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I had originally planned to write about my impressions of the Defiance 2050 beta, but for several reasons, I have not been playing it enough to warrant a whole and substantial blog post about it. During the first beta weekend it was mainly due to pain in my hand. Defiance, thankfully, is a game that doesn’t need many buttons. After putting aim and shoot away from the mouse and onto keys 1 and 2, I’ve had a blast playing Defiance. Yes, Defiance – not Defiance 2050.

The main question that’s in my head when I think about Defiance 2050 is: Why?

I knew that Trion did not make a whole new game with Defiance 2050. One huge reason and benefit of switching to Defiance 2050 is that instead of PS3 and XBOX 360, PS4 and XBox One will be supported! PC players just need to “tag along” here. I think that they instead wanted to change the “basis” the game stands on and I assume they made it so they can make new content more easily and to get rid of some bloated features. The new skill tree looks much cleaner and more streamlined, for example! But this could be an illusion due to dividing the skill trees into individual classes instead of having everything visible at once. I am also not sure if you’ll be able to mix and match like you are now afterwards. But if you won’t, maybe this is easier to balance?

Gameplay-wise, the time in the game changes from 2046 to 2050 – hence, the new name. I haven’t noticed many changes in the beginning of the game. The tutorial seems to be identical, but apparently, there’s now mutants instead of hellbugs… I thought it had been mutants before as well, but my memory may be wrong here. It’s been too long since I last played through the tutorial. But why should I spend my time playing beta and re-experiencing everything I’ve already seen when I can also play Defiance and maybe unlock a few pursuits (“achievements” in other games) which will hopefully give me enough Valor to buy stuff I have in the current Defiance?

Here’s the thing: I bought Defiance. I own Defiance. I have my character, my inventory slots, my extra loadout slots (which will transfer to Defiance 2050, at least), several special skins and vehicles. Defiance 2050 will be a “free to play”-game and I will have nothing there except for the character slots and loadout slots which will carry over and Valor which will maybe get me some of what I have right now. I will have to buy inventory slots again. They promise to make them cheap with Valor. But will I get enough Valor to get all the skins, vehicles and inventory slots that I currently own? I will have to start all over with a new character, after all. Defiance will not go offline, so I could just continue playing there, but will Trion develop new content for both, Defiance and Defiance 2050? They promised not to turn off Defiance, but I think the chances of them maintaining two games and offering new content for them both are very very slim.

To add something positive to this ranting post: The new inventory is definitely an improvement if you ask me! It can be seen on the left screenshot, the “old” inventory is on the right. The categories make it much easier to find something!

One odd thing with me and Defiance is that once I play it, I love it and I can’t get enough of racing through the world, hunting hellbugs and mutants. But once I’ve left the game, I easily forget it even exists. There’s something that doesn’t “stick” and doesn’t make me say “I want to play Defiance tonight!”. I can’t even tell you why that is. This also means that I have not invested as much time as I could have – or even would have liked to, considering I really enjoy playing Defiance! But if I already feel anxious about losing stuff (and it does feel like that), then what is it like for the other “veterans” who have invested much more time (and money)? It’s always risky to do such a restart. Secret World did it with their Secret World Legends. In that case, however, I had never really gotten into the Secret World and the restart as a new game gave me the chance to do so.

We often fear new things and want to stick with what we have and feel familiar with. So I think there needs to be a lot of communication from Trion, especially for the veterans of the game. They make up the active player base, after all. New players will come and try out the game, but the ones that have been around for years are the ones emotionally invested. They have their friends here and the world they feel familiar with. Trion does have their Twitch streams and they’re trying, but the information of what the Valor program is and what we will get from it is still a little too vague and I only found all relevant information available after using Google. Trion does have a FAQ, but it should be updated whenever they have more information available!

Other than that, I’m a bit at a loss here. When Funcom announced that they would reintroduce the game as Secret World Legends and when I watched their streams talking about the changes and the game, I got excited. With Defiance, I’m not. And I can’t even tell you why that is or what is the difference that makes me feel more anxious here. I assume one reason could be that I’d never gotten into Secret World, but I did feel like I’d gotten into Defiance. So while I didn’t lose anything in the former, I could lose something in the latter – especially these pretty pretty skins and vehicles! Only time will tell how the transition goes, but at least, I’m not alone wondering what’s new with Defiance 2050.

I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place. Sometimes they will make sense, sometimes they won’t.

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The PC beta for the upcoming “reloaded” Defiance, called Defiance2050, is taking place this weekend. The beta is up from today (that is, in something like 11 hours from this post – I’m not exactly sure due to time zones and me not having had my morning coffee yet) until Sunday. Both bookahnerk and I got into the beta already. So, the 10 codes we received as part of the creator programme can instead all go to whoever is interested in checking out the game and participating in the beta!

You can already preload the game as soon as your account is registered as participating, so you’ll be able to play as soon as the servers come online. That’s also why we’re not doing our usual giveaway with a stated deadline here. As you know, this is the preferred method for me because I think it’s nicer than the “first come, first served” way. But with the beta approaching fast and only being up for a weekend, I decided to do it like this: First come, first served! Leave a comment and tell us why you want to play the beta of Defiance2050 (the reason given does not influence your chance of receiving a beta key, I am just curious to know… :p)!

Here’s our rules for this giveaway:

  1. One entry per person! Please stay fair! Your IP address gets logged when you comment, so we can see if you try to enter several times.
  2. In order to enter, leave a comment and tell us why you want to play the beta.
  3. Leave a valid email address when commenting. It will only be used by us for contacting the winners and nothing else! Enter said email address into the “email” field, do not add it to the comment field as that one is public! We will send an email to the winners with the code(s) you’ve won. If your email address is invalid, we may not be able to send you the code!
  4. No debating about the outcome! It’s first come, first served (chosen by the time the comment was posted here in this blog).
  5. You promise not to sell your prize! If you decide you don’t want it after all, give the code to a friend or guildie – for free!

I will try to send you your key as fast as possible. However, since it’s a regular Friday, I am working and can’t promise to reply immediately. So be patient. Also, if you haven’t commented here before, your comment will likely be “hidden”. This is to combat spam. But I will approve all valid comments and I will also check the spam folder for this post, too, so don’t worry.

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My brother and I didn’t get along when we were kids. However, even we had some things we could do without yelling at each other. It was only a handful of things, but they were there and they are the most precious childhood memories now, of course. One was how he taught me playing table-tennis. The other was us building lego cars and smashing them against our old guest room’s door (nobody cared that it got more dents than it already had). The third was him introducing me to PC games. He had bought a Commodore 64 at some point and the whole family sat there playing games together. He later got an Amiga (Amiga 500, probably, but I’m not sure) and I got to buy the C64 off of him.

I don’t recall which games we played on the Commodore and which on the Amiga. What I do remember is that I consciously learned my first English words with my brother. He had an adventure game that was only in English and as I couldn’t read much at that time (I was probably in the first grade and English wasn’t taught until grade 5), he wrote down the words and the symbols, so I knew what it was. I still couldn’t play the game on my own, but I knew what “key” and “chest” meant. I was a proud little kid because of that!

C64 Airline

May favourite game was “Airline“. I know I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, because the picture above was uploaded in 2015. ;) It was my favourite game on the C64, but when my brother first showed me that game, I greatly disliked it. I’d thought it was a game where I could fly a plane, but it turned out that it was an airline management game. I clearly remember saying how boring that sounded, managing stuff and all that, and how much more exciting it would be if it was about flying! But he disagreed and explained to me why such a game was fun to play and then we played it together. I was hooked within less than an hour.

When I first saw that there’s going to be the C64 Mini, a remake of the C64 in a miniature version, I squealed – how awesome of them to get us this piece of nostalgia back! But I didn’t need it, so I didn’t pay much more attention to it. What I did see later was that the preorders I had seen before were already sold out. Unfortunately, this was at the time when I had decided that I actually do need a C64 Mini. My gaming life isn’t complete without one! So I checked the various online websites of our electronic stores, but they either didn’t even list the product anymore or it kept saying “sold out” – until one glorious day, one web shop had preorders available again! I didn’t hesitate (for long) and preordered mine!

As the name suggests, the C64 Mini isn’t exactly big. Also, in case you’ve not read about it yet: The keyboard is pure decoration and doesn’t work! They have a bigger C64 planned which will apparently release at the end of the year. This one will have a functioning keyboard. The C64 Mini comes with a slot to put in the HDMI cable they delivered with it, a micro-USB slot for powering the C64 Mini and two USB slots. You can connect the joystick (and you probably should), a second joystick if you like, an external keyboard or a USB stick to play a C64 game that wasn’t pre-installed as well as for updating the firmware. The C64 comes with 64 games already. It currently only allows “external” games (d64-files) that consist of one single game file, but they promised a firmware update very soon that’ll allow you to also load C64 games that came with more than one file.

The C64 Mini comes with an HDMI cable. We tried to connect it to one of our PC’s monitors, but the monitor stayed black. Then we got the TV out of our guest room which is currently still filled with moving boxes and put it on our dining table. This one connects flawlessly, so I could finally start testing and playing!

I also, of course, tried to play “Airline”. But the version of the game I have didn’t work. I found another one, but since it’s two files, I need to wait for the firmware update now, before I can give it another go. If you do want to play external games, I definitely recommend connecting an external keyboard, because while the virtual keyboard is well-thought out with shortcuts to move around faster, it’s still annoying to type in order to load the game. And if the game itself requires typing, once again, a real keyboard is just so much nicer and more comfortable! You may remember that the C64 Mini only has two USB slots. So, one for the joystick, one for the USB stick and… none for the external keyboard. That’s when we went out to buy a USB hub! It’s just so much easier now! If you want to get one as well, it’s just important to know that it should have its own power source. Do not just power it through the USB connection as that may not be enough power for it. We got one that you can either connect through USB only or you can also use an external power source. We haven’t tried it yet without the power source, though.

The joystick is okay. I have read complaints about it, but so far, I have had no issues playing with it. It does take some time getting used to it, though. I had read that you can connect controllers to the C64 and the official statement was this:

“Most general USB controllers should work fine on THEC64 Mini as a second (or alternative) controller.

We have tested using both THEC64 Joystick and alternative USB gamepads and controllers and whilst we can’t guarantee 100% compatibility with every controller out there, a lot of effort has gone into trying to ensure that many of them will work with it.”

I naively thought this would mean that my XBox controller would work, but sadly it doesn’t. Neither does my Steam controller, but I didn’t think it would when the XBox one didn’t. I do hope that they will add support for the XBox one in the future, though, as I don’t want to buy another controller for the C64 Mini now. In the meantime, bookahnerk and I can only play the games that can be played in alternating turns. No Pitstop II for us to play against on another.

Speaking of which, I played a game of Pitstop II – at the lowest difficulty setting, against the computer – I was in the lead until I needed to make a pit stop and replace my tires. It was fighting against the controls rather than against the PC car.  But it’s definitely still fun to play! It’s much more simple and in a way less exciting than racing games nowadays are, of course. But I think if I played this with my nephews who are in elementary school, they would love it! It’s entertaining and the addition trying not to damage your tires during the race or you’ll lose too much time with a pit stop is also really nice.

And even though I fought against the controls, I’m pretty sure I would be much better if I played it again now, because now I know how it works! I just can’t, because the constant pressure and movement was too much for my left hand to handle (still having the RSI issues) – but that’s not the C64’s fault.

We have yet to try Summer, Winter, World and California Games. In my memory, all of these melted to just Summer and Winter games. But once I saw the different events you can play in each of them, I knew we actually used to have all four of them when I was a kid. California Games is the only out of these four that can be played in alternating turns, so you can play it with more than one person and only one controller/joystick. We will definitely play that one once we find the time to play a game together.

So, what is my first impression then? Now keep in mind, that I don’t write “proper reviews” – I always write first impressions that are highly subjective instead. :p

It’s certainly nostalgia-filled, but I’m holding my breath here until the firmware update releases and I can try so many more games! I am also trying to figure out which gamepads/controllers work and which ones aren’t too expensive to buy, because I would really only buy one to play on the C64 Mini. But if I want to play a game on my own, I have 64 to choose from! Loading external games from the USB stick also seems to work, but when I tried to play Ghostbusters, I got graphic errors for the vehicle and could not actually play the game. And with Airline, I need to wait until the firmware update comes that allows to load games with more than one file. But the pre-installed games work flawlessly and connecting the C64 Mini to the TV worked perfectly, too. Also, the external keyboard (we connected my Microsoft Wave one) worked immediately, too. The C64 Mini itself is, as you can see, tiny, but very well-made, even without a functioning keyboard. So, altogether, the “out of the box” experience is great. And everything else is “wait and see” now. If you think about getting a C64 Mini because you want to fill that nostalgia-urge, like the pre-installed games and don’t want to play against others (or own/buy an additional gamepad that works), I can certainly recommend it! Otherwise, I’d suggest waiting or researching more first (e. g., if the games you’d want to play on it are available).

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Bookahnerk and I will be spending this weekend (re-)visiting good old gaming times. Ultima Online started their version of “free to play” (or free trial, if you prefer) called Endless Journey yesterday. This was his favourite MMO back in the day and to some extent still is. I never played the official game. I only tried out a free shard once, but to be honest, I prefer the official servers. So I will dip my toes into this content – unless something else keeps me away from my modern PC.

I finally got to pick up my C64 Mini today! Boy, it really is mini. In case you’ve not heard about the C64 Mini before: The keyboard is fake. For some, this is an issue, but not for me. You can apparently connect a USB keyboard to it, so that’s no big deal. And did I mention it really is mini? I wouldn’t know how to type on that thing anyway and my hands are rather small. The C64 mini comes with 64 games preinstalled, but you can attach a USB stick and play any other C64 games you may have. My favourite game as a kid was Airlines, so I’ll definitely try that out! Once I get the C64 connected to a monitor – and there’s the current biggest issue: Our flat still has too many moving boxes. They’re blocking our TV. I guess there’ll be cleaning before there’s gaming. But the weekend just started!

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You know the drill by now: It’s time for a new cooking recipe! This year, I sat back and watched bookahnerk prepare it as he always does this one dish.

We had honey-mustard glazed chili-duck with potato wedges and field salad.

Ingredients for the duck:
– 1 duck breast per person
– honey
– mustard
– salt and pepper
sambal oelek

Ingredients for the side dishes:
– field salad
– tomatoes and 1 cucumber (or whatever you want in your salad)
– potatoes
– salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and raspberry vinegar

You can either buy the sambal oelek or make it yourself. We usually get it from an Asian supermarket, but as we didn’t have any left, I made it myself this time. We have self-made ground chilis (you can just buy them if you like :p). I used some of these, added salt and white wine vinegar. I can’t tell you how much vinegar I used because the bottle slipped and yeah well… I let it sit there for a couple of hours and it had the texture of pulp later on.

Very important for this recipe: You do not pre-heat the oven! It has to be cold.

Prepare the glaze: You need about one spoon of honey and one spoon of mustard (medium hot) for each duck breast. Add a bit of salt and pepper. When it comes to sambal oelek: Decide for yourself. How hot do you want it to be? The honey and mustard should still be the dominant taste in there, though. Mix it all in a small bowl.

Prepare the potato wedges: Use very fresh ones! Wash them, cut them in quarters and just add a little bit of salt. Put them on a baking tray covered with baking paper (for this recipe, you’ll need two baking trays as the ducks will go in a casserole on a second tray).

Pat the skin of the duck breasts with paper towels. Then take a pan and put the duck breasts in there with their skin down. Leave them in the pan (medium heat) for 20 minutes. After these 20 minutes, reduce the fat that’s in the pan now. Either take it out with a ladle or pour it out (carefully! You don’t want your ducks in the trash… ;) ). Then turn the ducks around on the non-skin side and cook them for 4 more minutes at a slightly higher temperature (make sure it’s not too hot as you don’t want to burn the meat!).

Use a casserole for the next step: Put the duck breasts in there with the skin upside. Now get the glaze and coat the duck breasts with it. Then put the casserole on a baking tray. Put the potato wedges in the oven as well as the baking tray with the casserole. Again: The oven must not be pre-heated! Now turn it on: 175 °C (347 °F) – We have a fan-assisted oven, by the way, so no upper and lower heat etc. here. Usually, if you use upper and lower heat, the temperature should be a bit higher.

The ducks stay in there for 30 minutes. The potato wedges should be ready at the same time. They were for us, but better take a look at them after 25 minutes to be sure they’re not too dark. Take them out if they are!

Now you’ve got 30 minutes of time left. Prepare the field salad. If it’s good quality, you just wash it in water, put it in a salad spinner to dry and then throw it in a salad bowl. Add whatever else you like… we had cherry tomatoes and cucumber. We also had some glaze left which we used as part of the dressing. The other part was more white wine vinegar and raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper. Add some olive oil if you like. We didn’t use any and the glaze with the extra vinegar was enough for us.

That’s it! Enjoy. :)

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First things first, for those following my “hand issues”: In case you’re wondering why and how I can even get in some gaming time: With a trackball mouse for my left hand, and having to stay away from the PC as well as handwriting while only unpacking moving boxes and moving around shelves in the new flat, my hand had a chance to regenerate and it now tolerates a little bit of MMO gaming time – granted I don’t move around too much. Thankfully, playing a ranged class in Rift and focusing mainly on rifts lets me do that!

But now on to Rift Prime and my very subjective impressions!

Starting area – it begins!

It is nostalgia coupled with “modern Rift”. Not everything was recreated as it was in the beginning. For example, the old skill trees aren’t back and the new souls that were introduced with later expansions can be unlocked with in-game currency. Some features, like the instant adventures and minions, aren’t enabled either. Minions are like trading cards that you click on every couple of hours to “send them on adventures”. You do not need any skill etc. You just click to send them and click again a couple of hours later to receive your loot. The instant adventures are great on the current live servers to level. You are brought to a zone with others that play the instant adventure and get quest after quest to do as a group. It’s very busy and fast and you certainly don’t have time to explore the world around you.

But I don’t want to list the differences and similarities here now. I just want to stress that some of the “old feeling” comes from starting all over again. My account on live has so many of the comfortable things that I’ve gotten used to over the years: I create a new character and as soon as she or he gets to a mailbox, I get all the shiny and fast mounts! I send my new character 100 platinum. They even get a weapon and earrings that level with them now. It’s basically a very easy and carefree experience.

Not so on Rift Prime. I saved everything to afford the 2 platinum and 50 gold for my 60 % mount. Yes, 60 %! And yes, I was so happy once I owned that mount. At some later point, I had wanted to buy new armor, but could only afford one new piece – and then I did not have enough gold left to teleport to the quest area, so I had to get there “by foot”. Thankfully, I already had my mount at that point. But there is no big established “main character” to send some platinum. There isn’t a rich economy either. I gather low level resources and get a tiny bit of money for them, as nobody is super rich on the Prime server. For example, my actual main character has more than 25,000 platinum. Spending 2,5 platinum on a mount is nothing!

I know there are several players that have reached level 50 already and I am only level 15. But I’m enjoying the slower pace. Not only because I can’t play much or for long, but also because I don’t rush through the areas on fast mounts or through the levels through instant adventures or level-up-potions. Fights take longer, because mobs have more health and they also do more damage – but my character not having great equipment also adds to that. Quest rewards actually mean something again, though! I got excited when I received a new pair of shoes for my mage!

My usual problem, however, was: Which class do I want to play? I was certain it would have to be mage or cleric. My current main is a cleric, so that’d be an easy option, because it’d take less getting used to playing. But I started Rift playing a mage as a chloromancer (a class that can heal the group by dealing damage). So this would be quite neat, too. And so I started playing my mage. But as usual: The grass is greener on the other side. It only took until level 15 to realize that I may want to give the rogue a try. On live, as I said, my main is a cleric. I used to play warrior before that. She is level 65 (70 is the maximum on live servers). My mage is 65, too, but she was boosted, so I didn’t actually play her to level 65. My rogue is level 41, but I boosted her to level 40. She is also an elf and… well, I don’t actually like elves. I’ve never really played a rogue, though – wouldn’t this be the perfect chance to do so?

My little dwarf (yes, it had to be a dwarf, as all my other 65+ characters are dwarves as well) is now level 15, same as the eth mage I had created, and I am pretty sure I am going to level rogue on Prime. Thankfully, you only get two character slots on the Prime server, so I have no choices left now (I didn’t delete my mage!).

The slower levelling pace also gives me more time to learn my skills. There are also less premade builds to choose from which again, makes it easier to get into the class. Sometimes, too many choices are nothing but overwhelming for a new player.  The Prime server is located in the USA, so I sometimes have a bit of lag. But in the last few days, it has not been bad. I am only playing in open world areas and with my pet that tanks. So it’s not crucial to have a low latency for me.

What I really love is seeing the factions’ headquarters filled with players again. On live servers, these areas are usually quite empty. There are a few more players in Tempest Bay (the first expansion’s main city). Not sure what it’s like in the other expansions’ main hubs, as I don’t like them and thus, don’t spend time in them. Having a smaller world, though, means that you automatically get to see more players around.

I also went guild-hunting and found a casual-enough German-speaking guild for myself and for bookahnerk (in case anybody from “Die Gelassenen” is reading this: Yes, I’m talking about you! Moin! ^^). Our guild on live is rather inactive in Rift by now, so it’s nice to see an active and talkative guild again!

Altogether, it is not like it was back then when Rift released. It is nothing like the current live servers either. And despite having to pay a subscription, I quite enjoy playing Rift Prime. I bought the year-long subscription last year, so I’m paying roughly 7 € a month which is a fair amount, I think. Trion did a great (not a perfect, but a great) job and they deserve my money for that.

I enjoy the current “vanilla” game (map- and world-wise) and I look forward to being there when the first expansion releases on Prime. I only dread the release of the Nightmare expansion, because I greatly dislike this whole area and would prefer not having to set a foot into these areas again. But this is still some time in the future and there are a lot of other adventures awaiting for my little rogue until then!

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The first Nerdy Bookahs blog post appeared on March 12, 2011. The first postings were all about Rift, before I started writing about other games (most prominently Guild Wars 2, of course!).

A lot has happened in these past few years. I started a new job, quit that job, started a new job, started another new job, quit the second job, quit the third job. We moved twice in that time, most recently to Northern Germany. Oh, and we got married. Let’s not forget about that! :p

I also got invited to Brighton by ArenaNet and NCsoft (because of this blog here). We’ve attended numerous Gamescoms and community meetings – most of them for Guild Wars 2 players, one for NCsoft’s Wildstar and one for Trion’s games. We’ve had our Greek friend, Chris, and a friend of his stay with us for a couple of days. I wouldn’t have met Chris if it hadn’t been for that invitation to Brighton.

So, no matter how I look at it, how much or little I get to play, this blog and my life are intertwined and I really like that! I’ve been blogging much less often in the past year, but that’s not because I don’t want to blog anymore. Just with not being able to play much, there is also not that much to write about. But even so, I will certainly not stop filling this blog with my thoughts and rants about games!

And there simply can’t be an anniversary celebration without a giveaway, right? Luckily, Trion gave us some more keys for Rift’s 5th anniversary snail a couple of weeks ago, so we will give them away here now!

Win 1 of 10 5th anniversary snail mounts for Rift!

The following rules apply:
  1. One entry per person! Please stay fair! Your IP address gets logged when you comment, so we can see if you try to enter several times.
  2. In order to enter, leave a comment with the phrase listed below.
  3. Leave a valid email address when commenting. It will only be used by us for contacting the winners and nothing else! Enter said email address into the “email” field, do not add it to the comment field as that one is public! We will send an email to the winners with the code you’ve won. If your email address is invalid, we may not be able to send you the code!
  4. The giveaway has a stated deadline. All valid entries (as stated under no. 1 and no. 2) posted before the deadline will be entered into the drawing.
  5. No debating about the outcome! Unless otherwise stated in the respective giveaway, we will randomly choose the winners from the eligible entries if there are more entries than prizes. This is done by me making a list of all valid entries, re-checking the list to make sure it’s correct and then using random.org to roll for the winner/s.
  6. You promise not to sell your prize! If you decide you don’t want it after all, give the code to a friend or guildie – for free!

In order to enter the giveaway for one of the cosmic wisp mounts, please read the rules, then leave a comment and use the following key word:

Anniversary

The giveaway will close on Sunday, March 20, 2018, at 9 pm German time (Please not that there may be a time difference-change due to daylight savings time!). Winners will be drawn as soon as possible after the deadline. Real life may happen, so please allow me some time to get the codes to you. :)

Please note that the codes will expire on April 30, 2018. So if you win one, enter it in your Trion account page before that date!

Due to an increase in spam comments, I had to increase security. If you’ve not posted a comment here before, your comment will end up in a queue and will have to be manually approved by me. Do not worry, I will approve all non-spam comments and I even double-check the comment queue before going through the list of entries. Your comment will not get lost!

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Trion chose a perfect time to launch their Rift Prime server. The game originally launched in March 2011 – and this little blog here got started in March 2011 as well. This is not a coincidence, however, as Rift (and the upcoming Guild Wars 2) was the main content I wrote about at that point. For this reason, March is always a very nostalgic month for me! It’s Rift’s 7th anniversary, but it’s also our blog’s 7th anniversary in a couple of days!

I still remember how I fell in love with Rift: I played during one of the beta weekend events or whatever it was. The game was lagging and I did not enjoy myself in there at all – yes, perfect start right there… ;) Coming from Warhammer Online, I was afraid that they could not get Rift to run properly either as the gameplay felt just as sluggish with a bad frame rate as WAR had done. I think it was two weeks later, that I got to try the game again and all the issues I’d had before were gone. The game ran perfectly and smooth. Also, the game itself intrigued me – and they finally had me when I’d gone AFK with my character just to return to the game and find the corner I’d put the character in overrun by enemy NPCs!

I also clearly remember how much I loved my Eth chloromancer. Dealing damage and healing at the same time was so much fun! And in just a couple of hours, Rift Prime will launch and it’ll take us semi-back to the early days. As I understood it, it won’t be a 100 % copy of what we had back then. Some things will be like they are now. But I really love that they’re doing it anyway! The game’s expansion will be “released” later for Rift Prime.

Thankfully, we will also get two character slots on the Prime server, so I will not have to make the tough decision of whether I want to re-create my Eth chloromancer or play a female dwarf as I usually do nowadays. I will just get both! Dwarf cleric and Eth chloromancer. And then I’ll see which one I want to actually play – IF my left hand allows me to play, of course. I just hope that if there are a lot of people around, I can hop from rift to rift and level that way.

The server may come online around 8 pm my time and I think I am fully prepared. Dinner will be frozen fish that I’ll just put in the oven. Rice will be made with our rice cooker. So basically, the kitchen won’t need much of my attention. Moving boxes will stay where they are for the time being and apart from moving a few pieces of furniture, nothing else is planned for tonight. Oh yeah, once these pieces of furniture are moved, I will also have laid out perfect paths to navigate our flat in between shelves and moving boxes! Go me!

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Nerdy bookahs by Paeroka - 2M ago

One month has gone since my last blog post. A lot has happened in real life, and in my game worlds as well.

I am now unemployed – partly because I couldn’t keep my job when moving, partly by choice (to concentrate on finishing my dissertation thesis before looking for a new job). I have been on leave the past three weeks, even though I was still and will continue to work here and there to finish my tasks. But in general, I was focused on stuffing everything we own into moving boxes. My hands (yes, plural at this time, I’m afraid) took it surprisingly well. It seems that the RSI does not show in what I call “naturally using” the hand or “macro-movements”. No idea if that’s accurate. But wrapping dishes and glasses in paper and putting them in boxes, carrying moving boxes, cleaning shelves – all of this does not cause me RSI pain! But handling a PC mouse or writing something using a pen does.

But we have moved now! I never lived outside of my home town (but as a teenager, I swore to myself that I would move away one day – not because I hate my home town, just because I always felt I wanted to live somewhere else). We’ve come to Hamburg for a week or more ever since bookahnerk and I got together (so… 13 years now). So, Hamburg kind of feels like my home-away-from-home. I still remember December 2004 when we were standing at a bus station waiting for the bus to take us back to his parents’ place when he asked: “Could you imagine living in Hamburg?” and despite my best friend living here,  I said: “No way!” – simply because I was sure I’d never feel comfortable living in a big city. I’d not feel comfortable living in a small village either, but a city like Hamburg… I’ve loved Hamburg from the beginning, though. And with every visit, I loved this city more and more. So when we were standing at the beach of the Baltic sea not too far from Hamburg two years ago and we discussed our future, I said that yes, I could imagine moving to Northern Germany. I didn’t think it’d happen so fast, though. But it’s good. It’s Hamburg, after all. The only city I’ve ever loved!

So this is the “real life” part: I am drowning in moving boxes. Hand-wise, my left hand has made some small progress while my right hand has gotten a lot of issues. Not RSI, I think, but it’s definitely tired of being used so much for PC work. Both wrists have been aching for a week now or so, due to moving around heavy boxes all the time. We have more things than storage space at this time. Typing is no problem on my keyboard, thankfully. I am using two PC mice (the symmetrical trackball one – Kensington Orbit – with my left or my right hand depending on which hand feels better and the Havit vertical mouse for my right hand) – and the Steam Controller for gaming. I don’t get much gaming time anyway, so all’s fine, I guess.

Speaking of gaming: The Civ VI expansion, Rise and Fall, has come out. I thought I’d really like the loyalty feature. But so far, this and the Dark/Golden Age have been more of a nuisance. I know part of this is just me adjusting to the new features. Previously, I played the way I liked but now I feel that I need to get certain things or do certain things in order to avoid getting a Dark Age. I also cannot found cities wherever I like as they produce negative loyalty when they’re too close to another region and could rebel and split from my own empire if the loyalty remains that way. Altogether, I think I will like it once I get to know everything better.

I also bought the Blackwell series games. They are point & click adventures which are perfect for a little casual gaming that doesn’t require a lot from my hands. They can easily be played with the Steam Controller which so far is the best option for playing for me, especially when a game doesn’t require fast reactions.

ORWELL: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH – DATE ANNOUNCE NARRATIVE TRAILER - YouTube

Some time ago, I bought Orwell and played through it rather fast. It was a great fun game. I just did not really understand why the developers were sending me weird emails – until I realized that another Orwell game was coming out! With everything else going on, I totally missed that. It is going to release three episodes over the span of 6 weeks. You only need to buy this game, Orwell: Ignorance is Strength, to receive all episodes. I fought against the urge to buy it immediately for a total length of… 1 or 2 hours, I think. I saw 8 positive, 0 negative reviews on Steam and then decided that I just had to have it. Especially as Steam offered me the game for 20 % off, since I own the first game. I haven’t played much yet as I want to go through it slowly as not to miss anything. I am deliberately not telling you much about the game as I am always careful with spoilers for such games. The short version is that you’re working for the government and need to provide them with information on possible terrorists. You get access to emails, telephone conversations, but also read newspaper articles and blogs and need to determine which information there is relevant and which people may be of interest. Piece by piece, you collect information about these people.

I am also so excited for Rift Prime starting! Even though my left hand is aching, I want to at least create a character and try playing a bit. My choice will be an Eth chloromancer just like I played one when I first set foot into Rift (dwarf and eth are my favourite characters to play). If I hop from rift to rift, I could get away with levelling without having to use my hand too much!

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New year, new games! For me, 2018 begins with a hopefully great expansion coming: Civilization VI’s “Rise and Fall”. It will be released on February 8, which coincides with me leaving my current job. It also coincides with us moving across the country, but that will happen later that month. So in between packing our moving boxes, I will surely find some time to relax and play. Most of all, turn-based games are perfect for me to play with my RSI, because I can take a break any time and there are no swift actions necessary, so I can be very mindful about my hands while playing.

But of course, the game being compatible with my hand issues is not the reason I am looking forward to it (though it’s certainly not minimizing my anticipation either). I know Civilization VI is a controversial game among Civ-fans. I personally really like it and haven’t looked back at the previous games anymore. This isn’t to say that Civ VI is better in every aspect. It’s certainly not! But I like the district-building, for example. The AI is annoying, though. Especially when I get spammed with friend-requests every single turn by another leader. The features that the expansion will bring sound really interesting. There is one which stands out for me: Loyalty. If one of your cities has a low loyalty, you may lose it and they may become independent. On the other hand, if you gain a foreign city’s loyalty, you may win it. It does sound a bit like the feature from Civilization IV where you could win over foreign cities with enough culture. That was always my favourite way of expanding my borders. Peaceful, yet annoying nonetheless to my opponents. :)

Civilization VI: Rise and Fall – First Look: Netherlands - YouTube

There will also be new civilizations to play. Seven (of nine…) have been announced so far. Considering the game’s DLCs haven’t been on sale on Steam so far, I am really looking forward to these new civilizations. I only bought two DLCs outside of Steam when I had gotten vouchers (one from Greenmangaming and one from Fanatical) and got another DLC from bookahnerk as a gift. But I only bought the two civilizations (Nubia and Australia) because I really liked what they offered. The others don’t interest me much, so I’m not getting them for the time being. Anyway, I am especially looking forward to more female leaders. Yes, I know history has been spares with female leaders. But I still like that they’re adding them whenever possible! I’m just wondering how long it takes for us to see Merkel as a leader… maybe in Civ XX? :p Wilhemina, from the Netherlands, sounds very interesting. I like playing with leaders that give bonuses when building next to water tiles.

The next game on my list is Ghost of a Tale. It’s been on Steam Early Access for quite a while and it’s just great to see it’s gotten an official release window now! I don’t know yet if I will be able to play it or not with my hand issues, but I don’t really care about that at the moment. They are aiming to release in March 2018! I have only played the very beginning of the game so far, because I don’t want to spoil the fun of playing the game once it’s released. But I can tell you that I have spent more time awwwwing at the character than actually playing. It’s so adorable! And the animations, the design of the environment etc. are amazing. Reviews for the game have been very positive (up to “overwhelmingly positive”), so as long as my hands let me play this game, I am sure I’ll enjoy it!

Two Point Hospital was announced only recently, but I’m definitely curious about this one. I actually never played the Bullfrog games when they first came out. Bookahnerk did tell me about them, though, and when I saw Theme Hospital on sale on GOG, I bought it. I’ve had lots of fun with that one, so I’m looking forward to whatever else they release now. I enjoy “building and management” games. Theme Hospital also added quite a bit of humour which is probably necessary for a scenario like this.

I saw some comments by gamers who wished that they would not just make “Theme Hospital in 3D”, but that they had to add more to the game. I am not so sure. If a game comes out shortly after another successful game of that kind, then yes, I agree! Why should we buy a new version if it’s exactly or very similar to the one that was released one or two years ago (a phenomenon that always confuses me when I look at certain sports games…)? However, Theme Hospital was released a long time ago and even though GOG made it easily accessible again, I would still prefer something more modern. Not the game itself needs to be modernized, not even the graphics in this case, but the user interface and being able to change the screen resolution (I don’t like full-screen mode, so that’s not an option) would be great!

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr may be released in Q1 of 2018. Current testers are skeptical as the game needs more polishing. I would agree, as they just recently changed the levelling experience and I would assume they’d need a lot of feedback for that. But maybe I am wrong here. It’s a game where I managed to show my weakness: I bought into Early Access. I was much too curious and just had to see the game myself now instead of waiting for its release. Oh, it’s an action RPG game, by the way! Unfortunately, when I tried the game (for a very short time, admittedly), I did not like the available classes. They just added a third one, the Psyker (after the Crusader and the Assassin classes). I still need to try that one out. I found some of the features a bit difficult to understand, but as I said, I haven’t played much, so my opinion doesn’t count yet. ;)

Tropico 6 and Surviving Mars are two more games that I’m eagerly anticipating. I’ve been a fan of the Tropico series since Tropico 4 (yes, I know, not as long as others). I couldn’t stand Tropico 5 when it came out (and I regretted buying it for full price at release), but I eventually got into the game and liked it. But I did go back to Tropico 4 now, because I think that overall, it’s the better game! It’s a bit sad that we’re not getting that much information about Tropico 6. We do know that there’s a different development team behind the game, but the same publisher. And we will be playing on more than just one island. So far, it’s always been just one island at a time. I am very much looking forward to this! The picture above shows Tropico 5, by the way. Tropico 6 will look very similar, though, from what I’ve seen so far. I am not sure this game will be a release-day purchase or even something I am pre-purchasing. I have high hopes that they will improve the game and not repeat a “Tropico 5 experience” for me, but as there just hasn’t been that much information yet, I am going to stay cautious. Looking at the amount of hours I’ve been playing Tropico 5, it’s not question that it was well worth being purchases on release. It’s just the feeling of regret that I do not wish to repeat.

Surviving Mars is a game developed by Haemimont Games which are, ironically enough, the previous developers of the Tropico series (and Victor Vran). The game is currently planned to release in Spring. I don’t remember at which point I set my eyes on this game. I really like city-building games, though (who would have guessed, eh? :p) and since I did love all the Tropico games up until Tropico 4 (I played the previous ones after I played Tropico 4), I am curious about this game. What’s annoying is that the Steam forum for this game is flooded with people begging to click their links*. You need to “recruit” others in order to receive in-game items as a bonus. So if you’re interested in getting any new information on the game, don’t go to the Steam forum!

Surviving Mars - Gamescom Gameplay Reveal Trailer - YouTube

There have been several gameplay videos, though. So if you’re interested in the game, I’d suggest looking for those instead.

*None of the links posted in this blog post are referral links, by the way. :p

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