Elite Dangerous: Captain’s Log 01 – Starting Out

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CMDR Rexis here!

 It was January of 2015 when I first experienced Elite Dangerous. I was fortunate enough that my first encounter was on an Oculus Rift at PAX South, which you can read about here. Blown away by what this game offered, I purchased it for my newly acquired XBOX One and promptly shelved it.

As much as I enjoyed the experience in virtual reality, I came to dislike the game very quickly. I didn’t like having to refuel the ship to jump between systems and I hated the awful experience of docking, particularly trying to find my landing pad in the dark. Everything felt clunky and difficult to me. I was constantly mashing the wrong buttons and flying off in the wrong directions. I didn’t like the menu intensive interface. I just wasn’t enjoying it at all. I promptly forgot about it and moved on to other gaming experiences.

Fast forward two years and I am looking into getting Star Citizen for PC. My concern is whether SC will run on my PC and on my friends systems as well. I don’t want to explore the galaxy alone, after all. So I spent some time researching the game when I was suddenly reminded that I already had Elite Dangerous and my friends all have an XBOX One. So I figured why not fire it up and take another look.

I spent some time watching a few YouTube tutorials and that really cleared up a lot of things. I even discovered that there is a module for auto-docking you could buy. This became my goal. Get into the game and get that module. Play objectively, then see if I have a different opinion.

The last time I played Elite Dangerous, I blew my ship up in space because I was trying to explore, ran out of fuel, and died. Returning, I found myself with 1,000 CR and the free Sidewinder. I took a moment to look things over and, utilizing the skills I gleaned from YouTube, I went into the missions menu and selected a number of delivery missions to a nearby system. I filled my small hold and took all the data missions I could. Note: All these missions had me going to the same place, a simple courier/delivery.

I launched the ship, as one does, and made my way effortlessly and with little resistance. Those tutorials helped immensely. I found I was able to control the ship fairly well, and docking at the different station in my destination system was… well… easier I guess. I quickly made the money I needed to afford the 4,500 CR auto-dock module.

Holy crap, this thing is exactly what I needed.

I’m not a bad pilot, not the best, but not bad. Piloting the ship is not my problem. Its navigating around these massive stations and figuring out where I need to go that I struggle with. And everything is dark unless you are near a star. Couple that with the time limit on docking and it just stresses me out. Now, all I have to do it request docking and drop my speed to zero. Boom! I’m in!

After this success, I decided to keep doing the same thing. I grabbed more deliveries to another nearby system. Warp! Done! Rinse and repeat. I never saw any combat and I’m not sure if I saw any other players. I’m still learning those systems, after all. I’ll admit it was a bit grindy, warping and dropping out of super cruise at the right time. But it wasn’t a hard skill to learn. After a few deliveries, I was getting proficient.

By the end of my playtime, I’d accrued around 350,000 CR with no deaths. Needless to say, my experience with the game this time around, two years after I bought it, was far more enjoyable. I was even able to buy a new ship. I got into a Cobra MkIII, mainly because it was listed as having an extra seat for multi-crew.

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Cobra MkIII

I’m seriously considering buying the Horizons update and one of my friends is interested in picking up the game. We share an interest in exploration of the galaxy, so it seems like a good fit for us.

In the meantime, I’m going to learn a bit about combat, then get into that. It looks fun. I don’t know what my end goal is yet, but I think I’ll enjoy the ride for now.

This is the YouTube video I watched to get started. It’s an hour long, but its great info if you’re new, like me, or you’re considering buying this game.

 

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Rex’s Top Five Zelda Games of All Time

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Rexis here!

How sick am I of social media outlets pushing this topic on me and asking me to vote for my favorite Zelda game?! Sick enough to clarify it on my own blog, that is! Seriously, how many deciding votes do me need to finally declare OoT and/or ALttP the overall winner? These are always the two that come out on top and I think it has a lot to do with the years they were released. More on that later perhaps. For now, let’s jump right into this.

5 Ocarina of Time

That’s right! Sitting at the number five spot on my list is the game that brought link into the 3D world for the first time. I vividly remember buying the gold edition of this game the day it released and saying goodbye to what little social life I had when I was 14. I was lost in a massive (for its time) Hyrule full of new dangers and puzzles. I was a Zelda fan already, but I was blown away by this game. This is the game that solidified my love for the franchise. (A love built on entry 1 – you’ll see. Don’t skip ahead.)

4  A Link Between Worlds

I feel like this game may have slipped under a lot of people’s radars and its really a shame. I enjoyed the ever loving crap out of this one. It broke from Zelda tradition by incorporating an item/weapon rental system and allowed you to complete the dungeons in any order, harkening back to the first Zelda title on NES. This would prove to be a test for the upcoming Breath of the Wild. People don’t want linearity in their adventure games, and while I’ve had no problem with it in the past, this title proves Zelda can be versatile.

3 Windwaker

If you know anything about me at all, and I would think some of my regular readers do, I love me some pirates. Anything and everything pirate related (looking at you Black Flag <3) so Windwaker immediately gets points for having them. When it first came out, I picked it up as I do with most Zelda games, but I wasn’t fond of the cell shading. As the years have gone by I have fallen in love with the style. Not to mention I always find something new in this one whenever I play through it because I’ve never reached 100% on a single play through.

2 Twilight Princess

This game was a sleeper hit for me. I know I’ve played it before, but I picked it up on HD for the Wolf Link Amiibo. How could I not? If I can get a wolf pet in Breath of the Wild, shut up and take my money. Playing through it now, I realize how much I LOVE this game. It is my absolute favorite of the console titles and 3D titles for good reason. Not to mention Zelda is so awesome in this game. If you haven’t played this one, for whatever reason, do it!

1 Link’s Awakening

You read that right. This little gem originally released for Game Boy is my all-time, hand down, no regrets, favorite Zelda game. And it doesn’t even have Zelda in it! I used to play a lot of Game Boy. A lot. So much. And it was usually this game. I know it like the back of my hand. Then they released it in color and it got better. Currently, I play it on my 3DS from time to time. Its the only Zelda title I can just sit and play through without feeling like it repetitive. I never get tired of it.

So that’s it. My top five Zelda games. Now shut up social media sites. I will not vote again!

Nintendo Switch – Called it!

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Rexis here!

The news is in! Have you seen the Nintendo Switch reveal yet? Take a look here.

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And its funny Kotaku should ask this question because… YES! This is exactly what I expected! As a matter of fact, on Feburary 6, 2015 I said “this would be the last generation of strictly handheld systems like the 3DS and Vita.” And look at what has happened! The 3DS has received some adjustments, but nothing new has been slated for a handheld system from Nintendo. All the patents we’ve seen regarding a new handheld were actually for the controller for the new Nintendo Switch. The Console Fusion Era is upon us! Nintendo is merging its console and handheld lines with this new Switch machine hybrid!

Okay. Okay. Enough gloating, I guess. But you can’t blame me for being excited about making an accurate prediction about the future of gaming, can you?

This new and innovative idea looks really cool for your gamer on the go and the system looks like it will be powerful enough to run Skyrim at the very least (isn’t that a five year old game?). So it would seem Nintendo isn’t really embracing a new powerful console, but once again relying on innovation to sell the product. Its worked for them before, but personally, I won’t be buying one.

I have my XBOX One and PC at this point, and I’ve no interest in going further with consoles myself. I’ve said all this before. Of course, I also have a 3DS I never play. So it wouldn’t make sense for me to get something like this. I can certainly understand the appeal, but its not for me. And I have some serious doubts about the scenarios presented in the video. I doubt anyone is having a rooftop party with friends and bringing their Switch to the mix. (I know they are just showcasing the capabilities, but honestly, I just need to see a guy sitting in his game room to relate. Because that’s all I do.)

Other concerns I have involve the battery life (my Wii U gets about 4 hours so its not lasting on any flights) and the comfort of those tiny “joy-cons”. If you’ve recently picked up an NES controller or GBA Micro, you’ll understand. How are you supposed to play first person games with one joystick anyway? (I’m talking about multiplayer here. You wouldn’t be able to tilt the camera or turn in some situation.) A lot remains to be seen in this regard and since full specs haven’t been released yet, people will speculate for the time being.

This leaves me with one other question. What does the console part do? We’ve seen that the system can function fine without it, so what is the purpose of slotting it into the console other than broadcasting it to the TV? This remains to be seen as well. If its only function is to send the video to the TV or upgrade graphics to 4K maybe, then would Nintendo consider selling the Switch sans console?

Seems all eyes are going to be on Nintendo, at least until Microsoft opens up about Project Scorpio a bit more. Like I said, I’m not buying one, but I will certainly be following its story. Nintendo has a history of either blowing people away or letting them down completely, so this console could be a make or break deal for them.

More over, did you see the obvious comparison between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim? I’ve read articles comparing the two, but I found it interesting that they chose those two games as the demo for the hardware. If this Zelda title was inspired by Skyrim, this could be the best Zelda game yet. Luckily, I’ll have my Wii U to experience it on.

So what do you think? Is this thing going to take off or is it just a glorified tablet with controls attached? Is Zelda going to be amazing or too much of a break from tradition? I’d love to discuss it in the comments.

Nerds are Cool

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Rexis here!

I’ve been absent for awhile. You may or may not have noticed. Sorry about that. Its not that I haven’t had time to write, I just don’t have anything to say lately. At least, nothing that hasn’t already been said. I’ve been spending time watching new TV shows and playing video games of course. In short, the Marvel shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were amazing and I can’t wait for Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Punisher. As for gaming, my time is divided by my three current favorites: Grand Theft Auto Online, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and of course Minecraft.

See? I have nothing to say about these things except that they are all awesome. As is everything on the horizon. Dr. Strange, Rogue One, Logan, The Walking Dead, Fantastic Beasts and Game of Thrones are all coming soon. What an age we live in! There is so much to see and do in the world of entertainment, its hard to keep up with it all. I refuse to even watch the DC shows. I don’t have the time. I think we’ve hit a peak in regards to the nerd culture that permeates our society now. Its become almost… overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong. Its great that we have this mass acceptance of what was once fringe culture. Gone are the days of the stereotypical basement dwelling nerd with his mint comic book collection. No longer do gamers hide their favorite pastimes. I even have a friend on Facebook asking about the pros/cons of LARP’ing in a graveyard with no fear of retribution. I can’t imagine how this would have gone ten or twelve years ago in my high school. Just kidding. I totally can because I lived it. As a gamer and player of CCG’s, I know exactly the kind of taunting and bullying that comes with the territory.

So what happened? How did we get from there to where we are now? How did the zeitgeist change so drastically? I’d wager it has something to do with the internet and social media, but what do I know? I’m just some anonymous blogger on the internet that can barely find the motivation to write.

What I do know is that we live in an era where fantasy worlds and fantastic beasts reign supreme.

And that is cool.

FFXI Journal – Entry 14 – Post-Script

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Rexis here!

I stopped writing my Final Fantasy XI journal back in December 2015, but I wanted to check in because a lot has gone on. First of all, I took a couple of months off here and have returned just three days ago. I got that itch and couldn’t resist popping in and grinding out a few mobs on my dragoon. Why dragoon, exactly? Because every other job is already level 99!

That’s right. After I stopped the journal, I was dual-boxing with a friends account and his beastmaster. I used it to level all my jobs cleaving in Escha Zitah. It took some time, but I finally got there, with the exception of dragoon. My friend and I were duo’ing dragoons for a bit, but then I burned out and stopped playing. So, having returned, I finally got dragoon into range and finished my final testimony fight with Maat and got the…

Maat’s Cap!

Finally! So many years since I first played this game on PS2 release and I finally have Maat’s Cap. It feels amazing! Its so great that I had to write a blog post about it. During my time away from the journal, I’ve also managed to solo/duo all the Abyssea zone bosses and caturae. That’s a tall order when you are soloing all your own pop items. I’ve also got a decently gears thief and white mage now.

So what’s in store for Rexish of Asura server? Dragoon needs to be 99. Then I can go on and finish the final two battle scenarios, MKD and ACP. I also plan to fight Shinryu at some point. My beastmaster is not far off from 2100 JP, so that is also a concern, though I don’t know if I want to take on a new main job. I’ve toyed with blue mage, but I hate hate hate learning the spells. No patience.

And finally, I need a new linkshell. I’ve returned from my hiatus to find RevenantWing practically abandoned. I’m not interested in the Reddit LS and would prefer something with mid level players. I enjoy helping others and the social aspect of the game. Constantly chasing high end armor bores me too much.

So if you’re still around on Asura, look me up! Most of my friends in game seem to have vanished from the face of Vana’diel. See you in game!

Abandoning the Console Market

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All of you are fired!

 

Rexis here!

My time away from the blog has done me a lot of good. I needed to take a break and reevaluate some things. One of those things was how I’ve been spending my gaming time. The answer is short: on PC.

I’ve been a console gamer pretty much my entire live. I even bought an Xbox One late last year and I still love playing on it. Things have begun to stagnate a bit though. My list of active games had become very short, consisting of only Minecraft and Final Fantasy XI (both on PC). And now, FFXI is off the list. Yes, I was down to playing just one game. That’s what stagnation is.

Check out my game room here and you’ll see a LOT of thing I just don’t play with anymore. Its a sad state of affairs that it now collects dust and goes unappreciated. I’ve felt like I’ve been moving away from my collection mentality a bit, beginning with sale of a few Game Boys last year. I don’t regret it like I had before when I sold game stuff. I even stopped looking for retro video game deals. No garage sales, flea markets, or second hand stores for me anymore.

Moving away from this got me thinking about just abandoning gaming in general. And since I’ve been playing just the one game, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before I parted with the entire collection and moved on. I had no excitement or anticipation about upcoming titles. Not even Zelda Wii-U gets me moving anymore. But… I’m a gamer. The thought of leaving video games behind actually scares me. I knew I couldn’t do that, but I could make a change none-the-less. Amid rumors of the Nintendo NX and the Playstation 4.5, I decided to leave behind the consoles and handhelds and to move to strictly PC. That’s right loyal readers and random passerbys, I am never buying another console.

With that in mind, I had my eye open for a solid PC. You see, the laptop I play on has a cracked screen, so I play it on a small monitor. Its not mobile at all anymore. Add to that the consistent over heating issues and its inability to run games at max settings, and I’d safely say I was in the market for a replacement.

So I parted with my Sega Genesis, Nomad, and Game Gear collections which gave me a little down payment of sorts, and strolled into Best Buy to browse about. Now the computer I want runs about 2,000 of those fancy American dollars. I can’t afford that despite the incredibly lucrative success of this blog /sarcasm. I wouldn’t normally shop at Best Buy, by the way. I just happen to have a credit card there from a purchase I made a while back.

I didn’t find much at first that matched my budget, and there were way too many laptops. I wanted something I could upgrade over the years and keep building upon. Laptops and tablets were simply not options. So, I gave up and wandered over to the video game section as  I’m fond of doing. There, on an end cap, sat this:

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You can find all the specs here.

I knew immediately that this wasn’t a high-end gaming PC. I’m not an idiot. But the price was right and it met my most basic requirements: upgradeable and more functional than my laptop. So I did my research. I Googled it (great reviews). I talked to a friend who is like an expert at this stuff. (Shout out to NinjaZonza!) Ultimately, I could have saved up some money and waited a bit to get a much better PC, but hey, I’m playing Minecraft, not Fallout 4. So I decided to buy it. It was $100 dollars off, so it only cost me $480.

After some trivial driving about to pick it up from a store that actually had one in stock, I got it home and opened it up to reveal the massive tower. This thing is huge, no kidding. It didn’t fit under my desk or anywhere in or on my entertainment center. I had to tuck it behind my TV a bit, but I still get a good view of the LED lights coming out the side! So awesome! (I’ve always wanted a PC with lights in it!)

It didn’t come with a monitor, but this was a good opportunity to use the 46-inch TV in my game room for something other than the occasional Xbox session. I also found that it has no Wi-Fi, which isn’t a problem for me because I prefer the wired connection.

To sum up my experience with it so far: I love it. My active gaming now includes Minecraft, Skyrim, Portal, and Alien Isolation (and I’ve got a building backlog). It runs beautifully and at max settings on some titles. I have 1TB of storage internally and 3TB external. I also have a wireless mouse and keyboard to use from the futon and an extension for my headset for TeamSpeak on Minecraft. Compared to my laptop, this thing is a beast and I’m really happy I picked it up.

I see a bright future in PC gaming for me as the years go on and I upgrade it.

PS4 and XBOX One – Monthly Active Users and the Console War

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Rexis here!

Hello internet! Its been a while since I’ve had any time to sit and write, but something caught my eye today as I was poking around the internet, and I just had to say something. I keep seeing these sales figures from the PS4 and they are absolutely decimating the competition, but I was skeptical. At first, I thought these inflated numbers were coming from sales in Japan. XBOX typically doesn’t sell well in the country. I was wrong, but what I found was far more interesting.

Do you remember when Nintendo and Sega were going at it in the 90’s? We heard nonsense terms like “Blast Processing” and everyone was counting their bits to make sure they had more than their friends, or whatever. We were so naïve then. Its all about the sheer amount of systems sold now! Right? Right?

Its not, though. Not at all. Microsoft is very secretive about the number of consoles they’ve sold. What you see in articles are estimates. Sony is, of course, praising those big numbers they are putting up, as they should be. Why is Microsoft so secretive? Is it because they are losing this console war? Not really. Its because they count the number of monthly active users (MAUs). What good is a console if its collecting dust, after all?

So we are presented with yet another way to determine which console is winning the war, and its not by the bit count. It took some digging, but I did find a recent number from Sony regarding MAUs; 65 million. So you can see that Sony still has the more active network vs. XBOX One’s 48 million MAUs. Undoubtedly, the PS4 is a juggernaut and it taking notes from its best selling console brother, the PS2.

Just for fun though, and as something to consider. If you take the number of MAU’s and divide by the number of consoles sold, you’ll get the number of players utilizing each console. I’ll save you the trouble right here.

Sony:  65mil MAUs / 36mil consoles sold = 1.8 users per console.

Microsoft: 48mil MAUs / 20mil consoles sold (estimated)  = 2.4 users per console

(As a comparison, Steam has over 125mil MAUs. More than both consoles combined.)

Does that mean anything (perhaps that XBOX One is a more friend and family oriented system)? That’s for you to decide. This is an interesting generation of consoles, but it seems that everything I look at, from MAU’s and sales figures, to graphic performance, to software sales, the PS4 is coming out on top. This isn’t to say that Microsoft is failing. They’ve sold more than enough consoles to carry them into the next gen and with their future plans involving the integration of gaming on console and PC, as well as cross platform play, they are poised to dominate in the next round. Of course, they will be going up against Sony’s VR tech (which XBOX One still isn’t planning to support >.<) as well as their vast FREE network.

So many great things are coming guys!

As for me, I still love my XBOX One. And what it really boils down to is personal preference. I’ve been a console gamer all my life and I’m no fan boy of any particular company. I can appreciate all these systems for what they are; a way to game. This, however, will be my final foray into console gaming. As the next gen begins to roll out with the Nintendo NX, I’ll be moving on to PC gaming. Not to join the “master race” or anything, but because I’ve already begun the transition and my stupid broken laptop just can’t support the things I want to play.

Hope you learned something and happy gaming!