Blaugust 2016 Day 9 – The Last Leviathan First Impressions

The Last Leviathan is currently a fairly unique game, at least in my own experience, though I have heard it compared to a game called Besiege. The game is at it’s heart a ship building simulator allowing players to build anything from a small raft to a massive multi-gunned battleship. As easy as this may sound, the game very heavily incorporates physics, so overweight one side, the vessel will tip over as soon as it hits the water (as  I discovered on many building attempts)

In its current form, the game has Creative mode, where you play around with the tools to create your different vessels, Battle Seas where you get to take on ever increasingly more powerful NPC vessels, Versus mode where you can battle your own creations or those in the Steam Workshop and finally events that allow the Devs to pit players against special challenges.

There is another mode in the works, the one I’m most interested in, Voyage Mode, which potential will be more of an adventure style mode. This should also introduce sea monsters and the titular Last Leviathan.

Still in Early Access, The Last Leviathan has a way to go but even with what you can do now, it’s well worth £6.99 on Steam . Here’s the Official Trailer.

This post is part of Blaugust 2016, an initiative to Blog throughout August. For more information visit the Tales of the Aggronaut Blog

Blaugust 2016 Day 8 – Guest Post – Author Nick Cole – Hey! You got your Game in my Idea!

I’m both excited and incredibly humbled to host a post from one of my favourite writers of the moment, Nick Cole, author of Soda Pop Soldier and CtrlAltRevolt who when asked to write a short piece on gaming and writing came up with the following opus. If you haven’t already, go check out his work and thank me later. Take it away, Nick…

Hey!  You got your Game in my Idea!
Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  We take ‘em for granted nowadays.  Like peanut butter and chocolate are some naturally occurring substance.  Imagine that farm!  But, back in the day, before all this, there was some genius who put those two together for the first time… and the world was forever changed.  Even early Reese’ Campaigns focused on the craziness of such a concept as combining peanut butter and chocolate… as though only some idiot savant or mad genius might dare violate the laws of time and space to get their flavor on.

Puttin’ stuff together…  Sometimes it’s crazy enough to work, and, other times it’s an awful disaster.

Nowhere is this more evident in the world of video gaming.  Some concepts work.  Some spiral downward and pancake in a glorious conflagration of internet rage and hot potato corporate blame.  Who would’ve ever thought a game likeMinecraft would storm the entire world.  And like most games it’s merely a conglomeration of concepts that fit together nicely.  Blocky eight bit nostalgia, farm sim, and lego.  Go kill a whole bunch of hours in your head.  My personal belief, and Minecraft proves this, is that gamers don’t need a lot of story, or background world-building.  I think they’re telling their own stories and sometimes the game gets in the way with how they’d like you to enjoy their opus.  But I digress.
It’s always an opus, y’know.  That’s what every developer wants you to think.  Including whoever made that SuperMan the Game.  Y’know with the rings.

I’m a writer.  And a gamer.  Writers are really good at putting peanut butter and chocolate together.  Our Pope, Shakespeare, basically ran around gluing history and black sheep family drama together.  And the rest of us have been doing it ever since for the occasional paycheck.  For instance, he would take histories and then mix in a lot of standard intrigue and family relationships, just like any of today’s Star Wars movies and voila, he had a show to stage at the Old Globe.  The Globe was essentially the Sixteenth Centuries XBOX One.  Except everything was multiplayer.  As in everyone watched the same show and even, often participated via insults or vegetables.  In fact, shows were written with scenes intent on breaking the fourth wall.  Scenes expecting the audience to get caught up in the action.

Neat, huh?

Fast forward to Now…

While Big Budget movies and Agenda-driven TV circle the ratings drain, gaming is becoming the next big arena for people to not only get involved in, but even watch via Youtube and Twitch.  And game developers are looking for that peanut butter and chocolate combo that will set the world aflame and earn them a cool sixty million in take home.  Sometimes they’ll do movie tie-ins in hopes of catching the zeitgeist of some nostalgia (Sorry Ghostbusters the Game but you folded a studio) or they’ll try to re-invent the wheel with a brand new Call of Duty or World of Warcraft (Which seem to be the two most popular things in gaming to re-invent.  Not because they’re awesome games, but because the Producer and Studio that’s going to pony up the front dough want those epic levels of fabled return.  So they’re taking a “chance.”)

Putting stuff together in gaming is fun.  And profitable. If it works.  If you nail Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

Like I said I’m a writer and I write video game fiction. Stories set in a world where gaming is huge.  Or a big part of the story.  Not stories set in a video game brand like Halo or Warcraft.  But stories where the hero is a gamer playing a game to solve a mystery, win a bunch of stuff, and hopefully not get killed.

In my book Soda Pop Soldier, my hero, a guy who goes by the tag PerfectQuestion fights in a massive MMO that’s a cross between Call of Duty and Battlefield (My Peanut Butter and Chocolate is a game made up of both.  See… putting things together J.) for a weekly paycheck from a soft drink company.  But he needs some extra dough so he games in this thing called The Black.  It’s illegal and its basically World of Warcraft meets the seedier side of Vegas.
(AAAaand… I’m putting more things together)

Truth is the public is turning away from movies
and their fantastic failures as of late.  They’re getting tired.  Whether it’s hacky re-treads of golden age nerdstalgia, or the fact that they, the audience only watch, something’s not working in the solely visual mediums.   Maybe they want to play?  Y’know, be a part of the story?  Get caught up in the action.  The gaming community is hot, huge and growing, and unlike Hollywood, which tries to shut down valid criticism by review sites so no dissent may be brooked regarding their latest re-invention of the same film they’ve shown you the past twenty years, gamers instead have always been passionately vocal about what they don’t like, and what they love.  And even though some people complain about that, well, that’s actually a strength for the industry.  Criticism weeds out the Suicide Squads and Ghostbusters of the video game world and challenges producers and developers to go deep and bring us the next big experience.  And we don’t like it stupid.  It’s got be smart. 

Games like No Man’s Sky are proof that game developers get this and they’re still trying to earn your buck with that WOW! Factor.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate can happen at any moment.  You just gotta try some weird stuff and see what works.  And if you do, throw your heart over the bar and make something you’d want to play.  I think that’s still possible in games.  I’m doing it in my writing.  I’m writing fiction about games I’d totally want to play.  In fact, next project’s looking like Twilight 2000 meets Civilization.  So… Game on.  See you in whatever that looks like.

Nick Cole is a former soldier and working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can be found writing books.

Soda Pop Soldier is Call of Duty meets Ready Player One in this fast-paced, action-packed novel from the author of The Wasteland Saga.  Gamer PerfectQuestion fights for ColaCorp in WarWorld, an online Modern Warfare combat sport arena where mega-corporations field entire armies in the battle for real world global advertising-space dominance. Within the immense virtual battlefield, players and bots are high-tech grunts, using drop-ships and state-of-the-art weaponry to wipe each other out.  But times are tough and the rent is due, and when players need extra dough, there’s always the Black, an illegal open source tournament where the sick and twisted desires of the future are given free rein in the Wastehavens, a gothic dungeon  fantasy world.  All too soon, the real and virtual worlds collide when PerfectQuestion refuses to become the tool of a mad man intent on hacking the global economy for himself.

Get it here… or here in the UK

“This smart combination of video-game action and stinging dystopian satire is meticulously assembled… [The narrator] manages to be a tough, snarky warrior battling his corrupt society’s worst excesses. This is a cheeky and enjoyable effort by an author to watch.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Gamers and action adventure fans will find something to like here. I devoured this book over the course of one day. I might have finished earlier, but work got in the way.” (SFRevu)

“With Soda Pop Soldier, Nick Cole twists realities and bends minds for a wild ride of an action thriller. Inventive and lots of strange fun.” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry)

“Without a doubt this book is going to be a classic gamer required reading. It is a science-fiction and first-person gamer’s nirvana. …This book is a five out of five stars.” (The Nameless Zine)

“Pumping action, and fantastic futuristic battle is matched with a take on modern advertising that I can’t help but love. I’m really impressed with how well Cole writes action, I did not want to put this down!”
Follow Nick Cole on Facebook over at

Or go to

This post is part of Blaugust 2016, an initiative to Blog throughout August. For more information visit the Tales of the Aggronaut Blog

The Technomancer Review

The Technomancer, Spiders, XBox One/PC £34.99, PS4 £39.99, Website

Currently on Sale on Steam for £29.74

The Technomancer is an action RPG, set a couple of hundred years after the colonization of Mars. You play a rookie Technomancer called Zachariah, newly initiated member of a society of mage-warriors on the Red Planet, skilled in combat and with powers to generate electricity that can empower weapons or fire a full on blast at the enemy.

The character has access to three styles of combat, quarterstaff, mace and shield or rogue-like hand weapon and gun and you can switch between styles mid-fight or specialise in one as you advance. The feeling is that you need a different style for fighting different enemies but I found the heavy hitting quarterstaff to be fairly effective against everything.

The game also has a system to bring along a team with you, each have their own skills to compliment your own.

The storyline is interesting and refreshing to see in a science fiction game, something we haven’t seen since the Mass Effect series (which this game reminded me of)

On the downside, the graphics are a little clunky and somewhat dated. You tend to look over this mid combat but it’s very obvious as you run about the world. I also found the cities to be confusing and with no way to view the map while you run, there’s a lot of switching between map and the main screen to figure where to go, something that has been overcome in other games using minimaps or overlays.

In the early game there is an awesome and fiendishly tough bossfight with a giant spider and this bodes well for boss fights later in the game. 20+ hours in and I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface, I look forward to playing through the whole story to how it plays out

Overall though, The Technomancer is a fun game and definitely worth a playthrough, if only while you wait for the next Mass Effect to come out.

This review appeared in a more truncated form on the British Fantasy Society website

Space Run Galaxy review from Passtech Games

Space Run Galaxy, PassTech Games, PC, £14.99, Website

At time of publishing, the game is available on Steam for £12.74.

This is the sequel to 2014’s Space Run from one-man French studio, Pass Tech games. It has been described as a cross between a tower defence game and Space Invaders and I think that’s a fairly accurate description.

The player works as a freight runner, partaking in various missions to carry goods from planet to planet for various employees. The ship is made up of hex nodes, with a central power core in the centre leaving the others free to carry cargo and build on equipment such as guns, shields and repair modules. 

These are purchased during each run using currency gained from shooting enemies and asteroids. Your initial amount of currency will only buy so much so the player needs to be tactical. Working your way through a level facing aliens, pirates and asteroids, the aim is to survive the run without losing your cargo (or your power core, which spells Game Over if destroyed)

Each run is similar to the game FTL but plays in realtime instead of being turn based. In between runs you can buy access to additional modules from local mechanics, trade materials that you obtain through runs and obtain different ships of various hex shapes that provide different builds.

It’s also possible to have runs as a multiplayer experience though I’ve not yet tried this.

The game has some 30 achievements on Steam and ton of missions to go through. Space Run is a lot of fun and can be challenging even for the most seasoned tactician.

The basis for this review first appeared on the British Fantasy Society website

Neverwinter Anniversary Event

I’ve been away from Neverwinter for far too long. There was a time when it was my number two MMO, after LOTRO and I spent a lot of time there. I created my own content, I played the mobile crafting version of the game when I wasn’t logged in to the main game and I loved it.

The story content was great and each zone flowed to the next, group content was easy to get into and user generated content in the Foundry added an extra layer to the already well polished veneer.

Then came the events, always well done with one small drawback that seems the same in events in every example of MMO’s, they are grindy as hell. I threw myself into the Winter festival a couple of years ago and all I remember of it was a LOT of ice fishing. There was a particular pet I was after and I eventually got it but that burnt me out and I’ve barely set foot in the game since, until now.

I recently got a notification of the game’s Three-Year Anniversary and naturally there is an accompanying in-game event and this called to me. Now it seems odd that the exact type of content that drove me from the game has drawn me back, but here I am.

As I really had no memory of how to play my game, I selected one of my lower level alts to jump back in on and try to learn the game from scratch. Elbereth, Level 21 Hunter Ranger was back in action!

Within a couple of hours, she was up to level 24, I’d figured out what was junk in my bags and cleared some space and ran a couple of simple quests to get used to combat again before looking for the Anniversary content.

The one thing I like about Neverwinter’s event content is that it tends to be all in one place (unlike LOTRO where it’s all over the starter zones) and this event is no different. Elminster, the infamous Wizard I read about as a teenager was in Protectors Enclave, the start hub and he had quests to hand out!

There’s a mixture of simple quests, like find an NPC in a particular zone, or retrieve an item then there’s a grouped skirmish that can completed daily. My first experience of this was great, the grouping simple as it ever was and easy enough that I didn’t get yelled at or booted for not pulling my weight or not knowing what the hell I was doing!

As with all such events, there are rewards to be had. A new companion in the form of a travelling minstrel (Seen juggling juggling behind Elminster above), a couple of lovely looking thrones (also pictured above, presumably for housing, that I’ve not yet looked into), a few cosmetic cloaks and armour pieces and a lovely new mount, the Jubilee Parade Horse.

One thing I like about Nevwerwinter is that you can view exactly what the items look like so you’re not just grinding without seeing the end goal. That mount is 3000 Anniversary coins, of which I barely earned 150 on my first day so not sure I’ll be grinding for that!

All in all, Neverwinter is still a beautiful game and if the gameplay can keep me engaged, I may try to level Elbereth to cap and see where that takes me.

Return to Neverwinter and completely baffled!

So I decided to return to a couple of MMO’s I’ve played in the past, Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. Both are Cryptic games so play in a similar way and both left me feeling completely baffled. When I logged into STO, the screen flashed with so many updates and messages I logged out straight away.

Then I tried Neverwinter and experienced the same thing. I’ve only been away for about 12 months, but so much has changed and even though my main was just 7 levels from cap when I left I now feel like a complete Noob. I have bags full of gear I don’t know what to do with, skills I don’t know how to activate and so many open quests and invites I’m left feeling overwhelmed. I managed to find a level appropriate quest line and did a few quests without dying too much, before running into a massive Dragon, that was apparently “Heroic Level”

I assisted in taking the dragon down, though I’m sure my contribution was very little and got more currency I don’t know what to do with. Maybe I should just roll a new character and start from scratch again.

Have you ever returned to an MMO and felt completely lost?

Post Blaugust Post Blaugust Post…Post

I have a tendency to write less rather than long rambling posts, mostly because I want to get back to gaming, so I’m glad I don’t have the pressure of writing a minimum sentence count, now Blaugust is over!

Today Belghast announced the statistics of the Blaugust on the Tales of the Aggronaut blog and they make for very impressive reading. 88 people signed up for the challenge of posting every day through the 31 days of August and 56 of those made it to the end.

Belghast has kindly awarded participants with badges for their blogs. This one you will see proudly displayed on my sidebar, the Veteran part because I entered last year and Conquerer as I made all 31 posts within the month.

 I found it personally challenging, especially as I was on holiday and travelling around Portugal for 7 of those days. Thankfully technology allows blogging to continue no matter where you are!

In addition to that, I was also fortunate enough to win one of the prizes donated by Kings Isle Entertainment.

My code unlocked a bundle of items for kids MMO Wizard 101

  • Grand Tourney Arena
  • Dyeable Destrier Mount
  • Squirerel Pet
  • Valiant Jouster’s Armor
  • Valiant Jouster’s Lance

There also appears to be a ton of store currency as well, so I know my daughter will love trying out the game.

So congrats to everyone that entered and thanks to Belghast for all your work in this.

Blaugust Day 31 – The madness is finally over!

Blaugust is finally drawing to a close and what a month it turned out to be. I managed to post every one of the 31 days, even while travelling for the first few days of the month.

During the time, I made a few new gamer contacts, found some great blogs and realised how truly impressive what Belghast and others do, writing every day, is. Some of these I’ll adding to sites blogroll, when I get around to it.

I have picked up 16 new followers on Twitter as a direct result and Blaugust and received a number kind comments on the blog. My page views naturally shot up, though oddly I posted an extra post that I didn’t tag as Blaugust (via my Indie Horror blog) and it got double the views.

I tagged each daily post with #blaugust on Twitter and titled each post such, as requested by Belghast. I also posted them as a Blog in Anook and on the Annok forum for each specific day. It taught me the importance of Social Media for spreading the word and even though it was at a time when Bloggers were supporting each other, the usefulness of such tools cannot be underestimated.

I also learned not to be so strict with Gamer to do lists. I’m not great at sticking to them, but I found it helpful to set goals through the month.

Blaugust has also helped me decide the future of my blogs. Shortly before it began, I consolidated my three blogs at but was still posting to each individually then exporting/importing. I’ve now decided that the gaming element will now be posted directly and my old will be left as an archive. The gardening and horror blogs, which I posted to much less frequently, will continue to have their own homes but will be cross posted to

So, thanks to Belghast for putting us all through this, congratulations to all the bloggers that made it to end, commiserations to those that dropped out early, hopefully you can try again next year…you can have my slot 🙂

This post is part of the Blaugust 2015 initiative. If you are interested in taking part, you only need to write 31 posts in one day, so good luck! Otherwise come back next year. All the information can be found by clicking the logo below.

Blaugust Day 30 – Chickengard!

To end ‘The Month a’ the Chicken’, a series of Chicken themed events on Landroval, our Kinship The Courserrim hosted a chicken race from Sandson’s Farm to Isengard, this race has become known as Chickengard. Here’s what our Kin leader Bredhe had to say prior to the event.

The Remediators entertaining at Sandson’s Farm

A Race to Isengard
for Truly Plucky Chickens!
2:30 pm to 5 pm servertime
Sunday, August 30, 2015
For all Plucky Chickens!
Hosted by Courserrim & Friends
Welcoming music by the Remediators
Meet at Sandson’s Farm, The Shire, Landroval
Race Start Time: 3:00 pm
Finish Line: The first step to the entrance of the Tower of Orthanc
Which plucky Chicken will be the lucky one to reach the steps of the Tower of Orthanc first? That Chicken will win a fabulous prize of nine companions (a variety of cosmetic pets from Roving Threats, Osgiliath, Gondor, and festivals) because, of course, Chickens like to talk with other creatures!
Plucky Chickens should seek Helping Companions and Tenders to escort them on this perilous journey. Any route to Isengard may be taken. Any stratagems and other gimmicks employed by the Plucky Chicken and its friends may be used (including external communications, or other tricks to help navigate). Plucky Chickens should expect the way to be obstructed by great dangers. Watch out for frying pans.
Candidates for the Chickengard prize should begin gathering at Sandson’s Farm at 2:30 pm. Instructions will be reviewed at 2:45 pm. A roster of Plucky Chickens will be recorded, then session play should begin within 5 minutes of 3:00 pm. The race will begin promptly at 3:00 pm.  Straggling chickens may begin shortly after, with the hope of overtaking Chickens down the road, but please send a /tell to Bredhe to be added to the roster before entering session play.
It is recommended that you be at least eligible for Free Range, in order to get a maximum of 8 hours session play time. If you have not completed the regional quests, choose one of the two-hour quests, such as the Rivendell run.
Only one Plucky Chicken will win! 
Third Marshal Ashigaru Trecalia will serve as judge. The judge’s decision will be final. There will be no Court of Appeals. Once a chicken reaches the steps, the race is finished.
The race went well, although only two chickens took on the challenge, Rozalinde and Gloompeach, but a number of Kinmates and friends escorted, and even Warden Pinestro came to their aid at the gates of Orthanc to take down the Troll guards (which got me the title Gatecrasher!)
Both chickens finished the race, but Rozalinde clinched it by just 12 minutes! Truly Plucky Chickens!

Images Courtesy of  Bredhe Lillian

EDIT: Attendee Freemark has kindly posted a video of the Remediator’s set for your enjoyment.

Video Courtesy of Timcoolish

This post is part of the Blaugust 2015 initiative. If you are interested in taking part, there’s still time to catch up, all the information can be found by clicking the logo below.

Blaugust Day 29 – Pax Flu and I’m not even there!

I seem to have suddenly come down with something, so I don’t feel good at all today but as we’re so close to the end of Blaugust, I just had to get a post in.

I’ve not had a great deal of energy to play much today, tried a little Lotro. Diaspora has made it through the Paths of the Dead, so is starting the initial Gondor quests. As she’s only 94, the quests and mobs are orange, which are great for XP but I have died several times, especially as I could barely focus.

Lil Knifesedge dipped into Guild Wars 2, which has apparently gone free to play today. Not sure she did a great deal apart from dying her armour, which is her favourite part of the game.

I also played a little Marvel Heroes 2015. Easy to veg out with mindless violence, especially with my favourite character, The Punisher and managed to get him up to level 49 so getting closer to one of my targets on my Gamer To Do List.

Plus, Big Explosions

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow!
This post is part of the Blaugust 2015 initiative. If you are interested in taking part, there’s still time to catch up, all the information can be found by clicking the logo below.