Apologies for Lack of Content Here

I’ve been busy with life, writing, playing games, watching Twitch and streaming on Twitch, work, trying to get a better full time job with benefits (I need that insurance you know)… so sorry I haven’t been active here as much as I should be. Generally this blog serves as a portal to my YouTube (not very active of late), Twitch (semi-active) and the like and has fallen behind on the content I’d like to push to it. I’m not saying I’m going to get back on the ball, as I probably won’t, but hopefully I can find something to get posted here. For now, check out my Twitch highlights.

Endless Legend Has a New Must Have DLC … or at Least Strongly Suggested

Endless Legend made my 2014 PC Games of the Year list, and would have scored higher than honorable mention if I didn’t suck at the game so much. It is much better than Civilization, but harder.

They recently released a new DLC, Shifters, which adds a new Major faction, Allayi, which make use of a new resource, Pearls which can have an influence on future winters if you build an Altar of Auriga and use it to pray, using more Pearls to cast an influence on the next winter. Some buildings and equipment also use Pearls to build.

The Allayi are a nice addition to the races. They have no winter movement penalty, and they have really nice movement as it stands. On the negative side they need lots of food to grow and it’s hard to expand with them. Indeed I wasn’t aware of the expansion penalty while doing my initial play through. The Allayi see Pearls even without vision, so they are highly tied to Pearls. Their scouts can loot ruins easy enough too. I’m not sure how good they’d be at multiplayer though… I didn’t even attempt it (I’m too bad at the game to try multiplayer period). I’d be curious what other people found as the multiplayer experience with the new race.

I have a long play though here of my first 100 turns with the game. Note this is the first time I’ve played the game since around Early Access, so I’m beyond rusty and suck at the game even more than usual… This video is a highlight from my Twitch stream and wasn’t recorded local, so the video quality is as high as my direct recordings.

The TLDW/TLDR is that this is a very big and important update to Endless Legend. If you have the game, it may not be “Must Have” so much as “Strongly Suggested” to “Strongly Suggested when it goes on sale” expansion. I’m not sold on the price of $13 and might suggest waiting for a Steam Sale that pushes it closer to the $6-10 range. The new faction really adds a lot to it, and I think once one gets a hang of playing them, it becomes a must have expansion. I’m personally not there yet with the new race, but I can see how they’d become a favorite… at least for single player play.

My personal suggestion for now is to check out some streams and videos of better players. See if you like the new faction and mechanic. Then decide for yourself. I’m fairly happy with it. I continue to favor Endless Legend just slightly over Endless Space myself, but my son prefers Endless Space. I haven’t asked him if he prefers Endless Legend over Civilization as I do or not… We both love Dungeon of the Endless. All of which gets off topic. Be sure to watch people who are much better than I play it and get a feel for the new race and the new Pearls resource/mechanic (which sadly I don’t get into during the above video) and see if it’s a good fit for you right now.

NOTE: I was provided the DLC as a review copy via a press contact outside Amplitude, so my thanks to them.

EDIT: This QUICK review may be re-written later. I have a really bad headache as I write this and I’m finding it hard to concentrate. The general review of it being between Must Have and Strong Suggested will stand, but hopefully I can clean it up and expand on it. Why didn’t I wait? Well, I wanted to get it out while the DLC was still fresh, I had the day off and thought I could get it done.

A Few Gigantic Highlights

I recently got to stream Gigantic, while it was still under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for most players/streamers. I also created a video, but the stutter in that video is even worse than the Division one so I decided not to use it. So I’ll link the 4 highlights I made that weekend instead. A huge thanks to Motiga for allowing me to stream it a weekend early. Needless to say, the fact I got to do that, even if it was only one weekend early, got put into my  My Noted Past In Gaming post.

I can’t embed these as a bug in either the Twitch player and/or WordPress makes them autoplay:

First Game of Gigantic in 5 or so Months

Gigantic Fun With Gigantic

By Far Not the Best Gigantic Player Out There

Finally a Gigantic Victory

My Division Video is Up

So there’s a new game coming out March 8th called, Tom Clancy’s The Division (pre-order/order Tom Clancy’s The Division via Amazon) for which I’ve been in mixed excitement and trepidation on. After playing a bit of it when it was in closed beta… got to say I’m more excited for it now.

I won’t go on and on about it in this post, and rather leave it to the video here for details (the video had far more stutter than usual, sorry, I must have goofed my OBS settings):

I’ve also got a Twitch highlight that follows it up (I can’t embed it, as it autostarts… even with autostart turned off, a bug Twitch hasn’t fixed yet, though it seems to be more a WordPress ignoring the setting thing, hard to tell): http://www.twitch.tv/jonathanstrangebt/v/39732910

TLDR: The Division rocks, get it. Follow the link above to buy it… and watch the video. 🙂

Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

Generally this is a gaming blog. Occasionally I stretch into political discourse, and I used to discuss faith and religion. However, I’ve tried to keep it largely focused on gaming of late. What follows probably would normally be something I’d just post to Facebook for my friends, perhaps open that post up to the public… but I figured why not push it here for a change of pace… and then share it to Facebook. 🙂

There’s a new TED Talk video called What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness | Robert Waldinger | TED Talks

So let’s talk about a few things. Some are already pointed out in the comments, others are fresh and my own… Continue reading Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

New Homeworld Game Out Very Soon

Eons ago, I played a little game called Homeworld. It was an amazing RTS game, and ages later I still recall the theme. Then a few years ago we started hearing of a little game called Shipbreakers (it’s gone by a few names, but that was the main one that I recall once it started getting big attention) from some of the original Homeworld people. Then the original Homeworld property went up for sale in a bankruptcy… and then we got Special Editions for the original game and Homeworld 2…. and soon Shipbreakers was an official Homeworld game.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak tells the story immediately before the events of Homeworld. As one can tell from the name, there it takes place in the desert of the planet the original game takes place. So gone is the full 3D aspects, but the rich RTS aspects still appear to be there. If you don’t have the original Homeworld games in their remastered forms, the pre-order of Deserts includes those.

Fists of Heaven is featuring a contest to giveaway a copy of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. It is one of those Gleem social media entry types. While the discount for the game is pretty nice for those of us who already have the remastered Homeworld games… I think I’ll give that a go first… especially as my poor brain normally isn’t any good at RTS games and why spend money to feel stupid if you can feel stupid for free? Lol. 🙂

My First Overwatch Video

Well, I managed to get some video footage that I was able to cut a video from. My personal account still isn’t flagged yet… cough… hint… Blizzard… cough.. so this is probably the only video I’ll be able to do until such time.

It’s mostly an introduction to the game, some thoughts and opinions on a few controversial subjects in the community.  No real new information for those who’ve been following the game.

I also tried to convert my script to closed captions for the first time…

EDIT: Of course as of the date this was written, 30 November 2015 and today 24 February 2016, I still don’t have access to the game… So Blizzard, please, BrianAThomas#1237

The Museum Director’s Day – An Overwatch Fan Fiction

What follows is a bit of fan fic I wrote for Overwatch. It’s nothing overly great and was done way too quick (less than 1 1/2 hours counting editing)… but it is a stepping stone to something I have in mind for later. As of original posting the ending is far too rushed a bit to deus ex machina… And yeah, I inserted myself, but all other characters outside the official Overwatch universe ones are not based on anyone else (no inflated or busted egos out there).

I should perhaps note that I normally don’t write fan fic (heck, I haven’t really written much fiction on perhaps 30 years)… as may become obvious. Lol. Also there are a few lore errors here and there, which would likely not be in the main story.

The Museum Director’s Day

An Overwatch fan fic
By Brian A Thomas

“It’s been nearly a year since the events that initiated the museum renovation.” Brian paused, the audience at home was now watching clips of Reaper and Widowmaker’s attempt to steal the gauntlet. He was standing not far off from the gauntlet itself, he found himself wondering once again what would have happened had they succeeded. What if Winston hadn’t caught wind of the plan and asked Tracer to come and help? The battle outside the museum caused more damage than that inside, though it was the footage inside that everyone remembered. Continue reading The Museum Director’s Day – An Overwatch Fan Fiction

The Overwatch Salt

A very vocal portion of the Overwatch fan base is all upset how the only people Blizzard let in is a few Twitch streamers and YouTubers, and left everyone else out. They are salty about it. But when one takes a moment to really think it through, there is no reason for all the salt. The salt drives more crazy than the lack of access.

This happens with every Blizzard beta

In a few months when it is no longer super high on Twitch’s rankings, people will start crying how the sky is falling on the Overwatch hype train, and amazingly enough nobody they know is in… I’ve covered before how this happened with The Sky is Falling on the Heroes of the Storm Hype Train, and I can already tell that in a few months we’ll be in the same spot with Overwatch. It had the same hype, and the same salt and accusations that were unfairly leveled at Blizzard that we see happening all over again.

The content creator’s are the only ones in fallacy

This is the most often cited problem. The one that causes the most salt.

Yes. Blizzard did flag some Streamers and YouTubers. Perhaps or even likely a few hundred. That doesn’t mean they are the only ones let in. I’d wager that the number of content creators let in is probably a 10% of the total people let in. Even if it’s as much as 20%, it’s a small percentage overall. There is no NDA, so yes, they are going to push for Streamers and the like first to help get free advertising for the game.  Continue reading The Overwatch Salt

In Defense of the Overwatch Museum Security Guard

There is a point in the Overwatch Cinematic Trailer (trailer below, screenshot moment as the featured image here) where amidst the battle going on in the museum, it cuts to a scene where we see the security guard playing a game of Hearthstone rather than doing his duty. It is an additional funny moment in the trailer, playing not only off the old joke of security guards not paying attention to that which they are supposed to secure, but also an inside joke at Blizzard‘s other game (for those not in the know, both Overwatch and Hearthstone are Blizzard games).

I am here today to defend the honor of that security guard. Continue reading In Defense of the Overwatch Museum Security Guard

Overwatch Update 18 October 2015

Okay people who follow @BrianAThomas" href="https://twitter.com/brianathomas">my Twitter know I’ve been obsessed with Overwatch from the moment it was announced at Blizzcon. Heck I signed up on their site while the site still called it “Unannounced Blizzard Game” before they updated it to say “Overwatch” later that day. I was all over it. Sadly speed of entry doesn’t help with access… Anyhow, I made a post last year, Blizzard Reveals Their New Franchise — A New Game I Want In ASAP, soon after the reveal and it’s been a featured content on the site since then, but haven’t covered it much here aside from a brief mention in The Search for New Content. So it’s time to remedy that to a small degree.

Both my Twitch and my YouTube have distinct Overwatch themes… though I did dial the Twitch one back a bit (I used to have a picture of Tracer behind the header images)… I still feature Overwatch images prominently on my YouTube main picture and on the Stream Starting Soon, Stream Will Return and Thanks for Watching type images on my Twitch (an example of those is shown in this highlight which shows off the overlay when the whole profile page and the overlay were more Overwatch oriented, since then I’ve re-themed the profile a bit and changed to a less intrusive overlay, but the bumpers as noted still are Overwatch themed). Beyond Overwatch themed bumpers on my Twitch, I’ve also used Overwatch themes for when somebody Follows me (I made a Tracer GIF of her asking Widowmaker “Whatcha looking at?” along with pulling the audio from the clip too, if somebody hosts me it shows a an animated GIF I made from the trailer of Tracer going “Don’t worry loves, cavalry is here” again with an audio clip)… so yeah, still Overwatch themed if it has been toned down a bit… (Also I may have butchered those quotes a bit as it’s been a while since I’ve listened to the audio or watched the trailer). I’ve been posting about it off and on on Twitter though, even if not here.

There really hasn’t been much news since the announcement… I mean hero details, some changes from the early days to some of the heroes… but nothing really big until recently. That news is obvious in the header of this article, and that the beta starts 27 October 2015. Continue reading Overwatch Update 18 October 2015

What I’ve Been Playing of Late 8 October 2015

I haven’t posted for ages. Figured I’d give people a run down on some of what I’ve been playing of late, in terms of video games anyhow. These are in no particular order.

First off apologies for the auto playing Twitch video below… it’s marked to not autoplay, but seems Twitch has a 2 year old bug that won’t be fixed until the HTML 5 player is more readily available.

I’ve been playing the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta (buy Star Wars Battlefrontvia Amazon). On my upper mid(ish) range system (i7 4770k, 8GB RAM, GTX 770) I’m getting 60-70+ FPS with all the settings on high. So while the system specs may scare some people, it actually is pretty solid even without the high end systems. Anyhow, it’s a fun game and delivers on all my expectations. The beta is very limited so hard to tell how the overall game will be, as many game modes and maps aren’t in the beta. It certainly looks like it’ll be a must have title for fans of either Star Wars or Dice’s Battlefield series. It is a bit more than Battlefield with a Star Wars theme though and I’d think it’ll appeal more to the Star Wars fans. It is probably a safe game to pre-order. There is no single player campaign, it’s all multiplayer and co-op.
Here is a Twitch highlight of me playing it.
Embed removed as it autoplays no matter how it is setup, click this to be taken to the video.
Watch live video from JonathanStrangeBT on Twitch

Devilian. This is an MMO with ARPG elements. I was using the Thai version, but now I’m in the Trion NA Alpha. The game isn’t in beta yet, just closed Alpha. Closed beta should be coming soon, with open beta soon after that. If you don’t win access via a contest on some Twitch stream, you can buy your way in. Alpha access is a bit expensive and probably not worth the price IMHO, but to each their own. The game will be free to play after launch, and launch should be 2015… I haven’t recorded anything new for the NA Alpha as of this initial writing, but here’s my video of me playing the Thai version awhile ago.

Continue reading What I’ve Been Playing of Late 8 October 2015

My Dream ARPG and Upcoming ARPGs

One of my favorite genres of computer games are ARPGs, especially of the loot and grab/hack and slash style. Typically people think of Blizzard’s Diablo series. There are a couple strong other entries out right now. Path of Exile, an excellent free to play ARPG which would really take a full article to detail how amazing and in depth it is. Marvel Heroes 2015, an ARPG set in the Marvel universe. Torchlight 2 and it’s older sibling Torchlight are both nice light hearted takes on the genre, and good entry points for more casual gamers while still offering a good deal of depth for more serious players. As an added bonus the guys who made Torchlight are making a new game called Rebel Galaxy which I got an early look at, and it was full of win. Gauntlet is somewhat in the same vein, though it’s a bit more arcadey…

Anyhow, it’s among my favorite genres. There are a number of games coming out soon(ish) that I’m particuraly interested in. This is a very quick run down of some of my favorites that I’m looking forward to.

Devilian is an open world MMO with ARPG combat that is already out in Korea and Thailand, among some surrounding areas. The game is being brought to the west by Trion, who brought us ArcheAge (which I’ve covered extensively before overdosing on it). Now plenty of people out there feel upset at Trion for the way ArcheAge was handled at launch, but I for one am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and more than a fair chance to prove themselves with Devilian.

I’ve already covered Devilian to some degree:

Continue reading My Dream ARPG and Upcoming ARPGs

My First Columbus Crew Match

I’ve wanted to go to a Columbus Crew game since they were formed in 1994, but it’s been the last two years as my interest in the sport itself has grown that I’ve really wanted to go, so I basically count the last two years or so of wanting to go as the real deal. Two years of wanting to go and not being able to for a variety of reasons, mostly work related. If I had the time off work, I had the kids and a two plus hour trip each way with young kids… If I didn’t have all those, it was normally really bad weather (as in thunderstorms in the area) or I just didn’t have the funds, and on occasion forgot or was busy with other things, a chance to to some board gaming with the local board game group, an important video game beta test, or whatever, including important things like spending time with loved ones. The point is, for a couple years I’ve really wanted to go but things didn’t work out.

I sadly can’t even really watch the games on TV as my TV doesn’t get that channel. I’d need a cable box for that, and I already spend enough extra on the cable for much needed Internet speed improvements. I can’t use the MLS Live app or anything like that either since I live in an area where the service is available, it is blacked out locally. I did recently find a site that often has the games showing live, though the quality leaves much to be desired. Still better than nothing.

Fast forward to recent events. On Reddit there is a sub-reddit called The Massive. There one of the users gives away extra tickets to the game, and as a bonus they are in the supporter’s section called The Nordecke (for fans of American Football, think of the Dawg Pound for the Browns). I entered, thinking there was little chance of winning, but in the end won anyhow. I finally was going to get to not only see a Columbus Crew match, but it was going to be perfect weather, there were going to be fireworks after the match as it was the 4th of July, and as an extra bonus I’d be in the Nordecke. Hopefully someday I’ll get to pay it forward, and help somebody else who wants to go.

So after spending some time with a loved one, if a bit too little time, I made the three and a half hour trek to Mapfre stadium… Continue reading My First Columbus Crew Match

2015 in Games so Far – Mid May

It’s only May, so far to early to do a games of the year report like I did for 2014, but the year is shaping up pretty good so far. I’m just going to hit a few highlights here and there.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,  so far is a strong contender for game of the year. Beyond the amazing graphics, the game has a nice depth to it, great story, acting and more. I think it’ll be hard to push it off the game of the year list.

Rebel Galaxy is also shaping up great. I’ve already done an early look at Rebel Galaxy. Should the game ship this year, then it’ll be on the short list for sure. It was just a great deal of fun to play… It might not have the depth of Witcher 3 or some of the others, but it has fun in droves.  Continue reading 2015 in Games so Far – Mid May

Getting an Early Look at Rebel Galaxy

Imagine if you took the greatness that is Firefly1, and combined that with space trading of Elite: Dangerous (while removing the complexity of having to worry about pitch), while tossing in a lighthearted RPG and you’ll have a basic idea of what fun to expect from Double Damage Game’s first game, Rebel Galaxy.  They call it a “swashbuckling space adventure” and that is very apt. Continue reading Getting an Early Look at Rebel Galaxy

Killing Floor 2 – Thoughts and Video from the Stress Test Beta

So I manged to get into the Killing Floor 2 Stress Test Beta (I don’t think my Dear Tripwire, Why I Want In the Killing Floor 2 Beta post helped, but it might have), and I had a blast. Seriously some of the most fun I’ve had in awhile playing a game. Tripwire Interactive has a solid hit to be on their hands.

Let’s step back a moment for those who don’t follow the latest and greatest in gaming. What is Killing Floor 2? Continue reading Killing Floor 2 – Thoughts and Video from the Stress Test Beta

The Search for New Content

So I’m trying to figure out what sort of content I want to push via my @YouTube channel, as well as my @Twitch channel… and to an extent here until Overwatch comes out (see below with my open letter to Blizzard hoping to get in the first wave) and that content push starts.

Let’s back up. My loose New Years plan was to start pushing more content this year (2015).

The idea is to push at least 30 videos to my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/brianathomas during the year, and to try and not go over 2 weeks between videos.  So far I’ve been more or less on target (EDIT: By mid year that was no longer true, I fell way off, especially coverage of Heroes of the Storm). Sometimes a few days more, sometimes pushing a couple videos in a week. This year has seen 6 videos (2 more that were published late December that I sort of count to the 30 goal, but I’ll skip counting those for the moment since while being 27 and 28 December, they are technically from 2014, though they are under the newer format). So far so good, for the most part. Continue reading The Search for New Content

2014 PC Games of the Year

So I didn’t play a ton of new games this year, so this list is based off what I’ve actually played myself. This list is mostly PC, I don’t include any board games… that may be another list… or not… There is one XBox 360/PS4/XBox One game listed that isn’t on PC yet…

The Winners

Let’s get right out and say that the lead favorite, though I’m not very far into the game is Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s a truly massive game, and amazing in nearly every respect. My only issue with the game so far is that it is often times hard to connect to the Dragon Age Servers. I connected before I played the game, so it imported all the choices from the Keep into the game, but would be nice to be able to sync the files still.
Continue reading 2014 PC Games of the Year

Random Musings of YouTuber, Twitch and Hitbox Streamer Brian A. Thomas.

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