Author Archives: Endalia

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Inspiring TED Talk About Book Covers

Chip Kidd is hilarious. I watched his TED Talk on book covers, because book covers are, well, part of my job. I review books and write my own. The book cover is the first thing people will see when they grab your book from the shelf, but it’s also the thing that can catch the attention of a digital browser. I don’t think enough people realize how important it is and that self published authors don’t invest enough in. Chip Kidd explains how he designs covers and how he translates a story to art. I love his play with slip-on covers on the hardcovers. It made me look at cover design a little differently.

I’m a spoiled MMO gamer…

…and Guild Wars 2 is the reason why.

Over the years I’ve played and tried many different MMORPGs. When I saw a list and pointed out each one I tried to my husband, he was stunned. Most of them never stuck though. Except Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.

I liked Guild Wars because I was able to do most of it alone. The city hubs were the places where players gathered, but all the zones were instanced. I could play with my own party of heroes without being afraid of some numbhead running through my mob of event creatures, killing them all, or just plain messing everything up for me to succeed my quest. I liked that I could play an MMO game on my own.

Guild Wars 2 was something else entirely. It was the first MMORPG where I didn’t have to worry that I needed to do at least 70% of the damage to a creature before the kill counted as mine. That’s probably one of the few reasons I don’t mind other players that much. I can do whatever I want without being limited or feeling cheated by other players (unless you trade or use the action house).

That’s just one of the many mechanics of why Guild Wars 2 spoiled me as an MMORPG player.

Shared Loot – Never again

There is one thing that I really don’t want in an MMO ever again and that’s shared loot. I want my own bag of shinies without having to compete for that rare item that I desperately need for a quest or gear.

I don’t know if Guild Wars 2 was the first, but I know it’s no longer the only one, and I’m glad.

Tagging monsters

What’s worse than having your kill taken away as a low level by that max level player that just waltzed through?

Guild Wars 2 lowered the percentage of damage needed to gain the experience of the kill and loot. Although I do think that your loot has better drop odds when you do more damage, the experience is for low levels more important.

People are more considered of others as well in the dynamic events. High level/high damage players only spam their primary skill so others have a chance to tag the event mob as well.

This is one of the things that I’m sure promote cooperative play instead of competitive play. There are different game modes for that.

Better Quests

Guild Wars 2 uses hearts instead of traditional quests. They are still quests, but they become active when you enter a certain area. You don’t have to go look for that one NPC. If you do want to talk to them, the heart on the mini map is an indicator where to find them. Upon completing the heart, the NPC turns into a vendor and sells items related to the heart. These hearts also count towards world completion.

I like the idea of hearts. I’ve done the world completion for Central Tyria (the core game) two times now and I’m working on a third. By doing the hearts, you’ll get a better sense of the world and what’s going on. Most hearts also have different ways to resolve them and many have dynamic events which can speed up the process of completion.

In other MMOs, I just find the NPC with a question mark above their head, see how many slimes I have to kill and where I can find them. I rarely bother to read why they need the slime goo or why the slimes are even there. Often these things aren’t even explained that well.

Quest difficulty

I’m a casual player. I don’t need to be the best, have the highest rated gear nor do I need to know that specific combo that makes me unbeatable. I like to stroll around, kill the mobs that get in my way, salvage my loot and move on.

I haven’t tried to do raids and I doubt I ever will. That’s why I’m glad that everything in the zones is doable for players like me.

The one exception to this might be the jumping puzzles. There are a few that are notoriously difficult and I suck at them. Especially the ones that require timing.

I’m glad there are players willing to portal others to the end of the puzzle and I always drop a donation when I make use of their portals. That’s the polite thing to do.

I don’t know there will be another MMO that will change me as a player as much as the Guild Wars franchise did. I’m hoping that one will come a long soon, and Riot teased me with that question if they should make an MMORPG (HELL YES!), but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Guild Wars 2 – Inventory Full

The nightmare of every RPG player, seeing the text “Inventory Full” appear on screen when you just killed a monster, loot is scattered and there’s a rare or unique item laying around. This happens to me quite often, especially in Guild Wars 2. My main’s inventory is filled with event and quest items. Things that I still have to turn in, but I don’t find the time. Every time I log in there’s a new event with tokens or new buff items (which I also rarely use). During a dungeon run or fractal I need to clear my inventory a few times, salvage all the rare items and of lower rarity.

Now, you have to know that I have about a dozen alts on who I can store everything, but they’re also full. My bank? Also full. I have too much crap laying around and I save everything ‘just in case I need it’. I have so many transformation potions which I don’t use. Tons of the best salvage kits which I don’t use since I have Salvage-O-Matic for my daily needs. Why do I save everything? Why do I not finish my quests?

I’ve taken a break from Guild Wars 2 since the beginning of the year and only recently started playing again, but I made one big change. I’ll leave the new stuff on the side while I focus on the old stuff. Finish a legendary, get my crafting to level 500, do some achievements for the old maps. Maybe finally do world completion for the Heart of Thorns areas. Who knows. I have mounts now so I know I’ll experience everything differently. Maybe I should try to get my griffon mount first. Since that will make things even easier. I can just fly to the top of canopy. I want to try to clear my inventory, even if it’s for a bit. I want to use my buff items. By the time it’s Halloween, I’ll have enough inventory space to farm the labyrinth again.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Books To Read And Read

Since I’ve started reviewing books on Narratess, I’ve been reading much more. This year so far I’ve read 27 books and I hope to finish at least 40. My Goodreads Reading Challenge says I’m ahead of schedule, which is good. So I know that I’ll can complete my goal of reading 100 books with the 43 I already have as of this writing. Probably not this year, but I’ll get there next year or early 2020.

I’ve read 5 non-fiction books since I started, so I don’t think my goal of reading 20 non-fiction books will be a problem either. I still have a biography to read (my pick was Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance) and I still have a few books on writing that I need to finish (Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer among them). If you know a great non-fiction book which isn’t political, war-related, but preferably creativity, inspiration or business related, please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for more great books.

I still have It by Stephen King down as my horror book to read and the one for “Read book, then watch the movie”, since I can both quickly. But there are so many book based movies I might pick another one to read first, watch later. I still have The Circle by Dave Eggers and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett which is nearly done as well.

Here are the last 20 books I read. I don’t know which books I’ll be reading the rest of the year, but Warcross by Marie Lu is one of them. I’m really excited about reading another book which features gaming.

The 20 books I read recently

Bright Ruin
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dystopia, fantasy, and young-adult

The Things We Said in Venice
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dutch, contemporary, and romance

Sworn to Conflict
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and young-adult

The Book of Peril
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and romance

The Reckoning
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

And That's When It Fell Off in My Hand
liked it
tagged:
young-adult, romance, and contemporary

The Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, young-adult, and paranormal

Sworn to Raise
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and romance

Nib + Ink: The New Art of Modern Calligraphy
really liked it
tagged:
language and non-fiction

The Summoning
liked it
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

The Underwater Ballroom Society
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy, historical, and science-fiction

School for Psychics
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and paranormal

Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Dark Magick
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Blood Witch
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, romance, and young-adult

The Coven
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Book of Shadows
really liked it
tagged:
young-adult, paranormal, romance, and fantasy

The Gatekeeper's Sons
it was ok
tagged:
contemporary, favorites, romance, and young-adult




goodreads.com

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Games I Played

One of my 101 Goals is to play 20 games that I never played before. Well, I downloaded a bunch of games from my Steam library to start out. Of the 20 games I picked, I played 4 so far: Renowned Explorers: International Society, Kami, Epistory, and Sunless Sea. They are all very different games, but no triple A.

Official Screenshot

Renowned Explorers: International Society

Renowned Explorers: International Society is made by the same developers as Reus, Abbey Games. They’re a Dutch team and I enjoyed both games by them. Renowned Explorers is more complex than Reus, with sixteen different characters that can make up for your team of three. Each playthrough is different with the choices that you have. The mechanics are borrowed from different genres and I particularly like the combat, even when I suck at it. You can choose to end and encounter in a positive way, by becoming friends with your enemies, or ridiculing them, or just plain killing. You can earn bonus points for resolving an encounter in a specific manner. So far I’ve only completed one round without dying, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be good at a game to enjoy it. Even knowing that I’ll probably fail my next round, I still go in. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

Official Screenshot

Kami

Kami is a puzzle game that reminds me of origami with coloured paper. You have to change the colours so it ends up in just one colour. It’s a nice puzzle game to play in between things to relax and focus your mind. I’ve reached the harder puzzles now and it’s taken me a few times before I managed to succeed. I’ll try to finish all of them before the 1001 days are over.

Official Screenshot

Epistory – Typing Chronicles

I loved Epistory from the moment I saw the art, way before the release. I actually still use one of the artworks as a wallpaper. It looks stunning and the narration is great as well. Think Bastion, but with a different voice. You kill the enemies by typing words. If your average words per minute is on the high side, this game will be easy for you. For the others it’ll be a challenge, but not one that’s impossible. I love the game’s atmosphere, the art, the story. It’s adorable. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a unique indie game experience. I’m definitely going to finish this.

Official Screenshot

Sunless Sea

Years ago I played the browser game Fallen London. A card based game set in the dark shadow side of London. The Victorian world with gothic flair is incredibly immersive. I think the whole game has over 500.000 words now. Sunless Sea is also made by Failbetter Games and set in the same universe, maybe now slightly more Lovecraftian. It’s a dark, rogue like game, where you’re an explorer of the Sunless Sea. Complete quests, find out everyone’s secrets, make money by smuggling wears, and kill great sea creatures.

There are still a few more games that I tried which I didn’t play using Steam, but I’ll talk about those later.

Reintroducing 101 Goals, 1001 Days

It’s almost a year ago that I made the decision to do the 101 Goals, 1001 Days. It’s pretty much what it says: finish 101 goals in 1001 days. Why that many in that long a period? Because that allows you to take on longer projects. Adding smaller goals are boosts to keep you motivated. Some can even be rewards. One of my goals was to go to the Efteling, a popular theme park in the Netherlands. No one says goals can’t be fun.

I made a list of all my goals, but there are still a few that need updating. I’ll be posting about how I’m progressing the coming month. For one of the goals I need your help, but I’ll blog about that soon. I hope you can help me out. I think you’ll get to know me a little better from reading the 101 Goals, 1001 Days. There are already a few online, so don’t hesitate to check those out if you’re new here.

I’ll talk about game related topics as well. I’ve been playing Stardew Valley Multiplayer, Dragon Age Inquisition, Bayonetta 2, Journey, and a few smaller games.

Let’s make this Blaugust Reborn a great revival!

Participating in Blaugust

Years ago I took part in the Newbie Blogger Initiative where I made many blogging friends. This year I’m taking part in an event that sprang from the community event so long ago. Belghast, our gracious host for the coming month, combined Blaugust (an event to motivate bloggers to post every day) and the NBI in one: Blaugust Reborn. Mentors advise (newbie) bloggers about keeping your own blog, coming up with ideas and staying motivated. It’s a great way to expand your readership, meet other bloggers in a wide variety of topics and work on your blogging skills. I loved the community then and many are still present today. I can’t wait to read and get to know the new bloggers.

I signed up as a participant, since I’d feel wrong to be a mentor even though I’ve been blogging for years. Princess in a Castle hasn’t been active for the past years since I’ve been working on other projects, but that’s going to change. On my other site (Narratess) a post goes up every Friday, but blogging every day is something I haven’t done for a while. I want to blog more and getting back into that rhythm of writing a lot of posts is a great way to get started.

The topics for next month will be mostly focused on the 101 goals since I haven’t updated those since the beginning of the year and I have made progress. There are more inspiring TED Talks that I want to share and played more games. I’ll definitely write about those. I might talk about the interesting things I watched on Netflix. My brainstorm is nearly done, but some topics might be exchanged for topics the Blaugust community will tackle.

I hope to see you next month!

101 Goals, 1001 Days: To Read List 2018

Every year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’ve kept it on 30 for the past years and this year I’ll raise it. I have more time and I do want to read (and review) more books. Let’s go for 40. It’s only ten books more and I’ve finished a few books in less than two days, so it’s definitely doable. It depends on how well the books are written though.

There are still a few books on my to-read list from last year. We moved halfway through the year and I still haven’t unpacked all of my books. Some of those are still in boxes and I have no idea in which box they are. I know there are new books in series I read last year or which I’ll read this year. If I get my hands on those, I’ll definitely add them to my to-read list.

 

Here’s a partial list of what I’ll be reading next year:

Non-fiction

Bird By Bird – Anne Lamott

Wonderbook – Jeff Vandermeer

Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance

Mythos – Stephen Fry

 

Fiction

Sorcerer And The Crown – Zen Cho

The House of Shattered Wings – Aliette de Bodard

Lud-in-the-mist – Hope Mirrlees

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Grimoire Saga (#1-#4) – S. M. Boyce

The Historian –

The Circle – Dave Eggers

Digital Fortress – Dan Brown

The Next Queen of Heaven – George Maguire

The Skull Throne – Peter V. Brett

The Book Of Dust – Philip Pullman

Voyage Of The Basilisk – Marie Brennan

The Tropic of Serpents – Marie Brennan

In The Labyrinth of Drakes – Marie Brennan

The Martian Ambassador – Alan K. Baker

Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

The Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

The Book Of Life – Deborah Harkness

 

 

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Just a small update

No post dedicated to one thing, but to many.

I’m still blogging and writing in my journal every day.

I’ve almost finished Season 11 of Diablo 3. There’s more than enough time and I’ve hit level 70. I’m working on my paragon levels now so I can challenge the higher torment levels necessary to complete the last few achievements.

I’ve been playing a little more Renowned Explorers and Anno 1404. It’s not on my list since I own it on GOG, but both are fun. Even when I lose. Renowned Explorers is still kicking my butt in encounters. I know my strategic skills are on the bad side, but some encounters are just too hard for the level I’m on. I don’t have the skills or the equipment to finish them. I guess I’ll have to pick a better team.

After some more research I noticed that Totto-chan is actually an autobiography, so picking Elon Musk was the right choice. It arrived today together with The Book Thief and Creative Confidence. Both will be going on my list of to read for the next 2,5 years.

I made a creamy chicken spinach sauce to go with pasta from scratch. Another recipe I borrowed from Pinterest. I’ll take a photo from the leftovers in the next couple of days and share the recipe with you.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Play 20 games from my Steam library I never played before

I’ve made a list of twenty games that I want to play and I’ll aim to finish five of these:

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales
  • Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons
  • Child of Light
  • Epistory
  • Grimm
  • Hero Academy (unsure)
  • KAMI
  • Legend of Fae
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst
  • Papo & Yo
  • planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~
  • Rayman Origins
  • Renowned Explorers: International Society
  • Samorost 2
  • Secrets of Raetikon
  • Spirits
  • Sunless Sea
  • Wayward Manor
  • The Wolf Among Us

I’ve stayed away from games that I’ll know will take up 60+ hours to finish. I’m looking at you, Baldur’s Gate. I’ll get to you some day. I also looked at games with 0 hours on the clock. I think I’ll set the minimum of 3 hours to cross the game off my list as having played it. I know I’ll play some games way longer, and with others I’ll be struggling to get those three hours. I have no idea how long each game is. I also know that some of them don’t have a ‘finished’ state. Games like Sunless Sea are meant to be played over and over. Hopefully this is a mix of interesting games that will give me the entertainment I need in all kinds of moods.

I’ve already given Renowned Explorers a try tonight and so far I liked it. I failed to finish one set of missions, but I’ll have another go soon. The mechanics are interesting and I like the setting. I tried to describe it to my husband and then it reminded me of the mechanics of Darkest Dungeon.

 

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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

Play with me!

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Diablo 3 Battle Tag: Endalia#1709
Guild Wars 2 Identifier: Endalia.8109

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