Month: December 2018

At the barber

At the sidebar of this weblog i say “Random thoughts about video games, books, and life” and i wrote a lot about games, one post about books and no post about my life, this one is for the “life” part … since we are at the end of the year i thought i need to write one post about something other than games.

Today i was the the barber shop, i never liked this place, i go there because i have to and since i was 4 years old i go to the same shop because changing the barber is a stressful idea for me, i don’t ask for much, basic stuff and i never ask for anything else, so the barber knows me very well, i go there, say hi and how are you, sit on the chair and talk about life and ask the barber about his life then we stop talking and he keep working.

My experience with the barber was always about me, i never thought about the barber himself, so i always feel i’m wasting time there and i get annoyed by the barber when he try to make a perfect cut.

Many years ago i thought about the barber and why he is trying to do a perfect job, and the conclusion i reached is this: i was inconsiderate and rude!

The barber  wants to be proud of his work, and he want from his clients to appreciate his hard work, it is a simple idea that my younger self never thought of and i thought i’m a polite and kind person but now i know i wasn’t.

Now when i go to the barber i let him do his work, it’s a perfect time to relax and do nothing but some deep thinking while the barber doing his job, when he is done; i take some time to look at the mirror, to make the barber know that i appreciate his work, i thank him and sometimes i ask him to do a little cut here or there.

It took me years to learn this simple lesson, people want to feel appreciated, people want to be proud of their work, it does not hurt to give them few minutes to tell them thank you.

 

Durrzam adventure (screenshots)

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Human and Orc dancing together! Ancestors … forgive me!

Somewhere in Ferals there is a spa zone where people having fun around a lake, i thought you can’t reach it without flying, Durzzam proved me wrong.

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Out of Vally of Trials, starting a new adventure
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Inside goblin inn, questioning life choices
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Inside dwarf inn, no one there!
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Druzzam is tired, sitting in front of the fire … alone
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Mulgore is always beautiful
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Riding my camel to the sunset
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Taming ghost Saber … i don’t know how this works!

This is an interesting hunter pet, from the days of Classic, in Darkshore there are night elf saber figurines, collecting them may spawn a ghost saber which hunter can tame.

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In Silithus, two gnome skeletons with a fresh piece of watermelon!

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Only bones i found here

 

 

Durrzam is 60 times storng!

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Treasure chest was the way to level 60

As i wrote before, Durrzam the orc is leveling without quests or dungeons, only item quests are allowed, I explored most zones, hunted rares, did a lot of archeology, mining and collecting herbs, played the Auction house game and most importantly: i had fun.

So what exactly i did to level Durrzam? here is a list sorted from things give most XP to things give little XP:

  • Killing rares, that is major part of leveling, i try to play when other players are not around to hunt rares.
  • Archeology, as soon as i reached level 20 i learned archeology and used it a lot, but it require lots of traveling.
  • Mining and Herbalism, in some zones this is the best way to level, going around and around collecting materials.
  • Killing mobs, normal mobs don’t give much XP, so i try not to do that a lot, but it’s necessary to kill all kind of mobs to find item quests.
  • Pet battle, didn’t do it much, you need to reach level 40 or above and make a team of pets with same level as the zone pets, lot’s of work but different way to gain some XP.
  • Treasure chests, they give a good amount of XP, the problem is they are rare.
  • Zone exploring, does not give much XP.

Quests i did:

That is a lot of item quests, but if you did them all you’ll only get 1.5 levels maybe 2 and you can’t repeat any of them.

That’s it, Now moving to Outland to level from 60 to 70, rares in Outland is true rares, so that will slow me down, but i’ll keep going 🙂

oh .. one last thing, Blizzard lowering the XP needed for each level? that helped a lot, Durrzam reached 53 before that, it took a lot of work and grind, but from 53 to 60 was much much faster.

Next post will  be just screenshots for Durrzam adventure.

Pausing WoW time .. or not

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WoW needs more masks!

As i said before i wish to pause WoW time i bought recently, since i bought it in November there no way to refund it, so i thought i’ll try pause it, sent a ticket to Blizzard and they told me they can pause it, just don’t login to the game for 30 days, later i have to send them a ticket to bring back my time, but they’ll give me only 90 days.

This is one time deal, i can’t ask for pausing time again.

While it’s not perfect solution it is better than waiting for Classic while not playing WoW much, i thought 8.1 will have something to pull me back but so far i’m not feeling it, and that’s ok.

Then i watched this video:

Are you happy Taliesin? now i’m reinstalling the game 🙂

I was thinking about playing or not playing WoW in the wrong way, instead of thinking about what i like i’m trying to find something in 8.1 that will pull me back and i can’t find it, what i like could be done at any level, no need for BFA to have fun.

The community have power over everyone, and by “community” here i mean writers and youtubers, i used to watch many videos but stopped doing that with so much complaining about everything, youtube spamming me with videos for channels i will never watch, channels trying to pull viewers with click-bait titles and thumbnails, i felt sick of all that and sick of the game itself.

Now i’m not saying Blizzard did nothing wrong, but there is a difference between someone trying to be critical and someone trying to be a troll to gain the clicks.

Going back to Minecraft and its community gave me different experience, Minecraft is a perfect game for showing off and people do that in Youtube, Minecraft channels have so many viewers and subscribers, and the channels themselves are always positive, it was refreshing to see people enjoying a video game!

I saw the video above suggested in the sidebar of Youtube, yeah i like the idea of new engineering class, let me watch that … and boom .. i’m installing WoW again.

53 Gigabytes?! soon enough WoW will need its own hard drive 😀

Ages Inspired By Myst – Russell Brower

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from the email

I got an email few days ago telling me that i have free sound tracks waiting for me in Bandcamp, and there is a familiar face in the email, so i made an account and claimed the soundtracks.

Here you can listen to the album by Russell Brower.

So what’s the story behind all of that? there was Myst Kickstarter project, i was one of many people who supported the project to bring all the 5 games to modern PCs, i didn’t expect anything else but they sent free soundtracks.

I’ll talk about Myst games when i finish each one of them.

Warlords mythic raids

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Note: this is an old post i was planning to publish a month or two ago and i forgot! so here it is today.

With level 120 hunter and ilvl of 350, WoD raids are trivial and easy to do, so i did them all.

skip trash mobs, they rarely drop anything, not worth wasting time on clearing them, with few exceptions:

  • Clear mobs before Twin Ogron, without that you can’t fight the boss.
  • Mobs before Franzok and Hans’gar
  • Hellfire Citadel needs to clear trash mobs for the first “boss”, and this one needs 2 people at least, so look for a group for just the first boss.

Gold from raids, i count the gold dropped by the boss + item gold value

  • Highmaul bosses: from 160g to 376g, total one run: 1585g
  • Blackrock foundry: 173g to 358g, total: 2662g
  • Hellfire Citadel: 0!

Mythic Hellfire Citadel is impossible to solo, the first boss need a group, that’s why i didn’t count any gold, in fact i should put -50 gold for gear repair!

Maybe i’ll go back later with a group to clear the first boss at least and try again.

The wonderful machines of Mr. Skutnik

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Mateusz Skutnik, a polish artist and game developer, the maker of many games and comic books, and i’m a fan of his work since 2005 when he released first game in Submachine series.

But the machines i want to talk about are not in the Submachine games, but in Covert Front series, which is free and works on Linux, Mac and Windows.

The series follow Kara, a secret agent who investigate the disappearance of scientists, it’s early 1900s and the world is different than ours but not too different, and there is the threat of world war.

What makes Mr. Skutnik games different is the atmosphere, the music, the places he design, the details he put on things that have nothing to do with the puzzles but add flavor to the game, all of that is unique to him and i can’t put it in more words, you have to experience them yourself to understand.

Covert Front games are point & click adventure games, you only need to pay attention to the details and click every clickable thing, live the story and enjoy reaching the end of each episode.

What i like most about this series is the machines in the game or the gadgets, they make me wish they’re real and sometimes i wish to make them, many of them look realistic but not real, i almost feel i know this machine but there is nothing like it in reality.

What follows here is screenshots for some of the machines and my comments on them … you really don’t want to waste your time reading this, but thank you if you did 🙂

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A typewriter keyboard with one line screen at the top of it, there is no machine like that in early 1900s yet the design make is feel like it so belong to that era, two level in the sides have a function, one is to clear the screen the other is to execute what written in the screen.

In the 80s some companies made what we may call today smart typewriter, an electric device with a tiny screen which allow you to write and correct any mistake before print it on paper, sometimes they are called word processor.

And now there are few products offer a simple writing machine, for people who want a tool for writing not a distracting machine.

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I don’t know what to call this device, sender? teletexter? telemail? the games didn’t show this device except once and for few seconds and yet i can’t stop thinking about it.

Kara connect it to a computer, then write a message then press the button to send a message, the light turn green for a second to confirm sending the message and that’s it … look, i know i’m not rational here, this thing is way more interesting than any smartphone!

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The computer which Kara use to send a message, it looks like something from the 40s, when computers needed buildings and roofs!

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A punched card machine for a library … now punched cards is old technology so it’s not hard to believe such machine could exist in early 1900s, the screen of course is fiction at this point of the story, but all of that is not important i mean … Punched Cards! for years i’m dreaming of making a machine that use punched cards for something … anything.

Punched cards are still in use today, they are simple way to save data, and from time to time i find myself reading about them again, thinking of some way to use them.

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Drawer with yet-to-be-used punched cards.

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When Kara use the punched card on this huge machine, the arm rotate to a bookshelf and take a book to put it in the right section where the character stands, this machine is a librarian of sort! I prefer humans.

Now this out of my mind, i can have some rest, but honestly i’ll never stop thinking about punched cards! they are magical for me, maybe because i never saw them in real life.

Beneath a Steel Sky

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Just like Flight of the Amazon Queen, this is another free point & click adventure game, it plays in the same way, but the themes in Beneath a Steel sky are so different from the Amazon Queen, it’s a cyberpunk game set in dystopian future, the world is in ruin and people live in city states, you play Foster who get kidnapped to a city and you need to find your way out … or his way out.

Unlike the Amazon Queen you need to be careful with the game, save often before some choices because you could die and you will die … or rather you’ll kill Foster many times.

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It’s a grim game with serious themes but the dialogue is often comedic, you have to talk with all NPCs to unlock the story, and one great thing about the game is the NPCs walk around, they don’t stay at one place which makes finding them frustrating at times, this feature was new thing back then (published in 1994).

The puzzles are the same as most point and click games, NPCs work like gatekeepers and you have to find a way around them, but the game offer clever variation to this idea, more than that it offer a better interface compared to the Amazon queen, larger screen with no GUI taking space, anything clickable on the screen have 2 ways to interacte with it, left click to look at it or talk to the NPC, right click to use it, inventory is accessed by taking the mouse pointer to the top of the screen where a bar will show up.

As for the themes of the game, now these could take a whole long article to talk about them, dystopian sci-fi games are perfect to comment on the current affairs, and the game seems relevant today as it was in 1994.

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There is the idea of progress and its cost, is it worth it to pay that price to live in a city made from high tech? convenient but imprison you in the system and you can’t get out, and the system decide your fate.

There is an out of control AI, which is a subject of many novels and movies but i’m not convinced that we should fear AI, i’m sure we should be wary of people who design and write the AI and not because the AI will “wake up” one day and be smarter than every one, but because AI is used today to take decisions that have effect on people, also AI and robots used today to replace people and save costs.

The game cover many themes but it does not dive deep into them, also i like that the game is not preachy, it does not tell you anything about any of these issues, i played it many years ago and i never noticed any of these ideas, now i play it again to find a new depth in the game.

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The game is well made and it shows, everything from the animation to the graphic gives me the feeling that people worked hard to make them, the music is … not so much, it can drive me crazy after few minutes so i have to turn it off.

Play it, it’s free.

And now you heal

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In WoW and in many other MMOs, healing and tanking done only in group content which mostly dungeons then raids, outside this content there is no way to practice healing and tanking, there is no content guiding you to practice these roles and learn, the only way to do that is just going into a group and hoping for the best, which is scary.

In the other hand you can’t play support class in WoW and in many other games, older games used to make classes that do every role but don’t excel at any, it’s nice to have a support class in the group, healing a little, tanking a little, doing some crowd control, buffing friends, and debuffing mobs.

So i thought i’ll do some of that in WoW, i made a Discipline priest and joined dungeons as a DPS, most of the time i’m just doing damage, not good at it but that was expected, in some situations when the healer could not heal the tank because they pulled so many mobs, i was there for extra healing and saving the tank from death, also giving other members shields which help the healer a little.

I’m having fun trying to do both damage and healing, i think druids can do the same by choosing Restoration Affinity which is a level 45 talent.

What i want to say is:

  • There is no content for healers and tanks outside dungeons and raids, there should be a way to do some training before joining groups.
  • Support role is so underrepresented in MMOs, i think every MMO should have at least one type of support class or spec.