Sometimes you find yourself in a very peaceful situation, managing your vassals and taxes and things like that. But sometimes… Oh boy, sometimes it becomes a right all-out war between ten different factions for one reason or another and it becomes really stressful. It always feels like I’m super closer to going game-over, especially when you have no successor in line, and your kingdom is being run by a regent because your character is below 10 years old.
I’m not sure how many of you may have played this wonderful gem of a game, as I feel like it wasn’t very popular, but it is one of the games that has given me some of the most fun I’ve had, ever. I used to play on the official servers and it was a glorious time. The thing about the game is that maybe it did shine so much because it was a rather smallish community. People knew each other, this led to scenarios where if you knew someone was online, they’d normally be out hunting one of a few people, so you’d have to be careful.
At the heart of Helbreath lies a simple concept, there’s 2 towns which are at war with each other. They each have a couple of zones adjacent to their city which would mean that those’d be safe zones (nearly totally). But then there’s a bunch of contested lands in-between of the 2 cities, and rather quickly after you’d assembled your basic gear you’d be heading into this contested territory. And frankly, there’s very few games which force confrontation as much as Helbreath. This ensured that you’d always be on your guard, especially considering the maps were small. You could run from 1 town to the other in 10-15 minutes, easily.
Then there’s some key systems which I really like about Helbreath, such as that you have to level skills up (Long Sword, Fencing, Magic, Magic Resistance, Mining, etc), for most of these you get something if you get the skill up to 100%. For most weapons you’ve mastered it which meant that you could now charge (run and jump) at enemies and use critical attacks; This meant that you could use a range attack with a melee weapon, which is super important. These would slowly recharge over time so you’d always be managing them in case of enemy players. And even as a warrior you’d oftentimes have some intelligence so you could cast simple spells such as paralyze and Protection From Magic which meant that you could stand up to high-level mages easier, or give yourself a possibility of escape.
Another thing I really like is the equipment/loot system. All enemies can drop some wonderful items, they’re just exceptionally rare. This meant that every single rare item had value and you’d be cherishing them. This could range from a simple wooden shield which would have +18% stamina regeneration, or health/mana regeneration. Or a weapon with for example +hitting probability, or one of the variants such as Sharp, Ancient, Righteous and more which had different effects. Normally there’d only be several of these around and they made a huge difference.
Then there’s the way the damage works, which is simply being displayed over the target’s head, which would normally in the case melee weapons be going by really quickly, assuming you’re hitting them. What makes it interesting though is the fact that little damage is shown as really small numbers, whereas bigger hits, and especially crits/flying hits (where you would send your enemy flying, sending them backwards several tiles) would be shown in big numbers, which was always exciting to see and it made you feel really powerful. That small fact, I think made a huge impact on the game, as you’re always striving to become stronger.
Many of these things are probably the reason for there being a Helbreath community that’s still out there. I still play the game sometimes myself, there’s just something about it!
This book is considered a classic, it’s near-impossible to never have heard of it, and so I figured that I should read it. So I did, and my thoughts on it are potentially controversial, it seems. I know some people who’ve read this book and claim it’s among the best they’ve read and I absolutely cannot fathom why this’d be the case.
The only strong case I can make for the book is that I detest it, largely in a story there’s some characters or moments that will at least give you something to enjoy. In the case of Catcher in the Rye, I have found absolutely zero. At best there were some side-characters who didn’t frustrate or outright annoy me. But by far the worst is the main character himself, a teenage boy who hates everything, and boy does he show it.
Holden is always talking about people and things around him, in that way you learn about him. Saying that you learn that he’s a whiny bastard that complains about everything, everything is shitty and nothing is fun or good. Everything annoys him and often I just wanted to punch him in the jaw to not be a little whiny bitch. You are supposed to relate to him as a teenager, or looking back to your teenage years, but I can’t do anything but despise him. Every moment I wanted to just drop it and the only way I got through this book was because I was urged to by others.
I really can’t say that I’ve read a worse book in my life, every second I’ve spent with this book has been horrible and miserable, the only good about it is that it’s meaningless and super easy to read through, so your misery shall be shortlived.
I love the Metro universe, metro 2033 was one of my favorite games I’ve ever played, so much so that I bought the book and now the sequel metro 2034. I was really stoked for the second game after seeing the first trailers of it. I thought it had crazy potential, so did it live up to them?
First off, I thought the start wasn’t memorable, it didn’t immediately grab me into the story as there were a bunch of people that I simply didn’t care about. I was doing the things I was doing in the first game, scavenging for ammo, hiding in the dark and shooting a bunch of creatures and people. It wasn’t until about roughly 2 hours or so into it that I really started liking the story more and felt immersed. But all in all, and it may be due to nostalgia, I felt more like I was playing a game than being truly immersed like I felt being in the first game.
The part where it really shines though is the part where you deal with the Dark Ones, that is truly wonderful. And this mainly kicks in from about halfway into the game, but man is it worth it! The last hours really were completely different and made me just want to keep playing and see what’s going to happen next. Though there’s some really dubious things that happen during the story, it makes for a wonderful experience, as long as you don’t logically think about it. And that’s where the game get’s the original book right, the metro is a living and breathing thing, not mere concrete tunnels.
That being said; what they also get really right is the atmosphere, playing this game at night, while you’re on the surface breathing through a mostly cracked gas mask and are running low on oxygen and bullets while big mutants are hunting you; it’s a marvelous feeling. There were moments for me where I was absolutely frightened, much like my pants were when playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Enemies are frightening, especially knowing that you might not have enough bullets, or even be out of bullets!
All in all I would say that if you like a good story and a bit of sneaking around in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a great game to play. You just have to endure the first couple of hours, it’ll be worth it, I promise!
Since the NDA has been lifted on the beta impressions I want to share my thoughts on the game (without risking my account). First of all; I really like the universe and was quite worried about this becoming a really bland rip-off of the universe, a worry shared by many. I have to say that initially in the way that it started I wasn’t really convinced otherwise. For the record, I played a Nord so I only experienced the Ebonheart Pact starting area.
First of all, the beginning is very hand-holdy in what it does, it forces you down one path, which isn’t very fun. It also is very slow to show the story it wants to show. Which is normally not what you want from an elder scrolls game. After you do the first bunch of quests you get to the tutorial zone. You get a tiny bit of freedom there, but it’s still largely do the main quest and you can do some side-quests if you find them.
After you get to level 6-7 though, you’ll get out of the tutorial zone and the game will open up a fair bit more. You will then actually be able to walk around and explore, find hidden places and whole questlines that you wouldn’t get pointed towards. The fun thing is that these are all optional and can have rewards such as titles, gear, dungeon-access and even skills. This is where the real game starts and you’ll also be introduced to some of the guilds in the game which feature real story-based quests such as you’d expect from Oblivion or Skyrim.
This is where the game will really start to show itself and shine, though I didn’t get much further myself, I have read about and seen people do it and you’ll definitely have a lot of things to do. Extra bonuses are when you get access to PvP at level 10 and to switch weapons with a button press at level 15. I’ve seen some group encounters and fought some bosses and it’s a great feeling, first person really leads to you getting immersed,
The real beauty of the game is that you don’t even think about leveling such as you’d do in a bunch of other (mmo)rpg’s. I really felt like I was occupying myself with gathering crafting materials, exploring and engaging in what I’d found. Leveling was merely a side-effect of having fun and it was an amazing experience which I really didn’t want to stop whilst playing. I always found myself curious about what’d be around the next mountain or what’s in the next house etc.
I recently finished the third Bioshock game after hearing very good things about it. I never thought that after playing the second I would play another Bioshock game. I felt that they really should’ve left the original alone as it’s an outstanding game. The second was a real cash-grab and it bored me, because of this I never played more than maybe an hour or 2. So I went into Infinite being rather skeptical.
I figured I’d play this game on the hard difficulty as I never had a problem with the original on difficulty despite you really playing it for the engaging story. And first of all, it’s a very aesthetically pleasing game. Though I can’t say it ever pulled me into the world, I definitely liked looking at it, the initial moments of going up to Columbia are really gorgeous. Though I say initial, it really is something that remains for quite a while. These sentences do largely sum up the game for me in a way, because it was a pretty thing to look at and I had some fun with it, but I never felt part of it.
The combat was okay, but never felt special. I also felt that a lot of the vigors they gave you were pointless, such as the charge or bronco ones as they’d leave you open to attack because you needed to be in the open. On hard difficulty I felt that I was a real glass cannon, that was often very low on ammunition in the later parts of the game. I ended up using mostly the sniper rifle and carbine or hand cannon to do some quick damage and dive back into cover and take enemies out that way. This worked for most of the game until the final sequences, starting from the moment you are supposed to fight Elizabeth’s mother for the second time in the bank. She absorbed so much ammunition to kill, whilst also reviving other enemies that attack you, where there was no ammo at all. I simply did not have any amunition to kill them all with. Also the fights with a lot of people and a Handyman? Ridiculously tough on the ammunition-level, I often had to run around to pick up any weapon I could and ended up using all of the ammo available in every gun lying around to kill them.
The story was at least better than the combat, though I still much prefer the initial game. Though I do like that Rapture’s part of the game/universe, that part was neat. But I think the ending went over a lot of people’s heads and it really didn’t make it obvious that Comstock is Booker, though there’s a line which states it directly… I felt that it was poorly shown and it probably left a lot of people confused about it all. But the moment where you see the multiverse theory at work with all the lighthouses while going through the beginning sequence again is very well done.
All in all I’d say that Bioshock Infinite is an okay game, but over-hyped. I’m also not sure if I will be going through the “Burial at Sea” downloadable content because of this.
This past weekend my girlfriend and me spent some time on fixing our documents for her immigration, so now we know what forms we still require. We then also requested the documents I require, so those should arrive in the coming week or maybe 2 weeks. This coming sunday I’ll be driving her to the airport so she can fly to Ukraine and request her documents we still need and get them translated. Then a week later on the 17th of february she’ll have her dutch exam, I think she’ll make it just fine if the practice exams are anything to go by, but we’ll have to see how her nerves are at that point.
On the other hand there’s some fun news as well as we went shopping and I got her some new shoes and ordered some for me (as stores normally don’t carry my size). I also ordered 2 Kanto Field Guides for me and my friend & pre-ordered “The Baptism of Fire” of the witcher series and “Metro 2034″‘s english translations which release on 20 and 27 february.
I haven’t updated the blog in 2 months now, which feels bad. I had several topics that I wanted to write out, but I’ve largely been really busy which has prevented me from doing this.
This is largely to due with the immigration of my girlfriend, we’re currently doing a lot of dutch together, so she can pass the immigration exam so she can move in with me permanently. We’ve been spending a lot of time on dutch to get her dutch on a good level, she did a practice exam several days ago for one of the 3 parts and she couldn’t score higher. So this has been a good confidence booster.
Another thing that’s been exhausting is the situation in Ukraine right now, the protests and revolution/war and what this might mean for us. This is because she’d have to do an exam and also pick up her visa/residence permit at the dutch embassy. The problem with that is that it’s right next to all the protests where many people have been attacked, shot through the head, nail bombs, grenades, teargas etc. So I’m very worried about her having to go there. But they say that the embassy is just working, so she can’t get asylum here or anything.
It looks like she’ll have to go back to her country within 2 weeks and if she can make and pass the dutch exam (costing 350 euro), we can submit the immigration documents(260 euro) for which we’ve started collecting documents already. If all goes well, she could theoretically be back in the Netherlands within several weeks, but it might be several months as well. We can only wait, which isn’t a pleasant idea.
All in all, it’s a long, tiring and costly process. But in the end it’ll be good as she can be here all the time and then we can look into getting the 12.000 euro it’ll take for her to sign up for 1 year of schooling so she can finish her master’s degree.
You may have noticed that I’ve not been putting up much videos again; it’s because I’ve been very busy lately working some overtime and on top of that my girlfriend’s moved in again until we can get her a residence permit. but for now she should be here until mid-february. The result of this is that there’s a bunch of legal things we need to take care of and prepare for her immigration as well as buy some household things etc.
I also managed to squeeze out a raise for the coming year of about 12%, as well as part of it being tax-free, so it’s actually a bit higher than that. So everything’s looking sunny side up for me currently, although it’s keeping me busy. So how I’m supposed to pay attention to the steam sales or play those games, I’m not sure!
I’m really stoked about the upcoming weeks though, it’s going to be quite awesome and full of action:
- The weekend of 7 december I’ll be meeting some Belgian friends with my girlfriend as I’ll be in Brussels, while there we’ll be attending a show of Gogol Bordello.
- The weekend of 14 december it’ll be my birthday, so then I’ll have some friends over and have some drinks together.
- The weekend of 21 december I’ll be Cologne and I’ll be at a Jaya The Cat and Mr. Irish Bastard concert with my girlfriend.
- Then there’s christmas dinner and some presents being exchanged.
- Then it’ll be my girlfriend’s birthday which we’ll moderately celebrate. We’ll then be drinking the wine we got on our holiday in France.
- Then it’s New Year’s which we’ll spend in my town and see the city’s fireworks from our bridge.