Archive | July 2016

MTG Eldritch Moon pre-release and initial fleet engagements with SW Armada.

Well folks this is a rather late post, but I figured better late than never. Few weeks ago I went to the Magic the Gathering Pre-release for Eldritch Moon at my local hobby shop, and I have to admit the cards released in the set were pretty good.

 

While I lost almost every match I played in (not the least bit because the people I played against liked to build decks in which they could manipulate some mechanic to allow them to win in two turns per se), I have to admit that the pre-release set was relatively well put together. Thanks to the set, I now have my first D20 die, or a life counter as the players termed it. The event was packed, and there were a ton of people attending which made for a good evening. Still, I don’t think I will ever be attending another one so readily and so soon as these events tend to be fun up until it starts to look grim – a good mix of wins and losses would be better than a string of defeats that stretch farther than a raceway.

 

Moving along, I picked up a copy of Star Wars Armada to add an instant, ready-to-play wargame to my collection. The initial fleet engagement was quite refreshing as up until this point I was going through a very long dry spell of little to no wargaming – my Warhammer 40,000 army has sat idle for over seven to eight years, and my Age of Sigmar force has yet to be tested. Now the decision to dive back into wargaming was spurred on by a couple of Youtube channels that focused on wargaming, and after seeing Armada play out in some battle reports I decided it was time to sign on with the fleet.

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Mechanics-wise the game is very well put together. A lot of the bookkeeping that goes into wargaming – wounds, damage, etc – is taken care of on the base of the models via sliding and rotating cardboard dials that need to be assembled onto the base. This way players can easily keep track of damage and units moved making the game run a lot smoother than other titles which require a pen and a sheet of paper in order to record damage. Indeed I am very excited to play another session this weekend as this game is definitely needed in my life to enable my return to my true interests in the hobby fields – the fleet awaits.

 

Perhaps I will cover a few of my engagements in a sort of epic tale per se to see if you readers like it or not. Should the series work out, I might even do the same for my Age of Sigmar force, and where applicable my 40k army. Until then folks, enjoy the weekend and I shall see you next time.

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End of the week.

Hello folks,

 

Figure I’d throw this piece out onto the blog just so that you know what has been going on with this particular writer. Thus far I have had little in the way of inspiration to write these past few days, and up until now the time available to write as well.

 

Lately I have been spending a bit more time on the Xbox One, and the titles I have been rotating frequently through are Witcher 3 Blood and Wine (specifically) and Battlefield 4. Now I would be lying if I said I did not touch any of my PC games; Bad Company 2 has made a comeback onto my rotation per se but only in a particular way – I run M1 Garand loadouts only in that game. The way I figured it was if this game offered a unique rifle that no other Battlefield title that is presently live offers, why should I dip into the other more commonly available firearms when I can use this unique piece of equipment to give my game play experience that added spice? With Battlefield 4 I have access to a whole array of bolt-action sniper rifles and fully automatic machine guns (I play support mostly) – with Bad Company 2 all of that exists except for the M1 Garand which is Bad Company 2-specific.

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Now you and I both know that there are plenty of World War 2 games with the M1, but Bad Company 2 is – at least to my knowledge – the only modern military shooter that features this rifle. Think of it as a fantasy come alive – this aging relic put back into service for a military outfit that is looking for firearms to add to their steady but dwindling arsenal. Somewhat romanticized, but if it gets the inspiration to use it going then it does it job well.

 

Give it a try folks if you have not already done so with Bad Company 2, it’s well worth the effort. Just a note though, you may need to adjust your tactics in-game for the rifle as it will not match the enemy’s rate of fire in most cases. Until next time this has been the Writer, and I shall catch you later.

Enough with the Pokemon Go bashing.

Alright, I need to get this out there – some people really are oxygen thieves. Now I’m no fan of Pokemon Go; I just grew out of Pokemon after grade 4. Yet despite this I never – NEVER – negatively commented on those who play the game – it’s their hobby, just like my hobbies are war gaming and firearms collecting.

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Yet despite this, I still read about how some balding malcontent out there is all upset at how young people are roaming around the city on a nice sunny day catching imaginary Pokemon on their phones. Some even go as far as to comment: “gee, the US politicians/Canadian politicians are the most corrupt they have been in ages, there is a coup in Turkey, and yet all you people can talk about is (colorful language here) Pokemon.”

 

Hey Mr. Goose-step, you dislike people having fun – you dislike people going outside and enjoying their city the way they see fit in a safe and responsible manner? Eat a pile of dog droppings freak, eat it and choke on it. You think sitting in a bar, drinking OVERPRICED CRAFT BEER AND SWIPING ON TINDER is any better? How about speeding on the highways, risking the lives of people around you for the sake of impressing the girl in the passenger seat who is probably fearing for her life more so than actually enjoying the experience – you call that responsible fun?!

 

“Hey Writer, what about sports? If they’re outside, they should play sports, not Pokemon Go!!” Yes, like throwing a ball into a receptacle is anymore or any less enjoyable. I dislike sports – I believe physical exercise should involve some bayonet and sword drills on top of some running, push ups, and the whole nine yards of fitness training. Yet you do not see me out there telling ball players to get bent, do you now? People have options on what sort of physical activity they do outside – sports, walking, Paintball, it’s always their choice.

I have had it with people bashing a game that has thus far brought joy to millions of people, and has given Nintendo a good boost in revenue. Do us all a favour and grow up – hobby-bashing is an utter waste of time.

Toussaint!

Well what can I say about Toussaint – it’s great! After waiting for about half a day for the expansion to install, I was brought to the wonderful southern province of Toussaint. Upon arrival the first thing I was greeted by was lush green valleys and endless sunshine – there was also a giant because that is how the expansion opens when you arrive in Toussaint (after you help two Knights-errant kill bandits in the north).

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The expansion is an entirely fresh experience for Witcher 3 players as it is far removed from the horrors of the north – the war, famine, the endless depression that grips the north. Toussaint is blessed with nutrient-rich soil that produces some of the best wines known around the world. The place is also relatively peaceful, and while there are monsters and creatures, the Duchy is protected by Knights-errant who ride around rescuing people and fighting monsters in an intriguing display of chivalric virtue and honor. There is also the Ducal Guard who serve as Beauclair’s main defense force as well as the Duchesses’ personal guard – there are some Ducal guardsmen roaming the countryside, but they’re probably more along the lines of territorial scouts and light defense.

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Thus far I have dived into the side quests of Blood and Wine, and I can honestly say they are a lot more intriguing than the side quests available in the base game – from recovering bronze testicles to helping end a dispute between two vineyard owners, there is something for avid fans of the fantasy genre to be found in Blood and Wine.

 

Now I shall return to Toussaint and continue aiding the Knights-errant scattered across the province in their quests against bandits and monsters – away!

The Xbox One sale: top five games?

Yes indeed folks there is currently a sale going on for the Xbox One on their marketplace, so without further delay allow me to present my top five games (largely because I have no interest in lengthy lists, and also because I want to be able to discuss each title without making this into a university thesis). Just a heads up before we continue, one of the titles will be a 360 backwards compatible title just so you are aware of it and not thinking: “what the, this is a 360 title!!”

Gears of War 3, 67% off with or without the season pass. Good title, I had lots of fun with it on both the Xbox One and the 360 – bear in mind that this is an old game and so it will start to show its age. However with that said, the community is still somewhat alive (at least more alive than Gears of War Judgement), so you should be able to find some games to join in. Should you have been the ones to have avoided this title for this long for whatever reason, now is the time to exploit this 67% off sale price.

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Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag, 60% off. This game is a nice breath of fresh air when it comes to Assassin’s Creed. While AC: Rogue is still one of my favourite Assassin’s Creed games, Black Flag is definitely something I prefer over the recent additions to the franchise mainly for its age-of-sail combat and the wide-open exploration of the Caribbean (though there are some areas that are out of your level, so be aware that you could die very easily on those spots). Another old title as well, but this one was a re-release (I think anyways) for the Xbox One, so it is somewhat “shiner,” if I may be allowed the phrase, when compared to – say – the 360 version or the PS3. Feel free to check it out when you get the chance, it is a good title that shan’t be avoided.

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Dragon Age Inquisition, 60% 0ff. This title was an interesting experiment for me on the Xbox One. While I enjoyed watching the cutscenes and exploring the various branching story arcs, I cannot help but feel as though the game restricted my freedom of movement to certain areas due to the leveling mechanic in the game. Sure Witcher 3 has a leveling mechanic as well, but I could go to Novigrad simply by saying: “(insert something colourful here) your checkpoint boy, imma swim to Novigrad!” Yes the guards shot at me while I swam, but I made it! Soon after I wandered Novigrad a bit before I was slaughtered by some sewer creatures, and later some gangsters who were level – like – 16, and I was 8? I died and had to go back to Velen to lick my wounds – a shameful display! After that, however, Inquisition does feel a lot smoother than Dragon Age Origins, and a whole lot more free than Dragon Age 2 (even though I actually liked Dragon Age 2). With the game having all of its DLC released and all the bugs ironed out, now is the time to jump in and explore yet another giant open world (though more akin to instanced areas like Guild Wars 1).

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Far Cry 4, 60% off. Definitely (for me anyways) a lot more enjoyable than Far Cry 3. While the tropical island areas of Far Cry 3 were fun to drive around in, and pirates were a lot more entertaining to shoot at than generic dictator-loyal soldiers, Far Cry 4 offered something to me that Far Cry 3 did not; Crab Rangoon. That’s right folks, the short Easter egg ending was a selling point for me as when I finished installing the game the first thing I did was go through the Easter Egg ending because the actual game can wait – I wanted to side with the purple suit dictator of this far-off country. Game play-wise it is about the same as any other Far Cry game; lots of guns, freedom of movement, lots of wildlife, and flamethrowers – there is also the MP 34, a side-loading SMG that is surprisingly fun to hunt wild animals with (bows are for stealth wannabes). If you have put off buying this game until now, feel free to jump into the madness that is Far Cry 4 – regret it or not, user experiences may vary my dear readers.

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Nice, we are finally at the Witcher 3 with a good 50% off for the game, or 33% off for the game and season pass. This game has taken hold and simply will not let go. Now before this game I was an avid fan of Skyrim, and to an extent I still am. Yet the world that is in the Witcher 3 is absolutely beautiful (more so than Skyrim in its current state), and it has taken so long for me to explore just the base game alone – playing a ton of Gwent probably didn’t help the cause. Now with Blood and Wine opening up a new province to explore, I have even more work ahead of me if I want to see every corner of the game that is offered to the players. Combat in the game is fluid, and the story line will leave you wanting to save the game before certain conversation sequences so that you may see the outcome of your actions as you branch off on different paths. This game is an absolute treat, and a gamer should not deny themselves this feast lest they fall into a cycle of bitter resentment and soon turn to the ruinous powers of Chaos (this has no relation to the Witcher universe whatsoever so just take it as it is my good readers).

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That’s it folks for this list of games to check out on the Xbox One marketplace sale. Feel free to get any or none of them – the purchase decision is entirely in your hands. Now if you will excuse me, I shall play some Red Dead Redemption before lunch, and hopefully NOT get trampled by bandits along the way (also Red Dead Redemption was released as a backwards compatible title today (Friday the 8th of July), 7 dollars Canadian, so you American readers down south will get it for less most likely). Horses man, they are the only mode of transportation that is viable in these universes of ours (well, okay AC 4 Black Flag has tall ships but shhhh, shhhh, shhhhhh don’t talk anymore little dove, this is my blog, remember?). Take care folks, and I shall see you next time.

“Millennials aren’t buying diamonds anymore.”

May I just add my two cents to this statement here? Shall the audience permit me to throw in my statement for the record on this topic? Such nonsense the Economist spouts, there is a reason why younger people buy less and less diamonds. Imagine, a grocery store clerk able to afford diamonds in the first place; imagine a college graduate saddled with mountains of debt able to afford diamonds en mass – such fantasies are only just that, fantasies.

 

People live in a world that is presently suffering from a lack of employment opportunities; where jobs are outsourced or simply eliminated altogether with no viable replacement (minimum wage is not a viable replacement for something that can pay the bills and afford a down payment for a home per se). Nevermind how corrupt and utterly broken the diamond market is, for that is an entirely different can of worms. No Millennials dislike diamonds because they either cannot afford it, or are against the practices to which are utilized to acquire this rock, of which is only useful in certain circumstances ie: engagement rings. Everything else is just luxury goods; useless at its core, and lacks fulfillment other than the initial shock and awe of purchase.

 

“Why aren’t Millennials buying diamonds?” Same statement as: “Millennials aren’t eating cereal because they’re too lazy to wash the bowl,” or “Millennials aren’t buying homes anymore, why, WHY?!?!” Old ideas are dying, and Millennials will not prop up decaying values when they can find a better route towards a better, brighter future (that’s just my optimistic-side talking).