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!

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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.

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.

I Love Video Game Farming

No, I don’t mean like farming worms in Angmar to get that extra point of Valour for your virtues or farming the Turtle raid to get that little pet turtle housing item. I mean like simulation farming – til the soil, plant seeds, wait for stuff to grow, harvest, rinse repeat. I don’t know why. I like gardening in real life as well, but I know logically video game farm simulation does not make a whole lot of sense. But I find it immensely pleasing.

When my college roommate got me to start playing Minecraft, setting up a little wheat farm was one of the first things I did. At the time it was very limited, but now you can breed and capture pigs, cows and chickens (and in the next update horses!) and you can maintain a farm of wheat, potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, melons and netherwart. It’s definitely much better than it was, but it’s not quite enough for me.

So today I was browsing through Steam Greenlight. For those who don’t know, it’s a system on Steam that allows budding game creators to post screenshots, videos and descriptions of the games they are making. Then Steam users get to vote on if they would buy the game or not. If a game gets enough votes of “Yes, I would buy this game!” it gets the Greenlight and gets published on Steam for people to buy and play and all that good stuff. And today I discovered a game there called Stardew Valley.

So far, this game has lots of elements that appeal to me:

  • Farming with a wide variety of plant types
  • Ability to shape and build your farm and farmland however you want
  • Customizable character creation
  • Multilayer opportunities
  • Seasons!
  • Retro-y graphics with a pleasing color scheme
  • Nice music!

There’s also the exploration and mining elements reminiscent of Minecraft. Also some of the underground dungeon exploration from the video reminds me a lot of Towns, which I posted about a while ago. And of course story elements as you interact with the NPCs in your town. Apparently there are also 10 NPCs in town that you can marry – regardless of your or the NPC’s gender, which is not something you see very often in games. The character creation seems quite robust – you choose gender, skin color, eye color, hair color, clothes, cat or dog preference, etc. Definitely something to play around with which is nice.

So basically, I am looking forward to this very much and hope it gets Greenlit. For any Steam members who are interested, here is Stardew Valley’s Greenlight page.

The White Captain Rides Again

Really glad I found that post I mentioned in the update to my last post. So here are some pics of my new White Captain outfit using the armor from the Steely Dawn:

Armour of the Steely Dawn

Dreng-gesc – black

Barnavon Hunter’s Cured Gauntlets – white

Commanding Battle Pauldrons of the Mark – black

Cloak of the Dreamflower – white

Winged Circlet

I’m not sure if I like the choice of gauntlets and boots right now. I’ve always expressed a dislike for wearing the same boots and gauntlets from the same set as the chestpiece, but I think I might be able to get away with it in this instance, mostly because I think the set will be fairly rare anyway. It’s also hard to find boots and gloves that don’t clip this chest piece. The wrists and ankles are quite bulky and clip through a fair number of gloves and boots that I would otherwise think look fine.

As for the steed in these pics, it does not have a name at this point. I used the extra 500 TP I got from the Steely Dawn pack to buy the Shaggy Roan hide, because I really like the black legs on it.

Shaggy Roan hide – white

Simple Tail – black

Plain Black Saddle

Guardian’s Caparison – sea blue

 

Waiting in a Disgruntled Fashion

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST!

This Friday, Steam released a new starter pack for LOTRO: the Steely Dawn Pack. I had vaguely heard about it but didn’t really think much about it. Then today I was looking at the Show Us Your Favorite Cosmetic Outfit thread and andys90 had posted a picture of their toon wearing the chest piece:

I immediately fell in love with it! I’ve been looking for a new white outfit for Cithryth. All the white armour I’ve come across in-game just hasn’t really cut it for the White Captain look, besides dresses. And a true captain can’t go charging into battle in a dress. But THIS! It’s white, not to elvish, but definitely set for battle. So I decided to buy it. I mean really when you think about it, $20 for some armour you get for every character is a better deal than a $20 horse for just one character.

Here are some more hi-rez photos courtesy of Casual Stroll to Mordor:

That’s where the trouble began though. I purchased it and followed the steps to get the CD key for it to put into my Turbine account. You’re supposed to be able to right click the game (in this case, LOTRO) in your Steam library and go to “View CD Keys”. This then brings up a window showing you your product keys associated with the game. No such luck for me, though. The closest thing I could see in the right click menu was “View Downloadable Conent”. That only shows that yes, I have purchased the Steely Dawn pack and yes, it pertains to LOTRO. That’s it. No key. So, not able to put it into my Turbine account to actually get the items.

I looked around Steam support and the LOTRO forums to see if anyone else had the same problem. There was one other poster in the LOTRO forums that I could find (because finding anything in the LOTRO forums is a chore) who had the exact same problem. So I oped to send a support request to Steam. That was about five hours ago and I still have no heard back. I am displeased because I was really looking forward to playing with some new shiny outfits. Guess I have to wait. :(

In happier news, I have continued my theme of trying other outfit pieces and made a new outfit for Sagewood. This outfit I think really makes sense for Sagewood. She’s a Bree-land archer out killing game and orcs and brigands as a mercenary for the town of Bree, or whoever might hire her.

Ceremonial Town-saver’s Jacket

Leggins of the Mark – umber

Vital Eastemnet Combat Boots – sienna

Fingerless Gloves – umber

Storyteller’s Fur-lined Mantle – gold

Plain Cloak – umber

Tattered Hat – sienna

Normally if I had gotten these leggings as a drop and tried them on in the dressing room, I would not have kept them. However I decided to give them a shot and I surprisingly love the way they go with this outfit!

Update Re: CD Key!

Okay, so up until just recently the Steam forums were down for maintenance (thus why I didn’t mention looking in those for help). Well, just after I posted this I decided to try looking at them again and they were up! So I went into the LOTRO section to see the top post was about this exact issue. Many people are having it. Luckily, a user named Pixel Moose posted a solution!

Hey guys, I bought the Steely Dawn pack and ran into the same problem but I have found a solution. If you activate Big Picture mode on the Steam client, go to Library and click on LOTRO, then go the Links and More and at the bottom there should be a link that says View CD key. It is here that you can get the code for the starter pack. It was stupid for them not to put that on the regular Library page.

And it worked! Yay! But that is incredibly frustrating. Why should we have to go through the Big Picture mode (aimed at users with TVs and controllers… not regular PC users) just to get the CD key? Seems very broken to me. But it’s good to know for those having issues.