Reading Challenge #80: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I’m continuing at a steady pace with my reading challenge. I’ve just finished reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. This book was published in 1995, and adapted into a broadway musical in 2003.

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Monster Hunter World

As you know, I got dragged into playing MHW after a concerted harassment/peer pressure campaign by two of my best nerd friends. Now that I’ve had some time to settle in, I have some thoughts and opinions.

As someone who has absolutely no prior experience with the MH franchise, I was totally unprepared for the level of utter nonsense in this game. I’m not just talking weapon design or the grind required to progress. I am talking about adorable cat friends who wear fancy costumes and have adventures and bring back monster parts. Also you can catch and collect tiny animals from your travels who live on your carpet in your fancy church/spa of a room. Also there’s a friendly pig you can pet and dress up. Also there seems to be a proud tradition of event quests that reward ridiculous hats. Basically, for a game that comes across as nothing but boss fights and gear grind, there’s actually a wealth of fun silly side things to do. I am a fan.

Of course this is still a game about murdering giant lizards and things and stealing their bones. There is plenty of that to go around. This game has a very tight core loop. There is not a lot in the way of forced downtime activities. Yes, you can seek the silly side things discussed above, but the game never makes you do boring side jobs to progress the main plot. You’re here to kill monsters and that’s all it asks of you. If you enjoy those fights then it is fantastic. If you were looking for more variety you might have to find your own fun.

I’ve discovered that I enjoy the game most when I don’t force myself to push the story forward, and instead focus on side quests and exploration until I actually feel the need for something new. Right now I have the self-imposed goal of killing every monster I have encountered before I work on the story again. There’s no shortage of things to do if you enjoy the core mechanic of the game.

I also realized that my enjoyment went up substantially when I stopped worrying about catching up to my friends who started playing weeks ahead of me. The game is reasonable about letting us play together no matter where I am in the story, so there’s no urgency. It took me a while to accept this because in the MMO world playing with friends so often feels useless until everyone is at the endgame. Here, as long as I don’t faint too much everybody is happy and we all go home with sundry monster parts to feed into the gear machine.

So all said, I’m still quite happy to be playing Monster Hunter World with my friends, and I’ve mostly forgiven them for dragging me into the game. Now I just hope they stay interested long enough for me to catch up.

Dream Home

ffxiv_02202018_143132Oh No

When FFXIV Stormblood details were announced one thing my FC got excited about was the addition of a new housing zone. They took up a collection and when plots opened up they snagged a (much bigger) fancy new house. Meanwhile I was mortified. I’m a Roe, an officer in the Maelstrom, and a certified Merlwyb fangirl. I love Limsa Lominsa and I loved our little home in the Mists. I was happy that my FC family were happy in our new home, but I was already plotting and scheming to figure out how to get back to Mist.

It was frustrating for a while, because new housing purchases were locked to free companies only. That was a good idea to allow more FCs to enter the housing market, but it was maddening to see all the lovely plots I dreamed about getting locked up before I could touch them. Luckily they finally allowed individuals to purchase housing plots again, and I got to leap in and get the house of my dreams. Eventually.

First I had to figure out how purchasing housing works. One annoying thing was that when a plot is vacated, it gets locked out from new buyers but people can still transfer there. I found several free plots that were just what I wanted, but I couldn’t buy them outright because they still had this timer. In the end I bought a crappy plot way at the back of the zone that happened to be open, and then I could transfer to the one I actually wanted. Sure, it was a giant “waste” of money, but in the end I got my dream home. What is extra funny is that it is a spot that is basically “across the street” from where our old FC house was in the zone layout. It feels very familiar and cozy but also I have a better view of the ocean now 😛

ffxiv_03012018_182331Sadly I used so much gil by having to essentially double purchase my house that I don’t have much leftover for buying furniture. At least now I have plenty of time to settle in and earn more cash for pretty house stuff. I might even fall down the crafting hole to make some things for myself!