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World of Keiko 07/05/2015

Its been a few weeks since my last post. Stuff has progressed since the last update, but I will wait until hubby and I have told our families some stuff before letting you guys in on those details. Suffice to say, it is good news.

I have been playing some Marvel Heroes, but I was distracted waiting to hear back about hubby’s job applications. In spite of this, I have managed to get all but 5 of my toons over level 30. I still need to get Black Panther, Gambit, Jean Grey, Spider-Man and Storm to the point where they give at least one synergy. As for collecting heroes, I still have a large grouping of characters that I still haven’t unlocked.

I also removed all intake-based enrollments in order to make time for writing and editing. Assignment deadlines were becoming more unmanageable over time. Study was always meant to help with other aspects of my life but it began to take over. Given that my first love is storytelling, I needed to make writing a priority again.

I am back to walking the 7.5 km circuit. It is still early day and I am not confident enough with the strength of my ankle to do running. It doesn’t help having those extra pounds either, but I will get there. I just need to develop that habit because sporadic bursts of exercises do not allow for consistent improvement.


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World of Keiko 06/20/2014

Its been a while since my last update and things have become a little anxious as my husband and I wait to hear back on some of his job applications. Regardless of which position that he ends up getting, we will have to move to a different area and likely more than a few hours away. What this means is improved working conditions for my best friend and the chance to improve his health. The health thing is a pretty big deal as the manner in which shifts are dealt with at the current station lead to an inability to fall into a good sleeping pattern. It also plays havoc with the ability to exercise. The new place will also have housing provided, with the more remote locations getting special incentives because of proximity to services and real supplies. The latter will likely be a non-issue given that we have the requirement of broadband and the more remote places usually lack that simple requirement. The whole thing is causing me lots of stress because I have grown strangely attached to where we live (mostly animals that live around here) and hate moving, yet know that it isn’t about me. Wherever we go, he will also consider my needs as well.
We have pretty simple requirements. Internet is obviously the big one. We both use it for watching videos and doing research. In my case, it has allowed me to make connections with some pretty awesome people and has opened up learning opportunities that I would otherwise not have. If we live out in the sticks, it will also give us a means to order things without long trips to another place for shopping. Furthermore, we do a lot of online gaming. This latter example also ties in to my need for socialization.

In a slightly unrelated note, a gorgeous black cat has been visiting of late. I had seen it wandering about the street before, but finally made contact after hearing it meowing in our shed. I had unknowingly locked it in the shed. I gave it some tuna and lots of cuddles before my cat allergy kicked in with red, weepy eyes and stuffy nose that lasted for at least eight hours. I love kitties, but this allergy makes having a feline buddy a real issue. Rabbits and Ferrets are illegal pets in my state, as are many other potential buddies. I am not a big fan of guinea pigs as my previous experiences have shown them to be quite skiddish and prone to great escapes as well as having the tendency to die from mild changes in temperature. I considered a chicken buddy, but hubby has a deep-seated hatred due to childhood egg-based trauma. (It is actually kind of funny, but I am banned from telling the story.)

GAMING
I am back to playing Marvel Heroes, a game that I return to time after time. It has plenty to offer hardcore players of ARPGs whilst also giving plenty for casual players such as myself to do. TERA is sort of lingering as the go-to MMORPG, though I am inclining more to Marvel Heroes. The recent second anniversary for Marvel Heroes is also giving away a free potplant Groot companion that can be moved between character, which is adorable and avoids that messy issue of having to save up large amounts of credits to begin with. Best of all GROOT!
It turns out that Infinite Crisis was cancelled after only a few months after release. Something about the game closing down in August. In any case, I decided to uninstall the game as soon as I heard the news. It is sad, but I have other neat MOBA games to play, such as Supanova, DOTA2 and Heroes of the Storm.
What is Supanova? It is an sci-fi RTS/MOBA crossover. One of the first things that jumped out at me upon playing my first game was fond memories of playing Starcraft. The art style for Supanova does a great job of providing that classic RTS experience in the form of choosing which creeps are built, whilst at the same time allowing you control over a single champion. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen of the game so far and look forward to seeing how the game goes after it goes out of beta.

EDUCATION
I’ve finished a couple of courses of late, but have had to drop a bunch of enrollments to make way for more writing time. Yes, it was already pretty low, but it needed to be lessened even further. There are still a bunch of self-paced courses on offer, which makes things a lot easier given my schedule. Here is the list of courses that I completed:

  • Making Sense of Climate Denial by UQ at EdX (Psychology, Environment Science, Science) **** [It discussed the psychology underpinning climate change denial along with some info on what information that those people discussing climate change draw from when they call for action to address the problem]
  • Think. Code. Create. by University of Adelaide at EdX (Computer Science, Programming, Processing Language) **** [This course was a whole lot of fun, with students creating some wonderful artworks using the programming language]
  • The Rise of Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture by Smithsonian Institute at EdX (History, Pop Culture, Writing, Art) **** [This is a must for anyone interested with pop culture, history, the arts and supertights]
  • Introduction to Steel by Tenaris University at EdX (Science, Metallurgy) *** [This was a great introduction to the subject of the steel industry but was a tad short for my liking]
  • Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching by Lancaster University at FutureLearn (Linguistics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Teaching) **** [I found this course to especially relevant given that I know a few people that live with the learning challenge]
  • Understanding Language by University of Southampton at FutureLearn (Linguistics, Teaching) ***** [Some wonderful insight into what techniques more readily facilitate the learning of a new language]
  • Lips and Teeth by Yonsei University at FutureLearn [History, Asia, Korea, China] **** [This course is a wonderful addition to studies in Asian history, focusing on the historical relationship between China and Korea]

I am currently enrolled in the following intake-based courses, some of which I may end up dropping due to conflicts with writing time:

  • Paradox and Infinity by MIT at EdX [Philosophy, Logic, Mathematics] (I am seriously digging this course so far]
  • Psychological First Aid by John Hopkins University at Coursera [Psychology, Counselling] (It is the last week and I need to catch up in order to pass.)
  • The Bilingual Brain by University of Houston at Coursera [Linguistics] (I am attempting this a second time around. I dropped it first time due to some personal stuff that got in the way of deadlines)
  • The Genomics Era by Saint Georges, University of London at FutureLearn [Science, Genetics] (Quite interesting so far, but I need to memorize the various terms used in order to avoid misunderstandings.)
  • Modern Korean History by Yonsei University at FutureLearn [History, Asia, Korea] (I haven’t started the first week yet, but I expect good things from the university given my enrollment in Lips and Teeth.)

I ended up dropping Magic in the Middle Ages because of some flawed premises. I felt dumber for the first few videos. The quality of the material (not video quality because that was actually quite reasonable) does not bode well for any future studies with the University of Barcelona, which is a pity given that it has a decent reputation.
I dropped Introduction to Human Evolution because of the workload, but intend to enroll in a future intake. The format was solid and the material varied enough to give students some good insight into the nature of evolution. Jerry Coyne would be quite happy. For those that don’t know, Jerry is the University of Chicago professor that wrote the book “Why Evolution is True”, an excellent book that does a great job of debunking evolution denial whilst staying respectful of theists. It is conversational rather than confrontational in tone.

READING
I only managed to finish three books since my last update.

  • A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury (sci-fi short story in text) ****
  • All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein (sci-fi short story in text) ****
  • Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra by Avery K. Tingle (fantasy novella in audio) *****

 

The first two were short stories used as examples for the Paradox and Infinity MOOC, bringing to light the thought experiment of paradoxes as they relate to time travel.  The third was a present given around my birthday and it was a lovely addition to a setting that I am quite fond of. You can find my reviews for each via my Goodreads account.

WRITING
Its been an odd six weeks.
First of all, a friend asked me to co-edit a steampunk blog, which is a totally foreign experience for someone used to working on my own. I’ve never been an editor or co-editor before, and the whole thing is a little intimidating because of that lack of experience. I suppose that I won’t get experience unless I actually do the work.
The second is doing a voice chat with a writer / musician / artist / comedian / podcaster / etcetera… friend regarding his new project. It was a really fun conversation in which I learned a bunch of stuff about him that I was completely unaware of. I finally sent off the first draft of the article for review this afternoon. Once the short article is finalized, I will need some bling for the post to give a more human feel.
The third is opening some old manuscripts on one of my HDDs to find a Steampunk-ish project, I found another story that I had completely forgotten about. Heaven is a fantasy set in the world of Telluria, where the church were abandoned by the Creator due to willful corruption. It focuses on a young woman named Hella who is what is referred to as a Binder, a person that can imprison an Angel or Demon in her mind. I have been hard at work these past three days doing some mild world-building such as detailing the nature of magic in the world and information on geography, all of which are based upon the four chapters that I had already written. Its been fun, though I seriously need to do some more plotting in order to avoid continuity and logic issues. I will keep you posted on the progress.
Also, I have decided to start a new series of posts where I pimp out a Patreon. The idea is to post a new article either weekly or fortnightly, with fortnightly being the most likely scenario for the next few months as my hubby and I figure out where we will be staying for at least the next three years. I have three that I have already decided on and need to follow up with the owners, but I welcome folks to submit their own Patreon projects for consideration via the contact page (sends the message to my email), Facebook messaging or my email.

HEALTH & FITNESS
Hubby and I still have a lingering cough from the flu that we contracted a couple months back. Neither of us have has symptoms of the flu for this long before, but I suspect that it doesn’t help that we are both overweight and unfit from lack of exercise. I had planned to use the time while I was sick for productive purposes, but that just didn’t work out.

TV
I finished and loved both Daredevil and Sense8. iZombie is quite entertaining, though some people are hating on the show for apparent diversions from the core material of the graphic novel series.


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World of Keiko 05/07/2015

I have been somewhat quiet of late. I have attempted to draft several updates to let folks know what I’ve been up to, but this resulted in moments spent staring blankly at the post editor. Has this been due to lack of confidence on my part as to what readers might find relevant and/or interesting? Of course it has. I suppose that each creative has moments throughout their life where they wonder what they are offering the world. That feeling is often something not grounded in reality in any shape or degree. We can be busy creating things, studying and whatnot, yet still be wracked by a sense that we may not have something to offer.
So, what can we do about it. Sometimes the solution is to keep talking to other people, trying to assist where we can. The answer may not be blogging about something but actually interacting with others. In writing, this is referred to as “show, don’t tell.” It also helps nurture those relationships with others. What do you do to deal with a lack of confidence?

GAMING
I have been busy leveling characters on Rift. Its been a fun time, but I’ve taken time away from the grind to recharge. I’ve played some Infinite Crisis, Triad Wars, Trove, Marvel Heroes, Sweezy Gunner, One Finger Death Punch and Penguin’s Arena: Sedna’s World. I am currently downloading the steam release of the action-MMORPG TERA that went live a few days ago after its December 12 release was postponed for various reasons. Still no luck in downloading the beta of Otherland, but it looks rather promising as well.
*Infinite Crisis is a MOBA set in the crisis timeline of the DC Comics universe. The tutorial offers a few free heroes, such as Gaslight Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. There are also some incentives for daily log-ins, such as Joker for day 7. I doubt that it will knock DOTA2, League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm from the map, but it does have a sizable and active community of players so far for a solid game with plenty of shinies. Note that ranked play was released over the past few days.
*Triad Wars is a f2p MMO using some of the content from Sleeping Dogs. It is currently in beta, but it does offer a lot of neat little features based on what I’ve played so far. Think martial arts crime RPG in the vein of GTA. You can pick from one of about 3 groups so far, though your character customization is quite limited. I don’t see myself playing the game too often as the multiplayer options are also quite limited at present, but it does have a lot of potential.
*Marvel Heroes is the go-to of hubby and I. The game is a f2p action-MMO created by some of the team involved in the Diablo franchise, but set in the Marvel universe. There is a story and lots of extra content, but I find myself cackling with glee as you take down hordes of Moloids or Frost Giants as Ms Marvel or Rocket Raccoon. You can unlock a bunch of content such as heroes during gameplay, but STASH space is pretty much limited to purchases using premium currency. Another plus is the gratification from destroying various parts of the environment. Michael Bay – ‘splosions!!!
*Sweezy Gunner is a neat little indie bullet hell game where you play a Sweezy tank driver sent to look around a planet infested with bugs, sentient CDs and other oddities bent on murdering you. The graphics are lo-fi but that added a certain charm. The game is pretty solid and highly addictive.
*One Finger Death Punch is a fast-paced indie fighting game. You play a stickman warrior, where direction keys struck at specific times allow the character to perform certain moves, such as picking up weapons, blocking and striking foes. It is lots of fun and surprisingly addictive.
*Penguin’s Arena: Sedna’s World is supposed to be a kid game. However, there is something so satisfying about hitting opposition penguins in the face with snowball. It is also a means to feed starving killer whales patrolling around fighting platforms. It is an older game, but the gameplay and graphics still manage to hold up well.

EDUCATION
I’ve lessened my courseload in recent months, but has still managed to complete a few courses:

  • Forests and Livelihoods in Developing Countries by UBC at EdX ****
  • Introduction to Environmental Science by Dartmouth University at EdX ****
  • Jazz Appreciation by UTAustin at EdX ****
  • Objects the Define America by Smithsonian Institute at EdX ***
  • In the Night Sky: Orion by The Open University at FutureLearn ****
  • Elements of Renewable Energy by The Open University at FutureLearn ****
  • Shale Gas and Fracking by The University of Nottingham at FutureLearn ***

I am currently studying the following courses:

  • Making Sense of Climate Denial by UQ at EdX (week 2/7)
  • Think. Code. Create. by University of Adelaide at EdX (week 1/6)
  • The Rise of Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture by Smithsonian Institute at EdX (week 1/5)
  • Introduction to Human Evolution by Wesley University at EdX (week 1/12)
  • Magic in the Middle Ages by University of Barcelona at Coursera (week 1/6)
  • Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching by Lancaster University at FutureLearn  (week 3/4)
  • Understanding Language by University of Southampton at FutureLearn  (week 3/4)
  • Lips and Teeth by Yonsei University at FutureLearn  (week 2/6)

On a good note, I am nearly finished all of my coursework for the week – yay! *runs about like muppet*

What have you been studying of late? It doesn’t have to be a course either. It can be something as simple as watching short topical videos or tutorials.

HEALTH AND FITNESS
Somebody in our household brought home a strain of the flu about a month ago. I am still having to deal with the “mucous monster”, which is a pain in the butt when you want to go for a long walk but can’t walk short distances without large amounts of coughing from clogged breathing passages. It seems that at least one of my friends in the USA had something similar a month or so ago but has since sent the flu packing. I just wish that I was well enough to spend some time outside, but I suppose that this gives me time to study, read and catch up on anime.

READING
I haven’t read anything in months, but I have finally managed to work out how to add iTunes podcasts to my Lumia 930 windows phone. This will allow me to listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I am finally well enough to go walking and running again. I will need to get headphones that fit the headphone jack first though as my iphones headset doesn’t fit properly.


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Awesome Sauce: Regular Cars

As some of you are already aware, I have an interest in cars. This is a love that I share with my husband, though he is more versed in the mechanical side because I juggle other interests as well. In this installment, I would like to discuss another car-related youtube channel entitled “Regular Cars”.
Regular Cars is dedicated to car reviews that sprinkled with a refreshing amount of toilet humor from a chap that does his homework. The writers among you may also find the descriptive quite impressive as well because of the wordplay. The reviews are varied as well, ranging from the 2000 Toyota Celica GTS to the 2014 Honda Civic Si, the 2014  BMW S1000RR to the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa. Yes, that does mean that there are reviews for motorcycles as well which totally works for me. These reviews are accompanied with a clever little song at the end.
So, if you are okay with some potty humor thrown into your car and motorcycle reviews, then you’ll take to this channel like a zombie to brains. You can also find Regular Cars on Twitter and Google+.


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Awesome Sauce: Project Binky

In the first of hopefully a series of future blog posts, I would like to share neat Youtube series entitled “Project Binky”. I found it on account of a recommendation by my husband, a fellow that enjoys his share of car shows with a special focus on the technical side of things. It is, in my opinion, a great example of high quality content available via Youtube.
Project Binky is a series produced by Bad Obsession Motorsport, a channel about racing and cars. The series is a look at the technical side of a car rebuild, specifically a “rotten old Austin Mini”. The two chaps do an amazing job of making a rather funny yet educational show which explains various aspects of the build and solutions for the various problems that the duo come across. it shows some rather impressive fabrication of various metal components, decision-making process for non-factory parts, mechanics and auto-electrics. I have learned a lot so far, including some techniques for welding and prototyping. All of this is delivered via low-key yet hilarious comedic dialogue that is clearly inspired by Monty Python and Police Squad/Naked Gun. It is the perfect marriage of learning and humor.

I highly recommend this series to anyone interested in the technical side of car rebuilds whether they are a writer, a hobbyist or anyone with a general interest in cars. You can also find Bad Obsession Motorsport via twitterFacebook and Google+.


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World of Keiko 01/23/2015

It has been a couple of months since my last update. The holiday season was oddly relaxing, though hubby and I were waiting on word regarding a position that he’d applied for up north. I’d mentally prepared for the possibility of a move but in the end he didn’t get the job. I won’t go into further details on that matter.
Just before Christmas, hubby and I went to Kinkua National Park with some of his workmates. It is half an hour south of Bundaberg and consists of mostly sand for twenty kilometers along the coast. It was a bugger getting into and without the use of our tablet for tracking our location and direction in real time. Though our Jimny handled the trails like a champ, it rained for most of our stay. We ended up having to cook in the rain that evening and left early the next morning. Hubby scored a fractured rib whilst tackling whilst a co-worker received two broken rib from being tackled by a team member during that same game. Hubby is still recovering, but has been careful at work so as to not re-injure himself.

GAMING
The Steam Holiday Sale resulted in my husband and I purchasing some excellent games. Of these, we scored some titles from Telltale Games (The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead Season 1, Tales From Monkey Island, Tales From The Borderlands), Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Mass Effect 1 & 2, L.A. Noire (awesome game!) and many more. There was some real gems in there, though I am hoping that Life is Strange will drop in price soon as I would really like to play it.
So, I gave up playing Champions Online after Perfect World International abruptly dropped their support for SMS payments. I’d pretty much played out the game anyway, but it seems like a big FU to players of other games such as Neverwinter. Regardless of how much that I enjoyed Neverwinter, this move was done without warning to either players or those companies that such services went through. As such, I doubt that I will pick up any of their games anytime in the foreseeable future.
I started playing RIFT again and couldn’t keep from grinning. I still enjoy it and am slowly getting my stable of characters to cap. I participated in my first Arklight event last week. For those unaware, Arklights are one of the new mounts that can be gained for all toons from either a specific box (a small drop rate but each toon has a shot at it by finishing an achieve for completing the two Arklight dailies) or by getting 850 of the event-specific currency. You get 10 of the currency for completing each of the two dailies, with some of the currency dropping from the box. You can also pick up a box from the cash shop using the premium currency.
I gave Aeria Games’ Aura Kingdom a run a few weeks ago and was somewhat impressed. The character options are pretty reasonable, with an engaging storyline (if you chose to pay attention to it) that is a lot darker than your average anime-style RPG. The world-building seems decent, though some folks may not like the anime aesthetic. I probably won’t get into it as much given other gaming, but it does offer a lot of promise.
After viewing ChaosD1’s review of the infamous Scarlet Blade with my hubby, my hubby decided to give it a run. As nice as the graphics are, the storyline doesn’t take advantage of the world-building already in place. Seriously, they could have easily had a game that included an engaging storyline and massive boobs. It was a lost opportunity.
Last but not least is my return to SWTOR after more than two years hiatus. Logging into my account, I noticed that I had a bunch of premium currency to purchase shiny things. I learned that this was because of the small monthly stipend given by having an authenticator attached to an account. Not too shabby. I played some starship missions and couldn’t stop grinning at how much that I remembered of the game. I still haven’t played PvP since returning to the game predominantly due to comments from other players on the state of PvP. This was a complaint back when the game was subscription-only. It is a little sad, and one of the big reasons one of my gaming buddies left the game years ago. That being said, I like what I have seen of the cash shop and the availability of some premium stuff in the Global Trade Network (the GTN is the auctionhouse equivalent) as it allows players to purchase premium items using credits.

EDUCATION
I completed a bunch of courses over the holiday season but didn’t get around to reviewing them. I will attempt to give an overview of some of the completed courses below.
Harvard’s ChinaX parts 8 and 9 over at EdX introduced the modern era of China, covering the rise of communism and what occurred in China after the passing of Mao. It has changed my view of modern China in a big way and never attempts to pretty up events such as the major purges of critics of the CCP. We see how Mao idolized the work of communist leaders in Soviet Russia, resulting in decisions that led to the death of tens of millions of citizens and the stagnation of his country. I am currently working on the tenth and final installment of the series that deals with how the country has changed dramatically since Mao’s passing.
HKU’s Epidemics course over at EdX dealt with much of the same material as The Pennsylvania State University MOOC Epidemics – The Dynamics of Infectious Disease at Coursera, but it dealt more with case studies. I liked the format and the content was top-notch. Some folks may feel inclined to speed up some of the videos though as many of the lectures talked slower in an attempt to deal with concerns over pronunciation.
UCBerkley’s The Science of Happiness covered some material that I was already familiar with but brought it all together in an engaging and logical fashion. I discovered a few more interesting psychology speakers as well. I do have some concerns over how much the answers were spoon-fed, but I somewhat understand that some students may not have access to the studies mentioned.
Open University’s Introduction to Cybersecurity at FutureLearn was extremely relevant and featured some high quality content. The content flowed easily and it helped build on some of the material on security covered in Chuck Severence’s Internet History, Technology & Security over at Coursera. It is a great introduction to the subject of cybersecurity and posts links to some neat tools and software that you might find useful.

It felt a little odd trying to get into study mode again, but I find myself excited about learning new things again. It feels amazing, but I realize that I will have to pace myself. Below is a list of the courses that I am currently studying:

  • The Rolling Stones by The University of Rochester at Coursera (week 1/7)
  • Introduction to Linux by Linux Foundation at EdX (self-paced chapter 2/18)
  • Jazz Appreciation by UTAustin at EdX (week 1/10)
  • Forests & Livelihoods in Developing Countries by UBC at EdX (week 3/6)
  • In the Night Sky: Orion by Open University at FutureLearn (week 2/4)
  • Elements of Renewable Energy by Open University at FutureLearn (week 1/4)
  • Empire by University of Exeter at FutureLearn (week 1/6)

READING
I have read a couple of short stories so far this year. You can locate my reviews for both via my Goodreads widget. As folks will likely notice, I am reading more science fiction classics these days. They may sometimes be a little goofy, but such stories have helped shape the imagination of artists and all manner of other creatives. I welcome and consider all legit recommendations across the wide spectrum of genres, with a particular focus on classic fiction stories, such as the Conan stories.


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World of Keiko 11/21/2014

Its been a few months since my last update. I have posted numerous course reviews and a handful of book reviews. The large amount of time spent studying has led to me feeling a tad worn down.

GAMING
A recent return to varied gaming has helped things quite a bit, though I am finding that this has taken over to a large degree. WildStar had begun to feel a bit of a chore, farming materials had become the focus because it was a means to pay for game time. This is contrasted by several other games that I have started playing or returned to in the last few months.

The first of these games is Awesomenauts. For those that are unaware, Awesomenauts is a platform MOBA with a retro 80’s Saturday Morning Cartoon feel to it. You level as you play matches, unlocking characters, maps and upgrades. Each character has a unique vibe, and I was surprised to find which of the cast members that I especially enjoyed. In other MOBA games, I tend to enjoy playing ranged characters, but characters such as Skolldir toss this tendency. There are still a few ranged characters that I enjoy, but ones that have movement powers created a level of mild annoyance for me. Some of the maps have traps and tricks, but these are easily negotiated by paying attention and acting accordingly. It is a welcome contrast to games such as DOTA2 and League of Legends because it doesn’t attempt to emulate them. All in all, I highly recommend this game.
The second of these games is Villagers & Heroes. Villlagers & Heroes is a free-to-play MMO that recently gave out some free keys to one of their DLC packs, which led to me giving the game a run. I was oddly entertained by the game, though even the increased backpack for having the DLC still led to me spending large amounts of time travelling back and forth to a vendor. Players are able to level every gather and craft skill, but the amount of loot that drops in the game is insane. The game has some interesting features, such as the village and housing system, but it still has a way to go before it can be a serious competitor for other MMOs. However, the developers are working hard at implementing positive changes and to correct various bugs, which means that the other way for the game to go is forward and upward. This game is not for everyone, but it certainly has its place in the MMO market for casual, social players because of that focus on the village system.

Champions Online

Champions Online (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The third of these games is Champions Online. I tried this game several years ago after it went free-to-play on steam. I tried it with my husband and a mutual friend, but they became disinterested so I stopped playing. Whilst looking around for a game to play, I saw it in a list and decided to give it a run again. I was glad that I did because there has been some huge changes. Where I was lucky to play to level 10 before, I am powering past level 30 with plenty of content left for me to explore, including the Nemesis System, where you can create your very own nemesis that is interacted with via a series of quests, instanced events known as Alerts, and whilst out and about doing your thing in the world. There is also a means to pay for stuff that is otherwise restricted to real money via the Questionite exchange, which means that playing the content is able to earn me the ability to pimp out my account and/or character. It is plenty of fun and I am finding numerous “moments” during gameplay. There are a few features that I would like implemented, but the game itself is pretty solid already. If you are looking for a genuine free-to-play MMO that features plenty of customization and goofy villains, then this stands head and shoulders above DC Universe Online.
The fourth game is Loadout. Loadout is similar to Team Fortress 2, but features more ball-sack, which is something that you will understand if you play with the appearance options of your characters. The graphic, cartoony violence is hilarious as well. The strength of this game is the customization of your various weapons, which is a bit of an artform. There is some element of strategy involved, but folks should be sure to regularly check what gear that they have to work with. I like this game already, but there are some differences seen in the Campaign Beta version that I would love to see implemented into the main game because it gives something more for folks to work with. Yes, I do recommend this game.

There are several other games that I also found enjoyed, but they didn’t receive as much gameplay as the four in the above list over the past two weeks. These include: Super Sanctum TD, Magical Diary, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Castle Crasher, Dust: An Elysium Trail, Warframe, One Finger Death Punch, Forsaken World, and Bastion.

Magical Diary

Magical Diary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I intend to give Fractured Space, Hawken, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, Double Action: Boogaloo, APB Reloaded, Zombies Monsters Robots, Rising Angels: Reborn, Insurgency, and Narcissu 1st & 2nd a run sometime soon, but there are only so many hours in the day that I can allocate to gaming.

EDUCATION
As mentioned above, I have been feeling a bit burnt out by studies of late. I have decided to drastically limit my enrollments for the next few months in order to account for this problem and hopefully respark some enthusiasm. I will be posting several reviews over the next week, which will coincide with posting reviews over at CourseTalk. My current plans are to finish the ChinaX series, some MOOCs over at FutureLearn, some courses already started at Coursera, and those already started at EdX. Below is a list of the courses that I am currently studying:

  • The Bilingual Brain by The University of Houston at Coursera (fifth week)
  • Origins by University of Copenhagen at Coursera (third week)
  • Introduction to Cyber Security by The Open University at FutureLearn (2 weeks left)
  • Understanding Language by University of Southampton at FutureLearn (1st of 4 weeks)
  • Blue is the New Green by University of British Columbia at EdX (second-last week)
  • Epidemics by Hong Kong University at EdX (second-last week)
  • ChinaX part 9 at EdX (1st week)
  • Introduction to Linux by The Linux Foundation at EdX (self-paced, so no rush)

Based on my recent decisions, I believe that I will not be studying near as many MOOCs in future. Much in all as I enjoy learning new things, I also need some time spend for purely silly fun. I am looking for a more balanced approach to how I spend my time, and the only way to do that is to more evenly divide my life into work, exercise and play.

READING
I have been spending some more time listening to LibriVox audiobook productions of late. I won’t be posting all of my reviews on this blog, opting to post most exclusively to Goodreads. The strong focus has been on science fiction, with a dab of fantasy and a pinch of non-fiction classics. I highly recommend folks friend or follow my goodreads account for a more complete list of my reviews.

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