So, yeah, it’s 2015 and I’m still not actively playing any MMORPGs. What’s up with that?
As you know, around May 2014 I took an indefinite hiatus from Guild Wars 2 and after some brief stints messing around in Star Trek Online (again!) and Neverwinter, I kind of expanded it to an indefinite break from MMOs as a whole. It’s closing in on a year since I decided to take those steps back, and you might wonder why I haven’t found something new to suit my fancy. The short answer is that so far nothing has called to me to make me want to play it. I’ve briefly considered giving Elder Scrolls Online a go at some point, but so far haven’t pulled the trigger on that one. Beyond that, I am carefully observing games as they roll out to the market, but not anxiously jumping into anything.
Now, obviously I am aware that the first retail expansion to Guild Wars 2 is coming in the guise of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, and yes, I will be considering picking that one up and getting into GW2 once again in at least a limited basis. But, beyond that, I just don’t feel that compulsion to get too deep into anything for a bit. Part of it, I suspect, just has to do with the often-draining nature of some online communities, and probably it is mainly a personality matter that factors in. I often go all-or-nothing into things I want to do, and as a result, it’s easy for me to get deep into something and then have there be personality fallings-out and then I’ll feel like tons of time has been wasted. Obviously, this is compounded by the fact that anonymity makes some people asses, so it’s much easier for guilds to fall apart or online friends to just up and vanish.
Anyway…Yeah, short of checking out Heart of Thorns, I’m still pretty steadfast in my resolve not to just jump into something right now. Eventually? Yeah. But we’re a bit out from me seeing something to make me change my mind!
This week, I decided that I felt like doing another vidcast episode, so I do encourage you to watch the video version if at all possible!
As Halloween draws ever-closer, I continue to play through various horror games. Last week, I talked about a game called Katabasis and previously we discussed Slender: The Arrival and The Cursed Forest. My main indie game of the week this time around is called Garden of Oblivion. The video is already on my YouTube page, so you can go check it out! I also discuss shows I’m currently enjoying (Gotham, Agents of SHIELD, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story: Freak Show) and continue to talk about my Zelda fan-game (currently called Zelda: Sword of Moria), which you can expect a demo of soon! Oh, right…I also talk about my “on hiatus” status with Guild Wars 2.
I talked about my Extra-Life charity drive, so feel free to donate to it by clicking this link here! Anyone who donates $10 or more has a chance to receive a free indie game, such as Fight the Dragon!
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GG 06-11: “A Guilding Hiatus” (MP3)
So, a friend of mine recently told me about a program called SweetFX. Now, I admit at the time I knew very little about it, having only heard the name, but this came up while we were talking about graphical settings in Guild Wars 2. He said that he never really messed with the in-game settings and instead used a SweetFX injector to impose custom profiles on the game and ultimately get much better graphics out of the affair.
Indeed, I was quite intrigued.
So, I looked up SweetFX given the links he sent me and was impressed to see what it could do. Basically, it was a program that would allow for graphical options that either were outright not available in whatever game was in question, or it would unlock options that were there, but were disabled for whatever reason (such as there for developer reasons for pretty screenshots but maybe deemed “too demanding” for the average consumer). As a program, it gives the user the option to tailor exactly how much lighting is used by a game, how much color saturation occurs, what level of bloom and ambient occlusion to allow for, gives the ability to use anti-aliasing methods not available in lots of games (such as the superior SMAA), and fine-tune all of these to create a level of detail not normally possible. All of this at, for many, virtually no performance cost to their system.
Here, in this article, I am including some before-and-after images, created through the program itself, that has the left half of the screen using normal maximum settings from Guild Wars 2 and the right half using a custom preset I created with SweetFX. To me, the difference is obvious, and it amazes me what we consider “pretty graphics” by default until we get something like this.
If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, direct yourself here to the SweetFX website.
This episode, recorded on May 6, 2014, is basically me catching everyone up on all the things going on in my life.
The podcast had taken an unexpected break from March to May, despite being mid-season, so I lovingly called this a “mid-season break” so I would not feel quite as bad. Here, I explain why I’ve been so busy lately, what all has been going on with me, and then talk about some drama I had to deal with from a guild I was previously (until recently) part of in Guild Wars 2.
I do get a bit personal this episode, but this was really therapeutic for me!
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This video that I recorded on March 11, 2014 marks the end of the story arc revolving around Scarlet Briar in “Guild Wars 2.” For a Living Story that had been going on for the better part of a year, I kind of felt that this ending, while not terrible, was also a bit anticlimactic. On the one hand, it does finally explain what Scarlet was after all along, but the acting was a bit cheesy here. Also, I think that for a game that supposedly revolves around the Elder Dragons (heck, the 2 in the game’s logo is shaped like a dragon!), we get surprisingly little of them at times. Maybe, rather than do all of what they did to awaken yet another dragon, they could have instead spent the time revolving around that dragon and having some grand battles and adventures.
Still, I felt the Living Story experiment was overall pretty cool. Just like with the previous section of the story, there was a huge battle going on in the city of Lion’s Arch, but I didn’t feel inclined to record hours of footage of the boss battles as I knew you could simply look them up on YouTube if you were interested. Also, my GPU at the time was suffering, so I didn’t want to stress it as I am waiting for its replacement to come.
Thanks for watching, and I hope you are liking this series so far!
This video was actually recorded back on the night of February 25-26, 2014 but has remained on my harddrive until recently because of the fact that I’ve been very busy lately coupled with my GPU dying on me. Sadly, I’ve had to try not to tax things too hard until my new GPU arrived, so video content has been at a minimum. Thankfully, I’ve also had a little backlog of as-yet-unreleased content, so it’s worked out well enough!
Anyway, this Tyrian Adventures episode features another dungeon run with the Ember Solace guild on the Tarnished Coast server. This time around, myself, Mango, and Petra (along with two random players we picked up in different runs here) take on path three of Caudecus’s Manor, “The Butcher” path in Honor of the Waves, and the third path of Ascalon Catacombs. Here, Petra does a great job showing us some of the tips and tricks associated with speed running, and while not the absolute fastest times ever, I think we adapted pretty well and it went very smoothly.
With the next phase of the Scarlet story here (presumably her final chapter), expect to perhaps see some of its content where we take back Lion’s Arch, in Episode 12 or 13!
Recorded on the evening of February 24-25, 2014, this video features the Ember Solace guild (Tarnished Coast) running Paths 1 and 2 of Caudecus’s Manor in GW2. Featured on TeamSpeak in this video are myself, Mango, and Morissa (with random guildies here and there), and Petra with us via party chat. Path 2 was rough, but a lot of fun!
Please don’t miss the awesome Intermission at 38:52! There is a short out-take from a random get-together near Jormag in Frostgorge. It should make for some fun laughs, particularly due to the musical interlude by one of our guild members, Andrew, and the appearance of Mr. Morgan Treeman :P
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