Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Delving those MMO Pool Labyrinths

There was a viral Twitter post I saw yesterday that kind of sparked something inside me late last night.

Looks awesome, doesn't it?

So I did some digging and looked up a couple of magical places like this.  There's something called the Y-40, which is located inside a Hotel swimming pool in Italy? I found more details at poolinsider.com.

"The Y-40 is really a labyrinth of spaces designed for different underwater swimming, diving and viewing activities. The pool features various depths for divers of all levels and some cool interactive features. It has four artificial underwater caves that simulate what you might run into in the ocean, a cylindrical area with extreme depths for experiences divers looking to push their limits, various ledges, underwater glass viewing panels for spectators and even a 43 foot transparent tunnel for visitors who don't want to get wet."
There's also a deep dive pool called Nemo 33 in Belgium. It sounds like a scuba diver's playground! 
"Nemo 33 features numerous structures meant to simulate the experience of deep-sea diving, including intricate passageways and underwater caves submerged in 660,000 gallons (2.5 million liters) of water. Endowed with surreal vastness and astonishing architecture, visitors can participate in aquatic activities like swimming, scuba diving, and freediving."
Those places sound amazing but are way out of my budget. hehe. And that's why my mind naturally went to video games and particularly to a couple of weird MMO zones. 

First, in Everquest on the continent of Velious, there's a little underwater dungeon called Siren's Grotto. Gimme a shout if you remember this spot! 

I actually downloaded Everquest, logged in, and went to Siren's Grotto last night.  It took me a few minutes to remember how handy some of the map tools were in the game and before I knew it, I had a glowing trail leading me to exactly where I needed to go to get there.

You just need to kill a few sirens and head on into the underwater cave in Cobalt Scar.

When I was spending a lot of time in this zone, oh . . . what 17 or 18 years ago? It was because I needed a quest item from a rare mob for my Beastlord epic weapon quest. I remember I spent quite a long time at the entrance of the zone killing the same mob over and over again. I think boredom eventually caused me to branch out and start hunting in other areas of the zone, but this place was a bit of a nightmare and it was easy to aggro multiple mobs and not even know it because, just like Dory, you just keep swimming.

Well Goo Goo G'Joob to you too, Mr. Walrus.

Before I knew it, I was killing mermaids. These old school mermaids man . . . they were the best!

Red tails and green hair . . . it's an unusual breed of mermaid . . .

I remember one time I came to this zone with an actual group and we were killing things for experience and loot, which was odd because it wasn't a popular spot to go because of it's maze like nature and because the risk vs. reward just wasn't there, but yeah . . . it's all a distant memory now.

This place definitely feels like a virtual crazy pool maze, and those swimming pool pictures got me thinking about this place hard.

Apparently that lady in the middle is a boss for an Enchanter epic quest?


Second, in Wizard101 there's a zone called "The Grotto" in Celestia.  While this place isn't as much as a maze as Siren's Grotto in Everquest, it really does have some of those same watery corridors that feel like a maze.

How exactly does an underwater pool work inside an underwater dome work? Magic!

It's too bad you don't stay in this zone for too long. I really like it.

Swimming underwater in the grotto in Wizard101! Yes!

Everything in this zone has a nice muted sound to it and you really feel underwater. It even features a fun giant shark/eel/monster head tunnel that you can swim through and a castle made out of coral.

An Icy crab man named Governor Nereus lives inside

Going inside the giant eel's mouth was always one of my favorite moments in Celestia.

If there's a great questing spot in Celestia, this is definitely on the top of the list for me.


. . . and of course there are other areas in other MMOs that are underwater. Most recently I've visited Atlantis in DCUO where you can even transform into a seahorse and race through the seaweed. That race would qualify as a maze for sure! 

Project Gorgon also recently added a few underwater caves to Sun Vale. From what I remember it was a seaweed crafting reagent paradise.

As for other MMOs, I've read about them, but I can't really remember running the underwater Aquatic Ruins fractal in GW2, I don't think I've ever seen Vashj'r in World of Warcraft, and I've never found the secret underwater cave in Sea of Thieves. but those are all underwater "mazes" I wouldn't mind visiting in the future.

What do you think? You got any good underwater game spots? Lemme know in the comments below.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Putting the Elf on the Shelf in Overwatch

I love the Overwatch events that give you a couple free sprays and a new skin for winning 9 games. 

ended up getting those last three wins late last night -- Woot!

That carrot on a stick is all the motivation I need to log on and play several games, and there will be three of these types of events running through the Holiday season. The first of which was to earn the green elf Junkrat skin

Oh man, could totally be my new favorite Junkrat skin!

If you're interested, you only have the rest of this weekend to earn him and then it'll cycle to the next event, which happens to be Gingerbread Ana (too bad she doesn't actually look like Ana made out of gingerbread), and finally the last event will have us hunting after Frosty the Roadhog, which you also get a nice preview of on the start menu.

Of course Junkrat steals all the cookies while flanked by Frosty the Roadhog!

Outside of those skins there are the typical smattering of purchasable skins including Penguin Mei, Toybot Zenyatta, Conductor Reinhardt, Ice Empress Moira, and Lumberjack Torbjorn. 

Sadly, I like ALL those characters and there's no way I'm going to be able to get them all.  My favorites out of the bunch are for Zen, Rein, and Torb. Who knows!? Maybe I'll get lucky and win at least one of them before it's too late and the event goes away. I mean, the game did give me an old event skin last night in a loot box.

Sigma Rime skin, eh? I never play him, but I'll take a free Mr. Cold Miser!

Anyway . . . I've got some time off work for the holidays . . . it's possible! GET THEM SKINS!

Happy Dueling!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Crafting my first VR Dream

You may vaguely remember that the family got me Dreams for the PS4 VR back for my birthday. After letting the kids play it for a bit, what I found was the most intensive set of tutorials in any game, ever.  Why?  Well, to be honest, there certainly are enough Dreams Content Creators out there that I could be perfectly happy just playing other people's levels, but that's not me. I need to create! I can't be content to just wander haunted houses built by players for hours on end.

Just one of the many spooky floors from All Hallows' Dreams

 Ok, gotta admit, I could just wander haunted houses built by players for hours on end.

But I love creating things!

The game comes with a pretty nice pack of "ancient stone" default building items for you to play around with, and I ended up making a pretty pleasing scene where you talk to a frog and grab a Sonic-esque ring that changes day to night.

This seemingly simple scene took an amazing amount of time to build

I've played through a few hours worth of tutorials and I still have more to do believe it or not. 

The creations I'm finding in Dreams VR are all very strange and simple, and it very much feels like I'm living and walking around inside a puppet show, which is a pretty cool aesthetic.

I'd love to build a maze game filled with scenes. One of my favorite books was called "Maze" by Christopher Manson. The only problem with maze games is that they're more fun to make than to play generally . . . that was one of the problems with the maze game I made in Roblox.

I'd also like to make a poetry reading experience with a few of my poems.

Part of the problem is that it's just so darn complicated to make automated, programmed elements in these games, that most of the games just turn out to be obstacle jumping courses (much like 90% of the games on Roblox).

There's tons you could do . . . it's just challenging to do it. Thus why you have hours and hours of tutorials in the game. Mad props to those who create for sure.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

CR 327 -- Bring out the TOYS!

 At this point for me in DCUO, it's a slow grind up the CR ladder. Basically, I'm logging on for two reasons: 

    1- Team Spode's Sunday Night games (yay!)

    2- Trying to earn Quintile crystals to build up an epic item (I need to epic-out them there shnazzy goggles in Long Live the Legion!)

To those ends, I'm also hitting up the dailies and "legion bounties" over and over while waiting for whatever new expansion they might throw our way in . . . maybe a few months?  Who knows how long it will be until the next update.

And if you're really crazy, you'll do all that for all your alts as well . . . I may or may not have logged on to Death Unicorn, my old Fire Tank . . . ok, I totally logged on Death Unicorn. I have no idea how to play him anymore, but chucking meteors around is super fun.

Long Live the Death Unicorn!

Because I've also been hitting up those Legion bounty raids, I've also been bringing out my old toys in my storage while waiting for the raid to start.

I've got the Riddler Ball, the Superman Ball, and a piece of 2nd anniversary cake.


I've actually had a couple fun games of catch with people while waiting for the raid to begin because of this.  The cake is way easier to play catch with btw, the balls move too fast and have too much roll-y/bouncy physics to them to be easily picked up.

I was super happy when another guy joined in this morning and summoned up his dice to throw around as well.

Batman look-a-like gonna roll a nat 20!

TOY FEST!  So if you're reading this post and happen to also have toys in the bank . . . make a friendly necromancer happy and join in the fun. It's Christmas time after all. 

(You know . . . I should go play the toyland instance in DCUO again . . .that's a good time!)

Happy Dueling