Mind = Blown

So I just finished my playthrough of the game Home. It is 50% off right now on Steam which means it is all of $1.49 USD. Buy it. I thought Dear Esther blew my mind, but this game takes the cake. It’s not a ‘jump out and scare you’ kind of horror game but rather a ‘slow burn’ of suspenseful anxiety as you try to figure out just what the heck is going on. In the end your mind will be blown. The decisions you make along the way change the outcome of the story, giving it replay-value. I recorded my playthrough and will be posting it in two parts – part one will come out this Friday 4PM (Eastern US time – but actually 8AM on Saturday here in NZ) and part two will come out Monday.

Also episode two of my Lore-master playthrough comes out tomorrow, so watch for that too! I’d love feedback from you LOTRO players!

A Wedding, A Steam Sale and a Dog

These are the three main things that have happened since I last posted! I got married to my kinleader that I met through LOTRO, Navthalion. The much-looked-forward-to Summer Steam Sale occurred. And Nav and I got a dog to go along with our cat. The wedding was great – it was a very simple courthouse because we aren’t into big parties or ceremonies or anything like that. I’ll only post the one picture from it (above) because I don’t think people care that much! This is a game blog after all, not my Facebook! But after the wedding we went to the Hobbiton set in Matamata. I brought my Rohan flag and those of us from my kin there took a picture:

So now we have evidence of four Windriders of Rohan gathering together in the closest-to-real Middle-Earth you can get! It was pretty awesome. I hadn’t been to the Hobbiton set since they finished the set – if you remember I posted some pics from July and November of 2010. The finished product is absolutely amazing. The most amazing part, to me, is the incredible gardening they have going on there. They have expert gardeners growing extra large plants just so that everything has that over-sized-because-we’re-hobbits type feel. Also, the food at the Green Dragon pub is amazing! I had the beef and ale pie. Sooo good! It was a chilly day when we went so a nice warm meat pie was perfect. They also have a resident cat there named Pickle who is such a sweety. Click the picture below to get to a small album of Hobbiton pics!


So once all the family and friends and kin-mates left, we got back to our computers and realized the Steam Sale was going on. In the past I’ve never really gone crazy with the sales. I think the main reason is because I’d usually never buy something that I only kind of want in passing. However now that I’ve been making videos, I’m always looking for games to potentially do LPs of. So basically this year I went kind of nuts. For me anyway. I got Anodyne, Bastion, Binding of Isaac, Borderlands 2 (for both me and Nav), Fez, Gnomoria, Home, Mount and Blade (plus Warband and With Fire and Sword), Terraria and Tropico 4 (with a big bundle of Tropico 4 DLC). Quite a haul, I must say. I haven’t played a lot of them at all. I’ve played nearly 3 hours of Fez, a couple hours of Borderlands 2 with Nav and Farwing, and a few minutes of Terraria, Gnomoria, Binding of Isaac and Anodyne.

Regarding my videos though – I should be recording and posting again within the next week or so. As I mentioned in my last post, I was having a bit of recording difficulties. I thought I had it solved however when I went to continue my Don’t Starve series, the problems continued. So I got a new hard-drive, new recording software (DxTory) and new editing software (Sony Vegas). Probably tonight or tomorrow I’ll be re-installing Windows so I have a nice clear build to work with and we’ll see how that goes. My current plans for my YouTube channel are thus:

  • Continue my Don’t Starve series
  • Start a new LOTRO Let’s Play – I figure most of my followers know and like my LOTRO outfits and content and would like to see more LOTRO content. So why not start a class that I haven’t really played before? It will either be guardian or Lore-Master… or maybe Rune-keeper! I’ve played the RK a lot but… I don’t remember how to play it :X
  • Start a series on city-building/god-games. City-building games are what got me into PC gaming when I was a kid. And I’ve mentioned multiple times on this blog how much I love the genre. So it seems fitting to do a series on different city-building games!

Oh yeah, and then we got a dog. His name is Bucky. We thought about re-naming him Bilbo but we didn’t really want to have to re-teach him his name while also trying to toilet-train him and teaching him not to mess with the cat. The cat, by the way, is still quite uncertain about the dog.

Back in the Saddle

This weekend we finally got the finishing touches (for now at least) on our game room – just in time for Update 11 in LOTRO! It’s been tough not being able to game (well, I was playing Pokemon White version on my DS, but that’s it) for nearly two weeks. It’s one thing not being able to game if you’re on vacation or something, but if you’re just sitting around the house all day? It’s painful. We ended up making the ‘desk’ out of a kitchen counter exactly as long as the room and it’s held up by L brackets. It’s… not exactly level. It kind of bows down in the middle. But for our purposes it doesn’t matter too much. And you can’t tell when you’re sitting at your computer. It’s not like all the pens/pencils roll into the middle or anything. We also got some really fancy pants desk chairs! They are San Marino RaceTec chairs. No, we didn’t actually pay that much for them (yay, haggling!) They are super comfortable and I love that the back pillow can slide up or down and that you can adjust how much the back of the chair pushes forward. It’s nice because we can both have the same exact chair but can adjust it to ourselves (which is important because Nav is very tall and I am very short – so where we want more cushioning is very different!). I also got the whiteboard I’ve always wanted in my battle station! So here’s a pic along with a pic in the other direction of our new cat, Nyx, on her strategically placed bed:

Still to do: Paint the walls (we’re thinking a dark grey to match the table top), get some blinds for the window/get rid of the curtains, put a mini fridge under the desk, I want to get at least one (but maybe two) more monitors, and I need to get a new keyboard soon. Right now I have a Logitech G19, which has been really great for the past 4 years. But because of all the travel I’ve done with it it’s starting to get a bit wonky. Like all day yesterday for some reason it wouldn’t load my M1, M2 or M3 profiles, even after I disconnected it and restarted the computer. This morning when I booted up my PC? They loaded just fine. I’m looking at getting a Corsair K90 keyboard. It’s a mechanical keyboard, has backlights that match my color scheme (very important!) and I have always been a big fan of the Corsair brand (except for when I tried switching to their Corsair Vengeance 2000 wireless headset instead of the 1500 wired one I had been using and its software continually caused my PC to bluescreen, but whatever).

So I was very glad to have all of this set up for yesterday because, yay updates! Of course the first thing I went to was Lalia’s Market. I saw it on Bullroarer before I had to pack everything up for shifting, so I knew it was awesome. When I heard about it, I was just so excited. This is a great direction to take cosmetics in, I feel. I know it sucks having to pay so much for them in Mithril Coins (which means spending real money), but I would honestly much rather Turbine focus getting money from things like horses and cosmetics than more game-play central things like armour, high-end potions, etc. I especially love that they have gloves, shoulders, legs, chests, boots and helmets as separate purchasable items. That was something I was disappointed about with the original implementation of mannequins – you either had to buy the whole outfit or nothing. I love the mix and match! And of course I bought a pair of boots, gloves and shoulders within minutes of stepping foot into the market! I decided to make a new outfit for Cithryth for questing in Wildermore. It needed to be warm (because snow) and tough because “wild” is right in the name of the region! So I put this together:

Scout’s Weathered Leather Jacket – black

Ceremonial Shoulder Guards of the Porbad

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – black

Ceremonial Boots of the Gambler

Cloak of the Unwelcome Guest – grey

Shaggy Roan war-steed hide – black

Simple Tail – black

Burglar’s Saddle

Burglar’s Caparison – black

Burglar’s Gear

Captain’s Halter – black

Captain’s Leggings

It kind of reminds me of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones… but I think that’s just because of the black and the snow. Something I noticed in Wildermore that really intrigues me are the horse blankets that the horses in towns have:

They seem to come in all the regular dye colors… and I really want them! Or something like them. I’ve always really wanted a very plain blanket, easily dyeable blanket as a war-steed caparison. The Guardian’s Caparison is the closest I’ve found, but then you get the big red and white shield on the horse’s chest, not to mention you’d have to buy the whole Guardian Steed to get it.

I Fight for the Users!

Today they officially announced the members of the LOTRO Player Council… and I’m one of them! I’ll be honest. I kind of was expecting to get rejected because my application was basically “My play style is pretty outfits, I am interested in talking about pretty outfits… oh and I guess ‘solo’ is a thing? Whatever. Outfits > everything else”. Yeeeeah, I’m paraphrasing but that’s pretty much what it was like. Anyway, it’s true. My goal is to focus on “fluff” gameplay – especially player cosmetics, mount cosmetics and the housing system. Secondary to that I will focus on solo play, namely zone questing and making sure it is an enjoyable experience for soloers of all skill levels.

There’s not much more to say about that at the moment. Especially since that’s about all I can say until they give us specific assignments to make reports or something like that. Anyway, I don’t have any new outfits to post really though I do have one that I think I am aiming for (or for something similar to it). I logged into my baby champion last night because I love playing with outfits on her. She’s an elf who dresses all in black/grey/white. She’s the only character I have that I feel like I can dress in the heavy elven armours, so when I really get a hankering to use those stylings I pull her out. Here is the outfit I’m looking at and still tweaking:

Battle-leader’s Breastplate – white

Trousers of the Hopeful Melody – white

Boots of the Steely Dawn

Battle-leader’s Gauntlets – white

Shoulders of the Deathstorm – white

Ceremonial Helm of the Lady’s Secrecy – white

Cloak of the Silver Birch – white

I think I may change out the leggings and gauntlets. I also absolutely love how elegant the shoulders look, but they are just so… inefficient and look kind of ridiculous when you are looking at the character from behind. But I love the leaf/butterfly kind of effect! So I’m not sure what to pick for those yet. I still have plenty of time when I get enough marks and medallions.

In other game news, I decided to start learning to play DotA 2 this week. It’s really fun and I hope to one day get good enough at it to play with actual people. After playing for 9 hours doing the “Practice with Bots” I figured I’d finally try my hand playing with others. The first game was not bad. I mean, I died a TON! But the other players didn’t really say much about it, just kind of kept saying which lanes to push, announcing misses, etc. The second game though… my goodness. They really hated me. I died within the first minute (which I do admit was my fault because I kind of was zoned out) but then the rest of the game they spent telling me how “f****** stupid” I was. I told them this was my second game and to give me a break, jeez! Nope! Apparently you are supposed to know everything before you ever think about playing with people. Duh! I think the experience just reminded me why I have mostly stuck to LOTRO for so long.

I did get some friendly advice on twitter though (Thanks, @ALLout_DotA!) and have decided to really double-down on reading guides and watching videos. I’ve also decided to stick with one support hero to focus on: Dazzle. He heals, can stun/slow a bit and is generally pretty helpful and seems to be recommended by many for new players… and he’s also pink. So hopefully with hours more of practice I’ll get better. I’m also trying to convince Nav to start playing.

A Hunter in Dunland

Sagewood has made it to level 67 now and is almost half way to 68. I finally was pleased enough with her deeds to start questing in Enedwaith again. I’ve only ever taken one character through all the quest in Evendim. And that is still true. I left part way through Mincham’s quests with Sagewood and made my way down to Dunland. This time I decided to do the quests in the Bonevales, which I had never actually done before. Navigating the Bonevales was okay. But it was kind of like Trollshaws-lite. Not a big fan. But at least it was something I had never done before. That is one good thing about 65+ leveling: there is a huge glut of content for those levels. Sagewood didn’t even step foot into Mirkwood. And she definitely won’t finish all of Dunland. But that’s perfect! It gives you lots of opportunity to quest where you want rather than be stuck on a linear path.

However as I was leaving Dunland I decided to stop by at Harndirion and check out the barter vendors there. The ‘Of the West’ sets are now purchasable with marks and medallions (at least the lowest tier anyway), rather than Medallions of the Northmen. So of course I decided to have a look and see if there was anything I wanted for cosmetic purposes. And of course there was! I also made use of the near-by skirmish vendors and got some Dol Guldur armour to go with some of the items I got from the Harndirion vendors. And here’s what I came up with for Sagewood:

Ceremonial Voice of the West Robe – umber

Lesser Blade of the West Leggings – umber

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Boots – umber

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – olive

Shielf-Master’s Shoulders – umber

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Helm – olive

Cloak of the Grey Company – olive

I’m especially in love with the shoulders (from the guardian set of Dol Guldur armour), but the champion leggings are really awesome as well. I was originally going to make the outfit mostly brown and use different boots, but the greenish tinge to the mail in the leggins inspired the olive accents.

Herefara and Milkthistle

I haven’t posted in almost a month! Sorry! It’s not for lack of time, just lack of anything to post about really. I’ve mostly been working on deed with Sagewood, and so haven’t had much excitement in the land of LOTRO. Also been playing quite a bit of SimCity (60+ hours logged at this point). That game is pretty fun but the way the AI behaves and deals with problems gets annoying after awhile. But generally I think I got my money’s worth out of it.

Anyway, yesterday I had been deeding on Sagewood and dropped by Bree to process ore and hides I had picked up along the way. While exiting the vault I stopped by the mannequins and notices the Minstrel and Captain sets “of the West” were available so I decided to see how much they were. To my surprise, you can now buy them with Mithril Coins! And not just that, but 20 coins gets you the whole set. I have no idea if this is actually a good deal (I didn’t check to see the price of coins in the store nor the price of the outfits with TP, if that’s even a viable option now). I decided to buy both sets since I have a whole ton of coins from all of my characters that I don’t see using much…. except for outfits now I guess! So the outfits gave me an inspiration for a new outfit for Herefara. I also decided to use the TP I won from the LOTRO Fashion Contest to buy her some warsteed colors to match the new outfit:


Spear-shaker’s Jacket – white

Sturdy Westernesse Leggings – white

Ceremonial Cry of the West Shoulderguards – white

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – umber

Threadbare Boots of the Dunland Healer – umber


Blond Hide

Tan Mane/Tail

Hunter’s Caparison – umber

Hunter’s Saddle

Most of the inspiration for the outfit came from the look of the captain “of the West” set, although I ended up only using the shoulders. I thought about using the chest piece as well, but it seemed more appropriate to use a leather jacket for a warden. I might switch them back again, but for now I really like this outfit. And Milkthistle matches splendidly!

Back to Scheduled Gaming

As you may have noticed, I have not posted for quite a few weeks. That’s because Nav had finally come over for his visit and then we were in the process of packing up all my stuff and trying to shove it into suitcases (but making sure they weren’t over 50 pounds!). My parents still have to send me a majority of my stuff unfortunately, but not til we get a house. I’ve been in New Zealand for about a week and a half now and my computer is finally up and running. It had been up and running soon after we got here…. but then my CPU died :( We had decided to take all the innards of my PC out and pack them in my suitcase and just buy a new case in NZ (because it would be cheaper than shipping!). We thought that had worked but it seems some or one of the pins of the CPU got bent. We noticed something weird was going on because when we got the PC back together it was running about 40 degrees (Celsius) hotter than it normally did. But now I’ve got a nice shiny new CPU and everything is going great.

To celebrate getting my PC back again finally, here is a new outfit for Sagewood! I’ve been doing a lot of deeding with her the past few days on Nav’s computer while he’s at work. Since she’s 65 now I decided I’d update her outfit to something more ‘level appropriate’. After all, she’s not just traipsing around Bree-land anymore. She’s been questing in Enedwaith so she needed some real armour. I had been saving up TP to buy the Steed of the Khundolar, however I realized I wouldn’t have enough by the 28th of February and I just don’t have extra money to spend on TP right now (since I’m currently looking for a job here!). Instead I decided to splurge on the Ceremonial Secret of the West set and some extra wardrobe storage (which is always needed… and I promptly filled it, too!). Using pieces from that set I made Sagewood this grey-based scout outfit:

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Breastplate – grey

Westernesse Protector’s Leggings – black

Ceremonial Secret of the West Boots – black

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – grey

Ceremonial Secret of the West Shoulderguards – olive

Ceremonial Secret of the West Helmet – grey

Fine Quiver – grey

Swift Greywood Bow (for photoshoot purposes!)

In other games news, SimCity 2013 comes out in less than 24 hours now. When news and screenshots were first coming out about it, I was quite skeptical of it. It seemed cartoony and simplistic. But after multiple beta events and videos have come out, I am very excited about it and will definitely be saving my money up for it. I think the thing to keep in mind though is that it is not just an updated SimCity 4. SimCity 2013 is a reboot of sorts. The most frequent complaint I’ve seen about it is that the city size is too small. For me personally, that’s not a problem. I always used the smallest city tiles in SC4 anyway and didn’t like the bigger city sizes. Also, the aesthetics of the new SimCity are phenomenal! If you get it, let me know what you think!

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

I mentioned last week that I had finally left Moria with Sagewood and started tackling the orc camps around the Mirrormere. I really miss questing in Moria now. The contrast between the revamped quests of Moria and the old outter Lorien quests is quite noticable. Whereas in Moria there is very little back-and-forth between the questgivers and the questing areas, in the Mirrormere it is all about back-and-forth! It really is tedious.

But here are a few shots I took just before leaving Moria. I really like the one with the Balrog – the quest line of traveling through the 2nd Hall and figuring out what happened to the Bridge of Khazad-dum is a really good way to end Moria. The 2nd Hall in general is, I think, the best looking place in Moria. The Gardens are gorgeous as well, but the stone trees are what does it for me I think.

On the other hand though, it did give me an opportunity to change her outfit from that black stalker’s outfit Sagewood had been wearing throughout the long dark of Moria. I decided to go with something Elvish (since it is Lorien after all) but not all-out Elvish. Sagewood doesn’t like Elves very much. I specifically got the Poacher of the Protected Woods title for her by doing the quest-line to kill various protected animals in Lorien.

Bear Hide Jacket – umber

Ceremonial Trousers of the Learned – violet

Ceremonial Town-saver’s Shoulders – umber

Herald’s Gloves – umber

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Boots – olive

Trech-helm – olive

I also was able to get in a bit of play-time with my kinmates this weekend. Quite a few were on, including Farwing who I haven’t seen on in ages. Two years ago I got the opportunity to go visit her IRL in Australia. It was super fun! I always love hanging out with my kinmates in real life. Here are the two of us hanging out in Rohan, tackling warbands together:

Knight in Shining Armour

The past week I’ve been tinkering a lot with the White Captain outfit for Cithryth. It always feels like it’s never quite right or perfect or good. And then everytime I make a new one I announce how it’s the perfect White Captain outfit and inevitably I change my mind again. However this time I’m sure this is the perfect White Captain outfit!

I had always tried to stay away from the Rift captain set. It is gorgeous, however there is a very famous captain on Windfola named Annoula whose female captain is always dressed in the full Rift set with the Cloudbane cloak. Annoula has been wearing that since basically forever and I believe has achieved the Fashionable title for it. Finally yesterday I decided to just not worry about that and decided I would make it unique looking somehow.

I ended up using the champion Rift shoulders (partly because I think the captain Rift shoulders look freaking ridiculous and WoW-like). I also used my absolute favorite boots: the Potent Battles Boots of the Mark. I’m only disappointed that they have a warm undertone to them compared to the pale blue undertone of the Rift set. So I had to dye them a blueish color to keep the color scheme cohesive. I also opted for no cloak and instead went with the signature Winged Circlet.

Ceremonial Breastplate of the North Star – white

Ceremonial Leggings of the North Star – white

Ceremonial Shoulders of the Gloom-bane – white

Ceremonial Gloves of the North Star – white

Potent Battle Boots of the Mark – Evendim blue

Winged Circlet

And of course I had to make a warsteed that matches. This took quite a lot of tinkering to find a warsteed look I liked. Honestly it was quite frustrating because some pieces don’t dye quite the way you’d expect or want them to dye. Last night I eventually settled on using an all black steed with black barding. But then today while doing my daily warband runs I switched to all white with navy and it turned out really well!

Solid Hide and Simple Tail – white

Light Caparison of the Norcrofts – navy

Captain’s Halter – white

Captain’s Leggings

Burglar’s Saddle

Burglar’s Gear

At the point the only change I think I would make for the warsteed is to put the Champion’s Gear on instead. That is definitely going to be the next steed I purchase because I have been coveting the Champion’s Gear for too long! It’s the most fitting Gear accessory I’ve seen, or at least one of the least ridiculous. Some of the gear in the Store is quite lovely, however I feel a lot of it is made useless by its coloring and the lack of the ability to dye it. For example the gear that comes with the Heavy Norcrofts set bundle is cool… but it’s also a heinous yellow color that wouldn’t match any kind of character or warsteed outfit I would ever put together.


In other news, my hunter Sagewood made it to level 60! Woo! I actually stayed in Moria until level 61, which is absolutely unheard of for me. I’ve taken 4 other characters through there and I’ve always left around level 58 or 59. The Moria revamps were amazing and made me like questing there! I love the quest auto-bestowal system. I enjoy exploring and that system definitely works with an exploration based playstyle like that.