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Thoughts on: the future of Elder Scrolls Online

I may be a little bit behind, but I recently got around to watching the Quakecon presentation on Elder Scrolls Online and what they’re working on. First and foremost I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy the game, the universe and the world of Tamriel. I do have the map that came with the collector’s edition on the wall, next to my Middle Earth one, to give you an indication.
First of all, here’s the presentation I’m going to be writing about:

There’s summaries of the points mentioned in the video here and here, among many other places on the internet I’m sure.

The points that I’m most excited about are the Imperial City, new dungeons, veteran system improvements, spell crafting and new zones. These are very big changes which will add a lot of value to the game. One of the points which I haven’t noted is the fact that they’re adding good facial animations to all characters of all races. It’ll make all NPC’s much more emotive, which I think is a great feature. The voice-work is already really good, adding better facial animations to that will make the quests much more interesting. It’s truly impressive to behold.

They’re also going to re-balance veteran content and changing the way experience for that works, which from what I’ve heard seems like a good move. Currently as far as I’m aware (i’m not maximum level yet) there’s certain actions such as killing dungeon bosses which give you Veteran Points. But not everything you do will get you those, such as it worked while leveling up from level 1 to 50. This always sounded quite silly to me, why not continue gaining  experience the way you previously did? That’s exactly what they’re doing. I’m happy about that.

They’re also adding another veteran dungeon (City of Ash) which continues a story from a regular dungeon. I think this is a really cool concept. You do a dungeon with a story while leveling up, and at maximum level you go into the dungeon again to continue the story of that dungeon, which was previously left open. I love continuing stories such as these, and having played the dungeon in question; I’m genuinely curious how it continues.

Another huge point is spell crafting, you’ll be able to find components throughout the world from which you’ll be able to create spells, which you can morph in certain ways. This sounds like one of those systems which is going to be amazing. It also worries me a little bit on how they’re going to balance these options they’re handing players. I hope it’s going to be hard to acquire and properly balanced somehow. It would be very cool to summon a flame atronarch or create other awesome spells. The problem with this is going to be finding the balance between current skills and the new spells. you are still limited to the same amount of skills, so you’ll have to really think about what skills you’ll want to have ready.

PS: I really should share some of the art and pages of the lore book that came with the game, it’s truly fantastic!

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Upgrading GPU time – attempt 2!

Hopefully this second card isn’t DOA (dead on arrival).

Photo HD 5870 & R9 280x
Photo HD 5870 & R9 280x

Update: it isn’t. It’s working fine, though I expected some more direct improvement from it, but I haven’t done much testing yet at all!

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Upgrading PC is becoming slightly necessary

My Graphics card has been serving me very well over the years, I’m definitely happy with the HD 5870 card. It has proven to be a very decent card, capable of running even games such as battlefield 3 and 4 on my machine on a playable level, among other games. However over the last year the card has been showing it’s age. The performance isn’t decreasing, but it has been showing bright green instead of black or causing some screen tearing and even randomly crashing at times.

Crashing GPU’s obviously is not good, so it’s time to start looking into a new GPU. This then lets me think of the state of my system in general. There is an i7 CPU in there which is no problem whatsoever. The motherboard is a P6T Deluxe V2, which is acceptable, but dated. The real problem lies in the memory used by the system which is currently only 6GB. This was due to the fact that the machine wouldn’t start up with 8GB or more memory in place.

The motherboard is very picky about memory, which has caused problems before. As such I’m not sure I want to mess with it for now. It technically supports up to 24GB of DD3 ram, but there’s a lot of posts out there about people having problems with 8GB or more. So I’m thinking for now I’ll be upgrading just the graphics card and keeping it at that. This is also a financial question, of course.

Later I can switch up to 12GB or 24GB of 4GB memory sticks as an intermediate step. First things first; select a new graphics card for when the current card really dies out on me.

I did a little bit of reading and looking around and comparing to the hd 5870, and i quite seems to like the MSI R9 270. It seems like a good performing card which will give a significant boost from the current card, while being within my price range that I could spend on it.

MSI Radeon R9 270 Twin Frozr
MSI Radeon R9 270 Twin Frozr
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Checked out hearthstone

Hearthstone

I recently got nostalgic for the old times of World of Warcraft, and am curious what they did to it with the Cataclysm expansion, changing all the starting zones. This was caused by me playing some Hearthstone after hearing very good things about it and thinking it looked interesting when it released. And man, is Hearthstone some fun!

I have to make a note that the first time you start up Hearthstone, it’ll throw you right into a tutorial, which has delightful voice-over. It’s an extremely friendly way to explain the mechanics of the game, although I thought it took a little bit too long. But the game is very intuitive, and the cards themselves are explained in very little words, which makes them easy to understand, even if you’re unfamiliar with them.

After several hours I’ve played through the first “wing” of Naxxramas (while giving me a nostalgia-trip to when Naxxramas released in vanilla World of Warcraft), and done the first Class Challenge. I also played 2 Ranked games after I got used to the deck I was playing as a Paladin and managed to win both matches, which was very satisfying!
I’m very much looking forward to playing more Hearthstone, it would be great to play with some friends as well.

Now I’ll have to see if I can maybe play through some of World of Warcraft and re-visit the zones I remember and see what’s changed since all those years. This will obviously get in the way of me playing through Baldur’s Gate though, so I’ll have to see about this.

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Thoughts on: The Grand Budapest Hotel & Fantastic Mr. Fox

I’d heard good things about The Grand Budapest Hotel, and as such we gave it a shot. First of all; it’s a movie that wants to stand out and it does this by using rich colors in it’s visuals, a pace which is out of the norm and really charming dialog. From the first minute you’re interested in what’s going to be happening next, or at the very least you’re curious about the coming visuals that’re going to get conjured up on your screen.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel

The story tells a story about a bell boy and a legendary concierge who form a bond, and go through some ludicrous moments together. It’s a simple but elegant story, which luckily isn’t the major focus of the movie. You’ll largely be enjoying the show of colors and happenings, while the plot is happening. Which brings me to another point; the movie’s got a tempo to it, things keep happening and it has a great flow, you simply won’t want to miss even a minute of it.
I really enjoyed watching the movie, it being at least one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

After we watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, I looked into some other movies Wes Anderson directed and saw some interesting ones which I felt like watching. The first of those being Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Fantastic Mr Fox
Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox is a movie based on a novel by Roald Dahl, which I’ve personally not read. It’s also a stop-motion movie, which is a niche that I really appreciate if done well.
The movie tells a story of a fox and his family as he strives to do better for his family, but also he yearns for a challenge. He’s a great athlete and a bit of a fool, but an utterly charming character.

His plan is to movie to a better place in a tree, instead of a hole they’d been living in, and to pay for this bigger place he’d rob some farmers in the vicinity. These robberies are the main focus of the whole movie due to all the shenanigans that happen. But there’s also the part of his family life, with his son and a nephew. The thing about the family side of the story is that every subject touched upon will have a good reason and meaning behind it. It will touch upon kids feeling unwanted, a father’s favoritism for his nephew and the suspicions of his wife.

It’s a good movie, which will have you laugh and amused. It’s also kid-friendly and the look of it is adorable for all ages. Recommended viewing.

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Into The Grave festival 2014

We went to Leeuwarden (2 hour’ish drive up north), there was a festival mostly comprised of volunteers, which had a ridiculously cheap entry-fee because of that. I think it’s really cool to have a festival really made by fans, for fans of the metal genre.

It was a really nice day, in-between bands you could go into the town centre and shop, have a drink at a bar next to the canals or whatever you please. It made for a really relaxing atmosphere.
Though the bands themselves were nothing to scoff at either:

  • Megadeth
  • Vader
  • Solstafir
  • Gorguts (replaced by Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench)
  • Flotsam & Jetsam
  • HAVOK
  • Vanderbuyst
  • Hacride
  • Teethgrinder

With an afterparty by Mors Principium Est & Grand Exit at a nightclub around the corner.

As a bonus they announced a band for 2015 already: Sepultura, with the tickets starting at 6,66 euro. We immediately bought 2 for us.

 

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Wacken Open Air festival 2014

Last week it was time for one of the biggest metal festivals in the world, and easily the most renowned: Wacken Open Air, the 25th anniversary edition. It’s one of the festivals I’ve always wanted to go to and it was a great time for sure. I ended up seeing a lot of bands, some of which I never saw before, some of which I hadn’t seen in several years.

Wednesday:

  • Crying Steel
  • Roadwolf
  • John Diva and the rockets of love
  • Soar Patrol
  • Red Hot Chili Pipers
  • Vogelfrey

Stand-outs: Vogelfrey & John Diva and the rockets of love

Thursday:

  • Hammerfall
  • Saxon (half)
  • Steel Panther
  • Accept
  • Cosmogon
  • In Mute
  • Evocation
  • Convivium
  • Dunkelschon

Stand-out: Accept, In Mute
Bummer: totally forgot Fiddler’s Green played that day.

Friday:

  • Chtonic
  • Endstille
  • Children of Bodom
  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Apocalyptica (with orchestra)
  • Carcass
  • Nailed to Obscurity
  • Nightmare
  • A Pale Horse Named Death

Stand-out:  A Pale Horse Named Death, Five Finger Death Punch

Saturday:

  • Arch Enemy
  • Sodom
  • Behemoth
  • Van Canto
  • Devin Townsend Project
  • Amon Amarth
  • Fleshgod Apocalypse
  • Dordeduh

Stand-out: Dordeduh, Behemoth

It was all-together a great experience. It’s a good festival, and I might go back there, but there’s other good festivals too!

Groupphoto Wacken Open Air 2014

 

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4 days marches + Efteling visit

Since being home from my trip to Germany, I’ve been busy. The monday evening I spent going to a restaurant and after that we had some drinks at one of my town’s breweries. Then we went to watch the 4 days marches firework display which lasted a good 25minutes. After that we went to one of the music stages during the event and stayed there until around 1am due to it being my father’s birthday.

Yesterday we went to the Efteling theme park which is amazing. We spent the entire day there going in rides and we never had to wait longer than 30min for any ride, which is surprisingly good for a nice summer day. There were a bunch of new attractions since the last time I was there, the best being the wooden rollercoaster “Joris en de draak”.

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South Germany trip

I picked up my girlfriend’s sister from the airport in Cologne and proceeded to drive to my girlfriend’s best friend in Munich.

While there we explored Munich and also drove to Austria & saw and visited Neuschwanstein Castle of Disney fame.

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My last name is not the most practical at times

I’m sitting in the waiting room of the hospital for a check up for my broken bone and to hopefully get it removed.

My last name’s Arts, which in Dutch is a synonym for doctor. So I’ve been hearing it a lot around me. The fact that I’ve been sitting here for 30min past appointment time is not helping either.