To Boldly Nerd…

PC games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

29/10/2014
by Kadomi
2 Comments

RPG – Tools of the Game Master: Hero Lab

As I mentioned in my September post, I have recently begun to GM again, in a Pathfinder game with five friends and my SO. In the ten years since I last played tabletop, there’ve been a lot of technological advancements, and I am now looking for ways to enhance my GM experience using software and mobile apps to use at the game table. I might also post about game products that I find incredibly helpful, but we’ll see. It’s a bit of a departure from my normal game posting, but it’s what I am currently excited about.

Today I want to talk about the first investment I made in this area which I started using right around the time that my players were ready to create their characters: Hero Lab.

hl_logo

Hero Lab is the officially sanctioned character creation software for Pathfinder. You can use it for plenty other systems as well, e.g. D&D 4E, 3.5, Shadowrun, World of Darkness, Savage Worlds, etc. The software costs 29.99 USD and comes with one core rulebook enabled. Naturally, I picked Pathfinder. It also comes with free rule additions from the Paizo website, e.g. the player companions for Adventure Paths, including traits and items from there plus all the content from the Inner Sea Guide. If you want to use any additional sourcebooks for your character building, you have to purchase them. Prices range. I bought access to a couple player companion books (the races books) because my players wanted to use traits from there, and paid like 15 bucks additionally for those. If you are a completionist who wants to have access to every single splat book beyond the core rules, Hero Lab might be a bit pricey all in all.

So what does Hero Lab actually do? Above all, it’s a tool to create characters. You can then keep track of the characters and advance them with experience and level them up as you go. You can print out full character sheets, add images, have room for a full detailed background, etc. That makes it a sweet tool for players to keep track of their characters. It also makes it incredibly easy for me as GM who is quite admittedly really rusty when it comes to rules. I am still learning all the intricacies of the Pathfinder core rules, and the rules part has never been my biggest strength, I’ll be honest.

I installed the trial to test-roll a character, and was so happy with it that I bought it before the players showed up to create their characters. Character creation is quite easy. When you create a new character, you choose which rulebooks you want to include, which advancement track to use, but it also allows you turn off stuff like encumbrance rules if that’s what floats your boat. Hero Lab has 15 tabs for each character, which sounds overwhelming but to me is very organized. They range from Classes to Abilities to Feats, Gear, etc. When creating a character, the software always makes it fairly obvious when something has been forgotten.

In this example, the stalwart paladin Phileas forgot to pick a language.

In this example, the stalwart paladin Phileas forgot to pick a language.

What makes this so wonderful for me is that it calculates everything. Player picks Improved Initiative feat? Without me having to think about it at all, Hero Lab calculates the correct Iniative values for me. You can also easily keep track of which spells have been used up, how many arrows are left, how many rounds the barbarian’s rage will last and how this affects his health and combat rolls. And so on and so forth. The In-Play tab of each character lets me easily keep track of things like that, or apply damage or heal them.

Here I can fiddle with the barbarian's options. He's been injured, and hasn't raged any at all yet.

Here I can fiddle with the barbarian’s options. He’s been injured, and hasn’t raged any at all yet.

Hero Lab offers a tactical console that will handle combat rounds for you. It will roll initiative for the PCs and determine attack order that way. But as my players roll initiative themselves, and it’s very awkward to adjust the order, the tactical console didn’t really work for me. If your players don’t enjoy rolling their own initiative, it might be an idea. To help me out with combat, I bought Paizo’s Combat Pad instead. We’ll see how that goes. I might test other software options as well.

Another Gamemaster tool is the encounter builder, which allows you to build encounters based on the desired challenge rating, from a wide list of NPCs included in Hero Lab. You can then import them as enemies and control them via the tactical console as well. You can also add friendly NPCs that way as allies and use them to assist your group with a few mouse clicks. Quite handy.

Here I am in the process of building an encounter with goblins, for my party. APL 2, desired CR 3.

Here I am in the process of building an encounter with goblins, for my party. APL 2, desired CR 3.

For those of you who are playing Pathfinder online via either D20pro or Fantasy Grounds, Hero Lab is integrated and any character created can be easily transferred to the virtual tabletops. I haven’t used either and think Roll20 is more widely spread than those two, so there’s that.

Me, I am happy I sprang those 30 bucks on the software. I run Hero Labs on the laptop at the gaming table and feel like it helps me a lot more with the rules-end of things, for sure. Hero Lab is also available for ipads, so I am sincerely hoping they’re going to release an Android version eventually as well.

If you want to give the software a shot, a trial version for Windows and Mac is available.

27/10/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

Steam Pile: Remember Me

Remember-Me-01-515x271

Due to a trip to the USA, this review has been a bit delayed. It’s been a good while since I finished it, but nevertheless, it’s one of those games I definitely wanted to write a review for. I had wanted to play this game for years, but never got around to it. It’s been very under the radar, and I wish it had gotten more spotlight, if even just through Steam sales. It never seems to be one of the games on the list for flash sales or heavy discounts and that’s a real shame, considering how important Steam sales are for PC game visibility these days. I don’t know about you guys, but aside from Bioware releases like Dragon Age or Mass Effect I haven’t really bought a full price AAA game for years.

I bought Remember Me during a midweek sale, one of the few times it actually got a discount, and now I wish I had played this game a lot earlier. It pushed a lot of the right buttons for me. Story-wise, Remember Me is set in a dystopian near future in the late 21st century. Europe seems to have fallen apart, and a mega corp has risen using the Sensen technology. Everyone has them implanted, allowing people to import, export and modify memories. Like drug users, people are hooked on only reliving their favorite memories over and over again, while the corps can use Sensen to influence people. In comes Nilin, our protagonist. She’s a mixed blood female and the best memory hunter around, and for the latter she gets captured, about to have her memories wiped. With the help of a terrorist or, as they’re called here, ‘errorist’, named Edge, Nilin manages to escape from the facility, out into Neo-Paris, the cyber-punk remains of the great city that is now a crazy mix of slums, former glory and the rich hiding in their high-security buildings. As some of the memory wipe was already successful, Nilin sets out to regain her memories, aiding Edge and his group along the way.

The views of Neo-Paris are sometimes quite gorgeous.

The views of Neo-Paris are sometimes quite gorgeous.

The story and the atmosphere really grabbed me. Neo-Paris just oozes atmosphere, and the glimpses, the views you get of the city are breath-taking at times. The gameplay however has its weaknesses. It’s got two facets. You spend a lot of time running, jumping and climbing, but always on a leash. It’s close to Assassin’s Creed’s parkours, but without the freedom of the open world. An orange indicator from your Sensen always shows you the way. I hear the closest comparison would be the Uncharted games, but as I have no console (yet) I wouldn’t know. While you jump and climb your way through Neo-Paris, you sometimes run into foes. There are leapers, tragically addicted Sensen users who reminded me of husks in Mass Effect. Then there’s security staff and security robots. Running into them triggers combat, one of the most fun and yet also most frustrating aspects of the game.

Nilin usually kicks ass by using martial arts but in case of robot enemies, she has to use a zapper as well. Combat is similar to the Arkham Batman games. You dodge when the game indicates that you are being attacked, and otherwise try to build combos. The further you play, the more so-called pressens get unlocked. If you play with an X-Box controller like I did, the pressens use either the X or Y buttons on the controller for your attacks. Some pressens do damage, some heal you, reduce the cooldown of your S-Pressens (your big special abilities) or enhance others. You start with a short combo, but eventually end up with having rather complex combos. I set up one for damage, one for heals, one that mixed damage and cooldown reduction for boss fights, etc. Sometimes you may have to adjust them for specific boss fights.

A look at the combo lab where you unlock pressens and form combos.

A look at the combo lab where you unlock pressens and form combos.

Boss fights are usually what caused frustration for me. They’re usually at the end of story chapters and either really boring (here’s looking at you, Madame) or very challenging (damn you, fucking leaper twins at the end). They all rely on using specific special abilities to deal with them. That often means that you just have to hang in there and use your cooldown reducing combos until you are ready to attack the boss again.

Sometimes, Nilin gets to show why she is the best memory hunter in the memory remix sequences. For example, she has to change the memories of an assassin to stop her from killing Nilin. You watch a memory the victim treasures and then have to rewind it and change it to a different outcome. There are specific objects in each sequence that you can change and it is up to the player to figure out which changes will result in the correct outcome you want. It’s very interesting, and definitely cooler gameplay than some bossfights. There are however only few memory remixes in the game, which is a real shame.

A memory remix in action, with two possible actions how to change this particular memory

A memory remix in action, with two possible actions how to change this particular memory

My verdict: it’s an underrated gem. Despite middling reviews, it’s been one of the best games I have played this year. The story is thought-provoking, the combat is fun when it works, and the setting is so great that I would love to see more of it. Which is unlikely to ever happen, because it sounds like it bombed in sales. Such a shame! Anyone who’s looking for a strong female protagonist in a game that’s definitely more than eye-candy, go ahead, meet Nilin.

30/09/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

The State of the Kadomi – September 14

As it’s been another month since I last posted, I decided I’ll just go with a State post and might post those more frequently as a thought dump. So, how’s life? I’ve been incredibly busy. I got a promotion at work, hooray, and picked up a new, old hobby. More about that below.

Games:

After finishing up Black Flag, I did a quick Twitter poll and was urged to play Kingdoms of Amalur. Maybe it’s my dislike of anything written by R.A. Salvatore (aka the most generic Mary Sue fantasy ever), but I just couldn’t get into this game. Mostly, because I am a snob. The graphics are just unbelievably bad after having played Black Flag. Additionally, the story and the quests just don’t grab me. A Dragon Age they are not, for sure. There’s one chain of quests that I thought were interesting so far, and that’s it. There’s also way too many of them. So many quests. It’s like playing an MMO, just with kinda more boring quests. The combat is fun though. My favorite part. Plays really nicely with my Xbox controller. I intend to finish this eventually, but maybe not with a completionist approach. I felt justified with my ennui about the game when I read Azuriel’s review. I don’t quite understand why so many people recommended it excitedly, maybe I am missing something obvious. I am only 11 hours into the game, so it’s possible.

I am currently wrapping up the last of Remember Me, and am enjoying the hell out of it. More people should play Remember Me. It’s absolutely underrated. I will post a full review asap.

My current plan is to follow it up with either Arkham Asylum or The Witcher 2, in another attempt to play the latter. Now that I am mostly using a controller to play, I think I will have more fun.

I am still not playing MMOs again. I pulled the plug on Wildstar this week, which makes me sad because it was so awesome to be excited about an MMO again. But you can’t turn back the time. If even Blizzard is pulling the plug on future MMOs, it’s maybe a sign. If you want to read some thoughts about the cancellation of Titan, I really enjoyed reading Gazimoff and Spinks’ thoughts on this. Speaking of Spinks, is anyone else excited to see her writing again? I sure am! :-)

Books:

I set myself a goal of 50 books this year, and while I was way ahead most of the year, I read a few clunkers that really slowed me down. I wish I could say I read more outstanding books than I did. So far I finished 37 books. Three months left to read 13 more! In September it’s only been two books. The Iron Duke, which was, uh, let’s say, not my usual fare in books. Even the cover screams romance novel and I don’t read those. The book should win the award for ‘Potentially coolest Steampunk setting ever’ and then get booed for being terrible porn wrapped into a decent Victorian-style murder mystery plot. The protagonist is a female Detective Inspector, and there’s lots of travel on airships to exotic settings. There are zombies, the Mongol horde and strange nanotechnology. And smut, let’s not forget the copious amounts of smut. The Iron Duke himself is one of the most unlikeable characters ever. Just ugh. The follow-up is supposed to be better, so I might eventually brave that.

The second book continues my trend of reading alternate history stories set in the United Kingdom. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik is an enjoyable story set in alternate 19th century, with Napoleon at the helm of the French empire trying to conquer the world. Only in this world, there are dragons on all sides of the conflict as well, being ridden into battle. Our protagonist is Captain Will Laurence, a naval commander who plunders a French vessel with interesting loot in the hold: a dragon egg close to hatching. As the guy chosen to put a harness on the newborn dragon fails in his duty, Laurence goes ahead and thus bonds himself to Temeraire, a rare breed of Chinese dragon. From there, Laurence has to move to training, because they will be needed in the war. Napoleon and his fleet, plus dragons, want to invade, and it is up to the British dragons to stop the invasion. It’s a very militaristic book in its way, but I really enjoyed reading about Temeraire’s training, felt angry at a rider mistreating his dragon and liked to see the inclusion of strong female members of the aerial corps as well. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

I am currently slowly plodding through Empire in Black and Gold. Plodding only because of lack of time and so many other things to distract me. It’s a very traditional fantasy setup, with a questing group of young heroes set up to save the world with the assistance of a wise old master, but with a twist. The world of this series has so called Kinden. Different breeds of humans who all share traits with an insect, which grants them special powers through an Ancestor Art. Fly kinden have wings but are small, beetles are stocky and industrious, spiders are manipulative and political, and often poisonous. Some of the Kinden are Apt, which means they can use technology, which gives this world a distinct Steampunk flavor that is very enjoyable. The Empire in question are the wasp kinden who threaten to invade the lowlands of this world, and only beetle Master Stenwold and his protegees know what the wasps are really up to, trying to stop them.

The world-building as far as the races goes is fantastic. I just wish I had more time.

RPGs:

The bulk of my time has been eaten up my new obsession. I am an obsessive person by nature and when something grabs me, I give it my all and want to do nothing else. For many years this used to be WoW. Right now, it’s my obsession with Pathfinder. A brief history of Kadomi and pen&paper RPGs. When I was 14 or 15, I bought a box I had seen at the toy store: Das Schwarze Auge. It’s the biggest RPG system in Germany. I played it with three female friends from highschool. They thought it was ridiculous, and mocked the story of the module. I was disappointed, I thought it was very cool. Around the time I graduated from highschool, another female friend introduced me to a local game store, and I was in awe. So much stuff like DSA. So many colorful sourcebooks, most of them in English. I picked up AD&D right that day. I picked up the original Forgotten Realms box. I wanted to play. I joined a local game group from the store to just play AD&D as a player, but that didn’t really work for me. I just didn’t connect with the strangers, a bunch of fairly hardcore players. I convinced friends to play with me, and this time it stuck, because my friends were actually interested in fantasy and boardgames now. Eventually the group fell apart though because couples broke up, and the like. Eventually, when D&D 3E was released, I managed to start a new group and tried to run the Wrath of the Immortals box for them. We stopped playing just about 13 years ago. I sold all my books on Ebay and that was that.

There are entirely too many Pathfinder products out there that I want to own now.

There are entirely too many Pathfinder products out there that I want to own now.

Fast forward to earlier this year. A former co-worker and friend of my SO is a dedicated player and GM and has been for many years. He wanted to start a new D&D campaign with folks who are maybe more interested in roleplaying than roll-playing, and asked me and the SO to join them. So we did. We play about once a month, and hence we’re only lowly level 3s. We play halfling twins Euphoria the asocial ranger (my SO) and Discordia, the rogue who is convinced she’s a diplomat because her mentor taught her that’s what she’s doing. It’s fun, and enjoyable, though sometimes the guys in the group like to control the group too much, which I find is a problem. We’ll see how that works out.

Now, I haven’t really set foot into a game store for years. I used to be a Dragon and Dungeon reader, and felt like I was up to what was going on in the RPG world, but that was before I quit. Nowadays, whenever I hear someone talk about RP on Twitter, it’s usually about Pathfinder. So I investigated what this Pathfinder is. I read the PRDs and was blown away you don’t even need a rulebook to play. Then I looked at their adventure paths, and the whole Pathfinder society concept and kinda fell in love. But what to do? I didn’t want to invite my D&D group to play, because a) they’re way too hardcore to a certain degree and b) I think I am not that great a GM. But I make up for poor GM skills (I suck at rules, I really do) with a great ton of enthusiam.

Now, let me wax poetic about my co-workers. In a way I am the luckiest girl ever because the majority of my team is full of nerds. Gamers, fantasy fans, Lego and Star Wars enthusiasts, the list goes on. So first I asked the one co-worker who played the German game, DSA, for a couple of years. Then I asked my SO. Then I asked my co-worker Anika if she and her boyfriend might be interested. Yup, they all were. On a lark I asked my desk neighbor, the Lego enthusiast. He was also keen on it. Then another of my co-workers asked me if he could play too. Suddenly I had six players, with four of them who had never ever played and didn’t even know how it might work. I invited them over to roll characters. I installed a forum for the group and posted tons of information there. It’s on my to-do list to create a Wiki as well, because it’s just easier to do links and cross-references than in a forum. I threw myself into it. I am loving it.

The cover of Burnt Offering, the first part of the Adventure Path

The cover of Burnt Offering, the first part of the Adventure Path

I decided to go with the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path. The Anniversary Edition is really of such high quality, it’s outstanding. It’s really perfect for someone who wants to GM but doesn’t really have the time or skill to write their own adventures or setting. We had our first session 1.5 weeks ago, and we started at 6 pm and played til 2:30 am. I think everyone had a great time. I sure did. I got to sing in a goblin voice, what’s not to love? As expected, I was clumsy with rules, but I think everyone did absolutely fantastic understanding the Pathfinder combat rules and skill checks and all. It was grand. I can’t wait to play again.

Unfortunately our next session will be hugely delayed, as we’ll be in the US for two weeks in October, and everyone’s busy. November 15 seems very far away. Gives me plenty of time to prep though, install a Wiki, test more apps, play around with Hero Lab some more, and be excited all over again. I think you’ll get to read a lot more about this.

TV:

Last but not least, we are continuing our Friends marathon in honor of the 10-year anniversary of the show. We’re currently a little over halfway-through with season 6. The alternative history episodes in that season are pretty lame. Looking forward to starting a Netflix trial next month because Netflix just came to Germany, huzzah.

And that’s a wrap.

28/08/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

Steam Pile: Assassin’s Creed IV and more

Vacation is over and my post count plummets. It’s always the way.

I did however spend my vacation playing many many hours of Assassin’s Creed games. I should mention that I have a fierce love for the series, despite its many shortcomings.

I started playing the series when Steam did a summer sale that included Assassin’s Creed, AC2 and AC: Brotherhood, in the summer of 2011. I started playing the first game and was kinda wowed by the graphics and the freedom of climbing. That’s really the thing I love most about the game. To climb tall buildings, see fantastic views and then do a leap of faith into the nearest haystack. Aaaaah.

The moment that made me fall in love with the game. Viewpoints!

The moment that made me fall in love with the game. Viewpoints!

The gameplay was interesting at first, and then quickly incredibly repetitive as you did the same things over and over again before you were able to attack your Templar targets. It’s easily the most dull of AC games. But the story. The wild mix of experiencing historic cities and crazy modern conspiracy theories, it reeled me in. AC2 was a mindblowing experience. Not only do you get to experience beautiful Italian Renaissance cities, but you get to meet Ezio Auditore di Firenze, a character I kept mentioning in the recent gaming survey. He’s fantastic. The gameplay and controls were highly improved, with a vast variety of different mission types. Brotherhood and Revelations completed the Ezio trilogy of games, with only minor adjustments to gameplay elements, like game economics in Rome, or the hookblade and various bombs in Revelations.

Then came AC3, switching to the Liberation War in the US in the 18th century. No more charismatic Ezio but instead the very bland half-blood Connor. Climbing trees and church towers in the New World simply didn’t feel as satisfying as climbing the colosseum in Rome, and the story never really moved me.

Come the summer of 2014 and a Ubisoft sale, and I am back in the AC groove. I had long wanted to try Liberation, with its first female assassin, and was really excited for the game. I believe the game uses the AC3 engine and runs parallel to AC3. Aveline de Grandpré is a half-blood raised in a good merchant house in French New Orleans. But there’s some foul Templar plot afoot involving slaves and Aveline tries to get to the heart of it. The new gameplay mechanic of Liberation is that Aveline has three different personas: the assassin, who is strong in combat, can do free-running and unfortunately is always in conflict. Nothing you can do about it, annoying as heck. Then we have the slave. She can free-run and is best at stealth, because she blends in as worker, but she is very weak at combat. Last we have the lady, who doesn’t even feel like an assassin. The only useful thing she can do is to use her parasol as blowpipe. She can’t run, jump, climb or anything that makes AC games fun. Here’s where the persona gameplay has issues: the limitations do not feel like fun. It’s not fun to always be on the run as assassin. It’s not fun to be unable to free yourself through a little combat action as slave. It’s not fun to be a lady. Ugh.

Aveline's three personas. Only fun in theory, though assassin Aveline looks badass.

Aveline’s three personas. Only fun in theory, though assassin Aveline looks badass.

Additionally, the story is the most confusing story of any AC game ever. It randomly jumps without warning. First we meet Aveline as kid, suddenly she’s an assassin, and there’s nothing but full-blown wtfs from me. I enjoyed the bayou setting in the second part, but that was just about the only enjoyable part of the game. The mission design is incredibly dull as well. In New Orleans there are plenty of missions where you just walk or run from point A to B. On top of that, you have very lackluster voice acting, some of the worst I have heard in a very long time. Grating accents galore.

I think I was at about 50% sync or less when I told myself ‘Fuck it’ and moved on to the other game I had bought, AC IV Black Flag. Unlike Liberation, it had received top reviews everywhere.

For a reason. It’s the best game since AC2. It’s meaty, it’s gorgeous, it’s slightly addictive, but above all, it’s fun. It’s also the least assassin-y of all AC games ever.

The prettiest viewpoints of all AC games, ever.

The prettiest viewpoints of all AC games, ever.

Black Flag takes you to the early 18th century. Edward Kenway, grandfather of AC3’s protagonist Connor, is a Welsh privateer who comes to the Caribbean to win a fortune. He’s left his unhappy wife behind to seek glory and riches, which aren’t that easy to achieve. Early in the game, he gets stranded on an island together with a defecting Assassin who wants to sell maps to the Templars. Edward kills him, steals his Assassin outfit and goes off to get rich from the Templars. Which doesn’t quite work out. Then he earns his own ship, The Jackdaw, and the rest is history.

Unlike every other AC protagonist in the series, Edward isn’t really in it to follow principles or the creed, or because he wants revenge on the Templars. He’s in it for the money. If this means killing Templars and Assassins both, he does it. It’s only very late in the game that he comes to accept the Creed and joins the Assassins. Well, maybe that’s why Haytham Kenway, Edward’s son and Connor’s dad, turned out the way he turns out in AC 3. As Grand Master of the Templars in North America, tsk.

Black Flag offers a vast variety of things to do that have nothing to do with the main story missions. You can sail around and gather collectibles, like Animus fragments and treasure chests that are in every segment of the map in uncharted waters. The three cities of the game, Havana, Nassau and Kingston, are full of viewpoints, assassin contracts, gathering collectibles like shanties (which will then be sung by your crew when you are sailing), freeing pirates from mean English men or Spaniards, etc. Viewpoints are now doubly important because not only are they utterly gorgeous but they also serve as fast travel spots. So convenient. There are many islands full of tropical beauty, with waterfalls and Mayan ruins, and even more collectibles. They’re so addictive! Every AC game has had collectibles, but they have never been as fun to collect as in Black Flag.

Then you have your ship, the Jackdaw. The sea is full of easy targets, and while you stick to schooners and brigs at first, nothing gets your heart pumping like fighting a frigate or a man o’war with their vast amount of plunder, once you have upgraded your ship with said plunder. I was a menace of the seas, I tell you, though I have yet to try attacking one of the four legendary ships on the map, which are supposed to be very challenging. I was worried about the ship combat at first, but using my XBox controller, they soon came naturally. Ship combat was vastly improved from its first incarnation in AC3. While you’re sailing, you can also hunt sharks and even the white whale, which allows you to craft powerful upgrades for Edward.

Ship combat during a storm with rogue waves? Crazy fun and intense.

Ship combat during a storm with rogue waves? Crazy fun and intense.

Another mini-game is to use a diving bell to dive for treasures in shipwrecks. This was the most frustrating part of the open world, because sharks are annoying and you had to get used to being desynchronized and try again, over and over. Annoying. I was glad when I finished all the wrecks. Stupid sharks.

Being eaten by sharks while you run out of oxygen? Not so much fun.

Being eaten by sharks while you run out of oxygen? Not so much fun.

The open world game of the Carribbean is really the best its ever been in AC. Regardless of sharks, really.

The main mission however, not so much. For one, Edward apparently never needed any training, he was already born an assassin. And then it felt odd playing someone who’s so obviously a greedy bastard. I love the conflict between assassins and templars, and that really wasn’t the main deal here. I did like the interesting information you receive about sages, with the crazy pirate Roberts and the various letters you can find as secrets throughout the world. Furthermore, the main story missions were full of two of the worst mission types to evolve from previous games: tailing someone and eavesdropping. Especially the latter is ridiculous. You have to tail so closely that you are always in danger of discovery, and if you make one slight mistake, you are screwed. There was one mission I had to do over and over again, it was rage-inducing. Same with chase missions. One missed jump? Too bad, your target got away.

The best news to come out about AC: Unity is that they’re doing away with such mission design, allowing you various different approaches on how to kill your target. Finally.

The meta-game was a bit weird but also fun. Desmond is gone after the events in AC3, and instead you are now an employee at Abstergo Entertainment. For those in the know, Abstergo is the Templar-run company bent on taking over the world, and with their entertainment branch, they try this through computer games. Abstergo Entertainment wants to create a game about pirates, and they use the Animus and your character to do research. What they’re really trying to use you for is to find more info about The Observatory of the first civilization, but it’s all in the guise of a game that they are creating in a cooperation with Ubisoft. How’s that for meta?

You get cameos of Shawn and Rebecca, meet crazy IT guy, and hack computers. I had fun with that part of the game. Seriously, all the collectible stuff, in the meta-world too, was so good.

Ultimately, I spent 61 hours playing Black Flag for a total sync of 93%. My previous AC record was 56 hours of AC2, and a sync of 80ish%. That should be a testimony to how much fun exploring was.

Avoid Liberation, play Black Flag. It was good enough that I am considering a Day 1 purchase of Unity in October.

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
1 Comment

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.

logo

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.