Saturday, June 25, 2016

#OneWeekDailyBlogging Wrap up -- Bonus Day!

Thank you all for joining me with a week of blogging.  I finished up my week's worth of blog posts yesterday, and I'm quite happy I joined in Emy's fun!

Please read her full recap here: *click me*

Included in that recap is a challenge to participate in another week of blogging sometime in the December 2016 time frame . . . I'm game! (Emy, you will certainly need to remind me of this and chastise me if I say I can't join in when you do this again.)

I think my favorite moment of this challenge was not the daily activity of thinking, "what's on my mind today, and can I smoosh that out into a meaningful blog post," (that was a close second), but actually spending some time getting lost into Emy's YouTube channel in the process. Watching her translate her adorable dog's barks was hilarious, and the Christmas videos were very heartwarming.

Emy, if you're reading . . . you really should do more videos. You've got a knack at that. :)

Hopefully the benefit for you all was catching up with me and seeing where my brain is at when I'm not thinking about KingsIsle all the time. (Ok, let's be honest . . . I really am thinking about KingsIsle 90 percent of the time . . . it's hard not to get sucked in when you're checking forums and getting pinged on Twitter every day about something.)

Consider this an invitation to join in for anyone that reads this blog . . . with any luck we'll have a little more warning next time to plan, and if that's the case, I'll be making a post to declare my intentions to POST POST AND POST SOME MORE during that week!

Along those lines . . . I don't know if Belghast has intentions to run another Blaugust this year, but if he does . . . you should all consider joining in that as well.  A week of blogging is fun, but a whole month of blogging is truly an exercise and could be rewarding too. Last year I won a copy of Terraria for participating (which reminds me . . . I still need to write about that game hehe)

Happy Dueling

Friday, June 24, 2016

D&D yesterday, today, and tomorrow

(continuing along with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging challenge from Emy . . .)

Hello dungeons delvers!

I've played a bit of D&D before in my life and especially when I was a kid. When I close my eyes and think about playing D&D in the past I remember three locations.

- A guy's kitchen that was about two blocks from my best friend's house
- A guy's basement bedroom that was across the street from my best friend's house
- In the room of the brother of a friend's house.

We were such nerds about D&D, and I'm sure those rooms smelled of sweaty socks and Doritos.  I think this was right around the time that Atari was taking off, but besides Atari, this was the LIFE! The smell didn't even matter y'all . . . we were gettin' our fantasy fix and slaying hordes of orcs and other crazy things. YARRR! *insert the sound of rolling dice*

Eventually, I stopped playing D&D, and I talk about that in another post I wrote when Dave Arneson died.  I'll quote from it:

"Eventually when I was in my early 20's I was without a job living in the upstairs apartment of a guitarist that I use to play drums for. It was kind of a sad and very poor time in my life. Well, I traded all my early editions of my D&D books to him in exchange for rent for a month. That was the Monster Manual, the Dungeon Master's Guide, The Players Handbook, Dieties and Demi-Gods, the Monster Manual II, and a really super rare book of traps. By that time I hadn't played the game for a few years, so they didn't really matter to me. But now . . . now . . . I kind of wish I had them again just to take a look at them and laugh a bit at a few memories I had with my friends as we played that game."

A few years ago, I picked up the Red Box basic D&D set again (edition 4 apparently) because my daughter was wanting to play, so I got the box and gave it a shot. It was a struggle for us and my DM skills were incredibly rusty. I continually had to stop gameplay and check rules and scratch my head. I think the experience turned her off to the game . . . but she wanted to go crazy anyway with making a character that was half unicorn and shot rainbows of death out of its butt or something like that, and I just wasn't prepared to bend the rules because I didn't even know the rules to begin with.  It was a struggle.

Now, people at work play pen and paper D&D on lunch break all the time at KingsIsle, but I never really got involved much until . . . something I can't talk about . . . sorry, the first rule about D&D Fight Club is that there is no D&D Fight Club. Now who's the rule breaker?!

D&D fight club is DM'd by the one and only Jeff Toney! Basically two people go against each other, you start at level 3, and when one player wins, they advance to the next level in one fell swoop.  If you lose . . . well, it used to be permadeath for your character, but it felt a bit punishing when you'd get up to 4th or 5th level and then have to start all over. Now the rules are that when you die, you lose one item to the other player, get 200 gold and keep your level. Currently, my druid is a nice stepping stone to pass better players on to 6th level where you can purchase magic items and start the potion meta-game.  I figure I have enough gold built up from defeat I might be able to buy something amazing, which will probably be stolen by another player . . .

Let me cut to the chase by saying IT'S FUN!  It's fun and it's gotten me back into D&D a bit.  Jeff is even DM'ing a game for me, my kids, and his daughter on the side every other week or so, and it's been pretty awesome. I can safely blame Jeff for getting me back into D&D.

At work I'm now playing a game where on Thursdays at lunch, Blind Mew himself is the DM guiding a group of us through an adventure!  (And can I just say it was pretty awesome to be part of a jail break in yesterday's session?)

Tomorrow is another Jeff Toney hosted D&D session for my family, and I can't wait to continue on our journey. Seeing as my kids are involved, it's a bit crazy and Jeff is more than prepared to handle my kids' creative minds. Hopefully when they look back at their D&D experience, they'll find it has a better smell to it than sweaty socks and Doritos . . . it's been upgraded to scented room fresheners and usually pizza, cookies, and sodas . . . complete with colorful characters hand-drawn by Jeff Toney himself.

I'm the Dragonborn bard in the middle. :)

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Neverwinter Foundry System . . . removed?

(continuing along with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging challenge from Emy . . .)

My wife the other day asked me to help her load up Neverwinter on the computer, which is strange.

Because here's the deal. Back in 2014 I was on a crusade to get my family playing Neverwinter. I even managed to coordinate a moment where my daughter, Uber Wife, and I were playing in the same group.  This, like, never happens anymore.  After that one experience, my family dumped the game. *cries*

Oh well, I'm sure one of Uber Wife's Internet buddies convinced her to download it, and as it turns out the game was crashing on her during mid-load with a nasty "graphicalclient.exe error."  Basically I had to run the launcher in Safe-Mode and then everything seemed to work.

I even logged in for a second and checked out my super sexy cleric, Dr. PhilGood. Don't remember him?


Now you do!

Of course the first thing I wanted to do when I was back online was revisit my dungeon that I spent all that time crafting in the Foundry system, because . . . 1- I missed it and 2- let's be honest, Neverwinter has the best UGC (User Generated Content) system out there, right?! Honestly it was my favorite thing about the game.

. . . "was" my favorite thing about the game. The foundry system and all the quests that went with it were nowhere to be found. *GASP*

And apparently I was late to the party to know about this as I took to an Internet search:
  • The Foundry wiki states it "disappeared from the game" several months ago.
  • The Neverwinter uncensored blog had a quote from a Dev that said they were looking at several frustrating bugs with the foundry system, but also gave a very telling couple of sentences: ". . . the more power you give authors in creating user generated content, the more likely some are going to abuse that power. But the less power you give authors, the less the foundry can serve its purpose of being a true sandbox environment."
  • And finally, Reddit, takes us to the land of truth . . . people were abusing the system to create maps specifically for farming exp and astral diamonds.
I guess it's human nature . . . someone builds a game and someone else tries to break it.  It's just too bad we can't have nice things, and that's a shame.

One things for sure, I'm glad I did screenshots of my Labyrinth tribute dungeon and captured it in this post so I could remember it though! Screenshots or it didn't happen! (now if only I would have made a YouTube video of it . . . ahh well.)

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A blog about wood grain in Roblox . . . I love life

(continuing along with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging challenge from Emy . . .)

Yesterday I stumbled upon a blog that was linked to by the former Creative Director of Roblox, John Shedletsky.

My jaw dropped.

A blog . . . about wood grain . . . in Roblox?  Sure enough, I followed the links and visited the site, and this is a real thing! I present to you, Wood Reviewer Roblox.

Now now . . . it may seem incredulous at first I admit, but before you simply push Wood Reviewer Roblox into the meta-joke categorization of having blogs on the Internet about very esoteric topics, like odd QR code placement, Awkward Stock photos, and old people posting on Facebook . . . KNOW THIS!

He's serious, and I love it.

I've written about Roblox before and my youngest son right now plays this game a whole heck of a lot. He loves Roblox with a passion, and we've spent more money on Roblox for him than I'm willing to admit. In other words, I'm writing this as being someone highly invested in the product of Roblox.

  1. My son doesn't care about wood grain direction in Roblox . . .
  2. Probably 99 percent of the people who play Roblox don't care about the wood grain direction in Roblox . . .
  3. . . . but Wood Reviewer is invested like a Dev, and I dig that.  These are the types of details that artists at video game companies are passionate about, and in a game like Roblox where people of all ages are learning to build worlds and think like Devs . . . YES . . . this topic is exactly what's needed.

I took it to an Internet search and found a great thread about Wood Reviewer on Reddit . . . what is up with the wood grain memes?  I, for one, hardheartedly agree with poster IWantGoreinPF: "ssshh... WoodReviewer is our hero... that we don't need. Let us praise his efforts"

I raise my morning glass of water to you, Wood Reviewer! I shall never look at Wood Texture the same in Roblox.  Job well done.

Now . . . dear reader . . . ask yourself this question . . . if you were to write an entire esoteric blog about something that bugs you in a video game, what would it be?

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Miitomo and Me

(Continuing along with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging challenge from Emy . . .)

Hey all, so I had a wicked long bout of sleep last night. I'm not even kidding . . . 10-11 hours of sleep. I think the sleep deprivation finally caught up with me and I just crashed. I normally would have played a few games last night and then had something to write about, but the only thing I really played yesterday was Miitomo.

Yup, Miitomo . . . it's still a thing, well at least it is for me, and I haven't spent a dime and I kind of feel bad about that. I figure if I've played a free app for any significant amount of time, I should probably ante up at some point to tell 'em thanks for all the fun. I don't feel the pull to get all the outfits I see and change them out 20 times a day or anything like that so the monetization pull doesn't really work on me. 

Miitomo for me is simply 20-30 minutes a day chatting with new friends and my family, although, I can tell our interests are all waning a bit.  My son hasn't logged on in a long time, but can I just say his answers on Miitomo were the sweetest, cutest thing in the entire world?

Let me give you a few of his answers:
  • What current event has grabbed your interest? My hard working spirit.
  • What does friendship mean to you? Kindness.
  • What's something funny that's happened to you recently? Nothing really other than my dad making kermit the frog jokes.
Man I love that kid! :)

I used to post a bunch of pictures from Miitomo on my Twitter timeline, but I felt like it was starting to get a bit spammy. Although, I think I kind of liked the question posts more than the straight up outfit change posts if I was to do more.

That would be this.

vs. this.

Do you have the app?  Hate the app?  Ever bought anything on the app? Lemme know what you think in the comments below.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day 2016 Redux!

(Continuing along with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging Event from Emy . . .)

Hey all! I hope everyone had a great Father's Day yesterday! I know my family really went out of their way to make it a great one for me, and I appreciate them so much. I wasn't even expecting the day to be as cool as it was!  Here's what happened:

I woke up. ;) Ok, let's start at the exciting stuff . . . donuts!

I don't know if I've ever talked about this before on this blog, but our family likes to do something called "Saturday Morning Donut Adventure." My wife took it upon herself to drive us an hour away to a completely ordinary donut shop in Marble Falls, TX. Because, while it's important to enjoy a good donut, it's also very important to take an adventure along your way there.  We have visited several donut shops in Austin, TX, but we've never been out this way, and it a very beautiful and winding drive through some pretty country.

The Colorado river runs right through the heart of this town and a large park rests right off of Highway 281 called Lakeside Park.  They had little picnic table areas where the tables were made of what appeared to be solid Marble.  We were more interested in all the spiders we found in the picnic area.  I couldn't get a good shot of all the varieties of spiders hanging above our table, and we didn't stay long enough to disturb them too much.

The river/lake was beautiful though and the day was perfect.  I managed to snap a picture of a couple of balloons floating into the air that some people nearby released.

It makes you wonder if they were releasing them for their father's.  That's kind of a cool way to say I miss you, right?

After we got home, I sat down again to play some more Pirate101.

I helped Desdemona find her love, which was no small task . . . Those sneeple in Aquila were none too happy to see us again!  Too make a long story short . . . Bad Pedro and Friendly Thomas both leveled up, and it felt like a natural stopping point for the day.

One of the gifts I got for Father's Day was a DVD copy of Zootopia, so we sat down as a family to watch it . . . and promptly lost the kids (who had other things to watch lol) . . . but the adults had a great time watching it! I loved the scene where, aptly enough, there was another "donut adventure" of sorts.

The day rounded out with a steak dinner with Pablano Pepper rice.  It was amazing . . . even more amazing, I didn't have to cook it.

It was a great Father's Day, and I love my family for making it so special for me.

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's all about the Witchdoctors Companions!

(Continuing on with the #OneWeekDailyBlogging event from Emy . . . )

I played some Pirate101 last night with my Witchdoctor / Privateer dream team and did pretty well! I lost some companions, but I was never personally defeated.  I’m not sure if people understand . . . a win is a win y’all . . . we have really deep companion pools, and we need to use them wisely in new content.  You may not always want to rush in with you’re A-team of companions on new content, especially instanced content where you know things get progressively harder. Expect a few companions to be defeated and you’ll be doing a lot better. Your mileage may vary, but I’m digging the strategy bump in Valencia 2 a lot. :)

Now, all that aside, I was noticing last night that my witchdoctor companions were just tearing mobs up in Valencia like pros, and I wasn’t even using Old Scratch. Granted, I was buffing Will, Crits, and Dodge/Accuracy with the amazing Witchdoctor/Privateer buff combo, but my witchdoctor companions like Carcarius and Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah did some super heavy lifting last night, and I loved it.

As for the enemies we were facing off against, there were some deadly combos involving Second Chance, Relentless, and Bladestorm. I had some unfortunate chains that a few mobs used against me, and I did indeed lose a few buddies to the wounded task. THIS IS TO BE EXPECTED! On the other hand, Kan Po loved those Second Chance epic misses . . . it just meant he’d be making more Riposte attacks. 

I also made a couple dumb mistakes . . . I got excited and forgot to check my enemies for things like Flanking and Repel Boarders and lost a companion or two to that. Always check your opponents, Tom.  Yup! NOTED! Anyway, that’s also part of why I like my Witchdoctors, they just stand in one place and throw hit after hit: Jobu’s Ruse, Mojo Echo, etc. I freaking love the jobu’s and mojo’s!

My stopping point last night was where I leveled up and gained Contessa as a new companion.  

I took some time to put some epics on her and called it a night, but I’m having so much fun with my Witchdoctor companions that I don’t even know if I’ll use her right away!

See you in Pirate101 friends!

Happy Dueling

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Daily Blogging this week? Why not!? Let's catch up...

Hello all! I received a challenge from the one and only Emy Anemsalok . . . Community Manager extraordinaire . . . to join in the #oneweekdailyblogging challenge that she and her cohorts dreamed up. Whew, it can be tough to blog these days for me, but I always enjoy a challenge (and I really loved Blaughust last year, so consider this my warm up I guess lol).

With that, my friends, why don't I catch you up on all things Tom.

1- YouTube! If you didn't know, I have a (kinda) weekly playthrough of Wizard101 going with my buddy Morgrim aka The Art of Warlord.  We're deep into Mooshu now and in a couple of episodes I predict we'll be in Dragonspyre.

2- Work!  Work has been incredibly taxing lately. I lost my cohorts Leala and Julia :( and I've been scrambling a bit ever since, but I'm starting to find a new groove that I hope carries on to bigger and better things . . . like maybe a new KI Live next week?

3- Book 15!  What the what?  I thought for sure "Where's Book 15 of Pirate101?" would be etched on my tombstone, but you know what . . . the team pulled it off and I can't wait to really get my feet wet in the content.  I will be taking Thomas (my witchdoctor) and Pedro (my Privateer) through a 2-boxed adventure into Valencia 2. woot!

4- Other gaming! I know it's hard to believe that I play other games than Wizard101 and Pirate101, but I do.  I've preached it before, but it's good to be a well-rounded gamer.

Just recently I've been playing Legend of Zelda Windwaker.  Said what?  That old game?!  Yup!  It's one of the only Legend of Zelda games I've never really played much of, so I decided to give it some time.  I was sailing around this morning placing pearls from the first three dungeons.

I've also been playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons Online.

I know you've heard me talk about this game before, and if you didn't know, I have a blog dedicated to this game called the Stormreach Sentinel.  I debated killing that blog and just blogging about my adventures over here on TFN, but IDK, I kind of like how everything is neatly compartmentalized to one game over there.

In fact, I've made 16 blog posts on my Stormreach Sentinel blog since March.  I'm playing a necromancer (of course) and have been having a blast.  You know what stopped me in my tracks though?

5- Physical Therapy!  I've been going to physical therapy about twice a week to work on my leg muscles.  That left leg of mine really atrophied after being held straight for 3 months and I've got a lot of work to get it back into shape.  I've been doing a hour or so of exercises every day, and it really kind of killed a lot of my extra blogging time in the mornings.

All of that, coupled with a fantastic trip to Disney World / Universal Studios last week has kind of taken a lot of my attention away from my old TFN blog here.

Hopefully this daily blogging gig this week will help kick start me a bit.

Happy Dueling!