Welcome back folks! This was the first week that I returned to work after a period of extended parental leave following the birth of our son William. There hasn't been too much time to work on the website over the last few months since my wife and I needed to spend all of our time looking after the little one. I should have a bit more time for gaming stuff going forward, somewhat counterintuivitively, as William will be at daycare during the week while we're back to our normal jobs. Working a full time job eats up less time throughout the day than taking care of a newborn baby as I'm sure other parents can attest. In any case, I've been playing a fair amount of Teamfight Tactics in recent months and recording more videos for YouTube with the current Set Eight playlist linked here. It's been much easier to find 30 minutes to record commentary for YouTube than it has been to sit down a write a full article on something. Elsewhere, I typed up my impressions of Teamfight Tactics Set 7.5 a few months ago which were modestly positive, especially when compared to the first half of the set. My wife and I also enjoyed playing a little indie roguelike game called Dicey Dungeons so I squeezed out some time to write a short summary of that game as well. The big news is that the early planning stages are underway for the next season of Civ4 AI Survivor; more details to come on that note as our lives start to return back to normal. Stay tuned!
Time to update the front page of the website again after a break of a few months. As many of you heard on the Discord or the Livestream, our son William was born on the same day as my birthday in early September. Taking care of a newborn baby has limited the amount of time available for gaming stuff but there are a few updates on the website to relate. I've been running a Civ4 game on Livestream named William's Cultural Challenge in honor of our son and there's a short written report located here now that the game has concluded. This was a nice relaxing game and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Elsewhere, I did a playthrough of the Barbarian class for Rogue Legacy 2 which can be found here. I already thought that the Barbarian was one of the game's best classes and this experience pushed it even further up my internal tier list. I also completed the playthrough of my Hydra Sorceress for Diablo 2 Resurrected, if not exactly in the way that I intended, and I've been recording a good number of videos for the current Set 7.5 of Teamfight Tactics which are compiled at this YouTube playlist. I'm hoping to get back to work on the travel pictures from this summer's trip to Hawaii but we'll see how much free time the baby gives us.
I have a few more updates to mention on the front page as we count down the final remaining days before the baby arrives. The most recent turn-based strategy game to be featured on Livestream was a Master of Orion game with the Meklars which I've written up into a short report here. This one had an utterly bizarre map and it was a short enough MOO game that I started another one with the Sakkra that's currently in-progress. In the Teamfight Tactics realm, Set Seven is about to conclude and I've written up my usual retrospective with some thoughts. This set was mostly fun to play despite some truly horrible balancing decisions on the part of the development team. I found myself getting bit by the Diablo bug again and went back to continue my Hydra Sorceress; here's the report for Nightmare difficulty. I'd like to continue through Hell difficulty and then I have some more ideas for additional characters afterwards if I can find the time. Finally, I'm slowly working through the pictures for our Hawaii trip under the Travel section of the website. The first part is finished at this point and I'll try to keep adding the other parts as I find time to write. Things are going to get a bit crazy with a little one about to arrive so we'll see what happens!
Time for another belated update to the front page of the website. I've probably spent the most time in the past few months creating videos for Set Seven of Teamfight Tactics; they don't get many views or comments but you can continue to see the video playlist here. We're getting close to the end of the set at this point and I'll have to put together my normal retrospective article in a few weeks. I've also continued to run lots of characters for Rogue Legacy 2 and I've begun the Class Legacy series for the new game. Thus far I've played through the first three difficulty levels with the Knight, the Mage, and the Ranger classes; their reports can all be reached from the main Rogue Legacy 2 page located here. In the turn-based strategy field, I earlier played through a Civ4 game with Mansa Musa titled Just Win Baby! which I don't think I ever linked from the front page previously. More recently, I did another game of Humankind for the Civ Fridays series named the RNGesus Campaign which I've also written up for the website at this location.
In non-gaming news, we went on a vacation to Hawaii for two weeks and I'm about to begin writing up the trip for the website. That will appear under the Travel section in time under this link; it doesn't lead anywhere at the moment but should have at least the stub of a page within a few days. We had an amazing time and there are lots of pictures to share from our time spent relaxing on the beaches, hiking on top of volcanos, and snorkeling/scuba diving under the water. Finally and most importantly, we are happy to annouce that we're expecting the birth of our first child about a month from now at the beginning of September. It's an exciting time and that will likely mean fewer website content for a while but we really appreciate all of the support that we've been getting from the Livestream viewers today. Thank you all for your kind words and congratulations!
Quick check-in here with some of the recent updates to the website. I've been spending a lot of gaming time with Set Seven of Teamfight Tactics which has been solid if not spectacular thus far. I'm recording videos for that game which have been posted to YouTube at this linked playlist. Here on this website, the other main project that I've been working on is new content for Rogue Legacy 2. I spent oodles of time playing the original Rogue Legacy and I've created a new section on the website for the excellent sequel. So far I've written a basic introductory article for the game and started reprising my Class Legacy series that runs through the full game while restricted to a single class. I started out with the Knight to get a feel for how this would work in Rogue Legacy 2 and it's been a lot of fun thus far. Some of the other classes will be much harder to use than the Knight and I'm both looking forward to and dreading the chance to play them!
Elsewhere, I ran a Master of Orion game on Twitch Livestream featuring the Darloks which I then summarized with a short written report here. It was a fairly challenging game that highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the Darloks and their spying stuff. I also re-wrote the partially finished Travel report on San Antonio which was lost when my computer's hard drive failed. I visited San Antonio one time previously back in the 1990s and it was an interesting experience to compare my previous impressions as a teenager against this more recent visit. Speaking of travel, we'll be going on vacation in a couple of weeks at the end of June so I won't be online much during that period. Expect more travel articles based on that trip after we get back and have a chance to sort through the pictures that we take.
It's been some time since I was able to post an update here on the front page of the website. For anyone who hadn't heard, my gaming laptop suffered a hard disk failure at the end of March and it took almost a month to get it repaired in the shop. Fortunately I was able to recover almost all of the files on there between my external harddrive, information that had been uploaded to YouTube or my website's server, and the stuff that the repair store was able to recover. I spent the last week getting everything back to normal (since the new harddrive essentially functioned like a blank computer) and we should be back and running now at full speed.
There's been plenty of updates to the website during the last three months that I'll call attention to here. In the Civilization section, I've continued posting more alternate histories to the main Season Six page and we're getting closer to the end of the season with the alternate histories for the playoffs. I also completed a Single Player Civ4 game on Livestream featuring Mansa Musa on Immortal difficulty which should have a writeup posted in the new few days. Here's the YouTube playlist for the moment. Much of my gaming time has been spent with Teamfight Tactics and I've added some more written articles as we approach the end of the current set. I wrote my traditional retrospective for Set 6.5 and unfortunately it wasn't nearly as positive as the report for the first half of the set. The developers prioritized making as many changes as possible over making smart changes that improved the gameplay and thus the set was a total mess for most of its length. We'll see if they can do better in Set Seven. Then I also wrote a separate article detailing the Seven Bad Habits of Newcomer TFT Players in an attempt to help people who might be learning the game for the first time. This is more of an evergreen article which should always remain relevant regardless of the set taking place at the moment.
Elsewhere, we completed our Diablo 2 team variant featuring the Low Rent Legion and I wrote up the whole thing to save it for posterity. A bunch of the other players wrote restrospectives for their own characters which I highly encourage checking out to get some different perspectives on the event. I was having enough fun playing Diablo 2 to start my own Hydra-based Sorceress character in Single Player which I've started writing up; we'll see how long it takes me to complete her journey. While I was effectively working in exile on our home desktop computer, I used that time to finish up with the solo Primrose character for Octopath Traveler. I had done the first part of that report last year and had a lot of fun playing through the other three chapters of this unique character. Finally, the Travel section of the website contains a writeup of the short trip that we took to Austin, Texas back in March when Liz had a work convention and I tagged along as a tourist. I also visited San Antonio on that trip but that writeup was unrecoverable from the old harddrive and I'm in the process of redoing the report again (argh!) That's a ton of writing that I've put together in recent months and there's more stuff coming down the pipeline now that Rogue Legacy 2 has officially been released. There should be plenty of new content for readers to enjoy.
Finally time for me to update the front page with some news on the recent additions to the website. A lot of my recent writing has gone to updating the weekly results of our Low Rent Legion team variant for Diablo 2. We've made it into Hell difficulty at this point and it's been a ton of fun; we should need another month or two to make it through the rest of the game. I've also been spending a bunch of time with Teamfight Tactics and recording a lot of videos for YouTube since a visual format works better for that particular game. Set Six of Teamfight Tactics is about to hit its midset update so I wrote up my usual reflections looking back at the first half of the set. This has been an excellent set and my retrospective is highly positive as a result. Elsewhere, I've continued to post additional alternate histories for Season Six of Civ4 AI Survivor as they get finished. The opening round of games is just about done and then we'll dig into the Wildcard and playoff games to see how things might have played out differently. Finally, I finished writing about the vacation that Liz and I took to the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. If you happen to enjoy the travel writing on the website there are a couple of additional pages there to dig through.
There's a couple updates that have been added to the website in the last few weeks. The biggest was a full tutorial game for Humankind, the new empire-building strategy game from Amplitude Studios. I've been playing this game on Livestream for a few weeks and wanted to provide an explanatory writeup on how the gameplay works. It's linked from the main page of the website and I'll probably build that out into a full Humankind section down the road as I spend more time with the game. We also started up with weekly Diablo 2 games for the Low Rent Legion variant team and I'm keeping track of what takes place here on the website. Nothing too crazy thus far in Normal difficulty but things are sure to get harder / more interesting with time. Elsewhere, with Set Five coming to a close for Teamfight Tactics, I wrote up my thoughts in another editorial piece about what took place. Set Five was largely a failure even though I spent a lot of time playing it and this is one of those opportunities to investigate what went wrong from a design perspective. Set Six of TFT looks promising although I have no idea right now if I'll end up playing more of it. I also continue to release new alternate histories for Season Six of Civ4 AI Survivor with the most recent alternate history (for Game Three) added a few days ago. Finally, I'm also plugging away at writing the travel reports for our Galapagos trip from the summer. I'm about halfway through the process right now which can be read over in the Travel section. There should be a lot of content there to enjoy so happy reading!
September is finished and with it the busiest month of the year for my working schedule. I've started adding a bit more content to the website over the last week and the biggest addition comes in the form of new Diablo 2 content thanks to the release of D2: Resurrected last week. There's a new team variant called the Low Rent Legion which will be launching next week on the Friday Livestream, and then I have a low-pressure solo character named Bearly Visible which I've been having fun running in offline mode. D2R looks fantastic in terms of the visuals and the gameplay is exactly as solid as ever so expect to see more content in this area over the upcoming months. Elsewhere, I've also been running more of the new civ-style game Humankind on Livestream and I think that I have a good grasp of the mechanics by this point. I'd like to write up a sample game to walk readers through Humankind though I'm not sure when I'll have the time at present. Hopefully in the near future. I've also been slowly adding more alternate histories entires for Civ4 AI Survivor, with the most recent one involving Game Two. Expect to see a new entry every few weeks as I run through the replays of each map. Finally, I'm also working through the process of writing up our Galapagos trip for the Travel portion of the website. The first part is finished already and I want to get as much writing done as possible while the memories are still fresh in my head. There's a lot on the to-do list and we'll see how much I manage to complete.
Happy Labor Day here in the United States! The Civ4 AI Survivor series concluded Season Six a few weeks ago and I've posted the Conclusions page with some finishing thoughts on the action. Over the next few months I'll be working on the Alternate Histories as we do a deeper dive on the individual matches to see what outcomes were most likely to take place. The first such alternate history for Game One has already been posted and I'll try to keep them coming every few weeks. The other noteworthy event was the vacation trip that Liz and I took to the Galapagos in the month of August. I showcased some of the pictures on Livestream and uploaded the recording to YouTube; follow this link to check it out. The full writeup for the website is another project that I'll be working on over the next few months. Unfortunately this is the busiest time of the year for my work schedule and updates will be slow for the next few weeks. There's a good chance that I won't be able to Livestream on a few of the upcoming Fridays because I'll have to be putting in some overtime hours. In any case, on most weeks I'll continue streaming and we've been having a lot of fun with the new civ-style game Humankind and the not-so-new game Darkest Dungeon. The remastered version of Diablo 2 is also releasing in a few weeks; more to come on plans for that game once it drops. Have a great September!
It's been a busy few months running the Civ4 AI Survivor competition and we're about to finish with Season Six. The Championship game will be taking place on this upcoming Friday and then the AI leaders will head back into storage for another year until we bring back the feature again. As always, the Season Six main page has all of the details and will also contain our retrospective conclusions / alternate histories once the season concludes. I haven't written much else for the website in recent weeks since most of my gaming time has been devoted to AI Survivor, however there's one new feature on the website under the Octopath Traveler section. I've started running through Primrose's solo journey and the first part has been posted here. There's also a travel report from a few weeks back about our trip to Mississippi which might interest some of you to read. Liz and I will be going on vacation after the end of the AI Survivor season and then my work tends to get busy again in the fall but I'll do my best to keep the front page updated with any new content that goes up on the website. I hope that folks have enjoyed this season of the AI competition!
Happy Memorial Day to everyone out there! The big news on the website over the past few weeks has been Civ4 AI Survivor Season Six, which kicked off on May 7th and has been running in full swing on Fridays ever since. We're about halfway through the opening round at this point and I'll once again link the main page with all of the relevant information. This has eaten up most of my gaming time although I've also continued to post YouTube videos for Teamfight Tactics at a regular pace. The reason that I'm putting an update here on the front page is to let everyone know that I've completed a long-running project of mine to produce a report for the Civ6 PBEM7 game that took place at Realms Beyond. This game concluded three years ago and due to the COVID pandemic I've finally gotten around to producing a report about the big naval clash that took place at the end. This is a lengthy report in five parts and I'm very pleased that I've managed to archive this game to preserve it for future reading. Head on over to this link to check out all the details!
Big news for the website: if you haven't seen the announcement already, AI Survivor is returning for Season Six! All of the information is posted at the AI Survivor Season Six main page, with our leader draw taking place next week on April 23rd and then our new fantasy auction draft following on April 30th. The first game kicks off on May 7th and then we'll continue with weekly matches for the next couple of months. If you missed out on previous years of AI Survivor, this is a great time to follow the action along from the start! Elsewhere, I've also posted a report summarizing the Civ6 Phoenician Pirates game that I played on Livestream. This one was fun even though the Civ6 AI doesn't put up much of a challenge - there's a reason why I don't run Civ6 AI Survivor! Finally, Teamfight Tactics is kicking off a new set and we've been testing it out on the Public Beta Environment (PBE) server in anticipation of the formal release in a few weeks. There should be plenty of TFT content over on my YouTube channel and anyone is welcome to join us in our group games on Wednesdays and Fridays. Feel free to stop by and come learn a whole new set of champions along with us!
There's been a couple of updates to the website over the last few weeks. In the Civ4 AI Survivor category, I've added a pair of additional alternate histories for Game Six and Game Seven. They are all linked from the Civ4 AI Survivor Season Five main page and we're down to only a single remaining match (Game Eight) that still needs one of those retrospective examinations. I also added a new written article for Teamfight Tactics that looks at Set 4.5 as it rapidly draws to a close. This is titled Festival of Bad Beats and it's linked here for the curious. We continue to run our group TFT games during the Friday Livestreams and I try to put up a couple of Teamfight Tactics videos on YouTube each week. No one seems to watch them but they're fun for me to record and that's the important part. Look for more information about the next season of AI Survivor coming in a few weeks as I start the get the preparatory work out of the way. Should be fun!
It's been some time since I posted a notice to the front page of the website and I'm going to try and list a few of the updates that have been getting added in recent months. For starters, our Civ Fridays Livestreaming series has continued on a weekly basis as I feature different turn-based strategy games. The most recent Civ4 game was named Frederick's Spy Ring and focused on an espionage and specialist economy; this link leads to a short writeup of the game that I put together today. Prior to running the espionage game, I played a Master of Orion variant that I named Inflexible Psilons. There's a short written summary for that game as well and of course I have links on both pages to the Livestream archives on YouTube. The other game that I've been streaming is Teamfight Tactics as the lead-in title for the first few hours of each Livestream. We have a nice group that turns out each Friday to take part in these games and it feels a bit like the old YouTube Nights from League of Legends back, uh, a decade ago. Here's a link to the playlist of YouTube videos that I've done for the current Set 4.5 of Teamfight Tactics. Earlier I wrote up my impressions of the previous Set Four which I mentioned back in December so here's the link to that report for those who may have missed it.
But wait, there's more! I also played through and wrote about an entire Octopath Traveler solo character over the past few months. This was the secret job known as the Warmaster and I explored this overpowered class in great detail across five different pages; here's a link to the first part of the story. And for one last note, I've also been working on finshing the Alternate Histories for the remaining Civ4 AI Survivor games from Season Five. There are only a couple more of them to go and if you haven't been following along I have these alternate histories done for 10 of the 13 games from Season Five. They are all linked from the Civ4 AI Survivor Season Five main page. I'm tentatively targeting a date in 2-3 months for the start of Season Six of AI Survivor although that is very much subject to change depending on what happens in that span of time. Overall then, it's been a busy few months for the website with a lot of new content. I've done a poor job of keeping the front page up to date, my apologies for that!
Welcome to the last front page update for the year 2020. There's been a number of updates posted to the website over the last two months but the biggest focus has been the YouTube channel recently. I've been posting a series of Teamfight Tactics videos from the game's current Set Four; here's a link to the playlist where I've been organizing them. This has been an entertaining set for Teamfight Tactics and I'm planning on typing up some written reflections when it comes to an end in a few weeks. The Civ Fridays series has also continued and I typed up a summary for the most recent game to finish, The Book of Kells: Religious Celts. If you're curious about seeing some religious gameplay in Civ4 this is a good series to watch. I also played and streamed a lot of the game Hades in the finishing months of 2020, enough that I typed up my impressions for the website while they were still fresh. This one is linked under the Miscellaneous section or directly right here. Finally, I also completed the Ophilia solo game for Octopath Traveler and posted the final page of the report under the Octopath section of the website. Here's another link to the general Octopath section which contains all four parts of the written report.
One section of the website that hasn't been updated is the Travel section. Liz and I have been staying safe at home for the last ten months during the COVID pandemic and our big Christmas gift was an Oculus VR system. I'm hoping learn how to play Beatsaber and figure out how to stream it down the road. In any case, let's all hope that things will improve in 2021 and everyone can see family and friends once again in safety. We have a big vacation already pre-paid that I can't wait to experience and then write about for this website!
There were some gentle reminders from my Livestream chat today that I should update the front page and thereby prompted this post. Overall this has been a quiet time in terms of website updates as it's the busiest time of the year for my work. The main addition has been a series of Alternate History reports for some of the Season Five games of AI Survivor. They are about half a dozen of them at this point and they're all linked from the Civ4 AI Survivor Season Five main page. I also went ahead and put together a quick spot report for the Civ4 game that I finished on Livestream, Roman Seafarers on Immortal difficulty. This was a fun and surprisingly easy game where everything went more or less according to plan. The AI doesn't handle water maps especially well and I had a blast taking Julius Caesar out for a spin. I also started up a new Octopath Traveler solo game featuring Ophilia although when they will be finished is anyone's guess. Expect more regular updates once mid-November rolls around and the busiest time of the year is over for me.
I have a series of updates to the website to mention here on the front page that have been going up over the last six weeks. The biggest focus has been Season Five of AI Survivor which is rapidly approaching the championship match next week. The main page for Season Five sill has all of the relevant links associated with games past and present. We've been taking a look at some alternate history scenarios in the last few weeks, replays of the same map to see if the official matches were typical or weird flukes. Wyatan provided the inspiration for this project with a look at some of the Season Four games, and I've been adding his findings into the old writeups from last year as they take place. Here's one such example from Season Four Game One and there are more alternate history writeups being added as Wyatan continues to look at the old games. This interested me enough that I've been looking at some of the Season Five games using the same format; here's Season Five Playoff Game One for example. All of these new alternate history writeups are linked from the main AI Survivor page for easier access and visibility.
Elsewhere on the website, I finished up with solo Therion's journey in the Octopath Traveler section. Parts Four and Five (as well as the initial three parts) are all linked from the main Octopath Traveler page. I also ran a Final Fantasy 5 Four Jobs Fiesta party earlier this year and put together a stub of a page to collect the Livestream recordings in one place. If anyone is interested in that, the account of "The Rejects" can be found here. Finally, Rogue Legacy 2 has gone into Early Access this week and I've been featuring it on Livestream. The game is a long distance away from being finished (the currently Early Access version is basically an old Shareware demo) but I will very likely feature it on the website when it's ready. I got a ton of usage out of the original Rogue Legacy and I'm looking forward to exploring the sequel in more detail.
There are a couple of new additions to the website that I wanted to highlight today. The main focus at the moment is the ongoing progress of Civ4 AI Survivor Season Five, as we start to finish up with the opening round of matches and roll on towards the playoff round. The turnout for the picking contest and the Livestream viewers has been tremendous this year, as we hit 200 concurrent viewers for the first time last week - thank you everyone! Elsewhere, there's a major addition to the website today as I posted a writeup that I put together for the recent Civ6 PBEM17 Multiplayer game. This report runs to five parts as I use the game as a case study to examine both the new mechanics in the Gathering Storm expansion and a textbook example of how to snowball a game economically. Hopefully this should be a good read since there hasn't been much Civ6 content on the website recently. Finally, I've also begun a new Octopath Traveler solo character by posting the first part of Therion's game. Expect to see additional updates for Therion trickle out over the next few weeks onto the website.
We're halfway through the opening round of Civ4 AI Survivor at this point and it's been a tremendous success. The turnout has been even higher than last year, with a consistent 150 viewers for the Livestreams and close to 250 entries per game in the picking contest. This is where most of the time and energy for the website is going right now, and there's been a ton of updates on the Season Five main page as the games take place each week. The only other development in the last few weeks was finishing up with the Solo Runelord game for Octopath Traveler, which was a total blast and well worth checking out. If you're reading this, I hope you've been enjoying the AI Survivor games and that the rest of the season will continue going strong!
Civ4 AI Survivor is back! Season Five will be starting two weeks from this post on 29 May 2020 at noon EST. Check out this page which has links to all of the relevant information sources as well as previews for the first match. Good luck with your predictions for the contest and I hope to see a bunch of folks on the Livestream in two weeks!
Time for another update on the main page to catch up with the various new content on the website. First of all, I've been continuing with the Octopath Traveler solo character reports, finishing up with the Cyrus/Scholar playthrough and now starting up with one of the game's secret jobs, the Runelord class. I've also been adding more updates to Skulla's report in the Diablo 3 section, and he should be finishing up with his character run in the next week or two. The biggest addition from the last week has been the much-delayed posting of our Australia Trip in the Travel section of the website. This lengthy series of articles was finished months ago and delayed in being posted until now. The whole thing runs to nine parts and has several hundred pictures so it should be a lengthy read for those who find the travel stuff interesting.
In streaming news, we finished up with the Civ4 Passive Aggressive Conquest game today and there will be a summary report for that coming sometime soon. This link points to the video playlist on YouTube for anyone who might be interested in watching. Next up, I'm going to be spending some time streaming the newest game from Soren Johnson (lead designer of Civ4) which is named Old World. I've been working behind the scenes on some early alpha testing for the last two years and we're excited to be able to reveal the project more publicly at long last. Down the road, I'm considering bringing back Civ4 AI Survivor for another season if we're all going to be stuck inside for the immediate future. I'll have more details to share on that later if it ends up happening. Enjoy!
We're about a month into the COVID-19 quarantine period right now and I hope everyone reading this is staying safe. I've been doing a fair bit of gaming and writing over the past few weeks, starting with the conclusion of Alfyn's story in Octopath Traveler. All four parts are finished and posted to the website and can be found linked from the main Octopath Traveler page. I even had time to take a break from Octopath for a couple of weeks and then start another new solo game featuring Cyrus. Expect to see more parts of his trip posted over the next few weeks. Finally, I also wanted to use some of this time to continue the journey of my Diablo 3 character Skulla, who had the beginning portion of his report posted and then left hanging for six months. I figured that I had to get this character finished before Diablo 4 came out, which means that I had, uh, probably another three or four years remaining. Better sooner than later though!
I have two updates to report for the website today. The first is the beginning of another Octopath Traveler character run, this time featuring Alfyn's Solo Apothecary class. The initial part is the only one written at present but I'm in the process of playing and reporting on this newest addition to the collection of solo journeys. I've also found a way to debug in the secret hidden Octopath jobs (Warmaster, Runelord, etc.) so they'll also be represented eventually if I can find enough time to keep reporting on this game. The other new addition to the website is a backwards-looking piece, Reflections on Set Two of Teamfight Tactics. It's a mixture of a commentary on things that were good/bad about this set of Teamfight Tactics, along with impressions on my bizarre ranked journey through TFT in this split.
Like much of the rest of the world, we are currently staying at home to minimize the threat of transmission from the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus. We should be fine since Liz and I can both work from home and readers/viewers likely won't see any interruption in my normal posting/streaming schedule. Not everyone is as lucky though and we're hoping that everyone out there will pull through this safe and sound. Stay strong out there and don't be afraid to shout for help if there's something we can do in our small way to provide assistance.
Happy Valentine's Day! There are several updates that have gone up on the website over the last few weeks. The most writing went into the Octopath Traveler section, where I finished the last three parts of Olberic's solo game. All four portions are available for reading now at the link provided and this proved to be a highly entertaining solo character. Elsewhere, there's a short report in the Travel section covering our trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to experience the Groundhog Day celebrations. If you've ever wondered what it's like to celebrate the sunrise with a groundhog and 40,000 other people, this is the report for you. Finally, I also took the time to write up a summary of the Civ3 Blast From The Past game that I played on Livestream. I know, crazy right? This is the first new Civ3 content on the website since 2005! Go check it out if you understandably didn't want to spend ten hours watching the Livestream recordings.
I've been making updates to the website here and there over the past few weeks and finally got around to putting a notice here on the front page. Most of the recent writing has taken place in the Octopath Traveler section of the website, where I finished a full report on a solo Tressa game. This ran to four parts and ended up being quite a journey before reaching the finish line. I enjoyed this enough that I started another new Octopath game featuring Olberic as a solo character. That venture is still in the early stages and I'll be working on playing and writing about it for the next few weeks.
The other game that I've been playing a lot recent has been Teamfight Tactics, the League of Legends-inspired autochess battler. I finally added a link to my Teamfight Tactics playlist on YouTube to the League of Legends portion of the website, and I'm planning on writing up something about Teamfight Tactics at the end of the current ranked split in a month or two. This is a very different kind of game from many of the others featured on this website, and I've been enjoying the challenge of taking on other human players in a strategy competition. Finally, there's a short new Travel report hot off the presses detailing my work trip to Phoenix, Arizona last week. Nothing too crazy as far as trips goes, just a nice short visit to an unusual desert city. Enjoy the new content!
A new section of the website opens today with the posting of the Octopath Traveler page. I've been playing this game on Livestream for the past few months and finally finished with my non-variant initial playthrough. Next up will be diving into some variants, especially investigating some solo games in a reprise of the Final Fantasy 5 portion of this website. For the moment, I've posted an overview of Octopath Travler that should serve as a review and introduction to the game for those who aren't familiar with it. I've also started a solo game featuring the Merchant character Tressa, and the first page of this in-progress effort has also been added today.
The other new addition to the website is an additional Diablo 3 character, a Necromancer that I created named Skulla. His journey will be a reprise of my Diablo 2 Necromancer of the same name, with an exploration of the changes to the skeletal summoner that have taken place between games. Skulla is on the backburner at the moment since I'm on a bit of an Octopath kick right now, but I expect to return to him sooner or later. Over on the YouTube front, I've been playing a good amount of Teamfight Tactics, the League of Legends autochess spinoff game, and there's a new YouTube Playlist featuring the videos that I've created for that game. I've also been working on writing up our summer vacation to Australia from earlier this year, which is nearing completion but hasn't been posted yet. Keep an eye out for that sometime in December. Finally, I used some of my spare time to update the banner graphics for the core website. You won't see too many changes unless you spend a lot of time poking around in the older portions of the website, but I never liked the former banner graphics and tidied them up to look a bit neater. I also used this time to update the Collected Editorials page with some of the reports posted over the past few years, and it should now be up to date again.
Slow month for updates on the website due to work being crazy, but I have two reports to pass on. The first is a short writeup of the Elizabeth Empress of the Highlands Livestream game, which includes links to the full YouTube playlist for anyone interested. We've already moved on to a new Civ6 game featuring Mansa Musa that's streaming on Fridays as part of our "Civ Fridays" series, anyone reading this should feel free to drop by and check it out. The other report is the delayed conclusion to Snowbelle's quest in Diablo 3, which I wanted to finish writing about before it slipped too far out of memory. I should be able to do some more writing in a few weeks, and in the meantime these links and the Livestream will have to suffice.
We're back from vacation! Liz and I had a fantastic trip to Australia, and a travel report on that venture overseas will be posted eventually. For the moment, there are two new Alternate History reports up in the Civ4 AI Survivor section of the website. First of all, I ran a bunch of Championship Rematch games to determine whether or not the actual outcome of Season Four was a fluke result. Longtime followers of the AI Survivor competition likely will not be surprised by the answer to that question. The other AI Survivor report was submitted by Ghostpants, who put together a writeup of his Game Two Leader Switcheroo and explored what it would look like to run the same map with different leaders. For those who enjoy the Livestreams, I'm continuing to play out a Civ4 game featuring Elizabeth on a Highlands map. We're running these games each Friday as part of the new "Civ Fridays" feature and generally having a blast. The Livestreams are saved on Twitch and also archived to YouTube at this playlist. One advance notice for readers: late September and October is going to be insanely busy at my work, and I won't have much time for streaming or writing for a few weeks. Don't worry if I disappear for a little bit, I'll be back around the start of November.
Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor has concluded with a surprise winner! The overall Season Four Index Page still has all of the information needed to recap the season, along with the writeup for the Championship Game and a new Conclusions page looking back at what took place. Many thanks to everyone who took part in this season's actions between submitting predictions, watching the games on Livestream, or reading the reports afterwards. It was a huge success and there's a good chance that we'll run another season next year.
In other news on the website, I've created a new Diablo 3 character named Snowbelle and I'm in the process of playing through her quest. She's a Wizard specializing in Cold skills, and the first four parts of her story have been posted to the website over the past few weeks with at least one more still to come. Over on the Travel section of the website, I've nearly finished the long task of writing about all of my past trips from the last decade. I've recently added sections for my trip to Hong Kong and Bangkok in 2008, my trip to Paris in 2009, and last month's trip to New York from this year in 2019. Tomorrow we are leaving for a trip to Australia and therefore I won't be streaming or updating the website for a few weeks. I'll see everyone later on in August!
We've reached the final game of Civ4 AI Survivor! The Season Four Championship will be taking place on Saturday, 20 July 2019 at noon EST. Note that there will be a two week delay before the final to help build more hype, and that it will be taking place on a Saturday instead of our usual Friday scheduling in order to allow more people to watch along live. The overall Season Four Index Page still has all of the links needed to follow the action, submit picks, watch the Livestreams, or read the written summaries of the completed games.
I also need to mention that the Tuesday YouTube Night events for League of Legends have been concluded. We were never able to get much more than a dozen people to make the events, and I found that streaming on weeknights didn't end up working very well with my work schedule. With my own interest in League of Legends waning once again, this was the right time to bring the YouTube Nights to a close. Thanks again to everyone who took part in them over the last six months - those of you who were there on a weekly basis were an amazing group! The Livestream itself will continue on our usual Friday schedule along with other more intermittent weekend streams. After this season of Civ4 AI Survivor concludes, I plan to continue the same trend with a new "Civ Fridays" feature where we play a variety of different turn-based strategy games together on stream. Keep an eye out for more upcoming details on these Livestreaming events.
Finally, I want to draw attention to the Diablo 3 section of my website where I finished writing up the story of one of my Single Player characters. I created a character named Spyderman based around the use of the Corpse Spiders skill, and I ended up writing eight pages detailing his travels across a bunch of different difficulties. There's a lot to read here about a new character to the website so dig in and enjoy some new tales here on the website!
Update time! Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor finished up its opening round of games this week. We've been averaging somewhere between 100 and 130 viewers on the Livestreams and continue to set new records for entries in the picking contest, with more than 180 predictions submitted for the most recent game. In other words, Season Four has been a huge success and if you've missed out on the competition thus far, now is a great time to join in the fun with the playoff round about to begin. The overall Season Four Index Page has all of the links needed to follow the action, submit picks, watch the Livestreams, or read the written summaries of the completed games.
Outside of AI Survivor, Liz and I have been playing a lot of the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls, enough for me to write up an article about it. This one is titled Second Chances and it walks through the positive changes that have taken place since Diablo 3's disastrous release period. I took this opportunity to do a small redesign of the Diablo 3 main page, and since I'm back to writing about that game again, I also had to move a link to it back here onto the overall main page once again. Both Civ5 and Diablo 3 eventually managed to work their way off the Miscellaneous page after the passage of enough time. I'm probably going to be writing about at least one of my solo characters in the upcoming weeks since I'm having more fun than expected.
Finally, I've also updated the Travel section of the website with reports about my British Study Abroad semester and one of the trips that I took during that research period to Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany. I've almost finished catching up on the ten year backlog of past vacations and written them all up on this website. Just a few more trips left to go... at least until this summer's big vacation takes place, heh!
Short update: Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor continues with weekly games. We finished Game Three of the opening round this past week and we're getting ready to start Game Four this upcoming Friday. I'll mention once again the overall Season Four Index Page which has all of the links needed to follow the action and enter picks in the weekly contest taking place. One other new link to pass on is the YouTube Playlist for all of the Season Four games. I also link the Twitch Livestream recordings but I know that some people have trouble getting them to work on their local computer. Finally, there's another major trip in the Travel section of the website, this one covering my 2010 trip to Maritime Canada. This was one of the first big trips where I did the planning and the traveling entirely by myself, and it's always been one of my favorite vacations. Enjoy the reading while taking a break from AI Survivor.
Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor is off and running! Game One took place this past Friday and we'll be continuing with Game Two this upcoming week. There are a ton of links related to the event that I'll mention here, first the overall Season Four Index Page which is the main place to watch for updates. I'll also link to the Livestream for Game One, the postgame written report for Game One, the preview YouTube video for Game Two, the written preview for Game Two, and finally the picking contest entry form for Game Two. We had over 150 predictions for the first game and about 135 people watching concurrently at the highest point on the Livestream - Season Four is off to a great start!
In other news, I added a series of short trip writeups to the Travel section of the website. This includes trips to San Diego, Miami Beach, Milwaukee, and a Pittsburgh Steelers Playoff Game in 2010. That should be plenty of links to keep everyone busy for the moment.
Whew, it's been a busy few months! The big news from a personal perspective is that Liz and I were married last weekend in a beautiful ceremony held at a historic manor on the outskirts of Baltimore. The marriage took endless amounts of planning (and expense), but went off more or less flawlessly on a perfect spring day. Thanks to everyone on the Livestream for their well-wishes and congratulations this past week following the event. I'll also mention here that there's been one addition to the Travel portion of the website, a short page detailing our trip to Chincoteague and Assateague last fall. There hasn't been too much time to work on the website over the past few months, and I've been spending more of my gaming time on the Livestream playing League of Legends instead. The Tuesday YouTube Nights are still ongoing, and anyone reading this is welcome to drop in.
I have a second piece of big non-personal news for the website today. I'm pleased to announce that Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor is due to begin soon! The link in the previouse sentence will take you to the main page for the new season of AI Survivor, with all of the relevant links to the picking contest, the individual match previews, the overall bracket, and so on. Games will be streamed live on Friday afternoons starting at noon EST (east coast of North America), with the first match set to take place on Friday, 19 April 2019. Unfortunately I know that not everyone will be able to make the live broadcast, which is why all of the streams will be archived for viewing later on Twitch.tv. Keep an eye as well on the new Sullla Discord channel for additional announcements and information, or simply to chat with other people following the competition. Feel free to help spread the word to any of the various Civilization-enthusiast parts of the Internet. If this season goes anything like the past three, we're in for a ton of fun. See you in two weeks!
I'm pleased to announce that the Travel writeup for last year's Great American Roadtrip has finally been completed. It ran to 16 total pages and appoximately 80,000 words, and I'm very glad to have it finished. Now I have about six more months to continue working on back trips from prior years before the next big vacation trip overseas gives me another project to work on. It's not exactly a bad problem to have. Elsewhere, I also added a short editorial to the League of Legends section of the website called Gotta Go Fast: The Evolution of League of Legends Game Pacing. I've been spending most of the gaming time with League of Legends lately, and anyone interested in that is encouraged to check out my YouTube channel where all of the new video recordings get posted. We are back to doing our Tuesday Night YouTube Games once again, and they're a lot of fun - feel free to come watch or join us!
Time for a few new announcements on the front page. As we prepare to begin the 2019 calendar year, I've been working on filling out the remaining pages for my summer travels under the Great American Roadtrip heading. I have three quarters of the 16 planned pages finished at this point, and hopefully I'll be finishing up that project in the next few weeks. There's also one new report that I just added under the For The King section of the website, this one focusing on the newest game mode that the developers have added. The report is named Water, Water, Everywhere: Into The Deep and it's focused on this naval-heavy gameplay mode. Worth a read if you're interested in For The King. Finally, after a very long absence I'm back to playing and Livestreaming League of Legends once again, and having a fun time of it. Since League of Legends isn't a game that lends itself to written reports, most of the content here is located on my YouTube page and my Twitch Livestream page (linked above). I've added links to my YouTube playlists on the League of Legends page here on the website, which is a handy way to keep track of the content that's been added both recently and historically. I am also planning to bring back the custom game nights in 2019, likely on Tuesday evenings, with the final details to be figured out in the near future. Keep an eye on for more details on that. I hope everyone has enjoyed a happy and healthy 2018 - here's to another new year!
I have some new content to post about on the website and finally got around to updating the front page. If you've been wondering where I've been for the past few weeks, I've been swamped with work throughout September and October. I've been working 50 and 60 hour weeks for the last two months, working 10 hour days on Monday-Thursday and then working additional full days on Fridays and sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays as well. The fall is the busiest season of the year for my job and we're finally about to be finished with our rush period. I've either been working or too tired to Livestream in recent weeks, and hopefully that will be ending soon. In the gaming time that I've had available, Liz and I have been spending a lot of time playing the board game Gloomhaven, which has been a ton of fun but not something that lends itself well to streaming. I would encourage anyone who enjoys RPG dungeon-crawling to give Gloomhaven a look if they have a group of gaming friends and aren't scared off by the $140 price tag.
That said, there are a few updates to the website that I wanted to highlight here. The biggest is a major Civ6 report on a variant that I've always wanted to try: The No District Challenge, Deity Space Race. What would it be like to try to win via spaceship on the highest difficulty level with no districts at all? Click the link to go check it out. As a scheduling note, this is probably the last report that I'll be writing for Civ6 Single Player as I've exhausted most everything that I wanted to try in that game. I also have a smaller report looking at the highest difficulty level in For The King, this one titled Take Five: Dungeon Crawl Mode. I may or may not stream some more of FTK since it does have a lot of replayability. I do wish that the FTK games were a little bit shorter since they can't typically be done in a single streaming session. Finally, I've also been working on writing up my summer travels under the Great American Roadtrip heading, with the first few parts complete and the rest still in progress. I'm never sure if people are interested in the Travel portion of the website, but since it's here I include the links on the main page. I think this trip will be most interesting for non-Americans as it went through a bunch of the less famous and less touristed parts of the country. If you've never heard of states like Iowa or Arkansas, this should be a fun read.
Quick update here on the front page just to let everyone know that all is well. We moved into our new house in June and have been spending the weeks since then unpacking and decorating the place. There's still a lot of work to be done but we're happy with how things look at the moment. I also went away on vacation for three weeks at the end of July and beginning of August, driving across a good portion of the United States on a venture that I've been calling the Great American Roadtrip. The pictures from that trip will be written up and included in the Travel section of the website in the upcoming months. Speaking on which, there are several additions to the Travel section of the website that have quietly gone up since the last front page update. The largest of these is a writeup of the Western Rockies trip that I took with my family back in 2011, which covers travel through the Black Hills of South Dakota, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and Salt Lake City in Utah. Smaller trips that I've also added include a trip to the Orlando Theme Parks last year in 2017, a trip to the Florida Keys from 2016, and a more personal story about Dream Week: Orioles Baseball from 2014. No new gaming related stuff to relate at the moment as I work on several different projects at the moment. I will post again on the main page if there's any major news to relate on that front. Hope everyone has been having a great summer!
There's a second report up on the website as of this weekend involving new game For The King. This time I look at the Frost Adventure Mode on the highest difficulty, which plays a little bit differently than the normal main game mode. In addition, I've also finished putting together another writeup in the Travel section for my trip to the Canadian Rockies. This was the counterpart to the 2012 trip to the Pacific Northwest that I was working on last month, and I'm pleased to have them both finished. The Travel section is slowly filling up; only five more major trips and nine more minor trip yet to go!
As a scheduling note, Liz and I will be moving into the house that we purchased over the next week. We're super excited and I'm eager to show the new place on Livestream after everything is moved in. However, it does mean that website and Livestreaming activity might be low for the next couple of weeks until the moving process is finished. Fair warning not to expect too much ahead of time.
I have a couple newsworthy bits of information to pass on regarding the website. First of all, the PBEM7 Civ6 game has completed! We offered a three-way draw to the other surviving teams and it was (eventually) accepted. We were the strongest of the remaining teams and I think that in an ideal world, we could have grinded out a victory in time. However, I was completely exhausted from six months of playing and reporting the turns, and needed to step away from the game. Most of the other players felt the same way, and a draw was the fairest ending to the game. We were the dominant team from start to finish, and I'm enormously pleased with how we played. There will likely be a writeup for the game coming at some point down the road, when I can find the time to put it together.
In the meantime, there's a new gaming addition to the website: For The King (FTK). It's a fantasy-themed rougelike game that I've been playing for the last few weeks and enjoying greatly. I love the art style used in this game, and the gameplay is both challenging and highly replayable. The closest comparison is FTL, and although I don't think this game is quite as good as FTL, even being in the ballpark means that we likely have a winner on our hands. Unfortunately the game doesn't seem to be too popular online, and there are relatively few resources available with information about the game. As a result, I've gone ahead and created my own Tutorial Game where I walk readers through a typical game on the medium difficulty level. If you're interested in this game or simply enjoy a good read, go check it out at the provided link. Finally, I've also added another major trip to the Travel section of the website, this time covering a trip to the Pacific Northwest back in 2012. This trip features stops in Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, and several of the amazing natural parks in the region. Enjoy!
There's been a couple of updates to the website over the last few weeks that I'm finally mentioning on the front page today. First of all, I played and wrote about Imperium 45 for Master of Orion, an entertaining variant game involving the Humans. I always seem to come back to Master of Orion for a game or two about every other year - it's truly a timeless classic of a game. The other written report that just went up on the website today is the Alternate Histories #2 Summary for Civ4 AI Survivor. I took a look at the most-requested game from Season Two, a dud collection of AI leaders involving Shaka and Tokugawa and several other nonentities. What happened when I played out that same starting position ten more times, and what does that tell us about the predictive power of the whole AI Survivor competition in general? I had a lot of fun putting this page together. Elsewhere, I continued filling out the Travel portion of the website with four more pages: my research trip to London and the accompanying short excursion to southern Ireland, both from 2007, a visit to the University of Colorado for a paper convention in 2008, and a winter trip to Sweden in 2009. I don't know if anyone is reading these pages, but I'm enjoying writing them up and there are plenty more of them still on the to-do list. Enjoy!
Today was a very late snow day, and I used it to complete some work on the website. First of all, I put together a Tier List for Final Fantasy 5 Solo Jobs, which has been on the website for a few weeks now but not mentioned here on the main page. This represents the ending point for the ten years that I spent playing through all of those solo character runs, and it's not something that you're likely to find anywhere else. For better or for worse, heh. Another update just added today was a final writeup for the Rogue Legacy section, where I unlocked and played through the game with the secret Traitor class. This was a fun little side project that I did in my spare time, and I'm glad that I could put a final report together for Rogue Legacy. I've also been making some further updates to the Travel section of the website, where I completed the lengthy writeup of my Eastern Canada Trip from 2013, as well as shorter reports from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park just a month ago and the Champs Sports Bowl all the way back in 2006. The Travel section is starting to get pretty crowded at this point, with more than three dozen total pages finished and close to a hundred (!) more planned. It's going to be a lengthy project.
Most of my current gaming time continues to go towards the ongoing Play By Email Game #7 for Civ6. It eats up somewhere between one to two hours per day, and that doesn't leave enough time to do a lot else. I've put my streaming time on hold for the moment until the game wraps up since I can't justify investing that much time in the PBEM game and also streaming on top of it. We likely have another month or two remaining between one team emerges victorious - hopefully my team. Finally, I updated the Collected Editorials page to include the editorials that I've written over the past two years. If you missed some of these along the way, they're assembled here in one easy place for additional reading.
I spent the last few weeks working on a project that's been a long while in the planning stages: the report for the PBEM4 game for Civ6. This was not a game that I myself took part in, but it was a fantastic game of naval combat played out on an archipelago map with some epic fleet vs fleet combat. The report ended up running to six pages and it's a very substantial piece of work. If you've enjoyed any of the Civ6 content on my website, you have an hour or two of reading ahead of you. Enjoy.
Happy New Year! It's been a busy few weeks here over the holiday, and I'm about to leave again on a weeklong work trip to San Diego. In the meantime, there are several updates on the website to share. The largest of these is the addition of the last remaining solo job class from Final Fantasy 5, this one being the Solo Oracle. This is one of the strangest and most unique classes in the game, and I had a lot of fun playing through the class and writing up a lengthy report. Aside from that one gaming piece, the remainder of the new content is located in the Travel section of the website. I'm about halfway completed with the writeup from a major trip in 2013 through Eastern Canada, while I've also been putting together some shorter single page trips. There's a fun set of pictures that I have from a Maryland vs Duke basketball game back when I was a graduate student, and another short report from my winter trip to Iceland in 2005, which complements the later trip that I took there in the summer of 2016. With the Travel section growing in content, I also added an alphabetical listing of all the reports collected together at the bottom of the main page. That should help in future searching for anyone who wants to go to a specific page. Livestreaming should resume when I get back from my work trip next week. Until then, enjoy the new website content!
This was a busy two weeks for updates. First of all, there's a new Civ6 report featuring Poland on Immortal difficulty called Poland Can Into Space. This is a spaceship game as the name suggests, and it's the first writeup I've done featuring the Civ6 lategame in some time. Definitely worth a look if you're into Civ6 content. I also have a new editorial related to Civ6, my final pre-expansion review of the game titled Exceeds Expectations: Civ6 One Year Review. For those of you who have been reading through my articles over the last year it likely won't contain anything too new, but it's a good summary of the pros and cons of Civilization 6 after the first year of patching has finished.
Next up is some more post-competition content for Civ4 AI Survivor. We decided to replay the same map half a dozen times to see how the game would play out, and test just how random the competition games truly are. The results are summarized in Civ4 AI Survivor: Alternate Histories #1. This was enough fun that we'll likely check out a few other games as well. I've also been upgraded from dedicated lurker to active turn player in the ongoing Play By Email Game #7 for Civ6, as a result of filling in for BrickAstley while he attends to some personal issues. I'm linking the active forum thread for that game at Realms Beyond again; if you've ever been interested in reading along with one of these games while it's ongoing, this is your chance.
Finally, I've also completed the very lengthy writeup for the European Grand Tour in the Travel section. This was a 31 day adventure across Europe that took place last summer, and the writeup has run to about 100,000 words and close to 1000 images in total. It's been a massive undertaking and I've very pleased at how it all turned out. If you have an interest in travel writing as opposed to gaming, you have hours of reading ahead of you. We'll see how much else I'm able to get done during the holiday season. As always, thanks for reading!
Happy December everyone! There's been a series of updates to the website in the last month that I want to highlight here. For starters, Season Three of Civ4 AI Survivor has concluded with a new champion. Here's a link to the writeup for the Championship Game, and after finishing the whole season, I also wrote a Conclusions page that goes into more details about the statistics behind the results. As always, the overall Season Three AI Survivor page has all of your links to everything for the concluded event. There might be one or two more writeups coming down the pipeline for AI Survivor as we look at some alternate history scenarios, so keep an eye out for that in the upcoming weeks.
Elsewhere, I've also gone ahead and done a playthrough for the solo Necromancer, one of the last remaining Final Fantasy 5 classes that I hadn't written about previously. This one was relatively straightforward but hopefully remains a fun read. I'll be targeting the solo Oracle next sometime in the next few months and then that will be the last solo job class. I've been working on this project for almost ten years now, how the time does fly. I've also been hard at work on the Travel section of the website, with the European Grand Tour nearly complete, and an entirely new Minnesota Trip added to the minor trips list. I have about a dozen years of trips that I'm slowly backfilling over time when not working on game writeups. Finally, I've decided to take part in a team Play By Email Game for Civ6 as a dedicated lurker, not playing the turns directly but offering suggestions and advice for those who are. I'll link the forum thread at Realms Beyond for anyone who wants to follow along for the next few months.
December tends to be a busy month so we'll see how much gets done in the near future. As always, I have more projects in the works than I can get finished and we'll have to wait and see what gets finished.
There are several updates on the website added in the last two weeks. I'll start with the ongoing AI Survivor competition; we've completed the three playoff games at this point, and the only remaining match is the Championship Game coming up on November 18th. Here's a link to the written preview for the game, and for anyone who wants to get in an entry for the picking contest, I'll add another link here. As always, the main Survivor Season Three overview page has all of the background information and the recordings/written reports from previous games. This season has been a blast thus far, and I'm looking forward to finding out which AI leader will emerge as our ultimate champion.
Elsewhere, I played full a Civ6 game on the most recent patch. This involved one of the new downloadable extra civs, and it features a religious game with the Khmer. I named it Baray King Bad and it can be read at this location. With Civ4 AI Survivor winding down, I'm hoping to have some more time for Civ6 activity in the months ahead. Finally, I've been slowly working on adding more of the pictures from my vacation in Europe last summer to the Travel section of the website. The Grand Tour report has now reached 15 parts in all, and I hope to have it finished within the next few weeks. If you're interested in reading something that isn't related to gaming, feel free to go check it out.
The AI Survivor competition has continued rolling along for the last few weeks, and at time of writing we're preparing for the second playoff game. Feel free to head over to the main Season Three page for all of the details. Thanks to some submissions from readers of the website, we also now have a complete list of writeups for all of the AI Survivor games in Season Two. They are all linked from the main Season Two page; special thanks to Axiis and Chaosquo for putting these together over the past few weeks. I've wanted to go back and finish the missing Season Two writeups for the last couple of years, and it's a huge relief to have them all done. The current AI Survivor competition will wrap up in a few more weeks, and that should open up some more time for additional projects. There's a major new Civ6 patch to explore, I plan to continue working on the writing in the Travel section, and I'm hoping to put together some kind of content for Divinity Original Sin 2. As always, thanks for reading and I hope everyone is enjoying the current run of Civ4 content.
With the start of October, we've now completed the opening round of Civ4 AI Survivor. I will be out of town this upcoming weekend, and therefore the Wildcard Game will take place in two weeks, on October 13th. The preview for the Wildcard Game has been posted, and the Livestream recordings and written summaries of all eight opening round games can now be accessed from the main Season Three page. It's been a highly entertaining set of games thus far - I hope everyone is enjoying the show.
Civ4 AI Survivor keeps chugging along at a steady pace. We now have a finished writeup for Game Four, and Game Five will be coming up in a few more days later this week. I'm continuing to put together previews for each match, and it's been a ton of fun recording the community predictions and comparing them to how each game ultimately played out. If you can't get enough of Civ4 AI Survivor, Axiis has been writing up reports for some of the missing games from last season, and there's a new one posted for Game Eight of Season Two. It's very well done - go check it out! At this point we're up to about 30 total games across three years, with a whole bunch of crazy outcomes in those matches.
Elsewhere, I have continued to update the Travel section of the website with a short report about my experience in this year's Total Solar Eclipse. For better or for worse, it was a very memorable day. I've also been slowly adding parts to the European Grand Tour, which is now over 50,000 words and still a good bit away from being finished. It was a monster trip and I knew it would be a monster report as well. September and October are the busiest time of year for my work schedule, which means that I'll likely have my hands full keeping AI Survivor running for the next few weeks. Don't expect too much more on the website until the end of the year rolls around. Thanks!
Three games of Civ4 AI Survivor Season Three are now in the books. The main page for Season Three has links to the Livestream recordings and written reports for all three of those games, as well as details on the next upcoming match. There will be no game this week as I will be out of town traveling, and we'll pick up with Game Four on Friday, September 1st. In the meantime, if you can't get enough Civ4 AI Survivor, some of the readers have been helping me put together written reports for the games from Season Two that still lack written summaries. Axiis has provided the most recent version of those writeups, this one for Game Five of Season Two. Feel free to check it out if you're wanting more AI on AI action during our week off.
I've also been working hard on my European Grand Tour trip in the Travel section, and although it's still an unfinished work in progress, there's an awful lot of material already posted to the website. For anyone who enjoyed the YouTube videos that I put together of photographs of past trips, this is the stuff for you.
We held the first match for Season Three of Civ4 AI Survivor earlier this week, and it was a huge success! 115 entries submitted in the prediction contest and almost 100 people watching live on stream as it played out. Let's hope that the upcoming games can retain the same level of excitement. There's a new feature this year in the form of a preview for each game; here's the Preview for Game Two, with plenty of time remaining to submit predictions. Even if you don't know anything about Civ4, why not take your best guess and see what happens? We also have detailed information about the games that have already taken place, with the Livestream recording for Game One located here, and a written summary of Game One located here. As always, the Season Three main page for Civ4 AI Survivor has all of the most up-to-date information and links to the all of the other previews, recordings, and writeups.
One other small note: I've been continuing to work on the Travel section of the website in my spare time, and in particular the monthlong trip that I took in Europe last summer. The writeup for that trip is an enormous enterprise, trying to cover 31 days of travel and the thousands upon thousands of pictures that I took along the way. I have about a quarter of it done at present, and readers are welcome to take a look here. I expect I'll be working on this project for some time yet to come. Enjoy.
Several major updates to report for the website. The first is that Civ4 AI Survivor is coming back! There will be a Season Three starting next week, with the first game scheduled for Friday, August 4th at noon EST. The full details and information on this year's prediction contest can be found on this page. This event has been a huge success in the past when we've run it, and I'm hoping we can have another great turnout this year. The second update is the publication of another Final Fantasy 5 solo run, this one for the Cannoneer from the Gameboy Advance remake. I found myself enjoying the solo Mimic game enough that I wanted to go back and continue working on the last remaining solos that were still uncompleted. Finally, I've also started the long process of converting my vacation travel pictures into a proper travel blog. I'm compiling these under the name "The Odyssey" to fit this site's classical theme, and the first section about my trip to Alaska is now finished. This writing is more personal in nature and I don't expect it to get much in the way of traffic, but it's important to me as a way of writing down my thoughts about some of these experiences. And if I'm going to be writing about travel, why not put it online so that others can enjoy too? Anyway, lots of new content here between these updates. I've been in a writing mood lately and getting a lot done.
Two new reports to share on the website this week. One is the posted report for Imperium 42, a Master of Orion event taking place over at Realms Beyond. This report has been written for a couple weeks now, and I posted it when the game closed earlier this week, only getting around to updating the front page today. The other report should be completely out of left field: it's the long-delayed writeup for the Solo Mimic class from Final Fantasy 5. This has been played in bits and pieces over the last five years, and thanks to prodding from my Livestream viewers was finally completed. For that matter, I'll also be finishing up with the Four Job Fiesta run from the same game later this week on Livestream. There's also more writing in the works for the planned Travel section update coming soon, so stay tuned...
Happy Independence Day here in the United States! I have a new Master of Orion report up on the website today. This one features the Darloks on a Small map, which I decided to call Darloks In A Box. It ended up being one of my longest reports yet for MOO, and should be worth a read for any fans of the old game. I've also played and written another Master of Orion report for Imperium 42, which will be posted next week when the event officially closes. Finally, I'm also back in the habit of regular streaming once again, Livestreaming every Friday and often on Saturdays and Sundays as well. I'm conducting another Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta run at the moment, and we'll see where to go from there. Could we see another season of Civ4 AI Survivor? Maybe... I'm also planning on fleshing out a full Travel section on this website over the next few months, hoping to expand the vacation photos into more of a travel blog about some of the places I've been lucky enough to visit. All of that depends on how much time I have available, but those are the tentative goals for the moment. Enjoy!
Moving is finally just about over! I have one new report to share on the website, and believe it or not, it's a written report for Master of Orion. This is a solo game played as the Sakkra on Impossible, which I've decided to name "Uphill Struggle." I also took part in a succession game for Master of Orion called OSG29A over at Realms Beyond, which I've also linked under the Master of Orion page. Starting this weekend, I should have time to start streaming again, and I'd like to get back in the habit of streaming regularly on Fridays. Keep an eye on out the website and Livestream for future details.
After a long period of inactivity, there's a major update for the website today: I've completed the report for the Civ6 PBEM1 game. This is a humongous report that ended up running to nine pages, hundreds of screenshots, and tens of thousands of words. It's roughly on the order of the Apolyton Demogame and Pitboss #2 reports that I did for Civ4 back in the day, which are among the longest hosted here on the website. If you're looking for a definitive look at a Multiplayer game of Civ6, go check it out right now!
In personal terms, we are currently moving to a new apartment at the moment. Expect to see more content here on the website and on Twitch/Youtube in a few weeks once all the moving has settled down.
No updates for the website, but I wanted to give another quick mention of what's going on at present. I'm still continuing to play two turns per day on the Civ6 PBEM game over at Realms Beyond, and it's been a real blast thus far, great fun all around. When it finishes, I plan to do some kind of writeup here on the website. I'm also hosting a Dungeons and Dragons campaign as the GM at the moment, with our group meeting weekly on Saturdays at 8pm EST. Our sessions are streamed on my Twitch Livestream and saved afterwards, if anyone wants to take a look. In my personal life, I'm also getting ready to move into a new apartment next month, and as some of you may know, our dog Sidney had a minor surgery on his legs two weeks ago and has been recovering since then. Needless to say, between working full time, playing and writing about the Civ6 PBEM game, planning 2-3 hours of weekly original content for our D&D group, and preparing to move in a few weeks, this has been a rather busy time. I regret not being able to Livestream more often or do more writing for the website, but I'm hoping that will change over the summer. In the meantime, check out the Civ6 PBEM forum thread if you're interested in my current gaming activities, and as always, thanks for your support.
Happy Valentine's Day! The main news at the moment isn't hosted on the website at all: we have started up a Civ6 Play By Email (PBEM) Multiplayer game over at Realms Beyond. I'll link to my spoiler thread for the game here. Please feel free to follow along and see how it goes over the next few weeks and months. If all goes well, perhaps I'll have the chance to write a report on the game after it finishes. Here at the website, there are a couple of short writeups related to Civ4 AI Survivor Season 2, which concluded back in 2015. With help from several readers, we've been slowly filling out short reports for the remaining games that are missing them. There are only six more games still missing summaries, and hopefully the whole set will be completed in a few more months. Thanks again to the readers for their help on this project!
There are two new updates on the website today, both shorter written reports. The first is another Civ6 report, this one focusing on seaside resort tourism with America. If you're curious about how this particular mechanic works in Civ6, this new report should be a primer on resort tourism. The second report is a contribution from Axiis, who has written another summary for one of the games last Civ4 AI Survivor Season Two, this particular report covering Game One. It's another excellent summary of an entertaining game - go check it out!
Closing day is here for Realms Beyond Epic One, and I've posted the report here on my website. This one was a ton of fun, and I've been eagerly waiting to add the writeup for the last few weeks. I've also been streaming some more Civ6 this weekend, and I'll be chopping them up and posting them to YouTube in the upcoming days. Still more written reports to come as well, a short one for that game and a longer one for the Adventure Three game that I've been playing offline. For all its faults, I'm enjoying Civ6 immensely right now.
While waiting on the current Realms Beyond competition game to conclude, I went ahead and played in another Civ6 event: CivFanatics Game of the Month 06. There is no policy against posting spoiler reports for the GOTM while the competition is ongoing, and so I've written my a summary and posted it here on my website. (Naturally I did not look at any of the other results until after my game was finished.) Hopefully this will tide the readers over for the next two weeks until the Epic One game concludes.
Happy New Year (Eve)! I put together a small report for a Kongo One City Challenge game in Civ6. There's a useful discussion in there about the mechanics of a cultural victory, which may be helpful given the new competition game taking place right now at Realms Beyond. We are currently running Epic One: The Honorable Wonderful French, a builder's game based around scoring points by constructing wonders. If you've been enjoying Civ6, I highly encourage you to go check it out. I've already played my shadow game to completion, and the writeup is in progress. See you back here in 2017 for the report.
Today is the Closing Day for Realms Beyond Adventure Two for Civ6, and I've posted my shadow report for the game. I designed this one to provide our community with the goal of achieving a fastest finish Spaceship win on a highly crowded map, and I'm very curious to see how everyone fared. Looking forward to reading the other reports for this one today and tomorrow! I also put together a shorter writeup for one of the games that I played on Livestream, my religious Russia game that I've decided to call A Cold Doctrine. I'm struggling right now to balance time spent playing Civ6 with time spent writing about Civ6. I'm hoping to get in one more Civ6 report before the end of the year, so stay tuned.
Happy Thanksgiving! I have completed the writeup for my Montezuma/Emperor game that I played on Livestream earlier this month. It's now available at this location under the Civ6 section of the website. I'm also in the process of playing through the Adventure Two game for Civ6, which will be a shadow game since I created the scenario and picked the map. That report will not appear until the game closes in a few weeks, so hopefully that will provide something to look forward to.
Two new updates added to the website today. In Civ6 news, I've put together a basic page for the Multiplayer section to host a link to the first Civ6 Succession Game at Realms Beyond. This one is called Commercial Free Programming, where we play as a succession game team under a simple variant: no Commercial or Harbor districts. Given the importance of trade routes and rush-buying in Civ6, this variant causes more difficulties than it might seem at first glance. I've said this a couple times: I think Civ6 is much better for Succession Games than Multiplayer games right now.
In other news, I'm finally concluding the FTL portion of the website with a last article. This one is called FTL: Advanced Strategy, and it's a distillation of a bunch of big picture strategy advice that I've put together from playing so many games. If you've watched a bunch of the FTL Livestreams this will likely be a repeat of things you've heard before, but it should still be a nice summary in one place of a lot of things I've thrown out in bits and pieces elsewhere. Enjoy.
After a good bit of writing this week, I've managed to finish the report for the Civ6 Adventure One game. I put a lot of detail in this one as a way of demonstrating what a typical game of Civ6 looks like here at release. While there are a lot of things that are poorly balanced or aren't working correctly, I also find myself enjoying a lot of the core game mechanics. I'm hoping that a lot of the wonky stuff will get improved through patches - and if not, Realms Beyond will be looking to fix those issues through modding. One way or another, there's a lot to like with Civ6. I plan to keep Livestreaming the game for now and exploring more of the features on higher difficulty levels.
More work to report on the Civ6 section of the website. I have the Single Player page in a workable state now, with a single game report to pass along. This is a short summary of the second game that I played, this one offline as Saladin on King difficulty while pursuing a religious victory. I decided to name this one Spreading the Faith, and hopefully it's a good short read. I'm in the process of putting the Adventure One report together, which will have more screenshots and serve as a general introduction to the game for newcomers to Civ6. My hope is to have it ready by the end of this week, but we shall see...
I've been working on the Civ6 portion of the website this weekend, and I have the basic framework in place. The link on the main page now goes to the Civ6 menu, rather than directly to the prerelease editorial that I wrote. I'm still putting together the first reports from my Single Player games, including the game that I played out on Livestream, Realms Beyond Adventure One. Those recordings are in the process of being cut into one hour chunks and uploaded to YouTube; I've grabbed the screenshots I want for the written report, and now it's a matter of doing the actual writing. In the meantime, I've put together a short group of thoughts about Civ6 one week after release, largely compiled from a post that oledavy wrote at Realms Beyond. You can read that under the Civ6 Editorials section, or follow this direct link. There's a lot more work to be done on the Civ6 portion of the website, so expect more updates in the upcoming weeks, plus more Livestreaming of some Civ6 games.
In non-Civ6 news, we also have a writeup of the Championship game for Civ4 AI Survivor Season 2, sent to me by Eauxps I. Fourgott. Back when the game was played last year, I had said that I would host any writeup of the games on my website, I just didn't have the time to put them together myself. Many thanks for putting this together; the Championship was an outstanding game, and this writeup does it justice in explaining the nail-biting finish. Better late than never!
Civ6 is here! My copy arrived in the mail right on time today, thanks to my amazing girlfriend who pre-ordered the 25th anniversary collector's edition. Now we have to hope that the game itself lives up to the generosity of that gift. I will be streaming quite a bit of Civ6 throughout this weekend, so hop on over to my Twich page to see some of the new game in action. I'll also post the streams to YouTube afterwards for anyone who can't watch them live.
You may have heard that there's a new Civilization game releasing at the end of this week. I've gone ahead and typed up an article with some of my pre-release thoughts about Civ6 before having a chance to play it. The article is linked under the Civ6 heading on this page, or can be accessed by clicking here. The full website graphics for Civ6 are a work in progress; I'm waiting until I have access to some of the official artwork before finishing up the website pages. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'm going to enjoy this game more than Civ5, which was largely a failed game for me personally, if not commercially. I plan to be Livestreaming Civ6 a good amount when it releases, so keep an eye on the Sullla Twitch page and YouTube page in the upcoming weeks. Let's hope this game lives up to expectations.
Been a while since I updated the website, hasn't it? As I mentioned here in the spring, I spent the last few months putting my gaming time into an Industrial era Pitboss game at Realms Beyond. The discussion thread is linked immediately below this post for anyone who wants to go check it out. The game ended up being extremely exciting, and I'm hoping to have time to type it for the website at some point in the next few weeks/months. That will be a lot of work, but Pitboss 33 deserves the recognition. I had a total blast taking part on scooter's team, and getting to compete against some highly skilled opponents.
There's one new article posted to the website today, a review of the game Divinity: Original Sin that I played earlier this year. I actually typed the thing up before going on vacation, and found that my server host had changed the location of the file storage. I didn't get the new address back from them until I was already gone, and so this finished article was sitting around in limbo for weeks waiting to get posted. Anyway, it's up now so feel free to go check it out.
I should be back streaming (and hopefully writing) more regularly now that I've had a chance to take some time off and recharge my batteries a bit. There's another new Pitboss game in the process of starting up, this time a Renaissance game in the form of Pitboss 35, so here's the team spoiler thread that I'll be dedlurking in the upcoming contest. We have a lot of the same faces coming back from the Industrial game, hopefully it will be as much fun for everyone. And finally, Civ6 is approaching on the horizon with a late October 2016 release date. I'm looking forward to seeing what Ed Beach and his team have come up with for this installment. As always, thanks for reading.
It's been a quiet month in terms of new content on the website. I've spent the last two weeks fixing an issue with the Twitch Livestream recordings. Apparently shortly after the beginning of 2016, Twitch changed how their old videos were archived. All of my Livestream recordings were still saved, but the URLs used to access them had all been changed. This meant that any Livestream recording I had linked on my website now pointed to a dead location, and I had to go back and update every link one at a time to restore them. As you probably know, I've recorded a *LOT* of stuff over the past few years, and I always save everything for posterity. Anyway, long story short everything should be fixed now, but I haven't been able to work on writing anything else in the meantime. Let me know if you come across any broken links to Livestreams that I missed along the way.
I've been playing the 2016 Master of Orion reboot game in the last few weeks, and I've liked it so far. Although the game is far from a classic right now, there's enough fun stuff there to keep me poking around with it during the Early Access period. I'm hoping to do some writing related to the game when I can spare some free time. That may be in short supply, however, because I've also gotten back into the Civ4 Pitboss game. There's a new Industrial era start game that's just gotten started, and I am acting in an advisory role for scooter's team. If you'd like to read along and see how an Industrial start differs from an Ancient one, here's a link to our Pitboss 33 thread. It should be a fun ride for the next few months.
Another month down, and two more articles added to the website. First of all, I've finished the playthrough and report for the final FTL ship in the form of the Slug B Cruiser. This means that I'm mostly finished now with the FTL portion of the website; I'm thinking of doing one more short article about how to achieve a perfect flagship battle, and then that will be it. There simply isn't much more for me to say about the game at this point.
The other new addition is also a closing article of sorts. For those of you who might remember the stuff that I wrote about Galactic Civ 3, I went back and revisted the game to see what had been changing since release. The results were not what I had been expecting; it appears as though a completely different design team is in charge now and is moving the gameplay in a direction that I don't like. You can check out my thoughts in more detail in a GC3 Retrospective article that I've entitled Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen. Fortunately, there are always new games coming out, and the Master of Orion reboot that just came out has been a pleasant surprise for me thus far. While it doesn't play anything at all like the original Master of Orion, as I correctly predicted, the product that we do have has been a lot better than I was expecting. Both Soren Johnson (Civ4 Lead Designer) and Sirian from Realms Beyond have been providing design advice on this game, and their influence is definitely felt. I have a YouTube video of my first impression posted here, and there's a good chance I'll write some articles down the road. Let's see what this game turns into!
We had a huge snowstorm here in the Baltimore / Washington area last week, and I've been using some of the time off from work to make needed updates here on the website. These updates fall into two categories. The first one is the FTL: Faster Than Light section; I was hoping to have it completely finished by the end of this month, but some poor luck with missiles cost me a victory with the Slug B ship. That will have to wait a little longer, it seems. In the meantime, there are now FTL reports finished for every other ship in the game. In order of writing, these are:
Stealth B (mini report)
Rock A (full report)
Crystal B (full report)
Rock C (mini report)
Stealth C (full report)
The other part of the website to be updated was the Civ3 section - surprise! I've always hated the fact that I lost the images for my Civ3 reports back in my webhost's 2005 crash, when I foolishly lacked local backups of everything online. Sometimes you learn things the hard way, and that was a painful lesson for me. Years later, I found out that I could recover at least some of the lost images using the Wayback Machine Internet Archive, which had taken some captures of my old hosting at kalikokottage.com back in the day. I put off the project of recovering them for many years, until finally the transfer to the new permanent hosting here at sullla.com inspired me to complete the task of recovering those lost pictures. I've had the actual html web pages themselves from the beginning, only they were never much use without the accompanying images. Now I've been able to restore these pages and re-post the reports once more.
A caveat: these reports are not perfect. Even the Wayback Maching wasn't able to preserve all of the images. A decent number of them are missing, somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3 of the total are still gone. Most of the reports are in decent shape, as missing some of the images doesn't detract too much from the story taking place. Some of the reports are in tremendous shape, such as the Epic 4 game with Rome, or the Epic 9 game with Japan. Most of them are in "pretty good" shape, including three of my all time favorite games in Epic 21, Epic 27, and Epic 29. Only two reports are pretty mangled; Game of the Month 10 only had one image preserved, but I was able to pull some ancient images from CivFanatics to help illustrate it somewhat. Sadly, the Epic 8 report is almost completely missing pictures, with only a handful of odd shots here and there, and not even one overview picture of my territory. That one is tough sailing from a reading perspective.
For some of my very longtime readers, these lost Civ3 reports are the holy grail of my website. They're back up now and hopefully will remain so forever - enjoy!
At this point, the website should be back up and running in full. I'm always surprised by how many pages there are in total when I go through the whole thing, I've added a lot of content over the years...
There are a few small new additions to the website as a result of the site move. In the FTL section, I had a written report for the Crystal A Cruiser that I had completely finished and then forgotten to post. Whoops. Well, it's up there now at the linked location. I also went ahead and published the report of an unfinished Diablo 2 character named Kell, a Necromancer who relied on Skeletal Warrior (not necromages) for his only offensive skill. This was a case where I figured I might as well publish what I had rather than let the written portion languish in limbo indefinitely.
Please let me know if you find any more broken links. I'm sure a couple of them have slipped through somewhere or other. Glad to be back up and running again.
Welcome to the new website!!!
The old hosting at garath.net ran out in mid-November, and I've been waiting the last six weeks to hear back from Guy, the man who kindly hosted my website for free over the last decade. Eventually it became clear that I was never going to get a response back, so my wonderful girlfriend went ahead and registered this new address at sullla.com, allowing me to set up shop here. For the first time ever, I will control my own website and server space - hopefully this will be the last move that I ever have to do! This will be the fifth location to host my website: thanks again to my former providers at Geocities, Kalikokottage, Civ4Info, and Garath.net. (Yes, the Civ3 website was originally launched on Geocities, I'm that old.)
I'm hoping to get all the files moved over and the links updated in the next few days (weeks?) In the meantime, I apologize for any broken links. Thanks again to all of my readers, and have a very happy 2016!
Current Status - Sections Restored:
* Website Homepage
* Civ4 Pages
* Civ5 Pages
* DDR Stuff (does anyone other tham me care? heh)
* Diablo 2
* Diablo 3
* Final Fantasy
* FTL: Faster Than Light
* Galactic Civ 3
* League of Legendsz
* Master of Orion
* Rogue Legacy
* Civ3 Ancient Stuff
All sections now restored!
I think that this is one of the extremely rare points in time where everything on my website is completely up to date. (Now maybe I can sort out the Playlists on my YouTube channel next, heh.) There's a couple new items since the last front page update three weeks ago. First of all, the biggest new feature is a written report on the Thalan Landgrab game from Galactic Civ 3. If you're still wondering whether GC3 is a worthwhile game to purchase, then feel free to check out this writeup about the most overpowered race in the game. It surprised me at just how ridiculous the Thalans can be!
Next up are a series of additions to the FTL portion of the website. I hadn't been doing a very good job of keeping this section up to date, and now everything should be caught up. I did the full writeup for the Engi C ship, which I actually played back in March (!) and had been sitting around unfinished for months. That one was neglected for sure. Then I addded short descriptions with Livestream links for four other ships: the Slug A, the Stealth A, the Rock B, and the Slug C. I apologize for not doing longer writeups; unfortunately, there's a limit to how much time I can spend working on this kind of stuff. I plan to focus the full reports on the last remaining challenge ships like the Slug B and the Stealth C.
Finally, I spent a day tracking down all of my editiorial writings and combining them into a Collected Editiorials page. There's nothing technically new there, although unless you're a very longtime reader of this website, there's probably something you haven't seen previously, which had been buried in one of corners of this website. I think it's an interesting way to track how my writing evolved over time. Some of the Civ3 stuff was originally published well over ten years ago now...
Hello again folks! I spent most of the last week working on a series of website updates instead of Livestreaming. There's a lot of small changes that I've meant to add for some time, so let's run through them in list form:
* First of all, I've added a new AI Survivor Page that links directly from the main Civ4 section. I'd been intending to do this for awhile, and finally got around to putting in the editing work. It was silly having so much Civ4 AI Survivor content buried down at the bottom of the Civ4 Single Player page. Now the information should be a lot more accessible. I've also added a Conclusions page that wraps up Season Two. Lots of stats there about the completed year, so go check it out!
* There's a new Galactic Civ 3 section of the website. The tutorial article that I wrote before going away on vacation now has a home. I'm hoping to do some more games with GC3 to fill out that part of the website further.
* There's a small page collecting all the Livestream recordings for the Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta 2015 run. It was once again a lot of fun this year, and I also have the links to the YouTube highlights there, for anyone who doesn't want to spend 18 hours watching the whole thing.
* In the random additions to the website category, I finished work on an editorial: Why There Will Never Be Another Master of Orion. It's a subject that's been bouncing around in my head for a while, and I'm pretty happy with the result. It's listed under the Master of Orion section, and this prompted another thought: I need to create an Editorials page for the main page. At the moment, I have editorial writings listed in about six different places on the website. Collecting them all in one spot will be my next project. Always more work to do...
* Finally, all of the various vacation photo videos that I've added to YouTube over the years have been collected here on the website at this spot under the Personal section. I think that covers everything new. Happy reading!
Well, what do you know? With some hard work at the last minute, I managed to get the final three parts of the Galactic Civ 3 report finished before leaving on vacation. Check them out now, and I'll see you again in a couple of weeks. Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
Hello again, folks! Time to provide an update for the front page. First of all, I put together a strategy page for the dungeon crawler + rhythm game Crypt of the NecroDancer. I actually uploaded it about two weeks ago and then forgot to put a notice on the main page - sorry about that! It's stored under the Miscellaneous page, or you can follow the direct link in this post. Something that actually is new today is my first report from Galactic Civ 3; the first part of it, anyway. The game in question hasn't been finished yet, hopefully soon. I'm using this as a Tutorial to explain the gameplay, so if you're on the fence about purchasing GC3, hopefully I can help illustrate how a typical game will play out. I haven't had time to create a GC3 section of the website yet, for now this is the only direct link to the report. Finally, I will be leaving on vacation in a few days and thus will not be writing or Livestreaming for the next two weeks. The viewers have requested that I show some of the vacation photos when I get back - sure, why not? See you again in a couple weeks.
Today's update for the website is a little bit different. Instead of another ship report from Faster Than Light, I've tried my hand at typing up my own version of an FTL Tier List for the different ship designs. Of course, this being something written by me, I think it runs to something like 20,000 words. Brevity is not my strong suit.
There's lots of other recent stuff taking place on the Livestream. The championship match for Civ4 AI Survivor Season Two will be coming up next Saturday, May 30th starting around noon EST. If you haven't caught any of the previous games, this one will be the last chance until next year. (Of course, you can always watch the recordings afterwards.) I've also been playing a lot of the dungeon crawling / rhythm game Crypt of the Necrodancer lately, and I hope to write up a short (heh) page to discuss some of the basic strategy elements at some point. There are no difficulty levels in NecroDancer, and Steam achievements show that only about 6% of the playerbase have actually beaten the game. Very fun game, very tough game. Finally, Galactic Civ 3 has also just released as I write this. I've barely started to explore this massive game, and I'll tentatively state that it looks promising thus far. There's been a real need for another good empire-building game for years now, and I hope this will fill at least part of that void. We'll see if it turns into website content or not. Knowing myself, there's a good chance that it will.
Happy May Day, workers of the world! There are three new articles on the website this week, only one of which was written by me. Under the FTL section, I've completed the writeup for the Mantis C Cruiser. If you enjoy boarding the enemy ships via use of the Teleporter, this is one of the ships for you. Also under the FTL section, we have a report written by System Error for an earlier run done a few months ago. This one was a run designed to unlock the Living Off the Land achievement, done with the Kestrel B on Hard difficulty. This was not a run I intended to write about for the website, so thanks to System Error for providing content that would have been left unreported otherwise. Finally, Axiis has contributed another report for Game Seven of Civ4 AI Survivor, with this one being even longer than the previous writeup. I went ahead and added a few images to the text to illustrate what was a wildly entertaining game. If you missed this on the Livestream, it's well worth reading the report.
Generally this is a website for my personal writings about different games. However, I certainly don't have enough time to write about everything, and if anyone wants to contribute articles for Livestream stuff which would otherwise go forgotten, I'm all for it. Thanks Axiis and System Error! One other reminder: Civ4 AI Survivor still continues, and the playoff are underway. Tune in to the Livestream Saturdays at noon EST to watch the action.
Hello again folks! Today I'm uploading the long-awaited report for the Engi B Cruiser from FTL. This is one of the worst ships in the game, and we had a very memorable run captured on stream and now written up here on the website. There's also an excellent summary of Game Six of Civ4 AI Survivor written by Axiis of Realms Beyond, which I highly recommend reading. As I said before, I'll happily accept any other writeups from these games from volunteers. Next week, we have an upcoming crazy 11 AI match for the Wildcard round, planned for SUNDAY (not Saturday) April 26th. Full details on the main Civ4 AI Survivor page as usual. Thanks again, and happy reading!
There's a long overdue update to the website today in the form of the New Game Plus writeup for the Dragon class in Rogue Legacy. I completed that challenge about a month ago, and it took until today to finish up with the written report. Never enough time to get everything done, especially while working full time. I'll also mention that Season Two of Civ4 AI Survivor continues to run on a weekly basis. This page has all of the relevant information, updated after each game, if you'd like to watch the competition live, watch the recordings after the fact, and join the prediction contest. If anyone would like to write up a short summary of one of the games, like the one that Parkin did for Game Two, I'll be happy to convert it into HTML and add it to the website. I just do not have the time to do them myself right now, sorry.
Finally, a special shout-out to MJG for the $100 donation during this week's Civ4 AI Survivor Game. I don't write the written reports or do the Livestreams for the purpose of making money, but I do appreciate the support. Thanks a bunch.
One new update for the front page, with the completion of the Engi A Cruiser report from FTL. I'll mention again that the Civ4 AI Survivor competition continues each weekend, with Game Three upcoming for this Saturday. We had well over 100 people watching on Livestream for the last one, and it was a lot of fun. Parkin even wrote up a short summary of the previous game for anyone who doesn't want to watch the full thing. Hope to see some of you again this weekend!
With a lot of days off work this week, I was able to do some major website cleaning up. First of all, we're off and rolling on Season Two of Civ4 AI Survivor. That link has all of the pertinent details and scheduling information, so if you want to join in this year's version of the game, go check it out! Next up is another FTL report for the Mantis B Cruiser, a run which featured an exciting ending flagship duel. Of course I've already gone and won with another ship on stream since this was posted, which means more FTl writing on the to-do list.
The rest of these links are mostly overdue updates collecting information about past Livestreaming ventures. Under the Final Fantasy page, I've added short reports about the Solo Monk Revisited for Final Fantasy 5 and the Four Light Yordles for the original Final Fantasy. In similar fashion, I also added a page for the Silicoids game that I did for Master of Orion. These were games played out on stream during the past year, and I've collected all of the recordings here for the curious. They have to be easier to find on my website than digging through archived broadcasts over at Twitch. Finally, I did an overdue update to The Back Page with personal information about my current job status. I'm not taking classes or teaching classes for the first time in... pretty much ever, and it was time to reflect that.
Still on the upcoming list of things to add: the Dragon writeup for Rogue Legacy (completed on stream now), and more FTL reports as I complete them.
The report for the Mantis A Cruiser from FTL is now live on the website. Scheduling notice: I'll be traveling for work the rest of this week, which means no Livestreaming until February. This is the first time that anyone has ever paid me for travel, and it's pretty nice. I don't miss being a penniless academic one bit!
I finally had the time to type up the successful run of the Zoltan C Cruiser from FTL, a ship that had bedeviled me for many weeks. The winning voyage took place on New Year's Day, but this weekend was the first opportunity that I had to do the full writeup. Now that I'm working on a full time basis, I'm afraid that I have less time available for Livestreaming and working on this website. However, I have no plans to stop completely! Let's talk scheduling then. I have every other Friday off work (starting January 23), so those are likely days for some kind of streaming activity. I'm also thinking about trying to do some kind of stream on Thursday evenings, along with the weekly Diablo 2 Elemental Strike Team stream on Tuesday nights. That would create a streaming schedule of Tuesday and Thursday evenings, every other Friday during the day, and whatever free time I might have over the weekends. Keep in mind that I live on the east coast of North America, so this is all EST (GMT -5).
I'm also going to try and put together the 2015 version of Civ4 AI Survivor starting sometime in February - this time to be done on Livestream! - so keep an eye out here and at Realms Beyond for more upcoming details on that.
Today I finished typing up the report of the voyage of the Lanius B Cruiser from last week's marathon streaming session. This one was quite a wild ride, and it makes for a fun read or Livestream viewing. (There's a link to the Twitch recording in the report.) I also want to put a notice here on my website that I was hired last week for a full time position. I'll be going to work as a research analyst for the federal government's Center for Medicare Services, starting in a couple of weeks. It's a very exciting time for me, and the pay certainly promises to be a lot better than a part-time college instructor. I'll have to update the personal page here after I start working. In any case, I'll keep readers informed on what's going on, and I'm sure that I'll still have enough time to continue cranking out reports, albeit probably at a somewhat slower pace. Thanks for your continued support.
It's been a month since the last FTL writeup - let's correct that oversight immediately. New today is a report for the Lanius A Cruiser, a game where I had way too much fun with beam weapons. I recommend watching the linked Livestream for this one, at least the ending of it. You kind of need to see this weapon setup in realtime to get the full effect.
Today's update to the website comes in the Rogue Legacy section, with a writeup for the Dragon class in Normal difficulty. This is the most unique class in the game, and well worth playing around with just to experience the altered flying + firebreathing gameplay. The harder difficulties will be up next.
Two updates to mention on the website today. First of all, I wrote and uploaded a report for the Final Fantasy 5 Solo Gladiator over a week ago, and neglected to put a notice on the front page about it. My apologies for that oversight, it completely slipped my mind until a viewer reminded me about it. Genuinely new today is a short review for the indie game Dungeon of the Endless, which I played a bit on Livestream over the past few weeks. While there's not enough depth there to deserve a major section on the website, it was worth the short writeup. Enjoy.
Happy Halloween! There is a big treat for the website today, as I've posted the long-awaited content about Civ5's second expansion Brave New World. This is divided into two separate parts. The first is a writeup of a Sample Game for Brave New World, providing an example of a typical playthrough on high difficulty as a way of familiarizing readers with the current gameplay in Civ5. It's changed drastically from the old release version. This sample game runs through five pages, so there's quite a lot of content there. The second addition is the actual Brave New World Review itself, which uses the content in the sample game to illustrate many of its points. This whole project has been a bit of a white whale for me, hanging over my head for quite a few months now, and I'm happy to have it finished. I hope people enjoy reading some of my thoughts.
I also made a few tweaks to the site layout here on the front page, restoring a link to Civ5 right here on the index page. There's enough content to justify it, and I expect that there will be some people coming to the website looking for the new Brave New World stuff. There are now ten games in the main list! I never would have anticipated that when I started working on my Geocities webpage back in 2001. There was enough space to add in another picture of Sulla on the right side of the screen. Thanks for supporting the website over the years, and happy reading.
I finished the writeup for the most recent FTL game with the Zoltan B Cruiser. This was one of the more entertaining runs to date, and worth watching the full Livestream linked in the report. I've also been working on the Civ5 Brave New World writeup in the past week, hoping to finish that and publish it before memory fades away. Still needs a fair bit of work, unfortunately.
Finished off the second ship in FTL with a report on the Federation C Cruiser. We'll see what I have time for next.
Two updates to mention here as the month of September draws to a close. First of all, I finally managed to finish the writeup for the Shinobi class in Rogue Legacy, which was done back in August and awaiting only the written portion. It's now posted at the following link. I've also added a short report for the voyage of the Zoltan A Cruiser in FTL, only to be faced with another backlog for the completed journey of the Federation C ship. I'll be working on that next, and hopefully then on to some of the other backlogged projects.
Another FTL report up for the Federation B Cruiser. Hopefully more website content coming over the weekend as time permits.
I added a report for the Federation A Cruiser in the FTL section of the website. I was away for a three day weekend, and this week I will start teaching again for the Fall semester, but I'll see what I can do to continue providing regular content updates here.
There's another update today with a report for the Kestrel C Cruiser in FTL. Perhaps not quite as fast as the last one, but hopefully just as enjoyable to read.
Hey look, we have a fresh report for the Kestrel B Cruiser in the FTL section. That was fast!
Today I updated the FTL part of the website with a proper index page, and a report on my first game played on Hard difficulty with the Kestrel A Cruiser. These games will also be recorded on Livestream for anyone who wants to watch them instead of reading a report about them. Still plenty of work to get done in the remaining weeks of summer.
Two more new pages added to the website over the weekend. I've written up the trip through Normal difficulty for the Shinobi class in Rogue Legacy, next up there will be the New Game Plus difficulty levels. I also added an introductory page for a new section on FTL: Faster Than Light, the space-based strategy game that stream viewers have probably noticed me playing already. I plan to expand that out into a larger section with more information down the road. As of tomorrow I will be off traveling for the next week, so there won't be any more updates here for a little while. I was hoping to get the Civ5 stuff written before I left, but it will have to wait until I get back. Still under construction for now.
I've added Part Fifteen: Quest's End, the final entry in Skulla's journey under the Diablo 2 of the website. With Skulla now finished, I'll be moving on to my other old D2 Hardcore character of Winnie next in a week or two. Also in the works: I've played enough of Civ5 Brave New World over the past month to have a solid feel for the gameplay. I'll be working on writing up my thoughts for the long-awaited Civ5 BNW review over the next few days.
Part Fourteen has been added for Skulla's quest. He's in the last act of the game now, not much longer before achieving victory or a crushing death. Which will it be?
I've finished the Miner playthrough for Rogue Legacy, adding new pages here on the website for New Game Plus difficulty, and New Game Plus Plus (NG++) difficulty. Glad to be done with all of those pitifully weak miners! Right now I'm working on finishing Skulla's quest, and then I'll probably turn to the next class for Rogue Legacy, the Shinobi or Ninja class. Getting close to the end with that series.
Skulla's journey has been updated with Part Thirteen covering Act IV of Hell difficulty. Go check it out to see how he fared against Diablo and the denizens of the Chaos Sanctuary.
The Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta run has been completed. I've put up a short page in the Final Fantasy section with links to all of the Livestreaming sessions. This will hopefully serve as a replacement for the full game playthrough on Own3d.tv which was lost when that company went out of business in 2013. The fiesta run was a lot of fun, so if you missed any of the streaming sessions, feel free to go check them out. Next up will be finishing the final parts of Skulla's Diablo 2 quest.
I've added the first part of the Miner report in the Rogue Legacy section, covering the trip through Normal difficulty. This is arguably the weakest class in the game, and it makes for quite a challenge. Check it out.
Part Eleven and Part Twelve of Skulla's journey have been added to the Diablo 2 section, updating his travels through Act III. I've also put in an entry for the Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta charity event, and I'll likely be streaming that at some point over the next month. We'll see what jobs I get in the random draw - should be fun!
First new part added to Skulla's journey in almost six years over in the Diablo 2 section. Yes, this catchup summer is really happening!
The Spellsword class has been finished for Rogue Legacy, follow this link to Part Two of the report covering the higher difficulty levels. I'll also mention that I've been doing quite a bit of Livestreaming in recent weeks, so feel free to check out this link to my Twitch channel if you're interested in watching some of these games in action.
Time to update the front page. The Civ4 AI Survivor competition is over, thirteen games in all have been completed with their accompanying writeups, along with a conclusion page. Our champion was a bit of an unexpected underdog, and the last game was very close indeed. Go to the Survivor main page for links to each individual game.
In other news, the end of the Spring semester is upon us, and summer is about to arrive (at least in the Northern hemisphere). Summer is traditionally a time where I catch up with work on the website, and I'll be trying to pursue a number of different unfinished projects over the next few months. Things on my to-do list include:
* Finish the Civ4 Always War Babylon game (on YouTube)
* Continue the Rogue Legacy class series, starting with the Spellsword. In fact, the first part of the Spellsword report has been posted today!
* League of Legends Retrospective series, looking back at the evolution of the competitive scene (also on YouTube)
* Final Fantasy 5 Solo Mimic. It's the only remaining class, I still mean to finish this one. * Master of Orion playthrough with the Silicoids. I've never featured them in a game, and I hope to get a YouTube playthrough with the game's most unusual race.
* Diablo 2 unfinished Hardcore characters. Skulla and Winnie need to complete their quests or die trying.
* Civ5 Brave New World review. It's been requested by many readers, it's also on the list.
Will I get a chance to accomplish all of that? Absolutely no idea. But it should be fun to try. Stay tuned.
It's been a while since we've updated things on the front page, hasn't it? Since the last posting, I've added a report for Adventure 59 in the Civ4 section, one that was written and uploaded back in January but not added to the Civ4 Single Player listing until today. We also have a full report for the Assassin class in Rogue Legacy, another writeup that was added to the website some time ago without getting a notice here on the front page. I have a bad habit of doing that, I know. Finally, there's a new Civ4 project under way, one inspired by the NCAA Basketball Tournament, pitting all of the AI civs against one another in a battle for supremacy. Feel free to go check out the Civ4 version of AI Survivor at this link. That should catch up everything to date, thanks again for reading.
I've finally managed to finish my writeup of the Lich class for the game Rogue Legacy. This one was substantially harder than the Barbarian, and it's a nice contrast to compare their respective journeys. I've been done for a couple weeks now, but only had the chance to turn my notes into finished webpages over this weekend. As always, keep an eye on the Sullla YouTube channel for other multimedia content, which usually gets a couple of videos posted per week.
The Rogue Legacy section has another addition for the Barbarian class. Is this indeed the most overpowered class in the entire game? Read and find out.
There's another addition under the Rogue Legacy section to the website, as I finished a variant runthrough with the Archmage class. Head on over to the Rogue Legacy page to check it out, if that's your thing. I've been enjoying that game immensely of late, and there's much more depth to the mechanics than most people seem to think. Tons of fun if you enjoy the old 2D platformers with challenging difficulty and character building over time.
More important for me personally, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation last week and am now an official history Ph.D. Many thanks to everyone who has been sending in congratulations in recent days, I appreciate the messages of goodwill. This inspired me to update the personal section of the website for the first time in eight years - a lot of the information there was getting pretty out of date. The website has been running for over ten years now, with three different changes of hosting over that span. What an interesting journey it's been.
Short update here, I added the second and third parts of my Paladin journey for the game Rogue Legacy. This now completes the run for the Paladin class, and I'll look to take a shot at the Archmage class next, which should be significantly different.
Update time! This website has sadly been neglected during the past year, as my free time has gone into keeping the YouTube channel updated with periodic content, but I have a number of new things posted as of this weekend. First of all, Diablo 3 has finally been relegated to the "Miscellaneous" games section, after it finally became clear that I was never going to return to the game again. What a disappointing experience. I have written up an article that tries to investigate why so many people, myself included, were unsatisfied with this game. You can read it at this link, or by going through the D3 section under the Miscellaneous tab.
In place of Diablo 3, I've added a section for the new game Rogue Legacy, which I've been enjoying quite a bit over the last month. Although this is a low budget indie game from a tiny development studio, there's enough replayability in Rogue Legacy to do some fun experimentation and variant stuff. My first challenge of sorts involves an in-depth look at the game's most basic class, the Paladin, and I intend to move on to some of the more eccentric ones down the line. We'll see what develops with time.
As always, keep an eye on my YouTube channel and Twitch Livestream for current video playthroughs of League of Legends and occasional other games.
With the spring semester over, I finally had a chance to go through and clean up a number of backlog issues with the website. I updated a lot of links in a whole bunch of different places. The League of Legends section now has correct links to all of the video playlists and my Livestream on Twitch.TV, and there is an additional editorial about the role of complexity in game design under that section. The Civilization series has updated links to some videos from YouTube under the Multiplayer section, down towards the bottom. Under the Master of Orion heading, there's a new game report posted for Realms Beyond Imperium 36, as well as a link to the YouTube video playthrough that I did earlier this year. Let me know if there are any dead links not fixed, aside from the old Own3d.TV stuff which I have to clean up at some point. They went out of business and all of their recordings were deleted.
A few notes for the website in the last days of 2012. I recently finished the video playthrough of Civilization 4 using Willem of the Dutch. The link on the Civ4 page goes directly to that video playlist, where any of the twenty parts can be viewed together or individually. I have also written up a report for another Final Fantasy 5 solo character, this time focusing on the Red Mage, as one of the few remaining jobs. This one proved to be much more entertaining than I expected. Finally, there's going to be a streaming marathon focusing on Final Fantasy 5 taking place over the next two days, as I try to play through the game in two long sessions. Anyone who is interested should watch my Livestream, and I'll post some or all of the streaming marathon on my YouTube channel after the run is complete. See you in 2013.
It's about time that I put another notice on the front page of the website. There's been a fair amount of content going up recently, although I haven't posted anything here in months. There's a new short report in the Master of Orion section about a challenge posted at Realms Beyond a little while ago. Feel free to check it out, and there's a good chance that I'll do a video series on Master of Orion in the upcoming months. I am also still continuing the video series playthrough of a Civ4 game on YouTube, which continues to be updated on a roughly biweekly schedule. That one should be completed sometime around the end of the year.
The most additional content has gone up in the League of Legends section of the website. There's an editorial there discussing the concept of the metagame: why it exists, why you should follow it, and why raging against the metagame is pointless. It's like getting mad at the offsides trap in soccer as being "cheap"; those are the rules of the game, and if you insist on arguing about them rather than taking advantage of them, you're the one being played for a fool. We also just had the end of Season Two in League of Legends, and I can happily report that I managed to achieve Gold rating (top 5-10% of players) in all three of the game's ranked queues. I've completed my Season Two Ranked Journal for solo queue, and added a writeup for our team experience on Twisted Treeline. And of course, the YouTube channel still gets additional videos weekly. All of this is linked under the League of Legends section of the website.
I also want to report that the hosting for Garath.net was about to expire at the beginning of November, and my website administrator was not planning on renewing. I was able to keep the website up, but I had to pay the cost myself for another year of web hosting. I'm hoping to work out a more permanent solution to this issue; I'd like to be able to take over the hosting myself, here at the same address. This was kind of dumped into my lap without warning ("Hey just emailing to let you know that the website will be going down permanently at the end of the week." "What?!") The plan is to keep the website right here on a permanent basis.
Been a while since I updated anything on the website. Most of my time has gone into creating videos for the YouTube channel, since I do get at least modest income from themb via advertising. Nevertheless, there are a couple of things that have been added here as well. I've completely reworked the League of Legends section, taking out the 150 links to individual videos and replacing them with links to the YouTube channel and the League of Legends playlists. That whole section was badly in need of an overhaul; should be much easier to find information now. I updated the Annie Guide for Season Two, as it was also horribly out of date for the current metagame. Finally, I added a retrospective Season One Journal for the ranked games that Varis and I did at the end of last year, and will be updating a current Season Two Journal as we once against set out to try our hand at Ranked play. All of this is linked under the League of Legends banner above, so go ahead and check out the new page.
Diablo 3 has been a disappointment after the first few weeks of play. I will hopefully return to it at some point, but not at present. Sorry! Believe me, I'm as disappointed as anyone.
Well, we have much to discuss since the last website update. Let's get on to the news, shall we?
I'll start by explaining that the Pitboss game I was writing about on this website did come to a close a few months ago. In the end, neither my team nor or primary competition (Team 3) ended up winning the game; the victory was stolen instead through a Cultural Victory by Team 2. They cleverly took advantage of several factors specific to that map (Quick speed, three civs on a team, late era start) to pull off a very unlikely victory condition. Unfortunately for our team, we had specifically tested the cultural victory conditions that they were trying to win, one Legendary city per civ, and found that it did not work. However, our test gave the wrong conclusion for completely different reasons - you cannot win a victory of any kind in the first 20 turns of the game in Civ4. This extremely obscure rule caused our test to yield the wrong result, and so we made no attempt to stop Team 2's cultural victory, erroneously believing that their pursuit wouldn't work. Tough break for us, and a rather anti-climactic ending to the lategame showdown that we were preparing, but them's the breaks. Here's a link to the relevant forum if you would like to read some of the postgame threads at Realms Beyond. And yes, there were a lot of people who acted like jerks and trolled me during the game, but fortunately things have since calmed down.
In related Civ news, I'm playing out a Civ4 game for my YouTube channel, which has received a surprising amount of positive feedback thus far. People seem to like watching the Civ gameplay, even though it's very slow paced. I've put a link to the video playlist on my Civ4 page of Single Player games, or you can follow it right here. All of this stuff is listed on my YouTube channel, and should be easy to find from there.
We also have the release of Diablo 3 after innumerable years of waiting! There's a new section up there with two short articles on some of my preliminary thoughts. I'll be playing variant characters eventually, just not quite yet. I still haven't even taken a single character through Hell difficulty so far. I have a couple of fun ideas in mind for later - need to make sure that I can clear at least Normal and hopefully Nightmare difficulties without dying before putting them into practice.
Finally, there are still lots of League of Legends videos continuing to be posted on the YouTube channel. I've been picked to do casting for the IPL qualifiers, which is a rather large deal in the League of Legends community, and a nice honor to boot. Thanks again to everyone for all of their support.
Over the past few months, I have gotten more requests and messages asking for updates on the Solo Berserker than just about anything else I can recall. Well it's finally here, after almost a year of waiting: Final Fantasy 5 Solo Berserker Report. You're welcome! Seriously though, this was quite a story and should make for an interesting read. Go ahead and check it out, linked above and also off of the Final Fantasy main page.
I also realized that it was somewhat silly not to have a link to the Paypal account that I set up for my YouTube channel here on the website, and have added that link above. Over the years, I have had some people ask if there was a place that they could donate to support the website, and I always felt a bit silly turning away gifts. Now let's be clear about this: I do not need any contributions from anyone, and I feel somewhat uncomfortable even having the button up there on the front page. Nevertheless, if anyone wants to make a small donation out the goodness of their heart, the option is there, and I do appreciate it. But don't feel obligated to give me anything!
Finally, I'm still posting semi-regular updates to our Pitboss #6 Live Blog, which is linked immediately below this message. If the Civ4 stuff interests you, there's content there to be read.
In response to a couple of different requests, I'm going to keep readers updated on what's going on with the Pitboss #6 game that we're playing in Civ4. But since I'm not interested in doing so at the forums for Realms Beyond, I will do so here on my website instead, updating the same page a couple of times per week in somewhat of a Liveblog fashion. Yeah, not entirely sure how this will work out, but let's give it a try! You can find the page under the Multiplayer tab of the Civ4 section, or simply follow this link. I won't post an update on the front page every single time I add a new post, so keep an eye on the Pitboss #6 page itself.
This also probably goes without saying, but those playing on the other teams should avoid my posts here until the game concludes, for obvious spoiler reasons. Thanks.
Happy New Year 2012, everyone. Recent months have been slim pickings for the website, as most of my creative time has gone into producing videos for my YouTube channel instead. Now with over 7000 subscribers, there's a strong following that keeps up with my League of Legends activities online. I usually submit new videos every 2-3 days, and that channel that I linked to is the best place for current information about my latest work. I will post here at the website if any new articles are written; I am still keeping an eye open for another good turn-based strategy game. We'll see.
Unfortunately, there's been a great deal of recent bitterness and unpleasantness associated with my longtime Internet hangout of Realms Beyond. Many of the other posters have become angry over the way that I've carried out forum moderation, and I've become frustrated with constant sniping at me. I've often felt that others were trolling me, which is something I never would have believed at Realms Beyond. In any case, I'm not interested in trying to assign guilt or blame anyone in particular. I don't think that would solve the problems that are taking place. But I'm not enjoying the time that I used to spend browsing the forums, quite the opposite in fact. This past weekend, I came away feeling angry and frustrated at the comments that others were directing at me, to the point that it was hard getting my work done. I'm not going to subject myself to an unpleasant environment that makes me feel lousy, so... I'm going to step away from Realms Beyond for a while. Maybe I'll check back in a few months, I honestly don't know. I logged out of my account and deleted all my cookies and bookmarks, so there's no temptation to check things out by accident. Hopefully this will help fix the situation; it appears that I was becoming too controversial of a figure at RB. I wish everyone still there the best.
But hey, enough with the sombre news. Diablo 3 should be out within the next six months, and that will be a very exciting time indeed. Stay tuned, I plan to have a lot of D3 content when the game finally releases.
Happy Labor Day, comrades! VarisNox and I have completed our test run through solo queue Ranked mode in League of Legends, both of us reaching 1520 rating and Gold Tier (top 3% of players). It was a lot of fun and we did even better than I was expecting. Season One should be ending this week, and we will get a few extra perks for finishing the season with gold ranking, including a free skin for one of the champions. We're looking forward to trying out some other things when Season Two begins, with more ranked games, trying to put together a formal team of five for ranked play, and possibly even playing some 3s on Twisted Treeline. We'll see what happens - I'm much more interested in all of those things than whatever Dominion turns out to be (which probably won't release until 2012 anyway).
YouTube links for League of Legends have been updated and are now current as of this posting.
One thing that's killed me for years was the loss of most of my Civ3 reports when my old server hosting crashed in 2005. I still have the HTML files, but I lost almost all of the pictures that accompanied them, and they aren't interesting to read without the accompanying illustrations. Fortunately, I recently discovered that I could access my old site at kalikokottage.com through use of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Although it's far from perfect, and a lot of the pictures are still missing, there's enough surviving that I'm going to be able to salvage most of these reports. Therefore, I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks going through my old Civ3 reports and putting them back online again. I'll post another notice here when they're finished. Granted, there's probably not a lot of demand for stories about a game that came out back in 2001 at this point... But those reports are important to me personally, and it's worth the effort in my eyes to save them. I'm also going to put up links to Sirian's old website using the same Wayback Machine, as it's a terrible crime that those marvellous Diablo II and Civ3 reports have been lost into the abyss in recent years. Ember and Skeletorr deserve a better fate than that.
In other news, my YouTube channel has been approved for a partnership, which means that I can submit videos for advertising revenue. I should be able to make some minor income from ads on those videos, which is always nice. There will be more League of Legends announcements coming up pretty soon, which I'll talk more about as they take place. We also finished up a Pitboss game recently that I was playing in, under a fake pseudonym for anonymity purposes. You can read our fake forum thread here, and our real forum thread here. Unfortunately we weren't able to win this one - mostly due to factors taking place on the other side of the map beyond our control - but we did play a strong game and were one of the top powers at game's end. There's another Pitboss game being organized at Realms Beyond as I type this, with planned Always War and Medieval start settings. It should be very different from a lot of the other Civ4 Multiplayer games played thus far, so feel free to check it out.
Also, Civ5 still sucks. That will be all.
Well, long time no update, eh? Unfortunately I have been kept very busy with two different things over the past months. First of all, instead of writing reports I've been recording commentary videos for League of Legends, now getting ready to hit the 100 mark in total. While I do feel bad about not having more articles to write, League of Legends simply doesn't translate well to text, and writing long articles is rather pointless with the way that the metagame changes almost weekly with patches. If you write something long about a champion, odds are it will be obsoleted within a month or two. That's why I've decided to stick with the videos for the most part, and have since added a Livestream to capture even more gameplay for the viewing audience. All of this is linked from the League of Legends page on the menu above.
Secondly, the rest of my time has mostly been spent writing my dissertation lately, and when I'm spending six or more hours per day typing already, I don't have a great desire to do my typing on this website in my spare time. I noticed over the past decade that when I'm doing a lot of professional writing I do less writing for the website, and vice versa. However, I do have one addition to put up today, a short article about the introduction videos for the Civilization series. It's linked under the Miscellaneous section, or you can read it right here.
You might ask yourself, would Sulla really write 5000 words just to get in more jabs at Civ5? Readers, you be the judge!
New updates for the website! After many long months of inactivity, I have completed the writeup for the Solo Geomancer class in Final Fantasy 5. Follow the link to go read about it. The inspiration to finish this game came from T-Hawk's completion of a Solo White Mage, which is also linked from this website in the Final Fantasy section to help preserve it for posterity. I have also updated the League of Legends section with links to the most recent videos, in case anyone missed them when they were posted over at YouTube.
On a side note, I'll point out that it takes quite a bit more work to write an article than it does to create a video. Anyone can throw something up on YouTube with a little effort; I was surprised to discover just how easy the whole process was. However, it's much more difficult to write something online, or at least more difficult to write something worth reading that will hold the reader's interest. It can be very tempting in this day and age to ditch the written word for flashy video stuff. Dont worry though, I have no plans to stop writing anytime soon. There are still many subjects where the written medium works better, especially for strategy games like Civilization. I plan to use a mixture of different formats depending on whatever works best for the game in question, and the old art of the written word isn't going anywhere.
Civilization 5 released six months ago today.
To say that the game fell short of expectations would be an understatement. Civ5 was a disastrous mess on release, full of broken game elements and half-finished projects. For the first time in ten years, I found myself completely uninterested in playing the newest entry in the Civ series. For lack of a better word, the game was BORING. Very little action took place, and the choices presented to the player were not interesting or possessing any kind of strategic depth. I unintentionally found myself chronicling the downfall of the Civ series, which you can still find here on this website under the Civ5 heading. Within two months, I was finished with the game and moved on to other projects, something that I never thought I would find myself saying.
Time has since passed, and after a significant delay Firaxis has released a new patch, the "February" patch which was delayed until March in yet another PR gaffe. This patch has clearly improved the gameplay: in the words of a poster at CivFanatics, "no longer is Civ5 a broken game at the basic levels of gameplay." No longer can you conquer the planet by building four horsemen, no longer do you see massive ICS empires of size 4 filler cities relying on trading post spam and maximization of Scientist specialists. Kudos for that, Firaxis: you have now fixed the most glaringly broken gameplay systems that never should have appeared in a release product. Congratuations. But does that mean that Civ5 is now a good game? Absolutely not. While the game is in better shape, fixing the game's worst flaws still doesn't change the fact that it is a mediocre empire-builder. Even Civ5's most ardent defenders generally post things like "I enjoy the game despite its flaws" and "the game's not great now, but it will be eventually with more patches/expansions/mods." I simply don't have the patience for this, not when there are so many superior empire-builders out there. Perhaps if I were new to Civ5 and had never played any of these games before it would be different... but I know this stuff can and has been done better before.
I still keep an eye on what's going on with Civ5. Here are the major problems with the current gameplay; I'm basing this around high-level play at Immortal or Deity, as any lower difficulty is a joke for experienced players:
* Great Scientists and Research Agreements are simply broken aspects of gameplay. They have not been addressed in patches, and indeed were only strengthened in the most recent patch by making tech costs higher. Great Scientists can still lightbulb any tech on the tree, regardless of cost. Research Agreements can be "blocked" - if you research 25% of the cost of a tech, you will not get it for free from the "random" research agreement - and therefore with careful management, you can basically turn every single research agreement into a free Great Scientist. The net effect is that actual tech costs DO NOT MATTER; you are never actually researching the cost of the techs themselves, simply getting them for free from Great Scientist/research agreement spam. You can win by Spaceship on Deity in under 250 turns with ease; in fact, you can win by Spaceship on Deity in under 250 turns while playing a One City Challenge! After all, it doesn't matter how many beakers your own civ is producing, as an expert player will be cleaning up all of the industrial/modern techs they need for free. I find this to be a profoundly stupid research model for a game to employ. It's not fun or interesting, and it revolves around tedious microing of research through tech blocking. Nor are any of these rules explained or documented anywhere in the game; the whole research agreement blocking thing was discovered through trial and error. It's just a bad system, and use of GS/RAs dominates high level play. Civ5 would honestly be better off if research agreements were axed entirely from the game. (But then what is there to do diplomatically? See next point.)
* Diplomacy still offers no real incentives for cooperation whatsoever, and remains incredibly exploitable. As I mentioned before, there's no reason to be friends with the AI civs in this game. They will never vote for you in the UN, there's no Open Borders economic benefits to reap, there's no tech or map trading, and so on. Diplomacy in Civ5 functions like this: you sell your resources to the AI for cash, then you use your cash to purchase research agreements and city state friendship. And that's basically it. Sell your stuff, then use the gold to buy other stuff. There is nothing interesting about this to me; you can never befriend these guys, so why bother? There are also no penalties in Civ5 for screwing over the AI civs - you can drain all of their cash for gold per turn payments, declare war to wipe out the deal, and it has no effect at all. Or you can sell them cities for vast sums of gold, then declare war and recapture that city back instantly. Or you can sell a resource for cash, pillage it, and then resell it again for more cash. It drives me nuts that this kind of bull was noted as a problem in Civ3, corrected in Civ4... and then it's right back into the game again in Civ5. Did they learn anything?!? Furthermore, the AI is deliberately programmed to gang up on the human player if he or she is getting close to winning. They will also hate you if you start "warmongering" (even if you didn't declare war and are only punishing an aggressor!) and they will hate you for expanding and building cities. Basically, you are penalized for trying to build an empire in an empire-building game. Do these same rules apply to the AI civs? Of course not! They will happily war and expand to their heart's content, with no diplomatic penalty, then you will be the villain for acting the same way that they do. Say what you will about the erratic AIs in Civ3, at least they treated the player the same as the other AIs. Civ5 is right back to the old "you versus the world" gameplay from Civ 1/2, and I can't stand it.
* As if I even need to mention it, the AI remains totally braindead at combat, and has no idea how to play by the rules of one unit per tile gameplay. Multiplayer has also gone totally unaddressed in patches, and the competitive community is essentially dead. (We're still waiting on those Hotset, Play by Email, and Pitboss modes, by the way. Promised for released and still waiting six months later.) The victory endgame screens are still a joke, static painting and no replay. The Civilopedia is still full of errors and misdocumentation.
Anyway, I could go on but you get the point. While I'm glad that Civ5 has been fixed to the point where most buildings are actually worth having (instead of the player doing better by *NOT* having most buildings!), it's far from a polished or good game. High level gameplay is based around exploiting research agreements and Great Scientists, selling resources to raise cash to buy RAs and city state alliances. I mean, kudos if you like that sort of thing, but seriously? When selling resources in the early game is much more important than expanding and building cities, something is very, very wrong with the gameplay. This thread from Martin Alvito is what I consider to be the cutting edge in current Civ5 high level play. Martin's stuff is brilliant and creative - and it looks nothing like past Civilization games, or the empire-building genre in general. The gameplay of Civ5 is dumb, for lack of a better word. It doesn't interest me at all, and frankly, it doesn't seem to be very interesting to a lot of others either. There are tons of people playing Civ5, but most of them are playing at the intermediate difficulty levels, Noble to Emperor. I keep looking around the Internet - where are the extreme difficulty challenge games? Where are the people doing crazy variant games to make things harder? Outside of a few people pushing Deity spaceship games at CivFanatics' Strategy forum, I can't find anyone playing interesting Civ5 games. The elite talent from past Civ games isn't playing Civ5. There are no succession games, there are no tournament games, and the competitive MP ladder is dead. To me, that speaks volumes about the lack of depth in Civ5. When people are winning One City Challenge games on Deity, and winning them easily in the 1500s, where do you go from there? I have no idea, and it looks like everyone else feels the same way.
Because I don't plan on writing anything else on Civ5, the game has been demoted down to the Miscellaneous page. All the content is still there, just not on the front page anymore. That's a shame because the graphics I did for Civ5 are some of the best on this website, but oh well. In its place is the link to my League of Legends stuff, which deserves more promotion as that's where I'm spending most of my time now. I have about 60 full games casted and uploaded on YouTube, and I'm starting to draw a pretty good following there. Over 600 subscribers as I type this now, and hopefully pushing towards 1000 next! I've signed a deal to work with a YouTube group called TheButtonMasherz to help promote my videos and gain additional publicity. With enough viewers I could potentially even get some advertisers and start to monetize my work, which would be great for me. Still a long ways from that point right now, of course. I will continue to update the website any time that I feel I can say something better in text than in video; for example, there's an Annie guide for League of Legends that I'm posting today to read through. It all depends on the medium: Civ works better (much better) described in text, while a game like LoL really has to be done visually through video. As always, keep an eye on the front page here for updates. I'll let my readers know what's going on... somtimes infrequently, but I always update in time. This website is going on 9 years now!
I had a request from one of the editors at Bitmob.com to rework the ending from my last editorial on Civ5 for use on their website. This was pretty cool for me, as it's the first time anyone ever requested that I write an article for an outside source. You can go read it now at the following link.
New (lengthy) article up today! In response to the many requests on what I would like to see in a Civilization game, I typed up some thoughts on how I would go about designing an imaginary Civ game. You can find it linked under the Miscellaneous section, or read it right here. Also note that with the end of the winter holiday I'm now back to a normal work schedule, which means that there will probably be fewer updates on the website in the upcoming weeks. These last two articles were very long even for me.
Merry Christmas! I have a holiday treat for the website in the form of two new articles. First of all, I've uploaded an editorial on Civ5 that I wrote back during the summer and never published, one in which I pondered what the new developments would mean and tried to predict where some problems might lie. At the time, I was only working with the information available in online previews, so feel free to check it out and see how accurate my guesses were. I've also uploaded a simultaneous short game report and editorial on the newest Civ5 patch, under the heading of "What Went Wrong with Civ5?", so you can probably guess how I feel about that. They are both listed under the Civ5 Editorials page. Unless something dramatic changes, I do not expect to be playing any more games of Civ5. Don't bother emailing me about this, I'm afraid you'll have to go somewhere else for Civ5 content.
While I haven't been updating this website much, I've been very active in uploading League of Legends videos to YouTube, with over 30 total games and still climbing. I have just shy of 200 subscribers right now, which is also pretty cool. Every game is still linked from this website under the Miscellaneous section, although I will not be posting on the front page when new videos go up (just too much work). I'm still trying to finish some Final Fantasy 5 stuff, although I have no idea when that will be done...
As always, thanks for reading, and maybe we'll finally see Diablo 3 in 2011! Here's hoping.
Hey folks, just wanted to check in here and provide a short update on what's going on. The honeymoon period for Civ5 is over, and I've noticed more and more people coming to the realization that this is a dud game. The Deity succession game that I finished with the Ottomans was a confirmation of all of the problems plaguing Civ5, which can be boiled down to two key points: the AI does not provide a challenge (even on the highest difficulty) and the game doesn't present interesting choices or decisions to be made. I honestly have no desire to play any more games, since they will all play out in similar fashion. Variants aren't enough to save a game if the core design itself is flawed.
Civ5 has managed to pull off the rare coup of aggravating all three sections of the Civilization community: Single Player, Multi Player, and Modding. My own reports cover the SP side of things, and the only semi-interesting challenge taking place at the moment is an informal competition to see how quickly players can win each victory type. Since people are already posting sub-Turn 200 Spaceship victories on Deity, that challenge isn't going to last much longer either. The MP side of Civ5 remains almost completely unplayable, and the Civilization ladder community is withering on the vine. I've watched some of the elite talent deserting in droves over the past few weeks, and who can blame them? Civ5 MP games not only have a staggering amount of technical problems, they're mostly determined by who can fast-move their opponent better, and who has less lag on their connection. I'm not sure why anyone would want to endure such a crummy experience when there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other Multiplayer games without Civ5's problems. Finally, while I personally have little interest in modding, I've also spotted a lot of complaints from the modding community over various hard coded values and obscure documentation from Firaxis. Perhaps that will change in time with more patches, but I'd certainly be skeptical of thinking that modders will easily "fix" the various problems with Civ5.
Overall, what a trainwreck. They messed this one up badly. Six weeks after release, and Realms Beyond's community is struggling to finish its first two succession games due to complete lack of interest. Nor do most people care about creating the first Epics competition. That's a terrible, terrible sign about the longterm health of this game. For anyone still on the fence about Civ5, I recommend not purchasing this game, at least not at the moment. The only real hope is that maybe a long sequence of patches will improve the game, and if you don't already have the game, you might as well wait until that takes place, if ever. I won't be writing anything else about Civ5 on my website unless some drastic changes take place.
Of course, that doesn't mean nothing will take place here at my website. I'm doing regular YouTube casts for League of Legends, which are linked under the Miscellaneous section above. After taking a break for a few months, I'm planning on returning to the Final Fantasy 5 solo challenge games - still about five more character classes yet to go. And there might be one or two other projects in the works, depending on how much time I have. Stay tuned...
Added a link to the Deity succession game I created at CivFanatics, which can be found under the Multiplayer section for Civ5.
I put up a fourth Civ5 writeup, which will probably be the last one for some time. I'm thinking of running a Deity succession game for Civ5, and will post a link here if one starts up.
I have posted a third Civ5 writeup, with the results of another Immortal game played with China. I think I'm beginning to get a strong handle on this game now, and the game doesn't play out the way that the developers seem to have intended. This is a long read, and should be a good once.
I posted a second Civ5 writeup today, this one about a game played on Immortal difficulty. Check it out in the Civ5 section of the website. I've also continued posting League of Legends videos on YouTube, all of which are linked from here under the Miscellaneous section. You might want to subscribe to my channel if you enjoy watching those, since I won't post an update here every time a new one goes up.
Did some work today, and finished the basic framework for a Civ5 section of the website. Still nothing listed under most of the pages, but that can be filled out in time. Doing the graphical elements is the hardest part, thankfully that's all done! No new writing itself though for now, apologies.
I've done my first writeup of a Civ5 game, which can be accessed at the following link. I still need to do all the graphics for a new section of the website, which will be coming later when I get the time. The link above will have to do for the moment!
Civ5 is now out and released to the public as of yesterday. I downloaded the free demo and played through the 100 turns they give you, typing up some of my initial impressions at Realms Beyond's forums. Long story short: decent game, fun for the moment because of the newness factor, but definitely a step backwards from Civ4. There are some major balance problems with this game already, and Multiplayer is so crippled as to be virtually unplayable at release. Nevertheless, I plan on purchasing the game sometime this weekend, and I'll have more impressions up here once I experience a full game or two.
If you're interested in a good long read, the writeup for the Pitboss #2 game has finally been completely, wrapping up with a total of 13 parts. It was a lot of work, and I'm glad to have it finished. I can see why so much of the Internet is moving towards podcasts and video commentaries - they're a lot easier to do, frankly. Writing is difficult, and takes much more effort. I'll continue to try and use whatever medium works best for different games: Civilization tends to favor a written, summary style while an action game like League of Legends doesn't translate well to text. And on that note, I'll conclude by saying that I've been adding some more League of Legend videos over on YouTube, which are linked from this website. Check out whatever interests you.
There are a couple more parts added for the Pitboss #2 game writeup; I've made it a goal to finish before Civ5 comes out. Looks like that will probably be the final writeup I do on Civ4, unless the new game would turn out to be terrible. There are also some more YouTube commentary videos ready for League of Legends, linked under the Miscellaneous section. I have some ideas about doing a variant Let's Play involving Legend of Zelda in the near future; please no one mention this to Dr. Nomadic.
I've added a Let's Play YouTube feature for the SNES game Megaman X, which is linked under the Miscellaneous section. Check it out if that sort of thing interests you. There is also one more addition to the Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 game, up to Part 6 now. I'm looking to cast some more League of Legends games, but haven't found a good replay yet in the past few days. Too many games with someone leaving on either side and creating an unwinnable 4 vs 5 situation. Hopefully I'll get another good one soon.
A new month, new additions to the website. I've reworked the main page to include a Miscellaneous section for games that don't have enough content to deserve their own full sections. The out-of-place Tetris page has now gone under that heading, as well as two other new sections. One contains my first commentary video for League of Legends, which I teased on this website a couple of weeks ago. Check it out to see what a typical game looks like, and if you're interested, signup for a free account. I'm always looking for more friends to game with online.
I've also been adding some updates (finally) to the Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 report, which is now up to five pages. I'm not going to add a post on the front page every time a new section goes up, but I will post here when the whole thing is complete. We're looking at about a dozen parts again before this thing is complete, so it won't be done for a little while yet...
Finally, because I've had some questions about this, no, I was not asked to work on Civilization 5 by Firaxis. I'm in the dark just like everyone else on this one. There won't be a Walkthrough for Civ5 when it comes out, apologies.
Part Three of the Ironcore variant has been posted today. Did I win out successfully, or am I going back to square one for the third time?
Part Two of the Ironcore team variant has been posted. There were some, uh, unexpected difficulties along the way which delayed things a bit. I'll probably try to finish with that group, and then tackle the issue of writing up the RB Pitboss game.
I've taken up T-Hawk "Ironcore" variant challenge, and am in the process of trying to complete Final Fantasy 5 on a single party life without dying (and no grinding up levels to make things easier). Check out the new link in the Final Fantasy section - I've included a little extra feature at the end just for fun.
I'd also like to put out a call to anyone reading to check out League of Legends if they have a chance. League of Legends is a tower-based defense game, created by the same folks who made the Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) for anyone who might have played that. It's Player vs. Player game in which teams of 5 compete to see who can take out the enemy's base first. You have characters that are based around meele damage, spellcasters who nuke from long range, tanks and support characters, and so on. Best of all, League of Legends is 100% free to download and play! (Paying money will unlock some of the features faster, but confers no other benefits.) The only issue is that - just like Diablo - teaming up with random people off the Internet isn't nearly as much fun as joining up with friends. I know a couple of Civ4 MPers who are active with League of Legends, but I'd love to see more people getting involved. Hit me up if you're interested (username "Sullla") and we'll run some games.
I'm happy to report that the first two pages of the Pitboss #2 writeup have been added to the website, linked under the Civ4 Multiplayer page. There's so much to talk about, it's probably going to take about a month before the whole writeup is all said and done. I've also added a video commentary of my original Final Fantasy 5 solo monk character. You can find a link to the Youtube video at the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSOW-uJkpOQ. Enjoy!
Realms Beyond Pitboss #2 has finally ended, and we are the winners! Unfortunately there was a whole bunch of controversy at the end of the game, which is probably best off left there... Anyway, that means there should be some time to update the website in the weeks ahead. I have a new PC, and I'm hoping to use it to start capturing some video footage. That's what's all the rage on the Interwebs these days, right?
First though, there will probably be some giant written report about the Pitboss #2 game, which was epic in every meaning of the word.
The rumors of this web page's demise have been great exaggerated! I have another Final Fantasy 5 solo report up for the default Bare job, along with some minor improvements to the Final Fantasy page so that all of the solo games are linked from the character portraits on the left side, in addition to the text links. I'm sorry there hasn't been more content in the past few months; most of my gaming and writing time is taken up with the daily updates over at Realms Beyond for the Pitboss #2 game. Nonetheless, I have an idea or two that I'd like to write up here sometime soon.
It's Martin Luther King Day here in the US, and that means enough free time for me to get the finishing work done on two Final Fantasy 5 pages. The first is a standard report on the Chemist job. The second one covers two of the game's special super-bosses in extended detail. If you have any interest in FF5, you'll enjoy these two, especially that second one, it's a doozy...
Happy New Year 2010! I'm marking the occasion by uploading a Final Fantasy 5 solo report on one of the game's weakest classes, the Thief job. This one runs to two parts, so check it out.
For those curious about Final Fantasy 5 Advance, I have the whole thing set up on my PC now via emulation (please don't ask me where to find ROMs), including the codes to access all of the new jobs from game's start. Everything is in place to try out solo runs for the new classes at some point down the road, so I probably will have to do so, if only for curiosity's sake. Quick first impressions:
Gladiator: Tremendous Strength and Vitality, can equip virtually all melee weapons, and has an ability that deals 9999 damage... Possibly even stronger than the Samurai.
Cannoneer: Combine is outstanding, but the shooting ammo is very limited until late in the game. Rather unexciting for a solo game. At least you get to dress like a pirate.
Necromancer: Oath gets you through the early areas. Dark Arts are crazy strong, but you have to kill certain enemies to open them up, and some aren't found until the bonus dungeon. Healing would be a major problem, as the Necromancer has permanent Bone Mail status!
Oracle: Condemn is fun, although only useful early on. Predict is ridiculously random, and requires a spreadsheet to use effectively. This job can't equip anything but staves, so could be extremely difficult to complete...
While I was out Christmas shopping today, I glanced in the bargain bin at FYE and saw a copy of Final Fantasy 5 for the Gameboy Advance! It was only $10 so I had no choice but to pick it up. Then I went to the counter and the cashier told me that all bargain games were 75% off the listed price. Guess how much I paid in total for my copy of Final Fantasy 5?
$2.65 - with tax.
That raises the question, am I going to do solo games with the Cannoneer, Gladiator, Oracle, and Necromancer jobs? Maybe. I'm definitely going to finish all the jobs from the original game first before moving onto the extra stuff from the Gameboy Advance version. There's also the problem of taking screenshots from the Gameboy Advance cart; I guess I could use my digital camera, but that's a poor solution. What I'll probably do is download a FF5 Advance ROM and play the game on my PC via an emulator (note that this is 100% legal if you actually own the game in question). That would let me take my normal pictures, access all the jobs from the start of the game without the need to track down an antiquated Gameshark for the Gameboy Advance, and so on.
There's no new content updates today, however my FF5 solo Thief has gotten past his two biggest roadblock opponents, which means I'll be finishing within the next few weeks. Until then, let me wish all readers a very happy holidays, and a great start to 2010!
There is a new Final Fantasy 5 report posted today for the Mystic Knight class. Updates on the website have been few and far between, because nearly all of my gaming time is going into the Realms Beyond Pitboss game. You can follow the progress of my teammate Speaker and myself at the following link.
Quick news update for this week: I have posted another Final Fantasy 5 solo report for the Mediator/Beastmaster job on that section of the website. Also, if you haven't noticed the new Civ4 venture that Speaker and I are undertaking, check out the link in the news update below. Been a very slow first week, but we expect things to begin picking up soon enough.
There are two bits of news to report, the lesser one first. I have a fresh Final Fantasy 5 solo game posted, this time dealing with one of my favorite classes, the Time Mage. Go check it out.
Secondly, I am partnering with longtime friend Speaker in a new Civ4 Pitboss game being hosted at Realms Beyond. We are playing against nine other teams, and the game is about to get started, so wish us luck! You can follow along with the action in our spoiler thread at the Realms Beyond forums, and even watch what all of the other teams are doing in their own spoiler threads. You can even join us as an advisor, but you will have to stay out of the other threads and remain unspoiled to take on that role. Whatever the case may be, we hope you'll join the community and take part in what's sure to be an entertaining venture in the upcoming months. If you read the Apolyton game writeup and wondered what it would be like to join one of those games, now is your chance to find out!
I saw a copy of Rome: Total War on sale for $20 a couple of weeks ago, and I've been playing some of that during the past month. While the tactical battles are a lot of fun, ultimately the campaign elements are simply too weak to hold much longterm appeal for me. All you do is try to amass the largest army possible, and that's not enough depth to interest me. Plus, there is some seriously wonky city management (the design works, but the in-game documentation is pretty abysmal) and the AI in this game is a flat-out idiot. Five hours into the game, and I'm already crushing enemy armies that outnumber me 2:1, not a good sign! As a historian of the 18th century, I would really like to play around with Empire: Total War, however that game's supposed to have even more massive problems. Maybe later on when the patching process finishes?
In the meantime, there is a new Final Fantasy 5 short report on the Ninja class. I plan on starting another one next, so maybe I'll have more to come. Apologies to those who want more Diablo content, but it's just too time-consuming to work on at the moment. (I can play FF5 with half my attention while doing something else.)
The writeup for the Apolyton Demogame is finished, running to 13 parts in total. I have added the formal link under the Civ4 Multiplayer page (and stuck it at the top, so that hopefully it can be easily found).
The Apolyton Demogame is up to 10 parts now, and can be accessed through the link below. I will put up a formal listing once the report is finished. I have also heard that there were some issues with the hosting of the pictures for the Civ4 Walkthrough, which should now be sorted out.
Has it been three months already? Apologies for not doing much in the way of updates during the summer, as it was a very busy period. I spent most of the past six weeks first preparing for, and then teaching, a course at my university, which was an exciting time. Since I last posted on the main page, there was an addition of a Final Fantasy 5 writeup for the Dancer job. I also took the opportunity to go back and write up my oldest Civ3 reports in html, as their hosting on Geocities was set to expire with that site's closing in a few months. I left these reports intact, so it may be interesting to see how I did things when I was first starting out some... seven... years ago. (I feel old!)
Most importantly, the Apolyton Demogame has concluded and Teams Realms Beyond has been declared the winner! Now that the game has finished, I can begin publically tying up what I have been working on for the past 18 months. The first six parts have already been posted, and I will probably add another six to eight more parts before all is said and done. I will try to keep this front page updated on a weekly basis with new information going up. Until then, enjoy the first half of the Demogame's history!
I have a new solo report for Final Fantasy 5 posted, focusing on the Summoner job. This might seem random, but it's not unusual for me to be working on multiple different projects at once. Expect to see a Diablo update soon about Act III Hell, with either more progress or a grisly demise for Winnie.
Updated Winnie and Pooh Bear with a couple new chapters from Act II Hell.
Winnie has entered Hell difficulty, and faces his greatest challenge to date. Check the D2 section for two new updates.
I have updated Winnie's story with another new chapter. Read on to see how he fared in the closing parts of Nightmare difficulty.
More chapters of Winnie's journey have been posted in the D2 section. Check it out, y'all.
Happy Easter, to those who celebrate it! Thanks to a quiet Sunday, I have uploaded part three of Winnie's quest in the Diablo 2 section.
Long time no update, eh? Being overseas makes it a bit tougher to do work on the website. Anway, obviously the Epic 24 project never matieralized, however that's due to the fact that all of my Civ4 time is currently taken up by the Apolyton Demogame, in which I am serving as the current turn player for the Realms Beyond team. This is rather like being "up" all the time in a succession game! If you would like to read along and follow our team, follow this link to our team signup page. You will have to register for a forum account at the Apolyton website, however, so be aware of that.
I have added several different Final Fantasy 5 solo reports over the past couple of months, without putting a news post here on the front page about them. They aren't full fledged stories, but perhaps will help pass the time at the moment. The one thing that I have added, and the reason for this post, is a new Diablo 2 character. Every now and then I get the urge to play some good old D2, and this time I'm trying my hand at a pure summoning druid. We'll see how that goes...
Since the last news update posted here, I've added some more quick FF5 solo reports to that portion of the website. Next up will be my attempt at T-Hawk's massive Epic 24 game for Civ4, which will be my first stab at Civilization in quite a few months. I'm looking forward to it!
New Final Fantasy report posted: Black is back, in a new FF5-themed story. As we look ahead to 2009, I should warn readers that I'll be spending the first four months of the year overseas in London to conduct research for my dissertation. I'm not sure how much gaming and/or website work will get done during that period... but I'll probably find time to upload a couple things.
Two new reports to mention. First, a short summary of my abbreviated game in the last Master of Orion Imperium. I posted my in-game log this time, which may make for a different read. Second, I have posted a lengthy report introducing Final Fantasy 5, and explaining an entertaining variant run. If you enjoyed the story of Solo, the lonely Black Belt, you've got to check out his new revival!
There's a new report posted in the Final Fantasy section, on a different Final Fantasy game! Go check it out to see something a little different. I also realized last week that I had written an entire chapter for Skulla, and never got around to posting it. Added that to the Diablo 2 section as well. I will return to Skulla's journey when I have a set block of time to devote exclusively to D2 - which may not be for a while, sadly. I have to make sure I'm in practice before continuing a Hardcore character's journey!
Long post here, with me updating a couple of different things. First, I added a new Final Fantasy report in that section. I know I said I probably wouldn't be playing that game much before, then I got a new idea and had to run with it! I also created a new banner for the FF pages, something I'd been meaning to do for ages. Much as I love my Civ4 banner, it looks out of place in the other sections of the website.
A new DDR game came out a couple of weeks ago, and I picked it up. Called Dance Dance Revolution X, it's the 10th anniversary version of the game. Konami did some good things and bad things in this version, as usual. A welcome sight is a new 20-point rating scale for songs, instead of the old 10-point one. What's bizarre is that now you get can a "AAA" rating without getting a perfect score, which irritates me to no end. I call these "Fake AAAs" and don't pay any attention to them. In sight-reading through the songs for the first time, I managed to get 11 different (true) "AAA"s - either I'm getting better, or the songs are getting easier. Maybe both. I don't expect to create a page for this game, since I don't want to do the work and no one but me would bother reading it. Might upload some more videos eventually though.
Obviously the big game I'm waiting for is Diablo 3. Knowing Blizzard, it's at least a year away, if not two. Still, I'll probably continue adding all sorts of random content here until I finally get my hands on D3 - after which you won't see much Civ or MOO stuff appearing.
There's a new Final Fantasy report posted, "Living Off the Land." Better go ahead and read it, because it might be a long time before I write another one.
Imperium Twelve report posted. The ending will probably come as a surprise...
There's a new Civ4 report for Adventure 32. Really!
New Imperium report out today in the Master of Orion section, new Civ4 report coming in two weeks as soon as Adventure 32 closes. It's a busy period for the website right now.
Today we kick off the reopening of the RBO Imperia with closing day for Imperium Ten. The report is posted in the Master of Orion section of my website. Although this has been a quiet six weeks for my website, I have actually played and written several reports (two for MOO, one for Civ4) that are awaiting the closing of their relevant games to be posted. Expect a good deal of new content to be appearing over the next couple of months. I have also played further with Skulla (who is happily still alive at the moment!), and am waiting for the right time to write and post more information on his journey. That's another project in the works right now...
Another part of Skulla's tale added tonight. It's a busy time for me right now, as I search for a new apartment for next year - and my best friend is getting married next week. Apologies in advance if the updates are slow in coming for a bit.
I've posted several parts of Skulla's journey over the last few days, which is progressing very nicely so far. In fact, if anything I've been writing too much here on the website lately, with all this Diablo stuff, and it's beginning to drain my energies. I've decided that I'll take a short break from writing for a couple of weeks after finishing with Skulla (which hopefully won't be for a while yet, as he is Hardcore!) There should be more MOO content coming later this summer, as the Imperia tournament at Realms Beyond gets underway in the near future.
The year-long venture of the Nature's Cabal druid variant team finished earlier this week, and I completed the writeup of our travels. Check it out in the Diablo section (been doing a lot of updates there lately!) I also tweaked the front page slightly, since the quote had been up for too long.
I've added Comments from the Sponsor for the most recent RB Adventure, and finally got around to adding a link to my current Civ4 succession game. Since the last update, I have also finished Meatbag's journey, and started a new Diablo 2 character. He is Hardcore, so there's no clue how long I'll be able to keep him around - hopefully quite some time.
Meatbag's journey updated again with more information. I also added an index page to access them more easily, since he was approaching a half-dozen chapters. If anyone is reading the reports, it's been quite a ride so far.
Meatbag's third chapter is posted. How much further can I take him without dying?
Added another chapter to Meatbag's tale (D2). While I had some time to kill, I put together the graphics for a Diablo banner and added that to all of the pages in that section of the website. Perhaps this will motivate me to do the same for DDR and Final Fantasy...
Some quiet weeks here for the website. I'm not planning on disappearing permanently, just things have been busy lately. No new Civ reports, but I've updated all my succession game links (replacing pictures that were wiped out in CivFanatics' server hack) and added two new sections describing my online Diablo 2 team variant. There's also a new D2 solo character with a fairly extensive report to check out, for the interested. I'd like to get another Civ4 report finished sometime next month, however I don't want to make any promises...
Epic Seventeen report posted! Check it out in the Civ4 section.
This morning, I topped my high score on the Gameboy version of Tetris and broke the official Twin Galaxies world record score. In honor of this achievement, I've added a small Tetris page to the website. More substantial content coming next week, when Epic 17 closes. Report is written and awaiting the closing date for posting.
Happy New Year! Since last placing an update on the front page, I've added a Master of Orion game report to the website. Also new are additional Comments from the Sponsor for Civ4's Epic Sixteen, and two new DDR videos. I'll be busy throughout January, but expect more content to appear starting in February.
We've got a new Civ4 report up today for Epic Fourteen, Always War! Should make for a good read. There's also new content from my Diablo 2 team variant, and more videos to watch in the DDR section of the website.
This space isn't intended to serve as a "blog" of any kind, but I feel the need to explain some of the recent computer problems I've suffered through here. For most of the past month, my computer has been in the care of various repair shops, through an extremely time-consuming and expensive process of restoration. After several false starts, and having to wait on TWO discs to come through the mail from Microsoft, I finally have everything ready to go again. In the past couple days, I've caught up with the backlog over at RBCiv, organized the rest of the Civ tournament schedule through the end of 2007, and hope to get started with the very-challenging Always War Epic 14 game.
In other website news, I've also added a new video section to the DDR page, displaying some of my recent efforts in that area. The Diablo page is now up to date as well, taking the Druid variant team up through the end of Act III Nightmare. Hopefully I've taken care of all the administrative stuff now and can get back to playing some actual games!
It's reporting day for Epic Thirteen - and I do have a shadow game to report! Be sure to head over to RBCiv to experience the craziness as dozens upon dozens of reports get posted.
Various odds and ends have been going onto the website in the last week, although nothing major in any one location. There are new Comments from the Sponsor from the recent RBCiv events, and another such one coming on Monday when Adventure 21 closes. I've also updated the Diablo section the website with the progress to date of our druid variant team. Finally, I want to mention to any readers that our popular Potluck event is going on now at Realms Beyond; feel free to come on over and sign up to take part in the fun!
I've added the "Comments from the Sponsor" for Adventure 20, which closes today. Our ongoing Diablo team variant has also been added to the D2 section, with the introduction and first part posted. I'll be in London for the next few weeks, so don't expect too much else for a little while.
Website hasn't been updated much lately, which is unusual for the summer. I traditionally take care of site maintenance/updating during the summer and winter months when I am not taking classes, but recently I've been working on another website - updating the back results on the Realms Beyond Civ website! Fortunately, that's finally finished now: we are completely caught up to date for the first time in 8 months over there. Whew.
Here on my own website, I've added my shadow report for Epic Eleven today. I've also got a new team variant for Diablo 2 going that will be getting some mention in the near future. And I finally bought a second Cobalt Flux pad from my friend, which will allow me to pursue DDR's final frontier: Doubles Mode! I'll have to put up something related to that eventually as well. Stay tuned...
No, the website is not dead - I just haven't added any notices on the front page of late. There's a short report from Epic Ten posted last week, and a brand-new, full-length report on Adventure Nineteen now available for reading. Both in the Civ4 section, of course. Enjoy!
Happy Daylights Savings! Since I last posted here, the website has gotten several Master of Orion updates, and another report is nearly done and about to be added soon. I've also initiated a new Civ4 succession game, and added a link to that. Since I finished my quest for 200 "AAA"s in the DDR games, that area of the website has also been updated slightly in some respects. There are plans in the works to initiate some new action at Realms Beyond Civ, so stayed tuned for more information.
Another month gone by... I've recently added quite a few games to the Master of Orion section, reflecting the time I've been spending on that one. I would like to see some more activity on the Civ4 front, but Realms Beyond Civ has been completely dead lately. I may have to get in touch with those in charge and find out what's going on there. In other news, I'm back to teaching and studying on Monday as my spring semester begins, so there may be less time for updates in the next couple months. Sorry!
No Diablo game tonight means a chance to finish catching up work on the website. Civ3 content is now fully up and running again (let me know if there are any broken links I didn't catch). I completed a thoroughly enjoyable game of Master of Orion earlier today, which I plan to write up a short report about sometime later this week. Keep an eye out for it.
Happy New Year! To celebrate, I have opened up a new section of my website, devoted to the classic space strategy game Master of Orion. Three new (short) reports are available for reading pleasure.
Diablo2 section of the site back up. Feel free to take a look at the journey of the Rogue Revival team! The only remaining section to work on is Civ3, but that will have to wait a bit longer.
DDR section of the website reopened for business! Can't say I expect to see much traffic there, but I redid the whole "AAA" section to make navigation easier and reflect progress made in the months since I last updated.
Website officially reopened at the new hosting here at garath.net. I'm still updating links and transferring files around, so certain sections of the website will remain closed for the immediate future, but at least the Civ4 area is up and running again. I plan on using the winter break between my semesters to get the rest of the website going once more. Let me know if you run into any broken links in the Civ4 section.
As far as what I've been up to, I haven't touched anything Civ-related in quite some time. Work and studies have been filling up my time in the worst way, although January should give me time to do some more gaming activity and other fun stuff. I have been squeezing in a fair amount of DDR, so I plan to redo that section of my website a bit to update my progress. And finally, I also bought and have been thoroughly enjoying Nintendo's new Wii console, so I may add some brief info on that as well. If you would like to add me to your Wii address book, send me an email and I'll be happy to hook you up.
Uploaded a MP report from a game earlier this week; it's not very long, but I'm sure some will enjoy reading it. I also updated my links page and added about 25 new links to reflect the growing number of people who have created websites for Realms Beyond activity.
I've added a report on my solo game Passive-Aggressive Hatty, an Always Peace Domination game. I'm also hoping to add a lot of links to my Civ4 page soon to reflect the many websites that have sprung up for our Realms Beyond events.
Epic Eight's report day has arrived. This figures to be a bit hectic, but you can find my report in the usual place.
Closing day for Adventure Eleven - and what a game it was! I also added a link to my new succession game at CivFanatics.
No report to post for Epic Seven (sorry, I don't have time for everything!) but I did add a short article on the Civil Service Slingshot. It's posted under the editorials section of my Civ4 site, the first such article to go there. A year after release, I have finally filled up all parts of my Civ4 website, heh.
Always War! The Epic Six report has been posted. I have also finished a report for Adventure Eleven, but you'll have to check back in a few weeks for that one.
My Adventure Nine report was posted last week, but I did not update this main page until today. Also added a link to my current succession game, RB21, on the Multiplayer tab of the Civ4 section.
I have uploaded the Epic Five report; should have posted something sooner, as it's been up since Monday. I also added the first part of my ongoing Multiplayer Epic game with the folks from Realms Beyond. Feel free to check that out in the Civ4 MP section of this site.
Ah, lazy Sunday afternoons... I have gone through and finally finished up rehabilitating the Civ3 section of this website, adding the pictures that I managed to save and compiling them into a page called "A Picture Farewell to Civ3." I also added links to this page from the missing reports on the Civ3 Games page. I doubt anyone will read this, but now I've finally managed to cross off one of my longterm to-do projects. In other news, a major coop Multiplayer game that I'm running at Realms Beyond is slated to start this week. Stay tuned...
I finally added a link to my Epic Three report on the main page, which was missing due to a period of Internet outage here last week. I also added a link to my new Succession Game, with the goal of winning a cultural victory without using the culture slider. Finally, I also added some links to other Civ-related websites that were missing before, should someone be interested in that.
Epic Two, the first Epic to finish in over five months, is finally open for reporting! Go check it out.
Updated the MP Quick Hits with another game played last night. And yes, in case you hadn't already noticed, the updates to this site are incredibly erratic. It all depends on when I have time and something to add!
The patch is out! And so are two game reports that I wrote up while I was playing it pre-release. Enjoy.
I added a Multiplayer game played this weekend to that part of the website. Still waiting on the patch... In other news, I have to mention local DC-area George Mason University's incredible run to the Final Four, which they completed yesterday. I've been to the George Mason campus before just to use the arcade in their student union, but never would I have expected this! Simply an amazing story.
A lazy night of watching TV gave me the chance to finally get my Civ3 content back on the website. Unfortunately, a lot of the pictures have been irretrievably lost forever... but a surprising amount of content remains. The Civ3 portion of my site is unlikely to get much, if any, traffic, but I'm certainly leaving it up as an archive of past games.
My Adventure Four report is up! Check it out.
Clearing up some old business, I finally finished my "AAA" stuff for DDR. Now I have all 100 "AAA" pictures up, for what that's worth. Also added a MP Quick Hit from earlier this week in the Civ4 section.
Diablo 2 portion of the site is back up. Does this mean that the Civ3 content is coming back soon? Maybe. If I get the time for it.
Large update today for the website, several different things added:
1) The Adventure Two report is up! It was a great game, feel free to check it out.
2) I finally updated my Links page with banners pointing to some of the other websites in the Realms Beyond community.
3) Updated the MP section of my Civ4 site with a new "Quick Hits" page for short MP game reports.
4) The Final Fantasy section of my site is back up! Goal is to get the Diablo II part up too by the end of this upcoming week.
It's closing day for the first Civ4 Epic, and my report has been posted. I also added a report from last weekend's MultiPlayer tournament, so if you haven't seen that it should also make for interesting reading.
I added another Civ4 Multiplayer report from a game I played last night, so that should give the Single Player crowd who hasn't tried much Multiplayer a better idea of what's up with that. I also achieved another milestone earlier last night: my 100th DDR "AAA". I'll be putting more content up related to that soon.
DDR section of the website is back up, as I continue the process of moving the old info over to the new site. Lots of new pictures up from the new "AAA"s. Final Fantasy section will be the next one to get transferred.
Well, the glut of traffic from the Walkthrough has finally died down. It was quite a wild ride while it lasted, but the strain was so great that I'm glad that it's over. Once December rolls around and the monthly bandwidth limit resets, I'll start restoring the parts of the website that I've been keeping down due to the traffic. In Civ4 news, there is now a writeup of a MP game that I played last week, in response to the many requests that I had for such a report from readers of the Walkthrough.
I recently moved most of the pictures in the Civ4 Walkthrough over to the CivFanatics server, using the webspace that Thunderfall generously provided me. Readers of the Walkthrough shouldn't notice any difference, but hopefully this will prevent the site from crashing again due to excess bandwidth usage. I also added a link to the Succession Game that Sirian and I have been playing. It's been a blast! If you haven't seen it, go check it out.
As a result of crashing Sirp's webhosting, I moved to a new website hosted by corwin90 here at . Tons of links not working for the moment, site is completely under construction. To anyone who reads this, don't bother contacting me with stuff not working - HEAVY construction taking place for the next few days as I transfer files over from the old webhosting
Civilization IV is released today! And surprise, surprise, I've already been working on it for more than six months. The website has been updated to reflect that, and I've got a detailed Civ4 Walkthrough all ready to go. The Walkthrough takes the reader through a complete game of Civ4; one part will be posted each day for the next seven days to celebrate Civ4's release week. So check out the new section of the site! There will be much activity in the days ahead.
Only one more week until Civ4 is released! Be sure to check back here when that date arrives... In other news, I updated the DDR page with more pictures. Over 20 "AAA"s now!
I have been burning up my dance pad lately; already recorded three more "AAA"s in the last three days and felt compelled to update the pictures section of the DDR page again. And yes, I made one update in 3 months followed by two updates in three days. Sue me.
Wow, only two weeks until the release of Civ4! Check back here after release day, I plan to have some info up... In the meantime, major update of the DDR section on this website. I added three pages of pictures, and now have a page reserved just for "AAA" pictures. Go check it out!
Dathon has written up his impressions on the Rogue Team and I have added them to my website. Still crossing fingers on hearing from some of the other Rogues before too much of the journey fades into memory... Here in College Park, I am preparing for yet another year of teaching/studying and looking forward to the release of Civ4. If the game's half as good as it looks from the screenshots, there will be plenty of information on it here shortly after release.
My friend Scott reminded me yesterday that I had forgotten to place an update here on the main page for the site work I've done in the past month. Oops. Rogue Revival's story is finished up through three dots, although the adventure continues now in Friendly Fire mode. I've also rehauled much of the DDR section, should anyone be reading that.
I posted my report for Epic 48, feel free to take a look because this may be one of my last Civ3 reports. I'm going to try and stay (relatively) current with Rogue Revival, but otherwise don't expect too many other updates in the near future. I have some summer projects lined up that I expect will eat up most of my time.
For various reasons, I ended up having some extra time this week and used it to work on the website. Hell Act Two added for Rogue Revival, perhaps it will make for some weekend reading.
Worried about getting too far behind, I finally managed to put together the writeup for Hell Act One in Rogue Revival. I don't want to make any promises, but I may be able to get Act Two done as well within the near future.
Epic 48 completed and report written. Check back in a couple of weeks for the posting when the game closes. In other news, I haven't forgotten about Rogue Revival; I have plenty of pictures (well over 300) to sort through and post when I get around to it. This next month will be a busy one for me, then after mid-May I'll have more time to work on the site. At least in theory.
I have returned from my trip to England/Wales/Iceland. And what's this? I've brought back a new Epic report with me, the first in two years! Take a look in the Civ3 section.
A reminder to anyone reading that I'll be in Europe all next week on spring break and this unable to read email or update anything on the site.
I finished up the journey of the Iron Fists yesterday, so I wrote the report and posted it today! It feels good not to be behind for once.
Made some significant additions in the last couple days. First of all, Rogue Revival is finally completed up to Hell difficulty, now only 2 acts behind our actual progress. I may actually get it to being current eventually. Secondly, I added the first half of my report for the latest Final Fantasy variant I'm running with the Iron Fists. I don't have a clue if anyone is actually reading this stuff, but I'm going to keep posting it anyway.
I've been working on the Rogue Revival section recently, completing up through Nightmare Act 4. I may actually catch up to the team's current progress in the near future. In other news, I've been updating the DDR content for DDR Extreme as I play my way through the game. Just about everything is unlocked at this point, so once I get at least a baseline score for every song I'll go back and tidy that page up a bit. And my latest Final Fantasy team is progressing nicely through the early stages of the game; nothing from that is likely to make it onto the site anytime soon, however.
All of the preliminary work for the site's new organization is finished. There should be no broken links, and all areas now have at least some content in them. I've finished the Rogue Revival story up through the end of Normal difficulty, and I'm going to attempt to try and catch up to where the team is now (if I can). I uploaded the second half of Blak's story to the Final Fantasy page as well, so that's now finished too. Of course my classes are now back in swing again, which means much less time, and I also just got my copy of DDR Extreme (Japan) yesterday too. So there is much to be done, and never enough time to do it in.
The initial skeleton frame of the new site was completed today, but there is still much work to be done, many broken links remain. Updated my personal section, added my long-overdue editorial on Conquests to my Civ3 page, and completed the entire section on the DDR series. Diablo and Final Fantasy sections still to be done.
I'm on winter break, working 40 hours/week, which is a blissful vacation from my normal work as a graduate student. That gave me enough time to start reorganizing my website, which has been sadly neglected for the last year. I'll be reworking the entire structure in the next two weeks, if all goes well.
In light of the unexpected firestorm of attention surrounding some of the information I put up on my website, I've taken down the sections relating to the actual beta test. I don't want to have a lawsuit on my hands here, after all. To be honest, I simply did not anticipate that anyone would be bothered by discusssing some apparently innocuous aspects of the beta testing process. It would seem I was wrong. To Atari, Firaxis, BreakAway, and anyone else who may have been involved, I offer my sincere apologies.
Conquests is released today, and my review of the game is similarly posted. Find out what all the fuss is about right here!
Still puttering away with Ender's Game 2. Another installment of the story was added today. I probably will finish the game right around the time that Conquests comes out in late October... Oh, and the Tetris personal best has been upped again to 578,023 points. :)
So anyway, yeah, I'm back. It's been a busy summer and the fall looks to be just as bad, but with the Conquests beta winding down and me finally on a regular schedule again, I hopefully won't be out of touch as badly as before. Speaker and I should be starting up EG2 within the next couple of days, and I'll be working hard behind the scenes to have a lot of info ready to disclose here on this site when the expansion comes out. As a further good sign, I even topped my personal best in Tetris this morning: 562,475 points :)
I've been home for about a week now, but am leaving again tomorrow for a trip with the family to Florida. Although it looks like I've been doing nothing of late, in reality I have been extremely busy with the Conquests beta, all of which is going on behind closed doors. I finished my fourth full game and report on it tonight, which I will make available when the game is released to the public in late October. Again, don't expect much of any word from me during the next month as I continue traveling and working on the beta.
I'm in Oxford at the moment posting this from my laptop computer. As I'm rather busy between work and sightseeing, don't expect to see any updates anytime soon; I had to go to some considerable lengths just to post this. :)
It being a Monday and the start of another week, I wanted to post some word on what was going on. I finished my second beta test game and wrote up my report on it; unfortunately, once again it can't go up on my site until the testing ends in the fall. Them's the rules sometimes. I also will mention that I'm leaving this Saturday, July 5th, to go to Britain for a month of study at Oxford University. I'll be taking a laptop with me, but no word on how often I'll be able to update when away from home. If I don't post anything for a while, it's because I'm 4000 miles away from the US!
The Epic 29 report is now up for perusal! I have also finished my first mission testing report for the Conquests beta test; while I obviously can't post it now, I'll have lots and lots of information readily available when it comes out sometime this fall. The beta version is still a little rough around the edges, but it looks like it's developing into a pretty solid form. This is very good news.
Added a link to the latest succession game that Speaker and I are playing out with little fanfare. I also should mention that I was accepted into the beta test for the next Civ3 expansion pack, so I'll have an inside view of how that develops. Not that I can reveal anything confidential to the public, but I should be able to post my impressions by the end of the summer. Stay tuned...
Now that my most recent SG has finished, I've actually gotten around to adding a link to it. I'm way too lazy sometimes - so sue me.
The Epic 27 report has been uploaded. Take a look!
Another large-scale report has been written for Epic 27 and will be uploaded on May 12 when the game closes. Always War is an engaging subject, so it should make for some interesting reading.
Finished playing Epic27, work has begun on the report. It should be another large-scale report, on the order of Epics 14 or 21. I also fixed a broken link pointed to me by a reader and changed the quote on the page.
Got done some more things which needed fixing. I wrote up the closing note for the PBEM game and updated some the info surrounding it. I added my long-delayed Epic24 report, which had previously been posted only on the RBCiv forum. Touched up a few other minor things as well. The Epic27 report will be posted when that game ends in about three weeks.
Finally got around to doing a small update. I hope to fix up a few more things that have been ignored recently in the next few days. I've been away from Civ3 for a while trying to learn the ins and outs of Master of Orion 3 (MOO3). Since MOO3 is a badly broken game at the moment, I'm waiting for the patching process to smooth some of its bugs out and thus returning to Civ3 for a little while.
Finished Epic24 yesterday in one long session, report to be written in the near future. The PBEM game is on hold at the moment, as JMansell is away in France. We will continue and I will update when the game starts back up again.
Uploaded Epic22 report for the closing date of the game today. I've also updated my succession games section to reflect the finishing of RBP4 and the opening of RBD19.
Epic21 closes and I can finally now upload it for all to read! The surprise for this game was the addition of a fictional narrative to go along with the report; I was very happy with how it turned out and hopefully anyone reading this will take the time to read through it. I also finally got around to writing up my GOTM5 report about a game I played in March of last year(!) I wrote it more for myself than for anyone else, but if you're interested it's now up for viewing as well. Phew! Large update there!
I finished the Epic22 report today and added a link to my latest succession game, RBE6. I don't expect to have too much to do on this site until I upload the Epic21 report on Monday. Should be a fun read when I can finally go public with it.
Downloaded, played, and finished the short Epic22 game already. Now I've got to write up another report, heh - but this one will be a LOT shorter than the monster Epic21 report. Once again, the PBEM game has stalled and the save file seems to have disappeared...
I put the finishing touches on my Epic21 report today, and I have to say that I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I only wish I could post it today... but the closing date isn't for another two weeks. It will be up the first Monday in February. I may or may not be playing Epic22; time will dictate whether I can squeeze it in. We will see.
Updated the PBEM game with a new page to reflect what's going on at the moment. I finished Epic21 yesterday and have begun work on the report for it. The game was fun and I have some new things I want to try with the writeup to make it more interesting. You'll have to wait until report day, February 2nd, to read it though...
Happy New Year to all of you! A new year means new updates (finally) to this webpage. I wrote up a rather large update to the ongoing PBEM game, added a link to my current succession game, and changed the quote on the main page for the first time in a while. Look for more updates including (gasp) some new strategy pages in the near future as I finally have some free time for the first time in ages.
Best wishes to anyone who reads this for a happy and safe holiday season. Here in Baltimore we had a white Christmas for the first time ever in my twenty years, and I was able to have dinner tonight with friends and family. I hope that things go well for all of you, wherever you may be.
December is a busy month, what can I say. Not many updates because there has been no time for them. I haven't updated the PBEM game because there hasn't been anything to report as yet. Today I just updated my succession game status to reflect those that finished.
Epic18, the potluck game and my final Epic for this year, has been uploaded and can be read now.
Updated my PBEM game's progress. There's some interesting stuff going on there at the moment!
The report for Epic18 is about halfway complete and should be ready for report day a week from today. I've also updated the status of my PBEM game.
Epic17 report is finished! You can read it under the games page and find out all the sordid details.
Since I last updated this page, I've finished Epic18b and am currently working on the Epic17 report, praying that I can finish it for the report date on Monday. I've also started a PBEM game with three other players, which has been added to the games page. And, to round things out, I've added a link to RBE4, the Beyond Deity succession game that I'm in at the moment. I've involved in a lot at the moment, so updates will be sporatic at best to this page.
Finished Epic18a yesterday, hoping to write the Epic17 report before I play the 18b game. Bought Play the World today, and I have the same initial impressions as everyone else: single player features are great, multiplayer is atrocious at the moment. Why are timers mandatory for turn-based play? That makes no sense to me. Play By E-Mail (PBEM) is by far the best option at the moment. I hope to get a game of PBEM going soon with some RBCiv people - we'll see what develops.
I celebrate Halloween by adding a link to my SUL5a succession game and updating the description of RBE3 to reflect its victory. I'm looking forward to the Play the World expansion quite a bit once I finish Epic18's dual games.
My very detailed Epic14 report of a Monarch Always War game has been posted. I have also finished Epic17, an Honorable Deity variant, and will begin playing through Epic18, the "Double Potluck" contest today. Once I finish that dual game, it will be time to go out and get the expansion for Civ3 and see what it can do.
After considerable delay, the Epic14 report has been completed and will be posted in time for the opening of reports next Monday (10/28).
Hey - longtime with no updates but rest assured that I haven't died or quit playing Civ3 for good. I have instead been swamped with work and had no time to work on the site at all... The Epic14 report is about halfway finished and will be ready in time for the late October closing date. My solo Egypt game is nearly finished as well, a game that I do NOT plan on writing up; it's been a relief playing it not to have to chronicle everything I do. The last game of mine I didn't write up was my Greece5CC game in May! When will the Strategy section get updated? Well, my classes will end in December, so maybe sometime around Christmas...
I finished Epic14 yesterday and have begun preparing a monster report of the game (lots of screenshots). Of course the report date isn't until the end of October, so don't expect to read about it any time soon... With no competition games that I'm interested in going on at the moment, I just may get the chance to play a solo game. Imagine that!
Epic12 report posted! Have fun reading it. I start a new slate of games today, alternating between the Always War Epic14 (solo) and the Honorable Chinese RBE3 succession game.
I finished the brutal Epic12 today, so expect a writeup a week from today on report day. I also added a link to cracker's excellent website on Opening Strategies. I don't agree 100% with everything he says, but it will prove immensely helpful to anyone new to the game trying to learn how to start out. And finally, to those of you who discovered today was my birthday somehow (through CivFanatics, I guess) and wished me well: I offer my sincere thanks for the kind gesture.
The Epic9 report is finally finished! Now maybe I can actually play some Civ3 again...
Good to be back, even if my Terps did get killed at their game last night. I put up the first part of my Epic9 report today, and the second half will follow tomorrow. I also left it on a cliffhanger for tonight, so perhaps people will come back to my site to see what happened.
Not much time to work on the site right now. I will be very busy for the next week as I go through Early Week with the marching band at the University of Maryland. I'm quite busy at the moment, and working on the site is not one of my top priorities. I just hope to finish and report Epic9 by the deadline.
I finally finished putting up chapter 8b in the strategy section, as it was rather painful going, writing about all of the units in detail. Also, as of 12:00am tonight, my report for Epic8 will be up. Check it out!
Added a description of a short One City Challenge game that I played for GOTM10 yesterday. Check it out if you have time.
I've added links to all of my succession games, as well as short descriptions of them. If you've ever wondered what I did in my first SG, as well as which games I'm playing in now, you can find out.
A couple of different things have been going on here recently. I've put the next chapter of The Manual on hold for now as I work on some other things. I have begun putting up short descritions of my early solo games, which should prove instructional and entertaining to read (I sucked when I started too). And I finished Epic8 recently too and will be writing that up for the report date of August 12. Make sure to read that one; the game was a real blast.
I have fixed the holes in my navigational logo at the bottom of pages thanks to Hannes B�nhold's advice. There should also be a new chapter in The Manual before the day is out.
Sorry, not much up over the last couple days because I've been, umm, playing Civ3. My new PC came in the mail and I've been hooking stuff up and transferring files like crazy. I did put up a new editorial tonight though as to my feelings on exploits. And Civ3 runs like a dream on a 128MB graphics card btw... :)
The first steps have been taken to filling out my new layout. Over the past few days, I have put up my links page and the page about me. The first editorial in that section is up (although it's not new) and the first three chapters that will eventually form The Manual are done. There's a ton of work still needed to be done, but at least no sections of the menu are empty anymore.
Large-scale reorganization of my site begins today. I know how I want it to be set up; it's just a matter of moving things around and struggling with my small knowledge of html. I hope to get my strategy section up and running over the next week.
I finished Epic4 today and have begun writing my report for it. For those unfamiliar with the Epics, this was a Deity game played with the Romans on a large map. I'll post the report on Monday (7/22) when the game closes.
The site is under heavy construction for now, as I move my information from the poor hosting I had at geocities to the space provided by Sirp at kalikokottage.com. I am also weaning myself off of geocities' PageBuilder and learning pure html, so expect many of the pretty frivolities I had at my old site to be replaced by utilitarian text for a while.