A Very Bloggy Holiday!

Syl over at MMOGypsy has launched a fun holiday initiative which I instantly signed up for. It must have been the Belghast-assisted banner, because I’m not normally much of a joiner, but I (like Syl) grew up in Switzerland and I too remember advent calendars, street-corner hot chestnut vendors (if you don’t burn everything that comes in contact with them you’re doing it wrong), snow, lights, more snow, hot chocolate, and all that western hemisphere Holiday goodness.

bloggyxmasLet’s caveat this right now: sometimes I will say Christmas, sometimes I’ll say Xmas, sometimes I’ll say Holidays, and sometimes I’ll say Great Cthulhu’s Midwinter Brains Extravaganza. Please, please don’t be a dick — just insert the relevant holiday for you and let everyone be happy, m’kay?

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s Syl’s Bloggy Xmas Advent Calendar, which will let you find and enjoy each day’s entries. Apparently so many of us signed up that much of the month offers not one, but two daily entries. That’s how spoiled you’ll be.

There’s a clicky image linky thing over on the sidebar, too:

BloggyXmas2Oh yeah, and I’m up on the 11th, along with Contains Moderate Peril.

 

Dragon Age Inquisition – First Glance

As I should have known (and predicted), I spent the first hour or two (or three, cough) in DA:I without getting past the first two minutes of the intro.

The first character I made was Qunari and looked ok in the creator but I didn’t like her one bit after that, and not just because someone varnished her lips when I wasn’t looking. Maybe if I’d called her Maleficent (instead of Malice – close but no cigar) I’d have felt more of a bond with her.

DAI Maleficent

So I went back to the main menu and made another character. I didn’t want to remake my characters from DA 1 and 2, but the Qunari just didn’t feel very connected to the whole thing for me, so I went with an elf this time. Enter Sorrow #1.

Sorrow1Sorrow1_2

I really liked her in the creator, and she wasn’t bad in the cold harsh light of DA:I, though she did have a bit of a gormless look to her and she was made up like an Abba fan from 1981.. but then I realised that a) I hadn’t changed her hairstyle, which was clipping through her ears in a totally kickin’-it-2005 kind of way and b) I’d picked dual-wield rogue instead of archer. Had I known that the initial weapon choice doesn’t really make much of a difference I might have kept her, but I didn’t.

Enter Sorrow #2. There are complicated emo RP reasons for her name and I’ll share those with you as soon as I nail them down, I promise. (Or I just think it’s a cool name.) She’s blonde, which is a colour choice I almost never make in games, but it fit her, and I liked her feral look in the prologue (which is before the intro but after char creation).

Sorrow2_1

Giant spiders? I’ve seen CRABS bigger than you guys!

No spoilers, but the story grabs you by the hair from the first and doesn’t seem to want to let go – as far as I can tell, which isn’t very far because I’m super, suuuuuuuuper slow about new games like this. Sorrow introWhen I discovered I could run around and up hills and JUMP OVER STUFF I of course had to do that for a while, with Ms. Stickupherbutt trying really hard not to tell me to hurry, the fate of the world depended on blahblahblah.

Sorrow intro 2

It’s not YOUR hand that’s turning into Soylent Green!

So yeah, we made it past the Intro sequence without hating on the disgusting console-driven UI and the disgusting console-driven movement and the disgusting console-driven gameplay too much (seriously. I’m tired of shooting arrows at the landscape in front of me whenever I try to move by holding down both mouse buttons, and I am beyond in loathe with the ‘ping’ your surroundings mechanic. You basically have to ping your surroundings every 3 seconds if you’re like me and dread missing a piece of lore or that 138th elfroot harvest, so… anyway, tangent over).

I lied. I’m totally hating on it. The ‘tactical’ view lets you zoom out about as far as a gnat’s backside if said gnat were up your nostril, which blows. Combat is weird and not like it was in DA 1 and 2. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough and wonder how I ever did it differently, especially since for me, combat is like the 189th thing on the list of Interesting Things About Dragon Age. But it definitely is weird if you’ve played the other 2 games.

Character progression seems to be a lot like in DA2, which I can live with. The Inventory is another disgusting console-driven element and basically SUCKS for those of us who, you know, have a mouse and a keyboard and can see more than 3 things on the screen at once because we’re not sitting 10′ away from a crappy-resolution television – but I’ll probably get used to that too. It’s not like I’m playing Diablo here, and items are probably the 197th thing on my list of Interesting Things About Dragon Age.

But the graphics are pheno-freaking-menomenomenal, the voice acting isn’t bad (though the facial movements… we won’t go there), the animations are fun, combat is quick and painless if that’s what you want (which I do), and it might be worth the price of admission just for the landscapes.

DAI landscapeI doubt I’m the only one to note that DA:I has a distinctly Skyrim vibe to it, perhaps because you start out in the snow surrounded by ginormous scenic mountains, but also because the graphics for this installment are much grander and more cinematic in general. This is definitely a good thing.

DAI Landscape 3Dark corridors are actually DARK, to the point where I got all chicken and turned up the gamma a bit (it didn’t help much), and distant vistas are distant and, er, vista-like. Also good.

And finally – is it just me, or does Solas look like Arnold Vosloo? You be the judge:

Solas Vosloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Smiting Time!

I managed to avoid staying up late for the US launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition and couldn’t play it yesterday, but now I think it’s time.

LET US SMITE SOME BAD GUYS.

This had better be good. And maybe I’ll actually finish a Dragon Age game one of these days…*

And for you UK readers who are still waiting for the release: NEENER NEENER.**

Opening screen

*Note – if you’re like me and never finish a game, you can still go to the Dragon Age Keep and put in what you *have* played, or what you wish had happened, in DA 1 and 2. Thanks to The Blogger Formerly Known as Lum for the pointer.

** It’s been that kind of a day.

Woe is me

This is what happens when you put your blog on life-support: WordPress disses you in the summaries.

I’m old, and even *I* don’t think 2010 is recent…

QQ

But it’s all grist for the reborn blogging mill – if I were that cut-up about it, I probably would be sniveling in a corner instead of posting my shame for the world to see. Next thing you know I’ll be posting opinions about gaming again or something crazy like that.

A good sense of humour starts with oneself, I find. There’s your aphorism for the day.

World of Warcraft – Garrison Love

It might be fashionable to hate on WoW, but I’m going to buck the trend and give it some love, because so far this expansion is the shiz. I came late to both Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, so I only experienced Cataclysm and Pandaria when they first launched, and of those three this is definitely my favourite. For one thing it’s a 10-level expansion, which feels a bit more filling than the previous 5-level ones — but mostly it’s because of garrisons.

I hereby predict a LOT of alt levelling, as though there wasn’t enough of it in WoW already. As a card-carrying altoholic, this makes me very happy indeed.

It’s been all of 2 days, granted (since the FixItAll™ patch on Saturday morning), but I have been Wowcracking the whole time. And ok, that sounds even worse than I thought it would, but I’ll own it.

I’m levelling my warlock because hunter-levelling-with-friends, and speaking of which, here’s a funny that did the rounds this weekend:

level together

– so yeah, I’ve been levelling the warlock (tangent #2, can you say ‘OP’?), and since garrison development is tied to a character’s progress through the expansion content, her garrison is the farthest along at the moment.

It may not be housing, but I give you:

My very own mine - with nodey goodness!

My very own mine – with nodey goodness!

And…

My very own lumber mill, which I'm not sure what it's good for yet

My very own lumber mill, which I’m not sure what it’s good for yet

And…

My bank

My very own bank, which means that soon I’ll never need to leave my garrison and see those pesky OTHER PEOPLE ever again!! Ain’t life grand?!

I also have an enchanting building but right now it’s a tad underwhelming. I’m sure it’ll be more entertaining at max level — as always, most things in the expansion are designed for max level chars, but the getting-to-max journey is as entertaining as it ever was. If there’s one thing WoW does well it’s the levelling content, which I’ve always found weird considering it’s supposedly secondary to everything else.

Anyway, it’s been fun. And that’s all you get because I need to log on and send my mini-onions followers on some missions. Work work!

 

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – The Last Straw?

The arrival of Gen 4 might just have sounded the death-knell for any desire I have to play this legacy family.

Gen4 twinsStacey just had twins. So let’s recap:

Gen 2 – Single: Holdem | Twins: Slapjack & Ratscrew

Gen 3 – Triplets: Baccarat, Poker & Canasta

Gen 4 – Twins: Piquet and Gin-Rummy

Out of four birth events, only ONE has been a single birth and none of the parents ever had any kind of fertility treatment. And out of eight children, only 2 have been female.

I’ll be blunt: it was funny the first time, funnier the second, but now I’m simply not f-ing amused anymore. Add in the bugged relationships which mean that people who have lived together all their lives suddenly don’t even know each other anymore, not to mention the plants that have suddenly stopped evolving (just when one of my Sims gets a gardening-related aspiration), and it might be time to start a new legacy family.

In MMO circles we call that /ragequitting, and I might just do it.