Tuesday, 24 June 2014

It's so freaking hot!

Greetings friends!

So how was your weekend? I hope it went well!

Mine was fun as on Saturday I was left looking after the youngling until the early afternoon on Sunday.

This allowed for lots of fun as we went to the local pet and reptile house and she got the chance to get up close and personal (through a tank's glass) with some big spiders, lizards and snakes!

Naturally she loved this and with hope we can go back this weekend.

We also got the opportunity to watch some fun films like Return of the Jedi which she enjoyed up until the end of the Jabba bits as it got a bit slow and boring around then so she lost interest - can't blame her for that.


I've also been trying my best for the past week to deal with a small flea infestation in our house. No idea how they got there as our cats have been outdoor cats for a good year or so with no problems, but oh well these things happen.

We've picked up insecticide for the furniture and carpets, and using that has drastically cut down on the number of fleas we can see on the cats and changed the bites I've received from multiple in a day to one bite every couple of days. Sadly the stuff we used on the cats themselves only 'repels' fleas rather than killing them; ie it's shit, and the vet has advised we wait a further 2-3 weeks before we use another brand as cross brand use can cause massive complications, so there's not much we can do on the cats themselves right now.

My plan in the meantime is to keep up with the hoovering and regular washing of furniture while regular spraying of insecticide. I understand that fleas spend 95% of their life on furniture and the environment rather than hosts, so with hope the insecticide will keep the numbers down until we can use a killing spot-on drop on the cats to hopefully deal with them all.

It's an ongoing battle that is getting me a little stressed out and my paranoia isn't helped by the plethora of information online; like did you know a female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day. So when I comb my cats and see maybe only a single flea on one of them, my mind is telling me how come tomorrow there could be 50 eggs hiding somewhere, then another 50 the next day, and do on.

Thankfully however, due to cat exclusion and use of insecticide both our and the youngling's bedroom appears to be clear as we are only getting bitten when we are downstairs. I take that as a good sign.


The damned heat isn't helping. I'm supposed to be studying, but every time I pick up my book(s) I just stare at them like an idiot while my brain melts.

I know I just need to crack on and get it done, I just wish we'd have a proper storm, get rid of this fucking humidity, and sod it; get summer over with so we can start enjoying autumn and winter.


I'm still playing Wildstar, last night I hit 24, so only one more level until I can use my deluxe edition hoverboard.

I've read up on them and in this game hoverboard serve the same purpose as mounts except for one difference; they can travel across water. The only issue with this as we all know "those boards don't work on water", "unless you got POWAH!" And from what I've seen, powah is something they do not have... A shame but I can live with that.

I've also founded my own guild: Foreshadow. It's a name that has been in use since we started a guild in Aion, it was picked by going to dictionary.com and selecting their word of the day. I really liked it and it's stuck ever since. Of course the rest of Foreshadow haven't fallen in love with the game like I have so currently it's just me.

I guess I should say:
Newly formed Lightspire Exile PvE/RP Guild LFM!


On Sunday I managed to get my first game of Aliens: Colonial Marines in as a co-op team, playing alongside the wife as she picked it up the other day when it was super cheap on Steam.

As many of you know, I love this game and in the past year, excluding MMOs, it's my most played PC game, so being able to play it alongside my favourite gaming partner was a blast! Having the two of us covering each other against swarms of Xenos was just too awesome to believe!


And that's it from me for now, I'm going to sit back in my hot train and melt all the way home.

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

PS: for those who have missed it, a new episode of Hobby Sofa is out featuring me, Andrey and And Wiseman.
Check it out and give us feedback and ideas!


- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Adventures of Geek Dad: The Dynamic Duo

Greetings friends!

So on Tuesday I was reading over a message board where there was talk about how to be a father whilst being a gamer.

As you know this is something that I believe is very important as the two should not be mutually exclusive.

One thing I noticed however in a lot of people's comments was about how their gaming time was done during their 'me' time, and this was something that partially concerned me but also made me question a few things.

So what's the big deal here?

I am of course talking about how spare time is spent.

Let's start at the begining:

Birth and Newborns
So your child has arrived, you realise that overnight you have gone from having time to yourself to no time at all, how are you going to stay sane with this new addition to your family vying for attention?

First things first; the constantly crying newborn is a semi myth, instead assuming everything is good then your newborn child should sleep for long stretches of time.

This does not mean you feel comfortable leaving your kid alone for these hours however, and I know for the first couple of weeks I was not comfortable in doing this at all.

What this also does not mean is that you have to stop doing what you want to - within reason.

I remember during the first couple of weeks spending many an hour playing on a games console why the little Moo was fast asleep on my chest/shoulder.

Plus there was the good ol' trips to the coffee shop my wife and I would make on the weekends, the long walks with the pram sending the Moo into a deep sleep.

Then she got older, we're talking 1-6 months. She was no longer a newborn but not able to vocalise words or crawl properly.

During this time I would often watch many 'not-suitable for children' films like The Thing and Event Horizon during our late night feeds, however because of the age she had little to no interest in the television. Yes my computer bases video game time took a hit and instead I needed to focus more on time spent in a communal area like consoles and miniature gaming, but it was still possible especially when playing co-op games with the wife and I.

Next we move to the 6 months to a year.

At this stage we started getting the great long sleeps for roughly 12 hours from the evening to the next morning, it is at this point that I see things as 'getting our lives back'.

From 1900-0700 the Moo was fast asleep, I could paint or wargame, play on my computer, or more importantly; play MMOs and CoOp games with the wife.

Next up was 1 year to 2 years.

This phase had increased mobility for the youngling and with that comes new challenges, but utilising the skills learned previously there is nothing that can't be managed. We were fortunate and our hobby and gaming time was able to stretch for many hours a day.

2 Years to 2.5
This is where we currently are and the Moo has taken an interesting turn in her development; due to enhanced language and dexterity skills we can now to a lesser extent involve her in our gaming, allowing our game time to stretch beyond nap/sleep time and into awake time.

So that is where we currently are, but how was all this possible? I've covered in brief about how nap and sleep time can be used for gaming time, but there's more to it than that, isn't there?

I can't count the amount of times I've heard or read people say that their kid is asleep and they would love to play a game but their partner "won't let" them.

What's wrong with this statement? If you think that the person needs to grow some balls then you're wrong. The problem with the statement is that it is missing compromise and cooperation.

Compromise and cooperation, two of the most important parts (in my mind) to a relationship.

If your partner doesn't want you alone in your man-cave then there is usually a reason behind that.

Look at what your partner is doing during the day; are they at home alone with the kid? Have they not seem you all day long?

Maybe the reason they would rather you didn't hide away in your man-cave is because they've had no one to talk to all day, or maybe they would like to spend some time with the person that decided to have a child with them?

How often do you read/hear about people trying to do everything they can to NOT spend time with their partner? It makes me question why these people would want to start a family together. You often hear something like "I love them", but they don't want to spend time together? It makes no sense.

Ok, so you are spending time together, but they are not much of a gamer and you are, how do you 'fix' this?

For starters, everyone is a gamer in one way or another. They may not be a wargamer or a videogamer, but I can guarantee you that as a child they played 'games' in one form or another.

This is what I hear a lot, about couples who don't share hobbies because one doesn't enjoy the other's. It's sad really as you hear of one side giving up and as such all 'hobby' time is time that both parties can't spend together.

Tell me, how many types of games are there?

Well I guess there are Tabletop games, Video games and Live Action games. But this can be broken down further:

Tabletop games
- Wargames
-- Army scale games
-- Skirmish games
- Boardgames
- RPGs
- Card games
-- Collectable Card Games
-- Bicycle Card Games

Video Games
- Offline
-- First Person Shooters
-- Beat em ups
-- Real Time Strategy
-- Third Person Adventure
-- First Person Shooters
-- Beat em ups
-- Real Time Strategy
-- MMOs

Live Action games
- Role play
- Re-enactment
- Sport

And that's just off the top of my head. Are you really saying with all of those types of games around there is not a single one that you and your partner can share?

You're already striving to be a super-team by being as good parents as you can be, so why not take that super-team into a game and make 'hobby time' something that you can do with your partner?

After all: a family that slays together; stays together!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wildstar Update: I have a bike!

Greetings friends!

So last night I played some more Wildstar and I wanted to share with you something I am super happy and excited over:

I now have my grav-bike complete with side mounted stereo speakers!

Now the proper name for this mount is the 'Grinder', but as I am sure I have already mentioned; if you are familiar with the iOS App by that name, you will understand my reluctance to refer to my mount as a Grinder!
- I kid! The real reason is I think that 'Grinder' is just a terribad name; G-Bike however is much cooler to me.

Now what you see in this picture is my bike; the standard Exile tech mount with the Right Side - Entertainer flare.

So as many of you will be aware of, during beta for every day you logged in you were marked with getting 3 bonus boxes at launch. Due to conflicts I wasn't able to log in every day, but was able to walk away with 42 boxes.

Now you can only open 1 box every day and so far I've had some dyes, some decor items, some potions and as of yesterday, two of these side mount attachments!

Following on from this I realised I still had 4Gold so popped back to my house and did some more work on it.

In no way is my house ready yet, but I have redesigned my stair layout to make it more economical on space and I finished off the walls on the second floor.

So now my rocket house is sitting with 3 rooms on the second floor and bit by bit it is all coming together.

NB: so you should expect another post from me soon. Possibly tonight as part of my commute home, or maybe tomorrow morning if I can't fit it in today. This post will be another Geek Dad where I tackle the theme of partnerships and how maintaining a good partnership with give/take is important.

If this interests you then keep an eye on the feed!

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 16 June 2014

Random Update & Junk

Greetings friends!

So today seems as good as any to give you an update on how things are going in general.

I'll try to keep things as straightforward as possible:

Studies & Exams
So it's been a while now since I sat my latest exam and due to many reasons I have yet to resume my studies. This HAS to stop as I need to get this last exam passed and out of the way.

So my plans are quite simple; to go through the textbook again and once that is done (about 2 weeks) then to book the exam and do focused revision between then and the exam itself.

Fingers crossed!

Video Games
So I've been playing a lot of video games recently:

As you should have seen from my posts which concluded last week; I've been playing a lot of WildStar recently. I've reached level 15 and have unlocked my house and currently saving up for a mount.

So at level 14 you get your housing plot, and if like me you preordered the game you will have gotten a rocket ship house.

At first glance the rocket ship house is pretty small, a meat locker with little room for anything. Then I saw some people's homes on the message boards and saw that the single room building is actually quite spacious, especially if you build up towards the roof.

So now I have two stories and some nearly built rooms. The plan is to have a master bedroom, a spare bedroom and a storeroom on the second floor, with the ground floor being 2/3rds stag-pad and 1/3rd reception area.

Plus my wife has given it a go for the past couple of days and so far is enjoying it which is always a plus! What is interesting is seeing just what she enjoys as it's quite different from me.

The Secret World
Ok, the other week Funcom released the latest update for The Secret World allowing us access to Tokyo.

There's little I can say other than out of the 3 main story missions provided (with more missions due in time) 1 of them is a little run of the mill "kill X of Y", another is creepy and unnerving, and the last one is evil through and through!

If you are looking to play this game please remember that TSW is very much "you get out what you put in". My gaming party take the game slowly, role playing every part of the game including the investigation missions, and as such the experience is super rewarding.

Goat Simulator
Yesterday as a Father's Day present I was gifted a copy of Goat Simulator of Steam.

I won't go into much detail about this game other than saying that I scaled a tower and became King Goat, before gathering 5 dead bodies in a Pentagram to become Devil Goat, before turning my tongue into a grapple hook, scaling a sky scraper and killing a clubber to get a luminous mouse head and becoming DeadGoat, before finishing off by finding a circle of blood, fight clubbing another goat and becoming Muscle Goat!

If this sounds like something that would interest you, go try it out!

Hobby Sofa
On Thursday me, Andrey & And Wiseman recorded our latest episode of Hobby Sofa. You should expect to see this out on hobbysofa.coda.net around the end of the week.

And that's it from me!

So until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 13 June 2014

Recording Audio: What 'not' to do! (plus Wildstar update)

Greetings friends!

Did you know that today is Friday? How freaking awesome is that!?

Well last night two pretty interesting things happened for me.

For starters I met over Skype with my friends Andrey and And Wiseman and recorded the first episode of Hobby Sofa in nearly 6 months! I am hoping to have this edited and released in roughly a week's time - there's a lot of editing needed, and not for the reasons you'd think.

I also learned something that frankly I am disappointed with myself over;

Never edit audio-recording settings while you are recording audio!

Seriously how stupid is this? We nearly lost the first 20 mins of recording because I was trying to fine tune my recording software on the fly.

Thankfully And Wiseman always records all his Skype calls, so while that's a little creeper/stalkerish it means that he saved the day when my recording software stopped responding and needed to be closed without saving what had come before.


Something else pretty awesome happened yesterday:

While playing a small amount if Wildstar I took inspiration from some of the incredible looking personal houses on the Wildstar message boards and decided to make my Rocket-House into two stories.

Now I have the ground floor which currently consists of an uncomfortable sofa and a tiki mask, a stairwell up to the first floor with two unfinished walls, a bed room complete with bedside table and cup of coffee/tea and a second room that currently only has a table in it.

I still have a lot of a way to go into making it actually habitable, and the eventual plan is to have a reception area by the front door, complete with notice board and similar - this is my own private RP Bounty Store, hidden away behind the store will be the R&R centre, with sofas, large display screen and maybe some bean bags or similar - a typical lad-pad.

The second floor should be a two bed room site with a third 'box room'.

The reason why it is yet to he done is quite simple: money.

In Wildstar decoration items (decor) cost money, either ingame gold or renown (a resource that I am clearly too low level to have squired as I don't know what it is) and right now I am level 15, the first level you can buy a mount for 11g and I have a grand total of 3.5... Smooth!

So over the weekend or week I intend to push to get that remaining 7.5 gold (shouldn't be too hard) get my motorbike; the game call these things Grinders, but being aware of what the iOS app is by the same name, I am reluctant to want to refer to my ride as a Grinder.

Once I have my bike I can then look back into fixing my house and opening it up to the server's RP community so everyone can see how unoriginal I've been in copying everyone else's ideas!


Anyway, it's only just gone 0730 and I feel my eyelids being drawn closed by the gentle rocking of my train to work.

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside

--PS Wildstar freaking rocks!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 4

Greetings friends!

One week after the Wildstar launch I am now ready to give you the fourth and final post complete with conclusion.

For previous posts please see:

Wildstar: A Review in Progress
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 1
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 2
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 3

Day 4: Monday
So after seeking to help out the Aurin Queen assign an impotent leader I met my contact. He was a Mordesh scientist who had received information about an Eldan site not too far from our town, so gathering a team of researchers we set off.

The site was huge with areas flooded by water and lots of service mechs keeping random bits in working order.

The Mordesh scientist believed that this site was the home for an Eldan AI construct and if we could befriend it we might be able to learn secrets about this mysterious race.

Located on both north and south sides of the complex were large green teleport gates and stepping inside the north portal I was whizzed away to deep within the Eldan complex. Within this site strange organic creatures floated overhead and I tried my best to avoid them.

The news came in from the scientist; the consoles located around the chamber I was in were locks to the AI chamber and after unlocking each of them by playing a quick game of Simon (you know, matching the colour sequence? Blue, Blue Green, Blue Green Red, Blue Green Red Red) the main AI chamber opened up.

By now it had become apparent that the AI was not only hostile, it was flat out crazy! And as I entered his chamber he spoke to me softly at first followed by a maniacal laugh proclaiming that while he was not programmed to kill me, that doesn't mean he wouldn't take pleasure in it.

Utilising a hack code provides by the Mordesh scientist I was able to shut down the AI's access to the structure and it's avatar shifted for a deep red to a vibrant green as control was shifted from this AI; the AI of Augmentation, to another more friendly AI; the AI of Security.

Leaving the chamber I made my way to the South portal, here was another chamber that was controlled by the Augmentation AI and was protected by more security bots, complete with bright green lasers. I didn't know if they were insta-death but I wasn't going to take the chance and danced a merry jig around them to the control nodes hidden behind which allowed me to replace this AI avatar with that of our friend the Security AI.

Following on from this there was one last thing to do, I needed to scale the complex and deal with the third and final avatar of the Augmentation AI.

The journey was pretty straightforward, just a run and a jump here, a platform there and before I knew it I was at the top of the complex with a giant battered war-mech laying dormant opposite me.

Now I've played enough games to know where this was going, and anticipating a boss fight I destroyed the power batteries that gave the AI control of the facility.

With my guns charged I waited for the war-mech to awaken, but to my surprise this did not happen. Instead the Security AI materialised and drained the Augmentation AI of it's remaining energy before leaving to maintain full control of the facility.

Something about this encounter didn't sit well with me. I had taken a super charged facility out of the hands of it's designated AI and handed it to another, one that I suspect I will see at a later point when he will be less than friendly.

Returning to the Mordesh scientist I have him my info including a data cube that contained an encrypted message.

Utilising all my skill and talent in button clicking I was able to decrypt this message which revealed a number of things, including the arrival of the Dominion in a nearby canyon and their intention to use the Eldan tech located there to destroy the Exile's Ark ship.

The Mordesh at the camp agreed to help me out including a sniper who kept watch over the following fray.

Bullets flew and the Dominion bots fell like flies before me. I planted bombs, added spybots to their tech and killed everyone who stood in my way.

In little time at all I had made it to the Command & Control room of the Dominion base and was downloading the coordinates of the ship that commanded this base of Dominion soldiers; my new mission? To destroy the ship with the very weapon they intended to use against us!

The Eldan gun was pretty straight forward to operate, type in the coordinates and press go!

I would have liked it a little more if the coordinates hadn't been handed to me, if they were perhaps written down on a wall somewhere and I had to find them, but all the same, I was given the coordinates and greeted by a short cutscene of the turret gun powering up and firing out into space followed by debris raining from the skies.

This was a pretty epic mission chain and returning back to camp in pretty much felt like the awesome hero! I had stopped a rampaging AI opening Eldan secrets to my faction and at the same time stopped the Dominion from massacring the people on my ark ship. Yes this was done by doing the same to them, but still; their ship is full of soldiers and an army, ours is full of settlers and civilians.

This brought my first week of gameplay to a close and it is a shame really as I know there is a lot to come that I experienced before in beta; included in this list is our awesome looking capital city, player housing and the customisation of said plots, mounts, dungeons and many more.

But on that note allow me to summarise the points of note so far:

Fast gameplay with responsive controls, a strong cartoony visual style, lots of highly animated characters and a bucket load of content!

Repetitive gameplay, a strong cartoony visual style with a need for further optimisation, an on rails feeling to questing.

The gameplay is good, if you like questing and "Kill X of Y" requirements. Yes it is a % based objective with tougher enemies offering a higher % than weaker enemies, but it's still the same mechanic.
The graphics are very striking which ultimately means it will polarise the MMO player base much like Marmite. I love it, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Plus the game as if last night still suffers from a need for further optimisation, better driver support and all the usual jiggery and pokery.
There is a bucket load of things to do, my personal favourite being the customisation of your housing and the fact that others can visit it; I know for a fact that two people on my server have made their housing available as Exile bars for random Role Play encounters. I can see myself spending a lot of downtime there.
Sadly this does not detract from the fact that it feels you are being dragged along from area to area almost never revisiting a hub you were at before. When I compare that to my current favourite game TSW it furthers the feeling that TSW is designed more as a living world and less a theme park. But saying that, it does theme park very well and I would honestly rather spend a day on Nexus than I would Alton Towers (not a roller coaster fan).

So as you see there's a lot of pros and cons to all sides. I hope this has given you some food for thought and that I'll be able to see you ingame:

Yaroslav: Mordesh Spellslinger
Lightspire EU (PVE-RP)

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 6 June 2014

A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 3

Greetings friends!

I'm not going to faff around today, instead I'm going to jump right into my recount on last night's events.

Day 3: Thursday
So I started where I left off. My character Yanoslav or Yano for short was dressed in his awesome threads:

And I had just met up with a number of other Mordesh who had tasks for me involving the local Pygmy critters.

To start with I had to let myself into one of the many caged areas where I was required to perform numerous different methods of torture to the little Pygmy dude one of which involved electrocution.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not above a bit of torture now and then, but I've been playing this game in character, and while Yano doesn't mind killing bad guys, torturing natives who are already being held in captivity is not his idea of fun, but to progress the game he had no choice than to do as requested. It was a very Milgram moment.

Anyway, following on from electrocution, burning, freezing and cutting it was revealed that these Pygmy dudes were surprisingly resilient and the Mordesh Milgram asked me to go into the field to find more info.

While out there I was tasked with more killing; which was fine as those Pygmies are pretty lethal in large numbers. I was also able to study some anomalies in their home village revealing a form of science at play as the anomalies appeared to be altering the pygmy's ability to control necromantic powers and with it their resistance to pain.

The mission ended shortly after I discovered a lore-cube revealing that one of the ancient creators had introduced the anomalies with the exact purpose of altering the Pygmies to make them more useful. This made me realise that I had been slaughtering a species that had remained unchanged thousands to millions of years old, all in the name of science. Finally they needed me to render the Pygmies a low threat to them by summoning their aspect of death and killing it proving to the Pygmies that we were not to screwed with.

Sure enough the Pygmies left me alone after that and with a swift relief I left the Mordesh camp in search of a contact who had called me asking to meet.

En route to meet this contact I stumbled across a small settlement of little bunny people called Lopps:

Now the Lopps had been attacked by a big monster, their village in pieces, but they still made me feel very welcome and traded with me for some needed supplies.

In exchange for their kindness I agreed to help them out with protecting their village. It wasn't hard, set a few traps here, kill some predators there before searching for some of their townsfolk who had gone missing.

This venture took me into a nearby cave where I discovered the reason for what had happened. By now it had become obvious that the Lopp were obsessed by all things shiny, and one of their number had made off with some very large shiny eggs greatly upsetting the eggs' mother and causing the murderous rampage on their village.

It did not take long to convince the Lopp with the eggs to return them, or at least to let me return the eggs for them.

Eggs returned, mother calmed I said my good byes to the Lopp and continued with my journey to meet my contact.

The meeting site turned out to be a large tree that had recently been occupied by the Aurin, waiting for me there was the Aurin Queen who the locals insisted I visit urgently.

Meeting the Queen (we're becoming good friends now after the events with the Mech-Tree where I acted as her arm of vengeance) she told me of her assistant who she needed to remain at this tree after she leaves as the tree-village's new leader, before this could happen however, the Queen's assistant needed 'help' passing the required trials to be appointed leader.

It quickly became apparent to me while the Aurin were members of the Exiles and not the Dominion; they are self appointed victims, requiring their to-be leaders to complete trials of might and intelligence, but giving these positions to those unable to actually perform these trials requiring the white-knighting from others to get them to do what they should be able to do. I made a note of this, ensuring that if for any reason I was captured by the Dominion to sell this information if needed. I'm sure the Cassians would love to know about this weakness, and frankly I have absolutely no problem in selling out a race who requires others to do everything for them before claiming the spoils for their own.

So I did these trials on the to-be leader's behalf before attending the appointment ceremony for the new leader.

I expected to get an acknowledgement, after all I was the one who literally did everything, but no the closest I got to a mention was the new leader admitting that she 'had help'... Help? More like a freaking proxy!

With that I turned my back on their impotent queen and went to meet my contact who was waiting for me in a near by part of the tree-village.

Turned out he was organising a party to explore an artefact site nearby, while he was gathering supplies and resources I proceeded to gather the other members of the expedition.

After a quick jaunt around the nearby adventurers' guild I was able to pick up a good party who were ready to head out in search for riches...

...then I saw the time and had to log off for this night!


So what have I learned so far? The Mordesh like hurting critters smaller than themselves, the Aurin are apparently picked on by every other race in the galaxy, big tree-mechs can die surprisingly easily and never trust anyone who claims they were attacked 'for no reason' as they probably stole the attacker's eggs.

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 2

Greetings friends!

So as planned last night I played some more Wildstar for about 2 hours. Without further delay let's get started:

Day 2: Wednesday
So the first thing I did was check out my issue with disappearing items.

I was pleased to see my deluxe headpiece was in my inventory, and my eyepatch had been removed entirely allowing me to claim it again from my shared account.

Annoyingly my 'bag of awesome'; an item I received from pre ordering, had also been removed. This was a 10 slot inventory space, but thankfully everything that would have been stored in it was in the main part of my inventory. Until that bug is fixed I'll need to make sure not to log out with anything valuable in that bag space.

So I went back to the costume creator NPC...

You see in Wildstar you get multiple equitable spaces for cosmetic use only. Once I reached level 7 I unlocked the first of these 'costumes'. What this means is that for every item slot I have (head, chest, legs, feet, hands) I can equip another item in this additional slot that overrides the look of what I am wearing.

I decided to go for the beta costume called The Highwayman in conjunction with my cybernetic eye patch.

On that note, I promised you pictures:

So this is my dude! What you can not see because it's off camera is that the chest piece is actually a duster coat that extends roughly down to my knees. The boots are also awesome as they have spurs!
- I'll need to take some full body shots next time.

Looking around I noticed another player talking about how amazing the view was when you climbed the top of a nearby tree, so I did:

They were not wrong!

You see now what I meant before when I said it was a pretty game?

So I met with some mission contacts and got the lay of the land and up to date with current affairs.

Apparently the land had been settled by the Aurin (hippy bunny girls) but these settlers were being hunted by the Draken (humanoid dragon things). Well the Draken had done very well here, building spires out of the skulls of dead Aurin and our scouts had reported that they were preparing to launch a full blown assault on our camp.

Now I would have thought that us meeting them head on would have been a good thing. To the Draken might=right and a show of united strength would have gone a long way at telling them not to mess with us, but no. Instead I was told that they wouldn't send a force to stop the Draken, instead they were assigning one operative (me) to sneak in behind enemy lines, sabotage their communications and assassinate their leader.

So off I set; pistols ready, just waiting to start bringing some pain to the oppressive Dommies, I followed a dirt path round to the valley the Draken had set up camp and saw a small group of them with weapons drawn getting ready to head out.

So I did what I do best and put a bullet between their eyes, after all there's no use trying to reason with a Draken.

Afterwards I looked around feeling pretty good with myself, I had dispatched the camp and was ready to take on the leader, but hold on, no my mission said I still had a lot more to do.

Looking around I realised my error, the camp was nothing more than a forward observation post, and following the valley further in I was soon greeted by the base if operations itself.

The base was located in a large opening in the valley, more structures and cages were lining the walls than I could count and the Draken were in massive numbers preparing for their attack.

This was going to need a little but more stealth and planning than I had originally thought...

Utilising the abstract methods if travelling, be it jumping across rocks and away from patrol paths I managed to infiltrate the heart of the base, disable the communications relay and take out the leader with her harem of male slaves before sprinting out as fast as I could.

Once I reported this in I was tasked with meeting a Mordesh scientist who had begun experimenting on the local wildlife. After a short jog I arrived at the complex, which despite what I imagined was more of a series of tents housing tech and research equipment interspersed with cages holding strange Pygmy like creatures.

It was here that I had to leave it for the night.

It hurt tearing myself away from this game, with mysteries and questions circling me; who were these Pygmy creatures and why was the Mordesh professorat interested in them? Will I find any more giant tree-mechs? Where the hell are the other -lore cubes- (I forget their real names) and was it me or was Nexus very similar to WoW's Azeroth in terms of a giant mechanical ball floating in space that somehow has life on it? More importantly, how did Nexus get organic life on it? Was it intentional or accidental?
- I just hope the answer isn't "an Old God did it"...

On that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A Week in Gaming - Wildstar: Day 1

Greetings friends!

So today I am going to try something new for this blog; a rolling review of the game Wildstar where for every evening I play the game I cover my experiences.

You see the problem with MMO reviews is that they tend to miss the point of MMOs and summarising a week to a months gaming is often carpeted over with some quirky summary.

Note: This week sees the release of Tokyo in TSW, so I will not be playing this every day and therefore won't be able to report back every day.


Day 1: Monday
So yesterday being launch day I decided to stop faffing around with character creation and settled on Yaroslav the Mordesh Spellslinger for my current main.

This was a big decision for me as there are a number of items on my account which are one use only as a result of being in the Beta Weekends & Open Beta and once redeemed they are locked to that character. I didn't want to do this only to delete the character.

Pictures to follow in time.

So I awoke from Cryosleep and proceeded to follow a half blind space cowboy around a falling to pieces spaceship to try and save his wife from Cryo-Sickness. All around me were the frozen bodies of others who had not been so lucky, and I caught myself thinking about how defective the Exile Cryo systems are.

Once again as has been the case with every time I play this game I am amazed by the fluid of movement. I really felt like my character was 'in' the game, and not just something superimposed 'on' the game. There was a weight behind my steps and a swagger in my step that other games like Rift and Warhammer Online never managed to grab.

So in order to get started I did the usual starting area for the Exiles, your generic "go here, click this, go there, click that affair" which I've done more times than I care to count. What I had not done before was the zone that followed it, a lush forest zone that was occupied by a gigantic robotic tree (previously I had gone to the generic 'Exile' zone following the space cowboy and the tragic events that follow).

This was one of the times that I really enjoyed the game, as in really enjoyed the game.

I think part of the reason for this enjoyment comes down to the pacing. The missions feel well spaced out, the travelling doesn't feel like a chore and you don't really feel like you're just going through the motions.

En route to perform tasks for my superiors and the giant tree-mech I bumped into another player who was following the path of the soldier and was trying one of their special encounters. In this encounter they had to survive while swarms of bug like creatures spawned in waves. Naturally I wanted in on this and without so much as a team invite I was fighting alongside the other player, getting joint credit for kills including XP and mission kill counts. Let me repeat myself, this was without joining a party!

Yup, those awkward moments of joining a party with randoms just to get a party quest done are gone and replaced with organic group forming. All you need to do is turn up and start firing away at the enemy to get joint credit for the kills.

After this I then carried on into a cavern system located beneath the tree-mech. These caverns have been infested by the before mentioned giant bugs and it was up to me and the other players to remove them and kill their queen.

Whilst inside the cavern I saw a strange looking door with a convent 'science' symbol floating above it. This symbol was only viewable to those of the Scientist path such as me, which meant there was something pretty cool on the other side!

So first things first, I sent Sunni my analysis-drone to scan the door, Sunni was able to detect a faint power signal connecting the door to a series of three statues and so hypothesised that the statues may have been a key lock for the door and if manipulated in the correct order would open the door.
- Sunni is smart like that.

So after clicking each statue I figured out that I needed to light them all up at the same time, ie: click in the right order. Done!

As the door slid upwards I was left with a feel of awesome, I had come in, hacked the system with a logic puzzle and the bounty that waited on the other side was ours for the taking! Untouched by living creatures for centuries!

I suppose in a way it was like a super-lite version of TSW in how rather than just 'click the big glowy button' I had to figure out a small puzzle. My only hope is that the science missions carry on in a similar way as the game progresses (alongside the usual "Scan X of Y" that I've already seen).

Anyway, after all of this there was an epic moment where [SORRY, SPOILERS AND I WONT REVEAL!!] and it was awesome!

The fight that followed had me slaughtering evil gerbils by using Sunni to hack their tech to use it as a weapon against them before unleashing the hell of nature on their base and taking a ride back to our own new base in style.

It was here I reached level 7 and was able to unlock my first costume and I encountered my first bug in the form of disappearing and bugging out costume items within the head slot.

I am hoping the items can be restored as they are pre-order and deluxe items, but if it's not possible then it's not really a big deal; especially as the deluxe head piece is fugly as hell!

So a quick bug report later, followed by an automated reply giving me tips on possible fixes based on keywords I used in my ticket I logged for the night.

Like I said, I hope that gets resolved, and it was a bit of a downer to end my gaming evening on, but as that was the ONLY problem I encountered I don't think I can really complain.


Tonight looks like I'll be set for another night on Nexus (the world where Wildstar is set) so you should expect Day 2 tomorrow, complete with screenshots this time!

Until next time, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Wildstar - An InProgress Review

Greetings friends!

So it seems the in-thing to write an InProgress review for MMOs and in the spirit of the kool kidz I'm going to try and do something similar.
- Damn do I feel old writing that!

Anyway, I'm guessing there's little point right now in going over what Wildstar is; I've already covered that in a previous post and will no doubt again in roughly a week's time.

Plus no doubt if you are reading this then you already know about the game.

So to keep it short and sweet let's just say it's a Space Opera with themes that relate back to high sci-fi, Star Wars and Firefly, all wrapped up in your favourite Saturday morning cartoon!


So today sees the official launch date for this game, and no doubt you are asking yourselves just what you should expect from this game.

Well technically the game is not the same games from 5+ years ago. The developers are not Blizzard and they have no delusions that the game will require a modern computer to run.

I'm not sure if this is a negative thing, the game looks very pretty and they have not cut corners when it comes to characters and environment like another MMO that I won't mention but has a similar 'cartoony' graphic style.

I can run this game on max with a frame rate similar to The Secret World, so you can expect similar if you are a TSW player (and if not, why not?).

A few weeks ago this was not the case, but the developers Carbine have been busy for the past few weeks really optimising the game and plugging all those annoying memory leaks.

The Headstart launch was problematic for some, but for me; going straight to the PvE RP server, I had next to no problems that were not ironed out within a few hours!


The game does have a very interesting story, and playing both Exile and Dominion side gives a wide range of missions from the mundane "kill X number of Y", the more interesting - but often lacking 'something' human interest missions, and then the truly epic "I feel like a badass!" missions.


Like with many MMOs out at the moment, you get out of the game what you put in.

During beta I was determined to play the game purely as a tester, I was skimming over the quest text purely to get the gist and to allow me to report spelling and grammar mistakes.

When it came to playing the game itself I would run as fast as possible to the mission site and try to break it as fast as possible.

The number of bugs I found were noticeable, each of them reported and thankfully fixed with the following build.

The point was, I was not immersing myself into the background of the game, and after a few evenings of playing this way I got bored very quickly...

This isn't to say the game suffers from being used as a mindless hack n slash, far from it as there are always things to do.

No, the problem was that is not how I enjoy games! The moment however I took a step back and took in the environments, the war zones with craters and fox-holes, the dilapidated slums, the lush greenery and xenobotany; I very quickly wanted to see more, to take a pause from the awesome mechanics and IN YOUR FACE humour and just soak in the camaraderie crossed with the bitter loss of ongoing conflict.


Speaking of conflict, I should probably explain the different sides you'll be playing with:

The Dominion
These are the Empire from Star Wars made up of the following races:

The Mechari
Robots who were created by an ancient demigod race.

The Cassians
Humans (if humans were all nobility extras from Blackadder the Third)

The Draken
Ferocious reptilian creatures with scaled skin, pointy tails and cruel horns.

The Chua
Space Gerbils who's cuteness is offset with a psychotic evil.

The Exiles
These are the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars, made up of the following races:

The Humans
Yup both sides have humans. If the Cassians are the British, these are the Americans, complete with southern hick accent.

The Aurin
Hippy bunny boys & girls with big ears, big eyes and long furry tails. They like trees.

The Granok
Rock men. Big rock chests, big rock jaws. Big...Strong...Hands...

The Mordesh
Space Zombies filled with neon fluid for blood.


Last but not least, the games combat uses devices called 'telegraphs'. This is essentially a projection on the ground showing where your attack will hit. By using a combination of abilities and movement tricks you as the player can manipulate this placement so that you can try to capture as many NPCs in each telegraph in order to maximise your damage and end the enemy as quickly as possible.

What this gives you is a slightly different style of combat to what you have probably come to expect from many MMOs, but it is hard to explain without going into the finer details which I would like to leave until next week.


So that's where we are at the moment. I hope this has been remotely helpful in giving you an idea of what to expect.

So until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 2 June 2014

Weekend Catchup: Yoshiki & Wildstar

Greetings friends!

So it's been a short while since my last post, since then I've been kinda busy with work and home stuff.

Included within this list of stuff is having a mini break with the wife in London where we saw the musical artist Yoshiki perform his classical album.
- At some point I will need to review the performance, however at this stage I don't think I can do the performance justice.

Starting last Saturday the upcoming (tomorrow) MMO; Wildstar began. There were problems experienced by all, however personally I found it very smooth. Had issues logging on for about 3 minutes followed by having my pre-purchase/deluxe items not being available. By the evening however all of this was fixed for me.

I'm currently struggling when it comes to naming my Exile character (think the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars) my race of choice is the Mordesh who are essentially space zombies. My default name of choice (Loxley) is currently unavailable and so I've been struggling to find an alternative.

Now according to the lore of the game, traditionally their names are of Eastern European decent. After scouring the net for names I've come up with lots of names, almost all just feel 'not right' if you know what I mean? My favourite being "Makari".

Now this poses a very minor issue on the grounds that there is also another race in the game called Mechari who belong to the rival faction. Because of the similarity to this I struggle to reconcile this name and as such am looking for alternatives.

So are you able to help me out here? Preferably something that is uncommon as chances are the common varieties like Vladamir and Nikolai are already taken.


Anyway, that turned into a strange ramble, which wasn't entirely intended...

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley