Tastes Change

I have a long history of playing RPGs in their many forms. From JRPGs to MMOs, I’ve dipped my toes in all of the sub genres and over the years some of those genres have died off or changed in ways that were incremental and not really noticeable at the time.

Snap judgement: I am not in love with Pillars of Eternity. I absolutely adored all of the Bioware/Black Isle games from the 1990’s; titles like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale took up much of my gaming time back then. The revival of the isometric real-time cRPG genre that’s been happening for a few years now with titles like PoE, Wasteland 2, and Divinity: Original Sin seemed like it would be right up my alley. I did of course play many of these games over the years, but as this genre moved forward into the 3D space with titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, I too evolved.

Because of this realization, I have uninstalled all of these titles that have been sitting in my backlog for ages that I would have believed that I would have liked but simply don’t anymore. My tastes have changed. The same could be said for a lot of other titles/genres, but this one in particular strikes me as odd. I know that with age comes changes in not only your body’s function but your mind’s as well, but I’m surprised to find myself writing these words.

I’ve been enamored with games like Shadowrun, Diablo, and some recent JRPG style games. It’s funny because Shadowrun and Diablo are both isometric like the cRPGs that I’m not longer into — but they differ because Shadowrun uses turn-based tactical combat, while Diablo is action combat and I seem to prefer both. The real-time coordination of multiple party members just doesn’t feel fun anymore. In Dragon Age or Mass Effect, the AI for your teammates can be programmed and always felt effective enough to where I could focus on my own character. In action RPGs you only have yourself to depend on so there’s never the added distractions. My tastes have clearly changed. Though I would have called Baldur’s Gate superior to Diablo back in the 90’s, my 35 year old self has flipped sides. I don’t know how to feel about this.

I do feel better about uninstalling all of those games. The backlog has shrunk and many of those games would have taken 60+ hours to complete. Gives me more time to focus on other games I would rather be playing. I’m not going to slog through something just because it *should* be something I’m into. If I’m not feeling it, I’m just going to pass. I’ve done this with other games but had this little sub genre up on a pedestal and I’ve now kicked that pedestal over. If it’s not fun, entertaining or holding my interest, it’s getting cut.

Time to dive into the games that are more appealing to the older me.

End of the Month Ramble

I was looking at my drafts folder just now and saw seven different entries. Most of these posts will talk about some games I’ve played lately and others have focused on MTG — this is the way it’s been around here for over a year now. There has been a bit of a lull in my posting this month compared to the ramping up I’d been doing over the last six months or so, and part of that is due to this draft folder.

I’ve gotten into the habit of starting up a draft post every time I start up a new game. I’ll usually do a starter post and then another after I’ve finished a game. I’ve had great success clearing several games out of my backlog since the tail end of last year but haven’t committed to a new game in probably a month. I’ve had trouble keeping interested as of late, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve become more engrossed in Magic. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not writing off gaming whatsoever, yet I feel like pushing myself to finish game after game has come to an end. I still want to continue working on the backlog and I still want to play new games that have recently come out or are on the horizon — this should always be a gaming blog. It’s just that the way I’ve been feeding this blog is through the things I’ve been playing and not having much to say about the video game side of things means that drafts sit until I either finally have enough to say about the title or they get deleted.

Looking through it this evening I saw mostly MTG-oriented titles but I’ve been trying to keep some sort of parity between the two major subjects of my blog. The video game drafts just didn’t inspire me to write. So I thought I’d jot down some stream of consciousness and get one last blog post out for the month. So what have I been doing?

Remember when I used to talk about League of Legends all of the time? Yeah me too. It’s been over a year since I’ve played the game, but I have kept up on the pro scene. I did also download the new client and update it at some point but still haven’t played. Think I might play before the year ends at least. So anyway, the Spring Split of the NALCS ended recently and MSI starts this weekend. I watched most of the games through the split and there were surprising changes to rosters and the way the whole thing works too. Most interesting was seeing Team Liquid stomp the 1st place team (100 Thieves) in the finals. Yeah, that Team Liquid. I always liked the team as a sort of underdog squad but they always ended up in 4th place spawning memes and whatnot. More impressive is that Doublelift plays for Liquid now, and has won his 3rd split on a 3rd team, something not done before in NA (or the world, I think). MSI should be interesting but I’m ready for the Summer Split to begin. I’ll likely wait until the mid-season changes to take place before I dip my toes back into playing but it’s been on my mind for some time.

The NFL draft just happened this past weekend as well. The Packers have done a number of interesting things in the offseason. The GM was canned and a new one hired along with some other coaching changes. They made a splash in free agency picking up Jimmy Graham, but let some big names like Jordy Nelson go (he’s on the Raiders now). The draft wasn’t fully focused on defense either, but apparently the cornerback they took in that round is pretty good. I’m not sure how the team will look but I’m sure we’ll be back in the post season this year.

As I said, I’ve been engrossed in Magic lately, trying to benefit from cards in my collection that are worth money but collecting dust by selling them and getting some money cards in the process. I’ve been brewing a bunch lately because of Dominaria’s release an having opened a box, but also have dipped my toes into MTG Arena. I’m hesitant to spend any money there or to even really play until they say they won’t do more account wipes, but it is promising and a way to play Magic when my friends aren’t available or I’m not going to a store event. I’ve also been trying to tighten up my decks by eliminating some projects that aren’t really doing it for me anymore, retiring others and turning some into new decks. For instance, *spoilers* I broke up my Reaper King deck and am building a Jodah deck in its place. I’m also turning my Sram deck into a Shu Yun deck, but keeping the voltron theme just so I can use both Sram and Jhoira to draw cards like crazy. My mono green deck is now helmed by Yisan, and I’ve talked about some other crammed together brews I’ve done recently here already. In doing so I’m making the existing decks more competitive and also cutting down the number of decks I have, because when I get going with brews I go overboard. I’ve also been listening to more podcasts and watching things on YouTube to continue to improve my knowledge of the game.

I’ve been playing games too. Clash Royale has a new Clan War feature that is interesting and replaces the old clan chests. It’s been fun if not a little frustrating. I’ve started up Pillars of Eternity but am only like 4 hours in. I started Prey, and am probably 5 hours into that one. Ditto ELEX, but I feel like I might want to start that one over and go a different route. The problem is that I haven’t really wanted to just focus on one thing and play it through, I’ve been wanting to spread my time around and that isn’t conducive to finishing games. Perhaps I’ll find my groove again, but I think for now I’m going to just fly by the seat of my pants and play whatever suits me at the time.

Speaking of, the whole Daybreak fiasco… I’ve basically called it quits with the company. Maybe I should write a full proper post on the subject, but let’s just say that I’ve spent some money with them over the years, even as recently as last month, so I’m now at a loss. I don’t want to give money to them anymore, and I cancelled my EQ2 sub. It’s sad because I will always love the Everquest series, but I think it’s time to put it to bed. No thanks with all of that drama.

That’s all I have for now. Happy Monday or something.

Thoughts on Collections

At one point or another on the Couch Podtatoes podcast we recorded an episode about collections, and at that time I was surprised to note that I didn’t really have anything I was actively collecting. I did note that I had a small amount of Green Bay Packers memorabilia, and that I had collected Comic Books and cards when I was a kid. Needless to say, things have changed!

Within the last couple of years I started buying League of Legends merch, whenever it was that they opened up their merch store. I started picking up some of the collectible figures that they were selling, which are comparable to Funko Pop figures, though a little higher quality and a bit more expensive (though some of the Pops out there go for large sums of money).  At that time I was still playing League of Legends regularly, though I haven’t played it in over a year at this point. Regardless, I found the figures to be something I desired, so I started off the collection with those. Later I was gifted a Funko Pop figure, and that started a new obsession with trying to pick up more of them. Lastly, my girlfriend discovered some of these die-cast metal Street Fighter figures and has nearly completed the set for me. All of these are present in this picture:

From left to right, we have Urf, Zed, Nautilus, Braum and my newest addition, Ziggs (these are the League of Legends figures). Then there’s the Power Armor from Fallout, Jace the Planeswalker from MTG, Spider-Man, William Wallace (Braveheart) and Jon Snow (GoT). Above are a set of Poros and a Lucian mini-figure (also from LoL). The Street Fighter characters are on top — Ryu, Dhalsim, Vega, Bison, Ken, Blanka, Chun-Li and Guile. On the shelf below, I have my small Green Bay collection:

I’ve been getting Green Bay related gifts for years from friends and family, and have collated most of it here, with an Aaron Rodgers Pop, and other various figures and items. I do have a Jersey, hats and some wall hangings in the room as well. My girlfriend and I both have nerdy tastes when it comes to decor, so we have melded our interests together in our room and it’s become a home.

I also commissioned something extra for my room when I discovered like items online. My sister happens to be fairly crafty, and I set her to the task of making me some MTG Mana Symbols to hang on the wall. I purchased little wooden discs for her to paint which she did and the result was pretty amazing!

They look great on the wall, and the process didn’t take her too long, though I was pestering her for updates and she sent me pictures along the way:

I also had her make another set for my roommate as he is also a MTG nut like me, and I figured they would look great in the garage where we typically play the game.

For a very long time I didn’t put much stock in finding decor or things that I would want to collect, but now that I’ve started I really enjoy it. These items don’t necessarily get used, but they do add life to a room and it’s cool to be able to show off your nerdy interests with pride. What sorts of things do you find yourself collecting as an adult?

So Long, 2017

It has been a wonderful vacation and I am feeling rejuvenated! Unfortunately, just like this year, it is coming to an end. I hope that you all enjoyed your 2017 and I hope that 2018 will be even better. I’m going to get back to relaxing, but I’ll just leave these here before I go:

Happy New Year!

All Hallows 2017

Halloween has always been one of my more favored holidays — when we’re kids we trick or treat and get loads of candy, later on in life we attend parties and dress up. It’s a great way to leave reality behind for a night and pretend to be someone or something else. The older we get it seems that we don’t participate as often as we used to. I don’t see the wild Halloween parties raging all night anymore, but we still hold to traditions, don’t we?

I spent part of the weekend in fall/halloween mode. We carved pumpkins on Sunday with the roommates and then started up a fire in the backyard and made s’mores. Drinking around a fire is something I hadn’t done in a long time and it was relaxing!

My contribution to the pumpkin display

This evening we’ll be taking my girlfriend’s son trick or treating and that will be the end of the festivities. I didn’t really put together a costume but found a t-shirt that will keep me on theme with the rugrat. I thought I’d take this time to say Happy Halloween to everyone, and also to share some of my favorite on-theme musical tracks for the holiday. Enjoy!

AFI – Fall Children

The Misfits – Halloween

The Black Dahlia Murder – A Shrine to Madness