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All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough

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Gastroscopic results
02 July 2015
Posted in About me

Yesterday I've had the results of the gastroscopic examination I had 2 weeks ago and it was good The point at the beginning of my small intestine where the doctor thought he saw something was just a bogus thing. The biopics taken were all okay as well.

As alternative I had the option for an examination for the end of my small intestine, but the doctor throught the chances would be real small for anything to be found there, because I don't have any symptoms that would indicate of problems there. With that, if the problem was at the end of the small intestine, my B12 shortage would most likely be not as extreme as it was.
And then there's the way of examination - rectal No way I'm gonna get that exam just to rule out that very slight chance something might be there...

Still the question remains where the B12 deficiency comes from, but from the moment I was sent to the gastronimical doctor I figured, that whatever the reason of the deficiency, I most likely would be getting B12 suplement injections for the rest of my life.

And speaking about the B12 suplemental injections. The last measurmenet of B12 in my blood was 'off the scale' at a value of 4400+ (the lab could not measure any higher). With B12 suplement being a waterbased serum, it'd mean that anything my body doesn't need should leave it by peeing it out. This would mean that my urine would be orange/brownish of color, b ut ever since I started with the injections my urine is still 'normally' yellowish. Unlike my wife (who also has a B12 deficiency) and indeed does pee orange/brownish.
Next week I have an appointment with the rheumatologist to discuss the results of the neurological and gastronomical examinations and what to do next. I will certainly bring this up and ask to check my kidneys and liver. Kidneys because I'm not peeing orange/brownish and liver because that's the place where the B12 is stored normally and I have no idea if my liver is still okay (I think it is because my skin is not rally orange from liver failure)...

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Star Citizen & Shroud of the Avatar are vaporware?
28 June 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Lets take a look at two announced games that have been in early access/(pre-)alpha state for years by now. Both have been funded by Kickstarted for over a year ago already but still there's not even the slightest hint on when the games will be released. Yes, I'm talking about Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar. And sadly I have fallen for the polished lies as well...

First look will be Star Citizen. It is the biggest crowd-funded game ever with over $50M pledged in total already. And where did the money go so far? Well, I'm not really sure to be honest. We have a very small dog-fight game right now available on only 2 maps and one racing map as well. Not to mention all those ships that have been sold (and some have actually been developed), of which most can't be used yet in the forenamed maps.

The promises were good though. Chris Roberts promised an open universe with trade, mining and exploration (much like EVE online), landing on planets with missions and huge cities (like Mass Effect but then bigger and better) and a dogfight mode - and that all in a MMORPG environment. Man I was hyped to the max and bought a small ship and the dogfight access pass (40 total).

So far there's nothing of it all and as Chris already stated that 'as long as we recieve pledging fund we will keep on developing new ship'. I am cool with that, because in a big universe you also need a large number of different ships. But by now I'm starting to get the feeling that the whole ship development thing is what Chris is only doing, without even building the other promised features of the game...

Then Shroud of the Avatar. I realize that it's a sandbox and that it's (according to the game itself) still in pre-alpha state. I am okay with that. But I've pledged for the game in November last year for around 40 and so far I haven't really seen any development. Okay, there are lots of updated coming through Steam for the game and I do get emails with the state of the game and all that's going on behind the scenes, but I STILL DO NOT SEE ANY DIFFERENCE.

And when I look at the game now and the future road laid out for it I'm really starting to wonder. First off, the music score is all played contributed. This forms a problem already because when a dozen players (not sure how many players do contribute for the game) make music for it, you have a dozen different music styles in ste game already. Add to that that for a large number of tracks I've already heard familiar tunes from the MAGIX/Catooh music library, which makes you wonder about the average skill of the 'composers' of the music.

Then the questing. As stated, it's a sandbox MMORPG and so far all the questing I've seen is only the monthly 'walk around for the hat' thing. And only recently I heard that Lord British is planning to add player generated quests to the game. WTF? You're kidding me? You're *THAT* lazy that you won't make the actual quests for the game and let (like your music) take care of it? And I've seen player generated content in MMORPGs before already and I can tell you that most of it is mediocre at best

Not to mention, Lord British has been given $25M from NCWest after a trial for his lay off with the company and still he needs crowdfunding and player donated content for his game..?

I  realize that vaporware is not the right word, but it comes close for me. Both games have promised the heavens of MMORPG gaming and in the time that I've been able to play these games I haven't seen much of it's progress. For Shroud of the Avatar I have already dropped a NEGATIVE review on Steam as warning for others not to buy/pledge this game. Sadly for Star Citizen I can't make such a review so I'm doing it here. It's real sad that made promises are not met and as a gamer (or end consumer in general) you can't really do a thing against it, other than warn others not to fall for it...

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Friday's hospital visit
21 June 2015
Posted in About me

I totally forgot to post this...

Last Friday I've been to the hospital again for the results of Monday's neurological examinations. There's some good news and some bad news there...

The good news is that the results of the neurological examinations don't show any degradation of my nerve system. This means that (once again) I'm compeltely healthy. It also rules out neurological related muscle deceases like MS.

The bad news though is that once again I'm apparently super healthy and there's once more one less reason that points toward my chronic fatigue and chronic pain...

I hope early next month that the visit with the reumatologist (have to call for an appointment with her tomorrow) will get some more results other than a follow up of the stuff already done and a "I'm done with you and can't help you" result (I certainly won't accept that).

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Today's hospital appointment
15 June 2015
Posted in About me

Today was yet an other day for hospital appointments. This time it was for both gastronomical and neurological examinations. Yes, I was lucky enough to plan both on the same day. Not to mention, the gastronomical examination was one that had to be done on an empty stomach and I could plan it very early in the morning (the original appointment was around 2pm ).

First the gastronomical appointment... That was not a fun one - swallow a camera on a hose so that they could take a peek in my stomach and small intestine. And even now (4 hours later) my throat is still a bit sour But the doctor and nurses told me I was doing well (prolly to keep me calm ).
With this exam a couple of biopics have been taken (saw at least 3 cords for it and I know that with the last one they took two biopics), and I'll get the results of it in about 2 weeks. But the doctor did see something that might indeed indicate as a source of my B12 deficiency. Good thing that at this pretty painful and uncomfortable exam wasn't for nothing...

Then the neurological appointment. That one was 2 hours later and I took my PS Vita with me to keep me busy killing time (I did make some progress with Ys: Memories of Celceta ). This exam was not as uncomfortable but only painful - very painful at times! They used electro shocks to measure the response time of my nerves in my feet, legs, hands and arms.
The exams didn't show any obvious results, other than that from my knee to my foot only had a 50% power result. The doctors were not sure that would be a problem or that it's just that my nerves are very deep at that point. The results will be taken into account anyway though, along with all other ones. And speaking of other ones... They also tested something with my hearth and breathing and the extra regular beat my hearth gives could mess up that test as well...

Now the neurologist has to crunch the numbers, compare them to normal values and that should give an idea how bad my nerve system is. Coming Friday I have to get back to Amsterdam again for those results and hear what will be done further.

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Tree of Live - Survival / Builder done right
09 June 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Truth be told, I'm totally no fan of survival games. Games list MineCraft, RUST and other so-called survival games are a gankers paradise because of their full-loot PvP. I to like the building part of those games, but only because of the PvP done so wrong I really hate them.

Tree of Life is 'yet am other' survival game, but this it's developer (Odd One Games) has done things right. While there is PvP (well, PKing) in the game, OOG has taken a different approach on it. Instead of the full loot upon death that's pretty common in the genre, Tree of Life only had this option available for players who are red (i.e. criminal stats after theft or PK). If you're in 'normal standing' (yellow) you'll only drop 1 random item from your inventory (and I was lucky enough to drop all my money one ).

Then the building of stuff. Tree of Life takes it big. And when I say big, I really mean BIG! You start with only a couple of twigs, 2 bread (150 feed), a bandage and a box of 20 matches when you strand on the isle. From there on it's up to you to survive and build stuff and you'd best start with hitting trees. These are the main resource for wood (duhuh ^^) and drop apples as well (which you can eat, though they give more feed when you've grilled them).

Along the way you'll increase your skills, both combat and crafting. And there are a lot of skills in the game! I've counted around 30 of them and I haven't even started on at least 10 of them. Good thing with the skills is that one skill needs to be at a certain level before you can build something to get started on an other one (or you just use a facility someone else had build already).

 photo 2015-06-08_00001_zps4t1syq9x.jpg

Night time is a time to lay low for us mortals because the undead (zombies and skeletons) will rise. When you've just stranded on the isle, the main advice is RUN! They hit hard and you can't have so many hits. For my by now I hunt them because of the money and rotten flesh they drop. Though nasty, I need the rotten flesh as fertilizer for agricultural purposes (you can also grill it and it's edible).

One warning though... Tree of Life is still in early access on Steam. Though I decided never to buy an early access game again, this one peeked my interest after having watched a stream on Twitch and I gotta say, the game is already pretty complete. And if OOG a game like this in early access, I'm wondering what else they'll add to the game later on...

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05 June 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls

It's been quite a while since I played Elder Scrolls online for a prolongued time. But now that it's Free2Play I have picked it up and am quite hooked. I'm even *THAT* hooked that I'm streaming ESO a lot during the evening hours. A big PLUS which I didn't realize when I started streaming ESO is that next week it'll be released for XBOX One and PlayStation 4 as well and I attract quite a number of viewers who're on the fence of buying it, of have already pre-ordered it and are watching to get to know the game a bit.

Yesterday I hit level 12 and I figured it was time to get into Spindleclutch. I remembered this dungeon to be very hard and I feared for the run with a random party. First things first, find a party, and that had proven to be pretty easy. What ESO lacked at start is not available: a dungeon finder. Though it only forms the party, the players still have to walk to the dungeon itself (good thing a teleport spot is close by ).

With my character (a high elf BTW, though you might not tell is from the looks ) being a wizard specializing in the healing staff and using summons only, I was the one player to take the healing role on me, and with one of the players being level 10 (the main tank ) I feared the worst for the party. I also feared the worst because of my previous (at ESO's launch) experience of this dungeon where I played the healer role as well. But truth be told, we've had only one party wipe and that was when I took too much aggro and died, while there were also a couple of player deaths (3 or 4 total).

Then the end boss herself - The Whisperer (see the movie above). I remembered this to be a very hard boss, but this time she wasn't so hard. That either means that I've done a good job on healing and the rest of the party did their role very good as well (which certainly counts for that level 10 tank!), or Zenimax has tuned down the boss a bit (or both are true). In all I think that we had a good run and I've added 3 new friends to my list.

An other note, watching this movie I found out that OBS-MP gives an extra boost to the microphone compared to the regular (and old) OBS. Guess I'll have to tune it down a bit, because I thought I was plain yelling there, while I was just talking normally...

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Wednesday's stream moved to evening
02 June 2015
Posted in Twitch Streaming

I know that it seems a bit odd after having only recently started to stream, but the Wednesday morning stream (from 9.00 till 11.00) will be moved to the evenings from 19.00 till 20.00. This move will happen next week (June 10th) and I'll add an announcement of it during the stream as well (automated of course ). I added the Wednesday morning to get started on streaming on Twitch and I thought  it'd be a good time to get used to it. But sadly it's not the best time for me to be streaming.

First and most important reason is that darn chronic fatigue that I suffer from. Somehow during the mornings I'm a lot more fatigued than during the evenings. Most likely because I wake up every day around 6.00 and am already very fatigued. Rushing to get showered and have a quick bite don't do the fatigue well. While during the evenings I've had already a lot of extra time during the day to rest some more and have had time enough to enjoy my meals. Though still fatigued during the evenings, I found out that I am feeling a lot better than during the mornings.

Secondly and quite important as well is the audience. I mean, who's watching that early in the morning (or early afternoon in the US) anyway? The audience is pretty small and when looking at the main page of Twitch it's showing that as well.

Last but not least is my regular daily schedule... Drawing art for the game I make, grocery shopping, working around the house and such, it's all best done during the day. And the first one (drawing art and working on the game itself) I happen to have the best concentration for during the mornings.

Want to know my regular streaming schedule and be updated about extra times I'll be streaming? Just check the schedule on StreamCal.TV. Of course, you can also follow me on Twitch and you'll get notifications if you've set them to be sent

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Digital paper preferred
31 May 2015
Posted in Drawing art

It's been quite some time since I wrote about my attempts to pick up drawing again, but that doesn't mean I haven't been drawing. Actually, last couple of weeks I've been drawing quite a lot, but it's not been 'just for fun', but to make art for the 'Bubbles project'. While making the art for the 'Bubbles project' (for which I'm bow busy making the game's name logo), I noticed that more and more my drawing was getting better. Though it's still not what it was, but I think by the end of the year I've rivaled my old (school times) drawing skills, and I found out why: digital paper.

Why is that digital paper so important for me? I think because I never really took lessons in drawing, other than that one hour a week at school, I never really learned how to use and apply layers in the right way on physical paper. And looking at my use of layers in ArtRage, I don't think I want to learn it anymore either...

Layers on digital paper are so easy to use. I start with a very rough sketch on what I want to make. The next layer I'll get more the the actual drawing I want to make, where I add lines around the rough sketch in the previous layer. While doing that, I'll lower opacity to 25% of the raw sketch and I see the image that I have envisioned in my mind come to life on paper. The next layer is one where I add color and the final adjustments on lines, and depending on the kind or drawing I want to make, I'll use the previous layer's lines in this one or just keep this layer as main layer. Then I'll add one or two more layers for what is probably the most important part of the drawing: shading and reflections.

At this point I have described only 4 or 5 layers, but certain parts of my drawings will be set in a different layer to make editing it at a later point easier. No need to erase parts with the fear of ruining an other part of the drawing, because that's in an other layer.

When 'm finally done, I hide all layers I'm not using (the raw sketch for sure and most likely the next one with lines as well) and I'm ready to export the drawing as a PNG file. Or in the case of art for the 'Bubbles project', I'll merge all layers down (after having saved the drawing of course ) and I'll export the current layer so that I have the transparency around the art I've made.

All this with digital paper I could never have managed with physical paper. Or I could, but it'd take me days which takes me now only hours, and honestly, I don't have that much patience to get something done...

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Wildstar going Free2Play - anyone surprised?
29 May 2015
Posted in MMORPGs

Finally, Carabine has decided about the future of WildStar. Subscriptions were declining and there were a lot of reports of all servers being ghost towns. And personally I thought the game was very shallow and most certainly not worth the monthly subscription. I figured the game would become a Buy2Play game (much like Elder Scrolls online did), at which time I might pick it up.

Free2Play, is that a good or bad thing? As we know, most games that went from subscription to Free2Play have become hits in their own accord. Where in previous days the monthly subscription was not worth the monthly payment and the publisher was loosing money, the transition to Free2Play saved the game. The best example for this is Lord of the Rings online that's been Free2Play for a couple of years already and doing pretty good.

Sadly I can't be as positive about WildStar going Free2Play. It might be good for the population of the game and would allow Carabine (and NCWest as publisher) finally to make money of it, but it's the publisher that's the problem. Having played a lot of games published by NCWest already (Lineage Ii as the major one, but also Aion), I know how they work. NCWest doesn't give a fuck about their LEGIT players, as long as the cashflow from the game is steady or growing and 'players' are buying from the cash shop there's no problem.
Well, no problem for NCWest. The LEGIT players on the other hand do have a problem. Just look at Lineage II. Ever since it went Free2Play back in 2011, the bot fest has gone from bad to worse and the amount of goldselling done on the server is outrageous, which in turn kills the game's economy as well. Even the statues that were in the game back in the days showing the top 10 'players' (which were actually bots - no player can be in party 23 hours a day just to name one statue) have been removed to cover up the lack of NCWest's authority in their games (read: ban bots, which the GMs hardly do).
I'm so afraid that WildStar will go down the road of Linege II and Aion when being Free2Play...

Then the transision from subscription to Free2Play. There's a FAQ on it and it's clear that if you subscribe now (WHY? the game still sucks as much as it did at release) you will get some goodies. Stuff that might be come available in the game's cash shop later on most likely anyway (I've seen this happen with Lineage II before, so why bother to get a subscription for those goodies?).

There's also a part on boxed purchasers (being me, I have a digital deluxe box ) and how it'll be converted after the game. And that's the part where things are getting clouded. What do they exactly mean? Will I get some kind of veteran perks (like in TERA and GameForge's Aion) despite not having subscribed for the last 3-4 months before it goes Free2Play or will I get screwed over and become 'yet an other free player'?

 photo Screenshot 2015-05-29 09.08.11_zpsdk4hueyg.png

Anyhow, I would consider playing WildStar from time to time when it'd go Buy2Play, but now that it's going Free2Play I'm not gonna play it at all. And I would advise you the same because of all the problems (bots & rmt) that NCWest creates in their Free2Play games. It's sad though that yet an other game will be ruined by it's publisher...

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1st scheduled stream
27 May 2015
Posted in Twitch Streaming

I've had my 1st scheduled stream this morning and I think it's time to look back on it a bit...

First off, I did on purpose set it to an odd time as it is. I mean 9am EU times in the middle of the week is a real odd time, but for me it's a good time to get used to streaming and see how the audience 'works'. And with 'works' I mean watch the chat and that kind of stuff. Not to mention if I'd stream on a later time I'd have to compete with a lot of other streamers who've already made a name for themselves on twitch

Secondly (and prolly most importantly) I should find a door to the room the computer is in. With the kitchen next to this room, my wife would not do the dishes as she wanted to. A door would have blocked a lot of noise from the kitchen (and the rest of the house) so she could go her own way while I'm streaming. Only problem though, the door opens up the wrong way and I should work on the rabbet to make the door open the right way. And while talking about doors... The one we had was old and extremely damaged so I should buy a new one as well

Last but not least: DO NOT DRINK SO MUCH! ...or at least go to the toilet before starting to stream... I only drank half a liter of water during the stream (along with 2 cups of coffee 2 hours before I started) and during the stream I really had to go to the toilet. I didn't go though because I figured I could hold on till I was done streaming...

Then the game itself. As I've already wrote a couple of times, I'm playing Pillars of Eternity in Iron Man mode on normal difficulty. Since I'm playing the game in normal mode outside the stream to get to know the game and it's pitfalls, I figured to play something completely different. Where I normally play a woodelf druid, for the stream I decided to make myself a very cheesy character. I ended up with a Heart Orlan Paladin with his (yes, playing male for a change) origins set to The White that Wends, allowing me to stack Perception to the maximum.

But the Paladin class in Pillars of Eternity is not the one I'm used to. In most RPGs, the Paladin class is a hybrid tank/healer with a slightly lowered DPS. In Pillars of Eternity the class has more of a warrior/priest role though. The DPS is nice and you can start with either a melee skill to be used twice a combat OR the (o so corny) lay on hand skill. Knowing the game a bit I opted for the lay on hand skill, figuring I'd be a tank (which I was not). While leveling I get more skills and those are more that of a buffer than healer or warrior (up to now though). On the last level I reached I could choose between 3 aura's and I picked the one that improved endurance (used up before health starts to decline and will be replenished after battle) regeneration. This was a very good call because my party barely took damage in the battles I fought.

With this character being my streaming character, I'm not gonna play it while not streaming. Instead I think I'll continue with my regular game some more to learn more about Pillars of Eternity in general as well as knowing where to go to next without my lil' Papadin being killed...

See you next week on twitch I hope?

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