The itch, the GF, and Adulting

It’s Friday! How was your week?

This week I worked my full-time job, attended a Pediatrician appointment for my daughter (with my ex wife), helped my girlfriend decorate the house for the holidays, attended co-parenting counseling, scheduled days off of work next week for court appearances (because my ex has too much time and money on her hands), did some engagement ring shopping, took my kids to practices, took my son to get a haircut, had my future in-laws over for dinner, and built some bad-ass Lego creations with the kiddos. Tonight, I will attend a viewing, take the boys to basketball practice, and hopefully spend some time with my girlfriend. When I began seriously gaming two years ago, I rarely saw my kids, I had no girlfriend, I rented a small place in the middle of nowhere, and I essentially had no life. Gaming filled a serious void, gave me something to do at night when the loneliness was at its worst, and I made some great friends online, as crazy as that may sound to some. My life is now full and awesome (at least barring all the crap with my ex).

cookievscakeSo, why did I spend so much time this week going through the frustration of trying to install Windows 10 in Bootcamp in High Sierra, which is a complete PIA process, not to mention being scary as eff? I’m getting itchy… I really really want to play a game. I miss it. Don’t get me wrong, I play plenty of games. First our home is like a board game wonderland. Second, I teach game design at my job and play a ton of student games made in everything from Construct 2 to Unity.  Third, I recently revisited 1998 by putting FFVII on my iPhone and Baldur’s Gate on my iPad. Finally, I play games with my kids anytime I can. From Lego Marvel Superheroes to Rocket League, my kids play some fun games. Still, I’m not satisfied. Can I help it if I’m playing Rocket League with my 10-year-old and thinking of how much it looks like Soccer Pitch in Scarlet Blade? Playing these pithy little games feels like eating Oreos for dessert every night for months on end while all along I’ve been craving a chocolate mousse cheesecake.

This comic by Matthew Inman totally sums up my situation right now.

Here’s the rub. I can no longer commit to being a gamer, at least not like I want to. It’s not that I can’t have boundaries and manage my life. The real issue is that I can’t keep up. Gaming is like a second career if you want to play with friends, which is what I want. I’m a social gamer. I really really miss Joe, Donnie, Chris, and Manjengaa. I really miss talking to them on Discord about weapons and bosses food and family and dungeons and pub crawls and arts and crafts to do with our kids. If I came back to Blade and Soul (the game I really want to return to) today, I would have to commit a good 80 + hours of pretty hardcore solid play to try to even reach an area where I could hang out with my friends in-game. Not to mention, I don’t know when I can play and when I can’t. My “free-time” (what is that?) schedule is so sporadic that I don’t know when I will be available or for how long. Also, no matter what, my family and my girl are going to take precedent.

So here I am, it’s 2017. I have a house full of commotion, family, love, and holiday decorative awesomeness. I also do not own a single PC. I have an XBox One, a Switch, A WiiU, 3 iPads, and 2 Macs. In the past 3 weeks, I’ve installed DDO, Runescape, and Guildwars 2 (the only non-WoW MMO’s that work on Mac) to my Mac, but I haven’t even set up a character yet. I doubt these games are going to scratch my itch any more that FFVII or BG. I miss Old Man Cho and visiting Yehara’s Mirage. Probably more, I miss Joe, Donnie, Chris, and Manjengaa. So, I installed Windows 10, and I’ve spchopunkkident 3 days trying to get BnS to completely install (a process made futile by the ever present EO2014 error). Honestly, though, I don’t know what I’m going to do once I get it. I have 2 court appearances next week and the holidays are upon us.

Awhile back, I tried to establish a community of teachers to play games together, but that never really amounted to much. Either teachers don’t game, or they have no desire to do so sotpteachcially. Perhaps I need to just work on a community of Adults with lives who also want to go on an occasional game binge.

I don’t know whether I will ultimately make it back. Maybe this intense craving will pass as I gorge myself on holiday food, make love to my girlfriend or play some new games with my kids. Maybe I will never get BnS to install and I’ll give up, a defeated and broken man… Either way, I just want my gaming peeps, Joe, Donnie, Chris, and Manjengaa, to know that I miss you, I really do value and cherish (hopefully that’s not too mushy) the times we spent hanging out when I was at my lowest. Thank you for everything, and I hope to hang with you again sometime soon. We’ll see what 2018 brings.


Blade & Soul, Cash Betas, & Losing it in Translation

I’ve been paying more attention to my assassin, Mekumi Kaede, in BnS lately. I got sucked back into the TV show, and I was thinking, this game may be a lot more fun since I gave my old Mac a memory upgrade. I’m rocking 16 gig of ram now, and I have a solid cable internet connection. No more being blind sided by invisible enemies that can attack before their character model loads on my screen to target.

Lost in Translation

Admittedly, the translation on the English patch for the Russian translation of the Chinese version of this Korean game is getting better. The Bopae are now translated, “Soulshield”, in my inventory instead of “Table“. The story is making a bit more sense, and the humor is even beginning to shine through. Last night, a character actually had a thought bubble appear above his head that said something like “good thing I was off taking a dump when we got attacked”. Still, I miss a lot of quest cues because of the poor translation and end up running around in circles, hoping I’ll figure it out. It’s always fun when I wast money warping (wind walking) to the village because everyone told me to go to the village, only to find out I was supposed to be at the cemetery (face-palm). Usually, the map will help me out.

Last night, I was rocking through the story and having a great time getting down the timing of my skills. Today it hit me though. I have done nothing, really with my skill build. I have learned so much from Scarlet Blade about skill builds, and now I can apply that knowledge to other games! This, for an old n00b like me, is a total breakthrough moment. Not kidding at all. Still, I’m going to need to do a lot of back and forth for the skill builds because there are no translations there in-game. Luckily, I found this sweet guide, from webjunkies, and some on the BnSDojo Forums. Honestly, this is all a bit intimidating, but if I can do it in SB, then I can do it in BnS.

Cash Beta?

Mekumi Kaede, Jin Assassin

So, here is my dilemma… I really like this game, and it is coming out for the US… sometime soon… I think. There’s apparently an “open-beta” running right now, though. The trick is, you have to buy a founder’s pack or something to play it. So here’s the question. Who has done this? Is it worth it? I know the translation has to be better. Is it open consistently? Do you have to play at certain times when the test server is up? Will your characters transfer to the full release? Is there enough content to make it worth playing at this time? I saw a demo on Youtube where it appeared there was a limit on races and classes at the moment. I play Jin Assassin. Is that available under the beta?  I know these are n00b questions, but I have never participated in a beta before. Heck, I just started playing MMO’s a little over a year ago. Help me out here, people. The the old guy a bone. Let me know your thoughts on the Beta and the Founder’s packs in the comments below.

Hurt and Confused… How did this happen??

Turnpike pvp battlefield

So, have you ever just woken up one day and asked yourself, “How did I get here? Did I take a wrong turn one day? How did I let things go this far?” No, I’m not talking about my miserable divorce or any kind of chemical or physical addiction. Somehow, I ended up finding my game; the one I like… the one I can’t stop playing… the one I’m willing to spend money on… The problem is, it’s not a game you tell your friends about… or anyone for that matter. It is really embarrassing. I’m not even sure I want to tell you, my detached anonymous reader.

I wish I could say I loved WoW or Neverwinter or Blade & Soul or even Kabod. I’m not sure how it happened. I think someone recommended that if I like Blade and Soul, I should try Scarlet Blade. I think they thought I must have liked Blade and Soul for the character design rather than the game… One way or another, I ended up installing one of the most universally offensive games in the history of MMO’s on my computer. I had my doubts when it loaded for the first time, but I was feeling rejected and somewhat rebellious toward God so I played the introductory quest with a Punisher (PU) and a Whipper (WH). It’s a bit of a blur what happened between that and level 25, but suffice to say, I was having a good time. I love Scarlet Blade.

For one thing, the game runs smoothly on my crappy hardware and bad connection. I only lag or crash when in a huge multi-player event, like a monster spawn or pvp arena.

Second, the game is well made… surprisingly so. The story is really good. The NPC’s are voice acted well. The Arkana – Commander relationship the game is based on is unique and well conceived. The soundtrack is good. The tab targeting / hotkey combat system is probably the best I’ve experienced yet. The game is good.

Third, I have made social connections in the game. I have been included in guilds, team dungeon runs, and more. I have had players who possess way more in-game bad-assery than I do come to my aid when I was being spawn-camped by the opposing faction. Folks are generally nice and helpful in this game, which is more than I can say for any of the other games I tried, including WoW, Runescape, D&D Online, Neverwinter, Celtic Heroes, and Blade & Soul.

Electric Tempest: One of my super-fun AOE throw downs

Finally, this game has one thing that no other game seems to have, at least that I can find, and I’ve Googled this a lot trying to find an alternative. This game boasts a character class that specializes in Melee AOE (Area of Effect) attacks. I can find classes in other games that might allow you to cleave more than one enemy every now and then, but we’re talking consistent AOE throw down on packs of mobs… by a melee, tankish character… not a wizard. That, in itself is worth the price of admission… which is free, unless you want to survive in pvp for more than five seconds.

The only thing that is bad about this game is the insane, over-the-top player character models. Saying you like this game for the game itself is similar to claiming you like Playboy for the articles. It may be true, but it sounds really fake, shallow, and ridiculous to anyone you try to explain it to.

The characters are not exactly practically dressed…

I have struggled with this… a lot. I have deleted this game three or four times and repented of even liking it. I have given it up, reinstalled it, and gone whole weekends doing nothing else. My friends want to know what game I’m playing. My students ask what my favorite game is. I either lie or mumble some cagey answer. I feel awful for liking this game, but it is so good.

So, there it is. My guilty pleasure. It’s embarrassing, but it is what it is… Expect more posts about this amazing game.