Cave Clutter: Playing catch-up

Summer is in full swing now here in the Great White North which means hot and humid days, plenty of sunlight, pollen, and bugs. Others might love it but let’s just say I quietly worship the guy who invented air conditioning. The thunderstorms are pretty awesome though.

Since my last Cave Clutter post, I’ve found myself drifting away from MMOs and playing single-player games that I’ve been wanting to play for a while and never got around to it. Because I have fallen very behind on a lot of games. Everyone else plays these games as soon as they come out, whereas I get distracted by MMOs and don’t get around to the others for years. So I think it’s about time that I play catch-up.

The Elder Scrolls Online

The one MMO I have been spending a good deal of time in is ESO. I am very happy to report that all the annoying bugs that were in the beta were fixed before they launched the game. There’s still the rare glitch where something won’t spawn, but relogging switches you at another instance where it’s working fine.

However, the bugs were replaced by something almost as annoying: gold spammers. They used to spam ridiculously long paragraphs in zone chat and /yell before Bethesda instituted a character limit. Now they send mails to everyone because mail is free to send. Easy to delete but still eyeroll-inducing. I’m hoping that Bethesda gets better at banning them, or at least makes it easier to report them.

Spammers aside, it’s still a wonderful game, one that I see entertaining me for months to come. For one thing, it’s an absolutely beautiful game. The graphics quality is very close to that of Skyrim. The pictures below are of Auridon in the Summerset Isles.

Auridon Auridon

I have four characters so far, one for each class. My main character is a level 23 Redguard templar named Ruy’lah. I currently have her specced as a tank-ish solo character who can also heal and do some damage. Sort of like a prot pally from WoW I suppose. Besides her, I have a Nisaara the dual-wielding Khajit Nightblade, Aerll Oakcairne the Nord Dragonknight who specializes in two-handed weapons, and Mah-Sil the Argonian sorceror healer. All of them sit at level 7 or 8. I’d eventually like to create even more characters because there are so many options when it comes to playstyle. For example, I found a sorceror build someone had made of a lightning-throwing “shaman” tank which sounds like a blast to play. For now though, I’m going to limit myself to just these characters so my altoholism doesn’t run rampant.

Mass Effect 2 & 3

I last mentioned that I was about halfway through Mass Effect 2, and now I have completed it and Mass Effect 3.

All I can say is…wow. The Mass Effect series now ranks as one of my favorite all-time games. I never thought I could find something that would give Neverwinter Nights a run for its money but Mass Effect certainly did. The setting is vast and complex, the storyline is compelling and wonderfully crafted, and the characters have depth and are very well-written. I don’t know how much Bioware spent on voice actors but it was worth every penny. Having each line of dialogue voiced (including Shepherd’s) really brought the characters to life. And because any characters that didn’t die were brought over to the next game, it felt like I had known each of them for years by the end.

My FemShep
My FemShep

I won’t give any spoilers but I will say that the ending was bittersweet for me (yes, I had the extended cut). I wanted to save everyone because I was so emotionally invested in them all. So the final decision was very tough. I’ve pretty much made up an alternative ending in my head of the “and they all lived happily ever after” sort because screw it, I can do that. And once everything was said and done, I was sad because this was the last I’d ever see of these characters. Sure I could play through the games again but that wouldn’t tell me what happened afterwards to all of them. Bioware said there will be more Mass Effect games but they won’t include the same cast. I hope that any future games will be amazing as well but in my mind, it will be very hard to meet the level of awesomeness that was, for example, FemShep or Garrus.

Pretty please can I have this armor?
Pretty please can I have this armor?

I imagine that one day down the road, I will play through the entire series again. It’s very unusual for me to play through a game multiple times but hell, I love this series too much not to.

Dragon Age: Origins

After completing the Mass Effect series, it only makes sense to move onto another great series from Bioware: Dragon Age. I had purchased DA:O a long time ago and played through a good chunk of the story…only to abandon it for years. Since it has been such a long time since I last played and I can’t seem to find my original savegame anyways, I decided to start over. I’ve only managed to fit in a few hours so far but I think I’ll have a lot of fun. I picked a Human Noble rogue for the sole reason that it bothers me if I can’t pick locks. (Remember how anyone could do it in NWN, Bioware?)

With any luck, I’ll finish DA:O and DA2 before DA3 is released in October. Then *gasp* I will actually be caught up on a game series BEFORE it finishes. What a novel concept for me.

So if anyone needs me for the next little while, I’m off killing darkspawn (and saving the world yet again).

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