 Comments

Could I be any worse at blogging?

If anyone’s actually taken notice (and just like in Liore’s post, my brain is telling me nobody reads this anyway), I went from super enthusiastic Wildstar blogger to a full radio silence in the last two months. When I last posted, I had two weeks off work, I played Wildstar with wild abandon and was fully convinced I would be a kick-ass, reasonably popular blogger just like in my old Tank Like A Girl days. Little did I know.

So wtf did happen? I went back to work. I had three weeks of last shift, which for me means I get off work at 7 pm. I come home between 7:30 and 8 pm. Then, my SO and I eat dinner, and spend some time talking about our day. By the time I was ready to settle down for some fun time at my computer, it usually ended up around 10 pm. I try to be in bed by midnight. That’s a two hour window for gaming. I felt deflated. Two hours is nothing when you play a timesink like an MMO. I could dabble in housing, or do two quests, but serious leveling, or stuff like a dungeon? No way. I am a dirty casual now. Or maybe not casual, but an adult, who is also trying to have a social life in between work and sleep.

So I stopped logging into Wildstar. This is something I feel terrible about. The guild I am in (at least I hope so), is full of great people. It’s a great game with maybe too slow a leveling curve. But I had fun with it. It’s doing exciting things. It’s pumping out content on the schedule they promised and has hands down the best community team I have ever experienced in a game. But it’s an MMO, which requires time to play, and if I don’t have the time to commit to it, I don’t want to play at all. I end up contributing to MMO’s being a two to three month phenomenon. I contribute to MMO’s sort of dying. There’s no other MMO on the market for me. I still detest GW2, am vaguely amused tons of people flocked to FFXIV as yet another next best thing. Am icy-cold about every single bit of WoW news because everything I hear about WoD is iffy to me. Do not want.

I am still subbed in support of Carbine, but I don’t know how long I want to sustain the possibility of playing again. I do have next week off work.

Now, I could have written this a lot earlier, but who cares? Mostly, I care.

I started doing other things. I bought quite a few games during the Steam sale, and I find I have no trouble picking up a single-player game, play for an hour and then close it. It’s just so much easier. I also found that I really enjoy playing with an Xbox controller. I am actually contemplating how cool it would be to play some games on a console. I have never seriously wanted a console before, but vegging on the couch instead of hovering over mouse and keyboard sounds so appealing right now.

I finished a whole bunch of games from my Steam backlog, including Bastion, Mark of the Ninja, The Wolf Among Us, etc. I intend to write short reviews about them. I had a great time with most titles. I got myself totally re-addicted to Assassin’s Creed. Black Flag is the bomb.

I also play D&D with RL friends about once a month, and that’s good fun. Some health issues have kept me out of one session, but it’s always good fun, and Schmitt loves it. We play pretty obnoxious halfling twins who cannot stand each other whatsoever. I do regret my class choice a bit. Wish I hadn’t picked rogue. I am just not that great a scoundrel in RP. Way too goody-two shoes.

We also spend our evenings doing a Friends marathon. When I read that Friends is now 20 freaking years old, I wanted to watch it all over again. We’re now mid-season 3, Ross and Rachel just broke up. It’s such a fantastic show, I still laugh lots and lots. Chandler Bing is the best character ever. Also, I have a renewed crush on Courtney Cox.

I vaguely considered doing Blaugust, but seriously, how do you guys do it? I don’t have the time and energy to post every day. Hats off to you guys who do!

I helped my SO set up a new blog. I think she’s kinda fallen off the nerdy bandwagon of blogging here, but really enjoys her new photoblog about Momo, the fluffy, deaf Maine Coon we got in June after my beloved Jenny passed away. She really is quite amazingly fluffy, and a bundle of energy. Check it out for daily fluff-updates: http://fluffymo.net

So, that’s the whole deal. I moved hosts today, and now that that’s all settled, I will be going back to a semi-regular schedule. Just with a lot less MMOs and more general games in general, I fear.

24/06/2014
by Kadomi
6 Comments

Wildstar: Addon Corner – UI Improvements

In today’s Addon Corner, I’ll take a look at UI Improvements. Now, technically every addon is a UI improvement, but the addons I am going to look at today all share some characteristics: they’re small, and they add some much-needed functionality that I would have liked to see as part of the default UI. With all of them I felt that installing them made the UI make a lot more sense.

BetterQuestLog

The default quest log is tricky to read because it separates quests into World Story, Regional Story, etc. If you are really looking through your quest log and try to make some sense of it, I find it not very useful. BetterQuestLog comes in here by replacing the log with quests sorted by zone and then displayed in a minimalistic one-line style. Quests are colored and sorted by difficulty automatically. If someone else in your group uses BQL, the log will show if you share quests or not.
Download

A sample of what the changed quest log looks like. A lot cleaner.

A sample of what the changed quest log looks like. A lot cleaner.

CustomFoV

The default Field of View for Wildstar is set to 50. However, that’s not ideal for most people and can be fatiguing on the eyes. 60-75 is a better value. This addon offers you an easy way to change the FoV to your own needs, whatever works best for you. I am currently running with 60, and it’s such a subtle difference. I highly recommend giving this one a try.
Download

ItemPreviewImproved

I bet a lot of WoW players have tried control-clicking items in-game and were disappointed that there’s no item preview. In comes this addon. Once installed, you can Ctrl-Right click on items and preview them on your character. This works on stuff you see in the AH, in chat, in your quest log, etc. If you want to check out which pieces might make the optimal addition to your costume collection, you should have this installed.
Download

Best hat? Best hat! ItemPreviewImproved in action.

Best hat? Best hat! ItemPreviewImproved in action.

MissionDistance

My main is an Explorer, and one of the missions in every zone is to stake a claim. I like to do those when I am in the area anyway. Mission Distance helps with this greatly, because it will indicate the distance for your missions right in the datachron. No more frantic clicking of the mission to find out how far away you are, you have it at a glance.
Download

Mission Distance and Super Minimalistic Datachron both in action.

Mission Distance and Super Minimalistic Datachron both in action.

NoOfflineRoster

I am in a fairly large guild, at least compared to what I am used to, and we regularly have more than 30 people online. This means that to see who’s online I need to open the guild roster and sort it to get an idea who’s on. Not so with this addon. It defaults to only showing you the people who are online, filtering out everyone else. If you want to see who’s offline, you can check a checkbox. That’s all that I want from a guild roster, for now.
Download

Only see online folks, tick the check box to see offline people. That easy.

Only see online folks, tick the check box to see offline people. That easy.

NoSwiping

I like to use the Commodity Exchange to dump trade goods. I think it’s an excellent idea. Unfortunately, it’s also tedious because you have to check the tooltip of the item to see if it actually sells above vendor price, especially considering the hefty cut the CX takes as fee. Here’s where NoSwiping comes in. It color-codes sell orders. If it’s red, you are better off vendoring or using the trade goods yourself. If it’s green, you can actually profit. And that’s all it does. It supposedly also works for Buy Orders, but I haven’t tried that.
Download

Based on this, I was finally able to put up all my cloth, because cloth prices were pitiful before.

Based on this, I was finally able to put up all my cloth, because cloth prices were pitiful before.

Primula

For me personally, the single most aggravating UI item is the crappy default achievement UI. How nice I get so many achievements. How sucky that the UI does not actually let me know what I actually achieved. That you cannot actually click on an achievement to open it is terrible design. Here’s where Primula saves the day. Primula adds a short description of the achievement to the summary view, and when you click on an achievement, it actually opens, hooray!
Download

It tells me what I actually managed to do, how awesome is that?

It tells me what I actually managed to do, how awesome is that?

Super Minimum Datachron

I am a big friend of minimalistic UIs, and Wildstar has so much noise that I like to keep things clean where I can. SMD removes all the clunky frills of the datachron and just leaves a clean box of missions. It also allows you to move the cleaned-up datachron to somewhere else.
Download

UnitedDialogs

I am still no fan of the chat bubbles in Wildstar. Their transparency clashes with nameplates, and if there are other NPCs nearby, I find it hard to read the bubbles. Unfortunately, many quest givers use the chat bubbles. Here’s where UnitedDialogs comes in. It links the NPC chat bubble to your own, making it a lot easier to read the quest dialog. Furthermore, it’s a lot more compact in the display of quest rewards. If you are a keyboard wizard, the keys 1-9 can be used to respond to the dialog. You can also adjust the font size, and all sorts of neat things. I am a big fan.
Download

A typical dialogue if you are using UnitedDialogs. All nicely linked together.

A typical dialogue if you are using UnitedDialogs. All nicely linked together.

And that’s it for now. A big thanks to @jnsplace who discovered some of these addons and shared on Twitter. As always, if you have any recommendations to share, please do so.

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23/06/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Wildstar: Monday Link Love

Another Monday’s here, so here’s my list of interesting posts and news from the Wildstar web, plus a few more blogs to add to the Wildstar blog list. As always, if there’s a blog or Wildstar resource you think should be on any Wildstar blogroll, please share.

Fansites and Resources

  • One of the probably more confusing things in Wildstar is how you acquire AMPs. While the tier 1 AMPs that other games might call talents are just there, you have to run across the world to find the vendors to sell you all the other AMPs so that you can actually slot them. Most AMPs are tied to reputation vendors, but some are only available as world drops, e.g. If you were ever looking for your ultimate list of how to acquire AMPs for your class, Wildstar Core has the ultimate guide for us. If you’d rather not use a website to locate your AMPs, I highly recommend using the addon AMP Finder instead.
  • Everyone who is still leveling usually loves rested exp. In Wildstar, it’s not as clear-cut as in other games how you actually rest. Wildstar uses its housing system to grant you rested exp, so I highly recommend never logging out anywhere else but at your home, sweet home. However, you can work on actually improving the rate of rested exp. How, you can learn in Arawulf’s Guide to Rested Exp at wildstarfans.net.
  • Originally on Reddit, I stumbled across a post from someone asking questions about VikingUI. I always perk up at those magical letters, UI, and took a look. Originally started in this forum post, it looks like people are working on a minimalist UI to replace the bit of a hot mess the default UI still is. There’s already parts of the UI available on github. I will definitely keep my eyes on this.
  • As announced by The Gaff himself, Carbine devs continue their transparency and announced the first ban wave of many. Apparently afking in PvP was not only a thing in Alterac Valley back when I still PvPd in WoW but is also rampant in Wildstar. I bet the most of us have received gold seller arena invites or mails. Glad they are working on fixing this.
  • I already linked to Gracie’s housing 101 that explained how to copy transforms before, but if you need a more visual guide of how the Advanced housing controls work, here’s a video I found on Reddit.

Blogs

Blogwise, it was a relatively quiet week, with no fierce discussions about attunements and such. Still, I managed to read some very good ones, and am adding a few more blogs to the blogroll.

  • Applecidermage wrote a very interesting post about female NPCs on Nexus. It’s refreshing to see that just about every Wildstar NPC race you stumble upon has female character models as well, despite some of them being a bit boobalicious. Here’s looking at you, Falkrin. But still, even races like the Skeesh have female models, though I am pondering if Moodies have females. Still, many of us come from World of Warcraft, and on Azeroth there are no female ogres, kobolds, gnolls, murlocs, etc. I like a world that includes both genders.
  • One aspect of the game that I haven’t explored yet but ultimately want to is the economy game. I follow @Anhrez who seems exceptionally good at the AH game but so far his econ magic doesn’t rub off on me. Trin from Nexus Nuggets describes how she made her first platinum by being an altoholic. Maybe I should work on that.
  • I am adding three more blogs to the blogroll this week because they’ve had interesting Wildstar content. First, we have Missy’s Mojo, an EU blogger who started with the recent NBI, and who seems obsessed with murder bunnies Aurin. She plays on Lightspire EU, like I do, and you can find her on Twitter as @missysmojo.
  • Laughter is another female gamer who enjoys Wildstar, and does UI posts, so a girl after my own heart. While not posting exclusively about Wildstar, I enjoyed her Wildstar posts, and that’s why she gets added. You can find her on Twitter as @_Laughter.
  • My Life on Nexus is the blog of Phil who is a Brit living in the US. He hasn’t posted a lot yet, but that will change, hopefully!

And that’s it for this week. As stated above, happy to add any links from comments, if you found anything cool.

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18/06/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

Wildstar Character Journal

I don’t usually report along while I level in an MMO, but in Wildstar I want to. I am leveling incredibly slowly, because there have been time constraints, computer issues and RL heartache (another of my kitties died). Aside from RL, it’s also incredibly easy to not level, and instead go all completionist with lore, challenges and path missions. I continue to enjoy the Explorer path immensely, as much as that’s guided exploration on rails. Scientist on the other hand I find a lot more challenging because there’s a lot less handholding.

Exploring the asteroid after completing the Steady Traveler Shiphand was a lot of fun.

Exploring the asteroid after completing the Steady Traveler Shiphand was a lot of fun.

Kadomi the Draken Stalker is currently level 23, just finishing up the last touches in Auroria. In the meantime, this of course means that I got my housing plot. It’s all a bit bare now. I didn’t really have any gold to spare for a lot of extravaganza, seeing how it’s the most exquisite gold and time sink ever. I did however get a moonshiner hut for the fun challenge. I also bought a mining plot and hope that I will eventually get the upgrade. I must admit to not being super creative, which means my housing plot is dull and boring compared to what else I have seen visiting guildies. One of our guild officers has an amazing draken-style house that puts my own to shame. I decided that I will ditch the rocket house for a real house and try to rebuild from scratch.

My stalker buddy Tinzari who is braving EU latency from the US to play with me. \o/

My stalker buddy Tinzari who is braving EU latency from the US to play with me. \o/

I did make some changes from that last screenshot where I had a rather boring empty interior. My ‘loft’ holds a chua desk and nothing else so far. I keep doing the Shardspire jumping challenge every day in hopes of finally scoring a vind plushie, and the moonshiner challenge for a Granok bed, but alas, no luck. At least I don’t have a housing monstrosity with over a hundred beer signs yet like Rades does.

For what it’s worth, here’s what my interior currently looks like. It will likely change this weekend, as I said, because I don’t like the limitations of the rocket house anymore.

Home sweet home. I just wish I had more Draken style instead of cutesy Aurin stuff...

Home sweet home. I just wish I had more Draken style instead of cutesy Aurin stuff…

As far as PvE content goes, I really enjoyed Auroria. In the closed beta I played Exiles and did all of Galeras. If I compare those two zones, I would probably say Galeras is more fun. Auroria reminds me a bit of Goldshire. It’s where the Dominion have their farmland, and so there are a lot of quests where you help the lowborn Cassian farmers who got hit by a plague. Looks like the nice-guy Exiles are playing dirty, huh? Exile players know this zone from the Hycrest Insurrection adventure. There are pockets of war in the zone, and the south is dominated by the sprawling Osun fortress Kel Voreth. I can’t wait to run that dungeon, for real. There’s a public event at Kel Voreth that I really enjoyed. I am a bit torn on those public events. They just mindlessly repeat all day long, but when I started it at the beginning, it was just such an interesting sequence to follow. There was nothing comparable around the Stormtalon Lair.

Three parts done with my Explorer costume. I LIKE my stalker. :)

Three parts done with my Explorer costume. I LIKE my stalker. :)

Pathwise, I still love being an Explorer. Absolutely the right decision for me. Auroria is full of jumping puzzles, and my zone reward bag contained excellent Claws. I love the Tracking challenges that give you jumping buffs. Additionally, I really enjoyed the new blue Explorer flags that provide you jumping buffs and assist with actually getting to the top for some stake claims. Also, you haven’t felt what a speed rush feels like until you have run through five Explorer flags, rushing through the zone as fast as the wind. Does not work on a mount, so get off and use them, because zooooooooooooooooom. I found being a stalker really helps with some of the Explorer-specific challenges. The one from the top of Blackheart Village where you have a timelimit to jump to the top of the other side of the village? Much easier if you can stealth sprint past all those mobs. Path level is 15 now, just got the Tier 3Festival Fabkit which I won’t even be able to use til level 25.

This cartography mission starts a challenge where you have to cross to the other side of the village. Neat!

This cartography mission starts a challenge where you have to cross to the other side of the village. Neat!

My guild has a committed core of RPers, and they have such exciting ideas that I might actually RP. Last night we had an OOC Draken lore meeting where we consolidated what everyone knows about draken, and how that applies to the Draken within the guild. There’s also a super-interesting concept: RP Shiphand missions. A group of 5, including one GM, will visit the Shiphand missions on specific dates, and RP their way through them, guided by the GM. Shiphand missions are highly improved versions of WoW scenarios for me. They scale with player number, and they each have a specific story. I have only done the first two so far, and they seem to like parasitic infestations. Gross. I could totally see myself RPing in them.

The Shiphands are also fantastic for trying the support roles. I did Salvage Rights with my friend Tinzari yesterday, and went tanky-stalker, while she stabby-stalkered. It felt good! I don’t think I’d dare tank a dungeon, but I think I’d try an adventure as tank. I mostly kept my healing field up, Whiplashed for threat, and used my ability that procs when I deflect. Good fun. Just wish there was a better way to handle gear changes. MrFancyPants is a good start, but it’s still kinda awkward.

That’s it for now. If NCSOFT authentication servers weren’t down right now, I’d dip my toes into Whitevale, but alas.

Instead, I’ll just watch the new Wildstar flick again, about the new Ultra Drop, Strain! Monthly new content, ahoy! :D That poor Rowsdower though. :o

And what have you guys been up to? Please share. :)

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16/06/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Wildstar: Monday Link Love

I am moving the link love posts to Mondays, because who doesn’t want to read great Wildstar links on a Monday morning? As always, if there’s any links you think I have missed, please holler at me. :) My apologies for not really posting any new content of my own, week has been hectic. I have a new kitty now, so please meet Morgana aka Momo, our 8 months old deaf Maine Coon kitten from a shelter.

Our new kitty in one of her favorite spots, towering over us peons. :)

Our new kitty in one of her favorite spots, towering over us peons. :)

Fansites and Resources

  • I wrote a class guide while Wildstar was still in the beta, but Wildstar Report have just released a much better class primer that showcases the different classes very nicely and has some support links as well if you want to continue reading guides for a specific class. Handy!
  • Wildstar allows 2-factor authentication using Google Authenticator, which requires a smartphone. Don’t have a smartphone? Here’s a Reddit guide how to use a Windows application as authenticator.
  • Addon Watch: Reddit is a great way to be alerted to cool new addons, but so is Twitter. Here are some that have caught my eye this week. Once I get around to testing, you will hear more details: MrFancyPants is an equipment manager for people who play their assault and support roles both, and SpellPower is an improved resource bar addon that currently only supports spellslingers and is looking for beta testers.

Blogs

  • The dominant blogging topic of the week regarding Wildstar was a lively discussion about the 12-step raid attunement that Wildstar uses. It’s a battle between casual and hardcore that has gotten ugly in the public forums but also on Reddit, and heated in parts in the blogs as well. Here’s a list of bloggers who chimed in:

    If I missed any of the debate, please let me know. For reference, I am a huge fan of attunements, I think the chain looks like fun, and I will probably never raid 40-mans, just like I didn’t in vanilla WoW. I believe in the carrot on a stick of character progression that attunements are.

  • Out of the blue, I shall be adding another blog to the Wildstar blog list: Shotgun Shells and Cheese. In a notable post, the author is taking a look at lore regarding the Protostar. Are they not just the comical goblins of the Wildstar universe? Is there something deeper going on?
  • Gracie posted another great housing guide, this time moving forward to advanced controls and how you can clone the settings of a specific decor item.
  • Both Evelyn from Medic Probes and Virika from Nexus Nightly are looking at Amps. Evelyn talks about Medic support Amps and how to locate them, and Virika provides 6 handy tips, including how to use amps to make a little gold on the side.
  • I have two more new blogs for the blog list. Blue Blades Blog about Espers, @BlueBladesBlog on Twitter and The Son of Nexus by Average Gamer, @Avg_Gmr on Twitter.

Last but not least I have two videos. The first was recommended by @mikempty on Twitter:

The second is my GM’s house in Wildstar. Our officers have created gathering places for guild and RP meetings in their housing and that’s all kinds of awesome. Sadly, I cannot watch this video myself, because meh, YT in Germany is really irksome with any kind of video containing music.

09/06/2014
by Kadomi
5 Comments

Wildstar: Addons Corner – Chat and social improvements

I know I promised a Wildstar addons corner about the different mouselook addons, but alas, I did not have time for personal reasons, and then decided that a look at social addons is maybe more necessary than mouselook.

Let’s face it, the default UI of Wildstar is really not great when it comes to allowing you to easily have whisper conversations with fellow players. It’s incredibly easy to miss whispers completely, and it’s awkward to respond to them. I wish the Innate wasn’t bound to R, just saying. Ctrl-R to respond to a whisper is hardly intuitive. But thanks to addons, there are ways to keep in touch with friends and random folks that might eventually turn into friends.

I’ll try to make this comprehensive, but if I miss any chat addon you really enjoy, please leave a comment. Sharing is caring!

Note: I have net issues today that don’t actually allow me to log into Wildstar, as I keep getting disconnected. Of course this has to happen on a holiday weekend. :( I will add more screenshots as soon as I can take them in-game.

EZSocial Bar

While not a chat addon itself, EZSocialBar is the first step after logging in that I check. It’s a small, moveable bar frame that lets you see at a glance how many of your friends and guildies are online atm. When you mouse over each section, you get a tooltip showing you which friends/guildies are online. It’s not as fancy as my favorite WoW equivalent yet, but it works. A click on friends/guild opens the social menu or guild roster. The author is currently working on adding more circles functionality. It can already display circles, but doesn’t have a tooltip for them yet.
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I keep this bar in the upper left corner of my screen.

I keep this bar in the upper left corner of my screen.

Whisper Alert

Wildstar’s default whisper sound is practically non-existent for me. It might be because I have had tinnitus for years. I need a clearer alert. Thankfully, Whisper Alert does exactly what the name suggests. When you use the only command option, /whisperalert, it opens a window where you can pick one of 24 different sound options. These options should contain something for everyone. Definitely a big help for me!
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24 different sounds to choose from. Clicking on the numbers lets you hear the sound and choose.

24 different sounds to choose from. Clicking on the numbers lets you hear the sound and choose.

WhisperCatch

My personal favorite amongst chat addons. Whisper Catch adds another small window to your screen that will popup with the name of whoever is whispering you. If the name is green, you responded, if it’s red with a number in brackets behind, that’s the number of whispers you missed. When you click on the + behind the name, you go to a chat tab that’s specifically dedicated to this conversation. You don’t need to add any prefix in that tab, you can simply type away, and the whisper will go to the right person. I find this soooo helpful! It’s not perfect though. It’s not as perfectly maintained as other addons and hasn’t received an update since launch. It doesn’t play nice with other addons that modify the chat frames in any form and then tends to fail. I can’t use Improved ChatLog if I want to use WhisperCatch, e.g. It supposedly has a hide window button that I have never seen. Still, it does exactly what I need, and I can deal with the window. If you are running addon light, and are just looking for one chat addon, this might be awesome. I love it and hope it will continue to be maintained.

Update: WhisperCatch got an update today, which leaves me hopeful that it will be around a while longer, hooray. :)

Curse Download

This is the window you can freely place on your screen. It's alerting me to 1 whisper from Teeno. If you prefer, you can have it display account friend names where available.

This is the window you can freely place on your screen. It’s alerting me to 1 whisper from Teeno. If you prefer, you can have it display account friend names where available.

This is the chat tab it creates. You can just type away. Window shows I responded to whisper, making Teeno's name green.

This is the chat tab it creates. You can just type away. Window shows I responded to whisper, making Teeno’s name green.

EZ Messenger

An IM-style addons that works as a separate chat window. All chats will be handled through that window. You can minimize it into a short bar that will alert you to new messages. I tried it initially because I really liked the looks of it, but in practice found the chat window far too bulky, taking up a lot of screen estate. The dev is active though, so there might be improvements on that front. I know people like Jaedia really enjoy using it.
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The conversation window. I wasn't able to find the resize option, and felt it took up too much space.

The conversation window. I wasn’t able to find the resize option, and felt it took up too much space.

Chat Log Modifications

Next, I have a bunch of addons that change aspects of the chat log. We’re starting with BetterChatLog. This addon does one thing only: changes the font of the chat log. I found the font a lot more readable, however, it didn’t play nice with WhisperCatch, so it had to go again.
Curse Download

Alternatively, you could use ImprovedChatLog which basically seems to be the same thing. I also wasn’t able to make this work together with WhisperCatch. There’s also Fixed Chat Log, also very similar, but additionally keeps the profanity filter turned off by default.

Just a different font, that's all that this addon does. I suppose one could edit the lua file as well to pick a different one, but I am not sure.

Just a different font, that’s all that this addon does. I suppose one could edit the lua file as well to pick a different one, but I am not sure.

For those who are coming from WoW and miss the colors they are used to, there’s WoWChatColours. It colors everything but timestamp and channel name in the colors you are used to from our MMO behemoth, and additionally lets you use a color picker to set colors. Or colours. As you like it.

And that’s it for now. If I stumble upon cooler chat addons, I will return to this topic, because with a fresh MMO, I find it more important than anything to communicate properly with people.

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08/06/2014
by Kadomi
2 Comments

Wildstar: Sunday Link Love

Yay, first new post at the new domain. I have tinkered all day to make the move and am quite happy.

I will try to make this a weekly addition to this blog, pointing folks at interesting Wildstar-related news bits that I have read in previous days. Some will be from blogs, some others from news sites, and if I find new blogs, I’ll add them to my list here as well.

I am beginning with the launch trailer. I think by the time the game officially launched on June 3rd, most people who were interested in launch, were already playing since headstart. Nevertheless, the trailer is exciting, gives us hints about Drusera, and maybe our first ultimate end boss on Nexus. I have to say, the longer I play, the more fascinated I am with the lore. Awesome job.

Fansites and Resources:

  • Wildstar Fans is a great site that often posts guides to things that are not always clearly explained in the game. Their guide about interrupts is great. If you had no idea that interrupts provide you with Moments of Opportunity, adding bonus damage, or how Interrupt Armor works, I recommend reading the post.
  • Another quality post from Wildstar Fans is their guide about Housing Privacy and Resource Sharing. It explains how you can keep your house private (or not) and how you can determine how many of the resources of any resource plot you have in your house (e.g. mining) will go to your visiting neighbors.
  • Speaking of housing: it’s REALLY popular and taking the Wildstar blog scene by storm. How good that we have two new resources for housing that I will gladly add to my Wildstar Resources list. The first is Living in Wildstar, which is another housing database that shows you models of all housing additions, and lets you also view costs. The second project is Nexus Cribs, and it’s a true showcase to the wildly amazing houses that are already out there. You can upload screenshots of your own house, or browse what other users have uploaded. Amazing.
  • Wildstar requires fairly beefy computers. If you are struggling with performance issues, there’s a Settings & Performance Guide at Nexus Archives.

Blogs:

  • The stats in Wildstar do not always make the most sense, and whenever I try a new class, I have to press P a lot to remind myself which stats are important to me. Medic Probes found some great infographics about stats on a French site and shared. Also, she hit 50, crazy stuff! (hides her level 17 self)
  • Gracie at Moonshine Mansion expands her housing tutorials and teaches how to place and rotate items. It can be daunting, but she makes placing beer signs look easy. :)
  • Applecidermage talks about how she was pleasantly surprised by an interrogation quest in Galeras. I also applaud this! I have to note that as Dominion player I unfortunately run into a lot of those quests that don’t have such a happy ending. But that’s what I get for playing the exaggerated villain faction.
  • A new blog for my Wildstar blogs list. Actually not new, I just missed it the first time round: Mectrid’s Tool Box. He’s also on Twitter as @Mectrid.
  • Maric, a member of the Alliance of Awesome, had been fairly vocal about not enjoying Wildstar in the beta the past few months. Now he wrote a great post about how now he feels he was wrong.

Seen anything cool that I missed? Please share!