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.


Reading Challenge #81: The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson

It’s time for another book challenge entry, because I read most of this on my flight home from the west coast a few weeks back. The next book on the list is the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson. As usual with series on the list, I’m just reading the first book, Gardens of the Moon (published 1999).

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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!


March 2018 Gaming Goals

Oh, is February over already? It feels like this year is going by way too fast. I was out of town for over a week this month, so that’s my excuse for not meeting all of my gaming goals. Continue reading


Reading Challenge #82: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I had plenty of time to read while traveling last week. That means it’s time to update my challenge list again. This time I’ll be talking about The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, first published in 2001.

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Dragged onto the Bandwagon

I’ve made friends with some beautiful, amazing folks through playing video games. Sometimes this is a double-edged sword however. For example, over the past few weeks a couple of my friends have engaged in a relentless peer-pressure campaign to get me to play the new Monster Hunter with them. It’s not that I don’t want to play the game, I desperately do. However, money, time, and personal reasons meant I was planning to wait for the PC release. Unfortunately waiting was making me miss out on all the fun of roaming around murdering lizards with my friends right now. So I have been deluged with videos of palicos being adorable and stories of monster slaying and nonsense.

Anyway last night the dam finally broke and I found myself logging in and being overwhelmed by character creation (how do I choose what my adorable kitty pal will look they’re all so cute???) and weapon options (I don’t know what most of these do and I don’t have the patience to try them all before I go murder monsters). Thanks Bel.

I only got to play for a few hours but I can already tell this game has the potential to reach obsession levels. It seems to have a good mix of satisfying gameplay, crafting, and cosmetic goodies. The biggest thing I’ve killed on my own was a great jagras so I’m obviously still figuring things out but it was incredibly satisfying. I’m learning how the monsters work and I’m getting better at my chosen weapon (bow). It felt great to go from taking over half an hour to kill one while getting intensely beat up by it, to tracking one down and taking it out in a few minutes without taking a scratch. If the game keeps that core loop of learning and progress I will definitely be in for the long haul.

I can’t wait to really sink my teeth into this game over the weekend and start tackling some bigger prey.


Valentione’s Fun

chair pals

I don’t always do the seasonal events in FFXIV. They are usually fun and silly, so I enjoy them. Somehow I don’t quite have the same completionist streak in that game that I do in other MMOs though. Anyway I was totally prepared to skip the current “Valentione’s” event, until my friend asked if I wanted to queue for it together.

valentionesI’m super glad I said yes! A lot of times in FFXIV the seasonal events have you either do solo quests, or run fates out in the world. This one had you queue for a two-person instance to see how “attuned” your characters are to each other. We had to solve a maze while tethered together, and then do a card patching game. We ended up being a favorable match! I never doubted it, we’re two awesome femmeRoes.

flying chair palsIt was quick and fun and at the end of it we each got one half of this ridiculous chair mount. We took them out for a spin together. They are so ridiculous and I love them. They each have one silly wing on the back, and they can fly. I am so happy I took the time to do this event with a friend!


February 2018 Gaming Goals

Another month of gaming is in the rear view mirror. How did I do on my goals, and what should I do in February? Let’s find out! Continue reading


Patch Days are so “Fun”

I was super excited about FFXIV’s new patch that arrived yesterday. As is often the case with FFXIV, there was so much new stuff that I couldn’t even remember everything that was coming. I ran home from work and hurried to get everything installed and ready so I could try out new stuff with a friend. And then I hit a brick wall.

I logged in and spent a few minutes unlocking the new raid first thing. I really wanted to see it, since I love FFXIV’s raids and this one has bosses based on one of my favorite FF games. Raids are also the only way I could play with my friend with us both in our preferred roles (we’re both healer mains). Unfortunately once I got it unlocked, I couldn’t actually queue. My item level is too low.

We ended up running one of the new dungeons instead, since I could actually do that and they drop gear that will help get me closer to being able to join the raid. My mood was ruined though, and I suspect I wasn’t very good company. Instead of being excited to see the new dungeon, I was annoyed that I had to play SMN instead of SCH, and that I was missing out on the raid.

Once we finished I ended up spending some time messing around with the new glamour system and that made me feel a bit better. I’m hoping it will be relatively painless to get geared up enough to catch up. This exact issue is one of the reasons I bounced off of FFXIV last expansion, but I’m not quite ready to give up on it again yet.

The kicker of this story is that after my disappointment and bad mood I went to look at the shiny new races they added to WoW…and couldn’t. There was a bug going around where none of your characters would show up on the server list or login screen, and I was lucky enough to experience it. I took it as a sign that I should do something else, so I spent the rest of the night working on my creative thing for the day instead.

Here’s hoping tonight is a better night for gaming!


Games While I’ve Been Alive

Belghast posted a list of the most important games to him for every year of his life. I decided this would be a fun thing to do too. Little did I know how much I would agonize over some of these choices. There were a couple years where I just could not choose only one game. Conversely, there were a few years where I barely played anything worth remembering. Without further ado here is my list:

1979 Asteroids
1980 Pac-Man
1981 Frogger
1982 Pole Position
1983 Spy Hunter
1984 Tetris
1985 Super Mario Bros.,  Oregon Trail
1986 Bubble Bobble
1987 Space Quest II
1988 Super Mario Bros. 3
1989 Prince of Persia
1990 Dr. Mario
1991 Lemmings
1992 Wolfenstein 3D
1993 Myst
1994 Final Fantasy VI
1995 Descent
1996 Diablo,  Tomb Raider
1997 Final Fantasy VII
1998 Parasite Eve
1999 Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
2000 Icewind Dale
2001 Pikmin
2002 Ratchet & Clank
2003 Beyond Good & Evil
2004 Katamari Damacy
2005 Metroid Prime Pinball
2006 Kingdom Hearts II
2007 Portal
2008 World of Warcraft: WotLK
2009 Dragon Age: Origins
2010 Plants vs. Zombies
2011 SW:TOR
2012 Diablo III
2013 Final Fantasy XIV: ARR
2014 WildStar
2015 Undertale
2016 Stardew Valley
2017 Horizon: Zero Dawn