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Ovirew Blog

Wrapping My Head around Microsoft's Unveilings

By now, most of you here on Gamespot have likely read the recent headlines talking about Microsoft's latest major tech reveals.

In particular, the HoloLens, and Windows 10.

I want to start by saying that I haven't looked too deeply into either thing. I haven't tried a Windows 10 beta, like I guess some people have over the past few months. I haven't read up on things much. And I haven't really sat and read every article on this website about the HoloLens. I've had my nose in WOW a lot. And aside from that... I just haven't. But I am intrigued by the notion of it all. Maybe overwhelmed, too.

The way I see it is, there isn't a whole lot I can do until this stuff is relevant for me, personally. Tell me when I can finally download Windows 10 already, then I'll want to see Windows 10 in action. Tell me when HoloLens is on the market and is something that I can afford, and use to do something fun or worthwhile with. (In all likelihood, Windows 10 is probably going to matter more to me than HoloLens in the immanent future.)

But anyway, in case you haven't seen the HoloLens reveal video... Here it is.

Essentially what I took from the trailer, is that Microsoft has created a computer headset, that enables you to literally place 'windows' in the open space in front of you, and control them with motion. You can create icons and images and modify the appearance of real objects in the hologram space, and communicate with others using the headset. Many uses, plausible or embellished as they may have been, were shown. These included walking someone through the installation of a new sink trap, watching a sports match and checking the weather in real-time, customizing a motorcycle with a special 3D overlay created on a PC and modifying its parts with hand gestures, and playing with a miniature Minecraft world` app right in your living room.

In all honesty, it was very impressive. I had a voice in the back of my head reminding myself that it all seemed embellished and a little too far-fetched the entire time that I was watching it. But then, even if a device could do half of what was shown in this video, that would still be some very interesting tech. I can already see a not-so-far-off future where we could all slap one of these sets on our head and use it as a real-time GPS device, with signs and markers appearing as 'windows' all around us as we move about. I can see us taking Youtube one step further and having step-by-step walkthroughs of things complete with holographic models and markers. To me, that is it man, that is the future. The future is now. Or the beginning of it, at least.

It reminded me a little bit of the technology Norman Jayden used in Heavy Rain. I remember that seemed far-off when I played it about 2 years ago, but now it actually seems like this sort of device could be very plausible. And we may not even need a special glove to use it, either!

Of course, I really don't want to ignore the things that make this technology seem too good to be true, either. For starters, a head-mounted computer with technology like this has really got to eat up battery life quickly - so this thing will probably run out of juice fast. I don't expect to see people walking around with these things on their heads for 24 or even 8 hours at a time yet. But, what do I know.

There's also the matter of how this thing connects to the Internet, because I'm pretty sure it will need to in order to accomplish a lot of these lofty goals. My guess is that, based off of the video, for now this sort of thing will just run off of wireless Internet access - so it's something you could use at home or in the office. I wouldn't expect to be able to use this thing on the go, like a cell-phone. At least, not yet.

I also hope that this thing has a harddrive, or some sort of storage device. I imagine it does, but I really hope this isn't all linked to the 'cloud'. One scene showed a person receiving a file over OneDrive, so I imagine that got stored locally. At least, I hope so!

I guess another concern, which isn't about the HoloLens so much as it is about humanity, is whether we are truly ready for something like this? I can see a lot of laws coming into play, and a lot of intelligent and not-so-intelligent individuals taking advantage of this technology to do bad things with it. You can really use your imagination with that one, but I think there is a lot of possibility for foul play with this thing.

Changing gears a bit, Microsoft also talked a lot more about Windows 10, and confirmed that it would be available as a free upgrade for anyone currently running Windows 7, 8, or mobile, for the first year following its launch. Windows 10 looks to make many drastic improvements from Windows 8, but also looks to combine ideas from all of its current operating systems into one hybrid OS. And it works on any Windows-capable device. So you will have the same OS on your PC, laptop, tablet, Windows Phone and XBOX One, tailored to the device.

Windows 10 will also make it possible for you to stream your XBOX One games to your PC, laptop or tablet to continue playing them. And in the future many XBOX One games will continue to be released on the PC as well - notably Fable Legends, which will enable cross-play between players of both versions.

I see this news as a little bit good and bad, at the same time. On the one hand, it's a great new option and progresses streaming technology options with the XBO and other Windows 10 devices. On the other hand, Microsoft basically said that it will continue to get away from making games exclusive to the XBox One and make some of them for the PC also, and PC gaming won't really be revitalized since you still need to buy an XBox One to stream its exclusive games to your other devices.

It also raises the question of whether console gaming will die off as a result of so many different devices being able to play (or at least stream) console-quality games nowadays.

This is all really a lot for me to wrap my head around. I think over all this event was a huge success for Microsoft, and is doing a lot to bolster their agenda and return the company to good standing with consumers. And I think we will see a lot of changes in technology - and quite possibly the world - as a result of a lot of these changes. (At the very least, because such a high-profile of company is exploring these options, and others will want to follow suit.)

I think I understand why Satya Nadella was so keen on keeping the XBOX brand around now. I think Kinect, while not a perfect device, made a fantastic basis for the kind of technology that went into making the HoloLens. Microsoft could continue to use their game consoles as a testing-ground for emerging technologies, pursuing new methods of entertainment while simultaneously pursuing better tech.

It might not be a stretch to think we will see game developers making games that utilize the HoloLens, possibly during the life of the XBOX One. If the technology is good enough to catch on outside of gaming, then it will likely find its way into gaming. I have to wonder what people in the industry are thinking after hearing about HoloLens - surely there is someone out there with the right amount of imagination and know-how that will know what to do next.

Microsoft is becoming relevant again. And this is likely to start an intense, new competition between Microsoft, Apple, Google, Sony, and the other major players in the computer, communications, tech, research and game industries. A lot will be learned from Windows 10, HoloLens and Microsoft's other current ventures. People will try to make their own versions of things, or maybe even support them! It is an exciting time to be a geek...

...And since I'm broadcasting this blog as a thread, I figured I'd like to see what other people make of all this Microsoft news. I want to hear what other XBOne owners as well as people in general have to say, so I'll try to post it in two forums.

Some talking points:

  • Do you think HoloLens is the next big step for computers and tech?
  • Will HoloLens be all its cracked up to be?
  • Has anyone here tried Windows 10 yet? If so, what do you think of it?
  • Do you think Microsoft is making a good or bad move by releasing XBox One games on PC also?
  • ...and by enabling XBox One streaming?
  • What would you like to see done with the HoloLens tech? Where do you think its application would be useful?
  • Do you think Microsoft is becoming relevant again, now?
  • If I didn't understand something I discussed, or didn't research it enough (I probably didn't), then feel free to clarify and enlighten me!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

~ Ovirew

One Week Out - General Update

Since rejoining WOW again last week, I've spent all of my gaming time working on rebuilding my character and exploring familiar areas in Azeroth.

This has been mostly a solo experience, which I'm fine with, though I do look forward to playing the game with some friends once more. My wifey-to-be is still showing some interest in subscribing again, and that could possibly happen this weekend.

Leveling up has been going faster than ever, and I'm now over level 30 in twice or three times the amount of time it took me the last time I played. After completing Dun Morogh and Loch Modan, I spent some time running instances with other random players, and then returned to questing to complete the whole of the Wetlands - pretty much in record time compared to the old days.

Quite honestly, I'm happy to be done with Loch Modan and the Wetlands. For years I spent so much time in those areas... I think it will be nice to venture out more beyond those directions. Yesterday I spent a lot of time gathering flight paths, both familiar ones South in the human areas and oddball ones I visited now and again before like the Hinterlands and Ratchet. I'm not sure quite where my adventures will take me next, but I'm not really trying to plan it out either.

For the time being, I think I've decided not to bother with low-level quests, like I usually do whenever I complete my starting areas. Maybe that is something I will mess with to take a break from other things later on.

Surely I'd like to find the Pandaren starting area to play through when my fiancee joins, but beyond that I think I'm more anxious about finally exploring some challenging areas and places where I seldom went before.

Raising my professions has been slow, especially since I need cloth for both tailoring and first aid, but I guess that gives me another reason to visit lower-level areas.

Maybe I'll get back into Battlegrounds a little bit next time I play. It would be nice to see how I stack up in PVP, now that I have a small variety of spells to work with.

Well, off to work. I do have some ideas for future blog topics, but it's nothing I can really get started on for a while yet. Til next time...

~ Ovi

Winter Gaming Changes

The other day I sat down and tried out the recent D&D MMO, Neverwinter, based off of the popular D&D locale. There is some level of interest for me there - partly because I am trying to start getting into D&D with last Summer's newly-introduced 5th edition, and partly because the game is going to be released for the XBox One.

I downloaded and played the game for about two hours last night. And though there were some things I liked - greater emphasis on roleplaying character names and backstories, a fair amount of customization options, and a fun rogue class; there were still far too many things that I disliked about Neverwinter. For starters, it ran hit-or-miss on my system, slowing down a lot and becoming choppy when I was in a busy hub city. The way my character moved was kind of awkward, making the character run sideways when you pressed the 'A' or 'D' buttons, rather than making them spin around to change direction like in WOW, which to me feels much more natural. And for the life of me, I just couldn't help but feel confused by the presentation of everything - I felt lost pretty quickly.

Funnily enough my time with Neverwinter had an adverse effect. While I may still try the game when it comes to XBO (though sadly, not cross-platform), I don't really feel inclined to keep playing it on the PC. In fact, the game caused me to rush right back into the arms of World of Warcraft, which some brief time with showed me that it is still clearly the better MMO.

Within a few hours last night, I became a reborn fan of WOW. I recreated my infamous gnome mage again, this time taking advantage of newer hairstyle options and the improved character model. Though my feelings towards the appearances of some changes are still up for debate (my gnome only has eyebrows if he has a beard?) I did find a couple of hairstyles I could appreciate.

Those of you who might recall my previous times in WOW (The last time I was actually subscribed to the game was clear back in 2011!) may remember that I disliked a lot of the changes to the game in recent years. And while I still do question some of them, I think this latest outing with the game has made me a fan of them.

Back in my first few years with WOW, I remember easily spending a few days or even a week doing quests in Dun Morogh. That is not the case now, and within a few hours of playtime I managed to explore all of the area and complete its quests. I think this may be a better thing now more than ever, since I'm eager to experience higher-level content in this game for once.

The game also feels a lot cleaner, a lot less messy. By going over the starting areas again, they managed to make the flow of everything a lot more linear, so you don't have to spend all of that time there and also so it seems a lot less boring. My experience at least with the Coldridge Pass also showed me that perhaps there is no longer any benefit to going through every last starting area in the game, other than for completion reasons. All of the cloth equipment I received was of exactly the same quality as the ones which I received from Gnomeregan.

My journey started, I expect for there to be lots of questing and raiding this month. I am also hoping to improve my enchanting and tailoring a lot. Perhaps the thing I'm most excited for right now is that my fiancee is also planning on coming back to the game, so we can play it together for the first time in ages. That could be a lot of fun!

People may put WOW down, but as far as I can tell the game is still the #1 MMO for a reason...

~ Ovirew

How things are Going - 1/5/15

Now we're essentially a week into 2015, and that duration of Holiday aftermath has come to a close. For me, this week is a return to 'normal' more or less because school starts back up today. And I'll admit, I'm gonna miss not having to think too much about school stuff.

It's hard for me to tell how things are going for me at work right now. Our hours have been cut across the board, as they usually are in January, so it might be a few weeks until that returns to 'normal'. Our assistant manager (our third or fourth one in the year I've been with this department) left prematurely last month, so we've had another one in charge of us since. I still hear people talking now and again about possibly leaving, and people are just waiting to see if anyone gets fired in the coming weeks to clear some room in the budget for the rest of us.

My mood at work lately is generally happy, but also a bit sour. I had a small victory yesterday, essentially refusing to work on a task with a worker from another department who is rude, since I felt that I'm almost always the one person they send to help this person out. My reasoning, which is also true, is that we should keep sending other people from our department to help out, so they learn how to do that task like I have. And then I don't have to be counted on to do that every time. The task is actually one that people in our department used to do, long before I was hired, and I really kind of wish we would just do it again so we don't have to deal with a bunch of stuck-up, arrogant jerks from the other shift. Maybe if I'm lucky, I've started a shift back towards this way of doing things.

My fiancee's birthday was the other day, and I got off from work so we could go and make a big day of it. I was a little disappointed at first because much of it didn't go according to plan. First, my fiancee had to go into work in the morning, effectively making it an afternoon and evening thing. Then our plans changed - neither one of us wanted to see a movie or eat a pricey meal, that was a pretty agreed-upon decision though. And lastly I ended up buying a few things for myself, when in retrospect I think it would have been smarter to dedicate as much of my wallet to her as I could have. All things considered, the birthday extravaganza went pretty well. I think it's easy to overlook all of the fun we had, and the many things I did get for her. I will probably try not to ask off for any particular days for a while now, except for around Valentine's Day...

I wonder if I'm biting the hand that feeds a bit, lately. I guess lately I feel like the main reason why I'm still at this job is because of some of the likable people I work with, like it's kind of disposable otherwise, though I do need it for the money. I am going to college, and maybe I could say that I can fall back on that, but I know that in reality I am not as passionate or optimistic about that possible career as I was when I enrolled. And, I remember all too well how difficult I've had things before when I needed to find a new job, or try to adjust to one. Maybe now is a good time to try not to get under too many peoples' skin, lest I should risk being one of those people on the chopping-block for sweeps month...

For now, there's not a whole lot I can do to change my daily life. I think that at least as the weather slowly gets nicer and nicer this year, I might feel more motivated to wake up and go to bed at more reasonable times again.

~ Ovirew

2014 - a Year of Motion

I'm not entirely sure if 2014 was a year of new beginnings, but I think it was at least a year where lots of new things were set in motion.

Many things that had started previously found lots of continuation in 2014. It wasn't so much a new opportunity, as it was taking the next step with existing norms.

Not going to delve into that any deeper, but that's my thought on the year for now.

So I looked through some of my old blog posts from the beginning of this year, and I realize that my biggest goal at that point was to go somewhere different this year. I didn't ever really accomplish that, but I would still like to go somewhere in 2015.

Most of my older blog posts really just seem embarrassing in retrospect. But I still have that urge to blog, I guess because A) it's an outlet and B) it shows how I thought and felt at that point in time. The fluctuations over the course of a year are always strange. I wonder if they make a pattern?

My visit home over the weekend was nice, except I was sick for the majority of it. It seems like I often get sick whenever I go somewhere - hopefully it's just a coincidence. I'm happy to be back, but at the same time I feel like I was hardly gone. I will be pleased when this cold passes.

I think I've come to the realization that New Year's might be my favorite holiday. I think that's because there's something magical about that feeling of a 'new beginning'. In reality, the first will really just be the day after the thirty-first, but it feels like a clean slate upon which we can do better than we did the previous year.

According to Chinese astrology, February will usher in the Year of the Sheep, officially putting down the Year of the Horse. It looks to be a rough year for my sign, though apparently my wealth will be 'stable'.

The Halo 5 Guardians Beta started. I will have to try it out and see what it's like...

~ Ovirew

Holiday Getaway, and Hackers Strike Again

Happy Holidays, Gamespotters!

Christmas came along, and went away already. It's surprising how fast the 25th really did go by. All in all, it was a pretty good day. It was relaxing, if nothing else. I guess there were some other things I would have liked to do, but I think I was happy to get away from work and school again for another day. Things felt a little incomplete, I guess - I think that's what I disliked about the day. I didn't feel like we had a big enough or healthy enough meal for supper, and I wished my fiancee hadn't felt irritated for the later part of the day. And regardless, it can't be helped - time is moving right along.

In a way, I guess Christmas really isn't over yet for me this year. This weekend I'm taking a trip out to see my parents and sister and spend some time with them. It's the first time I'll be seeing my family since about April, when they came to visit last. I'm thinking about leaving pretty much straight-away after work tonight, to maximize the amount of time I have to spend there.

A little bit nervous about the trip, to be honest. Partly because I might decide to go alone, instead of bringing my fiancee along. I am not very good at talking to people, or holding conversations and seeming normal without someone around who can be my 'safety anchor'. I know I'm going to visit family, but I still don't really feel comfortable on my own there. It's not 'home' anymore. It's my parents' home. And I'm not sure what to talk about because I'm not a very interesting guy. I might come off seeming like my personality is very distant or forced. But anyway, I am just in a nervous mood right now, so some of this is probably just the nerves talking.

It would probably do me some good to spend some one-on-one time with my family, since I haven't since I started this relationship. And if I do, I'll be able to stay for a third day, which would give me plenty of time for the trip and probably even time to go off to some old places I haven't visited in a while. Places where maybe my fiancee wouldn't have wanted to go with me, or places that held some sort of meaning to me, but maybe not anyone else. Plus, I could listen to my CDs during the trip and not feel weird about it, and make stops at my own discretion.

The more I talk about it, it seems like I've made up my mind to take the trip alone. I guess I'll see if that's what I decide to do tonight.

Well, on the other side of the coin, let's talk a bit about gaming news.

So, both XBox LIVE and PSN were take offline by hackers yesterday, apparently though DDoS again. It is kind of sucky since a lot of people who got games and game systems today couldn't really play them online, and some people might have only had just the day off. I get sick of that kind of stuff going on, essentially people ruining games for the rest of us. But I guess that's another one of those unfortunate realities of life.

I downloaded the latest add-on for Sunset Overdrive, 'Mystery of the Mooil Rig', which I got as part of the season pass. I was so excited for that game for months, but only really played it for about a week until MMC came out, so I feel like I should get back to working on SO again sometime. I guess MMC multiplayer and DA:I are just such big games, that they take up most of my attention right now. I'll get to it at some point.

In other news I started messing around in Minecraft again, I got a Pharoah costume on CQ, and I suck big-time at Halo multi. In Minecraft I first built a place in the desert, where the desert met with the edge of the snowlands, mountains and jungle all at once. Unfortunately I would soon discover that the sand in the desert was thin, and there was a long drop to the bottom of a mine directly beneath it. Fortunately, I rebuilt my home upon a tall mountain, and it is going well - except for my great distance from any signs of food.

I still have gifts to wrap. I wonder if there's enough time for it?

~ Ovirew

Never Pleased and a Great Year for Gaming

I just stayed up most of the night, starting a new save file on Dragon Age Inquisition. Everything was going pretty well, up until I realized all of the little things that were bothering me about my character this time around. Most notably, my nose was wayyyyy too high up on my face, something I hadn't realized on the character creation screen. I also think other feature choices failed to make him look enough like an elf.

Suffice it to say... I already want to start DAI over, AGAIN. ARRRGH!!

In the meantime, I'm debating it maybe I need another break from this game, so I might use the time to work on Halo some more. I've been in a multiplayer sort of mood. I actually saw where the Halo 5 multiplayer beta began 10 days early for XBox program members who have access to stuff early. I'm kind of jealous. But I'll get my turn, come December 29th. In the meantime, it doesn't really matter to me which Halo game's multiplayer I work on - I'm really just down for some Halo multiplayer, period.

Strangely, I just don't feel up to working on Sunset Overdrive again yet. I like the game, but I guess HMCC and DAI are such bigger games that they have both stolen my attention for now. Even DR3, which was a great distraction for me a few months ago, is just kind of sitting on the sidelines. I expect both of those games to sit there for a while longer.

A lot of people on the forums say they don't think 2014 was a good year for games. I disagree, I think it's actually been a pretty damn good year for gaming. I have 10 games to play on my XBO, and with the exception of Crimson Dragon, I really like all of them. And most of them were released this year.

I think this afternoon, I'm gonna sit down and have another gaming session. And hopefully this time, I won't put it to waste like I did with tonight's work...

I'sa suchha masochist.

~ Ovirew

General Update - 12/15/14

Gamespot blogging has become more of a therapeutic outlet for me this year, than in previous ones. It's been, what, about 15 months or so since the big website 'upgrade', and since then I haven't managed to replenish the followers I had prior. I simply don't care - I'm just along for this ride with myself, and I'll continue chronicling my thoughts on gaming and life as I feel the need or desire to. Even still, I do sort of miss those five years where I actually interacted with people outside of the forums on Gamespot. It just isn't the same anymore, too difficult to keep track of individuals now.

As the last month of 2014 continues to dwindle down, I keep wanting to reflect on the year and question how I can improve for 2015. I've never really done resolutions before, so I don't know if I'm talking about that, but it would be nice to do things smarter this time 'round. I think one of my bigger regrets of the year, aside from my usual human outbursts, is all of the spending that went on. I kept talking before about how I wanted to pay my debts, but this year I've just been too foolish with my money. Hopefully one thing I can be next year is a more frugal 'Rew.

Tonight was fun, I went to a Christmas party that I'd been looking forward to. But to be honest, I guess it was just sort of okay. Ever find yourself getting excited about some upcoming event, and you keep looking forward to it for weeks... And then the day arrives and it flies by, and you feel like you didn't accomplish everything you wanted to? I guess that's sort of how I felt about the party. I enjoyed it, it was a fantastic outing - especially for some outsider who just went as a guest. But I guess I would've liked to stay longer, and do more there. I didn't get to play any air hockey with my fiancee either, and part of the reason why I was excited about going in the first place was the potential to make more great memories. But you know, not gonna let that ruin the fact that I had fun, bowled a game (even if I scored the lowest...), ate some food and had a few drinks, and that made for a pretty cool Sunday.

I've really been enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition over the past week. As of a little bit ago, I now have over 13 hours into the game! I'm hoping to work on the game a lot more over Winter Break, and also some of my other games. I'm still not really sure how I want to plan my combat tree, though I was thinking of compromising most of my points between storm and ice. Of course, I can't even really factor in specializations yet. Or expansions and add-on content. I'll just play it by ear, and hopefully things will turn out alright. I'm looking forward to meeting other party members, but I can honestly say that you start the game with some of my favorites already. It seemed fitting to find out that Varric is a writer, I didn't know that. Solas and I get along well, and he is the only one who agrees with 80% of my good ideas that everyone else seems nonchalant about. Still, it's kind of scary that he goes to monster-filled temples and just.... Falls asleep there, to go to the Fade. I'm also really happy that Leliana is still around, even if she isn't a party member. Her tarot card is pretty cool.

Well, I guess there's only 10 days left til Christmas now. Still have some things I'd like to buy for people, but the more I think about it that may be more a matter of finishing touches, than anything. Some of my money is going to have to go to bills, gasoline and groceries. Groceries, I've been avoiding that for too many weeks now. I can't remember the last date when I sat down and had a bowl of cereal, since I haven't bought milk in a long time, possibly months now. There has been some talk at work of a bonus, which may or may not be on this paycheck. I'm keeping my fingers crossed - that might help out immensely.

I'm not going to try to predict if and how things are going to change after the Holidays. Okay, maybe I'm doing it a little already. I think what it all boils down to is that I need some upcoming goal or event to look forward to. Some things I'm wondering about is how work will change when our manager retires; if some of my associates will quit after the new year; ...and of course, whether this semester of college will be easy and straight-forward, or quickly descend into a sad state of affairs. Not all of it is bad, though - there is the wedding, which inches closer with the passing of each month. It actually just hit me that there won't be another Autumn between now and the wedding day. Shit just got real!

I wonder if Elven Apostate Mages get married in the Fade? I think that would make for one pretty epic wedding day.

~ Ovirew

Stressful Plates

Black Friday may be behind us, but the Holidays still aren't. Work has been making this fact abundantly clear to me lately. After two days off, I'm already kind of aggravated after just two days back. While things could have been miles worse than they actually were, the elevated stress is beginning to take a bit of a toll.

Wednesday went really well. But yesterday, Thursday, we were really just bogged down by all of the freight coming in. Most of it was my stuff. But idk, there really seems to be a major difference between days when everything goes smoothly and days when things are disjointed and we just plain have a lot to do.

I know it's kind of cliche, but I feel like sometimes my life is represented by balancing spinning plates, and when things aren't going well I'm struggling to keep everything going normally and maybe I've already dropped a plate or two.

I get that some days are busier, some days we have more freight. That's just one plate. But if other stuff's going on, that's other plates to maintain.

I've been talking to my supervisors for a while now and trying to get it into their heads that my new semester of school has started. They still don't seem to get it. The whole point of me going to college is to try to learn something worthwhile, something I can use to get a job that doesn't suck. My hopes are that if I can get through college and learn something, that I can earn the right to something better than what I am doing now.

But people still want me to stay late, and come in early. I don't mind it on certain days, but I do mind it whenever I have school the next morning, and need some time between the end of class and the beginning of work. School is more important. And I'm tired of busting ass for this job and causing myself more problems in the process, especially when I want to do something better all along.

I'm also tired of people making me feel guilty, whether intentional or not. But that's probably a topic for another discussion.

Tomorrow is supposed to be very busy at work, but it's also my next day of class. I am not particularly looking forward to any of it. I keep telling myself that if I can get through Friday and Saturday, that I have a potentially great Sunday off to look forward to. But as things stand, I'm feeling like the recent stresses at work are making college more challenging for me, and vice-versa.

I changed this blog a few times while writing it. I really just need to finish up and get to sleep. I guess I got things off of my chest a little. It's just kind of stressful when things start piling up, especially when things aren't looking good from the start. Tonight I'm already worried about doing well in class and work tomorrow. I'm worried about all of the cuts and open sores on my hands and how irritating they are when I'm trying to work. I get irritated about lots of things.

And, I really need to get laid again.

~ Ovirew

Early Loot

The gift-giving season started a bit early for me this year, and I decided to use some of my gift money to buy some of those games I'd really been itching to purchase for a while now.

First on the list was Costume Quest 2. My fiancee and I were big fans of the original, and I was pretty anxious to play the sequel since it came out for consoles on Halloween day. A little over a month after the fact, and I finally had a total CQ2 play session for a few hours last night.

I'm still pretty early in the game though. I have four costumes, including the Candy Corn, so not a whole lot of variety yet... But I freaking LOVE the clown costume. Story is pretty cool and is living up to the tone and continuity of the original and then some.

This game actually has a never-ending supply of monsters you can fight, it would seem. I keep fighting random minions over and over again to get the candy to purchase new costume upgrades and creepy treat cards. There's some things I like more about the original, and some things I like more about this game, but they are so similar that it's hardly an issue.

Glad I made the purchase on XBox One. Gotta let Double-Fine know that they have die-hard fans on Microsoft's console too, even if the Playstation version got extra content in the form of a Sackboy costume. Yeah, wasn't really a game-changer for me, personally. (Don't like LBP...)

My second purchase was the XBox One version of Minecraft, which came out a few months ago now. There's a number of smaller reasons why I decided to buy the game. The largest one is that my computer is simply not fast enough to play the PC version in all of its glory, even though I liked the original crafting system better than the console one.

I also got it because of the awesome 'Halo Edition' texture pack and character skins. And the simple fact that I could never fucking set up a working server for the game in the PC version if my life depended on it. Lastly, I guess I felt it was my duty as an XBox console owner to support the game since Microsoft has purchased the IP and is going to support it.

I think Minecraft is a game that I will still get a lot of playtime out of on the console, though I think I have to be in a certain kind of mood or mindset to do that. Sometimes I feel like building forts and digging for ore, sometimes I wanna play an FPS, and sometimes I want to go on an epic adventure. Minecraft is there when I want it.

After downloading those two games, I picked up one month of XBox LIVE. I'm not sure why I did this right now really - maybe I figured I will be able to get in a lot of Halo matches during college break over the Holidays?

I used the opportunity to download my games with gold again, though I don't really care for any of the present offerings. Volgarr the Viking seems somewhat fun, but is really just a hellish pain in the ass because I am constantly dying and starting the level over. My older games with gold don't seem to load - perhaps I have to install them again? Not really a big deal, no time for it right now, anyways.

There's a lot I could use my Live time for, but more than anything, I'm really just itching to play some of those old Halo 3 maps again sometime. I think that would be a good starting place, since I haven't been into multiplayer for a few years now. I just want to play some relaxing, low-stress multiplayer this month. At some point.

But my major purchase was Dragon Age: Inquisition. My fiancee has had the game for a few weeks now on PS4, but I was anxious to start my own adventure on my own terms. This was the main thing I really wanted to buy with the money - the rest I simply got because I had the money to do it now.

DAI is already really awesome. I still haven't completed DAO, or even played DA2, but I was anxious to play this latest entry which is the most impressive one yet. Today I put over 4 hours into the game since buying it, and I still have a lot to learn in my fledgling adventure.

Character creation was pretty deep, in fact it was so deep that I was content with a character I made using some but not all of the modification tools. The graphics are captivating. The story and choices are enveloping. And it looks to be the start of one of my most fulfilling gaming experiences.

This time around I decided to make my mage an elf instead of a human. I even kept the default name of Mahanon because dammit, I liked it. So far I'm really growing to like Dragon Age's elves. Their history as outcasts in Thedas makes conversations different, as does their differing beliefs and their connections to magic lore. I think it's a good fit for me.

So as of now this is my current XBox One collection:

Dead Rising 3, Sunset Overdrive, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Halo: Spartan Assault, Crimson Dragon, Super Time Force Ultra, Minecraft: XBox One Edition, Costume Quest 2, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die - and of course the games with gold stuff I may or may not touch again. So I'm at least 10 titles strong! Some might remember that I used to own Plants VS. Zombies: Garden Warfare as well, but I moved on from that when I purchased MCC.

Not a bad haul for 2014, especially since in the middle of the year when I got my XBO there weren't too many games I was interested in. The discovery of DR3 really helped get me through that drought!

On a side note, I still do want to get Geometry Wars 3 at some future date... But there's no rush. I would also love to get a Kinect 2.0 sometime, but that time is not now. I would probably mostly use it as a microphone anyway, and until I have people on my friends list who I play games with, that isn't too practical.

Later this month the Halo 5 multiplayer beta is scheduled. As is the Fable Legends beta, I think. Would love to try these, hoping I'll get to. Hopefully the remainder of this month is pretty mellow, to put a cap on this accelerated year.

I definitely have some options on my XBO now!

~ Ovirew