Friday, April 23, 2021

This Grab Bag That I call My Mind

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm pondering a post about literature, which I think would be a first here. I have another in mind about in-game albums (that's photo albums, not gatefold sleeve concept triples on hot pink vinyl). And then there's the monthly music round-up to come next week. So it's not that I don't have any ideas.

I've managed to post something almost every day this year, in fact. I missed one day in February, two in March and so far this month just one more. The average length of posts is on the order of 1500 to 2000 words so clearly I'm not running out of steam.

What I do seem to be running low on is organization. So long as I just sit down and start typing I can bash out those thousands of words with pleasure. It's the prospect of doing the research for the more considered, journalistic pieces that fills me with existential dread.

So (I've said "so" an awful lot in this post already, haven't I? A good editor would have something to say about that, I'm sure.) how about a traditional Friday Grab Bag? 

Sounds easy, doesn't it? But I have a terrible history with those things. Just look at the post I wrote last Saturday. In the first paragraph I claim it's going to be a portmanteau and then I get myself all tangled up in the very first item and never get around to any of the others.

And I'm not going to get around to them now. I can't even remember what they were going to be. Let's have some new ones instead...


If this had turned up on April Fools I would have thought it a moderately amusing gag. It didn't and it isn't. It's real. 

I've never played an Assassin's Creed game although I've read enough blog posts about them to know it's a series where you sneak around shooting people in the back. It has the word "Assassin" in the title ffs. I'm very definitely not going to put on my Miss Primshaw Neighborhood Watch sash, like some people, but I do have to say I find it an odd choice for cross-media synergy.

In common with current entertainment industry practice (Every game ever published by Hasbro comes to mind) Hachette have been busy extending the Mr. Men into other fictional universes for a while now. We have a row of Mr. Men/Dr. Who (Dr. Men? Mr. Who?) books on the shelves at work, for example. 

Those work quite well. Dr. Who isn't precisely a children's show any more, if it ever was, but it's definitely family viewing. I imagine most people could easily come up with a dozen or more suitable franchise team-ups for the badly-drawn, tedious little cyphers (Never been a fan of the Misters and Misses).

Linking them with a series whose premise is that you play a professional killer sounds like one of those ideas someone might have called "brave" in the original brainstorming session. "Brave" as in"I'm calling security. Don't bother to clear out your desk". I mean, just look at the pictures. Putting a suction cup on the arrow isn't fooling anyone.

Oh, well. I'm sure there are worse things on the shelves of the 5-8 section. Actually, I can think of a few...


I'm still playing Valheim. Just not as much. I'm not posting about it because I don't have much to say that I haven't said already. I could probably put together a mildly entertaining "Today In Valheim" post after every session because something's always happening but I'd just be duplicating Wilhelm's excellent work. I have no plans on killing Yagluth but otherwise... what he said.

I am puzzled by the many reports in various guides and wikis that claim the raids on your houses and homes in some way reflect the bosses you've killed. I've seen very little to support that theory. At first it was just the forest rising, then the trolls joined in. Later, foul winds kept blowing draugr and blobs in from the swamp and after that I got a lot of surtlings. 

These days I nearly always get Skeleton Surprise, which sounds like it ought to be one of the chocolates in that Monty Python selection box. (Now with added french subtitles to keep things fresh).

Neither have I seen much evidence that the raids relate to how significantly you've upgraded your properties. Mostly they hit the bigger houses but that's just as likely to be because that's where I spend most of my time. I've been raided by surtlings while I was still building a tiny hut to sleep in overnight so I'm pretty sure it can happen anywhere.

One thing I meant to mention for ages but never found a suitable peg to hang it on (ironically) is something I discovered weeks ago but which I have yet to hear anyone else mention. You can hang a lot of other items on hooks besides the trophies you get from kills. 

I found out the hard way, when I accidentally hung my crafting hammer on the wall and thought I'd lost it somehow. I spent ten minutes searching for it and finally went and made another. Then I came back with my new hammer to finish the job I'd started and found my old hammer hanging on the wall.

Since then I've hung all sorts of things. My favorites are dragon eggs and fuling totems, both of which have a strong, purple glow. They make for great mood lighting.

Iron Gate confirmed today they're still busy working on the next major update, Hearth and Home, which should expand the options for homemaking considerably. No date for it because "Valheim was a labor of love and we didn’t decide on a release date before we knew it would be in a state we were happy to release it in, and we are doing the same for this update. Instead of rushing it, we want to let it take the time it needs to get in a state that we’re happy with". 

Never fear, though. Someone found the time to give the troll model "More hair, nails and more defined muscles". I just hope someone's working on some new troll skin recipes too. Maybe ones that use troll hair and troll nails.

The Appreciation Bonuses are in full flow in EverQuest II. The twenty-four hour maintenance lasted... twenty-three and a half hours. Yes, it finished on time, even a tad early. There was a minor glitch with buying Daybreak Cash afterwards, something that, unsurprisinlgly, received a high-priority fix and now everything seems to be back to normal.

The bonus that most interests me is the double Overseer missions. I'm trying to run all twenty every day but it's not easy. I don't have twenty Season Three missions that will recycle fully over a twenty-four hour period so I have to re-use some of the better, shorter ones as their cooldowns clear. Fortunately, the way you get more missions is as rewards from doing missions so the situation is slowly resolving itself.

I was also hoping to level my new Vah Shir swashbuckler to 120 while the server was giving double xp. You'd think with that, full vitality, 140% veteran bonus and a 100% xp potion it would be the work of an hour or two but no. 

Level 100 to 110 is the new bottleneck. There's always one isn't there? I was very happy with the tripartite faction in PoM back when it was current content but now that it's just the bit you have to do before you can go to the moon it's not so much fun as it was. And the repeatable quests you have to.. erm.. repeat to build faction before you can get each new tranche of storyline quests were never much fun in the first place.

So far I've managed three levels. As soon as I can skip to Myrrist, the Great Library, I'll be off. And as soon as I can leave there for Luclin you won't see my cat's tail for moondust. I do miss just being able to grind out a few dungeons for levels. I totally get why they stopped it for the immediate lead-in to expansions that raise the cap but it wouldn't hurt to set the restrictions to a rolling "two expansions ago".

And that's it for now. I still have a set of dailies in Guild Wars 2 to do. Can't let that slide.

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