Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stingite . . . and the State of His Gaming Part 4 -- The Kitchen Sink

So this post really serves as nothing more than a summary of everything that wasn't captured in posts 1, 2, or 3.

Lesseee . . . what's left.

1- Wizard101 -- well well well, if it isn't the game that started it all here on The Friendly Necromancer. I'm going to be honest. Lately all I've been doing is logging on to do my various jobs in game and do a little Monstrology . . . although I really would like to keep my Wizard City to Polaris adventures going with Morgrim.

we left on Episode 26 . . . that was back in January . . . WOW!



I never got a lot of feedback about that series, but there were a few kind comments here or there from people who enjoyed the series. Thanks to you all!

This week looks to be the week we launch our Test Realm to the Live Realm, so . . . hold on to your PvP gear and let's DO THIS THING!

2- Pirate101 -- well well well, if it isn't the game that got me into the biz. I've been enjoying reminiscing back in Cool Ranch lately. My apologies to those of you who don't really enjoy the Cool Ranch part of Pirate101, but it's one of my favorites these days.

If I could again find the time (it's in short supply these days), I wouldn't mind heading back to Twitch to play through more of Pirate101 with Virtuous Vanessa.

I loved having Pet Battles with her:

Watch live video from Stingite on www.twitch.tv


3- Ark, Survival Evolved -- Uber Wife downloaded this and started playing it the other day, so I gave it a go for about 30 minutes.  Not a bad game at all!  At some point I'd like to explore that a bit more, but honestly . . . I kind of like the 16-bit Minecraft survival game a bit more . . . call me crazy.

4- The Switch!  We have one!  What the heck am I doing not playing that thing 24-7?  AGAIN, not enough hours in the day.  I would like to go back and give Zelda a more dedicated play through. I watched my kids beat the game, and they had a blast with it.  It's dad's turn now.

5- Rocket League!  Ok, so . . . I got really bummed out about Rocket League the other day. The reason why?  I can't explain it, but my aim is terribly off in that game lately.  To make matters worse, I'm ranked a Veteran now, so I'm getting matched with really good people and if my aim is off, I look like a complete doofus.  If I could rank reset for free, I would, but that wouldn't be very fair to the rookies . . . it's just . . . what is up with my aim???

Anyway . . . this video of Morgrim and myself playing Rocket League is hilarious.



6- Elder Scrolls Online -- I was actually set to play this game with my friend, Andrew before I got sucked back in to Everquest.  WHY EVERQUEST, WHY?!  We managed to sync up our play times a couple times, but group play was a stuggle for us at best.  Sorry, Andrew.  I may come back to this if . . . I find the time. (this is definitely a reoccuring theme this post, isn't it?)

7- DC Universe Online -- NO!  Just no.  I refuse to open that game again. I've spent far too much of my gaming life playing this game. (just between us though, it's still loaded on my PC, and I do get tempted to log on just to say hello to my friends -- even if my stomach instantly turns the moment I log on.)

8- Magicka -- I was convinced to give this one a go by Morgrim, so I bought it for $2 and played the first few chapters.  Pretty fun actually!  I can see how this would be a good time in multiplayer. I'd like to play it again . . . um . . . if I find the time. (It feels silly typing it again.)

9- Dubwars -- what?  It's loaded on my PC but I haven't played it for like forever.

10- Guild Wars 2 -- what? Oh yeah . . . I kind of killed myself playing that game last year, and now I can't bring myself to log on.  Sorry.

11- classic gaming -- You know what I want to do if I ever find the time?  I'd like to have a party where I line up a couple tables, bring out my old gaming systems and invite my buddies to come play classic games with me!  Put that one on my bucket list.

. . . and that's about all I have the time or inclination to write about this morning.  whew . . . that was a nice 20 minute brain dump.

Thanks for reading and Happy Dueling!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stingite . . . and the State of His Gaming: Part 3 -- Unplugged Gaming

A lot of fun can be had around the table, and I'd say that lately that's where I've been having the MOST fun. Let's take a looksy:

1- Dungeons and Frickin' Dragons -- Yup!  I'm actively participating in four D&D games lately.

The Barrow Maze -- Ben Durbin (aka Ratbeard for those who know him from the Pirate101 forums) has been DM'ing a group of people through a super unforgiving module where you start out as level 0 peasants and hopefully grow to be powerful heroes -- but don't get too cocky or you'll end up dead. Leveling is strictly based on gold acquisition and experience gains. I joined in a little late . . . late enough to watch a couple level 5 characters die before my level 0 characters even made 1st level.  let's just say there's an undead knight and his army that we freed upon the world. whoops.






Out of the Abyss -- Sam Johnson (aka Blind Mew for those who know him from the Pirate101 forums) has been DM'ing a group of us over lunch time 1 or 2 times a week for the past year, and we're finally nearing the end of the Out of the Abyss campaign.  I play a Rogue with a heart of gold. :)  We all leveled up to sixth level yesterday and defeated the Pudding King in Blingdenstone.  Good times.  Give us 2-3 weeks and we may make it to the surface and out of the Underdark! It's been a riot, and some day I'll have to tell more about our adventures we had here.  By the way, having a master storyteller like Sam be your DM . . . it's a choice experience.





Althea and Company -- This is Jeff Toney's game where he DMs for his daughter, two of my kids, and me . . . I play a bard and for the most part I just try to keep people alive with healing word. ;)  I dedicated an entire blog to our fun and adventures, but I just didn't have the time to keep up with it. This is straight up the Lost Mines of Phandelver. Our party hit level 5 and we're about to move on to things more . . . giant related. *squeeee*







The Saviors -- This is my game. I'm DM'ing the same group as above only with the addition of Uber Wife.  I have a game to DM for all of them on Sunday, and I feel woefully unprepared.  I'm hoping to get some time on Saturday to figure out how to approach this.  This troop is now around the level 3 range, and I've been mostly running the one-shots of M.T. Black and I even wrote a campaign of my own to get them from level 2 to 3.




2- Boss Monster! Every time we go to our local bookstore, my son Miles would pick up the Boss Monster game box and really want to get it.  He likes the retro 16-bit look to the cover, and it just sounded fun to him. Luckily for me, Jeff Toney had a copy of the card game in his car. (You gotta understand, Jeff Toney's trunk is always filled with a few games.) I borrowed it and played it with my family, and we had a great time!  It's a bit of a toss up on games like these and my family is a bit burnt from playing Munchkin, which my family really wants to like but surprisingly really doesn't like. I don't know what it is about that game . . . Anyway, Boss Monster was a hit, so I purchased the game for myself and it's in our family rotation of games now.




3- Near and Far. Jeff Toney purchased this game from a kick starter and it's a sister game to Above and Below, which is easier to find at the moment.  Jeff, myself, and Karl Holbert from work all played this over a couple of lunches about a month ago and it was awesome!  This is one I want to get and play with my family.  










And that pretty much wraps up my unplugged gaming news. I'll have to think about writing a Part 4 to this series . . . it'd be about everything else, like console gaming and other PC games outside of Everquest.  I'll put some thought to it. :)

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stingite . . . and the State of His Gaming: Part 2 -- Mobile

Just continuing here with my catch up posts, let me take a quick post to talk about mobile games and me. 

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1- I've obviously been playing EverClicker . . . like a lot, but not as much as 264 other people. ;)


If you didn't get a chance to catch KingsIsle's EverClicker launch video, then here you go:


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2- AlphaCat! Yup. It's installed on my phone and I still hit up Invasions when I can.  I've given up on the dream of owning all the Epic critters and instead just log on to collect my daily reward (trying to get more of those coins), grab hearts, check the daily missions, and see what's up with invasions.

If I have time, I'll also jump into 4 random zones just to see if there's a set of invasion plans on a bad guy.  If not, I'll typically just leave the map unless the objective looks super easy to win.

Leave map?  Yeah I don't know if many people know you can launch a map and then immediately leave it by clicking the gear wheel in the top right hand corner and then the "leave map" button in the bottom right hand corner.  If all I'm doing is checking for invasion plans, this really speeds things up.


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3- Fire Emblem Heroes?  Nope.  I finally had enough and uninstalled it.  Sure, they added a really cool new mode where it benefited you to having a deeper team of heroes, but . . . meh . . . after a few rounds of summoning nothing but bronze and silver heroes, I kind of just checked out.  Sorry Fire Emblem heroes . . . you were fun in your time!


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4- Miitomo?  Yup. I still have it installed.  It's not really something I'd say I was "playing" so much these days.  I mean, I'll log on, collect my candy drop, spend tickets on clothes, answer 3 questions a day, and . . . oh wait . . . ok, I guess I'm still playing Miitomo . . .


I wish I could find a batch of supportive friends that were fun to talk to.  When I first started playing Miitomo it was like that. There was a couple from Wyoming that was great. There was a guy who moved to Canada with his girlfriend who really had a Girahim fascination, Avery is always amazing to talk to, and my kids were even playing . . .. mmmmm . . . now I just don't know if I have that awesome "group of mii people" vibe going anymore.

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5- Rise & Destroy?  Unfortunately I just don't have the memory space on my phone to have all those games installed. I kind of wish I would have had the time and energy to do a full walk through of Rise & Destroy back in the day.  There's part of me that would like to go back and do that just for funsies.  Would you want to see that? Let me know!

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And that's all I got for Mobile Games today.  If you've got a suggestion for a great game that you're playing atm, let me know.  I've been thinking about re-downloading Pokemon Go since they've had a few updates, but that hasn't really happened yet.

I do have a backlog of mobile games I've played and never talked about on this blog that might be fun:
  • Contest of Champions
  • Bardbarian
  • Draw Your Game
  • Etc.
It'd be something to talk about at least. lol.

Tomorrow I'll again be continuing my "State of His Gaming" series.  See you then.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Stingite . . . and the State of His Gaming: Part 1 -- Everquest

About two months ago I started a blog post that I never finished, and it said this:

"Everquest . . . yes Everquest . . . has me firmly held by the hand . . . and I'm completely in love with it all over again. I'm in a new guild. I'm two-boxing. I'm grinding for xp.

Someone send help.

I love it, it's weird graphics, and GOSH DANGIT THIS GAME IS HARD. I don't even want to talk about the number of times I've died.  It's literally been two steps forward, one step back for the majority of the time."

I don't know what happened to that blog post. Maybe it was just the time wasn't right.  Maybe it said too much, or maybe I just wasn't confident enough that I was really ALL IN on Everquest again.

Let me cut the suspense short -- I'm not really playing Everquest right now and haven't logged on for a month.  That said I did grab 90 or so screenshots from my time playing.  Here are a few of the highlights:

1- This screenshot comes from a new Heroic Instance (well "new to me") where you help out all of bixie-kind with various problems. I was clearing out spiders, ousting spys, and even jumping into war-zone trenches for these dudes. I was soloing or "moloing" (that's soloing with the help of a mercenary) this instance and dying . .  a lot. I later found out that you really should group up to do these instances. I'm not much of a grouper, so . . .


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2- Here I am in a dangerously safe tunnel in a zone called . . . I believe . . . The Foundation? Yup. The Foundation. A lot of my first five levels beyond the Heroic Character stages was done here because they now have these great experience quests that are level banded. I honestly don't know why Daybreak doesn't make these quests repeatable for a premium currency price like they do in DC Universe Online. I would have shelled out a lot of money. (This is my character's werewolf form btw and sporting my guild tag.)


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3- I purchased a "hoard pack" like item that gives you a random roll on loot. You think wiz packs are bad? You only get two items for about 4 times the price. Anyway, I got a pretty weird looking hand to hand weapon, so I snapped a picture of me looking strong in the guild hall.


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4- I snapped this picture in a zone I can't even remember the name of. *shrug* There were sea turtles under the water I needed to hunt for a quest, and you could walk on the floating islands and bridges above. I mainly just loved the alien blue ocean here.  Strangely pretty.


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5- There's a zone called "Fear Itself" that is a remake of an old classic Everquest zone. In fact, that seems to be how they mostly operate here 20 years later.  Step one - take an old zone that's pretty much immortalized. Step two -- slightly redo it. Different skybox. A few different landscape touches. done. Step three -- fill it with super insane mobs and bosses. Step four -- itemize those with up to date drops. Step five -- write a few new collection and hunting quests. Step six -- profit. (ok ok . . . there may be just a bit more to it than that.)

In this shot I was giggling over the fact that Baron Bigdeal was trying to pick up on an undead turmoil toad.  Hey baby . . . wanna come back to my lily pad?


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6- So, to make some money -- and you WILL need money. I would head over to an oldy but a goody -- I remember raiding this area with a guild ten years ago. There were a few drops here that people really wanted to buy -- did I say people? I meant CRAFTERS. Crafters in Everquest are only kind-of people. I believe they're demi-gods of infinite patience and bottomless bank accounts. Anyway, nothing quite like a giant fountain of blood in a land infested with Vampires. *click* That's a screenshot moment!


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7- Oh look, I'm back in the "Fear Itself" zone here . . . It was Gorgonrific. Soon after taking this shot I was pretty much done with the zone, which was sad . . . it was probably one of my favorite places to die.


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8- I'm a lizard Luke riding my lizard Taun-Taun on Hoth! Naahhhhh . . . this was again a redone old zone. I can't even remember what it was called, but it was over in the old "Scars of Velious" area. Again, a redone classic zone made new again. There were giant wooly mammoths here that were scaled up to around 90th something level. Good times.


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9- This may be what killed Everquest for me . . . or a possibly it was just a sign of my interest in Everquest dying again. I got bored around level 96 (there's 105 levels) and went back to do something super pointless -- level up "monster forms."  At some point Everquest released an expansion where you could level up your character as a low level monster -- you work your way through a class of monsters. The only problem is they never updated the levels on them. There's no badges associated with leveling them . . . and while a neat different way of visualizing your character . . . it's ultimately un-rewarding.

I WANTED these monster-forms to be something cool so badly when they were first released. I even wrote up some weird role-playing event about them at the time. I'm so drawn to wanting to play as the monster, but it just didn't click in Everquest, and Sony (and now Daybreak) stopped spending time and money on developing the system (understandably so). So, here I am as a wandering eye . . . one of the last things I ever did in my recent addiction to Everquest. Griding to unlock forms for this wasn't fun. bye.


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That's about all I have time to write this morning, so I'm going to call it here. Part 2 and maybe Part 3 coming soon.

Thanks to my new Everquest guild for being super cool. Thanks to Daybreak for keeping this game alive and running for 20 years. I may be back again in the future, but for now . . . I'm OUT.  It was a fun couple of months though for sure. :)

Happy Dueling

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ahhh, that old Everquest jam. :) Hatesfury

Guys! Guys!  EVERQUEST!

So, I found out thanks to Massively that Everquest was having their 18th anniversary, and you could get a free level 85 heroic character for logging in.  I'm like . . . that sounds perfect. done.

I redownloaded Everquest and hopped in game on my two accounts.

When they ran this offer before I jumped my existing level 70-something Beastlord (This is the original Stingite) to an 85 heroic and created a new 85 heroic Barbarian on my other account (always with the hopes that my wife will someday join me).

Back then I spent a lot of time getting my old cleric (the one that started this whole nonsense of playing MMOs . . . truly my first character in an MMO) AAs in the Plane of Sky by two-boxing the Barbarian and my cleric . . . and then I lost interest as it just stopped being fun.

This time I jumped my cleric (makes all that farming in the plane of sky a bit pointless, but seriously, who cares) up to a heroic 85. And created another heroic cleric on my second account.

Meet . . . Bigdeal . . . he's kind of a big deal . . . or no big deal at all . . . your choice.


Anyway, there was a particular quest back in the day that I always wanted to do. We're talking 2003-2004 timeframe.  Funny enough, it takes place upon a pirate ship named Hate's Fury.  There was a hammer from the raid boss that proc'd little pets to help damage your enemy.  There were only maybe 2-3 weapons in the game with this unique effect, and I wanted it.


I remember asking my guild leaders about it at the time, and they were like . . . "Let me get this straight. You want us to lead a raid into a zone that no one really does and farm four rare items that spawns a raid boss that takes around 20-30 people to kill for a chance at a rare item? No.  But tell you what . . . if you get the four items in advance and have them ready to turn in, we'll give it a shot."

Sigh.

I never could even convince a group to go to Hate's Fury to farm for them.

Oh well.

Fast forward to today.  I ran my two new characters over to that old zone and it was cake.  I really never even had to worry.  I'd pull the whole zone down on me, and my heroic characters were so far beyond this area that it was just ridiculously easy.  So, I began my solo farm for those items for a long forgotten weapon that I don't need.

After 3 hours or so, I had the items.

This morning I decided to take my  two heroic characters and see if I could take on the raid boss that used to require 20-30 people.


I buffed. I prepped. I summoned the inner zen.  Turned in the items and spawned the demon.


About 5 seconds into it, I realized that this was, again, far too easy for these two characters.  Before you knew it, Captain Krasnok was dead and I was done . . . and the Vander's Bane hammer didn't drop, but that's ok. I got to do the quest, and I have the items ready to go so I can do it one more time.


Here's to hopefully finishing goals that really are no longer goals 14 years later!

Happy Dueling

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching up with Althea and Company

I don't know if you caught my small blog post fest last year about Dungeons and Dragons, but I tried to start up a new blog about it, and it kinda died: Althea and Company.

Writing out our adventures to that level of detail and trying to remember everything that happened (and finding the time and passion to do it), was a bit ambitious.  Anyway, we continue to run through our adventures, and I actually started hosting my own game with the same "Althea and Company" crew -- only this time Jeff Toney is the player, and I'm the DM . . . AND . . . Uber wife is also playing with us. yay!

Instead of working through an official Wizards of the Coast production like the Lost Mine of Phandelver, I'm using a lot of one-shot dungeons strung together with narrative. The first two we've run were Giantslayer and King of the Cats by MT Black. Both were excellent, and I think everyone had a great time . . . they slayed the giant and they rescued the King of the Cats. yay!

So next I have my group set to do one of two things. Either they will take on another MT Black one-shot, Wizard in a Bottle, or they will head down an adventure of my very own make. I'm interested in seeing which they take on and how they do. I definitely don't want to kill my friends and family in a dungeon, and I know I typically build things too difficult, but this is a party of five I'm dealing with here, and they actually have the potential to really dish out the damage . . . or really have a bad day with bad dice rolls . . . or, as we found out last week, get completely distracted and not hear that the bad guy just cast the shield spell and start using magic missile.

The Giant adventure was fun, but the only thing that gave them any real challenge were giant crabs. Oh man they struggled on that one.

The King of Cats final battle was pretty fun, and I think I scared 'em a bit when they discovered their weapons were pretty ineffective vs. a wererat, which you need silver weapons or spells to fight.  They were never really intended to fight the wererat anyway. I may have to bring her back at sometime to torment the party, so they can finish her off (especially if they spend the 100 gold it takes to silver their weapons).

Anyway, instead of scribbled notes for my dungeon, I've been typing it out like it's a one-shot, and if all goes well with the group, and they survive the adventure and have fun with it, I may actually try to publish it on a site like Dungeon Masters Guild and see what happens!

I'm not going to type much about my adventure I have planned for them just yet in case one of 'em stumbles upon this blog post, but . . . it's got a couple nasty surprises waiting for them.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friendly Necro vs. the Dub Wars

Back in December 2016 I was on vacation for a bit and purchased myself a Christmas gift from Steam's discount aisle. Do you ever just see a game and think, oh yeah, that's something I'd probably like? Dub Wars was one of those purchases that just kind of checked all the right boxes from the get go . . . dubstep (check).  What?  You thought there would be more check boxes than dubstep? (Actually a lot of the music isn't really pure dubstep, but I digress, and it doesn't matter -- great music is great music.)

Honestly I'm not really a 2-D, top down, shooter kind of a guy; although as I was playing the game I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if Mark Bussler from Classic Gameroom has tried this game? He's totally a 2-D, top down shooter kind of a guy. He lives for this kind of game. Then again, I don't know if he's an electronic music loving type of a dude.

Anyway, the thing that makes this game different is that you don't fire the gun, the music fires the gun, which makes for a very "non-mashy" experience where you just move your ship around and aim your weapons as you visually see the music fire off beautiful lasers of death.

The tempo of the game naturally moves along with the tempo of the music, and when you hear the bass drop is the same moment where you are wrecking enemies with your most powerful weapons fired off in rapid succession. It's actually the quiet moments in the game that can be the most stressful as your weapons are just firing occasionally and you're running away from things thinking, can this song just drop the bass already?

At first when I bought this game I was thinking, this would be super fun to stream, but I did a test video of me playing and it was pretty funny how focused I was at dodging. Just look at this face:


Later in the video it doesn't change much.


Yeah!  I don't think I even moved my head to the music lol.

So I don't know about streaming this game, but it might be a different experience with an audience to react to and entertain.  I kind of turn into a different person when I stream.  :)

The game suffers a touch from replayability problems. There are 10 levels (songs), and while the music is absolutely great, it's 10 songs that you hear over and over. Did I say playing over and over? You end up playing levels over and over a lot to power up your ship, and this is because the first time you enter a level, you will get wrecked -- power ups help so much with surviving.


You play games over and over and collect "wubs," which are then spent to improve your health and weapons.  Probably the coolest part of this feature is that your weapons can get massively upgraded and not only become more powerful, more more outlandish . . . whereas you can have little exhaust lasers shooting out of your side at 0 wubs, 1000 wubs will sometimes cause those exhaust lasers to become giant lightsabers of death, which is fun.

There are over 40 achievements to earn, which help replayability, but some achievements are like . . . really? That's crazy. Who would do that? *cough* I may or may not have the achievement for playing a level 25 times in a row. *cough* I may have just boosted my health up and put myself in the corner of the screen and walked away from the game to do that.

So there you have it.  Dub Wars!  Pretty fun little game, and a pretty great discount rack buy for me over Christmas.

Happy Dueling!