WRUP: Excerpt from the diary of Sir Harris Bellweather, farting explorer edition

    
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Our Hero

…It was at this late hour, with our nightly feast of beans fading into pungent memory, that the watchman sighted land off the larboard bow. After exacting discussion of why he needed to say larboard instead of port, it was decided that a small party would row out to greet any native cultures, and it was decided that we would bear no torches for fear of immolation. We departed in a skiff without a lantern, navigating only by the wind, the light of the stars, and the fact that the land had not so much been “sighted” as “run aground upon.”

After making our camp from native plants, leaves, and decidedly non-native packaged tents, we slept until morning when we broke our fast upon a broccoli omelette with a healthy assortment of cheeses. At this point we noticed the natives, who greeted us in our tongue and bid us welcome, saying that other explorers had already arrived and made contact. So we farted upon them in the name of the Queen.
-Sir Harris Bellweather, O.B.E., c. 1984

What Are You Playing will now follow after a brief intermission with biscuits.

This week’s bonus question: What’s your favorite part of the holidays that isn’t gift-related?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): ​Probably doing some Pokemon Go as usual, and certainly some Super Smash Bros Ultimate at the console party I attend, which is something I enjoy about the season. Seeing and cooking for friends and family is nice, especially when my time is so limited these days!

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Probably won’t be playing much this weekend – last shopping weekend before I leave for the holiday, after all – but I did score a big stack of meat (yes this sounds dirty, sorry) in Star Wars Galaxies this week and have a bit of food crafting to get going in my factories before I leave!

As for the bonus question? Yeah the gift part is my absolute least favorite, and I’m not big on Christmas in general, but I am a huge fan of Christmas lights. As in, I literally have fairy lights in every room of my house year-round. I love them that much. So December is basically fairy light heaven for me.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): The Battle Pass offered in Dauntless worked in that it brought me back to playing more frequently than usual, so I’ll definitely be chasing those related carrots as well as fight the cool new monsters. There’s also that whole CMA thing with Star Citizen to follow through with and some random Star Trek Online. I’m also likely going to get myself reacquainted with Monster Hunter World and the Charge Blade specifically, though I really wish it had better partying tools.

As for the bonus question: the food! I’m not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love to cook and boy do I love winter and seasonal meals. Stews, curries, soups, roasts, big ol’ hearty pies…yes.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): My usual Final Fantasy XIV antics, plus some Final Fantasy Type-0 and Granblue Fantasy, plus… you know, finishing out holiday shopping and so forth. That stuff. Things to do while watching the last season of Voltron, in short.

Honestly, my favorite part of the holiday season at this point is probably a combination of the winter break at school and the general number of in-game events to cover. FFXIV usually has some interesting glamour items in there, to boot.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I’ll be digging into holiday content in Lord of the Rings Online and FFXIV more likely than not, since there are plenty of cosmetics and goodies to be earned! I’ve also had my eye on Survived By to try that out one of these days…

As for my favorite part of the season, it’s definitely just immersing myself in the Christmas story and experiencing it in a personal and humbling way. Christmas Eve worship is always a very sacred and moving time for me, and this year I get the privilege of delivering the message to our congregants.

Your turn!

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Mr Poolaty

William SHATner

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thirtymil

I finally threw in the towel with Warcraft – it had been on-off since the start of BfA and now it’s a definite off. I think I’m slowly resenting the game design to the point where I’ll end up loathing it, so best I stop now.

Instead I’m back into Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve always liked their Christmas event although I can never be bothered with the Fish Boon Feast quest (too long and too much fishing), so I end up spamming the quest giver until she gives me a different one. Hence in the run-up to Christmas all my household hears from my PC is

“The Argonians of Histmire-”
“The Argonians of Hist-”
“The Argonians of Histmi-”
“The Argonians of Histm-”
“The Argonians of His-”
“Redguards of Bergama…” “That’ll do”

Also, Fallout 76 with friends. Except they’re all outleveling me, which means they’re playing extra during the week when we’re not together, which must mean they’re enjoying it. Which certainly salves my conscience for recommending a game that got so panned!

Bonus question answer – watching Lord of the Rings with the family. It’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition.

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Utakata

This week: I had enough of flatulent related stories. Just saying. :(

Also this week: Not much! Winding down for the big Ho, Ho, Ho Day. Focusing on alts. And watching my pigtails spin yarns. o.O

Have a great week and weekend folks! <3

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Sray

I’m doing a little bit of dabbling in Smash Bros, Just Cause 4 and Fortnite StW, but my main leisure activity these days continues to be watching anime. I just started my third attempt at watching Cowboy Bebop last night, and it looks like this shot might actually work. I’ve tried Bebop a couple times before and the first episode just bored the crap out of me both times; this time though something grabbed me and I’m legitimately interested in continuing it (not loving the music though: I’m actually finding the soundtrack a little too loud; could just be the mix on the English dub I guess).

Since it’s the time of the year for top ten lists, I figured I’d kick off my farewell tour of MOP with my favorite anime of 2017/18 that I’ve been watching instead of gaming. These shows are all available on Crunchyroll and/or Funimation, except for one from Amazon.

(wall of text incoming, you have been warned)

10. My First Girlfriend is a Gal – Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a rom-com (knowing this will help prep you for the top half of this list), and screwball harem comedies have always had my interest since discovering Ranma ½ over twenty years ago; and this one is a pretty decent version of a screwball harem rom-com, with a healthy dose meta-humor if you’re watching the English sub. This one differs from most harem comedies in that the central romantic couple is already dating by the end of first episode, so much the comedy comes out of what happens two people start dating and their separate pools of friends begin to merge. I enjoyed it, but have to warn any potential viewers that the first episode is terrible (you will hate all of the characters based on solely the first episode), yet a necessary evil to get to the comic gold and fairly sweet romance story that unfolds afterwards.

9. My Hero Academia – A Japanese version of the “super-hero high school” trope; this one is of course massively popular, and there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of it even if you never watch anime. It’s exciting and significantly better written than most other works made with teenage boys in mind; plus, it works well across cultures, which something that often is an issue with watching any sort of filmed entertainment from another culture. If you’ve been thinking of trying out some anime, this is a good starting point. And yes, Midoriya eventually stops crying… as much.

8. Cells at Work – Imagine that Sesame Street commissioned a Japanese animation studio to make a series of educational cartoons about the human circulation system by representing the blood system as a human city and all the cells as people. Then imagine that studio made that educational cartoon, but simultaneously turned it into a “kung-fu heroes fight evil monsters” anime. Do that, and you might be able to begin to picture what Cells at Work is like. It’s crazy; it’s educational (although some liberties are taken for the sake of entertainment); and it’s surprisingly good.

7. Interviews with Monster Girls – A slice of life series about a group of high school girls and a couple of their teachers, with the added fantasy element of these girls being supernatural beings (there’s a vampire, snow woman, headless girl, and one of the teachers is a succubus). The fantasy element is used as a stand in for being different from “normal” people: mostly representing disabilities; but also sometimes standing in for alternate sexualities; or just plain being different in some way. Dealing with the theme of trying to fit into the world when it wasn’t really designed for you, this is a series that manages to make relatively heavy material lighthearted and fun, with a good positivity vibe going for it. Highly recommended.

6. Recovery of an MMO Junkie– This is an excellent examination of anxiety and a very real video game addiction. At its core, this is a light rom-com, so it never gets too heavy; but we do get a good portrait of a person whose personal demons have driven them to intentionally withdrawing from society and into a MMORPG. Being a person suffering from anxiety disorder, and having once withdrawn into MMORPGs because of that (although not to the extent of literally becoming a shut in), this series really hit me right in the feels. There’s probably never going to be any further seasons of this one because of real life drama involving the series’ director, and the manga that it’s based upon was cancelled this past summer due to the creator’s poor health; so this might be the only taste we get of one of the most realistic looks at MMO life and drama that I’ve ever seen.

5. Zombie Land Saga – If you don’t know anything about this, I’m not going to tell you anything about it; except that yes, there are zombies and a girl singing group. The show was marketed while maintaining almost total secrecy about its plot, and I’m preserving that. Go in cold, without any knowledge of it.

4. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World – We got us another harem comedy, but this one brings along the added twist of also being in the “teen aged boy gets whisked away to a fantasy world that works like a MMORPG” (called “isekai”) genre. The isekai genre is dominated by mostly unimaginative adolescent male power fantasy about overpowered, saintly protagonists with zero personality meandering their way through some fantasy world, ostensibly with an objective to defeat some incredibly powerful evil being, but they never seem to actually make progress towards that goal. KonoSuba fixes the usual weaknesses of the genre by being a parody of it: occasionally a pretty mean spirited one at that, but the proceedings are usually funny enough that meanness is justified (and none of the characters ever really act out of malice, usually just spite). Loads of fun. Darkness is best girl.

3. Tsuredure Children – Another rom-com: get used to it ‘cuz that’s all of them from this point on. I have no idea how to pronounce the title, but this show is amazing. Told in a series of brief vignettes with a recurring set of characters all attending the same high school, this a bunch of stories of relationships in various stages all boiled down to their most important moments: all killer, no filler. It’s a sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and often kind of frustrating look at how hard it is to tell the ones we love how we feel because of how our insecurities get in the way.

2. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai – Part rom-com, part sci-fi/fantasy mystery. This is the story of a high school rebel who can’t/doesn’t “read the room”, and wouldn’t give a rat’s ass even if he did, who’s investigating the mysterious and supernatural “adolescence syndrome” while secretly dating one of Japan’s most in demand teen actresses, who was the first victim of the syndrome, other than himself and his sister, that he encountered. Kind of an “X-Files in high school” sort of thing, this is just damn fine television.

1. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – Hands down my favorite of the year, not even a competition. Yes, a rom-com. This one takes place with adults in their twenties and *gasp* thirties, working… get this… real jobs. It’s the story of two couples of otaku (fans of Japanese geek culture) who work in the same office, three of the quartet try to keep their proclivities secret, while the fourth doesn’t give damn. Contrasting one relationship just starting out with one that’s been going for a decade, it shows that no matter what, love is just plain hard for everyone; otaku or not. This one is on Amazon, thus it’s much more accessible to watch than the rest of the list, so go give it a shot: if nothing else, just watch the opening credit sequence, which is just pure joy transformed into sound and vision.

Honorable mentions go to Gamers! (absolutely hilarious, but it’s kind of the same plot in every episode, which becomes frustrating when binge watching), That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (good clean fun, but the first episode is pretty uneventful after the inciting incident), and Release the Spyce (I’d have given it number 10, but it’s on Hidive which is struggling in its infancy and has a lot of problems both technically and content-wise).

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing this past year more often than gaming. I know, it’s a gaming site, but whatevs…

Alrighty folks, have a safe and happy weekend.

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Sorenthaz

Forgot 0. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze :P

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Sray

The design aesthetic of JoJo makes it a no no for me. At least for now. Six months from now I might decide otherwise, because I do keep hearing how good it’s supposed to be; but for the time being I just can’t do it.

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Bruno Brito

Start with the older ones.

Being honest, Jojo is just too good, and the aesthetic grows on you.

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Sorenthaz

The aesthetic shifts from part to part. Not sure if you were bothered by the early designs (i.e. tons of musclebound dudes) or just the overall aesthetic, but by Part 4 (which arguably has the most interesting villain) the tone shifts and the design takes a heavy turn from the previous three.

Was mostly joking though since Jojo’s obviously a popular series.

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Utakata

To compliment, my top manga list for this year.

1) Land of the Lustrous
2) Children of the Whales
3) Bungo Stray Dogs
4) Tongari Boushi no Atelier (Atelier of Witch Hat)
5) Somali to Mori no Kami-sama (Somali and the Forest Spirit)
6) Ayakashiko

Surprise mentions:

1) World Trigger is alive again, as the author/artist has pick it up after a 2 year sick leave. I thought this series was dead for sure! >.<

2) It appears Princess Resurrection now has a “second season”. o.O

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Sray

I’ve been eyeing up the anime for Bungo Stray Dogs for a while now, so that’s probably going to land on my queue sometime in the next couple months, but there’s so much to I still want to try to wade through.

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Utakata

I know the first 3 on my list have anime versions as far as I am aware. :)

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

What do you mean, your “Farewell tour of MOP”? Are you movingto Mars? Has another gaming website kidnapped you? Are we putting too much pressure on you to stay?

Seriously, though, you don’t have to “officially leave” if you’re off gaming for a while. You can come and go as you like, when you like. No vanishment required.

Cheers,

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Rees Racer

I appreciate all the recommendations. I consider myself a fan of the genre, but have not really watched anything new the last couple of years. My passion for anime comes and goes, like slowly crashing waves of interest. There’s quite simply so many things vying for attention, and with Summer just round the corner here in the southern hemisphere, the outdoors beckon, too!

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Zora

Lot and lot of SWTOR, although it’s going to be very little of (what little) the new planet brings and lot of mixed things… seems like it’s really crowded, whether it’s season, new stuff or it was to begin with and I was the one not playing regularly.

I’ll take it. Maybe fool around with PS4 to distract the resident domestic menaces round here

And absolutely ignore the terrorists of every size and age attempting at my pretty xmas tree… I know the pretty lights are tempting but no… stop pouncing it… all three of you, thank you <3

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kieranbunny

welp…dis wabbit is goin to play some Lotr and Path of exile..possibly some WoW(have some RL friends that want me to play wif em)Da bunny fambly had combined Thanksgiving/Xmas earlier in November..was fuuun! ==(:*D Me boy is a gamer( dat’s me fault..he’s special needs and one of his disabilities is in his vision. so many moons ago me got him a Nintendo to help wif his hand/eye coordination..it worked..he can play da heck outta games and loves em(much to his mommabunny’s chagrin)Some light xmas shoppin as me boy got what he wanted for xmas alrd(his Big sis got him sumpin real special) Me introduced him to The hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books many moons ago(used to read em to him at bedtime)He loves the movies(yes..with all their flaws) so you can imagine how he felt when his sis and her S.O got him A United Cutlery replica of Anduril(the sword of King Aragorn)..danged thing is taller than he is..LOL! but he loves it!!
As for the bonus question..it’s fambly..it’s the time when we can take a few steps back from the “dailiness” of our lives and just BE Together..and love on each other..is the bestest time! That’s me Xmas wish for all of you..that you will have a Blessed time with those you love. ==(:*D

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Bruno Brito

Can i say again that we got a rabbit and i’m happy with it?

Cadaver
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Loyal Patron
Cadaver

Playing LotRO but can’t bring myself to do the Yule festival thing right after the Autumn festival. So I’m taking my hunter off to the Trollshaws and then maybe back to Evendim and Annuminas to finish off some old quests and deeds.

Ignoring Christmas as best I can. A few gifts for young relations and some donations are enough for me. My blooming pohutakawa makes for a no-effort Christmas tree.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Project Ascension just launched Season 2 – fresh server with new custom rules. So Im leveling in Wildcard mode. PA is classless realm where you can choose any abilities and talents from any class, making your own build. And in Wildcard its not you who decide which abilities to pick, game picks them for you randomly. Its awesome fun, a real challenge and people discuss in world chat what crappy builds they got all the time.
I was lucky with RNG from start (got sinister strike, lighting bolt, earthbind totem, moonfire) but Im now 36 and still dont have any heals. Not even conjure food/water. So every food/water i find is precious since money is in deficite, you need it for mount and other stuff.
Also got 2 ressurect skills. Doh.

Here is PA S2 preview:

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Loopy

Man if Blizz wasn’t coming up with the official classic servers, i would make my home right here. Such an awesome project.

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

Forgot the Bonus Question — I don’t really care about receiving gifts any more, but I do love the decorations, the lights, and quite a lot of the music!

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nobleeinherjar

Who is Sir Harris Bellweather, O.B.E, and where can I read more of his exploits?

BELOW finally released after it going from my most-anticipated indie game, to “what the hell happened to Below?”, to forgetting the game existed at all. Now that it’s out, I’ve had a wonderful time playing it.

I’ve also been putting my new GPU through its paces. I bought the PC version of Monster Hunter World, reinstalled Black Desert, and played the demo of FFXV to see how they all held up. And I’m very pleased with the results. If I can catch FFXV on a good sale, I’m going to rebuy it on PC.

I’m also playing LOTRO with a friend. It’s been pretty fun. LOTRO has some old-school sensibilities that I really enjoy.

Bonus answer: The rare times it gets cold enough for a fire. Also, my best friend is pretty anti-social, but he loves Christmas time because he loves Christmas music and Christmas movies. This time of year always puts him in a fun, out-going mood, and that always makes me happy to see.