Blade & Soul Review

Approximately a week into playing, and having played every day for a few hours, I’ve generated a decent enough idea of how I feel about Blade & Soul. So, here is my brief review of Blade & Soul.

Blade & Souls Classes & Races | Source: 
  1. Characters [Class, Race, Creation, and Other]

As of now, I have three characters: a force master Yun, a summoner Lyn, and an assassin Jin. I absolutely love all three of my characters. I loved making them, I love the classes, and I love playing them. The character creator in B&S is amazing and I love all of the customization options. They also make it very easy to see your character in different lights, settings, and even a size comparison to other character races.

The character creator is easily described as in-depth. (Although I think Black Desert Online, upon release, will out-do the B&S character creator.)

My biggest gripe when it comes to characters is the fact that you only start with 2 character slots. With so many class choices, and all of them ridiculously fun, I can’t help but be a little bit upset at the small amount of slots. Now, I’ve played a lot of MMOs and I feel like this is the most restrictive game I’ve ever played when it comes to character slots.

2. Combos & Battles

This has to be the primary reason that I love this game. It plays different than your typical MMO and is very combo based. Of the three classes I’ve tried, my favorites are the ones that have tricky combos and interesting mechanics.

Sure, who doesn’t love occasionally wrecking everything you come across as the summoner? But there is an undeniable appeal to the hard work in a drawn-out battle that requires some skill in mechanics.

Honestly, I’m not even into PvP but I can see why Blade & Soul has a huge e-sports PvP scene in Korea. Battling is plainly just fun.

3. The Story

Jiwan: The Righteous Blade | Source:

When I first started playing, I never expected to be so invested in the story. The story is amazing and it’s a shame some players skip right over it.

Yes, the story (and game for that matter), are very VERY anime but even if you aren’t a huge anime fan the story is great. No spoilers- but there are moments that tugged at my heart strings and moments that motivated me to anger in response to some characters. I haven’t come close to finishing the story yet, but I look forward to continuing to follow the story.

Of course, all that said, the story does not give reason for there to be many copies of yourself running around in the world. In fact, it is almost better suited for a single-player game as your character plays a role of the archetypal “chosen one.” But, despite this very obvious short-coming, I still feel that the story enriches the experience of Blade and Soul.

4. Cash Services and Shop

Now, I know that cash services and shops are necessary for games to continue being hosted and developed and taken care of, but I’m a little bit salty about the cash services. In general, they aren’t terrible. Things appear to be mostly reasonably prices and the items in there are fair.

However, I don’t feel like they were prepared for launch. I had bought coins and never received them and I was far from the only person. Aside from that, I still don’t think there should be only two character slots.

But overall, those are my only real gripes with the cash shop.

Have you played Blade & Soul? What are your thoughts on the game?


The Draw of MMOrpgs

My New Blade & Soul Character

I’ve decided to dive back into the world of MMOrpgs. Well…. sort of? I haven’t been playing them much in the past few years but I recently had to do a lot of research on the best MMOs coming out this year for an article I wrote for another website and it made me very excited to play them again – all of them. Or, at least, the good ones.

I’m going to explore the main reason I want to return to MMOrpgs and the games that I’m trying to spend some time playing – hopefully to find the proper fit. Anyone have any suggestions?

The community has always been the biggest draw of MMOs to me. So, by returning to games I’ve played very little of before, I’m hoping to find community again because it’s not like I have an entire community of friends on them anymore. I’ve made some of my best friends on the MMO Mabinogi during my high school years and now that I’m older, and the genre is older, the culture of MMO interactions has seemed to change.

Many of the interactions now are utilitarian. Gone, it seems, are the days where individuals spontaneously begin conversation. Dungeons are silent, guilds are “hellos” and “goodbyes”… occasionally, and party chats are purpose-driven only.

That being said, my most recent MMO experiences have been on World of Warcraft where much of the community-aspect seems to have been shut down by the automatic party finders and the community that, though still large, is non-committal and doesn’t seem to fill the world as much as it used to.

But maybe it’s the nostalgia that leaves me hoping that one day I’ll join a guild again where there is a small community of people who just casually talk to each other while playing. (Maybe I just need to find the right game or make my own guild again.)

I spent this last week downloading (or redownloading) all the MMOs that I know to be good or that I’m interested in trying (again or for the first time). But I only consistently play any ones with my already-established online friends (well, really just my boyfriend and his best friend).

But really, there’s nothing quite like the MMO community (when and if you find it).

New Tera Character – (Trying Clothes)

I’ll be switching between a few MMOs I think over the next month or two. Right now I’m trying to play Blade and Soul, Tera, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Archeage.

I’m jumping around between the few but am open to playing others and with other people. Any suggestions? Feel free to comment, I would love to read them!

Stonehearth: A Short Alpha Review


Stonehearth | Souce:

I will admit, I haven’t played as much Stonehearth as I would want before making a review, but I absolutely love this game and wanted to share it.

The game sat on my wishlist for a long time before I finally got around to buying it and I’m glad that I did. Still in alpha stages, the game is far from finished but I’m happy that I will get to be a part of its development and I will get to actively watch the game grown over time.

-And believe me, the game is growing.

I’ve spent some time watching the development streams and am astonished at how dedicated Radiant games is. On their website, they have a road map including a multiplayer aspect, game master, world generation, monsters & denizens, classes, buildings, engine & tech. (Found: here)

The team seems very focused on listening to their community and making a very interesting and fun game that I would highly recommend. Although, if bugs and kinks bother you, you might want to wait until the game is fully released to buy the game. If you like to be a part of something as it grows from development, I suggest jumping on the wagon now.

Either way, you can check it out on Steam and see what you think or, if you want to see the game before playing it, check out the dev stream on twitch: here.

I hope to be able to give a better review in the future when there are more features and as I follow the development of the game. But, for now, I’ll leave it at this.

Have you tried Stonehearth? Let me know your thoughts!

Why Video Games Aren’t Childish

According to a study done by Pixwoo, a gaming social network, the average gamer is approximately 30-35 years old. (**More stats are cited here on the average gamer, if you’re interested.) Interesting, since the stereotype is either an obnoxious 12 year old kid or a grown man living in his mother’s basement, but the survey shows that both of these are far from that.

Statistics aside, I remember seeing a post on facebook a while back accusing gamers of “not growing up” and becoming a man (or woman). This accusation bothered me. What about gaming makes so many people think it’s childish? Can’t we game and have a perfectly normal life? Is gaming just a hobby? Are hobbies childish, then? Is anything that we get immersed in, enjoy, do in our free time, etc. childish?

I think it’s seen as childish partly because of the stereotype associated with gaming: having no life. The reality is so much different but for some reason people associate gaming with people who can’t socialize, work, or survive on their own. If we look at the actually picture of a gamer the situation is so much different.

Myself as an example, I’d an full time college honors student taking anywhere from 16-18 CH a semester, I work 10-15 hours a week, I’ve been active in clubs, I volunteer, and do a slew of other activities. On top of all of that, I also game at least once a day for several hours a day, if I can. I don’t think that doing so knocks me down a few maturity levels and automatically makes me a childish person. As I said in a previous blog post, I game because I love all the different aspects of it: the story, world, community, character building, etc. etc.

Maybe it’s the addictive quality of video games that makes it something people perceive as childish? We picture gamers who can’t, don’t want to, or won’t get up and pursue real life interests just because they’re gaming. Which, I also think is a common misconception. You can argue the addictive quality of video games (WebMD has an article that points to it here, but they also state that 80% (approx.) of people can game just fine). However, I think that less people are “addicted” than everyone seems to assume. As for the children and adults that are addicted, however, I think there’s arguably a lot more to the situation than statistics let on. But that’s my opinion.

Overall, I think video games are a modern hobby/past time that just happens to have a lot of  negative connotations. I think people need to push past their stereotypes of gamers and understand that there’s more to it than just hitting and killing things.

I’m not childish, less educated, or less than anyone for spending my time gaming in the same way that not all jocks are stupid and not all people who knit are old ladies. I think those who judge gamers need to push past their stereotypes, preconceived notions, and judgments and recognize gaming as something a mature, responsible person can do and not be considered a child for doing it.

**This article gives a small critique of the study.

Indie Games

I am by no means an expert on Indie games. I have only recently been more heavily traversing the world of indie games while browsing online. I can’t give any full reviews or talk too much at length about the topic. But I’d like to touch on it a little bit.

Now, I’ve played Minecraft back when it was still technically an “indie”. Obviously, now it isn’t. But it’s one of the finest and most well-known examples of an Indie. In addition to Minecraft, I’ve also picked up a couple random self-labeled indie games and given them a shot. That’s about the extent of my Indie-playing.

I think Indie games are overall a major hit or miss. Before I buy them I try to look up reviews and gameplay.

Last night, even, I was considering buying an indie called “Forced”. (The indie studio that made it has a very interesting story if you want to read it: here) It got my attention because it was 85% off on Steam, a co-op, and had mostly positive reviews. It looked at least somewhat interesting and is a play style I’ve never necessarily tried before. So I decided to go for it. My friends and I played about 40 minutes last night before retiring. Though that certainly isn’t enough to get a good idea about the game my overall impression is just like the reviews – mostly positive. Though the controls are something to get used to I find the game to be pretty polished for an indie game. I want to play more and get to the harder levels before I have a final opinion on the game. The first few levels were pretty easy, but according to the actual reviews the game is going to get much harder later on down the road.

It’s sometimes hard to tell if an Indie game is going to be worth it or not. I think that the majority of the time you’re going to be going out on a limb when buying an Indie. Sometimes, this is incredibly rewarding while other times it can be very disappointing. But, I think if you’re going to try them out you’re going to have to be prepared for it to go either way.

Of course, you can always make an educated purchase of an indie game by researching it and paying attention to reviews that you trust. (In the future I hope to be reviewing all sorts of games, including Indie titles!)

What indie games have you played? Are you overall impressed by them or disappointed? Would you buy indies again? Which ones would you recommend? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

Reading in the New Year

unnamedAt the start of 2014, I set a goal for myself to read 50 books. Needless to say, I didn’t quite reach that goal between work, school, and (honestly) getting distracted by video games.  However, I did get halfway there. So I’d say I did pretty good.

Last year I read some really great books (The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin to name a few). On the flip side, I also read some pretty awful books some of which I had to force myself to read through. Thinking back to how many books I wanted to read, and how few I actually got through, I remember something that one of my professors said along the lines of “don’t waste your time on bad books”. You can only read so many books in your life time.

Last year, I only read ~25 books. That really isn’t a lot when you consider all that you want to read. When I pick up a book, I really want to finish it. (Completionist…) But I think I need to learn when to give up on a book and set it aside and when to truck on and see the book through.  I don’t want to waste my time on lackluster books that turn me off from reading but there are also many books that simply take a while to get off the ground.

In any case, I’ve set a more modest goal this year of 30 books.

Some of the books that I’m really excited to read this upcoming year are:

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  • A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • The Hamlet by William Faulkner

Are there any books your looking forward to reading in the New Year? Have any reading suggestions? What are some of the worst books you’ve read this past year? Do you regret the time spent on them or are you glad you stuck through, just so it was completed?

“Start. See What Happens.”

About a year ago, I went to listen to someone speak on campus and the main remark I remember from that entire hour was the speaker’s favorite quote:

“Start. See what happens.”

Too often, I, at least feel like “I’m not ready” for whatever it is I’m trying to do. But if not now, when will I ever be ready? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year, even?

I put off writing all the time because I don’t feel I’m ever ready. I have literal notebooks upon notebooks full of ideas, plans, character sketches, world building, and the like for the things I dream of writing but never feel prepared or qualified enough to write.

The same thing goes for starting a blog. I put off this blog for years (and even had a false start or two) simply because I never felt prepared. But if not now, then when will I ever be? Sometimes, the most important thing is simply to start and see where it goes.

There are generally two thought processes regarding new years resolutions: the people who are all for resolutions and starting new things and then those who are pessimistic about this whole “New Years Resolution” thing simply because it fails so frequently.

In my opinion, even if you fail and fall flat on your face, at least you tried. So, it may sound cliché, but I want to encourage others as well as myself to try new things and take risks this year.

Start. Then see what happens from there.

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