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I've seen things you wouldn't believe… 

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Mine Colapse

I logged in to Wurm this weekend to start my grind of Body Control so I could ride my horse, and I was greeted with a sad sight. My mine had collapsed. Not completely, so that was a positive, but it no longer made its u-turn to the iron vein. This is what my mine system looked like.

And here it is after I retunnelled.

I kinda made a goof and dug too far across because I did not remember how many tiles it was originally.

Oh well, no body control grinding this weekend.

The added fun part occurred when I broke my pickaxe because I was not paying attention to how much damage I was doing to it. I was going along at a nice clip – 2 mining actions, pause, 2 mining actions, pause…I was leaving all the mined rock on the floor to pick up later, but after I made the turn at the top right of the picture, poof..my pickaxe disintegrated. So I walked back to my forge to make a new one, and what do you know? I did not have enough iron for one. Great! I looked up solutions on Wurmpedia and found a crude pickaxe could be made from stone, which I had a bunch of. I quickly fashioned one and finished digging to my iron vein.

I now have 2 pick axes, 2 hatchets, and 2 shovels so I don't have to worry about them disintegrating in the future.

 

 

 
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Trip to the Bartender before my Protection ends

I decided to take a walk today. Since I was almost at the end of my ‘protection’ period, I wanted to go back and visit the Esteron spawn.

Rainbow pointing to Esteron

A mountain lion and spider wonder at the beautiful rainbow leading to Esteron

The protection period is 24 hours that a new character is granted where they get special perks. They can receive refreshments from the spawn bartender, they get an added light aura, they have reduced aggro range, and they take less damage.

The refreshments are useful so you get topped off in food, nutrition, and water. This is nice since when starting out, finding and cooking food can be a bit difficult.

Since I built my mine and flattened some land, I was able to plant some crops, but they have not reached maturity yet so I only have food that I have foraged for which is not as nutritious unless I find some meat to cook it with. On the cooking front, I am also hoping to turn some cotton I found into a fishing line, but haven’t taken the time yet – this will let me get some fish to cook. In any case, until my protection period is over, the bartender will freely supply me with all I can eat and drink.

The protection period also provides some added light surrounding you so things are not as dark. This is very useful at night since it can get really pitch black. It also helped as I was digging my mine. Speaking of which, I’ll have to make a few lamps to light the inside of my mine.

While protected, a character has increased healing and takes reduced damage so any falls you take will get repaired quickly. I really use this bonus as I seem to fall a lot. Once it is gone, I’ll have to be much more careful and carry cotton or healing covers during my explorations.

The last bit of protection may be the most important and most used – there is a reduced aggro range for creatures. This was really nice as I wandered around in search of a place for my deed. While it is important to find safe havens where guards or water will help in your protection, this reduced aggro range has been sweet and I am going to miss it.

Heading back to Esteron took me about 45 minutes and I got lost at first. Apparently I walked right around it without seeing anything in the dark – even with the added protection lighting. Eventually, though, I got there and chatted with the bartender. Getting topped off in nutrition should last me a while – I think I only have about an hour of protection left. There are also merchants at the spawn that sell a bunch of useful things – I just need to get some silver to spend.

Now that I am topped off, I’ll head home and get back to working on my deed.

 

 
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Warlords Quest 1 – Circumvent TWC Roadblock

Over the weekend, I got a beta invite for Warlords of Draenor and was pretty stoked.

To be honest, I haven't played much WoW in the past few months. I have a tendency to get excited when an expansion comes out and enjoy playing my characters up to max level, but once I reach max level, I tend to lose interest. I'll run through a the dungeons and LFR a few times once I max out a character, but it never lasts long. I usually slow my playing to a trickle by the time the 2nd set of raids is released, and if there are more, I am usually on to some other game. But I always come back to WoW when an expansion hits. I suppose there is something to be said about my comfort level with the game.

So I got my beta invite this past weekend and downloaded the game. A funny thing then happened as I tried to fire it up for the first time – I launched battlenet, hit the play button, and the game started up nicely. I copied over my main character and started the entrance to bring me into the world of Azeroth, but before I could get there, the loading screen said 90%, the game crashed. Funny, I thought. All these people and blogs talking about how they are having a great time in the alpha and beta, and I get a crash the first time I try to start up. Oh well. I submit a crash report and try to load again, but I don't even get to the start screen this time. That's when I see that there are no lights on my router. Great! Time Warner Cable – gotta love em.

A router reboot and another try and voila – I am in Azeroth and ready to see what Warlords is all about.

Hope this expansion maintains my interest for a while.

Core Challenge Day 3

Continuing my challenge, I've been trying to get my exercises in right before my shower so if I start to sweat – which will start happening as my workouts get more involved, I am already headed to the showers. Today, I forgot and ended up doing my workout in the afternoon. Good thing it was not too strenuous.

 

 
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When is a Sport not a Sport?

Teen Wolf

Somewhere near the start of the second half of season 3, I stopped watching Teen Wolf. Not because I wasn't enjoying the show, but because other things were taking my focus. This past weekend, I decided to start catching back up since season 4 is about to start.

Teen Wolf Cast

Stiles is my favorite of the cast

To me, Teen Wolf is a fun show that is good for some entertaining diversion, there are no Emmy winners here (yet), but the story is interesting and I know some significant things were going down at the end of last season. Fortunately, I don't watch too much (if anything else) on MTV so I have been able to avoid spoilers.

The main sense I get from the few episodes I've watched is that this second set of shows is going to tend more towards the horror side of the supernatural rather than the fantastical. That's probably why I did not jump at watching the show when it first came out – I'm not that into horror.

The other problem I've found is that I guess I did not record all the shows. I'm going to have to find out where to watch them online so I can be sure to watch them all – I found full episodes on MTV.com. In any case, the show started up again this week and I hope to catch up soon so I can start watching the new season.

When is a sport not a sport…When it's League of Legends

Robert Morris University in Illinois is offering a scholarship for playing League of Legends. The first of its kind (as far as I know), the award, shows how esports are getting closer to mainstream acceptance. The story is being covered on Forbes and ESPN so it is only a matter of time before the NCAA starts regulating video game injuries. I know I've narrowly avoided many concussions after slamming my head into my monitor while dealing with AFK trolls.

League of Legends World Championship

The World Championship gets quite a few viewers

I am not too sure about this scholarship though. I have always questioned the validity of calling video games a type of sport. I can see it being an event or a competition, but not really a sport. Is NASCAR a sport? How about horse racing? Or rock climbing? Even if those are sports, I've seen many people have issues calling cheerleading a sport, and that is much closer to a sporting event than a MOBA match – cheerleaders have to be athletic! I'm not sure I am ready to consider chess a sport or Jeapordy or Wheel of Fortune for that matter. I think there needs to be some new designation for esports to get them away from the sport concept. Certainly these are competitions and events that are watched by many spectators, but according to dictionary.com, a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”

The skill is there in esports, and the competive nature is there, but these are not athletic activities. I'd be more ready to consider a battle of the bands a sport than a video game competition – at least the band members are exerting themselves physically. So while I think it is kinda cool that a scholarship is being offered and competitions are being recognized, I still refrain from calling League of Legends a sport.

Building up my Deed

With the new Xanadu server, I decided to follow a plan put forth by KalinMenajin back in Janurary 2013. The post on the Wurm Online forums focuses on starting out on an Epic server, which is the PVP version of the game, but I think it should work pretty well on any server when starting out. The goal is to get a place that is near resources needed at the start of the game – iron, clay, wood, water. Once you've found a place, you tunnel a mine and use it as a staging area to expand.

Sample building area in Wurm

I actually found cedar trees rather than birch

The mine comes first since you need iron for most tools and basic items in the game. But in order to get a decent mine, you need to search for some iron, which requires the prospecting skill. Prospecting uses the pickaxe that you started the game with and a tile of rock. Xanadu has plenty of rock tiles in and near the mountains, but if you are in an area without them, you can dig dirt tiles down to the underlying rock. Since this can take a while, I chose to go find a mountain.

In the first few days of Xanadu, there was a scarcity of iron, but that was fixed in a patch. There is now plenty of iron to be had as far as I can tell – I found some in the first place I looked after the patch. So now that I knew iron was around, I wanted to ensure the other resources were plentiful.

Wood in the area around the Esteron spawn was primarily lemon trees. These are not very good for building as they do not produce many logs. The main trees that I've seen produce a lot of wood for building are cedar, pine, and birch, so I had to find a new forest. All the land from the spawn to the mountains to the north was populated with lemon trees so I headed west towards the lake, but all there was, were lemon trees. Fortunately, heading north around the lake, I finally found some other trees. Chestnuts at first, then cedar. These would be good for building.

Once I had wood and iron nearby, I needed to find a place for a mine and house. I decided on a little bay created where the forest met the mountains. It was pretty steep and would require some terraforming, but it was sufficiently far from neighbors and met all my criteria – wood, iron, clay, water.

I planted my tent and started tunneling to create my mine.

Core Challenge

The second day of my challenge went well. I plan on seeing this one through to the 30 day mark so am not too excited about having made 2 days in a row – it is but another start.

Core Challenge Day 2:

  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 second Plank
  • 12 Plank Reaches

#Wurm #WurmOnline #Xanadu #LoL #LeagueOfLegends

 

 
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A Summer Evening on my Xanadu Deed [VBG]

Views from Beyond the Gate #14 – Wurm #2

Fhloston Paradise

A Warm Summer Evening at Fhloston Paradise

A view from my primitive deed on Xanadu.

#Wurm #WurmOnline #Xanadu

 

 
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A Little Wurm Relaxes Me

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic and I have not done much in the way of gaming. A little Wurm, some Wildstar reading, and some head banging in LoL have been all I could throw together.

Real life has been busy and I’ve felt like I’ve been coming down with a cold. Along with that, the television season has been coming to a close and I’ve been tring to catch up on shows that I let slip. TiVo is wonderful, but it is easy to get behind and record too many things.

Little Headway in Wildstar

I’ve pretty much been on hold with Wildstar lately. From my time in the beta, I know this is a game where I would like to spend time exploring but when I am strapped for time, I don’t feel I can get the most out of a game. Therefore, I am stalled out. Perhaps this week will offer an opportunity.

I’ve read a number of blogs talking about how great things are in game. Over at Endgame Viable there is discussion about how people are running dungeons and how they can be tough for PUGs, Missy over at Missy’s Mojo talks about furnishing houses, and Scree over at The Cynic Dialogues talks about maxing out characters. I am excited to get back to this world, I just have to make the time.

A Few Hours in Wurm Online

While Wildstar has been on hiatus, I have gotten back into Wurm a bit. They recently opened up a new server – Xanadu – and it is big. The specs say something like 32km x 32km. I’ve set up a deed on a lake ‘near’ one of the starting villages. I like what they have done – since the map is so large, they have multiple starter towns. I think there are 6 or 8. I was reading some posts from Aywren over at Sygnus.org that said she had landed near Newspring City so I thought I’d start near there. Well, I misclicked and landed over at Esteron while Newspring is pretty far to the West. Oh well. I’ll get over there to see Newspring sooner or later.

Xanadu location

Where I’m at in Xanadu

In any case, I am over near r23 on the Xanadu map – I think.

A little Wurm relaxes me.  It is a nice, relatively stress free game that I can zone out in. That is as long as I stay on my deed or in civilized areas.

Frustration in League of Legends

I am really coming I dislike LoL. My latest experiences deserve more time than I can describe here, but I have been in free fall since I failed my promotion to Silver. With the numerous MOBAs out there, I think I might start dabbling in some others and put League on the self for a bit until my frustration level cools off.

Core Challenge

I slipped again in my exercise routine so I am starting up once again. By this time I should have the first day’s exercises memorized. In any case, I began at day one again.

Core Challenge Day 1:

  • 6 Push-ups
  • 15 second plank
  • 10 plank reaches

World Cup 2014

Congratulations to the US Soccer team who came away with a draw to Portugal on Sunday. They still have a chance to make it through to the next round if they play well against Germany on Thursday. While soccer is not the biggest sport here in America, I am pretty psyched to see the team do well.

#Wildstar #Wurm #LeagueOfLegneds #LOL #WurmOnline #Xanadu

 
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A New Day in Wurm Online

Wurm Online opens Xanadu island and I continue my core challenge.

Wurm Online opens Xanadu Island – I start with the tutorial

With the new island opening up in Wurm, I decided to revisit the world, and while things have changed, they are also very familiar.

Wurm Online Title Screen

Same old title screen

First off, the tutorial is dramatically different. When starting fresh in the world, there is no character creation as in many MMOs, Wurm just throws you in with no race selection, no gender selection, or class selection. The reason is plain – you can only be human in Wurm, no elves, dwarves, orcs, or chua allowed. There are no classes as you can do anything you want in the game, you just need to build up the skill through use – want to build a boat – train the skills, want to ride a horse – train the skills, want to be an archer – train the skills. And as far as gender goes, I found out too late that the question asked when creating your account (out of game on the web site) was referring to what gender you want to play ingame rather than what your real life gender is.

Anyway, back to the tutorial – this version does not hold your hand. In order to get into the game and join an island community previously, you were forced to step through the tutorial and perform the actions required to get to the point where you chose your island. In the new tutorial, you are simply pointed at a number of glowing tiles that provide tutorial information. There is no guided path through the learning, you just try to find all the glowy tiles and hope you covered the entire thing. On the other hand, there is UI element called the Book of Wisdom that contains all the lessons from the tutorial and can be accessed simply by clicking on it.

Tutorial sign

Nice indication where to go for the tutorial

The new tutorial seems to cover more material than the old one which is definitely a plus, but it is all narration without any action. The old tutorial asked you to actually click on things and perform the opening, digging, chopping, and fire starting while the new one just tells you about what keys to press and what items to activate. Where previously, you had to manually flatten terrain to proceed, now, you are told the basics of slope and the dig command, and left to figure out the details on your own.

I can see some pros and cons to the new tutorial, I am just glad I knew what I was doing. There is a lot of information there, but because it is not guided, you can miss something kinda important. If you really run into issues, there is always the wurmpedia that provides good explainations of things.

I went through the tutorial and chose the new land of Xanadu only to realise that my character was male when I looked in my hand mirror, so I’ll have to start over. One thing about the new tutorial is that you don’t really gain in any skills because you don’t actually have to do anything, just read about it, so I don’t have to go through it a second time.

With little time, I’ll start up my new female character tomorrow.

A light day of exercise

Day 9:

  • 60 second plank
  • 10 plank reaches

#Wurm #Xanadu #Tutorial

 
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Expansions, Leaks, and Breaking Through the Queue

Star Wars Episode VII leaks

With so many things going on, I am a bit overwhelmed with games to play and things to see these days. First off, I’ll mention that there has been new leaks about Disney’s upcoming Star Wars films. The studio is definitely getting the hype machine geared up and I for one, am excited.

Star Wars VII Photo

Could that be an X-Wing Fighter?

Fr. Roderick over at The Secrets of Star Wars has a post looking at the clues revealed by the various photos, and he goes even further into the details in his podcast. Be sure to check them if you are a Star Wars fan.

Star Wars VII Photo

That certainly looks like the Millennium Falcon

TMZ also discusses some of the other photos they got their hands on.

 

The Secret World gets an update

Issue 9 of The Secret World was released this week, and with it, the long talked about Tokyo addition.

The Secret World Issue 9

Tokyo is here

I’ve got to make some time to get back into this game. It was always fun, and to this day, is the only game that could creep me out. There are parts of the world that, with it’s modern day setting, freak me out and scare me. Which makes it strange that I like the game so much because I am not usually one to enjoy scary movies.

As with the previous issues, I am sure there will be interesting storyline additions in Tokyo and we might gain some further insight into the mysteries of what the heck is going on in this world, as Tokyo is where it all began.

Wurm Online gets a new world

Apparently there is a new world that has been discovered over at Wurm Online.

Xanadu is the latest addition to the servers, and it is open to new players (or new accounts if you have been playing before). This new realm is the culmination of a bunch of changes and additions that the devs have been working on for the game. Apparently things are a bit easier for newbies – a tent is provided to all so they can sleep safely, and the tutorial has been worked on as well. Even with these additions, the world is still very dangerous to new characters so be careful venturing out beyond the starter settlements. This is another game I am itching to get back into, and with the new world, new exploration opportunities abound – I am excited.

Queing in Wildstar

The stars have finally aligned and I was able to match my available time with the queue times of Wildstar. For the first time since day 1 of the early access, I was able to log in and play a bit. I’ve seen posts littered around the web about people running around with level 50 characters and wonder if they simply stayed logged in for the entire week. Getting into the game, and I am only up to level 5 anyway, I again realize why I am so excited about this game. I’ve been playing a Spellslinger and I enjoy the combat mechanics so far and the story draws me in. It is nice to have a new scifi story to dig into – I like SWTOR and STO, but this is fresh. I hope when I get into healing and group content my excitement will continue. But most importantly, I hope the queues are behind us now.

Core Challenge continued

Finally, I have been keeping up with my core challenge. I am up to what I am calling my ’20 day’ and will keep working on getting through the challenge.

Day 7:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 second plank
  • 20 plank reaches

After getting through today’s workout, I am looking forward to a bit of gaming and then I plan on seeing Godzilla.

#StarWars #TSW #TheSecretWorld #Wurm #WurmOnline #Xanadu #Wildstar

 
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Go out and Vote while waiting for the Wildstar queue

Vote

Go out and Vote!

Today is the Gubernatorial Primary Election here in California, and if it wasn't for a small blurb I heard on the end of a news program, I would have been voting next week. I am not a big follower of local news – it usually tells me how bad things are in the 'other' neighborhoods nearby or how happy we should be for the kitten that was rescued from a tree. Living in San Diego, I don't really pay much attention to anything the weather people say – it is always pretty nice, sometimes hotter than usual, sometimes cooler, but always about the same. So I was pretty fortunate to have caught the tail end of a news program that said June 3rd was election day. Truly, I am surprised I did not miss it because I never watch anything live anymore thanks to Tivo. But today is the day.

Gubernatorial Primary Election

60+ pages of voter information and they keep calling

We have 15 people running for Governor, a bunch for Lt. Governor, 9 or so state officers to elect, 1 federal representative, 5 judges, a handful of school people, 5 county officers (including sheriff), a city council member, 2 state propositions and 3 city propositions. That's a heck of a lot of positions to vote on, and this is only the primary. The thing is, my phone has been ringing off the hook from these folks promising me this or that, my mailbox is overflowing with endorsements, but I was actually lucky to find out when the actual election was. There has to be a better way to conduct democracy in the 21st century.

Regardless, I do my research on these people, study the ballot measures, and try to figure out the positions of obscure people I have never heard of before who want to 'be in charge'. Yes, I know things will mostly remain the same. I do not fear some fascist or extremist will get elected into office, but I do worry about 'best intentions'. How did New York get a government that regulates the size of drink containers? How did California 'support' spending billions of dollars on a high speed train that will service the tiniest fraction of commuters? How did San Diego elect a Mayor who assaults women? (I did not vote for the jerk) The answer is that people voted.

You don't always get what you want when you vote. Sometimes the 'other' guy just has more supporters. But the important thing is that you went out and voted. Make your voice heard or at least be part of the chorus. Do your research, listen to your conscience, and go out and be part of the great experiment that is democracy.

Continuing the Challenge

Today was another straightforward exercise routine. Day 6 of the Core Challenge went off without a hitch.

Week 1, Day 6:

  • 16 push-ups
  • 20 second plank
  • 18 plank reaches

So far I am happy to report that I am not even sore from these workouts. I fear this may indicate that I am taking things too easy, but my goal is to start easy and gradually increase what I am doing. The Core Challenge is only the beginning after all, but it is a start.

Queing in Wildstar

Yesterday was pretty busy and I did not have much time to devote to gaming, but I wanted to get in some time in Wildstar before the official launch. Unfortunately I encountered this…

Wildstar Realm Full

Queue the Wait...

Yes, I now got the wonderful opportunity to experience the queue. I am kinda surprised considering this was the third day of the head start. I figured they would have worked things out and increased capacity by this time, considering Tuesday's launch. I wonder if they are waiting on expanding until after the official launch or are they just not prepared?

In any case, I was not going to wait around idly which watching the queue time count down, so I fired up League of Legends.

BTW, this lowers my score for the Wildstar launch a full letter grade from an A- to a B-.

Indeed, a wise choice

After failing my promotion series for Silver, I put the game aside for a bit. I was down and did not want to let that impact my ranked game play.

Picking things up then next day though, I had an interesting problem. For my next game, I ran into something that is becoming increasingly the case – Morgana was banned. Somewhere in one of the last patches, people started to realize that Morgana is pretty good. Actually, she is ranked as one of the best support champions at the moment. This makes people ban her more often. And I've seen that when she isn't banned, people are playing her. This is frustrating, considering Morgana is MY main champion. But it is something I have to learn to deal with.

So with Morgana banned, I had to figure out who to play mid. My first choice would be Ziggs since I've played some decent games with him and pretty much know what I am doing (I do have problems with his satchel charge sometimes though), but the other team selected him first.

This pointed out a flaw in my ranked play – I don't know enough champs. I am going to have to start increasing my familiarity with other champions if I am going to get better at ranked play. While I don't have to be great at them, I need to at least be able to not be a liability to my team when forced to play someone other than Morgana.

I chose Heimerdinger as my mid lane champ.

Heimerdinger

Eureka!

Now my history with Heimerdinger dates back to the first week I started playing League of Legends. At that time, I was using the free champs that were in rotation, and I had grown to love Teemo. I was still very new and his poison, speed boost, and shrooms made him an easy champion to get to play. What, I did not know, at the time, was that the free champions rotate on a regular basis. So, during one game, after Teemo fell out of rotation, I grabbed what I thought was Teemo – it wasn't, it was Heimerdinger.

Wow, what a difference in play style. I went from some familiar poison, blinds, and shrooms to turrets and missiles. AFK farming became a thing instead of attack speed, and the ultimate was just confusing. Needless to say, it was a dramatic change, and the diversity in play styles really began my appreciation for the game.

But back to my current choice of Heimerdinger. I don't know why I chose him – I hadn't played him in a month or two, but I thought I'd give him a shot. Against a Ziggs, it may not have been the best choice since his bomb range was easily greater than the range on my turrets, but I held my own. Mid lane was rough, but it was not the reason we lost the game, or at least my play was not the reason. I ended up with 11 kills and a 2.9 KDA while Ziggs tallied up 17 kills and a 3.0 KDA. The big problem was that our top lane Kayle (1.4 KDA) could not get rolling against their Lulu (3.5 KDA).

The loss dropped me further back into Bronze I, but I learned that I when I need to, I can play Heimerdinger. I really should play him more so I get better at his kit and so I expand my options. I think Morgana is good and now that others do as well, it may be harder to get her when I want to play.

#Wildstar #Vote #Heimerdinger #HeadStart #LeagueOfLegends #LOL

 

 

 
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Views from Beyond the Gate #13 – Star Trek Online #1

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Star Fleet Academy in Star Trek Online

Golden Gate Bridge in Star Trek Online

Trixie admires the Golden Gate

In this world there is no robot preventing my crossing as there was in Defiance.

#StarTrekOnline #STO #Defiance


Views from Beyond the Gate #13 | Star Trek Online #1

 

 
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