Guild Wars 2: Getting Back Into The Game

Last Friday was a big announcement regarding Guild Wars 2 future. I already knew there would be a season 5 of the Living World story before another expansion. Maybe there would be a sixth. So while I was secretly hoping they would say anything about an expansion, they only talked about the immediate future and season 5.

No season 5, new saga

They explicitly stated there wouldn’t be a season 5 as we got to know in the previous Living World updates. They call them sagas now, saying the updates will be more diverse, probably most like season 1 of the Living world. Smaller events changed the existing world of Tyria permanently, while saving the story heavy stuff for the major releases.

Icebrood Saga

I’m super excited for the Norn and Charr focused story in the Icebrood Saga. If you hadn’t noticed, I write fanfiction (see sidebar), and my main story arc is about five Charr cubs. Diving more into the Charr culture might inspire me to create more and better stories around these five characters.

We’re getting a prologue in a couple of weeks and at least two episodes of large story content. They added strike missions: 10 people boss encounters, or ‘soft raids’. This is the low entry raid for casuals (like me), to experience a big boss battle with a more or less organized group.

I’m going to try it, of course, but no idea if I’ll enjoy it.

They also mentioned new masteries, following the spirits of the wild, from the Norn culture. Raven is the first one and they already released some info on its abilities. I’m curious how far they’ll go with it. Will each spirit get a full mastery line, or is it one line with multiple spirits? I’m curious.

Hardcore causal

I’m a casual player, never done a raid, or a fractal above 20. I don’t get a kick out of extremely hard content. I don’t have the time to invest in micromanagement of my characters. (I still don’t have a full set of ascended armor/weapons.)

Am I lazy? No, not really. I do the things I enjoy the most. Walking around, get lost, jump into dynamic events, listen to the ambient chatter of NPCs. I’m not active on the trade market. I rarely buy, only sell things I don’t need.

I only finished War Eternal a few days ago. As a story nerd and someone who writes stories about the world of Tyria, this is a big deal. I haven’t played the Living World updates as they were released. The internet spoiled most of the experience (which I knew would happen), but being able to play them without interruption of a couple of months was great.

I’m looking forward to more lore, stories, and zones to explore. I’m excited about playing again. Maybe I’ll finally manage to craft a legendary.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Japanese, new recipes, and games

Japanese

I’ve neglected my Japanese lessons the past months, but I picked it up again. I use Duolingo and a kanji learning app to get better. Duolingo is amazing, but it doesn’t do a good job to explain how sentences are build. I have a few books on Japanese in which they do explain it. It’s this mixture of available apps, practice books, and instruction books that will help me master the basics of the Japanese language before our trip.

New Recipes

We’re still on a quest to find more healthy low carb recipes to add to our regular cooking schedule. It’s mostly been a trial and error journey, trying out new recipes and throwing out the things we didn’t like, and keeping the things we did like.

Cauliflower rice isn’t one of them. I’ll stick with regular rice, thank you. Cauliflower is one of the veggies I’m not excited about. If possible I’d cut it out of my diet completely. But I wanted to give it try and be open minded about a new diet. I tried, really, but it’s not going to work.

I did find two great salads we can eat for lunch or dinner. One is a taco salad, just all the taco ingredients without the taco itself. The other is a crispy chicken salad. They’re simple and can be made with meal prep.

If you have any low carb recipes, please share them in the comments! I’m always looking for more :)

Games

I tried Legend of Fae for the first time yesterday. It’s one of the games I wanted to try for my 20 games off my backlist. It’s an indie puzzle game I don’t remember buying. I’ve had it for so long I forgot. It was time to give it a go.

It’s a match three game, but you can only switch elements horizontally. Something that frustrated me quite a bit. There’s a bit of a story I skipped through. My wrists and right hand is still recovering so I was looking for a game that didn’t require a lot of clicking. This was not the game.

I’m not sure yet if I want to continue playing it or not. Maybe I’ll give it another go when my hand feels better and I can click without worrying about getting injured again.

There were two other games I tried, but I disliked them so much I stopped after playing for 15 minutes. I hid them on my Steam so I have no idea what they were. Maybe some day my Steam library will be filled with games that do spark joy.

It’s okay to DNF (Do Not Finish) a game, just like it’s okay to DNF a book. That’s also something I have to learn. I don’t have to like or play every game.

Blaugust 2019

Here’s a general reminder that August, and thus Blaugust is coming up. Belghast has already put up this years announcement so check it out and sign up!

Diablo 3: Quest For The Galactic Wings

You might know that Diablo 3 has Seasons every few months. You start out with a new character with no unlocks except cosmetics. I’ve played them since the beginning and only finished the official chapters a handful of times.

After finishing four chapters, you’ll have a full class set and a few cosmetic items. Beyond those four, you can choose to participate in even more difficult challenges to gain new stash tabs, other cosmetics, and starting this season, a beautiful set of galactic wings.

Yes, it’s all cosmetics. I don’t care if it’s only cosmetics, I still want it. This is the first time I’ll try to finish the other chapters as well. So far, I’ve managed to do Slayer, but no more. Not completely. It’s hard and I’m by no means a good player. Some of the challenges are pure grind and that’s okay. At least I know that I can finish those if I put enough time into it. Extracting 40 legendaries is a lot of work. Who knew.

I’m still struggling with my set dungeon mastery. I play a monk this season and have the wukong set. The guide I used said it was one of the easiest set dungeons to master. I still failed after twenty attempts. Maybe I’m just not ready. Or I don’t have the right gear. I don’t know, but I’m doing something wrong. 

If you have any tips, guides or videos to help me overcome my incompetence, do link me. I’ll do just about anything to get those wings :D

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Short update on books and games

I’ve read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and watched the movie. I like the book better because there are nuances there that you don’t see in the film, which is a shame. I gave the book five stars, but would give the movie three. Read my full review of the book on Narratess

My first book, Tales of Lunis Aquaria, came out nearly a month ago and I just received my first payment. So I finally made money with my fiction writing. I’ve done a gig for non-fiction before, so it’s not the first time I’m making money writing. It’s still an achievement though. I’ve sold 30 books and earned over 50 bucks in total.

A few weeks ago, I planted some seeds and they already came up. I have no idea what kind of flowers will bloom since it was a wild flower mix. My parents brought fresh herbs to plant and I’ve already used up most of it. Now we wait until it grows again. It’s nice to have fresh herbs for once. Maybe one day I’ll be reasonably good at gardening.

I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 more frequently than before and focusing on the thing I like best, the story. There were still episodes from the Living World I hadn’t done yet, so I’m working through those. I’m currently at the penultimate episode and will do the finale episode immediately after.

Besides Guild Wars 2, Stardew Valley has been on my radar again. I actually bought a second copy, one for the Switch. I’ve been playing that single player, while keeping my save file on my pc for the multiplayer game with my husband.

If I do need my relaxation SP fix, I’ll jump into Graveyard Keeper. It feels like a harvest moon game, but it’s pretty dark. It definitely deserves a content warning since it has cannibalism. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue playing it after I found out, but the game itself is pretty cute. Just don’t think too much about it. Maybe the ending will explain it.

The Scarred King by Rose Foreman & Josh Foreman – Spotlight

Today I want to do something different. Instead of talking about me and what’s been going on in my life, I want to give the spotlight to someone else. Josh Foreman. If you’re part of the Guild Wars 2 community, you’ll probably know this name and have experienced his work in-game.

His latest adventure is the release of his first book, co-written with Rose Foreman, his mother. The Scarred King: Exile is book one of three and part of the larger Tales of Talifar series. The story follows Bowmark on his journey to claim the throne.

He’s creating a new world, Talifar, through his stories. His experience as a game designer is definitely helpful and seeing work on the map was inspiring. (I still have to make a map of Lunis Aquaria.) He has information on new races and the areas on his site, and I suspect more will be added soon. Read his conceptual ideas to find out more.

On one of his recent streams, he mentioned that there are eleven books in the making for the overall series and I suspect more are coming. This is just the beginning. Josh has big ideas, which includes a game among others.

If you like fantasy adventure stories, check out The Scarred King and follow Josh on Twitter and Amazon. You can buy the ebook and the paperback on Amazon now.

Tokyo Trip: Making a List

Even though a trip to Japan has been my wish for years, the list of places I wanted to visit in Tokyo was small. Most of those places are related to pop culture and not so much the traditional side of Japan.

Pokemon

If you’re here, you probably know I’m a gamer. I’ve been a Pokemon fan for as long as it’s been available in the West, so the Pokemon Center is high on my list. Tokyo now also has a Pokemon Cafe, which is also on my list. We’ll have to make a reservation in advance if we want to go there, but it’s probably worth it (the experience, not the food).

Tokyo Tower

Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash

Tokyo tower is a well known landmark that’s often seen in anime and dorama. I do want to see it, but I have no desire to go inside. I have a fear of heights and I have no idea how that’ll show itself when we reach the observatory deck.

There’s also the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku with free access to their observatory deck. I’d rather go there, in a building with enough support.

Budokan and Tokyo Dome

Both places are pretty famous. Budokan is an event location where lots of sumo tournaments are held, but it’s also the place to be if you’re in a band. That’s the stage to aim for.

Tokyo Dome is home to Tokyo’s baseball team, Yomiuri Giants, but the whole area is made to entertain. I’ve seen various concerts filmed from Tokyo Dome and it would be nice to see how big it really is. The Tokyo Dome area has attractions, a shopping mall and food court around it which makes a good area to go on a date.

I doubt we’ll go inside these places, but that’s okay.

Sensoji Shrine

Sensoji shrine is probably one of the most recognisable shrines in Japan. The bright red kaminari is one of the most photographed sites of the shrine and most people know where it is.

It’s a tourist trap. The shops lined up from the gate towards the shrine will probably be more expensive than when you buy the same things somewhere else. And since it’s popular with both foreign tourist, local tourists also like to visit the shrine.

Come early to avoid the huge crowds. And don’t forget to check out the smaller shrines in the area.

The list with all the places that we’re going to visit it much longer of course, but these came to mind when I first started thinking about what I wanted to see.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: 2 Puzzlers and a Season

One of my goals was to complete a season in Diablo 3 and I already completed that goal, but this time I completely crushed it. Thanks to my friend Welshtroll who was kind enough to let me run along with him. I finished season 16 yesterday, only a month after it started and with only a few play sessions.

I had just reached level 70 and paragon level 12 when I joined Welshtroll’s game for two or three rift runs. They’re the easiest way to level and maybe find some loot. I gained about fifty paragon level, enough to help me with the last quests. The four chapters are done and I have my butterfly wings. I even managed to do some content that I’d never done before.

Wayward Manor

Wayward Manor, a game by Neil Gaiman, is a game I kickstarted a long time ago, but never played. I’m glad I did. It’s such a cute game. The story is a creepy one, but the art and animation make it more of a comedy horror than creepy horror.

You’re a ghost and it’s your job to haunt the house and open the chest. Scare the family members by using objects in the room. Spike drinks, ruin dresses, haunt armor, and explode barrels by setting them on fire.

Each level has a specific order of things to succeed a scare. Some scares will net you an achievement, but that’s all there is. As far as I know they don’t do anything but look pretty. I didn’t go for 100% so I don’t know what getting all of the achievements will do.

Midnight Mysteries: The Salem Witch Trials

Sometimes you need a break and do something entirely different. Midnight Mysteries is my kind of different. I usually play RPGs, simulation or action games, so doing a point and click puzzle game that’s heavy on atmosphere, history and logic is a real change.

I enjoyed point and click puzzle games when I was a kid although the classics might have been too hard for a kid to finish. The Secrets of Monkey Island was a game I could never beat and I felt motion sick while playing Myst. The movement between the scenes was too much for my brain to handle. I’d like to think I almost finished it, but I’ll never know.

The copy of Monkey Island is still gathering dust in my Steam Library, but now my friend Michael is doing a let’s play of the third game and I’d rather watch that than play myself.

Midnight Mysteries is a mix of point and click puzzles and hidden object gameplay, all of it tied together in a story that mixes history and fiction. I finished it last week while my head was all over the place. But doing those little puzzles and asking me to focus my attention on one task helped me to organize my head a little.

While I didn’t plan to finish this one, I was happy to have finished it. It’s one game less in my backlog. I also quickly played two other games that I crossed off my list. I didn’t play them for long, but know that I won’t play more of them.

I also finished the first of the books recommended by you guys. The review for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society will appear on Narratess very soon.


Tokyo Trip: Typical Tourist Things I Won’t Do

When you tell people you go to a certain place, they’ll often respond with amazing experiences they’ve had or things they’ve heard from others. It’ll be often in the form of an inquiry (Will you go do X or Y?) or recommendation (You HAVE to do x, seriously). I don’t respond well to the later form. I can be quite stubborn, thanks to my father, so when someone tells me to do something, I’ll often disregard whatever they say.

I like to find things out on my own. Everyone prefers different things and I’m lucky that my husband likes most of the same things in regards of vacation activities. But for our Tokyo trip, I know we’ll be doing some things that aren’t high on his priority listen. He’s willing to compromise for me.

Going to a ryokan


Going to a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, is an experience that’s truly unique to Japan. The standards for the guest service is exceptional and most ryokans have food to die for.

But they include seafood. Ryokan are traditional and the food reflects that. They often include traditional dishes to complement the rice and miso soup. The traditional Japanese diet doesn’t include meat, fish only, because of the Buddhist principles of earlier emperors.

Most ryokan also have a public onsen, hot water baths. The baths are now separated by gender, but the nudity is still enforced. If you’re not comfortable being naked in the presence of others, this won’t be a good experience. You’ll only get a tiny to cover yourself as you walk towards the bath, but the towel cannot touch the bath water.

I’m very self conscious and I don’t need a bathing house full of Japanese women to confirm that my body is indeed different from theirs. I could solve it by booking a room with a private onsen and do my own ritual, but that’s even more expensive. Not really an option.

Eating sushi

We both don’t like fish or seafood. Making us go to a sushi bare is torture. In relation to that, we won’t be going to the newly renovated Tsukiji market either.

Visiting the Robot Restaurant

This is also one that nearly all guide books mention and one I’ll happily pass on. We’re on a budget and going to an overpriced restaurant for below average food and weird entertainment is not on our list of things to do.

The Robot restaurant allows you to film and through the wonders of the internet, you can see the performances without going there. There are different performances so I don’t know if the one you’ll see online is the same as they have there. The performance I saw was a psychedelic experience that reminded me of the Power Rangers. People in elaborate costumes fight using robots as vehicles. I have no idea what the story was about despite it being in English.

It’s filled with lots of colours, lights and smoke. It’s definitely an experience, but not one that I can’t do without. To compare, the robot restaurant experience will cost you 8000 yen without meal. A one day ticket to Tokyo Disney is 7400 yen. Which one would you pick?

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Eternal Senia – Hydrangea After The Rain –

I’ve been playing mobile games a lot since I have Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Eternal Senia – Hydrangea After The Rain – is one my most recent games and one I actually finished the story of. It’s the sequel to Eternal Senia (free), which is available on Steam, but I found out about that when I was doing research for this post.

Mobile game

Hydrangea After The Rain is a mobile game, which is an odd choice if the original is a PC game. It’s a clicker or tapping game where you have to tap the screen constantly to execute an attack. Activate skills by pressing the buttons after the CD is gone and you filled up the skill point gauge. There’s no way to automate the attacking, although there is a buff that allows you to keep attacking by keeping your finger on the screen. Of course, this requires real money.

Party members

You can bring one party member with you that will attack the enemy at certain intervals. You’re given a nekomochi to help you out after you start, which is a two-star party member. After a few chapters, you’ll gain your first five-star party member.

You can draw more party members from the gacha with gems that you can earn from watching ads, paying real money or taking part in trials. I haven’t spend any money on this game since it’s easy to get gems if you’re patient enough. Every two new party members, you’ll be given enough gems to do another draw as well. And if you have all the elements at four-stars or higher, you’ll have more than enough firepower to kill your enemies.

Upgrades

Leveling and upgrading your weapons are done with the same currency. These are the blue gems that you get from killing enemies, not the purple ones that you need to buy party members. Choose wisely if you want to upgrade your weapons or if you want to invest in better stats for Senia.  I hardly spend currency in upgrading low-level weapons with no skills. It was the four-star weapons that I upgraded heavily. The elemental benefits and the huge increase is definitely worth getting in the later levels.

Expect to have your character above level 60 before you finish the story.

End Game

After you’re done with the story, you can still fight on and do hard mode for earlier chapters. There are also the platinum trials which allow you to score beat other players. At level 60 you can try to earn fairy weapons which are stronger as well. I think there’s enough to do if you like the gameplay. New content has been promised at the end of the credits as well.

I stopped playing the game even though I enjoyed it. I didn’t like it enough to go for the grind to gain a spot on the leaderboard that I don’t care about. I might install it again when the new content is there.

All in all, it’s a cute game, it’s free and there’s absolutely no reason for you to buy the buffs. It is a free game so if you want to support the developer (an indie game dev), buying a buff will help them out.

Check it out if you want a game you can play for a few minutes at the time without feeling like you missed out on anything. There are no log in rewards or events which demand time. And that’s what I like most about Eternal Senia. It’s as casual or hardcore as you want it to be.

Anno 1800 Closed Beta Thoughts

My friend John asked if I wanted to have an invite to the Anno 1800 closed beta. Of course I accepted. I’ve only played Anno 1404 and Anno 2070 before for a few hours so I was curious if this one would hold my attention longer.

I’m by no means an advanced or expert player. I try to be efficient but I have no idea what routes people take and what the influence of a building does for the surrounding buildings. I’m still in a stage that I’m figuring things out, but I’m not a complete beginner.

I didn’t play multiplayer even though it was available for this weekend and I think I might enjoy it more playing it together with someone. We can share information and trade resources we don’t have on our islands.

One of my factories blew up a few times and it set the surrounding buildings on fire. I highly recommend building a fire station nearby so they can keep those fires in check. The chance of injuries and fires increases if you up the working pressure. I haven’t tried letting my inhabitants work under inhuman conditions

Playing Anno 1800 gave me the same feeling as when I play Civilization. I didn’t think about the time that I played, I just wanted to keep improving my cities, set up trade routes and build the necessary resources.

I liked what I played so far, but I doubt I’ll buy the game full price. The limited gaming time that I have should go to games I already have and enjoy. Maybe, when I’m absolutely sure and have someone to play with, I’ll get it. But for now, I’m holding off.

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Guild Wars 2 Fiction

Miira Lightbringer:
Fried Moa Steak
Quiet Before the Storm

Young Miira:
Tail Tugging Part 1
A Promise Made Part 2
Night Falls Part 3
Grawling Preparations Part 4
Badazar Incarnated Part 5
Graduation Part 6 - Final

Savyrius Belain:
We Meet Again...

Naella Ysangwan:
Dogs and Ogres

The Scarred King by Rose Foreman & Josh Foreman

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