Blaugust Reborn!

Over the last few years (except 2017), myself and a community of fellow gamers have taken on a challenge set by a fellow by the name of Belghast (a veritable legend in our little community.)
This challenge involved posting a blog post every day throughout August. I took part as a best I could and when it was announced it was returning for 2018 I both jumped for joy and groaned inwardly at the same time. I knew I wouldn’t have time to take part given my new work schedule, damn, I’ve barely posted at all this year. I jumped on the community Discord server and announced that I would remain on the sidelines.

 Then I read the post by Belghast about the year. He spoke of burnout that posting daily causes and as a result the dwindling of the gaming blogging community, something I’d experienced first hand in previous years. As a result, the rules were made a little less rigid, posting daily was no longer a requirement to take part, so I decided to jump in. I might only write this post and nothing else. Then again, this has somehow inspired me to try out streaming again and I may post some video content as a result. I’ve recently jumped into No Mans Sky again so might  share something about that. I also have some games to review, so that might end up here too.

Either way, Blaugust has dragged me back in and I’m delighted. Oh and I must update my blog roll, so I am looking forward to checking out other participants and hope you will too!

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How PUBG reintroduced the excitement of multiplayer gaming

I’ve not been a fan of first-person shooters for some time. As age got the better of my reflexes somewhere around the 4th Call of Duty, I put down the controller and stuck with MMOs and roleplaying games.

When H1Z1 first created it’s Battle Royale mode, now known as King of the Kill, I dabbled but wasn’t good enough to compete against others, often biting the dust somewhere in 50th place. Recently this game genre has found new life in two big titles, Player Battlegrounds Unknown (PUBG) a realistic army sim and the cartoon-styled Fortnite. The latter is just too silly for me and I don’t like the building element that’s incorporated, but recently PUBG was released on mobile platforms and I grabbed it on my ipad.

I was instantly hooked. I found the controls easy to use and was soon gunning down enemies and making the top ten (out of 100 players) every time. I’ve found myself playing at least one game every night and the introduction of daily awards has only fuelled this. This week, however, I’ve found a new element, something I’ve not felt since early days in LOTRO, running dungeons with friends, their ability to friend and repeatedly team up with other players.

Notably, I’ve become battle buddies with two Italian guys, Antre and Davido, whose mastery of English is just enough to let us communicate. I love it, not only because of the fun of playing with others but hearing them scream at each other (and me) in Italian is hilarious and educational. So a huge shoutout to my brothers-in-arms, who have reignited this old gamer’s passion for multiplayer FPS. Long may it continue.

Genre Humble Bundle

There’s a great offer currently on at Humble Bundle

There are three tiers, $1, $8 or $15 with a great selection of genre books available for download, including Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 1, Neil Clarke’s Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 2 and many others, up to 20 titles in the largest Bundle.

As ever, Humble will donate some of this to charity and you have the option to choose a charity to support with your donation so it’s a great deal and a worthy cause.

End of Summer 2017 gaming update

So Summer has been very busy work wise and though I’ve had time for gaming at night I’ve not had a great deal of time to blog about it so I thought I’d post here to recap what I’ve been up to.

Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO – Jestro at Mount Doom

After a self-imposed exile of several months from my favourite MMO, returned to Middle Earth after  Turbine let go of it and Standing Stone games took over and I haven’t regretted it one bit. After burning out on Gondor, arriving in Ithilien was a breath of fresh air and the subsequent release of Mordor has kept me hooked. Running regular Roving Threats runs in the Wastes felt worthwhile, giving lots of useful currency for gear and reputation and despite doing it daily on several characters for some time, did not feel grindy and was a lot of fun. Mordor has ramped up the difficulty level, so even my best geared, level capped character, Jestro the Hobbit Hunter, needs to enter with care. I also set myself the challenge of leveling Jodri the RuneKeeper from level 45 to cap, but on the release of Mordor only made it to 85 and got distracted by the new shinies.

Diablo 3 
Diablo 3 – Sir Davvos

On launch of the newest season, I decided to dip back into Diablo 3 with a new character. I’m a latecomer to this game and have only participated in 3 previous seasons and have still not completed an entire season journey, a series of tasks to obtain new cosmetic gear and other goodies. This time round I’m running a Crusader and recently completed the storyline so now working up to level 70. This game is giving me a lot of interesting challenges and where I previously hadn’t hunted builds for the best experience, I have found myself watching videos to learn to gear this class in the most effective way.









Overwatch
Another game I was late to come to, as I’m not a huge fan of FPS games, but I picked this up on sale and I love it, at least in small doses. I’ve discovered that healing is most satisfying for me, so I gravitate to Mercy. I also dipped into the Summer Games event and playing a little LucioBall, a kind of 3-a-side soccer game using the character Lucio and his sonic gun, which led me to try out that character as a healer too. I’ll definitely be playing this game for a while to come.



Steam Summer Sale
This year I grabbed a few games on the cheap in the summer sale on Steam.
Five Finger Death Punch

Five Finger Death Punch is a fun little game, expanding on those mini games from a few years ago where you have a stick man samurai. The game is a lot more detailed with various weapons to pick up to decapitate and generally maim enemies.


Cannon Fodder 3








Cannon Fodder 3 is an awesome update on the great Cannon Fodder games on the Amiga in the 90’s. I recently played Tiny Soldiers on iOS and this is similar, run a number of soldiers around an enemy base and blow things up!











Neighbours from Hell I’ve not yet tried, but I remember it looking awesome when I grabbed it and I must make a note of giving it a try.

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft,The Folio Society 2017 edition. Book review

The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft The Folio Society edition 2017
The Call of Cthulhu and other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft, The Folio Society 2017, hb £75, Limited Edition £345, Website

Most horror fans have heard of H.P. Lovecraft, creator of what became known as The Cthulhu Mythos, and in particular perhaps his most famous story, The Call of Cthulhu, so I won’t go into detail of the stories here.

Instead, let’s focus on this incredible edition released by The Folio Society. I was kindly sent a copy of a base edition, a thing of beauty in itself, bound in cloth and blocked with a design by the book’s artist, Dan Hillier who also provides some incredible illustrations that reflect the madness of the stories. Dan is known for illustrating some of Neil Gaiman’s most beloved books. It is a tome worthy of the Necromonicon itself. The book is prefaced by the legendary Alan Moore, comic book writer, performer and Magician.


Illustration by Dan Hillier from The Folio Society edition of 
The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories 
by H.P. Lovecraft © Dan Hillier 2017
In addition to this beautiful tome, The Folio Society are also releasing a limited edition of 750 copies, bound in eco-simulated leather. The end-papers are hand marbled and comes in a magnetic presentation box, covered in blocked cloth and lined with blocked metallic paper. In addition to the black and white illustrations, it also contains 8 black and gold mandalas. This edition also contains a limited signed print by the artist.


Almost secondary to the presentation are the stories themselves – Dagon, The Statement of Randolph Carter, Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, Celephais, Nyarlathotep, The Picture in the House, The Outsider, Herbert West – Reanimator, The Hound, The Rats in the Walls, The Festival, He, Cool Air, The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space, The Whisperer in the Darkness, The Shadow over Innsmouth and The Haunter of the Dark.
Illustration by Dan Hillier from The Folio Society edition of 
The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories 
by H.P. Lovecraft © Dan Hillier 2017

The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories (Limited Edition)
by H.P. Lovecraft, The Folio Society 2017


All in all, this is a must for any fan of Lovecraft or serious horror collector and the base version alone would look incredible on any coffee table or bookshelf.

LOTRO Anniversary 2017. How to get those Niels’ Bounties.

As The New LOTRO Anniversary Festival Requires Characters To Complete Niels’ Esteldin Bounties, I Thought I Should Repost This From My Old LOTRO Blog. Some Of The Numbers Might Be Out Of Date, But If You Haven’t Done These Before, It Should Help.

NIELS’ BOUNTIES
Affectionately known by the Defenders of the Right as simply The Bounties, any call of such on kin chat sets hearts racing as everyone leaps on their 55+ toons to join in.
Simply put, this is a series of 5 daily quests, where the adventurers are set on a path from the Misty Mountains to North Downs via Trollshaws, The Shire and Forochel on an epic battle against 5 five fearsome creatures.
In this post I endeavour to make these quests clear for those that haven’t yet done them, and give newcomers an idea of what to expect.

This is Niels. He can be found in pretty much the central square of Esteldin, and offer’s the five bounty quests required to kick start the fun.
As the quests can be easily shared, it makes sense for one character to grab these, preferably the hunter, who will prove invaluable to the fellowship in these quests.

Once the quests are obtained, the first point of call is the camp in the Misty Mountains. The order is by no means set in stone, though my personal preference is to start in the Misty Mountains as this is the hardest and if you can handle this one, the others will be simple.
The camp site is just south of Helegrod and North of Gloin’s camp, this acts as the perfect muster point to gather the fellowship together. For Hunters that regularly run these quests, having this set as your campsite can prove a great time saver.

Once everyone is together, the fellowship need to make their way to High Pass (27.8S, 5.3E) and the lair of Rothlug – The Drake of Storms.
He is an Elite Master Drake with fire damage attacks, and 36k Morale. One point to note when dealing with him is he will throw you off the edge of the mountain if you’re not careful, so keep you backs to the wall and hit him with all you’ve got.
As with all the quests here described, loot and run to a safe distance, respawn is fairly quick.
Once you are sure everyone has looted and is together, the hunter can port to the next location, Ost Guruth. From Ost Gurth, take a slow horse to Thorenhad then part way through the Trollshaws, leap off your mount.

Look for the point where you enter a valley as that is the best point, but keep an eye on the quest arrow and you’ll have a good idea. From there, it’s a short run north until you find the statues of Tom, William and Bert, the trolls that Bilbo encountered and were turned to stone. Step beyond the statues and your next quarry will appear, Dhit the Troll.

Dhit is fairly easy pickings compared to the previous encounter, so do your stuff – slay, loot and run away to a safe distance before respawn.
Next port is to Michel Delving in the Shire. From there, it’s a short ride north into the marshes to find Mangemaw.

This giant wolf sits on a hill and is probably the easiest of the five. Kill, loot, run.

Next up is Suri Kyla in Forochel. From there you need to take a fast stable horse to Kuru Leiri. It’s possible not everyone will have this travel route in which case the easiest method is to summon once the party get there, but the route can be achieved by completing the quest, Frozen War which is obtained from Vamma in the main tent in Suri Kyla.
Once at Kuru-Leiri, it’s a quick run to the east to find the cave of Farathlug.

As the mobs in Forochel might be green to anyone at 55-56 you might have a few pulls, so dispatch them before approaching the cave. The cave itself is protected by 2 Ice Worms which need to be killed before Farathlug makes his appearance, but once he does, kill, loot and run.

Final port of call is Evendim. From Tinnidur, take a slow horse to Esteldin or Trestlebridge, as again you will jump off part way. The point to jump is a couple of bends after you pass through the gate of Evendim into North Downs. Again, keep an eye on the quest tracker and you can’t go wrong.

In a small abandoned ruin, Morrafn sleeps. Take out a couple of trash mobs before he shows himself, then let loose. Kill, loot, run.
That’s it! Now all you need is to port back to Esteldin, and in to Niels and get your rewards.
REWARDS
And now the here’s the reason for doing this
Rothlug. Simple Heritage Rune of Learning 35,000 + 6259 item exp
Dhit. Simple Rune of Lore 22,500 + 6259 item exp
Farathlug. Simple Rune of Learning 15,000 +6259 item exp
Morrafn. Worn Rune of Knowledge 10,000 +3779 item exp
Mangemaw. Worn Rune of Knowledge 10,000 +3779 item exp
So overall that’s 26335 Item Exps plus 92500 xps for specific weapons. For half an hours work! What are you waiting for?
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