Sunday, January 11, 2015

Would You Like To Play A Game?

I was approached by a representative of Man Crates (a company that ships awesome gifts for men in cool wooden crates, with a crowbar!!) to write about how my love for gaming began. At first I thought I'd go back and reminisce about midi music and ANSI graphics on the local bulletin board system, but there is really no going back to that. Instead, I will take you back to the first console that I ever played on, the Atari 2600.

The latest thing!
My dad, like many dads in this world, liked to try out new gadgets. By the time my Dad brought this home, it had been out for at least 5 years. Still, it was new to us! As the oldest, I got to try it first. I sat down on the mottled brown carpet in front of the entertainment center, opened the game storage container and looked for a game. I wanted an adventure, not a shooting game, so I chose Pitfall.

Alligators, Snakes, and Scorpions!
Pitfall doesn't start out with that many obstacles. Just like most games start you off slow, this one did, too. Still, trying to move with the stick and jump to catch a swinging vine at the same time was nerve wracking for me. My sister took a turn and was able to jump from alligator nose to nose, while I was still stumped at the disappearing and reappearing quicksand trap. I held that controller stick tightly and slammed it to the right to go forward, thinking it would help my character go faster. I broke the controllers so many times, I was eventually banned from playing. To this day I have no clue if this game has an ending, or if there are more than two levels to Missile Command, or even what happens when you kill all the segments of a Centipede. 

Dad, I'm sorry I was so hard on the controllers. Can I play now? I have proven myself to be a responsible gamer, haven't I? My keyboard and mouse have been around for more than a few years now, and my Playstation and Wii remotes all are original equipment! Wait, you say you don't have our old Atari anymore? Maybe there is still a way. Man Crates has retro gaming crates with Nintendo consoles, why not make one with the an Atari?

No Cartridge Needed!
Flashback systems are all the way to version 5 now, with 90+ games on them, but only this one had Pitfall. I'm sure there are lots of games on even the newer versions that will transport some of you back in time to that slumber party with friends, Atari, and food. 

Food! These games were always better when I was over caffeinated, sugared, and covered in chip crumbs. What kind of things would I want in my very own retro gaming crate? I loved Doritos Cool Ranch Chips, but you can get those anywhere. Crush Grape Soda, Pixie Sticks, Lemon Heads and Mike and Ikes are all still pretty mainstream. Now that I am all grown up, I still want the things I love, but with a twist!


Why drink a regular cola when you can have something like this? The colors are fun, the flavor delicious. I would love it if there was a variety 4 or 6 pack in the crate.

They don't have to be bacon flavored. They could be jalapeno, or sriracha, or pretty much any flavor you can think of. Just be sure they are thick ,crunchy, salty, and a little greasy. Oh, and make it two bags or I won't share.

Jelly Bellies!
Of all the candy I ate as a kid, Jelly Bellies are still a favorite. A pound or two of these in a crate would be awesome.

They're entering the atmosphere, it's all over!
How many of you played games on a Saturday morning in your pajamas? Why not do it again? Put some 8 bit lounge pants in that crate with Space Invaders, Pac Man or Frogger printed on them. If not that, how about this hoodie?

I think this crate would only be complete for me with a small toolkit to repair the controllers if I break them. Men like tools. I think this should be a thing. Would this be enough? 

Probably won't fix the controller.
So, Man Crates, I want to purchase an Atari Nostalgia game crate for my husband's birthday. I'm sure you'll do it better than I could (he likes Red Vines, Sweet Tarts, jalapeno chips, Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper). You have until October. I'll be looking for it! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

My November in Draenor.

It's been a busy few months here in my house. Hubby and eldest daughter were both working graveyards for most of the holiday season, and tonnes of overtime to boot. We have one car, and the logistics involved in getting the family where they needed to be with those two huge hurdles was only half of the reason I haven't been here much. Things are slowing down a little, as only hubby has been kept on. I might have time and energy to post! Here are a few pictures and reasons behind them for my first month in Draenor. The expansion is wonderful, and I find that I am getting more accomplished than ever, yet still find myself behind where I want to be. 

Choir of sopranos sing Ahhh!
 My server has got to be the least problematic of most. We aren't linked up with anyone. We aren't high or even medium population. The Horde side of things is less populated than the Alliance side. The fateful day that everyone else was stuck in a queue? Once I had 60 or more people waiting ahead of me to log in. It took me about 5 minutes to get on. Then the DDoS attacks hit and noone could get on. I think I remember cursing and fuming at a day off wasted.

You got a little something, uhh, nevermind.
I love the Goren about as much as I despise those evil little flower people. They're mean, but they roll. The quest in Gorgrond that takes you in disguise through their tunnels was too much fun. I love that there is a transformation toy hidden in a cave inside an egg out in that awful place where the Goren and Gronn fight endlessly. Did you find it, too? I'm a huge cheater and got the add-on to my Handy Notes so I can find ALL THE THINGS. Just because they are on my map doesn't mean I know how to get to them. Jumping games are a weak point of mine, and then there are the flying games in Nagrand. That map and all its notes taunt me.

Big Green Plant Guy!
 OK, so this is the rare big green plant guy, Bashiok. The green areas in Gorgrond make me happy like nothing else does. I'm still looking for that perfect screenshot to re-do my banner, until I find another place that makes me smile as big.

Out with the old, but slowly and awkwardly.
 Talador was the first place where quest rewards were good enough to start replacing my sad excuse for raiding gear. This robe makes me want to cry. Everyone else is so excited because it's slinky and sexy and it has a tattoo on the shoulder. Delgada's shoulder bones cover most of the tattoo, her boobs are saggy, and her belly. ewww. I took this more for the eerie coloring from a quest I was doing or something I had killed. Her outfit at this point still matched, a little. Something I loved about Talador (well, what I love about all of this) was the surprise I got running up to a quest giver only to see her blown up in front of me. Maybe that was why she looks so bewildered. I didn't notice the boots Deceptia (clever name) left behind until someone in Mumble exclaimed over the still smoking shoes. Good thing they stayed there until I went back.

The right person for the job.
 Missions are fun and they are a chore. Delgada has reaped many rewards from her followers missions. Another dirty secret is that I am using Master Plan to help me fill in the blanks for optimal mission success, but I haven't turned off the quest completion, because I love to see that my followers actually do something.

Some treasures make me sad.
There are stories everywhere in this expansion. Nagrand is a dangerous place for adventurers, it seems. Moments like these are why I am not sad that I have Handy Notes. What would I miss if I didn't know where to look? I asked for more stories, and I got them.

I don't speak binary.
This is in Gorgrond. I originally took this screenshot so I could find out what he was saying. As usual, there are people on WoWhead who have deciphered his several bits of dialog. I'll let you look at the comments, but I'll also say, that was a hungry, hungry hippo! Oh, and tab over to the npc abilities after. I love the pop culture references in this game!

Pepe and I adventure together.
By the time Delgada hit Nagrand, all her gear had been replaced, save for her legendary stave and cloak. I am going to have to hunt down the bind on equip versions of these as I really loved the way they looked, but in my haste to fuel work orders, I turned them into dust. I'm sure it was too long ago to recover, and it really isn't a priority. Replacing the cloak that finally retired the legendary cloak was important (I dusted it in a frenzy of cleaning out way too full bags while I had the Orgrimmar cloak equipped!), but this? Nahhh. Oh, and Pepe, I love you. I saw that Euphyley had made a charm and so badly wanted one! When she listed the second I was on my phone trying to buy it when my browser glitched, or someone was ordering at the same time as me, and I lost. She has made more, and I plan to be finally in possession of a real world Pepe soon. I'm almost thinking about backing out all that I just typed so noone will try and shop for one against me. I'll take my chances, mostly because you all need to find Euphyley on Etsy and buy all her things!

That was my November in review. I plan to follow this with December in review, and January, then back to normal things as life allows. Teenage girls and of-age-but-not-adult children are so challenging! If you don't see me in Azeroth, you can find me at Starbucks, hiding behind a large cup of chai tea. Until next time, keep looking for the stories in Draenor. I'd love to hear what you found in the comments.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Go Home, Nat, You're Drunk.

Hurrying Home.
While I was doing my daily fishing quest, I decided I would finish up the Draenor Angler achievement so I could upgrade my fishing shack to level 3. I was already working on it, in the haphazard way of doing the daily fishing quest, and had decided to finish out whatever fish I had that day if I hadn't already. Then, While I was in Nagrand, a pretty new fishing pole dropped, and I decided I needed to finish now. See that pretty gold pole on Del's back? Here's a better picture of it

Ephemeral Fishing Pole.

At first I was very excited, because it was so pretty and I thought I finally had a replacement for my Kalu'ak pole. Then I looked more closely at it and noticed it had a duration of 1 day. Turns out that one day is not real time, but game time. Still, I thought it was real time, so I packed Del a takeout box of her favorite Blackrock Barbecue and sent her off with her bodyguard Vivianne to finish the achievement. With this pole and the Fishing Buddy add-on, she was done in a couple of hours. It would have been longer without it, trying to find the lures in Del's enormous bag full of junk and then put on the highest one, and then the zone specific one! With the add-on, a double right click adds the lures, one at a time, and then casts the line. It even tracks what she catches in each new sub-zone she moves to.

Achievement complete, Del bought the plans for the upgraded shack and built it.

Yes, I want to know about Nat Pagle!
He told me to go back to Pandaria and lure him here with promises of great fishing, and sent me with a catch of my own as proof.

Yes, you should leave all this booze, and fish with me!
He comes to my garrison and promptly sends me out to prove I am worthy of his companionship. Del had to fish up lunkers of every type of zone specific freshwater fish. That last sentence is a huge clue for later, kids. She gathered them all in another hour and Nat approved her catch and became her follower.

Normally, you'd be happy to have another follower. You can continue to earn reputation with him, and he gives you coins for catching lunkers that you can spend to buy items only he sells. I thought that once he was happily set up in my fishing shack next to a well stocked private lake he would stay put. Nope.

Begging for beer and jeering at my catch.
Wherever Del goes to fish, he shows up. His constant complaining about Del's lack of a beer cooler is making her think twice about finishing out her reputation with him. Only a little, because she wants what he sells.Oh, and she can complain all she wants to my fishing buddies, because they can't see him. So, not only is Del drinking because it helps her catch lunkers, she is hallucinating? Put down the pole, it's time to sober up.

No, Nat, it's my hat. 
Go home, Nat, you're drunk.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Goblins vs Gnomes Arena Fun!

I'm game!
I always start my gaming time at home with Hearthstone. It gives me time to organize the real life stuff, and I get my dailies out of the way. I was surprised to see this on my screen when I opened up the game! Then, there was this...

Free Arena!
There were three card changes I wanted to check before I started building my deck. Flare is now a 2 cost card that still destroys all enemy secrets and takes away stealth. The Gadgetzan Auctioneer is now a 6 cost 4/4 minion that still gives cards when friendly spells are cast.There was a warlock spell that the mana cost was changed on, but I decided I wasn't upset about the changes and hurried into the arena where I drafted this deck.

Lots of fun new cards!
I had my choice of druid, paladin, and warrior. I chose paladin, because they are my favorite class to play in arena. There are a lot of fun cards in here! I'll be back after I'm done with my arena bouts to share the fun and prizes!

This was the best arena key I have ever played! I used the arena deck building guide from Icy Veins to help with some of my choices, except when a Goblins vs Gnomes card was in the mix. I picked every one I could, and in the rare case I had two to choose from, I chose one that I didn't have already in the deck. My favorite cards? There were a few. 

Mini Truesilver Champion, kinda.
It's a flip flop of the True Silver Champion, giving more health and doing less damage. For the price, it is a great removal spell early in the game if you are being hit by a bunch of little minions.

Random is always fun!
This is a great one when you have a lot of minions out! I had a lot of fun with this one. Here is a screenshot of one play I made with him. Another great idea is to throw him up after a Defender of Argus  or Sunfury Protector for a chance at shielded taunts!

Almost perfectly buffed, at random!
Watch your cards fly away!
This is one you don't want to play lightly. He's a good one to put up late game when you have all you need in your hand, but not good early in the game. I put him up after several turns at 10 pips, and even then I cringed to see cards I could use flying away.

There were a lot of cards I saw played against me that I am excited to add to my deck. New pirates! The ogre cards are a laugh  with their low cost and 50% fail (or lucky misdirect) rate. There were other cards I played that were worth mentioning.

Random minion?
Here is how random this one was. First time, I got a new card, the Ship's Cannon. It works like the Knife Juggler, except only if you play a pirate. The other times this died, I got a Dire Wolf Alpha, a Novice Engineer, and a Cruel Task Master. Like the other cards that draw a random minion, they lost their battlecry, but it was fun waiting to see what I got!

What does that do?
This one can be pretty helpful, and with all the low cost things he does, I think he would be a great card for a rogue. The spare parts I got the few times he died were Armor Plating, a Time Rewinder, a Reversing Switch, and Whirling Blades. Someone that played against me got a Rusty Horn. Can you imagine turning a Chillwind Yeti into a taunt minion? The person I played against put it on an Azure Drake.

My Best Arena Key Ever!
This was a very good key for me. For rewards, I got 25 gold, 155 gold, and of course a pack of cards, which in turn gave me a legendary that I already had. I pushed all my gold into another arena key, which I promptly lost because I grabbed EVERY Goblins vs Gnomes card I could find and threw deck balance to the wind! I am so excited to collect all the new cards, aren't you? Did you try the free arena key? What were your favorite cards? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What I Am Up To: December Edition.

I have a baby that I only level with a friend. Since Delgada is 100 and well on her way to being geared for raiding, we hop on our babies and level the slow way, stopping for treasure, hunting down rares, picking herbs and ore, and dying to things we should know just cannot be killed.

We just finished Gorgrond. To maximize the treasures we could pick up, he chose the arena and I chose the lumber mill so that we could grab each others items. What I didn't expect is that our quests would be so dramatically different because of the choice! The good thing is, where my quests were in my log, he had a bonus objective, and vice-versa, so we didn't lose while the other gained. One of the weird parts was that at the end of my lumber mill chain, I had to kill Iyu, a huge genosaur. Leading up to that, I was in a cave doing a kill ten things quest and pick up four of those. When I was done the cave was swarmed with those annoying flower podlings. I died once to them, asked my friend why he wasn't helping, and he said, helping with what? He couldn't see anything! Well, I did my magey stealth thing and ran out of the cave to face Iyu, who he also could not see. So, he popped out of bear form and threw heals on me while I finished my quest.  I don't remember not being able to see his quest objectives. This was very odd!

You probably met my baby, Bittsee, here once before.

Reapersky and Bittsee?
We found one of those shaman stones in the level 100 area of Frostfire Ridge (we begged a guildy to help us kill rares out there!) that turns you into an ogre as part of it's buff. So silly!  Anyhow, Reapersky refuses to level without a goblin aboard, so Bittsee obliges. Sometimes I feel like I am really just along for the ride, because he demolishes everything while I am still trying to cast Arcane Blast. I contribute as best I can by being the "Oh, look, there's a toy over to the north east!" navigator. Handy Notes is really a great thing. The map does get a little busy in Gorgrond, though, if you turn on the spawn points for either the stones or the tanglewood. Sad thing is, the items don't disappear when you loot them on those items, so I end up going back to points I already cleared. Still, I guess it is better than having nothing at all!

Just a little old transmog showing.
I really like the new armor styles in this expansion so far. Both Delgada and Bittsee are wearing everything (except that weird towel looking shoulder rag) that is an upgrade without covering it up with transmog. I haven't got far enough on Shawndra or Anselma (my boosted human paladin) to tell if they will be as forunate, and Carlatta is waiting impatiently to cross over when a friend gets his expansion for Christmas. Oh, and there is Halinka, who has yet to break her transmog set at level 96. Here, look at the two priests, one in un-mogged ready for heroics and beyond gear, and one still leveling through Talador.

Her buckle is missing, and Fishing Pole!

Just gloves, offhand, and dagger.

Oh, and I suppose I should post a picture of Anselma even though I haven't been playing her as much, because Halinka needs to hit 100 next. I have loved Anselma for a long time, but she was on a server where no one was playing. She still is, but thanks to a perfect server merge, she is now on the same server as Halinka, so she is also in Hearts of Darkness! This means I will have questing buddies and help if needed, and people to talk to.

I'll put out the fire, but I don't have to like it!
I'm saving her boost gear for transmog, because it is so pretty, and it isn't a bikini transmog. Don't get me wrong, I love bikini mogs, but nothing says you mean business like a fully armored look. I mean to tank on Anselma, eventually, so she might as well look the part!

Boosted characters are a funny thing. I chose Anselma because she was in mid Lich King content, so she would get the profession boost. Walking through the portal, it was like she was an amnesia patient, being slowly reminded of the spells she had already learned and used before, spoon fed to her a couple at a time. I really hated it. There should be a point where a boost can just pick up where they left off from, especially for those that were at least 60. Instead of making it a one size fits all experience, maybe a two tiered approach would be better. If you boost from zero, spoon feed , but if you boost from 60 or higher, start from a level 60 set of skills and build from there.

This is a lot for one post! I have a lot more to say, but the thought aren't organized yet, so I leave you with Mr February 2015 from the Azeroth Beefcakes Calendar. 

I welcome photo-shopped versions featuring beaches and suitable beach attire!