Friday, 15 September 2017

Elder Scrolls Online: Horns of the Reach DLC

In August a new DLC was released for ESO. This DLC consisted of two new dungeons: Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold.

I first tried out Bloodroot Forge and it was crazy. I did it on normal and there were so many mechanics to figure out. The hardest part was that all the bosses had crazy AoE attacks. But even the mobs had the ability to stun and did so more often than not. The final boss was an AoE monster who kept cloning himself, and we had to switch both tank and one dps more than once before we could finally defeat him. Safe to say this dungeon wasn't a walk in the park even on normal difficulty, and I'm not very keen on finding out what extra mechanics are added to the veteran difficulty right now. But when I've done this one many more times on normal, to the point where it actually feels easy, I will turn to veteran difficulty and die miserably many many times, unless I get lucky with groups :P

A few days later I tried out Falkreath Hold, which was a nostalgia kick from Skyrim. And my general feeling when we had defeated the last boss was: "That's it?" Because on normal this one didn't feel very difficult. It felt very short and mostly we were fighting 1-3 minotaurs as mobs. The bosses had some mechanics but they didn't seem very difficult. Maybe I just got lucky with my group. So for this one I'll go for normal one or two more times just to really get the feel of it and then I'm headed for veteran.

There isn't much more to say about this DLC. There are two dungeons. One is a mechanics hell and one seems fairly straightforward. The stories in both revolve around the Reachmen. In the Bloodroot Forge the Reachmen have found an ancient bloodforge that affect them in horrible ways and they're trying to use it to take over Skyrim. In Falkreath Hold the Reachmen have invaded Falkreath after having layed siege to the town, as another attempt to gain control of Skyrim. In both dungeons your mission is to thwart them. With the DLC there were also new equipment sets, new monster sets, and a new skin for your characters.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My last 5 books: Fantasy and a bit of reality

1. The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka. I read this one in Swedish, but even through the Swedish translation of the original English I could see the Japanese language at work. This book was heartbreaking, and I don't want to believe that any of these things really happened, but at the same time I know they did. This book describes the lives of those postorder brides who travelled from Japan in the early 20th century to marry the Japanese men already working there. Their lives were never easy and never what they expected. And then it all got even worse when WW2 came around and they were percieved as enemies just for having been born Japanese. This book made my heart ache and it made me cry. At the same time as this book is now one of my personal classics and favourites, it was so short, and it ended at a point which to me was way, way, way, ahead of time.
2. Diamantsvärdet och Träsvärdet I, by Nick Perumov. This is a Swedish translation of the first book in a Russian fantasy series. I never actually finished this. I gave it over 100 pages before I decided to give up. Absololutely nothing had happened in those 100 pages, nothing of value anyway and the characters didn't feel real or well-developed. The rest of my complaints may be entirely due to the translator, but it was written in an old-fashioned Swedish that felt forced rather than natural. Like a 12 year-old trying to write like those old books grandfather has. On top of that the translator had decided to keep some things in Cyrillic lettering, and the only thing those words did was to interrupt my reading and my rhythm, because I couldn't read them and that created such a useless break. Fine if you want to keep the Russian names for these things, but could you at least write those names in Latin alphabet somewhere in the book? Like an index at the back or something. Having to switch to the back to read a word would create less of an interruption that just having a big fat question mark in the middle of a sentence. This book didn't get to stay in my bookshelf.
3. Odinsbarn, by Siri Pettersen. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a while. A Viking-inspired Norwegian fantasy series? Yes, please! And it was just as good as I expected. It was a Little bit obvious from time to time, but not obvious in a way that ruined the suspense, just obvious in the way that I figured out what was going to happen way before it did. What I didn't expect was how the characters turned out. Especially Rime. I expected this distant, independent person to keep his cool and turn almost cruel at the end. Instead he completely broke down and it was Hirka's job to save him from himself. Just goes to show how used I am to stereotypes when I expect the boy to turn into the valiant, but unfortunately cool knight who saves the female protagonist. Instead she saves her damn self all through the important moments of the book, and I love it. The next two books in this series are going to be amazing.
4. Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, by Marcus Rediker. A book retelling the ventures of the real pirates during the golden age of piracy in the early 18th century. I've always had an interest in pirates, and learning more about these people was very interesting to me. Piracy back then was a protest, a revolution, and more of a democracy than the ruling nations. People turned pirate to escape from the horrendous lives of being employed by the merchant navies. I especially, obiously, liked the chapter about female pirates, which talked about the impact they had and how they influenced the women around them, and also how this particular era of time embraced the strong adventurous woman more than the 19th and 20th centuries. All in all an interesting read, only negative I can think of is that it at times felt like reading a university dissertation and not a factual book. 
5. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice. You can't say you like vampires without someone mentioning this book or the movie. I saw the movie years and years ago, and thought it was time I read the book. The book is, from what I remember, very different from the movie. In general I liked the book, but Louis made me sigh so many times. He was just thinking too much. He created his own suffering by thinking so much. I don't approve of how Lestat handled his afterlife either, but come on Louis! Claudia and Armand were the stars of the book. The end disappointed me. We've been through all that and this is what happens?! Come on, you can't break both of them like that! Why would you do this?! So yes, the ending was a bit of a disappointment to me. Another thing I didn't approve of was all those times the author tried to impersonate the French writers of the 19th and early 20th century by adding philosophical monologues out of nowehere that had barely any bearing at all on the book. I don't like it when the French do it, and I don't like it when Americans do it either. All in all: good book. Not what I expected, but good book.

Saying goodbye to two TV shows

This year I've seen the finales of both The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time. Both of these shows were recommended to me by friends after I asked them for something new to watch, and I've followed them for years.
I was a little wary when I picked up The Vampire Diaries, since it was during the peak popularity of Twilight and I suspected that it might be as silly as Twilight. Turns out it wasn't. The characters came with a lot of variety, the supernatural world was vast and complicated, and the stories of each season always made me want more. Yet for the past two to three seasons it felt a little bit like the show was dying. Ironically, while the Originals were in the show I felt like they were annoying and taking up way too much room, but when they left to have their own show, the Vampire Diaries suddenly felt empty. The fact that Heretics were even possible to exist never made any sense to me, and I never liked that. Not the Heretics and not the Gemini coven. And then when Nina left the show and Elena was ultimately gone, the show died even more. In the end I liked how the ending came about, and I loved how the final few episodes basically were a homage to the early seasons with old characters returning. Even Elena. I never expected to like the Vampire Diaries as much as I did, and I admit there were times when the show just wasn't very good, but it always made up for those times with interest.
Once Upon a Time has been an interesting ride. All the seasons have had themes, and sometimes I've really not liked those themes and those times the series has been slow going for me. I loved the first two seasons. I wasn't a fan of the Neverland era, nor the Oz era, but the Frozen era and the Wonderland eras were fun. The most recent Agrabah era was interesting, though I was disappointed that they didn't use the same actor for Jafar in Once Upon a Time as they did in their spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Just in general the show has been really good and my absolute favourite thing has been to watch Regina grow as a person, and Henry grow in general, and also to see how Emma slowly realises that she isn't alone and grows to love her family. It's been a great ride and while the series didn't actually end with season 6 (although it should), season 7 will be a reboot and hardly any of the actors/characters from the original run will be in it. I will probably watch it just to see if it's any good, but even though it carries the same name it won't be the same show.

Game completed: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

Two weeks ago I finished the latest season of The Walking Dead from Telltale. I was completely in love with the first game, the second game wasn't quite so good, but I was hopeful that this one would be really good too.

It started off slow. The first two episodes didn't really pique my interest. From the third episode on there were so many omg and wtf moments that it became one hell of a rollercoaster, and I loved it.

I did screw up though. By the end of the story basically everyone was dead but Javi, Clem and Kate (I think that was her name?), but Kate hated me because I didn't reciprocate her feelings. So either everyone was dead or they hated me, gj me :P
Clem had grown up so much, and while Clem wasn't really the main character of this game, she had a prominent role, and I did everything to make her like me. If she liked me the others didn't matter so much.
So without spoiling anything this was probably the most "I didn't expect that" season of the entire series, and that made it a lot of fun to play. I will be replaying this for the PC at some point and make different choices, just to see where it all ends up if I do.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Dealing with backlog: Trine Trilogy

This last weekend I finished my latest project in dealing with my backlog; the Trine trilogy. I had never played this series before, and apart from the stunningly beautiful visuals I'm not quite sure why I chose to torment myself like this. I am fabulously miserably bad at platformers. I got Trine 1 and 2 as a bundle on Steam back in 2013, and now that I decided to play both of them I also got the third installment, just so that I could complete the whole trilogy.

The first game is my favourite tbh. It wasn't too long, and not so complicated that even a miserable noob like me could enjoy it and figure out the puzzles without too many deaths. I finished it in 6 hours on Steam. The storytelling was quite simple, but I still found it funny. What's interesting, though, is that none of the three main characters have names in the first game. But they all get names in the second installment.

Trine 2 was good. I understand why people cite this one as their favourite. But halfway through it quickly became complicated and I had to consult guides to figure out jumping puzzles etc. I quickly became a frustrated mess every time I tried to continue on in this game. But I persevered and completed the whole game + DLC. When I came out victorious it felt like I had just completed the longest game ever. It took me 13 hours. I'm a little sad that I feel this way towards Trine 2, because the story had evolved a lot, as had the characters, and the visual were even more stunning than in the first game, and this had all the makings of a great game.
I didn't actually complete Trine 3. I was wary of the change into 3D, and it was a lot harder to judge distances when you could suddenly jump into the depth and not just back and forth to the sides. I wasn't really a fan of the new "world map", or the fact that you had to collect golden triangles to unlock the next chapter. I came more than halfway through the game before I realised that to be able to complete the whole game I'd have to collect every-single-triangle in the whole game to be able to unlock it all. That's a shitty way to make a game. I just want to complete a zone and go on to the next one, I don't want to have to clear it all before I'm able to go on to the next place. Especially not in the platformer genre, where I so easily get frustrated because the characters simply won't move the way I'm telling them to :P From what I've read about Trine 3 the story wasn't even completed, it ended on a cliffhanger because the studio ran out of money for the game. So maybe not such a big loss that I decided to not go through with that one.

All in all Trine was a fun series, frustrating but fun, and it was amazingly beautiful and there were lots of little humoristic gems in there.

Also the wizard is named Amadeus, which meant that for the duration of Trine 2 and 3 I had this song on my brain:

Friday, 1 September 2017

August favourites 2017

Already September?!

Books: I read 3½ books in August. The best one was easily Odinsbarn by Siri Pettersen.

• Alice Cooper - "Dangerous Tonight" & All That Remains - "Madness"

• Avatar - "Hail the Apocalypse" & Breaking Benjamin - "Medicate"

• Buono! - "Rock no Kamisama" & Children of Bodom - "Blooddrunk"

• Delain - "Sleepwalkers Dream" & GAM - "Melodies"

Games: I played ESO, Trine 2, Dream Daddy, and The Walking Dead: A New Frontier in August. For completely different reasons Dream Daddy and The Walking Dead are tied to the first place.

TV shows: I finished the latest seasons of Broadchurch and Grey's Anatomy. Grey's Anatomy wins.

Other: Sightseeing in Stockholm was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Game completed: Dream Daddy

While my computer was broken I watched Markiplier play this game and I completely fell in love with it. So the first thing I did when I got my computer back was to buy this game.

As an overlook:
  • Brian's dates were the most fun because they included the most minigames.
  • Damien's dates ended up being my favourites because Damien is a lot cuter than he leads you to believe.
  • On Mat's dates I understood less than half of the references he used, so those were mostly just guesswork from me.
  • Craig and Joseph had the same problem for me - they were too wholesome, to the point where to me it seems forced and frankly a bit annoying.
  • I really enjoyed being with Robert, but I appreciate how they ended his story.
  • Hugo ended up being one of my favourite character's of the game, for much the same reason as Damien. He's a lot cuter than he leads you to believe.
 1). Because this scene was everything ♥ 2). Because this! This is exactly what fishing is!

What makes the game really interesting, though, is that there's a secret ending that no one has been able to unlock yet. A player discovered the parameters for this ending in the game's code, but there seems to be no way to unlock it. The achievement for this ending is visible on Steam, so either this ending will be added at a later point or it's just so complicated to get that no one has managed it yet.
Dream Daddy was a lot of fun, full of hilarious dad puns and I might actually be interested in playing it again. And here you go, all the seven postcard style pictures you get for completing a dad's story:
Left: Robert. Right: Craig.
Left: Mat. Right: Brian.
Left: Hugo. Right: Joseph.
 Damien ♥

Sightseeing in Stockholm

Two weeks ago I decided it was time for me to make use of a work perk. We have cards that allow us free entry into lots of museum and sightseeing in Stockholm, and I decided to borrow them for the weekend and use them to run around Stockholm as much as I possibly could.

So here comes a long post full of snippets of Swedish history (that I already knew) and what I found out at the museums.

I have a weird interest in history, especially royal history, and Stockholm has lots to offer in that aspect (like 500+ years), and I knew that there were lots and lots of royal museums in and around the royal palace. So I took the train to Stockholm and the bus to the palace. I started out with the Tre Kronor Museum. It's in the basement of the current royal palace, and basically tells the story of the old renaissance castle that used to be on that exact same site, which burned down in a fire in the 17th century. They had incorporated old walls that were still standing into the museum, and old bits of archeology that told the story of what life at the castle was like in the 16th and 17th centuries. The lighting in general was really bad, to give some atmosphere, so I didn't actually take any pictures in there. The pictures I did take of a model of the old castle comes from the royal apartments that I visited later. It was interesting to read how they dealt with the investigation afterwards. I don't think there even was one. The guy who was the boss of the on-site "fire brigade" that were supposed to prevent fires (+ two other guys) were sentenced to five gauntlets. Which meant they had to run back and forth between two rows of soldiers five times (one lap = back and forth) while the soldiers were hitting them with clubs. If they lived, they were forgiven; if they died, they were duly punished. That's the 17th century for ya!

Next I went to Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Gustav III is one of the most well-known kings of Sweden. His rule was at the end of the 18th century and he was a big fan of France, theatre and art. French was the court language back then, fyi. Anyway, this museum was created already in the 18th century to show off the king's impressive collection of antiquities, and he had a habit of travelling to Rome to buy new pieces. It was definitely impressive.
Next I had to wait for the changing of the guards to be over so I could go into the royal apartments. The royal apartments easily took the most time to go through and they were easily the coolest thing of everything. I loved reading all the descriptions of the rooms, especially since I've now read Barnbruden (The Child Bride) which takes place during the reign of Gustav III and all of these rooms were used by the royalties living at the palace during his time. It was really cool, and of course I also had to snap a picture of the bust of the main character of that book. Within were also the rooms which are sometimes still in use for official state visits, though they were a lot more modernised and not as impressive.
After that I went to the treasury, which was sort of a disappointment. I expected something grander à la Tower of London, but it was really really small and no photography allowed. So I went through that pretty quickly and then made my way to the armoury. I've been to the armoury several times before, and it's probably one of my favourite places in Stockholm. I just love looking at the old armours and weapons and clothes :3 My favourite thing to look at, read about, and contemplate on (will make me totally morbid) are the clothes worn by Gustav III when he was shot at the masquerade ball. They've allowed his shot shirt to be as-is, and you can still see the bloodstains. I just really like to think about what happened when it happened and the aftermath of it, trying to figure out reactions and actions of the people around him. Because all we're told about this story is that the people were unhappy with him and one man shot him at the king's masquerade ball. The wound didn't kill him immediately, but he died in bed some days later. That's it. And somehow I feel like a situation that terrible deserves some more details. Is that weird?

In any case, after a nice tour around the armoury I went to my last stop of the day, which somehow felt kind of awkward. Across the street from the palace is the royal coin cabinet, a museum which tells the story of coins and money in general. But when I went in, I was the only one there, which made it feel very awkward.

Afterwards I went to meet up with a friend and go to the cinema. The rain was pouring so hard, which was both annoying and kind of cosy :P

Two days later, me and all the colleagues were invited on a pizza cruise which took us around the closest islands of the archipelago all the while eating amazingly delicious pizza.