New Year’s resolutions and Positivity

For the last five years, I’ve made it somewhat of a tradition to think up New Year’s resolutions and while, at least around here, everyone says that nobody actually abides by their New Year’s resolutions… I usually faired quite well.

Before that, though: Content warning – There are pictures of cats in this post and if you’re scared of cats, beware! You’ve been warned!

As an example, I always managed to do “a little bit more sports” or go for a walk more often or eat healthier, etc. for the past couple of years. I knew that it was actually quite possible that I’d be able to do that, so then I paid attention to how often I actually bought fresh veggies and fresh meat instead of frozen stuff or canned food. At the same time, I’ve been eating less fast food and tried to cook a lot more often, which always worked out. 

During high school, I ended up chugging “getting over my ex” and “getting out there again” on the list as well and it would work but I feel like that’s more of a luck-based thing. I was young and stupid so I made that one of my resolutions every year when I was single and heart-broken – and it worked, I guess. I’d always end up in a relationship afterwards because obviously life goes on and there is plenty of fish in the sea. 

But even if it’s some unbelievably stupid goal like “going to Olympia this year” even though it won’t happen this year, it can be somewhat of a reassurance thing for someone as it reassures them that the next year is better than the last year. 

Resolutions are a good thing in a way as they would always give me some goal to look forward to, even if it was silly or obvious or whatever. Now, everyone talks about how 2020 wasn’t the best year but I don’t really get that since 2019 wasn’t that good either… and well, 2018 was quite stupid, too. And 2017 and 2016 were not the best years either. (Wait a minute… Trump has been president during those four years, hasn’t he? I see a pattern!) – Obviously, there are reasons for 2020 being not the best year with Covid, Wildfires, Double-Hurricanes, Trump nearly winning, Floyd, Covidiots, and all the pressure that this whole pandemic-business has been putting on us this year. But in hindsight, every other year feels a bit better than this one when in fact, you probably were looking forward to 2020 because 2019 was finally over… at least my Twitter timeline was full of tweets like that.

Photo by Henda Watani on Pexels.com

Point is: I hope 2021 is going to be better than 2020 and I hope that my resolutions will give me some sort of red string to follow when I get lost in 2020. Alas, here are my personal resolutions for this year:

  • Be more positive.
  • Eat healthier and more frequently.
  • Try to stick to healthy sleep schedules and eating times.
  • Maybe do a bit more sports.
  • Focus more on my studies.
  • Call my distant relatives at least once a month. Like, at least some of them.
  • Call my parents at least twice a week.
  • Be less negative and less cynical.

So let me explain these goals to you. A couple of these goals are quite obvious like focusing more on my studies, eating healthier and more frequently, doing a bit more sports/training/work-out-stuff, calling my family on the phone… etc. – I mean, I’ve wanted to fix my sleep schedule for ages now but I haven’t been able to do that for a longer period of time as I’d every now and then end up eating too late or waking up super early and napping during the day and that kind of stuff. In the same manner, I’d often skip meals multiple times a day or just eat once every other day, resulting in me losing a lot of weight which isn’t that healthy (especially, as I can’t gain that much weight that well due to my metabolism). Alas, that’s a goal: Eat more food and make it good/healthy more often. 

As far as distant relatives go, a lot of them won’t do me any good if I talk to them too much or too often which is why I usually put it off a lot… but I need to talk to my grandparents or my uncles and aunts and great-uncles and whatever every once in a while, I guess. Obviously, if they aren’t that good for me for various reason, it’s important to not let them influence me too much. Talking to them at least once or twice in a month should be alright, though, just to keep in touch a bit. As far as my parents go, the relationship can be kind of shakey, especially when I haven’t called in a while. Alas, I need to call them at least once in a while so that they don’t get too worried and so that they don’t get upset about me not calling or whatever. I feel like a lot of people know that.

At last: Being more positive and less negative. “Duh.”

More often than not, I feel like I have to vent about stuff which makes it seem as if I was a relatively negative person. For instance, I do get upset about stuff like covidiots from time to time who endanger people even with the pandemic still being a thing. I could rant about racist cops, bigots in general, nazis, Trump, and all of those “baddies” in the world for hours… but I could also just not do that. I don’t want to be that person that only really talks about negative stuff and how many bad things there are in the world. I’d rather be someone who encourages positivity and who helps people when they need to vent or when they need someone positive instead of more negativity. I’d love it if other people didn’t have to go through as many anxiety or panic attacks as me and I’d love it if they could get more relief from seeing one of my posts or tweets once in a while. 

And obviously, I’m not gonna become one of those “chase your dream and escape the hamster wheel” guys or whatever… and I still have strong opinions on a lot of bigots… but I just wanna be less negative in general and maybe spread some more good vibes here and there. To do that, I could post more often about good things that happened to me in The Stray Sheep (if there are no posts in The Stray Sheep from now on then I guess 2021’s worse than 2020) or about some sort of accomplishment or whatever.

So I may rant or vent somewhere here and there or talk about how I’m drained or whatever but I don’t wanna be all about that… I want at least double the number of positive posts and good vibes to be spread by me! Or let’s triple or quadruple that number! Sounds good to me!

Apart from that, there are also other things that are entailed in being “more positive” like body positivity and working on how I see myself… and my mental health and being in a healthier mindset and headspace in general. Just like in all those other years, I want to be a better human and be there for others and get better at a plethora of things, so I feel like this might be a great step. Just being slightly less negative and a lot more positive. ^-^

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Oh, and less cynical for sure. My motto in life is “Das wird schon” which means something along the lines of “it’ll work out somehow”, which is rather optimistic. However, I’m a super pessimist. I’m constantly going at things in life with the worst expectations if any at all because then I can’t be disappointed. I know that I’ll never be happy with the election results or with how the weather is going to be, so I just constantly expect the AfD to have all of the votes, which would be super bad… and then they don’t have that many votes, so I’m happy about it… kinda… and the weather? Well, I’m sure it’s gonna rain all-day every day for the next 90 years. Because that’s not gonna happen, my expectations have not been met… which is good because I didn’t really have any realistic expectations in the first place. When it comes to gifts, I don’t expect any gifts… and then I get gifts and I’m happy about them. Being less pessmistic and less cynical in those instances could lead to a bit more quality in life. I will still have low expectations of movies, games and shows. I will still have no expectations of other things… and I’ll still be more than happy when my expectations aren’t met and when something better ends up happening… I just want to be less of an asshole.

Photo source over here at Pexels!

Being less of an asshole at times would be great as I can be quite sarcastic and cynical at times… and I don’t want that to happen. I want stuff to work out and hence, I want to be more patient with people and with myself. I don’t want to repeat so many of my past mistakes of constantly overthinking every single word that anyone said or any situation that has happened or could happen or whatever. At the same time, I don’t want to fall into that habbit again of forgiving toxic people again. Just recently I cut off someone who I knew for about eight years now. I don’t want to ramble too much about someone as egocentric and sexist and toxic as that guy, so I just won’t. Instead, I want to be better and focus my energy on the good things in the world and the great friends that I have and all the people I love and appreciate. I want to talk to more great people and be there for others. I want to play some games with people on my discord (btw, join if you wanna!) and play games with other bloggers and work on great blog posts or improve my stream and my blog. I want to be better than those people that bullshit others all the time. I want to be a good human being and live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to look back and regret anything. I’d rather have a great time before I die.

So, being positive and less of a cynic is gonna be great. Eating healthier and more often is gonna be great. Sleeping better and more frequently is gonna be great. Becoming a teacher eventually is gonna be great. Living a healthier life and taking care of my mental health is gonna be great. 2021 is gonna be great.

Just having those resolutions makes me already feel good about the new year. My goal of trying to be better and more positive is there and I’m working towards it and potentially it will come true or I’ll get as far as possible with it. It’s all a work in progress and I’m looking forward to that process of constantly working on things and reflecting on things I did or said or wanna do. I’m looking forward to eventually being someone that is happy with himself and that is able to lift others up as well. I’m looking forward to 2021.

Do you guys have any resolutions? What are your thoughts on them? Are they always the same or do you change them up? Do you make them come true or do they just stay in the Work In Progress phase until you write up new ones?

Let me know! And good luck with your resolutions if you have any. Happy New Year!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Looking forward to LoL Season 11

Another year, another season. League of Legend’s Preseason 11 has started quite a while ago, and with 2021 being around the corner, I thought I’d take the time to write a post on it.


Just like other seasons, there has been a major change in the Rift this time around to keep the game fresh and innovative: The Item Rework!

Alas, this season brought a whole new shop system and the introduction of Mythic items that basically are supposed to be super overpowered but you can only buy one Mythic item. On top of that, they have Mythic passives that add bonus stats to all other Legendary (aka completed) items, including boots! These new Mythic items, as well as a bunch of new other items, replace about a third of the old items that got removed. Meanwhile, the last third of the items have been reworks. Generally, I feel like a lot of the items are quite strong but not too strong. There are some items that still need to get touched but I’ll talk about that later.

Before we talk about my issues with the new season, I wanted to talk about what I’m looking forward to, my champ pool, builds I’ve enjoyed, and what I’m glad about.

As a Support player, I made it to Gold last season and this Pre-Season, so I want to reach that goal again in the next season and potentially even climb past it to Platinum+ if I’m good enough. Riot changed the ranked system in a way that is going to make climbing easier, so I’m happy about that. From now on, there is no promotional series (aka “win two out of three games” to be promoted) between the ranks of one division. Instead, you have to reach 100 LP to climb from, say, Gold IV to Gold III. Once you’re at 100 LP in Gold I, you need to win three out of five games to be able to get to Platinum IV, which is a great change! On top of that, being at 99 LP is less frustrating now as a win translates into, say, +16 LP in the next rank if you gain 17 LP after your win. This is a welcome change that I’ve been asking for, for quite a while now actually. There was nothing more frustrating in League than winning a game only to gain 1 LP and to then get inters, feeders and AFKs in your promotional series only to reach the next step in your climb.

I’ve been playing a bit of ADC this season and have been enjoying a plethora of champions in that role. Alas, I’m going to go with ADC for my second role and I’ll most likely play (in this order) Jhin, Caitlyn, Ashe, and Varus. Otherwise, I obviously would also manage to trade roles or potentially pick something else to fit my team’s needs. On Jhin, I’ve been enjoying the crit builds a lot with Krakenslayer/Galeforce into Rapidfire Cannon into Infinity Edge/Bloodthirster. With Krakenslayer your third shot basically deals as much damage as your fourth shot, which is a pretty big deal. Meanwhile, you’re super fast with Galeforce and also gain a dash to get out of some peculiar situations, which is quite fun. Most of the time, though, I play a lethality build with Eclipse into Collector on Jhin, running Dark Harvest, and basically one-shotting everyone. The Collector is incredibly broken as it basically executes enemy champions at 5% of their health, which sounds like nothing… but if a Champion had about 5000 HP, they’d get executed at 250 HP, which is surreal… and a lot of fun.

But my main role is obviously Support. I’m a sucker for mage supporters and enchanters and I used to play a lot of Nautilus and Braum in the past… but tank supporters feel incredibly weak. Unless you get super ahead, you can’t get tanky enough and you can’t really set up kills either. Tank items are constantly getting nerfed when it comes to their tankiness (the part that you need) when it’s actually the damage that should get nerfed (the part that a Tank/Tank Support doesn’t need). At the same time, Tank items are extremely overpriced and you end up in this weird spot where you need kills as a supporter to make the dream possible. I wanted to try out Tahm Kench again and some other champions that I used to main, like Taric, but I’ve put it off since everything else feels a lot stronger and better in my humble opinion.

And I don’t mind that. I don’t mind that tank supporters feel weak in a tank meta. I don’t mind not having to dodge a thousand hooks in the bot lane. I really don’t. Obviously, people still play tank supporters and statistics say that Leona, Thresh and other champs are really strong at the moment… but I just personally don’t like the feel of tanks, at the moment, and alas, I go for mages and enchanters instead.

This brings us to my current favourite mages to play in the Support lane: Xerath, Zyra, Vel’Koz, Brand, Neeko, and Morgana.

Xerath and Vel’Koz are incredible at poking down enemies from afar, setting up kills or securing them when your ADC isn’t close enough yet. Both of these champions scale well into the late game but don’t need many items to burst people down. Xerath has a lot of burst damage, a slow and a stun in his kit as well as a semi-global ult and a lot of sustain through his passive. I tend to go for Luden’s Tempest into Event Horizon on him, although Liandry’s into Demonic Embrace also can work quite well on him against tanky teams. Luden’s Tempest gives you some movement speed on every proc and adds a lot of burst-damage to your abilities when you hit enemies. Meanwhile, Event Horizon adds an increase in damage on abilities that hit enemies at more than 750 range or that immobilize them. Xerath’s Q is already 750 range long when tapped, as far as I know, so this is a great item on him as well. Vel’Koz has a knock-up on his E as well as plenty of tools in his kit to zone enemies, secure objectives and kills as well as a lot of true damage to melt enemies away, which is just lovely. I tend to go for the same items on him as on Xerath. On these two champions, I tend to run Comet, Manaflowband, Transcendence/Absolute Focus and Scorch… and then I go for Cosmic insight+Cookies in the second tree or I opt-in for Presence of Mind and Coup de Grace for some extra damage.

All the other supports I mentioned have also great poke and some degree of utility to them. Zyra is incredibly nice to pick when you have an Ezreal for your ADC. Ezreal scales well into the late game and usually buys Tear for his first item, so picking up lane-dominant supports like Zyra can help him scale away without problems or maybe even pick up an early kill or two to snowball. Zyra is also great against Melee comps that are fairly tanky, as you most likely will buy Liandry’s+Demonic Embrace into Morello. The double burn procs on all of your plants which makes you great for taking Baron Nashor or for team fights. Brand already has a DoT on his passive, so obviously, you want to capitalize on that by building double burn, hence resulting in a triple burn. Brand also has a Stun in his Q when applied on a burning target as well as percentage-health damage in his passive (and if I remember correctly, the other part of your passive with hitting three abilities on one target actually does true damage!). Hence, Brand doesn’t need many items to really shine and he’s also great to take objectives or to team fight with.

And well, Neeko,… is… interesting. She never has been weak but people don’t really play her as a Support anymore. I usually go Luden’s or Protobelt on her. You can also build Night Harvester on her or go for the double burn if you want to. There are a lot of different options for her and you can easily catch people off-guard with the clones, her damage, her utility and her epic ultimates in team fights, which makes her a great pocket-pick.

As you can see these are all mages… but sometimes you just have too much magic damage on your team already, so I have two picks for that case to balance out the damage more: Ashe and Senna.

On the one hand, Senna has been one of my favourite champions to play last season. She has great scaling, great poke and a heal (that scales with Attack Damage), as well as some decent CC on her W in form of a long-range AoE root. Her E ability lets you camouflage your teammates to get away or to engage on people in a better way while her ultimate does decent damage and even shields allies at a global range! My favourite build on her is Eclipse into the Collector. I usually run either Grasp of the Undying or Glacial Augment on her, based on what I play against. The items generally are the same as Jhin’s as you’re basically doing the same thing as him… but in a less artsy way.

Ashe, on the other hand, is a fantastic pocket pick of mine that I haven’t seen too many people play as a Support yet. Essentially you run comet to poke enemies down with your W and you stack up Focus on enemies to then burst them down with your Q. Your E provides vision for your team while your W makes it easier to hit the comet. On top of that, your ultimate is a great engage/disengage tool at a global range, although I suck at landing those. As for builds, I tend to go for Imperial Mandate into Manamune into Ravenous Hydra. This build is all about your W which does more damage thanks to Imperial Mandate and Muramana (the upgraded Manamune) and which basically also amplifies your allies’ damage by a considerable amount as well. All of the items in this build have a lot of ability haste, resulting in you basically being able to spam your W while not running out of mana. Muramana also applies on-hit damage to all of your attacks and spells. Ravenous Hydra heals you and also applies some AoE damage to your volley and auto-attacks. Overall, it’s a fun build to try out into some team comps or when your team is lacking in the physical damage or CC department.

Speaking of ability haste: Cooldown Reduction has been changed. Before the change 10% cooldown reduction would allow about 11% more casts and getting more cooldown reduction would result in even more casts of abilities, which was great. Getting 40% cooldown reduction was basically what you’d want most of the time as it scales exponentially. The new system, however, is all about ability haste which stacks linearly, just like most other stats in the game. There is no cap on how much Ability Haste you can have, meaning that it’s possible to even reach 50% or 60% CDR with the new system, although you’d have to opt-in for very specific items to do exactly that, resulting in potentially losing some power as you’re not going for more damage but more tasks. This new system is actually also quite cool as it means that getting less is better compared to before.

The last category of champions that I’m playing this season is about enchanters!
I mainly tried out Nami in the preseason as well as a few others and overall, everyone felt quite neat to play. Nami, Bard, Janna, Soraka, Lulu, Sona, Seraphine, and Rakan are great champions to pick up (and yes, I count Bard and Rakan as Enchanters) especially with all the new items. Before the item rework, you’d go the exact same items on every enchanter in every game for your first three: Ardent Censer, Athene’s Unholy Grail, and Redemption. There wasn’t much variety from game to game and while I miss Athene’s Unholy Grail a ton… I’m kind of happy about the new changes. Generally, I go for Imperial Mandate on Nami followed by Ardent Censer or Staff of Flowing Water.

Imperial Mandate causes immobilizing abilities to mark enemies and deal extra damage – and allies can proc the mark to deal even more damage on top of that. Nami’s Q, E and R work great with this item. Ardent Censer is still a great item but sometimes I have to opt-in for the Staff of Flowing Water as it’s basically made for Nami… I mean, what item would be more befitting of Nami who’s already wielding the Tidecaller’s Staff? The Staff of Flowing Water grants you and your allies Ability Power and Movement Speed whenever you affect them with your abilities. The bonus MS paired with your passive works great to rescue allies in bad positions while the ability power works quite well with a lot of champions… although it’s mostly for yourself. When I play with a Kog’Maw, Lucian, Varus, Senna, or Kai’Sa this is a great pick-up as it enables them, even more, to get away, kite better, get closer, or add damage to the abilities that scale with AP in their kit. Ardent Censer, however, gives you and your ally on-hit damage and attack speed, which is also great. It just depends on the champions.

Now, this is a great change for Enchanters: You basically have your Mythic Item, your Support Item, Boots, an Enchanter Item, and potentially another… but what do you do with your last slot? Generally, you’d get more pink wards but you can only place down one at most on the map and you can only carry two at the same time. Buying an additional item results in no more pink wards for your team, which sucks. Alas, you’ll get… hear me out… the best item that was introduced this season… the Vigilant Wardstone.

For a price of only 1100 gold, you get an item that grants you the ability to store three pink wards at the same time in your inventory. Once you placed down 20 Stealth Wards (#easy #supportlyfe), it transforms into the next level of the item which basically grants you some bonus stats… and then you can also invest another 1300 gold into it to get even more bonus stats. The end result is an item that stores pink wards (that you still have to buy) but it also grants you bonus movement speed and ability haste (GREAT for enchanters!) and… it also increases the cap for stealth and pink wards placed. You can now place down a maximum of four stealth wards and two pink wards (instead of three/one) with this item.

Vision = Power

On top of that, you also have other options that you can go for as far as items go… Zeke’s procs now whenever you CC enemies, so it’s a viable option to use on champions like Nami as it doesn’t require a short ult cooldown to work efficiently anymore. Meanwhile, Moonstone Renewer is a great item for times when you need to heal a lot instead of dealing a lot of damage. Instead of amplifying your damage with Imperial Mandate, you instead opt-in for amplifying your heals, which is great on Soraka, for instance. Also, you don’t have to buy a completed Morellonomicon to have Grievous Wounds as a Mage but can instead just build the Oblivion Orb for considerably less gold. And that’s lovely. On so many levels.

Now, earlier I talked about issues with items that I have and… well,… The Collector is just unhealthy for the game. Being able to execute people like that is a bullshit mechanic to have in a game as it makes champions like Jhin, Senna, Draven and even Veigar incredibly strong with little to no counterplay. Again, 5% of your maximum health is a huge amount of health still… If they tuned it down to 2.5% or maybe just 1%, it would be considerably less strong to the point where it was useless… Alas, I’d say that the item should receive a nerf to its stats and/or its price. Being able to build this as your second item every damn game on some champions and get away with just having two items is bullshit and super unhealthy. It not only makes it easier to get kills but also rewards you a bonus of 25 gold every time you take down an enemy, which eventually pays for your next item, making you even stronger. It’s a snowball item like the Sword of the Occult, which is unhealthy for the game.

At the same time, healing is too strong in the game even though it was supposed to go down. Tanks are also too strong. It’s not the problem that you can’t kill them easily… after all, that’s their purpose: They’re tanks!
The problem is that they’re dealing a ton of damage to enemies around them. Sunfire and some of the other Immolate-Mythic-Tank-Items are way too overtuned, in my opinion, with their damage increasing based on your other tank-stats such as your health. Being tanky is good but dealing scaling damage is not so good for the health of the game. Now, I haven’t played League in two weeks so maybe there’s been another patch. Alas, I’ll hold off on this rant for until I’m home again, this Sunday. I may write about this again in the new year.


I hope you enjoyed this looooooooooooooooooong post. I wouldn’t have thought that this would turn into a post that is nearly as long as my Moonlighter review… Oh well. Personally speaking, I really enjoy writing about topics like these here with my strategies or thoughts on a meta. As mentioned before, I don’t like being forced to play tanks or whatever in a season. I play what I enjoy and this season… I can do that. I can play enchanters and mages, poke and cc, I can do all kinds of things and still have fun with the game while climbing. I’m looking forward to Season 11. And I’m looking forward to potentially writing about these topics as well throughout the season.

How about you? What champions are you going to play? What are your thoughts on any of these changes and my pool? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

EXP Share Prompt #2 – Stories of the past

So, just earlier today I read GamingOmnivore’s post on Sharing a pastime where GO shares three stories from different stages in their life that coined their gaming experience. Alas, I wanted to do the same as I really like the prompt. DanamesX from Tales From The Backlog actually prompted this in an event they organised called Exp Share. Alas, check out their post(s) for this prompt as well, if you haven’t yet. They also linked to other bloggers that took part in the prompt(s).

I wanted to this in a similar way of GO and share different anecdotes on it.


Alas, the prompt is:

Share a story where you shared the gift of gaming OR someone shared it with you

No. 1:

When I was two or three years old, my father brought me to a store and saw that I took quite the interest in the N64 that was being sold their. According to my father, my eyes were sparkling, so he bought it for about 350 DMark which would translate to 175€ nowadays, I guess. Back then I was still an only child and when my friends at the time didn’t have time to play with me, I’d end up playing Super Mario 64, Pokémon Puzzle League or Mario Party on the N64. Memories are somewhat blurry but I mostly played Pokémon and SM64 back then. Puzzle League was my first encounter of puzzle-games of any kind, especially as this one was a competitive one, which was fairly interesting, especially due to the challenge of it. Super Mario 64, on the other hand, was probably my first-ever encounter with 3D games and platforming. I loved jumping around in that world and exploring different areas. I loved the area where you become smaller and bigger and where the world changes in prospect. Another area I loved was the sandy area with the hidden pyramid secret as well as the flooded city. Two areas that I absolutely hated where the under-water level encountered on the far right of the first hallway and the Ghost area. The Ghost area featured a piano that would move and attack you, which was terrifying for little me (and honestly still is)… Meanwhile, the under-water-level featured a giant eel that would come out of a wall and it would terrify me so much that I wouldn’t want to go swimming out of fear that something like that pops up. That could also be the reason why I only learned to swim when I was much, much older… A friend of mine also had an N64 so we’d often exchange cartridges so that we could play each other’s games. I didn’t like Banjo Kazooie at all but I loved Ocarina of Time. I did play Pokémon Colosseum at a neighbour’s place much much later… and I loved it.

No. 2:

In 2008, we got our first-ever PC. It enabled us to talk to our grandparents from afar without the abysmal telephone bills and we were able to see them as well via MSN. It was incredible! I never knew that the internet existed before that. On our PC, we used to play some flash games every now and then… but I think I had the most fun with Sonic Adventure DX Director’s Cut, a game where you experience the same story through the eyes of different characters in the Sonic universe. Each character had different abilities. Tails would be able to fly and would brag how he saved the day while Sonic would zoom around and while Knuckles would do his own thing, trying to find Chaos Emerald Shards. Meanwhile, Amy is chasing after Sonic and being hunted by some sort of robot and Big The Cat is trying to fish for Froggy, his friend, who ran away at one point. There was a fishing game mode, different races, and different stories, on top of having the Chao Garden where you take care of little creatures and sent them to races and stuff. Another game we received from a friend of my father was Beyond Good And Evil, which is probably the first-ever game that I did a 100% playthrough of. The Plot Twist in that game was amazing, at the time, although it probably isn’t nowadays when I think about other games with great stories. The combat was cool and I really enjoyed it. I also owned Oblivion and some Tomb Raider game as well as other titles (all gifts from that friend of my father who got them through some subscription for a PC magazine and who didn’t need the games as he was only interested in the software) but I failed to get into any of those… Especially due to big fucking spiders in Oblivion…

No. 3:

When I got my first-ever laptop, I was finally able to play online games like League of Legends and play with friends of mine. While the former two stories were about Single-Player games (mostly), this story is about my first encounter of other people on the internet. I remember playing League of Legends for the first time about ten or eleven years ago and really loving the game, especially as friends of mine were playing it. Through the game, I got to know many great friends… and this one guy that I cut off ties with recently… I got to play with IRL-friends and make Online-friends from all over the world. I even was able to enjoy the competitive nature of games, although I didn’t understand anything that people would say in those games (they probably were flaming me). Back in the day, when the Blood Thirster would give you stacking AD and when you could play anything anywhere, I would only play Ashe and basically just split push and win. Later, I met a proper Ashe one-trick who explained that Shiv is a great item on Ashe. Eventually, I started playing Riven when she came out and was actually really good at her… until I discovered my love for the Support role and my love for Taric who was actually really good but who people thought of as “gay”, which apparently was a bad thing. I kind of liked the idea of playing that character, getting focused by others and still surviving as I was a tank, healing allies and stunning enemies. I maybe also liked the sparkly things about the champ as I discovered some “tendencies” that I had IRL that I obviously couldn’t show to anyone, because – again – in that time it wasn’t as bad as before but I would have been beaten up for it for sure by my class mates who already were bullying me… not to mention my family to this day isn’t allowed to find out about any of this… but online that was a different thing. Eventually, I got into my first-ever MMOs, mainly Warframe and Swordsman Online. Later, I’d play Indie titles like Isaac and Don’t Starve on Steam, which was great. And by the time that I stopped playing stuff like Team Fortress 2, I’d end up playing so many other titles, claiming free games wherever possible, resulting in me already amassing somewhat of a backlog… which was the beginning of me contemplating what to play next and so on.

No. 4:

A year ago, I joined Twitch for the very first time. I apparently created an account ages ago but never used it… Then I ended up watching streams a year ago, not too long after creating this blog, and I think I even wrote a few posts on streamers that I’m recommending like Jimb0, XilentFlex, Aeyvi, and others. Jimb0 sadly doesn’t stream anymore and timezones make it hard for me to keep up with Aeyvi’s streams but XilentFlex is actually still a big inspiration of mine to start streaming, myself, and alas, I still tune into his streams whenever I can. Through Twitch I got to make a lot of friends and found joy in watching others play a game that I personally love… for the first time. Playing a game like Outer Wilds for the first time is a great experience. You get to see so many things and you explore and make discoveries yourself and you just end up really enjoying it… but once you had that first playthrough, you essentially can still play the game but you won’t have that first-ever “Aha!” moment. It won’t be the same anymore. Meanwhile, on Twitch, I’m able to see people play games like Outer Wilds or other titles that I love for the first time. I’m able to actually see their first-ever steps into resolving that mystery and solving puzzles and so on. It’s lovely! At the same time, I got to make many great friends on Twitch while also building my own audience as well in my streams. And I love that!

No. 5:

This story will be the last story for this post as it’s already really long. It’s not about me really but rather about Ms Magi who I love and adore but who doesn’t really play any games. Ms Magi’s experience with gaming is limited to The Sims 4, some Daedalic Entertainment games (Deponia, Edna, Harvey’s, etc.), and (as of late) Among Us! As video games are a big part of my life, I guess, I wanted to introduce her into the medium, so I showed her a couple of games once, like Untitled Goose Game, Portal, Stardew Valley, and Slime Rancher. All of them are great games that are fairly beginner-friendly… She loved Untitled Goose Game as well as the latter two but as for Portal, she’d constantly get lost as she wasn’t used to the camera movement or the logic behind what the game wants her to figure out and how everything ties in together. Ms Magi is super smart but I guess to be able to play a game like Portal, you still need experience with puzzle games in general and the camera movement of 3D games. It was tricky for her but she liked the humour a lot and the concept of it. Ms Magi likes watching me play games and hearing me speak English, so she sometimes wants to see clips of my stream or watch a vod together, which I kind of find “eh” since I get embarrassed by my accent. I’m kind of always searching for games to play together and I may actually buy a second gamepad eventually so that we could play some titles in local-co-op eventually. I still need to find a solution for the audio as my PC doesn’t have speakers and as the Aux-input doesn’t work for whatever reason. At the same time, I only have one pair of headphones and the cable stuff is kind of making stuff hard to deal with. I’d love to share this part of my life with her more often and enjoy stuff together. We did play Bake n Switch together and she liked it… so I’m looking forward to showing her other stuff. Watching a stream on Twitch together has also been fairly enjoyable for her, especially as KingArgaroth is just a lovely bean. 

Thus, this last story is basically about me introducing other people into gaming… which can be trickier at times.


I hope you enjoyed this post. Check out GO’s post on it and DanamesX’ post on it if you haven’t already. 

And I hope you have a great time. Have a nice start into the new year!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – We Become What We Behold

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.”

Marshall McLuhan

Today, we’re taking a look at a game from itch.io called We Become What We Behold. WBWWB is all about cycles: How does the media influence us? How do we influence the media? How does this cycle start and does it ever end?

Developer: Nicky Case
Publisher: Nicky Case
Genre: Free-to-Play, Comedy, Experimental, Dark
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was available for free on itch.

In the beginning, we’re tasked with pointing and clicking anywhere in the window. People are walking around and we can take a snap of them. Everything that happens on the screen can become something worthy to be shown on television in the middle of the screen.

“#ooh nice hat” makes a headline and everyone wears hats now! “Violence goes viral” though, so you try to provoke and get people to do stuff that you can take out of context. As time goes on and on, more events lead to other events and eventually, the catastrophe arrives. People go crazy. People go mad. People kill people. #bescaredbeangry

We Become What We Behold is a fun little experience with a playtime of roughly five minutes. I personally like the theme of it even though the ending becomes a bit extreme.

The art style really compliments the simplicity of the title, allowing you to enjoy and understand what’s going on on-screen. Take a dive into the topic and the philosophy behind and speculate on a metaphysical level if you want to… or try to find some of the fun easter eggs built in by ncase!

Generally, I feel like this is a fun title to try out. It’s free. You can support the developer if you want to. If you’re into that kind of stuff, you can check out the open source behind the game yourself and remix it.

Feel free to check out the game on itch.io over here if you haven’t yet.

Don’t go crazy. #2020isoverparty

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Binge Watch Sorrow 2: Electric Boogaloo

So, yesterday, Wilhelm over at TAGN published a fantastic post full of bullet points on different topics in regards to streaming shows on services like Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, HBO, and so on. Check that post out! It’s great!

Then Bhagpuss made a post as well on the topic and used those bullet points to give their opinion on the same topic. Check their post out as well if you haven’t yet. Another great post!

Alas, that’s why I wanted to write about this topic and why I’m considering streaming shows via Netflix despite not liking subscription-models too much. Before I head into that… context: 

I haven’t watched TV for about eight years now, really… I mean, I’ve watched shows via the internet and at times, I’d even just settle for YouTube videos, Anime or video games instead of watching a movie or a show on TV. There are a few reasons for that that I’ll get into later. Mostly since other media is more entertaining, anyway, in my opinion. For the most part, however, I’d opt-in for stuff that is available for free online instead of getting a Netflix subscription. I’m just hesitant about subscriptions because I usually don’t end up making full use of it… About five years ago, I got myself Spotify Premium to not have to download music onto my phone and ended up basically using it every day for hours upon hours. With Spotify, I’m making full use of my subscription since I listen to music all the time anyway. If I were to get into WoW, I probably wouldn’t be able to play it too much and would then regret the subscription. With Netflix, I wouldn’t watch enough shows to make it worth it. Alas, I ended up relying on watching shows on Netflix whenever I was at my parents’ since I can use my sister’s Netflix account to watch shows. Back to the post.

Screenshot from Milky Way Prince – Review over here.
  • Not having to deal with commercials is pretty nice.

Absolutely. The reason why I have Spotify Premium is mostly the fact that I can use it offline as well but also the fact that there are no ads every two songs or so. Some ads on Spotify would go on for three minutes, promoting a song that I don’t like at all, which was annoying. With TV it’s similar: I don’t watch TV because I hated the 7-minute-ad-breaks during movies, every twenty minutes or so. It’s annoying and I don’t really get why. Not having to deal with that is really nice… It’s incredibly nice to watch a show whenever you want to while still supporting the creators of it with the subscription. 

  • I still don’t like pay-per-view.

The only movies that I ever bought DVDs of were Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, 9, Corpse Bride, and two copies of (500) Days of Summer. Yes, I own that last movie twice, mostly since I wanted to watch that movie again but didn’t have the DVD at my place, so I just ordered it. You can rent it for three bucks or just buy it for ten. Buying it twice is twenty bucks. Watching it four times is already more worth it on the DVD I bought than when rented. And I have a spare at my parents’ place in case I wanna watch it over there and didn’t bring it from my flat. Pay-Per-View is a failed concept in my opinion as I still have that DVD available to me no matter what happens to that account of mine. I mean… would you rent a game for one play-session only to be charged again when you start it up again next time? 

  • There are too many streaming-services.

Yes. 100%. I’m thinking about getting Netflix so that I can watch some movies and shows I like on there… but not every show I wanna watch is on there as it’s somewhere else. Disney+ features a lot of Marvel stuff, for instance, so if a friend came over and wanted to watch that stuff, I’d have to have Disney+… and I don’t think I’ll get it anytime soon. In essence, it wouldn’t pay off for me personally as I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan and as I’m not the biggest Marvel fan either. I liked the Daredevil but I think that show is still on Netflix… and it got worse and worse after every season, so I stopped watching it eventually. There aren’t really any other Marvel shows that I’d watch apart from Agents of Shield… and even that one will probably never get watched.

I’d like it if there was a way for you to watch HBO shows on Netflix. I love Silicon Valley, for instance, but I’m not entirely sure if I’d like anything else on HBO really… Silicon Valley is a great show. If I was able to watch it on Netflix, I’d do that. Maybe Netflix would get a bit of money from HBO since they provided me with it and a lot of the money would go to HBO since they made the show. That kind of system or partnership between shows could work out quite well, I think. But then again, they are in competition, so they probably won’t do that.

And the problem with being on one service and “making full use of the subscription” is that you can’t really “make full use of it” when you also want to “make full use of” another subscription. I’m not sure if I’d ever subscribe to two different services at the same time, at least as a student.

  • Finding things is hard.

Netflix has a lot of shows. My Steam library has a lot of games. That doesn’t mean that you’ll always find the right thing to watch or play right away. “Die Qual der Wahl” is a German phrase that summarises that quite well. Having too many options results in you having a hard time choosing what to watch, which is annoying. Steam gives you a suggestion at times with the “Steam Play Next” shelf in the library’s homepage, which I find quite cool, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Netflix has a suggestion feature as well based on the shows that you watch but generally, it can be really hard to find shows to watch since you don’t have an “either-or” choice but rather an “either-or-or-…-or-or-or” choice with way too many shows which makes the choice even harder. On Steam, it at least is limited to games you own while Netflix just presents everything to you. Hence, I can see why that’s an issue and I’m glad that people are recommending shows on my discord, so at least I can fish for some shows on there or recommend shows to other people.

  • Weekly Releases vs. All-At-Once

Personally speaking, I’d rather have shows available All at Once! However, I can see how binging is quite unhealthy and how that shouldn’t be encouraged with cliffhangers in shows that make you want to go for “just another episode” or whatever. Having the next episode(s) available already means that there probably are spoilers out already but also that you won’t have to wait. When I watch Anime, I often watch shows that already are done. Alas, I can binge them. When I watch Airing Shows, I end up having to wait a week, which is a bit annoying… but I guess I can try and theory-craft with friends about the next episode, which is quite cool. There are, however, shows I really watch, so I binge watch and then it’s 8 am suddenly and my headspace is a mess and I just am tired but don’t want to ruin my sleep schedule which is kind of annoying.

  • Biases towards movies vs. shows

Wilhelm talks in his post about how a show feels like it’s “too long” to watch after a movie even though he spends probably the same amount of time watching four episodes on Netflix that evening anyways. I feel like that bias is there for everyone. A show usually is shorter and you can stop at any given time. A movie, however, is made in a less episodic way, resulting in you not being able to stop at any time, I think. I mean, there are three-hour-movies out there that don’t make any sense afterwards when you watch it after a day… or two… or whenever you get to it again. Usually, I end up making more time for movies than with shows only to use up more time with the shows compared to the movie. You can kind of estimate when you’ll end by watching a movie while you sometimes just feel like watching another episode after you just watched three or four.

  • Cut the Cord!

I really don’t watch TV. Wilhelm made a point about Sports but over here, at least, sports games often get broadcasted and streamed over the internet as well. Here in Germany, you still have to pay some fee for radio/tv/internet even when you don’t use any of those – “you have the opportunity to do it” after all, and you have to pay for that opportunity, I think… So, I don’t really have a reason to watch TV, especially with news, the weather, shows, movies and whatever else being available online already.

  • Internet problems suck!

Oh, tell me! It’s bad enough when my ping is high in games or when I’m dropping frames while streaming… but when the internet fails while watching a Stream on Twitch or a video on YT or a show on Netflix then that sucks super bad since you are invested in the show and suddenly have to do something else instead. Luckily, the neighbourhood at my parents’ and the neighbourhood at my dorm will both get better internet in 2021, so I’m excited about potentially streaming in 720p again on Twitch and watching more shows again!

  • Streaming at home > the cinema experience?

This one’s somewhat tricky. Watching a movie in the cinema/at the theatre is great a lot of the time… but as of late, I’ve been disliking it more and more whenever I thought back to all those bad experiences I’ve had with phones being used and being turned on super bright… or screaming babies… or chatty people… or people walking through the light, etc. Generally speaking, the experience can be so-so but I know that I want my kids to experience it for themselves for sure eventually when I have kids. I don’t want them to only know movies from TV/Netflix/DVDs… I mean, as a kid I loved the cinema. I can probably count the times I’ve been to the cinema on my fingertips, but I liked it most of the time during my childhood and not so much during recent years. Especially when you consider the price factor of it: Tickets and snacks are overpriced and you still don’t get a guaranteed “magical” experience depending on the people around you. Also, you still watch ads before the movie… Meanwhile, you get to have a great experience at home either way. It’s your own four walls, the people you love, you don’t have to wear pants, and you can stop any time to go to the toilet without missing anything… and as for snacks, you can have anything! I could have a can of Dr Pepper there… or a second one… or a third one… in the cinema, I wouldn’t be able to have Dr Pepper at all and if they did have it there it would cost way more than the store price.

  • There are still things not available.

A lot of Tim Burton movies, for instance, aren’t available on Netflix, which is weird… because they are great. A lot of older movies also can’t be watched on a lot of these services… and I don’t get why exactly that’s not a thing. At the same time, they are available in other countries, so using a VPN often is advised when it comes to Netflix and the like, which is something I personally don’t like too much… Why not make all languages, all subs and all shows/movies available to everyone and anyone? I mean, sure, there are countries that don’t allow stuff but just disable those over there! 

Screenshot from Milky Way Prince – Review over here.

Anyways, this is my (way too long) post on this topic. I again really recommend checking out Wilhelm’s post as it was the originator of all of this… and Bhagpuss’ post is also great, so check that post out! 

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you use Netflix, HBO, or whatever? Can you recommend one over the other or maybe give me some recommendations for shows? In that instance, name your favourite shows, if you want to. I’ll for one really liked Silicon Valley on HBO and I love American Vandal on Netflix! I can highly recommend both of those shows if you’re into comedy. I may actually grab Netflix for myself and try it out for a month or a few, depending on how I like it and how much I use it. I may even write a Stray Sheep or two about shows I watched and about shows that I’m watching. We’ll see!

Either way, happy holidays! Stay safe! 

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indie Games in 2021 to wishlist right now

2020 had plenty of great releases. For starters, we had plenty of games that left Early Access and were well received when their 1.0 arrived this year, like Hades and Risk of Rain 2. There were also completely new releases this year that I really liked, like Milky Way Prince or Lightmatter, and a lot of other titles. 2020 has been quite a year but at least there were a lot of games to keep us company and brighten our days. At least, they often made my days, at least a bit better.

But everything has to come to an end and so, with the new year on the marsh, I wanted to talk about releases that are coming up in 2021 and that I’m looking forward to. I hope you’re going to enjoy this list. It’s not in any particular order or whatever but rather just titles off the top of my head that I have been excited about.


Eastward

For quite a while now, Eastward (developed by Pixpil, published by Chucklefish) has been sitting there on my wishlist, waiting to get released… and the release date has been sitting there as well on “Soon” but I don’t know if it’s going to be out sooner or later… I just hope that it’s going to be there in 2021. It’s an RPG game full of love and attention for detail. From what I’ve seen the art style is super adorable and the world is, despite the population’s decline, relatively lively and charming. We play as a little girl named Sam and an old man named John and revolves around exploring and solving the game by switching between the characters. John has an arsenal of weapons while Sam can stun creatures with a kinetic blast. The game also features a lot of quirky character, some interesting cooking mechanics, and a story that drives the adventure portion of the game. I’m excited! 

Anno: Mutationem

Anno: Mutationem (developed by ThinkingStars, published by Lightning Games) is an Action-Adventure with RPG-elements where we become Ann, a highly-skilled combat-trained lone wolf on a personal mission. The world features a blend of 2D and 3D gameplay of Action-Platforming and Exploration with portions of it having a cute pixel art style while other portions seem to be somewhat animated, I guess? It’s a blend of different directions, which I find intriguing. Pair that with a Cyberpunk setting, a lot of exploration, and a whole bunch of action, and you basically get a cyberpunk game that I’d like to play. The plot is being described as “dark” and “twisted”, which is something I rather often fancy in games and media in general. On top of that, a lot of the visuals seem cute, so I’m looking forward to seeing contrasts in the world and how they reflect on society, there and in general. On top of that, there will be a lot of customization and upgrades available to Ann’s weapons and her skills, using modifiers and chips. Overall, I’m looking forward to it!

Stray

Just like the previous title on this list, Stray (developed by BlueTwelve Studio) also has been confirmed for 2021. It’s published by Annapurna Interactive who also published Journey and Outer Wilds, so I’m kind of expecting something special here. Or cats. I love cats. Stray is a game about a stray cat that’s trying to untangle an ancient mystery of sorts to escape this cyberpunk city and find its way home. This game seems to be a game focused on mainly exploration, which is something I generally like in games. It’s an interesting direction to take a game in, so I’m wondering how it’s going to turn out. Stray is set in a cybercity and areas around it, which is why you’ll encounter a lot of neon-lit streets as well as a friendly drone, known only as B12. The game’s developed by BlueTwelve, a small studio from south of France, and I feel like this game could be rather charming and fun to try out. Annoying people… as a cat… but in third-person? Lovely!

Garden Story

During the Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition, I wrote a post on this title among others. The demo seemed very promising and I’ve been looking forward to playing the full game eventually. Garden Story (developed by Picogram, published by Rose City Games) is about Agriculture and Exploration and you essentially play as Concord, a small grape-person, who is trying to unify the community as the newly-appointed Guardian of The Grove! Make friends, beat bosses, explore the world, gather materials, rebuild your home, and have fun in this small and adorable title. You take on requests, complete favours, and you try to inspire the inhabitants of The Grove to make the community great again. Defend against Rot and solve puzzles, find a plethora of equipment and other items, and cultivate a home with all kinds of structures to be rebuild. Honestly, Garden Story kind of felt like a mix of Heartbeat and Zelda, so I’ve been looking forward to it.


Honestly, there are a lot of great games coming out in 2021 and then there are a lot of EA titles that may get done as well and… overall, I really hope that 2021 becomes a great year for everyone. At the least, I hope that it’s at least a little bit less terrible. 🙂 I’m sure that’s possible, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post. There are other titles that I could have put in here but I wasn’t able to link their Steam Pages yet since there are none… other titles may come out a lot later… and then there are other titles that I haven’t heard any news about ever since April or May. Alas, I may do some more posts like this one or single posts for games that I have a lot more to say about. 

Hope you have a great day and a great start into the new year!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

AFK Arena exists

So, a while ago, I played Raid: Shadow Legends for the very first time and didn’t like it at all. Eventually, after that, someone prompted me to try out AFK Arena since I was talking badly about it without having tried it out at all, and… yeah, they had a point. I was talking badly about idle games and them not being my cup of tea because I just don’t like them, despite not having tried every single one of them. I tried some… but not all.

In an empiric sense, I can’t make a judgement on idle games as a whole yet. I can just say that I disliked most of them so far…

Anyways: What is AFK Arena? Well, according to the ads that I’m getting on all of my YouTube videos, it’s an animated 2D turn-based idle-game with Gacha-mechanics and you don’t have to grind to get strong. There are misleading ads on YouTube that tell you that you have choices in the game and puzzles and some weird isometric thing where a lion-character called Brutus is performing a spin-attack on a lot of enemies that all drop a lot of gold.

I couldn’t find the bad trailers but the YouTube Channel has the story trailer here.

And lately, I’ve been getting worse ads. There is a bad German dub on it and usually, you’ll see the same actors telling you about how good the common characters are that you get instead of the epic ones and how little you have to do in the game. Some ads share “tricks” to unlock free heroes. Others tell you about how video games are a waste of time and how they made them sick and how AFK Arena fixes that as you can, I guess, use your time productively? I’m getting mixed signals. Are games bad? Are mobile games not games, too? Isn’t AFK Arena also bad then if all games are bad?

Anyways, so I installed it and there actually is a story of sorts. Basically, the god of death was jealous of the peace in the overworld and hence created the Hypogeans, the main antagonist/villain faction in the game, to destroy Dura, the goddess of the Living, I guess. Dura, being super graceful and not wanting to die, sent mortals to fight the Hypogeans. That didn’t really work out since she got weakened a lot and used her last power to scatter seven divine artefacts over the world and now a lot of time passed and nothing happened but something will probably happen. Idk.

Note: I’m going to include pictures of characters from the wiki because I forgot to take screenshots. If you don’t believe me that I’ve played the game, I’ll reinstall it and shove it in your face. But I really deslike it, and here’s why.

Honestly, no clue why they created an actual alright-ish story if they didn’t plan on rebranding around it… “Legends of Esperia” or “Tales of Dura” or anything else could have turned this into some sort of Anime or show or proper game. Instead, we have AFK Arena, a game that is all about being AFK, as the name suggests.

Anyways, in the beginning, you get to chose between two heroes: Zaphrael and Lucretia, who kind of stand for a good vs bad kinda choice. Obviously, I have chosen Lucretia, the Betrayed. She’s a Hypogean character that is agility-based and does a lot of damage. Zaphrael wasn’t my cup of tea. I was hoping to get to play more Hypogean characters but haven’t encountered any at all so far really… which feels like a missed opportunity.

As time went on, we defeated enemies in combat and started accumulating more and more diamonds, gold and experience. Diamonds can be used to summon heroes (among other things) that most of the time are common, rare or sometimes potentially legendary. Most heroes can be upgraded into higher rarities, using copies of the same hero. It doesn’t have as “many” characters as Raid: Shadow Legends but it has a lot more unique ones that aren’t just recoloured, especially due to the faction-system.

There are seven different factions: Wilders, Graveborns, Maulers, Lightbearers, Celestials, Hypogeans, and Dimensionals. Having three, four or five heroes of the same faction in a team (max 5) grants your heroes up to 25% bonus attack damage and 25% bonus HP. Having three of one faction and two of another adds 15% bonus attack damage and 15% bonus HP, instead. Celestials basically contribute to this – so you can, in theory, play four Wilders and have Zaphrael in your rows to unlock the 5 Wilder bonus. The Hypogeans, however, grant you a bonus independently. Having one Hypogean grants you +30% defence, having more adds other bonuses. Hypogean heroes deal and receive bonus damage to and from Celestials.

The other four factions have an advantage-disadvantage-system similar to other games, with IE Wilders dealing more damage to Graveborn and receiving more damage from Maulers while also being neutral to Lightbearers. This adds a little bit of strategy to your game but most of the time you’d end up just playing your strongest characters or levelling up the character you like the most… and it works. Really well actually. I would have liked to play Graveborns but they just do not have any characters that I like… Wilders, however, are cute and interesting and have a lot of supportive characters that tickle my fancy.

So, there are different “classes” of characters and you get to level them up and try out different formations… so there is a bit of strategy involved in the game… Generally speaking, though, you can just put in anything and everything and it will work. While some characters are stronger against other ones, you don’t really have to care about that as you only care about having strong characters in your party. Just force your way through the game and you’ll be fine. Occassionally, you’ll notice how one character is underperforming so you replace them with someone else and you’ll be fine again. Changing the position of characters sometimes helps, too… having a healer is super important in later fights but then you’ll need to draw one from the gacha mechanic… and since luck isn’t always on your side, you instead have to level your characters until they’re overlevelled. Similarly, some characters come with only three abilities while others have four, so you eventually wanna get those with more abilities since they’re better than your normal ones. The game feels a bit pretentious as it gives you all of these classes, races, and abilities,… but in the end it’s pay-to-win anyways. The top-ranked players have put money into the game and continue to get better at the game since they have better characters. You can make it quite far into ranked against other people but generally speaking those that spend money at the game have a lot better ways of making it in the game. They have higher winrates and better success chances as they most likely have the better characters. The Guildmaster in my OwO guild approved of this statement, btw. AFK Arena’s PvP is pay-to-win-based. There is no skill needed.

Meanwhile, if you wanna play it casually, you don’t need to pay anything at all. You can grind away and chill… uh, I mean, there is no grind. Nope, no grind. Grinding is bad after all – that’s at least what the ads say! Alas, I started playing four Wilders+Lucretia for a lot of time and then eventually switched over to five Wilders because I like more damage. Then I needed to get the levels all the way up. There is a Crystal that you place heroes into, so that you don’t need to level them up. They instead take over the level of the lowest-level-character in your top five. Alas, you want to level your top-5 to be able to exachange heroes at any given time and keep the levels high. At the same time, you need good gear, and you want some of those uniques… and you also need to get missions done and use diamonds that you’re given to be able to afford the summons at the Tavern.

“You don’t need to grind like in other games”, they said. “You just AFK.” But I needed gold and experience… and the campaign wasn’t giving me enough and also was hard to get to, since you can’t target the enemies at all. Your character hit targets and if they don’t finish off the right ones, they’ll die.

“So what do you do to get stronger?”, I asked in chat.
“Just go AFK”, someone else responded.
“But can’t I just grind something to gain more levels or gold or whatever?”
“Send nudes”, responded some other person. There was no report button, so I didn’t know what to do about that creep.
“You don’t grind in this game. You just AFK.”, said yet another, and I felt as if they were just repeating words they heard in some badly mixed ad on YouTube.

In times like these, I would have loved a good grind. Like, when you want to improve your light level in Destiny 2 and farm some Strikes… or when you clear bounties to be able to get some mod for your weapons… or when you kill fifteen Ebony Odogarons in MHW and still didn’t get that Ebony Odogaron Mantle that is keeping me from posting about Monster Hunter World (there is the reason), so you go at it again in another session and kill it another five times with no drops… and then you’re tired and don’t want to play MHW again for a while so you just don’t do it anymore until 2021. It’s a bit annoying… but when it drops, it’s glorious and satisfying and you’re happy. In AFK Arena, it gets grindy inevitably. But you cannot grind without going AFK. So, if you really like the game, you don’t get the chance to play it, since you have to do something else instead. According to the ads, other games are bad, however, so… uh… mixed signals. What do I do? What do I do?

Ah, right, business! You gotta do business stuff and come back in two hours… or six hours…. or twelve… yeah, still didn’t have enough quite yet for the level ups you need… I guess I just need to hop onto two other guys’ shoulders and wear a trenchcoat in order to get more business stuff done…

Eventually, I uninstalled the game and returned it two weeks later, after seeing that Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord made it into the game, and indeed I got gold and experience for not playing the game. It was stupid. When you want to progress and get the satisfaction of gearing up your favourite characters, you can’t because you need to wait for whatever reason. In the meantime, you’ll do nothing, I guess, or you play actual games with actual gameplay. Games where you control your characters and where you don’t just spin a slot machine to get more units to use.

Nemora, Arden, and Solise were my favourite characters by the way. I liked them a lot. I won’t miss them, I guess.

So, in the end, I kind of understood why people like the game: It’s basically a clicker game. When you’re not participating in the game, you accumulate gold, experience, diamonds, and gear by just idling. If you upgrade your characters and use them in the campaign, you get more and more gold through the AFK function. Eventually, however, it gets grindy. Which is understandable since it’s a game with a late-game at one point. But the game markets itself as this “non-grindy idle game that is a ton of fun and very strategic” when it actually is quite grindy and nothing like its premise, I guess.

And well, clicker games are great. You have to put in the work yourself at the beginning (or use an auto-clicker). Then you upgrade the different thingies to unlock more ways of clicking in the background. Then you essentially upgrade your thingies even more… and then you do it even more. And then you get bored and move on to other games because… it’s just a clicker game anyways.

Another issue with AFK Arena, however, is that it’s a glorified slot machine really… I’m not entirely sure about how I should feel about a game with a gacha mechanic when it also has cute and cool characters in it that kids could be drawn to… Like, the problem with Gacha games is that they reward you every now and then but often do not do it enough. So, you spin again and again until you get something good. You get dopamines, feel a kick, and suddenly you’re addicted. I guess it’s not that extreme in most cases but I still get a tad worried about loot boxes and slot machines and stuff in games. Not entirely sure how to feel about it, just yet, so I’ll have to think about that some more in the future. Potential writing prompt here, fellow bloggers!

At last, I don’t like false marketing.

Getting to level 100 didn’t take as little time as in the ads. There are no choices. There is little to no strategy involved. Sure, it’s free to play and there is technically no need for you to play it… but I’m not sure if those are selling points. The game doesn’t make you feel energized and healthy again. The common heroes suck.

I guess the ads don’t really have the goal of promoting the game but rather of provoking you into talking negatively about it. In one of the ads they draw ten heroes each to see who’s better at… gambling? And then someone wins because they get this overpowered character who seems to be broken… so uh, while it was about quantity of legendary heroes in the beginning, it suddenly was about who gets that broken character that I’ve never seen anyone use. In the same manner they were battling each other in a different ad, talking about how their characters are better than the other ones and then someone shows up and just brags about this max level character… I don’t know. The ads are super annoying at best and kind of want you to shittalk them because bad PR is good PR. Some of the ads want you to try out the game to see if it really is that bad after all… and some others are just weird…

I don’t think that AFK Arena is a good game at all. I kind of liked the idea of using Wilders and thinking about strategies and stuff… but once I realised that strategy doesn’t matter at all, I was quickly disappointed again.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. See you next time. Happy Holidays.

Post-Post commentary:

I never really understand why games have to market themselves in that self-ironic way where they try to upset you in order to try it out yourself… or where they just lie to you in order to get you try out the game. There is an ad with an evolution-mechanic that you use in combat, which is just not true… One ad also shows an easy grind from an isometric perspective that isn’t part of the game. Generally, I feel like this is a bit of a problem with ads these days, especially on the mobile market. To get attention, you need to get lots of reviews or impressions of it… but reviews themselves mean nothing as they can be bought, while “impressions” doesn’t really describe it too well as the only relevant stat is the number of downloads.

AFK Arena doesn’t care about the player experience as long as you download the game, adding to their number of total downloads. I feel like that’s a problem of sites like the Google PlayStore and iTunes and whatever where downloads get put over average playtime and other scores. When people give it a negative review, it doesn’t really matter since at least ten bot accounts gave it five stars without writing a single word. Only caring about the number of downloads means that the same games on mobile app stores are in the top-ten, each and every year – and that’s a bummer.

At last, I don’t want to just shit on games like that. People that like the game are allowed to like it, just like how I’m allowed to dislike it. I feel like I’ve been fair about what I didn’t like and what I criticized about the game, its premise and the false marketing. If that stuff doesn’t bother you, that’s totally okay. You can enjoy the game regardless of my opinion and I’m not judging ya. It’s just an opinion that I published on my blog. So, no hate there.

If you wanna share your opinion on it or if you think I’ve been disrespectful or whatever, let me know in the comment section or hit me up via DMs on Twitter or Discord. Hope you have had some nice holidays and I wish you a great start into 2021. Stay awesome, stay healthy, and live and let live. 🙂

Cheers.

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Steam Winter Sale 2020

Merry crisis and a happy new fear! It’s time for more anxiety as the Steam Winter Sale is approaching – the great disaster that leaves many a wallet empty. Hence, I wanted to talk about sales (like this one), some of my wishlisted items, and potential good deals.

So, first up: The Steam Winter Sale is here from December 22nd (aka two days ago) until January 5th (10 am PT) granting us the opportunity to save big bucks on many titles! Buy your favourite titles at lower prices than usual and earn points to buy cosmetic items and emotes for Steam’s social functions. Obviously, Steam’s competitor, Epic Games, is also running a Winter Sale but their concept of handing out coupons whenever you claim a free game kind of irritates me and honestly, most of the games that I’d like to get aren’t that much cheaper on there, even with the coupon, compared to Steam. Apart from that, I also like Steam’s functions a lot more, as well as the social aspect of it, so Steam’s the clear winner here, I think.

My issue with Sales is that they influence how you treat games and their value over time. Games are sold at a bargain during sales, so you effectively will more often than not refrain from buying a game on other times, so that you can grab it for cheaper later. At the same time, you’ll probably buy more on a Christmas Sale than on any other month as the sales are worth it more.

This idea of “worth”, “pricing”, and ” value” is a rather tricky topic and I’d like to elaborate on my thoughts and concerns about that idea in a later post… in 2021… once I’ve found some time to edit it and add pictures and stuff. 

Anyways, I didn’t really buy any games for the last couple of months due to my financial situation but since I’ll be paid back for the last couple of months, I might be able to spend a little bit of money on this sale. In that sense, there are a few games that I’d love to buy this Sale but I know that I won’t buy all of them. I’ll probably make another post on “my haul” in 2021 once I actually made all my purchases. 

Sundered: Eldritch Edition

Sundered is an Action-Roguelite-Metroidvania-Mashup by Thunder Lotus Games that features a chaotic and enigmatic hand-drawn art style as well as combat revolving around ancient eldritch powers that you either resist or embrace. The idea behind Roguevanias like this one (or Dead Cells) is actually something that I’ve really enjoyed in the past and I love it when you get to choose between the good or the bad side in games, so naturally, this title has been on my wishlist for ages. Currently, it’s 80% off on Steam, costing only 4€ instead of the usual 20€.

Fe

Zoink’s dark Sci-Fi-Action-Puzzle-title is about a creature called Fe in a nordic forest that has a lot of exploration to offer to you. Personally speaking, I have little to no idea what to expect from this title but it’s been on my wishlist ever since release in 2018, so I’m looking forward to potentially grabbing it and playing it sometime soon. The art style looks fantastic and I love the themes and the premise of it, presented by the trailer… but yeah, I know basically nothing about it apart from that. It’s currently 75% off on Steam, available at a price of roughly 4€.

Sunset Overdrive

Insomniac Games’ “Sunset Overdrive” kind of looked like Jet Set Radio to me… but with a post-apocalyptic and open world, as well as unique weapons and customizable abilities and stuff. Honestly, what I’ve seen from this title in clips and videos has looked like a ton of fun, so I’m really looking forward to grabbing this title eventually. Currently, however, it is 75% off, so check it out for sure.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

I know I said that I don’t like a lot of JRPGs but I love Level-5 as a Studio and I love Studio Ghibli for their movies and art styles, which is why Ni no Kuni has been on my wishlist ever since the PC-port was announced. I’ve been looking forward to this game for ages. Alas, it’s a pleasure to see that it’s 70% off on Steam, available at 15€ instead of 50€. This could very much be the game with the biggest bargain in my wishlist.

Moons of Madness

First-Person, story-driven Cosmic Horror… in SPACE?! Count me in! I think I’ve actually seen info about this title about a year ago at or before the GamesCom in Cologne and really liked the style of it and the idea behind it, so naturally, I put it on my wishlist, even though I’m such a huge scaredy-cat. At 12.50€ or 50% off, this one’s still a bargain, in my opinion, so it’s definitely going to be a title that I’ll consider buying later.

DOOM Eternal

Hell’s armies have invaded Earth, so it’s time to clean up, eh? This title came out only this year and is already available at about 20€/67% off, which is honestly quite great. I heard that it’s satisfying to play and that the soundtrack is fantastically brutal. Alas, I’m going to consider this one as well.

HUMANKIND

Being a fan of Amplitude Studios’ Endless series is probably the biggest reason behind this title being on the list. I love strategy games and 4X games and while I haven’t played too many yet, I’d love to get into more. Humankind is going to be a title that will allow you to play through the entire narrative of humankind, letting you create your own civilisation in our world that will be as unique as you are. What values, culture and history will you push for? 

Honestly, I’m really looking forward to getting this myself eventually. The issue is… it’s coming out in April 2021 if it doesn’t get delayed. Alas, I may pre-order it now while it is about 10€ off and enjoy it later in April as a late birthday present… to myself. 

Anyways, I don’t usually do lists like this one but I thought it would be fun as a post during the holidays. Obviously, there are a lot more titles on my wishlist and Steam has a ton more Indie games to offer… but I probably own a lot of the ones that I want to play and review already… or they’re not that cheap or they’re games that I’d buy at the full price anyways. Personally speaking, I don’t like spending too much money on Games these days, especially as I’ve been having less and less time to play games and as my library has been growing more and more as of late, too. Part of the reason for that is most likely Humble Choice as I’d sometimes forget to pause it or as I’d sometimes go for it even though I have too many games to play in my backlog… stupid decisions and no decisions, eh? Alas, there are plenty of unplayed games in my backlog and I’m looking forward to getting through the pile eventually. I’ll just have to practice self-discipline more often during sales like this one and limit my funds to spare more. 

Hence, I feel like a spending limit of at most 60€ would be quite appropriate. That’s basically my free-time-funds anyways per month and I guess I could go a bit above it as well if I end up buying Humankind, considering that I’ve never bought a birthday present for myself. 

That’s what people do sometimes, right? They buy something nice for themself, right? Right? 

Uh, either way, I’ll have to see how much money I have available to myself at the end of this month. I’m basically getting my funds from the state soon and will have to pay my rent and bills anyways, then I’ll have to decide my spending limits per week for food and stuff in January… Then, I’ll need to consider what to get for my little sister’s birthday… and when all of that is done and dusted, I’ll have some left-over money that I may save… or I may use it for “free-time-funds” aka buying games. Will have to see.

I hope you’re enjoying the Christmas holidays! Take a breather and relax for a bit. Enjoy your time. 2020’s end is nigh, so it’s time to hope that 2021 is gonna be better. Have some nice time off and some have a great start into the new one!

What purchases are you going to make if any at all? Have you considered games and not gone for them? Has a sale ever changed your mind of going for a game despite initially not having wanted to? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Humble Choice – December, 2020

It’s December! And that means that it’s time for another Humble Choice!

This time around it’s rather disappointing. Like, Naithin already said it earlier this month but I feel like there are other reasons for it being disappointing than just the absence of AAA-titles.

Alas, let’s dive into this: This month’s Choice contains a total of fourteen games on top of a coupon for one month of “EA Play Pro”, which is… alright. I’m not interested in EA Play Pro, so I’m not opting in for that… it’s also not a month of it but rather just a little bit off it which is super “eh”.

The games themselves are alright, I think. In this month’s Choice, there are all kinds of games available but nothing really too thematic… More about that later.

RankGameDeveloperGenre
1Children of MortaDead MageRoguelite, Action, Story-Driven
2One Step From EdenThomas Moon KangCard-based, Strategy, Roguelite, Real-Time Action,…
heck i don’t even know
3Still ThereGhostSharkPoint n Click, Adventure, Space
4Shining Resonance RefrainSegaAction, RPG
5Frog Detective 1Grace Bruxner, Thomas BowkerAdventure
6Frog Detective 2Grace Bruxner, Thomas BowkerAdventure
7Overcooked! 2 + 2DLCsGhost Town Games, Team17 DigitalCo-Op, Cooking, Simulation …Madness
8The Beast InsideIllusion Ray StudioSurvival, Horror
9Zwei: The Ilvard InsurrectionNihon FalcomAction, JRPG
10Zwei: The Arges AdventureNihon FalcomAction, JRPG
11IndivisibleLab Zero GamesAction, RPG
12Path of GiantsJourney Bound GamesPuzzle, Adventure
13StrugglingChasing Rats GamesPhysics, Platformer
14Tabletop PlaygroundPlasticity StudiosSimulation

For now, the games included are actually rather nice. Children of Morta, One Step From Eden, Still There, and Shining Resonance Refrain look really promising. Children of Morta, in particular, is something that I personally have already played (and reviewed) but I could gift it to a friend and we could play it together. I feel like that could and would be really cool as it’s definitely a title that is better with friends.

One Step from Eden is this weird mix of Real-Time-Action, Roguelite mechanics, Strategy, and Deckbuilding… and it looks like it’s just up my alley. To begin with, I love Roguelite games when done well and when they’ve got their one spin on things… so, I’m looking forward to playing this title. Still There looks interesting, especially with the Space theme. I wonder what the story is going to be like. It’s a story about grief, technical puzzles, wacky AIs, dark humour, and… coffee? Idk, I actually have high hopes for this title and am looking forward to playing it myself in 2021. Shining Resonance Refrain looks like fun but I honestly don’t know if I’ll like it or not. Like, depending on much the characters interest me, it could be better or worse. 

I love the Frog Detective series and am looking forward to playing and writing about the second game! I ranked Overcooked 2 behind these two games as Humble Choice comes with two DLCs for that game but not with friends or time. Overcooked is a ton of fun, don’t get me wrong… but you’ll need to find people to play it with and then the stars need to align and all of that… it’s a hassle. 

As far as the rest is concerned, they are alright, I guess. The Beast Inside is a game that is “eh” from what I’ve heard. The Zwei Games are from a franchise that I’ve never heard of. I’d be happy to dive into them but honestly, I’m not typically a huge friend of JRPGs. The Ilvard Insurrection seems like it has the less annoying characters in it… but not too sure if it matters too much for the ranking. 

Path of Giants and Indivisible look interesting but I’m not in the mood for another puzzle game or a platformer, so I placed those behind the Zwei series. Struggling is a Physics-based platformer, which sucks because I don’t like that kind of games usually. And as far as the Tabletop Playground is concerned, I feel like you need to use the Tabletop Simulator most of the time since it’s just more popular. Most of my friends (if not all) use TTS and not TTP, so owning TTP is a waste, really, I think. Unless you go for local sessions or unless you have a friend group that uses TTP or got this game from this month’s Choice.

Overall, this month’s choice has been alright. I’m not too bummed out by the lack of AAA titles… especially as I run an Indie blog and as some of those games have been on my wishlist actually… So, I’m getting a better deal here than at the Steam Sale right now. The issue is that I have CoM already and that I don’t care about JRPGs too much. They’ve been either hit or miss for me, which is annoying. 

I feel like there’s a bit of a missed opportunity here. The only “choice” we have is whether or not we take them all or not. I can rank them and write about it but I don’t feel like there actually is much of a Choice here. There are twelve games every time and only two drop out. As a Classic subscriber, I get all twelve of them each month. My Choice is literally “pay” or “pause”. 

Instead of giving us twelve games to chose ten out of. how about offering more games to make the choice more meaningful? Two drop-outs are nothing compared to five or ten, right? Or how about introducing a bundle system with fewer games but they’re all themed around similar topics, settings, genres, etc.? The Strategy bundle that both Nait and I would love, the Sim bundle for people that love those farming simulations, and the FPS bundle for fans of guns. Next month? Sports bundle, Tech Bundle, Roguelike Bundle. Next month? Action bundle, Puzzle Bundle, Party game Bundle. And so on.

Instead of giving you the choice to pause or unpause, they’d grant you the Choice of one of three bundles. It would be like Humble Monthly but potentially a bit cheaper or more predictable or maybe it’s just a thinner version of Humble Choice. 

Heck, you could also just create the selection using three themes and then have equal parts of different genres in there so that some people aren’t too upset about it. I was a bit disappointed at first as I saw a lot of JRPG-ish games in this choice but I still ended up going for it as I’m quite excited about trying some of these games out.

What are your thoughts? What suggestions would you have to change or improve Humble Choice? Have you grabbed this month’s Choice? 

On another note: I’m a Humble Partner and alas have this affiliate link right here: >>> Affiliate Link <<<

If you want to, you can use that link to get Humble Choice and also support me. No extra costs. It just supports me a little bit as well as the Trevor Project and it would be cool if you could consider it. There is also another deal for the annual plan and it’s a bit cheaper than usual, so if you wanna go for that annual plan… use this link here: >>> Affiliate Link for that offer <<< if you want to.

Either way, I hope you’re having a great time. It’s a bit late for this month’s choice but better late than sorry! December and 2020 aren’t over yet but we’re there soon. Hope you have some nice holidays and a great start into the new year!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Headbangers in Holiday Hell

It’s Christmas time… so it’s time for Christmas games with annoying elves, vomiting reindeer, lots of candy, and explosions! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, I’m talking about Headbangers in Holiday Hell, of course, the new Action Roguelite by Vikerlane that brings you the good ol’ festive goodness paired with blood, explosives, guns, and metal.

Developer: Vikerlane
Publisher: Hammer&Ravens
Genre: Action, Roguelite, Hack and Slash, Twin-Stick-Shooter, Arcade, 2.5D
Release Date: December 7th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent to me by the developers.

So, why do we shoot elves? Well, mostly because Christmas never changes. People get obsessed over it and turn into little elf-freaks lead by some bearded maniacs, so of course, someone has to stand up against them… and that’s us!

Inspired by Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Beavis & Butthead’s heavy metal comedy, Headbangers in Holiday Hell combines some absurd themes with Arcade-Twin-Stick-Shooter mechanics – granting you a rather entertaining experience.

When you start a run, you’ve got to rescue the Headbangers that are being held hostage by those bloody elves. Simply stand by them to untie them, similar to how you free hostages in the Metal Slug games. The catch is that those bloody elves shoot back and a lot of them are rather scary if you think about it.

Ammunition is limited, creating a sense of emergency when you run out and have to melee your way through missions. You can spend credits to buy ammunition or weapons but the same credits are also used for permanent upgrades that you can buy at the end of your run. Alas, you’ll have to measure if it’s worth it to buy ammunition or just try to melee and risk your life to get some drops from enemies.

Headbangers has a bit of stealth mechanics as well. You can use gas tanks and batteries to blow enemies up or electrocute them when there’s water around. At the same time, you can trick elves into watching the TV or you just “Rambo” your way through the game… but you’ll have to balance it to a degree as your hitpoints are important and as the game gets harder and harder as you proceed…

And well, there’re bosses and stuff as well. Fight your way through Malls and houses to end the Christmas tyrany imposed by that big fat bearded man. Honestly, I haven’t been able to finish the game just yet but it feels somewhat addictive, especially when you get so close to finishing off bosses or making it to new levels.

Runs can be short and painless or long and stealthy. I feel like that’s great for the current times when you have a lot going on and cannot spare too much time to play games. Alas, an Arcade title like this kinda fills in the gaps quite nicely, which is why I like it quite a lot to be honest.

And the whole premise is absurd and stupid – I just love it! Especially as the game is littered with small gags and easter eggs. On top of that, the game’s soundtrack is amazingly brutal. “In-Your-Face” Metal has to be done well and this game really nailed it. So far I haven’t gotten sick of it or anything like that… I feel like it fits the theme and premise of the game quite well and it’s certainly fun to have those hard tracks hit you while you blast through little elves in slo-mo. Check out the artist behind the soundtrack over here.

But not everything is perfect when it comes to Headbangers. When it comes to accessibility, I wasn’t able to find any settings to turn on a tutorial of sorts. There is a button for it that basically removes or turns on the tutorial-hints… but it left me confused at first, as I thought that I had multiple weapons and as I had no idea what the controls are like.

At the same time, the volume settings are rather limited, as well as the other settings, and I wasn’t too sure as to what to do when the game was too loud in-game. There are no settings in-game once you start the run, resulting in a frustrating experience of either bearing with it or ending the run and starting again. I would have loved for this to be different. Why can’t the settings just be in the game?

Apart from that, the art style sometimes makes it hard to see where bullets are on the screen while the controls feel somewhat sluggish at times, especially when you’re rolling around and dodging stuff. For a cheap game like this, however, I feel like the positives outshine the negatives by far, which is why I’m recommending this game to you.

You can find Headbangers on Steam over here. I feel like it’s a good game that certainly scratches that certain itch for Twin-Stick-Shooter Action and festive goodness. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Cheers!

Netflix’ “Dark” has me mesmerized

This is not a review at all… I just want to fanboy about this show that Ms Magi’s father recommended to me and that I finally started to watch. You may ask: What is the show in question? Dark! – Like… it’s called “Dark”, on top of being “dark”. This post will not contain any spoilers at all until I say otherwise!

I just started watching it yesterday and already binged through the first season, ready to go for the second and the third one. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’d recommend checking it out without knowing anything about the story and just watching it. Go in completely blind.

Stuff I knew before starting to watch:

  • It plays in Germany.
  • It is Netflix’ first German-language original series.
  • Bonaparte’s “Melody X” apparently also is part of the soundtrack.

Actually, Dark has been on my list for quite a while. I love Bonaparte and alas, was aware of Melody X’ appearance in the show through that… Ms Magi’s father recommended it to me a year ago… a viewer from my Twitch chat recommended it to me a few months ago… and yesterday, I just felt like starting it up when I arrived at my parents and was able to confirm that my sister indeed still has a Netflix subscription.

I often have had the feeling that German forests and some German places have this general feeling of uneasiness and ominosity that could very well be used in a movie, of sorts… and well, Dark does that. The plot takes place in Winden… but it’s not taking place in the actual Winden that is about two hours from my hometown. Most of its episode were filmed in Brandenburg and parts of Berlin, so the town is fictional – that part doesn’t matter though. The important bit is that the show’s tone, visuals, score, and the whole premise is ominous and, well, dark. It’s great.

SPOILER WARNING!

I love this show a lot due to its take on Time Travel and the influence of the concept of time on the human conscious. How does it change you when you meet yourself? How do characters connect? What happened to the missing kid? Questions over questions… and the more you pay attention, the more you are rewarded at the end of each season. I love it.

NO MORE SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!

The show is sinister and really well-made. I love the premise and the plot. I love how it is complex and ambitious and how you have to pay a lot of attention to some of the details to be able to understand what’s going on later on… it’s challenging me and that’s what I like about it. The topic mentioned in the spoiler above this paragraph here is something that needs to be well-made but once you establish your cast of characters properly and explain their connections, you’re able to explore the topic more and end up in all kinds of places, which is just so great. 

Alas, I love this show and am looking forward to watching more of it. It’s been a while since I binged shows with no regrets and it’s been a while since I’ve seen shows with this production value. The acting, the score, the visuals… Fantastic. 

And well,… I’m not a fan of thrillers but this one has got me hooked, especially due to its sinister and, well, dark nature. I just love it and I love theorycrafting around it and can’t wait to talk to friends and Ms Magi’s father and other people about the show.

Post-Post-Commentary:

It feels weird to post again but to not be on my usual workplace. I haven’t seen my parents or my siblings in ages, and alas decided to visit them over the winter break. I isolated myself for three weeks before this to be 100% safe that I won’t contract it to my parents or whatever. The town I live in is considered a hotspot while there haven’t been any new cases in my hometown, so I feel quite safe over here and can get some rest over here over the holidays, while studying for exams and watching shows in the evenings. Still, not sitting at my desk is weird and it’s weird to live with six people now instead of just one flatmate… but it’s only for two weeks so I’m sure that I’ll manage somehow.

I hope you are safe over there and that you’re staying healthy over the holidays. Happy holidays to ya and a good start into 2021!

Cheers!

Review – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Ever since I started blogging, I wanted to try out different review formats. This ranged from long to short reviewsfirst impressions and even a Manga review. While game reviews (and more importantly, Indie Game reviews) are probably going to stay in focus for me personally on Indiecator, I’d like to try the occasional odd one here and there with a book, show or, like in this case, a movie review. Today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite Christmas movies: Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).

The movie is about the Grinch who lives just outside of Whoville on a remote trash mountain and who hates Christmas. While the Whos are full of anticipation for the upcoming Christmas holiday, the Grinch is out for revenge instead.

Starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, and Jeffrey Tambor, among others, this is basically the Dr Seuss book turned into a full movie. The rhymes and sentences from the children’s book got adapted into the movie well although slightly changed at times while story elements (like Cindy Lou Who being turned into the main character) have been changed to make up for the short source material. All in all, I feel like it’s a good adaptation although it struggles here and there to make full use of the concepts and ideas it touches on.

The narrator, Anthony Hopkins, initiates the story with the words “Inside a snowflake, like the one on your sleeve, there happened a story you must see to believe”. The Whos are a jolly kind of seemingly-pig-snouted people that live in Whoville and are eager to celebrate their favourite holiday. Marching with a band and swarming into the stores, everything seems to brim with life and joy. The only one who questions the mass of presents that people are buying is Cindy Lou Who, a young Who that not only likes Christmas but also ends up asking the important questions. 

As time goes on, she begins to question whether the Grinch is truly mean and evil and if there’s more to the story. As we find out, the Grinch was raised like any other child but always seemed different, hating Christmas and having a beard at the age of eight. Being the target of bullying scarred him for life which is why he now spends his time in solitude with his dog, Max, on a garbage mountain – dreading the upcoming 1000th Whobilation! 

Jim Carrey is truly shining in his role as the Grinch, bring the titular character to life. He’s taunting and sneaking, sneering and snorting, dreading the day of Christmas and really seems to be this mean-spirited mind that just seems to be there to ruin other people’s days. All of this is directed well and while I love his acting and the expressions that Carrey is able to pull off, I’m not entirely sure if it really was that important to focus more on his demeanour. Like, I get it. The Grinch is supposed to be this bad green guy living alone while everyone seems jolly and cheerful in the city. The contrast is established well and it works. But as time goes on, I would have loved to see some change. Instead, the movie focuses on the mean parts of the Grinch (and his backstory) whenever they show the Grinch… but the Grinch doesn’t get all that much screentime to really add depth to the character. 

Most of the movie, after all, revolves around the Whos and most importantly, Cindy. While she’s adorable in her role and always curious about people’s intentions and feelings, I just feel like the movie has not done enough with its characters. Cindy feels like more of a plot device than an actual figure in a story, let alone the main character.

The Whos of Whoville, adults and children alike, are all endazzled and charmed by Christmas anticipation. They all just follow tradition and follow their leader, the antagonist of the story played by Jeffrey Tambor. Nothing seems to change, everything is the same and it gets boring. The characters of the story shouldn’t be as tolerant with the status quo. If I was a Who and if I was looking forward to the big day like that, I’d want to make it the best Christmas ever. I’d want to make it even better than before. 

The only character with intentions like that is Cindy who joyfully nominates the Grinch as the Cheermaster for the 1000th Whobilation! The audacity! I like it!

While it’s an interesting twist in the story, it seems as if Cindy is only there so that the story can move forward. Without Cindy, the Grinch wouldn’t have come down over Christmas. Without Cindy’s goodwill and intentions, the Grinch wouldn’t have been driven to the point where he’d steal the Christmas presents. Without Cindy, the Whos in Whoville wouldn’t have understood that Christmas isn’t all about presents and spending money but rather about spending this great holiday with the people you love and appreciate. Cindy’s a great character, don’t get me wrong, and Taylor Momsen did a great job bringing life to this pig-snorted girl… but there could have been more. There could have been a change in the people at an earlier time in the movie. When the Grinch finally arrives to get his award, the Whos are frightened by his appearance and his manners… but all of a sudden they just flick the switch and they accept that he’s just as much a Who as everyone else.

Being a kids movie, I understand that the gags and gimmicks, the jokes and little sketches, and all of that are important to fill out air… but I feel like the movie could have had so much more than just that. There could have been more change, more on the topics of “What is Christmas about?” and “What makes a good Who a good Who?” but instead… it just falls flat. Adults will enjoy the occasional innuendo or dark joke here and there, that completely went over my head when I watched it ages ago. Christine Baranski, playing Martha May Whovier, really adds a… different flavour to the movie. But personally speaking, while I love the movie and the characters, I would have wished for more. I would have liked it if they went more in-depth with how the Grinch, the titular character, feels and changes, but they ended up merely touching on it instead, leaving much to desire for boring people like me.

The plot itself works, though. It’s a great movie. It made me chuckle plenty of times and the occasional song here and there really made it all the move enjoyable. The world of the Whos and the Grinch is wonderfully Christmas-y and glim and bright but while red is one of the main-colours, it’s not as bright and shiny as Santa’s clothes… but rather dark and muddy, showing that there is more potential for this Christmas to become better and showing that there lies more under the wrapping paper and mistletoes.

All in all, a great movie to watch with your loved ones in this wonderful time, despite the criticism that I had at the depth of the topics and subjects that the movie touches on. I’d really recommend it to ya if you’re still searching for a great movie to watch. It’s twenty years old at this point and, believe me, or not, Ms Magi hasn’t seen it until last Saturday and she loved it to bits.

Finishing post-review thoughts: 

I haven’t really thought about how to write movie reviews before. I would have thought that it works the same as with game reviews where you start at one point, start writing, look into your notes, and just end up finishing it up eventually. Movie reviews are different as you need to be more aware of spoilers and what you can talk and cannot talk about. With Christmas movies, you basically know how it’s going to turn out anyway, so that’s a different story, but personally speaking, I’m not entirely sure if my thoughts on it aren’t potentially too analytical or if they maybe even go too far into the interpretation. 

After writing it up, I wanted to see if Peril has written about this movie in particular yet but apparently, there is no post on it available just yet. As far as other reviewers out there go, I don’t really like the style of many others and hence just didn’t check on other bloggers, but I’m sure there will be plenty of critics out there, just waiting to give me feedback on my first-ever movie review. I’d appreciate that a ton. In hindsight, this post turned out quite well. It doesn’t really feature any spoilers and while it doesn’t go too in-depth on the movie’s score and the graphics and all of that, I feel like it’s still a solid review. Maybe straying away from the visible and audible was a good choice after all, though, as I have no clue about componists and that kind of stuff.

And yes, I criticised the story somewhat… and I referred to the Whos as pig-nosed characters… But I feel like you can criticise something and still like it… and the Whos do kind of look like they’ve got inverted pig-snouts on their faces… I mean, they’re adorable… but also kind of weird, which is great.

Anyways, I hope you’re having a great time. Stay safe and healthy and regardless of what’s going on and how 2020 has been, I wish you a few happy holidays, a merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Cheers!

I’m excited about Endless Dungeon

From time to time, I’ve mentioned in several blog posts how one of my absolute favourite games is Dungeon of the Endless by AMPLITUDE Studios. It has a nice gameplay loop of exploring, defending, and eventually bailing out with the Crystal, on top of having a phenomenal soundtrack, adorable pixel art, and a nice difficulty curve. 

On December 11th, however, I found an announcement in my Steam client on the Dungeon of the Endless tab! AMPLITUDE Studios announced their new title, Endless Dungeon, and with it a whole new trailer.

Endless Dungeon is set in the Endless universe, similar to all of Amplitude’s games, and will feature similar gameplay to Dungeon of the Endless. As its spiritual successor, Endless Dungeon will be a mix of Tower Defense systems and Roguelike-Action but more polished and more refined. A whole new art style will give it more vibrant and spacey vibes.

Overall, I’m more than excited or hyped about this new game. I loved the old game to bits and am really looking forward to the same old game but in an isometric perspective, with updated character models, new characters, new items and monsters, as well as a plethora of potential new gameplay systems.

Bunker!

Another great title that I count towards my favourites was Risk of Rain which got a successor in a new perspective as well last year: Risk of Rain 2. I love it when franchises take a new direction with their games and explore new dimensions, sometimes literally. 

I just hope that Endless Dungeon will be as punishing as the first game and that it features an equally enigmatic and wonderfully crafted soundtrack, as well as some fun lore to see how it ties into the rest of the Endless universe.

The trailer itself looks a bit more action-packed but the announcement they posted clearly states that it’s turn-based “take a breather before opening another door only to get swarmed by monsters” goodness, much to my liking… because I loved that about Dungeon of the Endless in the first place. 

Alas, I’m super excited to write about it in the future and potentially even review the full game once it releases. I’m already hyped about the music potentially taking a new direction. I really hope that the Beastmaster is in that game, too, as it’s by far my favourite character in the first game. Apart from that, I hope that characters from other games make it into Endless Dungeon as well, since I loved seeing the Team Fortress 2 characters come to live and interact with other characters from a different universe… all inside of an elevator. 

As far as characters go, there are a total of twelve planned for release with three already having been made public: Zed, Shroom, and Bunker. For Bunker, there is currently a vote going on over at the game’s website for an exclusive skin coming out on release (please vote for Braverheart, thank you). The characters so far look quite interesting with Bunker having some sort of Shielding-ability and Shroom being a special character working around research and using plants for combat, while Zed has some engineering capabilities. The weapon classes for these aren’t shown yet but Bunker and Shroom look like they’re using pistols/guns while Zed could potentially use some of the bigger guns. I wonder if they’ll change the weapon system or if it’s still going to be fixed weapons for your characters with a unique skill-system for all of the characters.

An improvement that I would like to see would be different build-paths for the characters with things you could specialise in or enhancements to make before the run, akin to how Hades is handling things. In a similar way, research and the skills/levels could be handled in a skill-tree fashion, potentially, which could look quite nice. Either way, I’m already loving the bits and pieces of lore that can be found on the website and the foreshadowing towards NPCs found in the Saloon of the station that you’re trapped on that could provide you more of a story than the first game.

You can wishlist and follow Endless™ Dungeon over here and if you wanna, check out Dungeon of the Endless™ as well… and let’s play some time together! 🙂 The game will be out on PC, the Switch, the PS4, the PS5, the Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S and I hope there are new news available soon.

Cheers!

Looking forward to Call of Myth

There is just something about H.P. Lovecraft’s universe and stories that one could describe as “out of this world”. The way Lovecraft manages to cast a spell on you and get you to devour his stories sentence after sentence, word after word, is truly enigmatic. Not to mention that the topics of his stories and the genre of Cosmic Horror generally offer a lot of creative freedom when it comes to other sorts of media like video games, movies, stories, books, etc.

Today I wanted to write about Call of Myth, an upcoming CCG with some rather interesting mechanics that you need to try out for sure. Just like in other CCG, your cards feature traits, effects, and stats. The attack stat determines the amount of damage your card deals to the target enemy while the health stat determines how much damage your ally can take. Apart from that, CoM introduces a sanity-stat that works around the Madness-effect that your deck has.

Developer: Kadath studio
Publisher: Kadath studio
Genre: Lovecraftian, CCG, Strategy, Card Game, Free-to-Play
Release Date: Soon! - Demo: December 15th, 2020
Played on: PC
Available on: PC, Android, iOs
Copy was sent by the developers.

When your creature dies, your terror increases, resulting in creatures with a sanity stat equal or below the terror stat to go mad. There are a few different statuses that madness can inflict, like Depression, for instance, which increases a random card’s cost in your hand by one per proc. Other madness statues include Masochism which deals damage to target creature equal to its attack, Despair which reduces the creature’s strength by half and Mania which reduces the cost of a random card in the opponent’s hand by two!

This Sanity/Terror/Madness mechanic is really interesting as it changes how you play the game. Hastur, one of the leaders, can make an enemy lose all of its sanity to activate your madness. Other cards destroy insane creatures, steal them or have other interesting mechanics among them.

On top of that, the game plays in two lanes, making positioning rather important. You can only place melee characters in the front row and gunslingers in the back, although there are also a lot of flexible characters that can be placed anywhere. Gunslingers can attack without getting attacked back while Non-Euclidean characters can ignore the Melee row to attack the enemy leader. There are a lot of possibilities with this game design and I really like a lot of its mechanics. Pair those with the items, spells, events, and other cards, and you’ve got a fantastic CCG that rivals in my opinion other more established CCGs without any issues.

Apart from that, there are also plenty of leaders with their own abilities and features. C’thulhu has regeneration when your health is at ten or below while Yog-Sototh’s events cost one energy less.

Every turn your maximum energy pool is increased by one whereas your Research-ability (draw a card) increases its cost with each usage by one, up to a maximum of twelve energy.

I feel like a lot of the mechanics in the game are rather solid and this could become a nice alternative to other CCGs for players looking for a more complex design that offers a lot of creative freedom when it comes to deck-customization.

Apart from that, the art style of the cards and the background is just awesome and fits the whole setting. A lot of the cards have interesting names and mechanics to them that fit the theme as well and while I would love to see some QoL-features akin to ones in other CCGs as well in this one, I’m sure that the full game will receive a plethora of patches or maybe even include those once it’s fully developed and out.

From what I’ve gathered, the game is still in development but you’re able to play a demo, starting tomorrow (December 15th, 2020). The full game will be free-to-play and feature an in-game-store where you’re able to get cosmetic items as well as card packs, akin to other games. Despite that, there are also plenty of ways to gain cards and items through daily missions and free currencies, although I won’t know how fast you progress until the full game is out.

Either way, I’m looking forward to this title a lot and can’t wait to play with some of my friends who’ve been getting bored with Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra. You can wishlist Call of Myth over here on Steam.

Cheers!

One Year of Blogging!

On July 15th, 2019, I introduced myself as a new blogger who just started and who was planning on reviewing games on here and write about gaming and non-gaming related stuff alike. This post here is to celebrate one year of blogging… just a bit late. Uh, I’ve been meaning to rewrite this draft a couple of times and then other stuff happened. On July 14th, I published my third post on the To The Moon Play Along that Naithin organised and while this post was due on the day after that, I ended up not publishing it yet because I had big plans for it and wanted to make it as great as possible. The next post that I published was the post I did on Hyper Scape and uh… yeah, then I procrastinated a lot… and now it’s nearly 2021. 

Alas, don’t mind me as I post this post a few months late and as I “celebrate” one year of blogging… just a bit later. 

So, what happened in one year of blogging? 

Well, for the most part… Improvements! I changed my theme two times and played around with the colours and different options until I got to the blog and blog-layout that you can see today. I also started using Grammarly and started editing posts to reduce the reading time and enhance the quality a lot.

My longest post to date was my review on Moonlighter, featuring 21,897 characters and a total of 3,912 words spread across 52 paragraphs. The reason for the switch from long reviews (2k to 3k words) to short-ish reviews (~1k words, up to a maximum of 1.4k words) was mainly that I wouldn’t have lasted long if I spent more time on writing posts than on studying. I am still able to write up reviews as much as I want to but I don’t explain every mechanic, the control scheme, every detail or gimmick in the game. I end up talking more about what I like and dislike about a game instead of explaining what you, as a potential player, will inevitably see for yourself. This was a change for the better. 

Over a bit more than a year, I published 64 reviews as well as 31 posts on The Lookout Post. I also ended up going for 50 posts in the Gaming Journal, the category where I talk about other games and where I do first-impressions, and stuff. I’ve amassed a total of 87 Stray Sheep in this time as well and managed to finish nine MonHunLogs and six posts on Twitch-related stuff. I’m actually quite happy with how the reviews turned out and how much I’ve managed to write in this time.

Alas, I’ve published a total of 234 posts with 42 drafts sitting here, ready to be edited and worked on,… eventually. 

My most successful posts were the following (excluding the home page):

  1. Indietail – Fall Guys
  2. Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like mobile games
  3. Unlocking Lillia’s Haiku – a quick guide
  4. Destiny 2 – Getting back into the grind!
  5. Late to the Party #2 – Asheron’s Call
  6. How to not-promote your channel on Twitch
  7. The “How are you?” controversy and Fleeksie
  8. Valorant – My First Impressions
  9. Indietail – RogueJack
  10. Indietail – Drake Hollow

There have been a whopping 347 comments on my blog that were not by spam-bots. If you include pings and answers, we get a total of 461 comments. On top of that, we hit 107 followers on WordPress with the very first follower being Naithin who followed on July 17th, 2019.

It was a pleasure to see my posts on Drake Hollow do so well, especially as I was really excited about this title!

Through Twitch and WordPress, I was able to hit 183 followers on Twitter, although most views probably come through referrals and discord anyways. I’ve been more than happy with the amount of traffic has come to Indiecator, especially as I’m only at the beginning of my journey on here. 

As time went on, I’d often start a new series or something like that and would then see how long I’d stay interested in it. My Viridi-post with different bloggers as plants and that kinda stuff ended up being well-received but I ended up not getting another post done in the series as I, honestly, didn’t find any more time to read posts. I still read posts every now and then whenever they pop up in my Twitter or WordPress timeline but lately, it’s been a bad habit of mine to not comment or like as much anymore. University’s still keeping me quite busy but I’ve managed to at least stay relevant for Google and other sites, to the point where I even got featured in some “top 40 Indie bloggers” on feedspot (spot 11!)… I need to socialize more on WordPress and get to know more people but that post ended up getting trashed.

An old relic of the blog: The ever-changing Dr Pepper header image!

As for other posts that ended up getting trashed, I never got back to my review on Ori and the Blind Forest or the series of posts that I wanted to do on Destiny 2 Raids… at this point in time, it’s probably time to delete some of the drafts as the raids in question got vaulted. 

Seeing that my post on Destiny 2 is still doing fairly good, I may post more on that topic. I have four more posts in line that have nothing to do with vaulted raids but I haven’t gotten around to editing them just yet and uh… they may not be the most relevant right now. 

My post on Self-Promotion on Twitch is also still getting traffic, so I gotta post more in the Bleeding Purple category that I set up! 

My post on Raid Shadow Legends is also doing really well, still, so maybe it’s time that I finish editing my post on AFK Arena and that I hit “publish” for once… 

My Witcher-Post was the most popular post for the very first few months but eventually… Fall Guys came. And everything else.

Either way, as for reviews (the main piece of my blog), I’d like to mention that there are still plenty of titles to go through. My Steam library alone, features 451 Indie games that I haven’t played at all yet, as well as a hundred or so that I have played already but haven’t reviewed yet. On top of that, there are some Kickstarter and EA games that I’ve backed and supported, that I need to write about in the near future before they get finished. 

My Steam library has been growing lately as well but I did manage to play through some titles in the Late to the Party category as well as on Stream and through my reviews. There are still about 942 unplayed games, though, so, I hope that I’ll have plenty of time to review games in the future as well. 

Alas, Indiecator went from “the guide through the Indie jungle” to a “weird but charming” blog where I don’t fangirl too much about Dr Pepper anymore and instead, talk about Indie games and Streaming and games in general really… It’s been a ton of fun to write about the things I love so far and I’m looking forward to getting better at it in the future as well. 

Stuff that I want to do in the next few years of blogging:

  • Review more games!
  • More franchise-playthroughs and write about those (Late to the Party)
  • Write more posts on Twitch growth and that kind of stuff
  • Meddle with video content (reviews, podcasts, etc. -> YouTube)
  • I’d love to host guest posts in the future or to finish up the guest posts I had prepared for other blogs.

I feel like that’s quite a list to go for. Maybe I’ll manage to get some of that done in 2021 already. Will have to see about that!

Cheers to one year of blogging and cheers to many more!