Saturday, August 31, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 31 -- Survived, Thrived and Jived this Blaugust

So here it is, and here am I! 31 posts, ~15,000 words, and a whole lotta nonsense later, Blaugust draws to a close for me.

It's been interesting, and I've talked a bit about Overwatch, Gems of War, D&D, Diablo 3, Slay the Spire, Project Gorgon, Terraria, Rabbids + Mario, Desert Bus Simulator, Wizard101, Neverwinter, Adventure Quest 3D,  Sonic Colors, and even Super Mario Sluggers. Not to mention I took this great shot of all my old Sega CD games as well . . .


I like that mix of video game topics . . . some MMOs, some casual games, and some old school jams. That sounds a lot like what I'd write about. In fact, if you time traveled me to this post from a month ago I'd say, yup, that sounds like me.

In between writing all those posts, a lot of other things have gone on . . . like my kids heading back to school and my free time shrinking (dude, August is way busier for me near the end of the month . . . I should remember this next time Blaugust rolls around.) Work has been busy and other responsibilities kicked up a notch. whew.

At the first of the month I was actually able to keep up on reading more from the other fine bloggers involved in this endeavor, but eventually it all caught up to me and I was lucky if I was able to just make a post. Now that I'm a part of the Blaugust Discord, it should be easier to be a bit more involved in future discussions.

I want to thank those who dropped by and made a comment on my posts, even if it was difficult since I'm on the Blogspot platform. You rock! Comments on posts make my day. And even if you didn't make a comment, thanks for reading. You also rock!

So, I don't have much to post today in the way of "games," but I did wake up to this wonderful view.

That's the top of my tent. I spent the night under the shelter of a big ol' Pecan tree with my son by my side. I should do more of that. Sometimes you just gotta unplug.

Since I did have my phone with me, I was still able to participate in our Guild War in Gems of War. We're leading our bracket this month, and I'm the paragon for this round . . . so . . . gotta keep that up! GO DEN OF WOLVES!

I hope that if you checked in to my blog, you learned a little about a game or two you didn't know about, or that I was at least able to make you smile here or there. I try to be a good natured sort with a light heart, and I hope that comes through with my writing. I am a friendly necromancer after all.

Thanks and keep being amazing! . . . And keep up the great writing fellow Blaugustians!

Until next post . . . Happy Dueling

Friday, August 30, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 30 -- Barrowmaze Thursday with The Rock Throwers

Last night was once again a chance to romp through the Barrowmaze dungeon with Jeff Toney taking the lead as Dungeon Master for the evening. Can I just say that it's a bit terrifying when Jeff DM's? He knows the game so well and has the monsters attack so strategically that as a player you're in constant fear he is absolutely going to kill you. And of course the Barrowmaze is terrifying all in and of itself. It was designed to kill you. DEATH DEATH EVERYWHERE!

That said . . . it was the players' night last night, and The Rock Throwers (that's our group's name) managed to come out on top despite Jeff's virtual dice being super mean to us. It's like he's using Devil Dice.

So The Rock Throwers returned down the path we were originally headed two weeks ago, and this time went just a bit further. We encountered a kind of ghost in a room that feared us away, but we recovered, gathered up some of his bones and threw them at him while yelling, "Git! Yer dead, ghost! Now go away!" Gumby, my half orc fighter, isn't really the smartest of characters, but his instincts were pretty on point there, and the ghost disappeared! Lesson learned . . . sometimes you just need to make ghosts realize their dead to make them go away.

We stumbled down the path a bit further and heard chittering noises behind a locked door, so gumby busted it down, Candlewick (A rogue played by Kayly) threw a trap down in front of Gumby and we all groaned when we saw it was three deadly scorpions the size of large dogs. I began to dodge up front, but still took enough damage to spook the group.

Shelack, the tortle druid played by Joel, then pushed Gumby out of the way and transformed into a giant hyena while we shot around him. Gloommist, the Aasimar cleric played by Leah, summoned up a spiritual weapon and began to hack at them from behind.

Things ended up getting dicey for a second when two failed constitution rolls almost meant permanent and immediate death for Shelack, but luckily he used his inspiration to reroll a constitution saving throw and made it. Whew. That was incredibly close!

We finished off the scorpions and found 3 big bags of loot from dead adventurers within the room that ended up being an amazing amount of money for us . . . like 1,000 gold pieces each, and in the Barrowmaze gold equals experience points. Woo hoo, TEAM ROCK THROWERS!

After spending 30 minutes looting the crypt there we headed upwards kind of casually, which ended up being a dirt nap moment for Gumby as he rounded the corner and took 3 arrows to the chest from skeletons that got the jump on us.

Gloommist healed gumby back to full and we dispatched the skeletons quickly after that.

Gumby . . . having learned his lesson about not sneaking out of the dungeon, then went stealth mode and headed toward the exit. Unfortunately Gloommist called out for Gumby because she didn't know where I went, which lead to two sapphire-enchanted skeletons coming down upon the group.

Those Sapphire skeletons are the worst! Once they are defeated, you have to smash their gems in two rounds or they pop back up to full health.

Eventually those fell as well and we made our way out of the Barrowmaze with a new +1 chain shirt, three potions, and a bunch of loot.

All-in-all a wonderful night of D&D on Roll20. Even better, everybody leveled up thanks to our amazing haul of money. I can't believe Gumby has made it to level 3.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 29 -- Dun Rolled and Dun Told

Yesterday I took time during my lunch break to head down to my favorite comic book store and look for the brand new Rolled & Told release.  It was pretty crowded over by the comics since a lot of new comics dropped yesterday and rather than fight the 4 people in front of the new comics section for positioning, I dropped by the D&D section of the store and looked around there at what they had to offer. Not only that, my comic book shop sometimes also puts the Rolled & Told back with their D&D stuff . . . but not yesterday.

After things had cleared out a bit I made my way over and found the newest as it proudly proclaimed on the cover . . . HERE THERE BE GRANDMAS!  I love you rolled and told.

The cover was soft as ever . . . ohmigosh I love the feel of the cover of Rolled & Told. They made such a good choice on paper stock.

While I was there I glanced over and saw another interesting comic called "The Necromancer's Map," and even better it was issue 1. HUH?!  OK!  I mean, that totally sounds like a comic that the Friendly Necromancer would read, correct?

As it turns out, that's exactly the type of comic a friendly necromancer would read as the heroine of the story is in fact, a friendly necromancer. Looking on the publisher's website there are 5 future issues of this comic slated for now and it is kind of a continuation of a previous comic called Songs for the Dead. There's even a website specifically made for Songs for the Dead. Wild. I had no idea about this!

Aside from the "spaceship porn comic" advertisement at the back of the comic, it was a pretty good read. (That's . . . just not my scene) I liked the characters and premise enough, I'll probably be getting the rest of the series and reading what past stuff I can from Songs for the Dead.

Speaking of reading "past stuff" . . . do you guys realize how amazing my wife is? No? So, she read my blog (that's an awesome wife right there) and called a comic shop down in south Austin who actually had the June copy of Rolled & Told that I was missing from my collection. (You may remember me whining about that earlier in the month). That's how you know you've got a keeper . . . it's not the 25 years of marriage, 3 kids, and all that . . . it's that they read your blog and bought you a comic. LOL. Obviously I'm kidding, but she is pretty amazing. THANK YOU UBER WIFE! MY COLLECTION IS COMPLETE!

As for the new issue of Rolled & Told itself . . . I just love the weird adventures they come up with. This month there's a romp through a haunted house and a Demon Queen's Haven. There's also articles on roadside shrines and how to get your innocent family members involved in roleplay among other things.

All good stuff at the comic shop yesterday! (Also, the gyro I had for lunch was the perfect companion to reading some tasty comics. Yum!)

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

#Blaugust2019 day 28 -- The Book of Tom's WoW

While the entire world is heading back into World of Warcraft Classic Mode, I'm not.

My experience with Vanilla WoW was . . . a mixed bag. I'm sure it's amazing and everyone is reliving all the good times, and I'm also sure if I joined a new guild of people (I hear the Blaugust peeps have a guild going?) and made new friends, I could feel the magic . . . but . . . yo, I need to ramble a bit about that.

Lemme see if I can walk back this feeling inside me:

Chapter 1 -- It all begins with Everquest

I really loved Everquest. Honestly. It was a fantastic game for me, and I felt like I had so much success in it as a player. I had my epic weapons. I was raiding. The lore was deep. The world was wide. Binders upon binders of printed maps, quest notes, and forum posts. (No binders full of women though . . . oh snap!)

I was there when Everquest was king . . . I ran a web page for the guild, made YouTube videos before YouTube was a thing, and was a pillar of my guild . . . and then my friend sold his account and left me. Ooph.

It was ok. I still played Everquest afterwards. I mean, I had new friends and that actually opened me up to new opportunities with larger raiding guilds and I got to finally raid the places I had only ever heard about in passing.

Chapter 2 -- Vanilla WoW

My same friend who dragged me into Everquest joins World of Warcraft and begins leveling. The band is back together again, and I'm invited to bring the party to World of Warcraft!  So I jump in!

But the feeling is different this time. Now I'm continually behind my friend in levels and playing catch up. He's got a new bunch of friends with him that aren't really the nicest people, and now instead of it being a big self-sufficient guild, I'm part of a "raiding alliance" where the egos are awful, but we hit Molten Core, Onyxia, Zul-whatever . . . all the typical spots.

I'm there when a rare velociraptor mount drops for our raid group and miss the winning roll by one tiny point (mind you, i'm still burnt about that all these years later -- I've only mentioned it like 3 or 4 times on this blog already).

. . . and then my friend sells his account and leaves me again!

I mean, it was fun, and I liked my paladin well enough . . . well, maybe I should have just played Hunter . . . but it's just not the same without my friend playing. I didn't make any deep ties to people like I had back in Everquest.

I tried to hang on but when all my raid gear was replaced by green drops in the next expansion I felt like I just wasted a bunch of my time for nothing.

Chapter 3 -- Forging my own Path in Everquest

So I return to Everquest with no old friend leading the path! This time I'm in charge and directing my own play. I have old in-game friends, and I don't have to catch up to anyone. I'm behind the cutting edge, but it feels great because I find a really cool friends and family guild and everything is super chill.

And then I get the itch to really hit raiding hard again in Everquest! I'm earning DKP. I'm right back in it and swinging at raid bosses with the best of them.

But, news of my son's Autism puts the kibosh on the raiding lifestyle, and I'm out.

Chapter 4 -- ALL MMO'S ROCK . . . when played casually that is

I played 'em all, but in a way more casual sense -- and I had the children to tend to . . . life had permanently changed.

And of course I found Wizard101 and could play an MMO with both kids and adults and even found success with this blog.

Um . . . End of Imaginary Book

So, I don' t know. It just feels like there's a lot of baggage there. I'm gonna be honest. I've been a little psychologically burnt by my account-selling friend leaving me high and dry and not having solid ties to the game that so many came to love. And I guess for many, WoW was their first MMO, so for them it's probably like coming home, but I don't feel that.  I feel that more for Everquest.

I guess joining a new guild would be fine like I said initially in this post, but . . . there's that nagging feeling in the back of my mind. WoW was always more about the people inside the game than the game itself for me. I can't get that back, and I don't know if I want to.


I tried to explain it. I hope I didn't sound too harsh about my friend . . . like I still love him and we're buds on Facebook . . . idk. I sincerely hope you all enjoy your time in WoW!  Thanks for letting me walk it back with you.

Am I alone here?

Happy Dueling

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 27 -- Pets of War

In-game pets, they're pretty amazing. It's a virtual item with personality that expresses your own personality. They vary from game to game in their power and function -- everything from cosmetic to ultimate gamechanger. At some point I may even want to write a longer blog post about this very topic, but seeing as it's Blaugust and I don't have a ton of time (since when did August get so busy?), I'd like to narrowly focus on the pets in the game I've been writing a lot about lately . . . Gems of War!

In Gems of War you collect pets typically in a couple of different ways. Typically you "rescue" them as a part of an in-game event that is limited time. Or, you gain them in Delves as a faction reward.

During the pet event you have 10 battles you fight through in succession that become increasingly more difficult. As you win battles, you also win event points that translate into prizes. Typically those prizes are the pet food you need to level your pets, but if you're lucky, you'll win the pet itself. If you make it all the way through all 10 battles, they give you the pet at a 100 percent chance.

At this point you can feed your pet and level it up to 5.  Every five levels you earn on a pet will earn you a small gem reward. This is where we start seeing the benefits to leveling pets both individually and collectively as a collection of pets because Gems of War then places you into a "Pet Mastery" cycle where every collective 25 levels of pets (or so), earns you an Orb of Chaos.

That's the real carrot on the stick here.  Orbs of Chaos are shortcuts to leveling, traits, ascension, and guild favor grinding. In other words, those orbs can provide real and permanent benefits to your troops.

The pets themselves provide minimal benefits at early levels. For example, this Snow Bunny pet (which I've affectionally named Zuzu after my Lizardfolk's raptor pet in D&D) provides a small bonus to water gem mastery. A +6 bonus is so small that it's hardly felt at all.

Even at high levels I'm not sure if my gameplay would really even feel different, but you know gamers . . . typically any slight edge is a welcome edge.

Another big component of pets in any game is . . . charm.  If a pet makes you happy and looks fun with your character, it's a big win, am I right? In Gems of War, the charm is minimal in that the pet simply goes over the shoulder of your character, but I will say they've made some of the pets look super cute . . . like this baby "Shymera." CUTE!

So, do they make the company money? Hard to tell without looking at their data closely, which I highly doubt they'd share with the common folk, but it does look like there's potential to make money . . . or at least drain your gem supply in that during the events, the same pet baskets you win for each of the 10 battles can also be purchased for gems. And since there's so many pets, if there's a pet you really really like, you're probably going to invest in those baskets so you have a chance to win multiple copies of the pet so you can level it beyond level 5.

I'm sure there is room for improvement on the pet system in Gems of War, but as it sits now, it seems to be low-hanging fruit for the company and just an additional item that can add charm to players while providing an additional avenue for obtaining Orbs of Chaos.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, August 26, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 26 -- A Tale of Two Wii Games

So, bit of a different post today. I didn't play very many games last night as I spent it watching Netflix with the uber wife . . . finished off Season 3 of the Magicians and Started Season 2 of Mindhunter. Because of this, I'm pulling from the "thought jar" for today's post and it all has to do with a tale of two games . . . one of which is Sonic Colors!

Sonic Colors, you ask?  Yeah! So this 10 year old game is one that's been sitting in my family's collection of older Wii games for awhile now, mostly forgotten and untouched, but I'm bringing it out of retirement for one reason, and that's all because of a cute family we visited a few months ago.

My son and I visited this family a few months ago to get to know them just a bit better. It's a big family . . . five kids all under the age of 10. They don't seem to have a ton of money and like most families this size, video game entertainment comes in the cheaper variety and always a few generation of game consoles behind the cutting edge.

I remember when my Dad gave away my old Atari to a family like this back in the late 80's, and despite younger me being a little bit miffed about losing that nostalgia and my "collection" of games, it stuck with me as being a completely noble act. (Dad's are wise like that. Thank you, Dad.)

Anyway, when we visited this family a few months ago, the talk amongst the kids was Sonic Colors on the good ol' Wii. The kids were 100 percent enamored with it at the time. I immediately recognized the game and let them know that we also owned this game (My kids also raved about it). These kids were talking all about the wisps in the game and started asking me very detailed questions about which wisps we had unlocked so far. hehe. I was like . . . you know . . . I personally have never played the game, but I'll tell you what . . . I'll play Sonic Colors and tell you all about it the next time we come to visit. They thought that was great!

So I dragged Sonic Colors out a couple weeks later and managed to get through the first set of levels . . . and then put it away, but, I just couldn't stop thinking about those kids on the Wii and my dad's example to me.

A few days later I was shopping at Gamestop, and while I was there I dropped back by the old Wii games to see what they had and found a copy of Mario Super Sluggers, which is hands-down my all time favorite Wii game.

I knew immediately that this family needed to play this game, so I picked up a copy for them and texted their dad to ask if it was ok if I gave his kids a game. He thought that was great, so I dropped it by and told the kids that I was sorry I didn't have many of the Wisps in Sonic Colors unlocked yet, but I would keep at it.

Then I surprised them with a copy of Mario Super Sluggers and let them know that this game . . . was THE BOMB! It's by far my favorite game on the Wii. Their eyes lit up, and we agreed . . . the next time we meet, it's a full status report from me on my Sonic Colors progress and they'll let me know what they thought of Mario Super Sluggers.

I think next time I visit them, I'll come prepared with a bag of our old Skylander figures. They'll completely lose their minds. :)

Happy Dueling

Sunday, August 25, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 25 -- Mellori Hates You All

And just like that, our unlikely hero Mellori has overcome the forces of darkness and earned her season 18 armor set.

I changed the appearance of the hood to be a bit more "Mellori-like" and dyed her outfit green and black. She's looking pretty awesome though. She's looking like she's ready to hunt down the Bat without the help of any pesky wizard.

Yup, so I went a little crazy yesterday and crashed through those four season 18 chapters to complete the set. BOOM THAT WAS FAST!  At least for me. (Um, the dudes on the leaderboards for the first 1000 places for Seasonal achievements might not think it was very fast. How in the world do they do it? No sleep?)

And I must say that this character feels amazingly easy to play now that I have the full set. Neither Old Cob nor Professor Falmea have had this smooth of a play style. You know what it is?  It's the turrets and the pets . . . they just auto kill everything for me, and all I need to do is click the "4" button and the "1" button once in a while since they're doing all the heavy lifting.

I don't want you to think it was a breeze getting there because you know . . . this picture . . .

Freaking lasers of death on a choke point . . .

That said, I was hitting Torment X difficulty this morning while trying out the new set and it was pretty great. The DPS is smokin'. The only problem now is the survivability and the Hatred regeneration rate. (The Demon Hunter needs "Hatred" like a wizard needs "Mana") Just a couple hits from the enemies on Torment X, and Mellori takes a dirt nap. Good thing I'm not playing Hardcore.

I recorded a run up to Queen Araneaa this morning on Torment X to show a little of what it's like to play with the Embodiment of the Marauder Set there. I died once, but quickly recovered.

So now the question is, do I want to keep going and earn all the Slayer achievements, etc?  Mmm . . . maybe?  It's playing so smoothly for me that I might just keep going! Then again . . . so many other games to play and so little time.

I can't believe we've made it to the last week of August and I haven't yet written about a few of my other favorite games and MMOs, but Diablo is just so much destructive fun.

Hope those of you who are playing Diablo III this season are finding a lot of success and fun as well.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 24 -- The Season of Mellori

It's a thing for me. I like playing notable Wizard101 NPCs in Diablo III. So as tempting as it was to call my new Demon Hunter Jane Goodall, I went with Mellori.

Now to try to make her look more like the actual Mellori:

A little green and black dye and maybe a hat that isn't obnoxious and there we go!

I was hovering over the computer at 8:00pm US Central last night when the doors to Season 8 swung open and I was off to the races!!! and being quickly outpaced by pretty much everyone. I mean, I'm really not doing this to break any speed records, but it was cool to see the global announcements for people who were just killing it.

Nah, I was playing solo and taking it pretty easy in Adventure mode. After a couple of hours of play last night I got incredibly sleepy and headed off to bed.

In the morning, I jumped back on around 7:00am and played for another couple of hours. The end result is that I'm level 62 with chapter 1's goals done and all I need to do to get chapter 2's goals is finish that grind to level 70.  After that, I anticipate Chapter 3's goals will fall quickly and then it'll be a slow power ride to finish Chapter 4.

I've got some stuff to do today. It's a busy Saturday, but I'm hoping to wrap up Chapter 3 by the end of tonight.


The new power circle mechanic is . . . ok . . . as a Demon Hunter it's pretty easy to get to those circles and use their effects, but the power they provide doesn't seem overwhelming?  IDK. I haven't really seen a big difference in my play because of them. Kind of a cool idea though!  It'd be neat if there was some kind of epic item that actually improved the power circle effects on you.

That said, I'm happy to be off to the races for Season 18! Good times.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, August 23, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 23 -- Korn and the Quest for Video Game Concerts

They're weird! They're wild! They're perfect PR vehicles of video game novelty: It's the in-game concert . . .

Yesterday I was perusing Twitter and this in-game concert popped up on my feed . . . I love it. It's just so wonderfully wacky that Korn would be doing a concert inside Adventure Quest 3D. As soon as I got home I downloaded the game and jumped in.

It was pretty metal just from the get-go. I was killing skeletons and skeleton giants then had a conversation with Death.

Eventually I made my way into town where the concert promoter was there to hail me into the concert.

There was even a shop where I could buy Korn themed skins and pets and stuff.

The concert itself was a riotous 3 song set full of demons, death, and dancing! I was there! I helped defeat Thrash and earned an in-game title and mace weapon that looks like a microphone!

And the whole time I had my 10-year-old chillin' in my lap as we shared an earphone each.

If you'd like to see the whole concert yourself . . . I honestly can't tell you how easy of a download and onboarding experience that was. Props to the developer for pulling off a super smooth experience logging into their game. It was beautiful. You should download this game just to experience the ease of getting into the concert.

BUT, if you're still adverse or reading this several years later, YouTube always has the footage for you.

This is now the "third" Internet Tour type of concert I've seen in MMORPGs.

First, there was the Dares in Free Realms. (slowly lowers pixie wings in solemn respect for what was the beauty of Free Realms). I WAS THERE! I WISH I HAD THE CONCERT T-SHIRT!

Next, there was Marshmello in Fortnite. I wasn't there "in game" for this one, but I did watch it several times of my own accord. :)

And now, Korn in AQ3D.

Of course there are other "concerts" that have happened in other games and MMOs. I did a quick search to see what I could find out there, and let me tell you that finding actual "video game concerts" instead of "live concerts that have video game music featured as their music" is challenging!

Here's what I found:
. . . there's gotta be a ton more . . .

Anyway, it was pretty amazing to log in and experience yet another concert in game. Really cool to watch. I'll also probably keep AQ3D installed for a bit . . . it's reminding me of Free Realms! Those were the days.

Happy Dueling

Thursday, August 22, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 22 -- The KI Krushers!

I had a great time playing Overwatch last night! That's saying something as well since the past couple weeks, uh. I've been really NOT interested in playing Overwatch. But Wednesday nights for me are typically Overwatch Comp nights where I play heals for the officially unofficial KingsIsle Comp Team! I tried to make us a logo once for fake jerseys but . . . it didn't stick.

See what I did there? KI . . . Krushers?  Also, who wouldn't want to pay homage to the amazing Overwatch league recruitment video where Krusher99 is a scrappy kid who makes his way through the ranks to play as a professional!

Anyway last night we did really well, and the team hung in there for me to complete my five "support" placement matches to help me get placed.

We ended up with four wins and one loss, and the loss we did have was really close.

For support I played my boy Lucio as well as Mercy and Moira. I typically play a little Bridgette, but after her changes, she just isn't the same to play. (Special thank you to The Art of Warlord who played a few Quick Play matches with me before my comp matches so I could come to that decision before playing comp tonight.) Brig just feels a little weaker now, so you can't just be crazy with the front line anymore . . . or at least I can't, so until I figure out how to play Brig again, I'm stickin' with the classics.

I love playing heals for these guys:

  • Elik, who typically plays Pharah for the group, was on heals with me last night. 
  • Kajind typically rocks the Hanzo and sniper types. 
  • Silversteel flexes and usually plays heals with me, but last night he was one of those scary DPS players . . . and when he plays Symmetra, it's terrifyingly awesome.
  • Snarkygoblin is typically our shield tank. SOLID! Love his Rein play. 
  • Velo typically grabs a tank spot and that's usually Hammond.

The above list features a director, a designer, and four software engineers. You know what . . . I'll call my healing for these guys "Dev Appreciation" for Blaugust this week. ;)

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 21 -- What's a combat?

Out of all the nights of the week, Tuesdays are by far my busiest. I'm running kids around everywhere and knee deep in commitments, but despite all that real-life garbage, I was able to jump on to Neverwinter last night to actually give combat a go. The day before was merely a sight-seeing trip around Port Nyanzaru. Who's ready for some cleric DPS? This guy's ready!

First, Last night I spec'd my character out by randomly clicking on buttons, and it looks like things have really changed. There's now 10 more levels to earn, which, I'm not sure how that will play out with the already existing gear recommendations in place.

Looking at the campaign for Chult in Neverwinter, it appears there's a gear recommendation of 13,000. My gear rating is currently just above 11,000. Hmm. Will being level 70+ be more impactful than the gear rating? I have no idea.

Anyway, so last night I skootched out into the jungles of Chult with a low gear rating and decided to test my metal against some intro mobs to see how it went. I remember it being tough, but managing a few kills here and there.

Ah friends, you know this is not going to end well . . . but that scenery though! LES DO THIS!

There was a pretty feisty pull of six or seven baby raptors just down the first path outside of Port Nyanzaru, and that wasn't too bad. I mean, sure, it took all the firepower I had and a health potion, but I was fine . . . I was fine I tell you!

Just down the road a bit from the baby raptors there was a cluster of four giant spiders, and I was just . . . ok, that didn't end so well . . .

 Then I remembered something very important about how I used to play this game. Whenever things started getting dicey, I'd smack that "W" or "S" twice to slide and dodge away quickly. It was kind of what I did while waiting for my cooldowns to pop and while dealing with a huge mob of mobs. After that realization, those spiders were still tough, but I could at least get past them and win the fight. I was just fine . . . JUST FINE I TELL YA!

Then I took on some Yuan-ti sneeple types and a few other mobs that I could find here and there . . . and then there was this T-rex fiasco . . .

You know what . . . let's talk about that T-rex ever again, ok?

Then I remembered something else. During combat I used to do some pretty amazing stuff after pressing the Tab key. There's this whole targeting system set up in the middle of your screen . . . and then it was time for me to get the kids to bed. I'll have to remember how to work that system out next play session.

So there you go. I learned a bit more, killed a few things, and died mightily to a nasty T-rex. I guess you can call that a successful night. I really do feel like I don't belong in this campaign. My gear rating is way low, and I haven't even thought about rejoining a guild or asking for help in general chat yet because you know, asking strangers for help when you don't know what the heck you're doing is always fun.

Maybe once I figure out my set up and how to fight again, I'll brave those chat channels. Until then, perhaps I need to take a step back, earn a couple levels, find some new gear, and research good specs for DPS clerics first.

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

#Blaughust2019 Day 20 -- Gith Outta Here!

Ahhhh, Neverwinter. How did I once again come crashing through your download screens?

So, ultimately the boat ride that The Saviors are taking (see post from yesterday) will land them in Chult. Because of that, I wanted to go back into a fun, little MMORPG known as Neverwinter. Why?  Duh. There's a whole huge section of Neverwinter completely devoted to Chult and the Tomb of Annihilation!

The realization that I'm simply an adventure away from bringing this group I DM into Chult makes me want to explore just a bit more there in Neverwinter for . . . research purposes . . . also fun!  It's been a while since I've jumped into Neverwinter, you know?

The surprise of the evening, however, is that as it turns out Neverwinter is right here now in the throws of a brand new update that features an epic undermountain struggle between the Githyanki and the Mindflayers. WHAT THE WHAT?

You know what else is super crazy?  You can play AS A GITH!

According to this write up about it, the following conditions apply:

The new gith race will be free for a limited time:
  • Free to VIP for the first 2 weeks of the module (August 13 - August 26)
  • Free to everyone (including VIP) for the 2 weeks after that (August 27 - September 9)
  • Starting September 10, players who didn’t log in for the free gith will have to buy a pack to get access to this race.

So while the whole world is logging in to WOW Classic, you know where I'll be? logging in to WOW Classic . . . just kidding. I'll be logging into Neverwinter! . . . and maybe Diablo III. . . . and maybe other stuff!  'Cause there's just too many games and it's Blaugust!!! I'M GOING CRAZY! . . . whew, sorry, had to get that out.

Now to just vocalize my pinch points about logging back in to Neverwinter:

1- I have to retrain all my spells and figure out how to play again. They went and changed everything with the classes, so it's going to take a hot minute or two to figure out how to play again. Now if I could actually survive a day in Chult as a cleric, that'd be amazing. So, we'll see!

2- The number one curse of all time . . . full inventory.  Someone shoot me now. My inventory was overflowing and I can't remember what half of these things even do.

3- I really have to get over them ripping out the Foundry system. Give me a moment. There. I'm over it.

Ok, I'm ready to log in and play some Neverwinter now. whew.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, August 19, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 19 -- DM'ing for The Saviors

On Saturday Jeff Toney and his daughter came over to our house for the traditional game of D&D. It's been a busy summer and they haven't been over for at least a couple of months. I also found out a shocking revelation that Jeff had never had Cane's chicken, which is one of our family's favorite fast foods. The chicken is tender and moist and the Cane's sauce that comes with it is ON POINT! So I stopped by Cane's and got a big 25 piece tub of chicken for the gang.

When Jeff and his daughter Kiera come over for D&D, you gotta do things up right yo.

It all started 3 years ago when Jeff started coming over with his daughter and my kids and I played through the basic D&D campaign where Jeff was the DM. Eventually it came to the point where I started trading off DM duties with Jeff, and I would run an alternate campaign every other session for everyone . . . plus Uber Wife joined the fray as well!

We are now on our 16th session of play for my game, and the characters are all level 4. They're currently on the high seas headed to Chult where they will begin the storyline for The Tomb of Annihilation. That's right! Out of one-shot and stitched-together story hell and into the undead dinosaur hell known as Chult.

Saturday's session featured an amazing goblin pirate ship attack where they really had no problems dispatching 24 goblins and a goblin boss. I even handed out inspiration when Jeff's daughter (Elliwick) used Gust of Wind to propel some of the goblins off the ship!

But emotions got high when a favorite NPC on the ship was tossed overboard during a terrible storm. The Dragoborn Sorcerer (Whedab) was furious when they couldn't save Paige the cabinboy. Bad things can happen at sea . . .

Will the Saviors find Paige washed up on Storm Island? Will they survive the storm zombies starting their attack?  We shall see next time!!

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 18 -- Diablo III Season 18 announced

The details on Diablo III season 18 have been announced! Just click on over to this page where you can read all the details about the Season of Triune. (Funny enough, I was actually in a guild named Triune in Everquest for a while.)

The lineup of costumes is kinda hilarious . . . it's all dark and gothy except for the monk on the left, who apparently just came back from Burning Man where I imagine he was called "Happy Blue Dance Angel" and did the Running Man for 10 days straight outside a tent dedicated to "the water gods."

Meanwhile everyone else on the lineup is just straight up evil villians who have a secret base inside a Goth club in Canada.

So what are my plans for season 18?  Oh I'm in club goth 100 percent.  I'm gonna play the heck out of the Demon Hunter and cast up so many animals I'll be a fricken zoo keeper. I mean, that seems to be what the Embodiment of the Marauder set is all about at first look. The Companion ability summons all six types of animals at once? Sounds hilarious!

The Season of Triune seems to be bringing with it a new feature where circles of power will appear all over the battlefield

  • Triune of Love (Power): Players in the circle receive a 100% damage bonus while active
  • Triune of Determination (Resource Reduction): Players in the circle receive a 50% discount on resources spent while active
  • Triune of Creation (Cooldown Reduction): While standing in an active circle, any skills currently on cooldown come off of cooldown more quickly
So, we'll see how that plays with Season 18 goes live on August 23rd!  Can't wait to throw my Demon Hunter into the ring this season and summon pets like pets have never been summoned before!

Now the hard part . . . choosing a name and a theme . . . Dian Fossey? Jane Goodall? Griffin from the movie Zookeeper?

But let's get real about expectations here . . . it definitely won't be as fun as playing Clarence's Zookeeper Caper on Cartoon Network's game site.

You gotta play Zookeeper Caper . . .

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#Blaugust2019 Day 17 -- Givin' it a Whirl

Here it is! All these months after Empyrea Part 2 was released in Wizard101, and I finally step my way into the whirlyburly ring.

The only thing going through my head right now is that this would have been super fun to play with the community on KI Live. Whirly Burly matches where I get to give a little bit of my sports commentator flair and play against the amazing fans of KingsIsle's livestream would have been the best!

Anyway, yesterday I spent more time in Wizard101 where I had some time talking with Coach Landri (nice homage there writers, nice homage) about the ONLY entertainment Aero Dwarves have in Empyrea.

So I walked up to the WhirlyBurly stand, got my instructions, and steadily lost my first geame. It took me a game to refamiliarize myself with how things work in this minigame. The order of operations where you select a card, then select a player was just a tad strange at first, and things have changed a bit from the pencil and paper days, but not by much. (There's no dragon in the middle directing which team goes first this round)

If you're looking for instructions on how to play the game, I gotta give some props to Swordroll for writing this magnificent guide.

To sum it up quickly: You have a team of three that moves along a hex map claiming territory based on cards that define movement. During 9 rounds of play, try to sneak past the other teams to grab their chests and use a rock-paper-scissors style sytem to defeat the other team's troops and send them back to their home base while scoring more points for yourself in the process.

That's WhirlyBurly in a nutshell.

It's one of those deceptively simple games that gets in your head. Also, one of those games where you can go from completely winning to last place in a single round.

It'd be nice to get to coach status so I could get one of those super cool soccer jerseys from the faction vendor, but I'm so mediocre at the game (and it requires a good bit of luck) that it'd take some serious time investment.

At the end of the day, I'm just happy another minigame was put into a world as a quest destination. It's so cool when the Wizard101 team is able to make that happen.

Happy Dueling!