Tag Archives: video game

Happy Holidays 2021

Well, this has been a dumpster fire of a year, unless you were holding a lot of stocks and crypto, or maybe if you were an Olympic athlete. We were trying to sail forward on the blue seas, but then we had the delta and now the omicron, and it’s a bit much.

I got my booster shot this last week, and had a bad reaction. It sucked. I resubbed to WoW TBC: Classic recently, but my finger pain is keeping me from playing. Feral druid is maybe the worst thing you can do to sore fingers.

I want to play Druid in WoW. I want to play Warden on Treebeard in LotRO. These are both LOL finger tendon killers.

It turns out it’s hard to find a good single-player shooter in 2021, much less one with a playable female protagonist. I don’t vibe with Borderlands cartoon style. Saint’s Row 2 graphics are horrible. I want to shoot things, so I installed and played Fallout 4, but it’s a bit slow. (These were my candidates looking for games last night.) Maybe I need to try Control again.

The Saint’s Row reboot and Vampire Bloodlines 2 keep getting delayed, and I’m not ready for a second playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077, which I finished with a Corpo backstory and ending choice. Great game! I wish there was more.

I’m still working diligently on oil paintings, and I’m also very depressed. So at least my inner elf-ness is a solid mess. I just received the book Middle English Romances, a Norton Critical Edition. I’m hoping to do some literature reading/research over the holidays.

The medieval knight and damsel/princess is the beloved genre of Connor, a main companion in my RPG project. I thought I’d read the genre more so I can write him better.

Tonight I’ve uploaded a new update for Elven Academy. This includes completed, translated, and playtested versions of module B1: Down The Rabbit Hole, and D2: The Geomancer’s Deathtrap.

These two modules took me most of 2021 to create. They contain my best writing yet in Down The Rabbit Hole, and my best coding in Geomancer, which features two levels of a 3D wireframe maze.

In Rabbit Hole, the first module of Book 2, you return for more deliveries as a rabbit in the Peacock Queen’s domain.

This time you actually get to play through several deliveries, meeting various guests of the Queen. My favorite might be the pair of elves who call themselves “sages of the fifth grade” from Avalon, who actually test your wits using standard questions at the level of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”

You can also sleep with a succubus or two, or an incubus if you are female, although I’ve decided to just not do any explicit sex or nudity. It’s honestly more fun to find random things to obscure nipples with.

I’m also making better use of save flags now, so any wanton, lusty choices in B1 may come back to haunt you a bit in chapter B2: The Queen’s Gambit, which I am currently working on. This is a more lighthearted holiday/Yule-themed module.

I’m starting to make better use of my character templates in B2 to provide a good array of choices for the character. I’m also trying harder to present more ethical/moral decisions. I hope to go back to earlier modules to add more ethical/moral decisions. This really isn’t as easy as it looks. It looks easy from an armchair, I guess.

As a reminder, my roleplay templates are Charming Good Mage/Bard, Neutral Ranger/Druid, and Cunning/Jaded Sorc/Necromancer. Each of these templates has a set of favored attributes that are used for saving rolls for respective choices as well.

Here are the full patch notes for this game update. I playtested the update just a bit on the live server and filled in some missing graphics files. There seems to be some server caching issues now on the JS files that I had to tweak, but hoping they will be cleared up tomorrow.

Patch Notes General:

Uploaded finished/updated versions of B1: Down The Rabbit Hole, and D2: The Geomancer’s Deathtrap. They still probably need more playtesting, especially in Spanish. But they should be playable to the end. D2 is a more difficult dungeon involving a number of combats, and might be quite a challenge for a weak new witch or wizard.

It appears the Spanish text still has a lot of typos and incorrect grammar throughout the game modules due to the fact that I test in English for speed and expediency. I spent some time reading through the Spanish translations and making corrections.

Restored health cost to casting spells, and enabled checks to disallow a spellcast that will zero your health pool.

Added a skip button to the intermezzo/aside/scene timeskip splash page. Skipping past skips … who has time to sit through time passage in 2021.

A1: Spanish playthrough, fixed so many embarrassing grammar errors and typos. Improved attribute telegraphing, improved dark side dialogue.

A2: Spanish playthrough, more cuts to bloated paragraphs, improved dark side dialogue.
The Divination spells are now based on Fortune attribute for Divination school, not Enchantment.
Added some poetry for Connor.
Added some roleplay coded options.
Added sound to Baralto’s Garden
Fix bug enabling becoming Connor’s girlfriend/boyfriend.

A3: Glumskayah is back to being a she-devil instead of prior change to a succubus. She will take a lower profile in Book 2 and be replaced by a succubus. Needs to attend trial for her executions of army incubi, which is seen as possibly overreaching her power by the patriarchal Hell’s Court. Her mission on the island was to set everything up, deal with all legal issues, and eliminate any opposition. With that mission accomplished, she will allow someone else to be the face of Hell’s Court.
Added some poetry for Connor.
Added references to a buried treasure on the island.

A5: Fixed various Glumskayah graphics to show an antique backpiece that silhouettes her head.

A7: Added ambient sounds to Glumskayah’s dungeon, added some module save flags. The fact that I can’t find much in this module to save as a flag for later reveals some weakness.
Added some options to flirt, to be kind, and to be rebellious.
Added some choices and fixed bugs to companion affection gains (and losses.)
Generally more work to make the module more fun and less passive.
Explained why Glumskayah trips when chasing you out of her dungeon.
Bug fixes.

B1: Additional options, Spanish edits, new music, new quest.
Fixed filepath bug preventing module completion and exit.
Fixed a few dialog inconsistencies.

D1: fixed several issues with death checking while taking damage, updated death screen.
D2: Completed the module. This is the largest and best module yet. Translated (2.5 days of work in itself.) Added new scenarios, completed the story satisfactorily. Playtested.


The New World MMO: Un-Masked

new-world

The past couple of days have delivered quite some drama from the New World development team. New World released cash shop plans, which included pay-to-win boosts. These boosts included leveling and crafting XP boosts.

The devs followed up yesterday with a clarification that the XP boosts were intended to be a trial only, and will not be in the game at launch. They would focus instead (initially) on quality of life items, cosmetics, and dyes.

(Most people won’t even notice the dyes, but what do they really mean? They mean crafting gameplay is cut or watered down so crafted items can be sold instead in the cash shop at launch.)

Kripparian on Twitter gives a concise summary of how much of a joke this is:

So they are creating a game on purpose with low quality of life, and they will then sell you extras in the store to alleviate the pain! This is nothing new, but it’s so barefaced and early that people are rightfully up in arms even after the clarification.

If you’re actually interested in delving into this drama, I would recommend watching Asmongold’s video on Youtube, at least minutes 2:30 to 6:30.

As an aside, Asmongold is a surprising voice for classic values in MMO’s. It’s odd to me, as a liberal, to be on the same side as people with ‘conservative values’ in this instance. Of course, we’ve been going down this degenerate cash shop road for several years now, so it’s interesting to see some major voices getting traction after all this time.

I played several hours of the New World beta and leveled to 20-something. It showed a lot of potential. It looked nice. So far I believe they’ve released info on one real dungeon, one new region, and some new weapons. Nonetheless, based on my knowledge, it’s almost impossible for this game to be as good or as large as either Rift or LotRO at launch.

Realistically, it can’t even be close, right?

The game is overrated due to everyone’s desperate hopes for a new great western-style MMO. Is it still worth playing if you don’t care about the cash shop in lieu of a subscription model? Sure. It might be worth the box price for a lot of people, but my memory of the beta is still pretty vivid.

In other news, Blizzard greatly slashed the absurdly greedy price of their Classic character copy service due to similar player outcry. I plan to play Burning Crusade pre-patch in the next week or so. I quit Hearthstone for good last fall when they introduced the Hearthstone Battle Pass.

New World is actually launching with a Battle Pass. Yeah. And then comes the slippery slope.  They will slowly add pay to win back in.  Then come the sales. Leveling is too tough? Buy a boost. Boost is too expensive? It’s 10% off today only. Still too expensive? It’s 20% off this week, 40% off if you buy a bundle. Etc. etc.  Such fun gameplay.

Good goddess, think of the children.  I’ve been saying that since LotRO went F2P years ago.

And Blizzard just had to go full greed in Classic with the deluxe collector’s edition and the expensive level boost. Blizzard claims the boost is to help people catch up to their friends, it’s good for the game, etc. etc. which we all know is B.S.. We have suspected or known about Burning Crusade for several months, plenty of time to level.

This is a sellout of a game people are playing because it isn’t sold out. But Blizzard couldn’t resist those modern-day opportunities to allow dollars.  If someone couldn’t make it to 60 the old fashioned way, they don’t deserve to continue. That’s my opinion.

Elder Scrolls – Oblivion looks enticing this year. Their companion system is releasing only two companions up front,  however, which seems very odd. It indicates better companions will be in the cash shop soon, like Neverwinter Nights.

l almost re-installed ESO today for the high elf experience, but then I thought about that good old skill bar with only 7 skills on it (or whatever). I’d be doing the same rotation over and over thousands more times. ESO is such a great-looking game, but they sort of ruined Elder Scrolls back in the Oblivion days by dumbing down everything for consoles.

Remember when instant ports all over the Tamriel map didn’t exist? Those were literally the best days. Naturally, the original Morrowind was far, far better than the carefully monetized, watered down expansion pack of the ESO rendition, although there were a few nice quest lines and dungeon areas in ESO: Morrowind to be sure.

So! I guess I’ll see you other old school types in Burning Crusade Classic in the next weeks.


Review of the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Eroticism in Fantasy RPG’s

It’s been six months since I blogged at KittyKittyBoomBoom. I do miss writing on this blog, but I really don’t have much to say about recent games. We haven’t had any big releases that I’ve been interested in.  Some will be coming soon. Here is a game writing post that I’m cross-posting from my new main blog.

I used to be fascinated by romance in fantasy RPG’s. I played through Baldur’s Gate 2 multiple times to experience the different romance arcs with Aerie, Jaheira, and Viconia. I’m happy that the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3 is continuing in that tradition.

I was very disappointed when SWTOR pulled some romance out of their game at launch. I was disappointed more recently that Planescape: Tides offered no romance arcs, especially since the lead writer was an erotica writer.

Recently I’ve considered taking my game project in a more R-rated direction, so I researched the Book of Erotic Fantasy. It is a very old D&D supplement under the OGL v1.0a. Here are my notes and reactions from the reading. Another, more exhaustive treatment is found here.

Basically, much of this text doesn’t merit a deep analysis, so let’s look mostly at the gems.

Review of the Book of Erotic Fantasy

The BoEF is broken into seven chapters: Love, Sex, and Roleplaying, Rules, Skills, and Feats, Base and Prestige Classes, Magic, Items, and Adventures and Organizations.

Most of the book consists of lists of spells, classes, creatures, and magical items for your adventure campaign. There is a list of 100 “Adventure Ideas”, but a lot of these ideas boil down to just “something happened”. The something is often: “it happened, good to know”, or “someone is raping and must be stopped.”

A few ideas were cute and doable, however, like the band of halflings that challenge the adventurers to a game of sexual endurance.

Humor was one of the main takeaways from this elder tome. Sex has always gone hand in hand with humor, and therein lies its most valuable asset, since we do play these games to have fun. So why isn’t sex more prominent in RPG’s? Here is my take on the problems.

  • Sex and romance offer poor gameplay. (Roll dice to see whether you have an orgasm, etc. is just lame.)
  • It doesn’t advance the main story.
  • It often doesn’t develop character unless done very well.
  • If used as a final reward to a story arc, it loses its ability to advance a story arc.

If we don’t boil sex down to just a reward, like banging the prince after you save him, then there are good reasons to have it: develop a character (NPC or PC), and advance a plot. Romantic titillation and roleplay in themselves are also valid, but not as powerful.

The BoEF touches on these issues in a few actually insightful paragraphs sprinkled into the text. Plot, character, and humor. I was disappointed in the “adventure ideas”, so I wrote some of my own, broken down into the categories where sex can actually be best used. Here are my starter lists that I brainstormed in an hour.

Ideas to develop a non-player character. The NPC:

  • Reveals something about the racial sexual customs in an interracial experience, possibly amusing.
  • Reveals poor character, i.e. implies it’s free, but now wants money, has a boss to threaten the PC with.
  • Reveals they are surprisingly the opposite personality in bed.
  • Reveals they are deeply vulnerable in some way, emotionally needy for some reason.
  • Reveals they have secrets on the pillow, i.e. this was the point of seducing the PC.
  • Reveals tattoos that tell a story about past deeds, exploits, beliefs, mottos.
  • Reveals tattoos or marks that indicate of a gang, a cult, physical abuse, sex work.
  • Reveals a prosthetic limb, an implant, a welded cuff or a collar suggesting wounds or an owner.
  • Reveals deformities, fur, or other evidence of non-human crossbreeding in family.
  • Reveals they are a shapeshifter or have an enchanted form, i.e. a dragon or someone really hideous.
  • Reveals they have a husband/wife/someone else really jealous.
  • Reveals they have a fetish, must have something specific to become aroused.
  • Reveals they have an STD. Sexual transmitted diseases are just not fun, unless you’re using them just to whimsically punish a player for fun. It could be used as a consequence of a failed saving roll, however.
  • Reveals they are conflicted about sex, they were trying to be chaste, etc.
  • Reveals they were a virgin, and now you’re in big trouble with someone or something.

Ideas to develop the player character. The PC:

  • Is allowed an actual love romance that leads to a long term relationship.
  • Is then allowed to recruit a henchman or henchwoman that provides perks in a relationship, or even bring them along on adventures.
  • Is allowed to feel powerful.
  • Is allowed to feel powerful by submitting.
  • Is allowed to be a prostitute for money, themselves.
  • Is allowed to use character skills in new and creative ways, if the sex scene is gameplayed.
  • In forming a relationship, creates conflict in terms of faithfulness, promises, and infidelity.
  • Offers a roleplay path to retiring a character to the married life in a castle, and possibly children which can form a new adventuring party.

Ideas to advance a plot through the NPC. The NPC:

  • Sleeps with the PC, but then falls more for another member of the party.
  • Is trying to use sex because they want something from the PC.
  • Is using the PC as an alibi for something.
  • Actually dies in the PC’s arms, leading to accusations of murder, or demonic possession.
  • Incapacitates the PC to steal a map, a book, treasure, horse, sword, etc.
  • Reveals a quest on the pillow. PC can offer help, or can try to get to the treasure first.
  • Insists that according to their cultural laws, they are now married to the PC (Firefly, etc.)
  • Reveals a life-threatening situation they are in, and their desperation for help.
  • Is trying to persuade the PC to join a cult, sex club, etc.. This leads to quests.

In many of these cases, the primary question becomes: what does the NPC want? If you establish powerful wants on the part of the NPC who the PC is having sex with, good writing naturally flows from it. This is hard though, and I’ve failed at this to some extent.

It may also help to ask, if the NPC is a possible romantic interest, then who or what are the attracted to, and why? This can also reveal a lot of character.

A big sticking point to incorporating all of these ideas is the gender-locked nature of the gameplay. To incorporate romantic encounters at important points in your plot, you would almost need to have a gender locked protagonist.

Or you would have to “cheat” and change the gender of the NPC to the opposite of your PC, and then assume the PC is straight. What a mess. Maybe that in itself is a big reason why romance isn’t used much in a meaningful way in RPG’s, and why the Witcher franchise seems to stand so tall in this capacity. (I haven’t played the Witcher games personally due to not liking to play male protagonists.)

The BoEF also touched on the idea of “ratings”. I’ve been grappling with that lately myself. Here are the proposed ratings, which are the American scale of course:

PG-13 – Deals with mature subjects including sex, but without explicit scenes or descriptions. Love, flirting, and seduction are all acceptable, but the actual sex occurs offstage.

R – Nudity and sexual situations are common, although level of detail stops at gratuitous details that could be described as pornographic.

Other useful points from the Book of Erotic Fantasy:

BDSM is now mainstream, not a fetish or taboo. Clubs have BDSM nights, it’s a fixture in the fashion industry. Love between Human and non-human (Vampires and Werewolves) is also mainstream.

Assigning an alignment to a type of lover is interesting to help a player to play their character.

Assigning an alignment to an entire society is also useful. The alignment becomes a sort of shorthand for thinking about sex norms in different societies and regions of the game setting.

Not so useful points:

Some things in the book are just silly. A “masterwork” condom, for example.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the photos, but they’re OK. Consistent, quality artwork throughout would have been very expensive and time-consuming most likely.

Tantrist, Kundalini. I strongly disagree with using real-world Earth terms like this in a D&D setting. These come from Hindu and Tibetan religions. Maybe the authors were trying to be non-specific in terms of campaign setting, but this is just worse.

I skimmed the ‘bestiary’ in the BoEF, which did not really interest me, as my campaign setting is well-developed, for better or worse. Some interesting entries, however, were the half-devil, half-giant, and pleasure golem.

That’s about all for my reactions and notes on this thick, lengthy tome of erotic treasures. It’s well-worth a perusal, and I find myself curious about trying to design some erotic gameplay. The sections of the book dedicated to gameplay, like the mini-scenario at the end, seemed very short of practical examples.

The book lists play-testers in the credits page. I’d like to hear their feedback. Because honestly a lot of this could boil down to the vanilla D&D rules, but spiced up with adventures in brothels. And how do you ‘succeed’ at a sexual encounter? How would this work?

1. Simply getting the NPC naked and/or into a compromising situation is enough to complete many character developments or plot advancements.

2. Physical success (Agility, Toughness, Romance (techniques), Engineering (toys, ropes, who knows)): pleased your lover X times, resulting in advancement or quest success.

3. Emotional success: (Empathy, Psychic) need to achieve some kind of intimacy to solve the puzzle and advance. Physical skills don’t matter.

4. The opposite of #1, the NPC getting the PC naked and into a compromising situation is enough to slip the PC a pill or wake up tied to the bed, etc. and move the plot forward.

If your plot hinges on this encounter, the design concept of “Failure with Consequences” might be useful. You moved the plot and achieved your goals, but failure on your rolls means the success is only partial, or you received no extra reward or treasure, or something bad happened, but you still moved forward on a technicality.

That’s all for my reactions to this book. Good luck, and happy gaming.


MMO Purgatory, Stock Market, & Other Updates


The Game Situation

Last month I re-subbed to WoW Classic. I reached level 50ish and called it quits again. The grind is brutal, basically. Even though I’m playing a mage!

When I first started playing Classic at launch, I was thinking – these kids today aren’t going to make it! They don’t have the patience!

I just assumed I would be able to do this without much problem. I was too overconfident.

Blizzard is also a complication. I’m not such a fan these days. I’m not so thrilled to give them $15/month, for the main game. Classic is just a perk. I’m not actually using what I’m paying for. Feels weird man.

I tried Bethesda’s Doom. It doesn’t have the feel of the original, to me. There were no swarms of enemies in the original Doom.

If you faced 2 enemies at once in the original Doom, you needed to be careful. If you faced 3+ at once, that was a big battle. There was also more dreadfulness and suspense, because each enemy was more deadly.

Or at least, that’s the way I remember it.

I’ve also been playing Dragon’s Lair, the classic arcade game on Steam. I was doing well until I ran into a bugged room that has been bugged for 2 years, apparently, and another sequence that appears bugged because it isn’t showing the direction hints. So I have no idea what to do.

So I’m searching for a game, as usual. I don’t know what to play. The big Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay reveal was earlier this week.

It was OK. It didn’t blow me away. It looked a lot like NWN2 to me. Other people say it is more like DOS3, because Larian studios is the developer.


U.S. Stock Market

The U.S. Stock Market crashed 10% this week. The consensus is that the crashing is far from over. There are a bewildering array of problems caused by the spread of the coronavirus.

For example .. no, I’m not even going to get started.

I sold 50% of my portfolio on the bounce first thing Monday morning. So I’m doing fine! This afternoon I nibbled back at Netflix (NFLX)and Akamai (AKAM).

I’ve been watching Akamai for a while. They had a great earnings report. In a world of major teleconferencing rollout, Akamai should benefit, as well as from increased home internet usage.

Netflix seems like a no-brainer, but of course it was sold off severely along with all overpriced tech stocks. How can Netflix not do very well in a world where everyone is staying home, schools are being shut down, nothing to do etc.?

The thing is, all of these tech stocks are bundled up into ETFs, such as total market ETFs, S&P ETFs, etc.. And the biggest tech companies are a large percent of the market now, like 20%?

So, as always but more than ever before, the broad market is much more important than an individual stock.

I also like Tencent (TCEHY), but that was a stock I took profits in on Monday. I had way too much of the stock. So I plan to start rebuilding my position at some point.

I also sold NVidia on Monday, because of large profits I wanted to turn into cash. Today an analyst said NVidia should do well regardless of the virus because of cloud and gaming. People jumped in today to run up NVidia!

Well, the cloud needs businesses doing well to need more cloud capacity. If businesses start sending people home, hunkering down worried about financial conditions, etc. the cloud is going to get hurt.

The call on Nvidia today, while notable, or else I wouldn’t note it, seems pretty suspect to me. It caused a bunch of chip stocks to do well today. Really? I think Americans just love chips. I’ll get back into NVidia at some point, but I’ll be waiting a bit on the chip stocks.

The virus is going to get far, far worse. I can see the market dropping another 10% or 20%. I can also see Trump making more of an effort to fix the stock market than fix the completely incompetent and failed response by the American government to the arrival of the virus.

So. I sold my portfolio down to like 75% cash at about 3% from the top, and I started nibbling a bit at the down 10% mark today, on companies that the virus shouldn’t hurt so much.

Of course, if I’m dead from virus it won’t matter. I’ve already been sick for the last month from something.


Personal Project

I’ve been working hard in the last 2 months on my game’s first dungeon. (Game art shown above.) The beta playtesting version of The Cursed Tombs is online here.

(Please note that if you play from this link, and you don’t have a saved code, you will do very poorly as a default non-statted character.)

The title of the dungeon is pretty generic, but it’s just the first entry level dungeon? I learned a lot while making this dungeon. Developed far more tricks and techniques than from any other effort previously.

So that’s good. Now I just need to get healthy so I can get back to working at full strength.

Feb. Updates:

Illustrated the first Owl River dungeon, approx. 70 pieces of art in 1 month despite having a virus and working full time.

Added a fourth fight and two more rooms.

Some playtesting, still needs Spanish translation.

Redesigned character panels to be more like a familiar classic character sheet.

Added another gear slot “Jewelry” slot, to go with the previous “Accessory” slot. Jewelry is now a separate and equal category to Accessory, which includes misc. trinkets, tomes, magical belt buckles, whatever.

Recruited a new dungeon developer, who is working on a second dungeon.

Planning and plotting second chapter of main storyline.

January 2020: Updates/Fixes

A3: More bug fixes, added Seelie Court rep. Archmistress Glumskayah now has wings? Not sure about the wing thing. I wanted to make her more devilish and less human, basically. I have a big problem with all of my non-human NPC’s managing to look lamely human. More dialog and options. Fixed removal of Learaiche’s wand.

A4: A few minor bug fixes, dialog cuts and improvements, added a skip option for theatre talking.

A5: Several bug fixes, broken conversation lines. Preloads.

A6: more bugs fixed, extended ending, new longest, most complicated module by far. Preloads.

D1: First dungeon is in development.

Tarot Training– added preloads for tarot cards

French Club – fixed more bugs, broken dialogue, Spanish language

Connor library – edited, translated.

Help – another edit through the dialogs to update for diplomacy changes

Library – fixed map, reduced high rate of special encounters prior in place for testing


Elder Scrolls, Bloodlines 2, Hearthstone, Game Project, Gaming Stocks

game artFour months without a post. That’s crazy. In the last four months, I got a new gaming PC. It has a NVidia 2060 and 16GB of RAM, with a 500GB SSD boot drive. I want to keep it clean and free of garbage. Just games.

So I’m ready for Cyberpunk 2077 and Bloodlines 2. Right now I’m playing ESO with ultra graphics, which is nice. I’ve leveled from roughly 20 to CP 125. LotRO also has an anniversary patch out this week. I want to see LotRO in ultra as well. I installed last night.


Vampire: Bloodlines 2


Announced! Let us all dance in mad ecstasy under the blood moon at the mere thought! Thank you to the people who are financing this and making it happen. This is one of the very few times I will pray for business people to get stinking rich.

Some new info came out in the last day or two, including a peek at skill lines and story. I am worried this could be an overhyped train wreck and/or a 10-hour gameplay cash grab.

That can’t happen right? Right? This is the vampire game of the decade. It has to be right. The announcement keynote and developer interview were comforting to the lost vampire souls out there. We’ll see.


Hearthstone World Champs, Rise of Shadows


Hearthstone 2018 championships are this weekend on Twitch. I’ve watched several hours of the first round so far. I scored a free viewer payoff pack from Blizzard.

The crowd on Twitch is solid at 50,000 on a Friday night.

We are still waiting for the adventure pack coming soon. This is the first time in Hearthstone history that we will pay for both a card set and an adventure at the same time.

Blizzard is spacing out the content so they can milk another $20 per player for this particular 4 month segment of the Hearthstone calendar, instead of releasing it all at once.

The fanfare of the championship is a distraction. They postponed this World Championship four months (i.e. normally the 2018 champs are in January), to use it to sell their new expansion. Yeah.

Even if the adventure is incredible, we are getting no free hero portrait as normal for Rise of Shadows.

You have to pay $80 dollars to get a female priest portrait. The portrait is ugly. And you only get a fraction of the card set for those packs for $50 or $80.

Honestly, I don’t care what the adventure is. Hearthstone is a money gouging bank-fest. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone until Blizzard gives more value. The more the game struggles, the more they will give away, until it’s an acceptable balance.

Giving paying customers more cards, or even the whole set for $50 wouldn’t kill them. Instead, you get a sad fraction of the set for $50. You pay full price, and you can play competitive decks for three classes, more if you did all of your dailies for months.


Gaming Stocks


Let’s see how my picks did from my last post. I said I was buying the crash.
I woke up first thing on Christmas Eve morning after my last post and followed through. I bought stocks. Turned out that was the exact bottom.

We’ve seen a monster rally since then – A totally absurd, straight-up monster stock rally that can’t possibly hold. Four months later, it is still holding. So overall, theoretically, I did well.

Pick by pick:

SQM (Socieded de Mineria, Chile), has been trending down, but with dividends I’m even on that and my REIT, which are lumped together as my dividend stocks. I also initiated only a half-position. I will double down on SQM after a breakout from the huge mult-month pullback. If the breakout doesn’t hold, I will be out.

I sold my cloud ETF (SKYY) during this rally, but I sold too soon. So I repeated my biggest mistake yet again – getting jittery and selling. So I really haven’t done that well on this really, because I just couldn’t believe it. I’m 40% invested now, down from 60%.

I gave up on JPM, especially since Trump is taking a crowbar to the fed to lower rates. Banks need higher rates.

My full-position Valero purchase (VLO) is up 15%, but so is the market. So ok.

My Tencent purchase, which I spoke at length about in my last post, is up 30%. Blizzard (my non-pick) is about 0% since December.

My goal this year is to do less selling, less trading, and buy dips. Currently I am watching Blizzard (ATVI), Lenovo (LNVGY), and the ROBO ETF.

Lenovo had surprisingly strong computer sales in the last quarter, and is soaring on that. If it gets hit hard by China news, I might add it for more China exposure.

Yesterday Intel announced some woeful chip news, and NVidia is down 5% today. I’ve been in no hurry to get back into NVidia after scoring a double on my last trade last year.

NVidia is worth watching this summer for a buyable bottom. The industry trend remains towards proprietary chips and control of technology, whether it is AI cars, AI networks, or whatever. Without going on and on about it, this is a huge headwind for NVidia.

Sony is talking more lately about a new Playstation in 2020. So that means a production ramp-up requiring AMD chips, unless those millions of chips are already bought, fabricated, and paid for. I don’t know. That would be another possible trade this year.

I could potentially be a re-buyer of Acti-Blizz (ATVI) on a summer swoon. The new console cycle should help quite a bit. I would like to wait for some upbeat news and outlook, but by then it will be too late.

If I am making big moves back into video game stocks in the coming 6 months, I will make another post.

Right now my only video game exposure is Tencent.


Video Game Project


I’ve been weekend warrioring hard on this. Last week I implemented interface support for multiple dialog speaker portraits in conversation.

In Elder Scrolls, you talk to one other person at the same time. Imagine three-way dialogs. Maybe the person in front of you wants to turn and say something to someone else. What a concept.

I’m working on three different PC’s now depending on the situation, so this week I started using my web server more to transfer files.

This led me to realize a lot of content on my game is broken online. This is because my new web host is not treating lower case and upper case the same as my old web host.

So whenever I was sloppy with upper and lower case in my crap code, things won’t load. I’ve also had other stupid server-side problems this week related to minified JS files introducing semi-colon parsing errors. I think I got that worked out.

So this weekend and going forward, I’ll be moving towards file-sharing and play-testing on live, instead of locally.

Yes, I could create a test folder on the server, but no one is playing my game. Maybe partly because it was broken, I don’t know. But things will be greatly improving.

My two dating modules are playable, module 4 in the main story should be uploaded and playable this weekend.

Module 4, Serpents, Curses, and Flirts introduces the “evil” storyline. You can move towards joining the character equivalent of Draco Malfoy’s squad (pictured above).

There is definitely not enough meaningful choice and branching storylines in my game modules. It’s sad. I’m getting old. My imagination and brain are getting crusty. I have a full time, low-paid job slowly killing me every day. So.

Basically, I’ve always considered pre-writing fiction in every detail to be a huge chore.

I like to make things up as I go along. This can work in a novel format. It doesn’t work in a video game format. It’s bad. Branching paths are also incredibly time consuming as an investment for a single developer.

Cheers, happy Friday, and happy gaming.