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Performance of this website

Hey guys,

I’ve been looking at the performance of this blog for a little while and I feel it can do much better. This is also from knowing some of the underlying mechanics of the webservers due to my job. I wouldn’t want to do it through caching, but instead using the underlying mechanics. As such I think I want to test the site using NGinX and then continue onto HHVM for the blog. I’m pretty sure that the forum won’t run properly on HHVM, so this will end up being more tricky.

But before I start doing these things I was wondering what you think of the speed of the website, so please vote below!

How is the speed of this website?

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Elder Scrolls Online main story

I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online for a while, albeit not as much as I’d like to due to time constraints, and recently completed the initial leveling up to level 50. I’d like to share my thoughts on this part of the game as this should be a turning point in the game.

You start the game off as a Soul Shriven, captured in a dungeon in Coldharbour, a realm controlled by Molag Bal of Elder Scrolls fame. You then escape through help of Varen Aquilerios. You then proceed to move through an alliance’s controlled realm and help various people and towns with what problems they have. You do this depending on what alliance you picked (Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion & Ebonheart Pact).

Elder Scrolls Online Alliances

Meanwhile the threat of Molag Bal is becoming bigger and you end up calling in favors of the different leaders and uniting the fighter and mage guilds to fight off Molag Bal. You then go to Coldharbour and here you first have to explore and find the members who travelled in there. As you do that you can help them out and send them to the town in Coldharbour. This is the first time it was really noticable going through a zone where you don’t have a nearby town that you can go to to sell your items or repair etc.

The quests in Coldharbour were also more interesting because of the deadra that were there, they would have interesting interpretations of certain events or actions. I liked that change of pace as some of the quests become more involved and you had different choices. What I liked even more is that some of the choices would have an impact in future quests in the zone and in the final encounter.

Molag Bal

After finding all the people you need, you will start to mount an assault on Molag Bal’s fort and you will be fighting many stronger and bigger enemies, which was very cool. The design of the encounters was very grand and impressive looking. Especially during the final encounter you can see Molag Bal standing and cursing at you, while he’s throwing fireballs at you. All in all this encounter was quite difficult and felt new. I died several times, but it felt great to go through it and kick Molag’s ass. During this there are also some plot twists during it, which I won’t spoil as I really liked them.

After you complete the main story line you become Veteran Rank 1 (out of a maximum of VR14 currently) and you can go through the other alliance’s territory while facing Veteran Rank enemies. This is from what I’ve heard the longest section of the game as leveling will take much longer compared to level from level 1 to 50. I’m looking forward to it, as there will be more tough dungeons, trials and other new zones to do. I am very much looking forward to all the current and upcoming content!

 

 

 

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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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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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Steam Summer Sale 2014

The Steam Summer Sale happened and I grabbed some games there. I didn’t get oo many, because I already own a lot of them and some I didn’t care for.
I also have to admit that I only briefly looked at the frontpage daily and didn’t look further than that.
These are the games I ended up picking up:

  • Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Edition
  • Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Game Dev Tycoon
  • Brutal Legend
  • Payday 2
  • State of Decay
  • Agarest: Generations of War
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch