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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.