A wild ride

The last few months have been testing for me.

My girls been a rock, man I wouldn’t know where I would be without her.

Got the itch to change direction, paid for a training course, bet my future on a roll of the dice…and 3 weeks in went ‘bah not me’

Bad..bad StoneY

Anyway, got the word today on a new job in IT. As long as I pass the Justice Dept check, and my referee’s stand up, I have a permanent job offer. Big step for me, been contracting for years.

The thing with contracting, self management (taxes, GST etc) sucks arse big time and I fucked mine up bad. Realized a few months back, need that salaried role. So when I thought of changing gigs to become a Real Estate guy, I answered an add for ‘real estate apprentices’… met with the advertiser and they paid a 60k salary WHILE YOU STUDIED for the license!!!! 2 years at that rate, no commission, while you learned the trade and qualified. Sign me up I said, threw in my tools in IT and walked away to my ‘new career’

Goalposts moved…… ‘ oh…we don’t do that program anymore, now we want you to qualify, do the course, and then we will start you at point ‘x’ of the old ‘plan A’ now we have ‘plan B’.

Call me a cynic but I hate moving goal posts…

Decided IT ain’t that bad, spent 10 years building my reputation and skillset…. going back but only for a permanent role. And it was hard finding one, ended up heading back down the ladder a few rungs (but its a good thing) to where I excel, not just ‘keep up’.

Today I got the formal offer. Pending my passing the ‘not an axe killer’ MOJ check and my referee’s lying convincingly for me (beer bribes work, WORD!) I am again gainfully employed and for once…not the contractor. Not the guy who just got to know everyone. The suckiest part of contracting… just get to know your crew, the mission, the tools on offer…and you move again. New guy all over, every few months. It sucks. I had come to truly hate it.

Anyway this is a shout out to my babe, my girl, my gorgeous Fiance who stood by me through this indecision, lack of income, lack of motorcycle (another story as I sold the 1400) and a drought of income creating activity from her man…. she put up with it, made sure I knew she was in my corner and I love her for it.

I so needed to re-boot…recharge…get back in focus. I realized its years since I had a holiday and subconsciously I sort of think I took one by osmosis…(smashed Witcher 3 and all DLC at least!)

Anyway back on the horse next week. Maybe a black SV650 pony…we will see. Depends on how the test ride goes….

sv650

StoneY

 

The Aging Gamer

Hadn’t blogged on gaming in a while so thought I would share a middle aged Bogan’s gaming reflections post just for kicks and giggles.

Old Bogans

At a recent 50th, Bogan theme.

So as we age the argument over PC vs Console becomes less relevant.  By age 3(X) we have settled on our platform and unless a major world changing technology breaks through, there we stay.  I am a PC gamer, as has become my darling beloved other half.   Yes, Kelly got the bug, figured it was better to join me than stay annoyed at time spent ‘elsewhere’.  Having said I am a PC gamer, assassins creed is so much better on XBOX360… dual thumb swivels are just better for some game styles….but not shooters, or MMORPGs (which is where I hang out with my girl)

 

MMORPG – Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplayig Game (a freaking mouthful, even the acronyms huge!)

GW2 has awesome scenery graphics

Aint love grand

 

 

Mass groups to fight  World Bosses - Zerg!

Me n ma pooch gettin on the Zerg

Zergin for our lives!!!!

Battle Stations its a WORLD BOSS!

 

Dog got wounded so Porky came out for the end game

Chest of Loot

I have had GW2 far longer than my dearest has, but she has racked up 3,500 more world points and left me waaaaay behind!  I still enjoy GW1 as a side distraction, especially when carnivals are on.  But GW2, playing it in party mode with my girl, really is the dogs bollocks of MMORPG gaming.  The world is huge, with mega content and ongoing world story development.  Free to play once you have purchased, and loads of options to take in regards storyline, or world vs world, player vs player.
GW2 took a long time to grow on me, in many ways it has less to offer than GW1 and in many others it has so much more.  The fact more than 8 people can cooperate in ‘Zergs’ now is grand, in GW1 it was max of 8 humans in an area.  I have been in thousand player zergs and the games still smooth enough to play so that’s a massive improvement.  Screenhots here are of a world event Boss being taken out, the Megadestroyer.  About a 80 man/woman Zerg, any less it would have been a long fight!

GW2 revison 3 = score of 8 out of 10.
GW1 will always have a 10 out of 10 for me, merely out of fond memeories and lasting real world friendships I made.
Shooters!!!!

Flanked!

Opening a can of whipass. Say bye bye boys… its gonna light up round here any second.

 

 

Driving and grenade launching

Blowing up the bad guys

Shame to kill this guy but....he's gotta go

Gorgeous landscapes

 

Man have I been playing some Far Cry recently.  Played 3 and now 4, I have played the Far Cry franchise from the start way back when FC1 was unbeatable even on easy mode, the last boss was just so damn hard!  Ammo was always short, and the mercs or monsters heard you rustle a bush from 40 meters away and flanked you in seconds.  The AI in 2,3 &4 is quite predictable, making one fight seem like the last on a different spot.  Still, FC3 full points for the most immerse and ingenious story line ever given to a shooter (FPS – First Person Shooter to you non gamers).  FC4 added some neat toys, but was rather disjointed in its campaign story, with underwhelming outcomes or rewards for achievements.

FC2 I give a 6 out of 10, FC3 a 9 out of 10 & FC4 I have to say….7.

Also played some BF3, BF4, Hardline BETA (FUN!) and Call of Juares a western FPS.  All fun but the Western one stood out for fun factor, and the one on one duels, what a wicked test of reflexes!  Of the BETA of Hardline…bring on the release….but I wont buy till it has dropped in price…as always heheheh.

Till then I think the games I have will keep me and the missus busy for now.
StoneY

 

Guild Wars 2, a revisit.

Time to review GW2 again now that I have had it a while, about 15 months.

Gaurd tower

On lookout duty

 

 

 

 

 

 

With such games as MMORPG it takes months, even years to get fully immersed and have your characters and builds sorted. This has been proven to be so with GW2, I have even had to resort to having youngsters from one of our guilds teach me about ‘synergy’ and ‘combo’s’ hahahaha.

Now GW2 is showing its promise, and it is a promise of much, much more to come!
The glitches I moaned about in my first review are long settled with the trading post operating properly, and a strong buoyant game economy active in which it is easy enough to make the gold needed to progress with a little focused effort.
The game has also shown a complexity beyond my expectations, with the crafting disciplines, title structure, and a recent change to how luck works making it more and more fun to continue playing…

However despite the ‘living story’ adding new content every month, I still find it eventually became a grind, with the impulse to repeat dungeons or high return area’s to ‘farm’ still lingering over from the GW1 era. And there is always the ‘start a new character to play it through all over again’ grind to reach Level 80 on a new profession you may want to try.

Pretty game

Just chilling

I do like the gems system where you can use game gold to trade for gems, use the gems for account expansion. If I really need something from the trading company in a hurry (game boost or slot expansion wise) I can buy gems with my visa at a rate I do not find overly offensive, after all free server access for the life of the account means I pay no subscription fees. 12$ every 3rd months or so harms no budgets here.
For those who cannot or will not pay real money for these expansions, there is a way to earn it from game play (albeit grindy grind all over again to earn the gold levels needed to trade…)

Don’t get me wrong, I have the hours logged to know the game now, and it has exceeded my expectations totally.
My initial concern over the limited skill sets available has been overcome as I have come to understand the interaction and combo finisher synergies.
Also the guild interactivity is of a high level, always something to do and people to do it with. And you can be in multiple guilds so if ones inactive that day, go and play with the other one.

The Meta Events have been interesting, and have evolved as well with some Champion group events becoming easier for the smaller groups to achieve, and some of the dragons getting too hard to beat even with a train of 200 players going at them!

PVP and WVW (Player vs Player, and World vs World) are not really something Kelly and I are big on, but for those who like player vs player online combat in this sort of genre, GW2 surpasses any other game I personally have played in this area.
But as I am more a PvE (player vs environment) type, I will leave others to talk about PvP/WvW

I am not going to get into massive details on this review, just a quick blurb to say, OK I like it, I am keeping it, and will enjoy following the evolution and continuing expansion of this colourful, social and ever evolving role playing game.

StoneY

BRING IT

Blazing pistols fighting back to back with the missus.

Lost in the land of Tyria, GW2 personal review.

Not my warrior, just an image off Google Images but gives you a taste of GW2

Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a passionate online gamer.
In fact that’s where my nickname StoneY came from. Online gaming, and it followed me into all my following digital worlds like Kiwbiker.

Today I am having a rant about the newest version of GW2, a game I have waited almost 5 years for the final development and release.

A little history.
From Medal of Honor, and Combat Flight Simulations, to Guild Wars, I have logged many, many hours of online battle, questing, dungeon clearing and combat flight time!
I have saved Paris from Nazi conspirators, liberated the Middle east (by western standards anyway) protected London during the Blitz, Wasted Zero’s and Val’s in the Great Marianna’s Turkey Shoot,and rewritten history many, MANY times in my online gaming career! Oh i love the digital universe….

Combat Flight Simulator was the first (and still one of my fondest) online experiences, followed by CFS2 (The Pacific) then I fell into FPS (First Person Shooters) with Medal of Honor, COD, BF2, followed by Strategy games, then eventually MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) with Guild wars chosen over World of Warcraft for dedicated PvP combat zones and free server access.

Funnily enough, online gaming led me from working as a Truck Driver and sometimes House Painter to a career in IT, as I needed to upgrade my PC’s to play the next generation of games… and just fell into the world of IT!
From qualifying as a technician, to passing my ITIL exams and taking on Management roles, it has been an interesting journey, all spawned from online gaming!
So when I deliver my beloved her cooked breakfasts in bed every weekend morning, it is my way of buying some server time on the domestic agenda 🙂
(Love you baby, sunny side up or poached on Saturday? xxx)

Onto my rant (review?)

This post is about the new version of guild Wars, not just an expansion pack but a whole new game, with a whole new look, new combat system, and a new way of managing server access across multiple worlds!

I must say there is a lot of new stuff to absorb, but my first impression has been disappointment.
The chat system is crap, the trading posts we are meant to be able to use are offline, and to add insult to injury my guild kicked me out for reasons unknown (I suspect I spammed chat channel by accident)
In all honesty, other than the introduction of firearms and military engineering technology, I am finding it to be a hard game to gel with.

It is very much like WoW now, except it has been true to the original GW legacy by keeping PvP (Person vs Person) confined to dedicated arena’s which keeps more experienced higher ranked players from preying on newer players in the ‘world’ maps.
After waiting 4 years for this game it is a bit of a let down in many ways, but I must admit that I am probably expecting too much.

GW1 captured me full on from the moment I first logged on.  A mate of mine had moved to Greece and we chose it as a game we could remain playing on together over poor international bandwidth. It caught me from the first minute.
It was graphically very beautiful with the most stunning environment, the detail on the characters armor and weapons was second to none, even my WoW dedicated friends who loved to rag on my Guild wars preference would sulkily admit that GW was a far prettier game to look at with the most amazing environmental landscapes and vista’s. There was a robust tutorial period in which all aspects were explained enough to get you going. In fact in the Factions expansion the tutorial was way over the top, and universally hated but you LEARNED how to play!

GW2 has yet to impress on these factors. No real tutorial, just flashes of ‘help text’ that are gone before you get a chance to read them.
The graphics look less smooth, less detailed, and more like the cartoon look of WoW.
Although to be fair on the graphics, I am playing it on a very high specked laptop (Core i7, GT540m graphics, 4G RAM, SSD HD, and it plays Skyrim on full settings at 80 FPS so come on….) however until I log in from my main gaming rig I should be a bit more tolerant of the graphics…

The new combat system is more dynamic, with jumping, weapon switching hotkey, and is not so much a point and click with autotracking… probably will be a better system once I am used to it, but in a busy instance it is super easy to lose track of targets.

I think once I get a good guild tolerant of ‘noobs’ and stupid questions, the experience may well improve.

Forming a party has been another bone of contention, this new version as yet has not presented me with anything I cannot do solo, and finding someone to party with is extremely difficult (so far at least) but again, 3 days into the pre release early start, I may be jumping the start gun here, probably best to redress many of my concerns in say a month? Maybe 2 months?
Finding a few like minded souls who like to play the way I do may not be as easy in GW2 as it was with GW1 but i will persevere, I am not a quitter.

But right now, this game has yet to impress me, or catch my imagination the way GW1 did. I hope this changes, and maybe a better guild and more time to explore the new functionality such as Armorsmithing and such will help…..

StoneY