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Monday, August 4, 2014

July Wrap-up

Another month has gone by and Raptr has dutifully tracked my gaming each week. But July was a busy month for me in a non-gaming way, so my hours came out lower than normal. What can I say other than, "Ah, summer..."

[caption id="attachment_3365" align="alignleft" width="300"]Raptr Summary 6JUL14 Raptr Summary 6JUL14[/caption]

I started July with a week off in the land of metered Internet connections. Not only would it have been very expensive to try to play online games there, I've no doubt the connection would have been too slow for most of them. Instead, I ended up playing quite a bit of Civilization V: Brave New World (Civ5,) which I wrote about in two posts here and here. During a week full of astrophotography and fossil hunting, I still managed to get in almost 12 hours of world conquest, and earned eight (8) achievements bringing my total to 73. That's only 25% of all the available achievements. Civilization V is the game that just keeps giving.

But that was pretty much all I did for gaming for the week ending July 6th. There was a very quick Landmark claim upkeep log in. However, the game itself requires much more than the 3G connection I was getting. There's a complaint in that too. A player can only pay upkeep eight days in advance. You have to log in before the end of eight days or you lose your claim - no exceptions. But even a week off work is a nine-day vacation when you add in the two weekends. And currently there is at least a gigabyte update a week to download (on a slow metered connection remember) before you can even pay upkeep. It's a real pain in the arse SOE! It's also somewhat boneheaded. I suggested they allow claim upkeep from the web portal so long as the character has the ore. We'll see. It is just beta after all.

[caption id="attachment_3367" align="alignright" width="300"]Raptr Summary 13JUL14 Raptr Summary 13JUL14[/caption]

The next week actually saw my game time go down slightly. That was due mostly to needing to catch up at work I guess. I finished up my last game of Civ5 the last Sunday of my vacation (my Raptr counts actually run Sunday through Saturday.) What I got in for game play after that was four hours of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (AC4) and a bit over an hour of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO.) Actually, now that I think about it, work might not have been the main culprit in my reduced game play. I think I did it to myself. I did three AC4 videos (Completing Havana, Smuggler's Blues, and Taking Fort Gibara) as well as two TESO videos (The Road Ahead/Hope Lost and Sanguine Barrows) that week. Those videos take about 90 minutes apiece to create, and a bit more time to set up on YouTube. That's over eight hours spent on game play videos rather than on actually playing games.

That's been a bit of a dilemma I must confess. I like making the videos. There are even a few people who enjoy watching them. However, my game play videos don't get a lot of attention. I do understand why, and it's okay by me if people don't watch. What I regret most though is the time spent making them. That's time I could use to play. I mentioned before I've a limited budget of hours available to me for all my hobbies, and sometimes it's an unhappy compromise to satisfy them all. I've even got a few commitments to others regarding my rock hobby I've still not fulfilled. Those I've made the commitments to have been very patient, but I nonetheless feel like a slacker for not doing what I volunteered to do. Seems like Mabrick needs make some decisions doesn't he? He at least needs to have a look at his daily routines and make some adjustments. Anyway, that's all very droll and not what this post is really about. Onward!

[caption id="attachment_3369" align="alignleft" width="300"]Raptr Summary 20JUL14 Raptr Summary 20JUL14[/caption]

The third week in July saw my gaming time shoot back up to a "normal" week's worth of gaming. Leading the list was AC4. I've been saying for weeks (months?) I needed to get my arse moving if I wanted to complete the game by the launch of Assassin's Creed V: Unity. At just over 11 hours, I made significant inroads on that goal. I've completed 39% of the game to date, and much of it came during the second week of July. Though that may not seem like much, I'm poised to do even more sooner rather than later. During those 11 hours, I spent the time consistently upgrading both the Jackdaw and my personal inventory of swords, pistols and other items. I unlocked Kenway's Fleet and added several frigates to it. I unlocked all the ports in the western hemisphere as well as Portugal. I am steadily making reales using the fleet.

I've also begun upgrading my base the Great Inagua, or the Great Iguana as I call it, with all the amenities of Nassau. I took this base as one of the mainline quests. I chronicled the quest, a Single Madman, in three posts here, here and here. Of course, these videos were posted the week after I did the mission, and creating them ate into the time I had available for actually playing, but I do so enjoy making them and watching what I did. It's like that line at the end of the credits on The X Files. You know, where the kid exclaims, "I made this!" And appropo to nothing, THAT was a great show.

I also put nearly six hours into Landmark that week. I spent most of that time upgrading my claim and my equipment. I actually did very little mining beyond what I needed to do for claim upkeep. Instead, I took my first foray into micro-voxel construction. That was both fun and frustrating at the same time. Still, I managed to make something I needed for my lair, and what I got looked pretty good by the time I finished. One day I may even show everyone what I made, but for now it'll remain a bit of a secret. It's not that I'm ashamed of it. It's more like I'm not ready to start plugging a game that is obviously still a beta. Besides, there are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube made by folks who are much better than I at making things right now. I'll show what I've got when there's actually something really worth showing. ;)

[caption id="attachment_3370" align="alignright" width="300"]Raptr Summary 27JUL14 Raptr Summary 27JUL14[/caption]

The last week of this wrap-up saw me once again taking a long weekend off. This time I didn't even have time for Civ5. I was out late every night listening to good music and having fun with even better friends. Who wants to play games when you can listen to Brother and Zirp and S.J. Tucker with the best friends ever? However, before I left, I continued with my AC4 progress to the tune of 4.5 hours. Most of this time I spent capturing ships to add to Kenway's Fleet as well as upgrading the house at the Great Iguana. It really is only window dressing (AH! It's a pun. Get it?,) but it makes me smile when I see pretty things in a computer game. I've said this before, but I really am a sucker for nice graphics.

The rest of my gameplay that week was actually during the time I had between breakfast where we were staying, and the time we actually left for the event. That amounted to three and a half hours in total. I decided to try out Simcity in offline mode. It works very well! Simcity is one of those games I've always returned to as a sort of filler game. If I've got 30 or 45 minutes, I'll fire it up and let it run awhile. Maxis really killed that for me when they released the new Simcity and it required an Internet connection. I realize that was more the publisher than the developer, but what a completely boneheaded thing to do! I am pleased that I can once again play this game as I see fit, not as EA sees fit. Internet play is fine when you have four friends who are as dedicated as you to enhancing a region. But my first city, which is still going strong by the way, had to build the damn regional airport all by itself because the other mayors moved on. It irks me that there is no way to take over those other cities in that game. Now I don't have to rely on anyone else. In offline mode, I can haz all the cities. :)

And that's Mabrick's July. August is already going great guns, and should be a month that sees more hours added to the summary than I got in July. I've no vacations planned. In fact, I have to stick to home the last two weeks of August because I have jury duty. I wonder if they'll let me take my laptop with me? (Makes note to check.) That would be a great time to continue the city I started in offline mode. So until then, keep gaming!

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