A new hero rises from the ashes

If you are a City of Heroes/Villains fan you are most likely aware of the goings on of the Server code that has been released and the fact a number of “Rogue” Servers have sprung up (MassivelyOP have decent coverage), I’ve held off joining in on the fun while the landscape stabilised and I also feared having to endure loosing access once more.

I kinda of overcome that fear and wanted to dive into Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, the reason was less about protecting my own experiences and more about allowing Little Troll to try the game out.
Little Troll was 2 years old when the MMORPG City of Heroes/Villains closed it’s doors, Munki and I were not only crushed at the closure of our favourite MMO game but also by the fact we would never be able to share the full experience with LT as he got older.

So I’m not gonna lie to you, the fact that my son has just spent 30 minutes rolling up a character to play with Munki, makes me giddy with excitement and pleased as punch.
Yea he may not like it and the graphical engine is showing it’s age but at least he can experience the multiplayer and teaming elements, discover the back stories with Munki and I.

Yes the Rogues Servers (in their current form) might not be around forever, NCSoft still haven’t officially made any statements about the leaked code and if they are going to let the servers persist.
The Titan Network is once again braving the legal pathways to try and licence having officially community run servers from NCSoft, which may yield a more officially sanctioned environment.


source tweet

Regardless of how long the servers are around for, I think I’m going to enjoy the experience of playing a game close to my heart with my son.

* While I’ve been writing this Munki has been explaining how enhancements work to LT. ūüėÄ

 

Two months in and the pace is …

Crazy!
2019 has been crazy year so far, I have a huge project on at work that is using up so much extra time and headspace, combine that with some last minute training, charity events, and a head-cold, I think I’ve just about hung in there but my time has been limited.

28th Jan

  • I got to see my favourite band VNV Nation, in a venue closer than 2 hours away, The gig was amazing and the new material just blew me away live. It was odd not seeing Mark on stage but I felt that the music didn’t lack any energy because of this. VNV live is a wonderful thing as there is so much warmth from the crowd and the interactions from Ronan.
  • My clan mate DefinitelyMod entered himself and tagged me into Corsair/Elgato’s 1 millionth twitter follower giveaway.
    In a shocking twist of fate, our names were the first pulled out of the hat. So we both got sent a Corsair M65 RGB ELITE Optical FPS Gaming Mouse and an Elgato Stream Deck Mini.
  • I took part in the launch day event for Sunless Skies, streaming the title that I had been playing since Kickstarter, every minute streamed raised ¬£1 for the charity Special Effect, I had a fun time and got to play the final version of the sequel.
  • Munki crocheted a lovely blue shawl for my Nan for her 92nd birthday, when we visited she was in great spirits and loved the gift. I think I’ve seen her using most times I’ve seen her which is nice.

4th Feb

  • In later part of 2018 we got sent an email with some VERY good deals for a 4 night stay in a destination that our whole family loves to visit, so despite being almost Christmas we decided to make our Christmas presents to ourselves this holiday.
    It was a great mini-break and even though I was suffering with a headcold, we all came home with a smile and some fun memories.

 11th Feb

  • We recently had a shift in our departments naming and suggestions were wanted for a logo/symbol, basically something to represent our identify to the wider business. To cut a long story short submitted a few designs and through some democratic voting my designs were picked as the one to be taken forward for the art/design folks to shape into something usable. The ultimate silver lining is that for having my designs picked I earnt a ¬£50 Amazon voucher. \o/
  • I managed to get my Diablo 3 seasonal character to Conqueror tier, which after Chapter 4 is the one to aim for since you can get the additional Stash tab ( if you haven’t already reached the earn-able limit 4). This seasonal has been great fun since the last patch the quality of life feels more balanced and the set bonus that got a buff definitely feel more rewarding to play.

18th Feb

  • 2019 was our 4th year taking part in the GameBlast gaming event fundraising for the charity Special Effect. We got another new member to the Digital Rogues roster this year as BroadSider joined in the fun. I am very happy to have reached my goal and that our group also pass our ¬£1000 goal.
    I got to play some great games over the charity weekend and I really enjoyed the Return of the Obra Dinn which I bought after watching Pam from CannotBeTamed‘s Best games of 2018 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBAhFlSs8Hc

So it’s been a bit of a crazy time these last 2 months, fingers crossed that things will calm down enough for me to write a proper blog post and not just a list of bullet-points.

Finally I wanted to give a shout out to the wonderful Psyche who has just relaunched her blog https://www.psycheplays.com/

2018 Retrospective

So this started out as a short list and kind of bloomed into quite a weighty post, so I’m sorry if it’s a pain to read.
I wanted to list some of the stuff that I had achieved and things that made me happy in 2018, I also wanted to broadly cover personal goals I would like to achieve this year.

2018 Highlights

Meetups

This year we got to see so many people that we mostly talk to online, there were some new faces and some already familiar to us too.

Broadsider РWe had the chance to meet BroadSider twice in 2018 when we were up in his neck of the woods, Broadsider is a wonderful person that is very entertaining regardless of if he is streaming or in real life.
We got to visit one of oldest gaming friends which involved a trip on a ferry, which is always an adventure travelling to an island.
FluffyBunEsq¬†– Fluffy doesn’t live too far away so we met up with him a few times this year sometimes in Cardiff other times closer to where he lives.
BoopleSnootBex – We met up with Boople on one of ours outings to other parts of the country, despite it being a last minute event we all had a great time.
Lucanaii and EngineerAirhead made time in their UK visit to come to Wales, it was amazing to met them both and we had a lovely day out in Cardiff.
One of my dearest and oldest internet friends (back from the dial up days) was visiting London with her other half, so Munki, LittleTroll and I travelled up to the big smoke to and had a wonderful day catching up chatting about things that had changed since their last visit.
There was of course Twitch London but more about that later.

GameBlast18

Our third year taking part in the Special Effect gaming marathon weekend. Last year the Digital Rogues were were joined by FluffyBunEsq who went all out in his fundraising activities,
I raised over £650 which is a new personal best for me and collectively our Digital Rogues team raised £2,264.86 which is a stunning 350% better than our previous years total.
We were very lucky to have got some amazing gifts to give away from Developers and our community members.

EGX Rezzed

Munki and I decided to go to Rezzed it was kind of a last minute thing but there were two good reasons.
Firstly was to met Becky Frost from Special Effect who has been one of the primary contacts that we have conversed with for GameBlast, We had chance to sit down, grab food and have a wonderful chat. Becky is an amazing person and really has such enthusiasm for the work that she and Special Effect does.
Another attraction at Rezzed was to get the the chance to play on Megaquarium, the first playable Demo which I was very excited about and impressed by.

Also at Rezzed was a stack of other titles including:
Cultist Simulator – I game I that was already playing since the Kickstarter, but got some great stickers for my clan.
Yorkshire Gubbins – We packed some Hendersons crisps freshly collected from Yorkshire to give to the wonderful creator Charlotte Gore.
Unforeseen Incidents – This game was being shown and I got to play a Demo and speak to the artist, I was sold on the point and click adventure game, instantly.
Siege & the Sandfox – A lovely looking platformer that I got to play briefly and the gameplay reminded me of old school platform games were there was more than one way to approach a situation.

The Role Playing

2018 was great for RPG’s I got to run D&D 5E starter sessions for new players as well as running 2 campaigns which are so funny in various ways, but always a good laugh.
Breaks with my clan game allowed me to GM a game of¬†Achtung! Cthulhu (Fate Edition) and Monster of the Week, my fellow clan mate GM’d which allowed me to play¬†Blades in the Dark and a custom Fate Accelerated game themed on Planetside.

Each of these was very different and allowed us to try out new systems and settings, all of them were very fun.

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Twitch Affiliate

Since I stream for fun, getting affiliate was never a goal that I had set out to achieve, however at the end of May I finally ticked all the required boxes and got the email.
I only really stream once a week so I hope people don’t expect too much from me, however I appreciate everyone that stops by my streams, Sunday mornings isn’t when folks generally wake up early, so having folks tune into me while they are doing their usual household chores is kind of great.

I like having the emote but I’m still not 100% sure on how to have to fill all of that stuff in my on Tax Self-Assessment forms next year.

Twitch London Community Meet Up

The meetup in London was kind of last minute deal, we had seen it was happening but there weren’t any streamers we knew going, so we dismissed as being the non-drinking type, social events can kind of be awkward when most around you are drinking, even more awkward if you don’t really know many people.

When Psyche confirmed she would be attending, Munki and I started planning to ensure that we could make it, a round trip to London was the easiest since we didn’t have time to figure out a hotel or child care for an extended duration.
We were in the unusual situation that we had met Psyches other half in 2017 while he was in the UK on business, but alas we had failed to manage to meet her on any of her trips, such as FrontierCon and GamesCon.
Having a child means that travelling for GamesCon isn’t a viable option, so we had to make doubly sure that we could attend this event.

Wonderfully Psyche and Kolo were happy to meet before the event it’s self, which was rather awesome as we got to hang out and chat in a more causal situation (plus we didn’t have to compete with music and the louder background noise of revellers that we would encounter at the event later that evening).
It was wonderful to meet Kolo who is such a nice person and both her and her community are very welcoming, we got to meet some of her community members later that evening.

Finally got to give Psyche a big hug, after many years of watching her streams, I can confirm she is every bit as lovely in real life and we were so pleased that we had made the trip.
Also that day Breadicus was also able to meet up beforehand which was great to put a face to the name of community member, we met PaulArcher in the event itself and he’s as funny in real life too ūüėÄ .

As I alluded the evening event was nice but as with anything of that nature, loud and busy for the most part, we got some free swag and a lovely photo. We also managed to see Becky Frost who was in full SpecialEffect mode with a squad of volunteers backing her up.
Munki and I made our exit at 9 so we could get the last train back to Wales, all in all it was an absolutely lovely day.

New PC parts

After a solid performance for 7 years I finally retired my trusty 2nd Gen¬†i5 2500 and grabbed myself a shiny new 9th Gen i5 9600k. It’s been on the cards for a while but I kept pushing it back so that
I’ve not really pushed the system with anything meaty yet but I’ve been pondering getting a new shooter at some point, now may be that time.
Sadly this move meant that I finally had to leave Windows 7 behind and move to Windows 10. (I makes me feel ill just typing that.)

Health

So this year was quiet tough for me as I struggled with my mental health to the point that I was off work for an extended period of time.
I had moderate Anxiety and Depression but to took me a good while to recognise that there was a problem. I got some help from my employer who put me in contact with a Psychologist service with a handful of sessions covered by them.
It helped me to get back into work, I’m not completely rid of though thoughts that were causing the issues but I feel alot more positive about facing them head on.


So what’s for 2019

Play more RPGs!

I am getting back into GMing and will restart a campaign I had to pause due to my health issues.
Planning some more RPG workshops to help people get into playing and maybe branching out away from DND, so others can taste different games.
I also have so many RPGs I want to try out at somepoint some in space, some hero settings, some cyberpunk, others completely off the wall.

Gameblast19

We are all registered and getting setup for this years GameBlast19, this year we hope to have another member joining us for the fun and we can all achieve new personal bests.
In the next month I will be trying to shape up my stream list and focusing on drumming up sponsorship as well as sending out some emails to game developers to see if we can get any content for giveaways.
I think as we had issues distributing physical items last year we are likely to stick to digital items for the most part.

Streaming

I want to get back into streaming with a web camera again, after I kind of fell out of the habit in the early part of the year I never returned to it and I’d like to fix that If I can.
I used to do an adhoc Thursday evening stream that focused more on Role Playing and map creation, I’m not sure if I want to return to map making again but I’d like to throw in some extra streams maybe once or twice a month.

Blogging

You knew it was coming, as always I’d like to challenge myself to try and blog at the very minimum one entry per month. I hope that it will be more frequent but let’s start somewhere realistic shall we.
I need to review my BlogRoll.
I also need to get better at checking my RSS reader and commenting more on other peoples posts more often.

Games

There are so many good games coming out and so many games in my Steam backlog, I want to try and get my played percentage from 51% (via steamdb, 459 out of 898 games played) close to 55%.
I am gonna try and stop picking up bundles when there is only one title I’m remotely interested in contained in the bundle.

See you soon

I hope that see you all again soon, I hope your 2018 was enjoyable and that your 2019 is even better.

A familiar stranglehold

Yesterday over at The Ancient Gaming Noob, Wilhelm posted a great blog entry about platforms challenging Steam, I really encourage you to go and give it a read as my post bounces off alot of the same themes and topics. https://tagn.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/challenging-steam/.

I did starting writing a comment on that post but found that I was rambling a bit so I though I’d type it up here instead.

Kicking things off

Valve got lucky, their game distribution service was never really a store front, it evolved into a platform that other games wanted to be released on.
By reducing the difficultly of online distribution for other non-valve products, it grew into something that now dominates the gaming landscape. 

Many platforms started off like Steam being a delivery solution for one publishers titles, we see that with Origin, BattleNet, Glyph, UPlay, Station and Arc.
This works for their needs but there is very little in the form of other games and titles, the branching out was never a direction that lasted any length of time.

That isn’t to say that new blood isn’t wanted, but any new contender has to fight a battle on two fronts, firstly getting the developers to want to use their platform, secondly convincing users that it’s a platform they should move to and invest in.

Drawing in Devs/Publishers

Epic has outlined how they hope to make their platform different enough to attract developers, with a lower revenue cut of 12% on sales which is a huge reduction compared to the 30% that Valve take via Steam.
That 18% revenue increase maybe enough to encourage more games to give the Epic Store a shot, most likely alongside other digital stores to still feed the player bases established on those platforms.

As a final perk for developers, games that use the Unreal Engine will have the licence charge waive by Epic for using the platform.

Interestingly Epic have suggested that there will be a 14 day 
no-questions-asked refund policy, which sounds great however when you consider the number of smaller titles where the full game can be completed in timescales smaller than 14 days (8 to 10 hours) there maybe some reasons for smaller game developers to avoid the platform.

Drawing in Users

New users with very few game purchases under their belt aren’t going to have any issues trying out a new platform. A percentage of their game are possibly Free to Play titles and they aren’t financially invested to heavily in a single platform.

As Wilhelm mentions, for some time Twitch has been dishing out monthly free games (for prime members) to encourage users to download their Twitch Desktop App.
Epic seem to be chasing a similar model to encourage users to adopt the platform as there digital home with one free game every fortnight.

However the biggest hurdle is that I, like many other gamers, have a huge investment in Steam, not only in my game library but in the auxiliary elements that have grown around it over the years.
These include such things as : Communities, Friends, Workshop items, Guides, Achievements,Wishlist and finally the ability to purchase real world store cards.

It terms of moving away from steam I enjoy Gog and have purchased a number of games on that platform when I don’t want to have to deal with steam, usually for modding reasons.
GoG connect has also allowed me to claim some of my titles on the DRM Free platform, additionally some of my Purchases via humble bundle have also included a DRM free copy of the game.
However none of these things go far enough to draw me away from Steam for long.

Swap Shop

Competition is healthy and anything to give players more choice is a good thing. It could help to drive down the revenue cut that other platforms are taking and result in a better landscape for developers and players.

There are so many additional launchers sitting on my hard drive until such a time as I need to use them, they aren’t loading on start up, they usually take an age to patch when I have to interact with them.
This is the reality of a gamers PC, we load those most important regularly but the others just gather dust as they were the chosen platform for that one game you really wanted.

On the Epic store that game is likely to be¬†Rebel Galaxy Outlaw for me, as I really enjoyed the first game and I’d like to try and support the developers.

Only time is going to tell what impact Epic will have on the the gaming store scene, hopefully if nothing else it will shake things up a bit.

Getting back up to speed

Hi,
You maybe wondering what happened to my Blaugust efforts which I kind of kicked off but then I vanished part way through.

Well I kind of need to jump back to earlier in the year to explain, I had been becoming more and more stressed at various things, some of it comes from my home life and some from my ongoing health concerns, but the bulk were being triggered by different elements at work.

I had been trying a number of things to help me stop being so stressed and exhausted, different things that helped to stop me from tipping over the edge. They did just that, but they didn’t really deal with or solve the underlying causes, so predictably that dam was gonna break, it was just a matter of when.

In the middle of August I had a stomach upset that lasted a week, I knew that I was also pretty run down and exhausted, I spent most of that week in bed, recharging my batteries or so I thought. But the following Monday morning I prepared to head out but just couldn‚Äôt bring myself to leave the house, it was only really at this point did I notice how completely overwhelmed I had become and things weren’t great.

So there you have it, for the last few months I have been working on dealing with my anxiety and depression. Thankfully I had some great support from my family and friends, plus from a psychologist who was introduced to me by my employer.
So I’m still learning how to view and process things differently, in a way that means I’m not getting wound up.