What I'm Playing: Mostly iOS Edition

Apple Arcade

  • Various Daylife: Previously described, an RPG life simulator. Slow, tedious, but mildly interesting. Worst title of any game I've heard of. Mediocre.
  • Chu-Chu Universe: Yes, this is another Chu-Chu Rocket, in 3D with shitty controls. I like the slow logic puzzles, but I've played the better version of this game hundreds of hours on the DS (yes, I hear you, two lonely Dreamcast users out there), don't really need a new one. Also, it makes my iPhone 8+ extremely hot along the top-right corner; GPU-heavy with no way to turn that off? Mediocre.
  • What The Golf: Sort of a ripoff of Desert Golfing with a mini-golf course and QWOP or RSSS style physics antics. I'm easily amused by bad physics games, they remind me of Waterful Ring Toss from my childhood. Nice.
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts: Very pretty neon style. Unplayably sluggish movement even at "high" sensitivity setting, forces you to sit through minutes of slow dialogue about hippie tarot bullshit before you can play anything. Deleted after one track. And I like endless runners, so if that's not your thing it'll be even less pleasant. Fail.
  • Inmost: Monochrome pixely, but pretentious starting text "is a moving story of loss and hope, with themes". Incredibly slow, "platformer" but with very little platforming. No dialogue, tap or X does everything so you just have to pixel-hump targets and wait for the action to appear. Fail.

So far this is not a service I'll be renewing. There's nothing here I couldn't get better for that money.

Not Apple Arcade

  • World of Warcraft Classic: I was happy at the start, but rapidly got less so: The sharding is really interfering with gameplay, so I took a break, and then Blizzard decided they'd rather support the totalitarian citizen-murdering dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party than one streamer calling for the independence of democratic Hong Kong. Just to make my position clear: Free Hong Kong! Break up China! Do not punish people for expressing support for democracy, you evil corporate douchebags. Yeah, they gave him back his prize money, but still banned him. Screw that. Cancelled my sub.
  • Elder Scrolls Online: ZOS has a new combat team this year, and they've ruined my Sorcerer build, even worse nerfs are coming in the next patch, and I don't want to pursue total changes to his skills, gear, and gameplay in hopes of maybe ever clearing content again. I was thinking about ending my ESO+ sub for a while, but then WoW blew up so I'm playing my Khajiit Vampire Mag Necromancer "Mortissa Kamidjanni" as main, and having a fun time again; ZOS haven't nerfed the new class yet, ha ha! (I also have a Stam Warden, who was born nerfed, and a Mag Nightblade which is usually the unnerfed class but I don't like the gameplay for that combo). ESO has four kinds of content: Overworld content, which has quests but combat is trivial and boring; Bosses (world or dungeon), which have no interesting quests, combat can be fun but often needs a group and I hate PUGs; Trading, which is slightly interesting but I'm obscenely rich in-game already; and Housing decoration, which is sort of the endgame when you have millions of gold. So my Necro kitty does some overworld quests to get skill points, mats, and recipes, then switch to my Sorc Elf to do housing. It's something to do. Good but so disappointing compared to what it could be.
  • Mario Kart Tour: It's Mario Kart with gacha-like unlocks. Just as stupidly unfair as ever. Mildly fun if you have no attachment to skill determining who "wins" a race. Recommended age range: 1-7.
  • Mirage Memorial: Big-titty waifu versions of historical and mythical figures (many are men converted to women… King Arthur, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, etc wtf, but also Lucifer, Athena, etc). Unskippable tutorial with no choices for the entire first chapter, and every time a new feature unlocks. Combat is an auto-idler thing; you CAN turn auto off and hit portraits to activate a random skill, but that's it. Somewhat interesting character level-up system, no character is "useless" but may need a lot of grinding to build up. I did a level grind up to 17 in a couple hours while watching Netflix, got bored out of my skull, turned it off. I'm not saying avoid or delete this, but be aware of what it is, which is nothing.
  • Another Eden: Has had a couple new chapter updates, I intend to get back into this.
  • Last Cloudia: Just launching today, looks very pretty. Here's a beginner's guide

What I'm Playing: Various Daylife

A new Square Enix game, the first thing under Apple Arcade that's interested me.

So this isn't quite a normal RPG, it's more of an adventurer's life simulator. You answer a few questions to get a starting role, and are quickly rushed through meeting 3 NPCs who will be your main party for a while; since there are multiple party screens, I assume you get new ones later, but I'm not reading cheat sites yet.

You spend most of your time in your home hitting "Work" and picking missions from the other party members. They just take a half day (there are day and night jobs) and there's no gameplay in this. Your purpose here is to earn money and experience, and build up rank points in stats so they rank up. Doing several of these will improve your affinity with that party member, and unlock new jobs with them or side-quests.

  • Warrior: Wolf, Boar, Bear, Tiger Control.
  • Secretary (Magic-User): Filing, Transcription.
  • Server (Cleric): Water Service, Waitlist Attendance.

Each job consumes Stamina, and when you're low, you may fail missions, and then pass out. I once did this and missed about 4 days sleeping. Sleep at least every few days!

You do occasionally get to go out on wilderness quests, where your party runs left-to-right until a mob is met, does a turn-based combat, then resumes running. You can camp to eat and sleep if you bought those items; I found a food vendor on the docks, but no tent vendor yet.

The town consists of a series of left-right only streets, looping around, with up/down access points. It's not hard to search the whole thing, but sometimes not obvious where the access point is. There's a number of little shops, and events you can pay for.

One amusing but buggy part, I took out the waitress character on a date, she ends up back in my home, nice! but the menu is gone and I can't escape. Finally managed to tap on an invisible button and get out, but I was trapped for a bit. Is this a lesson about commitment and why I'm a nameless drifter?

Shops are not up to the usual Squenix standards. You have to buy items one at a time, and there's a very small wilderness quest inventory (currently 6 items!) so there's not much point in buying too much. Buying gear doesn't auto-equip it, or even remind you to; good thing I've been playing FF games since the NES.

Not-Atari Still Has No VCS

"Atari SA", formerly Infogrames who bought the name, are still not shipping their fantasy "modern VCS", to everyone's total lack of surprise.

This is just about physically painful as these useless parasites take peoples' money (not mine) for a grift, based on love of what a different company named Atari was like 30-50 years ago.

Now they're so shitty, their con so obvious, they've been removed from moderation of the subreddit about them.

Code Mystics' Atari Greatest Hits collection is unrelated, and a fantastic emulation on iOS and DS.

Death Stranding is for Babies

hideo_kojima-very_easy

I would dispute "RPG fans", since even turn-based RPGs require mechanical skills, just not aim-and-shoot reflexes; and as someone who's spent 5+ years in Elder Scrolls Online where I clear group dungeons and world bosses solo, there's RPG players who don't need an easy or normal mode, let alone "very easy".

easy mode is for babies

As usual there's people who call this attitude "elitist". Well, sure. Dr Seuss, Dan Brown, and the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew writers wrote in easy mode for babies. But most literature is above that level, you have to be able to read at a college level to read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, you need some math & physics education to read Greg Egan's Diaspora, Schild's Ladder, Incandescence, or Dichronauts, you need a computing background to get more than superficial understanding of Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine or Rudy Rucker's The Hacker and the Ants. Those are elite entertainments. There's no way to dumb them down without totally ruining the experience.

In Kojima's case, his games are already compromised that way, endless tedious unskippable(!) cutscenes instead of getting to play the game, so I doubt it really matters. The Onion's new experimental videogame article nailed this, and Squenix was going down this road with their CGI movie adaptations, before they veered back into making actual games. Maybe Kojima will someday head back away from idiotic "narrative" and even more idiotic actors which the form is ill-suited to, and back into things with gameplay, strategy, and action, or maybe he'll just make movies and stop pretending this is playable.

Nintendo Direct: Animal Crossing New Horizons

More Over…watch? Smash. Poke-Man. Don't care. I'm mildly amused that they make a big deal of cooking curry on rice in Poke-Man. I'm not sure what that has to do with cockfighting.

"Dragon Quest XI S Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition" might be the most Microsofty videogame name ever made. Shame on you, Squenix & Nintendo. But it looks pretty.

SNES retro console is pretty great. But we do already have emulators and old ROMS on pirated sites. Some new cheaty features like making Super Ghouls & Ghosts playable instead of a bitter lesson in frustration and failure, knowing that you will never be good enough to see the end of it, are really not appropriate. And they only work while you have a subscription, so when Nintendo shuts that service down in a couple years, your emulator games go away with it. The SNES controller is awesome… but can't be used as a Joy Con, so it's unusable with other games.

More Tetris 99, "daily missions" gamification. Yeah, great, I've already played Puzzle & Dragons.

Mario & Sanic Summer Olympics! Just in time for winter. I do like these kind of games.

Doom 64, Jedi Knights II, Witcher 3, etc. because everyone's porting every old game to Switch.

Grid Autosports is promising. Farming Simulator! That actually makes some sense on a portable console. Xenoblade Chronicles remaster next year.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: 3.20.2020

I must say, I don't like the metaphor of phone as UI to everything. AC is more of an old-timey setting, it should just have a book for tutorial.

The bug & fish catching seems deep like the console games. Not much detail shown here, like everything in this long pre-release struggle.

Maybe too much emphasis on multiplayer? I don't want people on my island, only animals.

Still, I'm waiting for AC:NH to get a Switch. I miss my Pocket Camp a bit, but then I see reddit or other videos mention how grindy it's got, and I'm glad I quit.

World of Warcraft Classic Launch

Since I went into the launcher early, and dinked around with new characters to keep my connection alive, I didn't have to face THE QUEUE, apparently many people had 10,000+ people ahead of them, and hours of wait.

Even so, launch was slow. I could barely move or pick up the greeting quest, and made it into the cave, before the system settled down enough to let me do anything.

Here's the scene in the Valley of Heroes, 15 minutes into launch:

WoW Classic Launch-20190826-15.15.51

I'm somewhere in that pile of characters. I was only able to click on the quest-giver's ?.

After I got my quests, I went out to kill boars… which was impossible, the ground barely rendered in, the boars never rezzed until dead, chaos. After 41 minutes, I'd killed 4 somehow:

WoWScrnShot_082619_154152-copy-1024x576.jpg

Gave up on that and went out to Durotar to kill scorpids and boars there; higher level than me but I did OK because I am a moderately badass Rogue.

I ran up to Orgrimmar and got Skinning, Leatherworking, Cooking, and Fishing. Many many stacks of leather are collected, some of them end up in my new armor. Went back south to clear the Troll island quests; as with the stress test, it was just impossible to get Zalzane, so I gave up on him. Everything else is doable.

WoWScrnShot_082619_184204-comp

Finally dinged 10, went back to Org and put some green armor and ammo bags on the Auction House; I'll see if anything sold in a bit. Haven't left Durotar yet.

WoWScrnShot_082619_213905 copy

Next stop, I need to hit Undercity for a weapon trainer to learn Swords—I have dual wield daggers, and need one for stealth skills, but dual swords massively increase my DPS. Running to Thunder Bluff as a lowbie is possible, but difficult. Though I watched Crendor's stream while I was doing my levelling, and they gave up on Valley and ran straight over to TB, which was almost deserted. Then I'm off to Barrens to quest. That's gonna be interesting on Mankrik.

World of Warcraft: Add-Ons

I'm last-minute setting up my WoW client properly, which means using addons (WoW, like ESO and many other games, has scripting support in Lua, and much of the UI is written in Lua). I haven't touched WoW addons in years, so I dunno what's going on.

Mainly using WoWInterface since I'm used to ESO-UI, but there's also some on CurseForge and just randomly on github.

There are addon managers, but I never use them, I just hit my favorites link once a week, grab any updates, unzip, drag them to the AddOns folder (World of Warcraft/classic/Interface/AddOns), which I put a shortcut to in my Finder toolbar.

Blizzard has disabled ClassicLFG to try to keep the Classic community tone. Some others might follow.

  • Memoria: Screenshots every level-up.
  • Better Vendor Price: Classic doesn't show vendor price, which is important when you're looting everything.
  • DejaMark: Convenient raid marker setting.
  • DejaMinimap: Better minimap. The little decorative oval WoW client presents is silly.
  • DejaStats: Doesn't look as nice as Wykkyd Toolbar, but it'll do.
  • FasterLooting: You still need to have Auto Loot turned on, and not be holding shift, and hopefully it works, but better than the standard slow looting.
  • Felwhisper's No Moar Gryphons Classic: The gryphons are baroque but non-functional and in the way.
  • oGlow: Item quality outline.
  • maybe Questie: Considering this, it's "cheating" but I do want the worldwide quest pickup markers. I won't be using the quest tracking. From playing the stress test, you really don't need quest tracking, just read the text.
  • Real Mob Health: Experimental, I want the data but I don't know how it'll display. May need another tooltip addon.
  • SimpleMap: Don't be completely oblivious while looking at the big map.
  • TellMeWhen Classic: Effect timers, I hope to use sound and message alerts to keep my combat rotations and DPS up without staring at the action bar all day.
  • Track Sales: Start saving now for your mount, which is an obscene amount of gold at level 40.
  • YACL Classic: The only DPS meters I've found are this, and Details! which is mostly for raids, not solo. I'm used to ESO's FTC and Bandit's UI.

Haven't yet decided on an auction house interface. Maybe the standard one's OK? Maybe Auctioneer?

I might want a new HUD, but there's not a lot of choices yet for Classic. I don't like the curvy things in IceHUD. Luna, maybe?

There's a long list of slash commands for chat, but I don't know how many work in Classic.

I haven't really thought about macroing yet. Probably some macros are useful, but I generally get by with hotkeys for the actions; I turn on all actionbars, set keys for all of them, and barely touch my mouse except to steer.

World of Warcraft: For the Horde!

Q: Will servers be brought down at some point before release or will players be able to sit at character select waiting for “Enter World” to activate?
A: We are likely to perform some kind of realm restarts or maintenance between now and launch. However, in the minutes leading up to launch, our plan is that the realms will up and available and the Enter World button will instantly light up once we’re launched.

I will be sitting there waiting. Click click click. Gotta kill them boars & scorpids.

Q: Has the reception of Classic met or exceeded expectations? Are there far more people coming back for Classic than expected? Or were you guys right within the predicted ballpark?
A: We’ve been blown away by the response to WoW Classic. The passion from the community is exactly what got us working on this in the first place, and we see new signs of your passion and excitement every day. We’re very excited to make it a reality for all of you next week!

Note: They've added several new servers and most of the existing ones are now High or Full, which is apparently several times higher cap than original launch cap. These are for just people who reserved their names, not all the randos who'll try to sub and come in on launch day. Blizzard low-balled the numbers by a long ways. If classic doesn't beat the retail population, I'll be very surprised.

A: Trick or Treat! Yes, because we're based on patch 1.12's data, holidays will play out as day did during that patch. So we look forward to spooky treats and happy haunts this October!

YEEEES! This is Halloween! (but with more Forsaken, no Belfs)

World of Warcraft Classic Naming Day

Finally decided on the server, Mankrik. It's PVE, EST, 60%+ Horde. Not happy with the EST, but according to the reddit surveys the PST options were low-population and almost totally Alliance. I won't play PVP servers: Levelling in PVP-only zones is a tedious nightmare of some asshole 20 levels above you killing you over and over for no reason. Camping the graveyard when you give up on your corpse. Chasing you to your home zone and murdering everyone there. It's just a shit experience. PVE lets you flag for PVP when you wanna fight people, and just go adventuring when you wanna beat up pixels.

Logging in took forever, had multiple errors out. Blizzard's servers must be literally on fire.

My characters are:

  • Kamimark, Troll Rogue: "Kamimark" is always an Elfy Spellsword or Nightblade, Rogue fits fine. Troll is the most Elfy Horde race; I'd much rather have Blood Elves in Burning Crusade, but that'll be a couple years out if it happens at all.

WoW Naming-Kamimark

  • Josephcurwen, Undead Mage: Updated: I went in and deleted and chose a new name from Lovecraft. The lack of mixed capitals is ugly, but it's more fitting with the Forsaken culture anyway.

(was Nyärlathotep): Super annoyed that I can't have the unaccented name. Is it taken by the system, or did someone else make a Nyarlathotep in the first 15 minutes? Heavy metal ümlauts fix everything. Strongly considered Warlock, and I love the pet management part, but I hated bag space management for soul shards in retail, and we'll have 25% as much bag space in Classic. I levelled a Mage to 10 in the stress test, and it was interesting, if somewhat harder to keep a grind rolling, so Mage it is.

WoW-Naming-Josephcurwen

  • Fuzzytomato, Tauren Hunter: I couldn't seriously play F.T. as my main, but I had fun with it so I'm keeping the name, and Tauren are much fuzzier…

WoW-Naming-Fuzzytomato

Speaking of the server name, in the stress test, I finally dinged 15 and got Mankrik's wife quest. You'll be happy to know I found her, not so happy to hear the state she was in. And I didn't even bury her!

WoW Stress Test-Mankrik 1

Now we just have to wait for the end of the month to start playing. I'll see you there, right?

WoW Stress Test-windrider