Tag Archives: Video Games

LotRO U23, Gaming Stocks, Dev Project, Etc.

liberty cap mushroom illustration
LotRO Update 23:

Surely the best, most ambitious quest pack update in LotRO’s history. Incredible. What are they feeding to these devs. Lots of system issues and bugs still, though. And the endgame is a pretty steep grind, after you figure out all of the currencies and dailies, and how they work.

LotRO Legendary Server:

A new server is opening Nov. 8th, per the most recent tweet. Everyone starts at level one. The LotRO devs are making things happen. There are pros and cons, which have been thoroughly discussed. I’m concerned about my kinship bleeding to the new server.

I’ll roll up a new toon and claim a character name. Whether I play the character is another story. I have better things to do than play LotRO in all of my spare time.

Hearthstone:

I casually ranked to 11 this month with Even Lock and Odd Rogue, and a bit of Cubelock. I played some Asmo Priest in casual. My main goal is just to keep up with quests and stay F2P. The announcement of the next expansion should be this Friday afternoon at Blizzcon.

I’ll be watching the big tournament at Blizzcon also for sure.

The Mid-Term Election:

If you’re a Trump supporter, and you’re voting Republican in this midterm election in the U.S., you are:

A supporter of hate and less rights for LGBT.

A supporter of persecution and less rights for trans people specifically, and now possibly legislating away their legal identity in society.

A supporter of taking away women’s rights to choose.

A supporter of reducing public lands, which belong to all Americans, and opening them to exploitation by corporations.

A supporter of reducing controls and oversight of pollution and pesticides.

A supporter of sexism, pussy grabbing, and white supremacy.

A supporter of racism, naming calling, and defamation of Hispanics.

A supporter of the U.S. president telling over 5000 false or misleading claims in his first 2 years of office.

A supporter of the U.S. president turning this week’s domestic terrorism pipe bomb incident into a plea for Republicans to get out and vote.

A supporter of huge tax cuts for the super rich, which have caused the U.S. deficit and debt to soar.

A supporter of the China tariffs, which is a tax on all people, which is then used to cut taxes for the super rich.

A supporter of rampant corruption and Russian attempts to undermine democracy and the free world.

A supporter of all of these now-indicted criminals that are/were Trump’s friends, lawyers, and co-workers.

A supporter of Trump repeatedly calling the free press “the enemy of the people,” leading to violent attacks and many death threats towards journalists, who are trying to fight all of this. (And thereby they are the enemy.)

A supporter of Trump and company leading chants to put his political opponents in prison.

A supporter of a complete circus of fear politics. The hispanic migrants, who are 1000 miles away, are going to invade! This is a national emergency! Well, thousands of migrants show up at the border every year. It’s actually a normal situation being turned into fear politics.

It’s all fun and games until the murders begin, and an American journalist for WaPo (Trump’s nemesis) was murdered last week.

This could be a much longer list. The point is, if you support Trump or vote Republican, you are one of his complete idiots and under-educated sheep who embraces lies and corruption in exchange for the promise of holding power.

Just GTFO out of my blog. Get lost. Get educated. This situation is not a joke.

General Stocks:

U.S. stock market crashed last week. This is the inevitable result of Trump being president. I was selling earlier this year, down to 28% invested, 72% cash. In the past week, on this crash, I went up to about 50/50. If market tanks again this week, I’ll be shaken out back down to 33%.

I added Microsoft before they announced great results, sending the stock up 5% overnight. I added a small speculative position in Blizzard, because it’s so oversold, and I don’t want to miss it. It seems like Blizzcon should give Blizzard a bounce, but in past years it really hasn’t? So it’s a straight-up gamble.

I added a bit more to the SKYY (cloud) ETF. I added some J.P.Morgan Chase and some Albemarle for a rounded, more defensive portfolio.

Video Game Stocks:

I had to sell the NVidia that I bought before my last post.

Video game companies have been hit very hard. Blizzard dropped 7% in one day after suggesting sales for COD 4 weren’t actually that great. Sony has also pulled back very hard. This might be due to the Chinese war on video games? Or is it just pulling back with the broad Japanese market, which would make it a buy?

AMD has crashed, mainly due to disappointing earnings. NVidia crashed in sympathy. AMD has a very strong incorporation in the next gen consoles for both Microsoft and Sony. That’s a boost to AMD that will come as we approach 2020.

If AMD is left for dead in the coming months, I might be a speculative buyer. It’s hard to buy video game companies until the China trade war and also war on video games are less of an issue, however.

Personal Game Project:

I’ve finally finished and playtested my first “dating” module, where you can go on an elfy eco-date with your friend Jeanie. I still need to translate it into Spanish.

While on your quest with Jeanie, a side quest is to learn about at least 6 plant species (one of which is the top graphic.) Jeanie is into botany, so your interest in plants will make her happy. An interest in shrooms might make her happy too.

Yes, I know fungi are actually not plants. I have a biology degree.

I’m working now on revamping and rewriting that module into another dating module with Connor. This will be an interesting journey into bisexuality. I’ll need to dig deep into my personal history.

The romance is just kissing and implication, similar to Baldur’s Gate. I have no plans for nudity, at least not of romanceable students. Elven professors don’t mix with the students, at least officially.

A goblin professor of the dark arts might mix, but she hasn’t entered the story yet.

For now, I’ve incorporated functionality for retro black-screen with text in the middle, game-mastering the passage of romantic time, like in Baldur’s Gate.

You have to do a lot of things right to even get a kiss on the first date though. The next date with both characters will probably be drinking in a tavern.

Miscellaneous:

My Dinner With Herve. This is a touching new movie out on HBO. I enjoyed it. Peter Dinklage. What else do you need.

I’m sad that Orange Is The New Black is being canceled by Netflix. Maybe they canceled it because Jenji Kohan went super gay in Season 7, and pissed off the execs? Let’s hope so!

Corona. I started drinking beer this week to help with my stress. This blog post has been brought to you by Corona Extra, the beer of bilingual blogging champions. I’ll see you soon on the LotRO Legendary server, I hope.

Oh, and screw Justin Olivetti for removing the KKBB link on his blog. Likewise. Game over for Olivetti. Grade A is now a grade Z. Byeee.

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Amazon Promises LotR TV series, Delivers Golden Packs For Hearthstone


I’ve been exhausted lately. In the last week, I completed season 12 objectives of Diablo 3, in bed. I can only say this was a satisfying single-player experience. And post a pic.


Lord of The Rings TV Show


Amazon announced a LotR TV series today, which is mind-blowing. There is no date set yet, and no cast, but they say they are committing to multiple seasons. This commitment must be a licensing thing.

What stories could they tell? Gandalf and Aragorn were very active between the Hobbit and Fellowship, but I’m not a lore expert. I just hope there are as many hobbits and elves as bearded men with wenches and big swords.

It’s been a while since I really looked forward to a TV show. I’m currently an Amazon Prime subscriber. Amazon now allows monthly subs, which is very cheap for a lot of value.

Sub for a month, watch the shows, order your stuff, unsub, for around $10. Plus right now you get a golden Hearthstone pack in Twitch loot. Not bad.


Diablo 3


As a mostly clueless Diablo 3 newbie, the season reset offered a good opportunity to create a new character and learn how to play the game. The difficulty and learning curve were perfect.

So I beat a “Greater Rift” in 15 minutes on difficulty 20 to complete the season, and now I have a level 70, 75 paragon Monk with a shiny gold hero portrait, and a complete Uliana set and build.

I thought I’d like the angel wings reward, but they’re a bit much.


Hearthstone


Blizz announced a new expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs. The theme has a nice Disney flavor and introduces a new single-player dungeon game mode.

No one is really sure if the mode will be good, or why Blizzard devoted development resources to this mode, or why people will play this mode, since they say it offers no real rewards.

The introduction of “legendary weapon” class cards in Kobolds is also a little ‘meh’. Just a good excuse to create overpowered cards that people have to have, and craft.


Gaming Stocks


Take Two (TTWO) and NVidia (NVDA) were two big winners in the last two weeks of quarterly gaming company earnings reports. Electronic Arts (EA) had the weakest results of the big three developers/publishers in focus on Wall Street.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) was somewhere in the middle.

Blizzard still soared last week on news of record-breaking release for Call of Duty: WW2, but then sold off again on general market weakness.

I purchased EA and held for a week up to the day of earnings, and sold before earnings for a very slim profit.

I also purchased Disney (DIS) within minutes of the rumor that they were talking to Fox studios about a purchase.

Disney went up, but I was not willing to hold through earnings. I washed out at break even. Earnings ended up bad, as I predicted. But it didn’t matter! The stock kept running anyway based on hopes and the force (Star Wars).

So Disney looks bullish into the movie release, but buying and holding seems a little premature to me. Analysts are predicting intense competition for the video game space. Why not also for entertainment in general.

I finally sold JD (JD.com) at break even, since I am already overweight China e-commerce with a double in Alibaba, and would rather diversify more in emerging markets (EEM) during a downturn. I didn’t realize JD announces earnings this Monday, though.

JD will probably soar immediately now that I sold, of course, but even if it jumped 10%, it would still be the weakest stock in my portfolio.

I am watching ANET (Arista Networks), and wondering if it isn’t too late to get in. I’m watching Z, ALB, APA, and CTRP. Broad market risks right now are very difficult. Since I’m obviously very risk averse, I’m still waiting for another serious dip.

There is speculation that people have been waiting to sell stocks this year, hoping for tax breaks that will be in force next year.

So January could be unusually bearish, but this week Congress suggested legislation maybe closer to 2019, and that’s partly where the market weakness came from in the last few trading days. Then there would be no point in waiting until January to sell.


Holiday Gaming!


Holidays. Vacation breaks. Good times. I already pre-purchased the Hearthstone expansion.

I’m very interested in CoD:WW2, since I’ve always preferred historical or diabolical shooters over other kinds, but I really want to buy CoD on the Blizzard launcher. Blizz added an Activision section to their launcher, featuring only Destiny 2, but that’s it.

Players are griping and DansGaming about this, but I’m fine. I really like the Blizzard launcher, except it is a bit of a resource hog. Are they going to add CoD? If so, I would rather have all my games on the Blizz launcher than have to load Steam.

That’s it. I’m trying really hard to get back to work on my game project. Next post will probably be post Kobolds and Catacombs. Happy holidays, and happy gaming.


The Dark Lord, And General Thoughts Of Doom

owl river preview image

In this post I ramble about LotRO’s Mordor xpack, gaming stocks, the end of the world, and my personal game project (screenshot above).


Gaming Stocks


Through summer I predicted the usual summer swoon, and in recent weeks it has happened. My 15% gains in my previous investments this summer, Netease and JD.com, dwindled to near zero, then bounced this week with a feeble pulse.

This shows the all-important point of buying as low as possible – so you don’t lose faith and get knocked out on the next pullback.

I bought half back into Google on this pullback (I sold all at a peak last spring.) I added a solid bid on the ROBO ETF, which is a worldwide ETF focusing on the robotics industry. That’s right – the same robots that will soon take all of our jobs and rule the world.

I might double up Google on a major market breakdown. I hate Facebook. Facebook is moving into original content now, pitting itself against everybody else doing that, including Disney. Disney (DIS) just announced plans to pull its content from Netflix and send it to two new proprietary streaming services coming in 2019.

The main growth driver of big U.S. tech stocks in the last two years has been the cloud. Google is coming late to ramp this up, and sentiment is turning against Amazon, offering the cheap seats of the sector.

My diversified GAMR ETF is up 9% in a couple months. I’m happy with that. I don’t think it’s beating Blizzard (ATVI), but Activision Blizz is overbought. They had a great run with Hearthstone and Overwatch together, and they simply can’t keep accelerating at the same rate. Interest will inevitably dwindle.

So currently I have 25-30% of my portfolio in China, mainly by virtue of 80-100% gains in Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY). I have the GAMR and ROBO ETFs, and a U.S. tech-heavy index fund. My only U.S. single stocks are Home Depot (scoring a hurricane cha-ching recently up 25%), NVidia up 50% (again), and now back into Google on the pullback/consolidation. And the final entry is Stryker (SYK) up 25%.

I’m watching the TAN and XLV ETFs (solar and healthcare). For two years I’ve been watching these industries. Trump promised death to solar and death to high health care prices (as did Hillary.) No reform has happened. Both solar and health care are moving. I’m also watching Albemarle (ALB), a major Lithium producer, because solar and robots need serious battery power.

Buying ALB (and any metals/commodities) have issues because of the extremely weak dollar. The dollar could easily keep dropping due to the inability of Draghi to do anything about the soaring Euro, and China purposefully strengthening its currency in the last few weeks. Still, at some point it will reverse.

I’m also watching the quintupling of Bitcoin this year, with morbid interest. I downloaded an app to buy some mid-summer during a pullback, but it shot so fast past my buy point that I didn’t pull the trigger. There is no 100% safe, fool-proof way for me to buy these currencies. That’s the problem.

My friend is currently mining Monero and Zcash in the mountains in New Mexico. I’m also watching this with interest, because I need a second job. Or something. My current ripoff low pay is ridiculous.


Mordor


I don’t play Hearthstone anymore. I’m on the verge of not playing LotRO anymore either. I finished Mordor and capped my characters on both accounts, and was happy with the expansion experience while dual boxing.

The solo Mordor is pitiless though. I play for a bit on my Warden and just log out. The endgame grind is confusing, over-complicated, and opaque.

The LotRO devs thought it was a good idea to offer good daily rewards randomly on some days, and bad ones on other days. I logged into LotRO tonight to play, and logged out fifteen minutes later. It’s a bad day for the dailies. No key. Just kill me.

Most of the work I did in the last two zones was quickly obsolete in Mordor. Everything I did over the summer was a waste of time. This leaves me angry. The LotRO devs over-pushed obsolescence, and now I feel stupid for running this hamster wheel for them. I know it will all be pointless in a few months, except for getting into the dungeons.

That’s all I want – to play dungeons, but I’m apparently not willing to invest hundreds of hours to get ready to have fun. I’m simply not logging in.

There are also no good, likable characters in this expansion. The evil leaders in Mordor are done well, but they are not your friends. And you can’t go fight them without spending hundreds of hours solo questing for purple junk to go in their dungeons, hopefully, eventually.

And then all that work will be obsolete again. Yes, everyone knows this, but I just finished a major Wastes grind at the end of July. I’m more in the mood to say fuck you than start all over again.


End of The World


Trump has to be the Anti-Christ. 90% of everything he says is a lie. The good news is the biggest hurricane ever is currently coming after his properties in Florida. So maybe nature is fighting back.

The bad news is that he is currently campaigning to do the age-old Republican tradition of tax reform AKA lining the pockets of the rich, at the expense of all the idiots and bigots who believe Trump’s lies and support him.

It’s unlikely we will survive the next four years without major disasters. That’s just the way the karma cookie crumbles.


Tunnels And Trolls, and My Personal Project


I just downloaded the T&T app that very recently released, to my tablet. I want to study the Tunnels and Trolls solitaire adventures to learn what made them fun way back in the day.

Currently it appears to be breaking my Android tablet Wi-Fi connection whenever it tries to update. But it updated on my iPhone, and I played Naked Doom. I ate hallucinogenic mushrooms and died falling into a chasm after being bitten by vampire bats.

I have a feeling the fun is the crazy situations in which your decisions make a big difference, and the results are wild. This design is difficult in a persistent campaign-type game.

You can’t just hand out a Heroic Sword +5 in your first adventure, for fun. The many ways to achieve instant death also have to be explained in my game world where your character is designed to emerge with some treasure and experience, and go on to the next story.

Today I sold an eBook, so my thanks to whomsoever purchased it. I published my first trilogy of novels two years ago on Halloween. My bilingual school of witches and wizards is already open for visitation, but my goal is to formalize that as of Halloween this year.

I’ve moved away from Greco-Roman mythology to the relatively British flavor of islands populated by elves and fairies. I’m on the fence about using Scottish and Gaelic names, however, since I’m trying to teach modern English. I deeply regret my stupid lack of imagination in this whole novel and game development process.

I’m a super smart person, but I am not a fun person. At all. So it’s an almost hopeless challenge to channel my playful side on a daily basis and try to entertain.

Sometimes I cringe at the literary success of young, relatively undeserving people with the right luck and connections, but I can understand how they are better writers than I am with popular fiction. I was probably a more inspired writer when I was twenty years of age, but I had no idea how to write good fiction.

Nowadays I know how to write, but no one cares. Even game blogging has become a popularity contest – among makers of video content.


Gaming Stocks Continue To Rip, But U.S. Markets Look Iffy

stock chart
Gaming companies reported excellent results this spring earning season, sending Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony, and NVidia yet again to all-time highs. NVidia and Netease (Blizzard’s partner in China) were both up close to 5% today.

Jim Cramer discussed NVidia at length today, noting the huge movement into artificial intelligence, and that NVidia (NVDA) is really the only pure AI investment opportunity. Google is in AI, but is much more diversified. NVidia killed earnings yet again in this quarter, and I’m up 25% already, again.

At this point, however, you may be a little too late for U.S. gaming equities in general this year. The old adage is: “sell in May and go away“.

Some indicators are showing a current slow-down in the U.S., great investor complacency ($VIX), and a narrowing market (fewer big stocks keeping it afloat), in addition to the upcoming seasonal weakness. “Bad!”

There are good opportunities for gaming stocks in Asia, however, which also avoid risks of Donald Trump insanity. Big money managers like Jeffrey Gundlach are pointing to Asia (emerging markets) as well in the last few weeks.

Sony ($SNE) and Netease ($NTES) are both breaking out as of last week, as shown in the image above, so lets look at those.

The image shows two types of buyable breakouts. Sony is breaking to an all-time high past levels the stock previously was rejected. Netease is breaking out of a three-month consolidating downtrend.

In my experience, the Netease breakout is far more reliable, which is demonstrated by the much stronger move out of the bounding trend line. Netease just reported strong earnings results, so there is less risk of a bad surprise for quite a while.

On the other hand, Netease distributes Blizzard’s games in China, while Sony has the Playstation. That’s kind of better. Sony is also more diversified and doesn’t have the threat of China’s government slapping regulations, investigations, or other problems on companies, so it’s a safer bet in many other ways.

If you look at Sony’s longer term chart below, you see the same big pullbacks as Netease current has, and then the results in the following months. The pullbacks would have been better times to buy. In my past couple years of focusing on the stock market, this pattern is gold. It works almost every time. If it doesn’t, you sell again before you take a significant loss.

stock chart

Barron’s recommends Sony. The Sony P/E ratio looks high, but Baron quotes 18 on forward-looking earnings. I bought Netease a few weeks ago as my first new investment since I re-bought NVidia a few months ago.

I still don’t think it’s too late on the Netease breakout, or I would not have made this post. I worry about over-exposure to Blizzard, but I’m not ignoring the NTES chart. I’m looking for more charts like it, actually, like the current chart for silver (SLV).

The SLV chart alone isn’t enough. The USD dollar collapsed in the past week, confirming weakness and supporting price of all commodities in $USD. Copper also has extended weakness despite some miner strikes, which pressures production. Silver production is partly a byproduct of copper production.

I’m starting to wonder if computerization of market trading (the trend towards computer programs managing investment funds) is creating self-fulfilling prophecies on these patterns that make them even more reliable. After all, traditionally, artificial intelligence tends to be very predictable. So, profit?

As far as gaming, I’m still playing Hearthstone. I made rank 15 this month much earlier than usual. I’m chipping away at golden Priest and max level Rogue.

My elf school game project is coming along very nicely. I’m not satisfied with incorporating Tolkien-style elves, or some random video game-style elf race, so I’m looking more at the Nordic tradition.

Since my game teaches Spanish/English, approaching white race issues is interesting. The game protagonist would probably be the equivalent of a ‘mudblood’ in Elfland. I’m currently reading The King of Elfland’s Daughter on Project Gutenberg.


Elf In Real Life: Drones, Romanticism, and Frankenfish

This was a horrible week to be an elf.

DemocracyNow! reported this week on video game skills used for military drones. Apparently games are raising the youth to be combat-trained for killing people. If your parents don’t like you playing games, eSports are a weak argument. Go with drones.

Authorized drones will be used for everything, especially spying and delivering things. Virtual reality goggles will make drones even more immersive, just like you’re flying right there personally, peeping into that window on the tenth floor.

Intel warned this week that too much government regulation of drones will cause them to export research to other countries. So the big corps are already pushing the government to give them no interference.

Meanwhile, Microsoft nags me every single day to update to Windows 10. This is for profit of course, never mind that this will break my $800 Adobe installation, since Adobe refuses to support my two-year-old software.

Microsoft and Adobe both want me to abandon the products I already paid for, switch to their cloud offerings, and pay them a lot more.

This week I watched the first two seasons of Orphan Black on Amazon Prime, which managed to trick me into a year-long subscription. I’ve always got confirmation emails from Amazon with no problem, but the specific email to warn me about my free trial expiration mysteriously went to my spam folder.

Oh, silly spam folder. It’s not like Amazon could predict that (sic). So they managed to auto-renew me for $100 with effectively no warning.

I’m pretty much disgusted by every big American tech company except Blizzard and Nvidia. My AMD video card software has been broken irreparably for the last decade. Apple is about ecosystem control, rich people, greed, and the bogus American dream. Google and Yahoo are advertising.

If AdBlock were banned, I would kill myself after using the internet.

Today I learned a new English word, which almost never happens. The word is apanthropinisation, which was coined in 1880 and appears defined as the act of withdrawing from the state of humanity, along with its turmoil and anxiety.

This seems like a 19th century word that an elf wannabe could resurrect and contemplate, but we have to be wary of over-romanticism.

Romanticism can be more hobbit-like than elf-like when we take things and try to exaggerate them, as if we were children, and overwork simple concepts into fantastic polysyllabic notions.

To ice the cake of my elf depression, I’m watching a Stephen Segal movie on Univision Mas right now. I’ve studied Spanish for thirty years to the point of full fluency. I originally wanted to move to another non-U.S. country, but I can’t stand hispanic culture.

Between the fight scenes, there are commercials for Baywatch reruns, and advertisements for a phone chat line featuring sultry women in lingerie. I really thought these things died decades ago. I used to think Mexico was decades behind the U.S., and some things don’t change.

Playboy recently announced that the magazine will no longer have nude photos in the U.S., but Mexico will still have nudes. I hope that proves my point if you’re still skeptical.

This week I literally started studying Chinese. So “nǐhǎo” amigos! In another three decades, I’ll be ready to retire to a hut in China. I mean a Pizza Hut, since I won’t have enough retirement money with my income.

I’ll have genetically engineered Frankenfish to eat though, so I suppose that’s something.