Following Friends

I don’t always follow friends around from game to game (especially since some of us jump around pretty frequently) but every so often I’ll find myself getting drawn into the hype – and Guild Wars 2 is one such game that seems to pull at me.

The Combat Wombats have decided to start running GW2 guild events on Fridays, led by the amazing Pixel_One who streams the happenings. I’m usually tied down by baby and toddler so I can’t make them or I get called away from them, but last night I found myself in a baby-free zone and I was able to participate in a fractal with the group.

Listening to discord was hilarious and I’m pretty sure I fell off of every platform there was to fall off of, but I had an absolute great time and it was a reminder about how much more fun these types of games can be if you’re playing with a group of friends.

I’ve known most of the members of CW for 8+ years now, but we still like to grow and embrace gamers who are into positivity and being chill. If you’re a streamer it’s another bonus, whether you’re into watching streams or doing them yourself. We have ‘The Wombattery’ discord set up for anyone who wants to promote a friendly and inclusive environment and if you’re interested in joining you can let any of us old time wombats know and we’ll send you an invite (twitter, this post, whatever).

In the meantime, I need to work on unlocking the mounts on my GW2 account, and maybe see about crafting a legendary. It’s a nice break from World of Warcraft but I’m certainly not giving that game up either.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

What Star Wars Games Are Missing

There have been a ton of Star Wars games over the years. Even now, in fact, there’s a great variety in gaming. Battlefront is effectively a modern shooter built into the Star Wars universe, and in the mobile category you can find in-depth Star Wars RPGs that more or less allow you to play through that universe at your own pace. And those are just a few examples. As strong as Star Wars gaming has been over the years though, it still feels like we’ve never quite landed on the perfect game – a console/PC experience that turns the entirety of the Star Wars saga into a playable adventure, with tie-ins to the film and free will alike. It’s an ambitious idea, but one that is perfectly achievable in modern gaming.

I’d never take it upon myself to be able to design a full blueprint for a game like this. But I can speak to some of the things Star Wars games have mostly been missing….

Sith Control

This is not a suggestion that you can never control a Sith in a Star Wars game. That’s far from the case, and in fact you can even play as Darth Vader in the Battlefront games. However, a full tale either going through a Sith’s extended story or digging into the background of a character (given that the Sith lords are usually somewhat scant on backstory) would be new. There was an Arkham Asylum-like game in the works called Battle Of The Sith Lords that one article listed as one of the most exciting Star Wars games to have been canceled, and it was going to dig into Darth Maul’s background. As a whole game that might be somewhat limiting, but the option to play a story like this, among others, could be a lot of fun.

Side Games

When you think about it, the Star Wars saga is full of little side games and challenges that could be tons of fun as bonuses in a bigger video game. There’s the lightsaber training when Luke Skywalker is catching and deflecting laser bursts from a tiny floating device. There’s the pod racing from Episode I. Casino content is also beginning to be prevalent in Star Wars, from the Mos Eisley Cantina to the Canto Bight casino from Episode VIII. Any or all of these games would be very cool side activities within a broad adventure game.

Full Narrative

Lots of Star Wars games have promised something along the lines of being able to play your way up from a nobody in the galaxy to a key player in the war and rebellion. And sometimes, they just about deliver on the promise. But in a vague sort of way there really hasn’t been a game that you felt like you could take all the way through, either as an established character or as one you created following alongside the story. A full narrative adventure would take us through Star Wars like nothing else ever has.

Incorporated Lightsaber Play

Thanks to virtual reality, there are examples of lightsaber play in the category of Star Wars gaming, and it’s far more sophisticated than anything that came before. Lightsaber combat is something most ordinary games just can’t quite get right, and the chance to integrate VR or AR play within a bigger console game could just be the key to perfection.

Guild Wars 2 and Kung Fu Tea

Since a bunch of Combat Wombat friends have recently returned / started playing Guild Wars 2 there was no way I was going to be able to resist dipping my toes back in. The game has always been one I enjoy a fair amount, and not having to rely on a subscription means I can dip in and out easily without too much guilt if I take a break. My latest break came right after PoF released, I obtained my dino mount and then stopped playing (I forget the exact reason, it was probably just a lack of time). Since I’ve returned, I got my springer mount (the rabbit, who I’ve named Ribbit) and I’ve been working on some simple map completion. Nothing stressful.

It’s not as hands off as say, World of Warcraft, but it lets me connect a bit more and helps keep my sanity during the few brief moments I have here and there.

Anyway. They have a promotion going on right now with Kung Fu Tea, and there are items you can get in-game for signing up on the tea app, as well as other prizes if you live in the US (the DLC items are for anyone). I haven’t had any luck yet because their servers have been swamped, but a friend managed to get the codes working and that gives me some hope.

Two of my characters recently had their 6 year anniversaries, so I added a bunch of new goodies to my account, too. The birthday rewards have always been something I look forward to and I think ArenaNet has really done a fantastic job at keeping them interesting and relevant.

If you happen to be playing, you can find me there as stargrace.4917 – please feel free to add me to your friends list. My hours are pretty erratic, but I really do enjoy watching chat and participating when I can get a hand or two free.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

House Flipper

Another game that had been on my wishlist for quite some time – but it ended up disappointing me once I actually dove in. The game is pretty, and decorating  and redesigning homes reminds me of the Sims, which is a franchise I adore -but – it was too realistic.

Skills needed to be leveled up in order to make ordinary tasks like washing and painting go faster, and the entire ordeal of cleaning up a messy house so you could redesign it just took too much actual time and work. I wasn’t having any fun playing and I just wanted to slap a project together with the bare minimum and move on to the next one, giving very little thought about actual design.

I was horrible at maneuvering the window washing, I would miss floorboards that required cleaning, and in the end I decided to leave my house designing episodes where they belong (the Sims) and I asked steam for a refund. I am glad I at least gave the game a try, even if I found out it wasn’t for me. Not all games have to be created just for my specifications.

Did you happen to pick this one up? What do you think of it? Let me know in comments and as always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Pressure & Mommy guilt

(Above – me and Nugette. Motherhood is not glamorous, it’s exhausting)

I’m 6 weeks postpartum with my 2nd child now, and we’re just starting to get into our new routine which of course changes pretty much daily. It’s a delicate balancing act of child care, self care, and care for my partner. Friends and family have fallen by the wayside during this time since I just can’t keep up with everything / everyone. The funny thing is I expect that I should.

There’s so much pressure on women and mothers to be as perfect as they possibly can during what is quite honestly the most difficult transition in my entire life. Having one child was pretty rough considering he was premature – but I had my husband by my side for 8 months of paternity leave. This time he was only off for 6 weeks, and then went back to work leaving me with two children under two. Add the terrible two tantrums that my oldest has been going through, the fact that he still isn’t talking, and a plethora of other “issues” and I’m feeling a TON of “mommy guilt” – those moments of “we should have gotten out more, I should have made a healthier meal, I should have paid more attention to xyz thing, I should have cleaned the house” etc. While I’m not a fan of the catch phrase, it’s a thing. We feel a lot of guilt. I’m told this guilt will last right up until I no longer exist. Figures.

One thing I’ve been trying to do for myself, is lose the baby weight I gained. I gained a whopping 70 pounds with baby number two. I decided very early on that I wasn’t going to pay too much attention to my weight so long as I was feeling well and baby was growing, because our first was so underweight and I had so many complications. I’ve lost 32lbs so far, but I’m also nursing, so I’m trying to eat healthy and eat enough to keep up energy levels chasing after the toddler and running the house and – eventually, something is probably going to give.

I’m trying to give myself some leeway, not be so hard, remind myself this is all a phase – but it’s hard. In fact that is how I sum up my days. Hard. I know they’ll get easier as the newest edition learns to sleep through the night, as the oldest learns to express himself and communicate via something other than screaming at the top of his lungs, and eventually we’ll find our routine. I’m thinking around Christmas things will be feeling better, so check back on me then.

Oh, combine this with living in a new remote location where I know no one and have no friends or family.. yup. We’re managing, but I wish I were handling it all better.

Frostpunk

I bought this game on the day it came out, but in full disclosure I ended up returning it that same day for a refund from steam. It wasn’t that the game was too difficult (one of the complaints I saw frequently) but that everything was so scripted.

Initially Frostpunk reminded me of RimWorld, where you’re on an isolated planet and you need to keep a group of people alive and perhaps rescue others you find along the way. Survival is key. You need to find food, shelter, and all the other necessities of life. There are also some creative aspects to this game that I really enjoyed a lot, including the law system. You have to make some pretty difficult choices like whether to employ children or how healthcare is going to work.

Unfortunately none of those aspects were enough to get me to keep playing after the second mission. It just felt incredibly scripted, and once I figured out what it was that I needed in order to sustain the initial survival of my people, I just kept playing the exact same way.

I think games like RimWorld have spoiled me, where there are so many mods you can basically play any way you want and every time you play there is a completely different outcome. Just because the game wasn’t for me doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a look though, it might surprise you.

Plus it really is a pretty game. The atmospheric music and initial story really captured me, even if it wasn’t sustained.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Two Point Hospital

I’ve been waiting for this game to release for most of the year – and today was the day. It’s finally out. A $40 CAD price tag means it’s not the cheapest of games, but I was such a fan of Theme Hospital (which this game is of course crafted after) that I knew it would be a day one purchase. Thankfully there were some discounts floating around, so I still at least didn’t have to pay full price.

If you’ve ever played Theme Hospital before you’ll be very familiar with this game. You set up a hospital, cure patients, and design rooms. Some of the new features are what make this game so fun for me, though. There are challenges which you can issue to friends on your steam list who have also purchased the game. You earn points to unlock different furniture options, and you get to play through a few scenario that teach you how everything is done.

Needless to say, I’m hooked. The humor, the graphics, everything appeals to me. If you’re looking for steam friends to challenge feel free to add me, you can find me as Stargrace. My hours (of course) are wonky, but I’m usually around off and on through the early mornings (4am) and day.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Yarn Review: Petalicious, by Incyanity

I love yarn. Over the years that I’ve been knitting (I make it sound like a long time but I’m really just approaching my 3 year anniversary) I’ve figured out what types I enjoy knitting with and which ones I would rather avoid. I’ve tried to use up or gift away my unwanted yarns, and I’ve become a little bit of a (gasp) yarn snob.

When Sakaane asked me if I’d be willing to beta test some yarn for her, I was incredibly excited. Taking a look at her Ravelry page you’ll see why. Just look at those colours!

I’ve been using this amazing merino / bamboo blend to knit up my fingerless gloves, and even though I’ve fallen behind on the knitting (hey, I just had a newborn) this post is one that I’ve been meaning to make for some time.

Packaging was great, minimalistic without ruining the yarn or tangling it up (has happened in the past and it’s not fun). The stitch definition is fantastic, the colours hold fast and true, and honestly there’s not a lot of bad I could say about the product. Trust me, I tried looking for issues. This is an incredibly knit-worthy yarn and I can’t wait to see what other colours get added to the collection over time. Be sure to follow her Ravelry page, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and thank you again Sakaane for asking me to beta test.

BfA Sales

Sales have started to pick up a little bit, and the price of tokens continues to drop (it’s almost dropped below 140k at the time of this post) as people return to game and buy tokens for real world money in exchange for in-game gold. I picked up a few new tokens myself, stashing the bnet balance away for a rainy day.

I haven’t gotten to play very much, my monk (the character I decided to level) is sitting at a comfortable 113. I expect that getting one level a day (for now) is a pretty ambitious goal for me, and I’m content with it. In the meantime I browse the auction house looking for deals. I did manage to level my inscription to 90/150 but even that is pretty slow going. Engineering will take some time because the cost of ore is absolutely insane on my server (it’s 10k for 100) but I expect it should get better over time or I’ll just go out and harvest it myself in the future.

How are you spending your BFA time? Let me know in comments! Also, no spoilers, but the story has been fantastic. I am a huge fan of the opening cinematics.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Sadness. Slipping. Afraid to speak up. Afraid to inconvenience. Wrapped up in their own happenings, I observe. I know their stories. I hear their cries. I reach out.

They don’t. Stop expecting them to. Stop this preconceived notion that they should be a certain way. Stop being disappointed.

No family. No friends. No sleep. Just thoughts. Too many thoughts.

Enough.

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