Monday, July 11, 2016

[Off Topic]: Gotta Catch 'Em All!

     Alright so, if you read the title, it's rather obvious what THIS post is about, isn't it? If not, than I'd like to mention that I'm going to talk all about the current obsession that has taken my town (and from the look of Facebook and other social media sites, the entire bloody country) by storm. Pokémon Go, to be exact. I'm not really a fan or a follower of the Pokémon genre. I literally know next to nothing about the story, the characters, the games, anything. Zip, zilch, nada. But I kept getting more curious as all my friends kept talking about it and exclaiming about it, how it's making them go outside more, how they are walking so much just to catch Pokémon. I thought, hey, that can't be a bad thing right? So yesterday when my co-worker came to work and started gushing about how she just downloaded the app and has been having all kinds of fun wandering around town to the pokecenters getting balls and such, I demanded to know what the game was about. So she showed me what it looked like on her phone, explained what everything was, and even managed to come across a Pokémon while explaining. After she caught the critter and told me about the points and how to lvl it up, I found myself eager to try the game out. She downloaded it onto my phone, I went home, and things went from there. After that, on the walk home from seeing the Purge at the Cineplex, I caught a magikarp, a pidgey, and a spearow! I was so proud of myself, and it was actually pretty fun! Also, I could see the towers in the distance beckoning to me, spurring me to walk further. Gotta catch 'em all, after all!
     So, in all seriousness, there is something to be said about this game. I've not seen as many people walking, jogging, or bicycling around town as I have these past handful of days. Not even exaggerating. And now every time I see a vehicle randomly pull over to the side of road, pause for a few moments for no apparent reason, then merge back into traffic just as randomly, I suspect that they have just caught themselves a Pokémon. With the wide range of new games, new computer software and intellectual activities one can become lost in online, or otherwise, it's actually really neat to finally see a game that encourages you to go out and exercise. And not just encouragement. But actually requiring you to walk around if you really want to be the master trainer. The more places around your town you visit, the more Pokémon you'll catch and level! The only downside, as far as I can see so far, is that it's a huge drain on your device's battery, as well as internet data usage, unless you stick to areas with Wi-Fi access of course. Also, it can cause a bit of a distraction, and kids aren't known for their awareness of surroundings at the best of times. Not to mention, some people take games a little too far and a little too seriously, and I'm not sure to what lengths someone would go to have the game, or prevent another from topping them. Or having someone take advantage of a Pokémon Go player who just wants to catch their next critter. I haven't seen anything negative that was true yet. A few fake stories about it causing deaths or car accidents, but again, it's in the early stages so who knows? All I can say is, a few of my co-workers, who are known to be a bit lazy and are pretty much housebound when not at work, have admitted to spending hours at a time outside, just walking around the park and the sidewalks. True, they are still playing a game, instead of interacting with nature or appreciating what's around them, but at least they are getting out there, getting some fresh air, and getting some much needed movement! So way to go Nintendo, for finally succeeding in doing what many parents the world over have despaired of accomplishing! Getting modern, tech-savvy teens and young adults to go outside. Don't complain!

     Since this blog entry seems to be all about the new games I've experienced lately, how about I mention another game I've recently downloaded and had the pleasure (or misfortune) to spend hours lost in. A game I've been following passively in Facebook that's been cropping up in my feed has been catching my eye because of its unique mechanics. Riders of Icarus, the game is called, and the premise of the game is....when you get down to it, a lot similar to Pokémon Go. me it is anyway! You level up your character and "catch" wild creatures to add to your arsenal. In Riders, as I have taken to calling it, you start out like any other MMORPG, and create a character. You can customize stuff, just like in other games. I chose a female Priest. I really like healing, and I wanted a character that I would feel useful with. Everyone always seems to need either healers or tanks in MMO's, so I was fairly safe in my choice. Pretty quickly into the game, you get to tame your first wild creature. It happens to be a pretty white unicorn pony. As I am rather a sucker for pretty things, immediately, I was sucked in. It's quite similar to Aion in a lot of things. Once you tame your creature, you can learn how to make it into a combat pet that will fight at your side, or a mount that you can ride around. You can also level up your pet/mount, and give it armor. You can also name it. There are literally hundreds of them out there, even special rare ones! You come equipped with a "bestiary" which is like a diary on all the beasts of the world that will explain to you and give you hints on how to tame a critter that catches your fancy. Some of them are easy and you just need to hop on their back and ride em out. Some of them require you to do special tasks first. In the first noob zone, for instance, there is a really cool looking spider that you can't get anywhere but in a special solo instance. In order to tame said spider, you need to have a special book in your inventory that only drops from specific sources and has a very low drop rate. If you have a lot of patience, these pets can be yours, and you can ride around in style! So far, I really like Riders of Icarus, and I am really enjoying the beautiful, flashy spells and the really nice armor. Already I've grown fond of a few NPC's as well, in particular a guy who rescues your character from jail at the beginning. He's rather mysterious (what I fancy in a guy lol) and dressed all in black feathered armor. If anyone knows anything about me, they know that I have a feather/wing fetish. Nope, not even gonna deny it. I love wings, and I love feathers, and I mean LOVE them. I've gotten my hands on every single movie/TV show I can find that features winged/feathered characters. If you know of any, please leave a comment too!! :) But back to what I was getting at before I went off on a tangent. The guy's name is rather apt, I'll say. He's simply called "Crow". And he definitely dresses like one. I wonder if he got his name from the armor he wears, or if he designed his armor after his name? Yes, I actually wonder such weird things about the games I play. Makes it more fun!

    Never fear though, Rift is still held in high fond regard in my heart. One thing I would like to point out about Riders though, that is a con, is how the movement of your character works. I'm quite fond of and quite used to using the arrow keys to move, because that's how I play in WoW and Rift. That's literally the only way I know how to play an MMO actually (shameful I know) and I'm also a clicker. I use my mouse to click the keys to cast my spells. Occasionally I'll hit the corresponding hotkey, but not often. Maybe it's just because I'm left handed. Maybe it's because I've always associated the arrow keys with moving, but alas, that's how I'm wired now. And in Riders, yes you can change the key binds. I did change the movement binds to the arrow keys, but it's subtly different in Riders then in WoW or Rift. In a way, it makes the game more realistic, but it's rather disorienting and frustrating for me. If you move your character left, your character does not immediately, turn sharply to the left. Especially when mounted, this becomes the most obvious and the most frustrating. Your mount will sort of lunge or dash to the direction you want to turn, instead of sharply just moving to that angle. I hope I'm explaining that right. Say if you were facing straight ahead, mounted, and you wanted to actually turn around and go to someplace that is behind you. You can't just quickly about face and go that way. Your mount will rear up, and prance around in that direction in a bit of a wide circle. Kind of like in real life. Animals, especially ones used for riding like horses, can't just immediately spin around. They have to make a bit of a circle to face that direction. And while it's kind of neat to be on a rearing, spinning animal, it does get dizzying for me. I get dizziness and vertigo really easily. There are some games that I can't even play because of this. Sadly, GW1 is one of them. And I love that game! So, there's my review of Riders. I've only played a few hours so far, and have made it to level 10 and the capital city. I've yet to get a flying mount, or anything "really cool" like a dragon or phoenix or what have you. But so far, I'm really liking the look of the creatures and the exotic feel of the setting. And the city is absolutely gorgeous. For me, the scenery, and the other creatures/NPC's etc. are just as important as game content. I'm pretty big on aesthetics.

     There's nothing else really to report about non-Rift activity lately, except for my resentment about not being invited to the Legion beta yet. Legion is WoW's next expansion. I'll try not to sulk, I suppose. I've been invited to every other beta, but not this one. Why Blizzard, WHYYYY!? Oh, and on the side, I'm definitely still working on cosplay! I have one in the works for My Little Pony (don't judge) where I did an original design of an warrior princess Luna and also designed an original armored warrior princess Celestia for my sister. We are going to wear them to this year's Edmonton Expo. I can't wait. I'm also in the middle of a WoW costume for this year's BlizzCon. This will my first year cosplaying a Horde character, and also my first Hunter cosplay despite hunters being my all time favorite class. Druids are my second, and Priests are pretty much right behind that, if not tied. I'll probably end up obsessed with Demon Hunters when Legion comes out, just like I was when Death Knight's were introduced in Wrath, but my love for them tapered off mid-Cata, so it might wane with the DH's as well. Who knows?

     And so I draw this post to a close. It wasn't really an interesting read, or anything related to Rift, but I had to mention a few things about my latest time-consuming adventures!
        Until next time, Dark out. :)

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