September to December 2016

The seasonal edition.

‘Tis the season to remember all of the things I’ve done over the last three months. Some of them were pretty good, too. I’d usually post these on the last posting date of the month (which in this case would be the 30th of December), but as this is the last post I’ll be writing this month (and this year) I brought it forward. This way things can transition as they normally would. You just get this post a little earlier, which, to be honest, isn’t an entirely bad thing if you’re enjoying my creative pursuits.

They’ve been surprisingly prominent for the entire year.

Then again, I’ve also had some great gaming content recently. Starting with the wonderfully enjoyable (yet incredibly cheap) Ember, leading to the exploration of the inner workings of my mind (and Cities: Skylines) in Salston Heights, followed by my observations regarding two very interesting titles through both Lost Castle (First Impressions) and Chronicon (First Impressions). I managed to squeeze a couple of JRPGs in there, too. Heavenly Pudding looks at something new while An Evolving Narrative looks at something old. We also had a brief look at the history of every video game ever through Evoland II in Nostalgia Lane.

I even spent some time with Moggie and friends to work on some of the things that I’d started with the previous subscription. It worked out better than expected with most of my long term goals being met quite quickly. Which, in turn, further reduces the number of things I’d like to do before we venture into the content that Legion offers.

Traditional art has been the sole focus of my creative pursuits recently. I’ve enjoyed bringing together different elements and new techniques in posts such as Equal Opposites, Aquatic Owl, Fishy Abomination, Murky Lioness, Leafy Green, Acrylic Ambitions, and Beastly Practices. It also seemed like a really good time for Fruity Nostalgia. Likewise, it was a great time to look at the process of Building an Abomination. Truly an interesting selection of wonderfully diverse posts.

We’ve seen a number of pieces reach my personal site, too.

The first was one that came as a surprise as I didn’t expect the scanned version to sway my opinion as much as it did, but you can decide for yourself when you see Failed Tree Attempt #206. To show appreciation to those who supported my digital painting efforts I slightly updated and finalised the Final Fantasy related “Wark! Wark!”, which was followed by (another Final Fantasy staple) Bomb. I also wrote the first Artist Feature post I’ve done in a while, in which I looked at the wonderfully adorable and exceptionally talented Laura Jane (and her gorgeous traditional art illustrations). They’re always a lot of fun to write (and to see the reception of).

Which brings us to the end of this post and this year of content on Moggie @ WordPress. If you’re curious about how the entire year has looked check this Tweet. It should give you all the statistical data your heart can handle, or, at the very least, a better insight into what I’ve posted. Which is just as good, right?

Have a nice Christmas, all!

Moggie

Ember

Awaken once more to a world in peril.

Ember is an impressive fantasy RPG in which, you, the last of the Lightbringers, must unite the three races and reawaken your dormant abilities. You were a great hero who was killed in a war many years ago, but have since been resurrected by a secretive order who believe you are the last hope for the world of Domus. You’ll need to learn much of the world, of who you were, and of the Embers. You won’t be alone, though. There are three others who will offer their services on the journey ahead. Each with their own area of expertise.

Character creation is incredibly fluid in Ember. The Lightbringer begins with balanced attributes and no particular specialisation, with each level offering the opportunity to spend two points in any of the four attributes you feel are most appropriate. Party members have their own classes which loosely define their roles and their attribute points can be automatically invested.

Or you can decide how best to develop each character.

Active and passive abilities are all tied to the equipment the characters are wearing. There are three possible active abilities and two possible passive abilities per character, with each piece of equipment providing something from a different pool of abilities. For instance, ranged weapons will always sample from a pool of abilities exclusive to that item class. You won’t find the same abilities on armour. In this way, you can create diverse character builds. I built my Lightbringer around heavy two-handed weapon damage with healing, while Coren, the Warrior, held the line with high health and several crowd control abilities. Later in the story you’ll even be able to buy these abilities via Runes which can be freely attached to your equipment.

Ember also features a myriad of crafting systems. Crafted equipment is generally superior to everything else (of an equivalent level) available anywhere else, while brewed potions are also surprisingly useful. Cooked food is often completely superior to potions in the earlier areas, too. It’s a really satisfying crafting system. It’s quite simple, it’s easy to manage, and the only drawback is that it’s quite confusing figuring out how you craft items until you reach the Farmlands. As that is the first place (that I’m aware of) that sells patterns and molds.

There are a range of quests to undertake, too. Everything from exploring dusty caves, to visiting cities, to hunting down villainous curs. Exploration is encouraged as there are many side quests, random events, and hidden treasures to discover. I was impressed by how freely I could explore the world around me from the moment I left the starting area.

I was equally as impressed by the number of things that could kill me.

I finished the main campaign with every side quest (that I know of) in just over twenty hours. I’d say this was a fair amount of time for the price paid. I’d also suggest that there is a fair amount of replayability in this title. It was a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that was a pleasure to experience. Oddly humorous at times, too. Ember is definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made this year and one that I can easily recommend. I wanted to record some footage of combat, exploration, and the like for just that reason. I’d like you to be able to see all of these things for yourself and make a decision based on whether you think it looks fun to play. I’ll admit, the footage leans a little heavily on combat- but there’s a lot of combat to be had!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

June to September 2016

It’s that time again.

I like these posts. Not only because they highlight the content I’ve posted over the last three months, but because they remind me of the things I’ve done. Which is especially useful if (like me) you do a lot of things and often forget which you did when. Or where you did what. Or any other combination of perfectly confusing words. It’s been an interesting few months, too. While there has been a lot of gaming content there has also been a fair few digital work in progress posts.

Final Fantasy XIII was quickly becoming a topic of conversation in Old Haunts and then later in Adventuring on Gran Pulse. The sequels were also making an appearance with Paradox Police, The Ballad of Caius, and Beacon of Salvation. We also had Fall of the Dungeon Guardians (First Impressions) earlier in the month to keep things interesting.

There was a slight change to social media, too.

With the events of Eight Months Lost leading to Collection Clear and the removal of my Google+ page. It was an unfortunate turn of events, but I still believe it was the correct decision regarding the situation given how everything had unfolded prior to that point. On a positive note, I also celebrated my Ten Year Anniversary in September. Then very recently I looked at where things were, where they were going, and how to get them there in Plotting Progress. The first post of its kind in quite some time. The last three months have seen more changes to the collection of sites than prior months have, but these are changes I would have made sooner or later. In this case I chose sooner.

We’ve had a few more gaming adventures, too. Exploring the challenges found within Dark Souls II via Shieldless in Drangleic, taking a first look at a rather promising RPG in Ember (First Impressions), and even returning to Titan Quest with the Anniversary Edition to enjoy the Skirt Wearing Weather. Surprisingly we also saw the return of World of Warcraft for a six part series of posts. Exploring the range of changes introduced in Mists of Pandaria, the changes from Warlords of Draenor, and even the changes from the Legion pre-expansion patch.

There’s been a few months of creative experimentation as well. Undead River brought new life (pun intended) to an older inspiration, while Fluffy Chops and Leopard Warlock began to explore the many hours of investment in that particular digital painting. I’m still unsure as to whether digital painting is ever going to be something I can fully commit to, though.

Liquid Orc holds my thoughts on that subject.

I think you’ll agree that we did have a little of everything over the last three months. I have a few things planned for early October, too. So there’s going to be at least a little more gaming content before this year is out. I’ve also done some watercolour painting recently that went surprisingly well. So it’s likely we’ll see some of that as well. I’m not entirely sure, though. I’m still slightly annoyed that many of the digital pieces mentioned above are still unfinished. Also that they’re likely to stay that way. So maybe I’ll try to get something done with one or two of those, if not to finish them then to at least bring them to a satisfactory standard for posting on my personal website.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

First Impressions of… Ember

To embrace the Embers once more.

Ember is definitely one of the more interesting purchases I’ve made this year. It’s an RPG in a similar vein to CRPGs of old, where you take up the mantle of the very last Lightbringer who was once dead but is now resurrected as the world needs you once more. In this way the character customisation is quite fluid. As you don’t really remember who you were, or what you did, or how you did it- so you’re free to build yourself anew. Even the initial choice of which weapon to take up has no impact on what character you’re going to be.

Characters are defined by both their attributes and their abilities.

The attributes are fairly self explanatory with Strength for tough brawlers, Dexterity for nimble hunters, and Intellect for those of magical inclination. There’s also Vitality which simply increases your maximum health. Levelling up will provide your Lightbringer with two points to spend in those attributes, while party members can be automatically assigned their points if you’d prefer to build them as they were intended to be built. The abilities that your characters will learn (for lack of a better word) are tied to their equipment. For instance, you can find a mace that gives you a powerful sundering attack that stuns all nearby enemies. However, once the mace is unequipped so too is the ability. So equipment has more importance than just statistical gains.

It’s an interesting system with the only current drawback being that you might be limited to only three abilities per character. You don’t seem to have space for more on your bar, nor does it make sense for there to be more unless jewellery can also provide skills. But it’s a flexible (and enjoyable) system that encourages experimentation and diverse character builds.

There be bears in this here forest.

There be bears in this here forest.

For further customisation there’s also quite an extensive crafting system. Recipes can either be purchased from merchants or discovered through experimentation, with the results of crafting often being much more powerful than what is available otherwise. Cooked food seems to fully restore health and some even provides buffs to the character. I can’t say whether the same could be said of crafted equipment. But it does seem that crafting is meant to provide better results than simply buying from merchants or finding things out in the world.

Speaking of the world- it’s pretty huge.

I’m quite impressed that they’ve allowed you to explore without restriction in the earlier areas. I was expecting to be linearly pushed through a series of quests towards a particular location, then allowed to explore the rest of the areas I’ve passed through later. Instead I’ve been lost in a forest for two hours collecting equipment, fighting enemies, and exploring various locations. Most appealing of all is that I can actually be killed. Some of the enemies are quite tough (and some out of my level range). So there is an element of danger in exploring too deeply in certain locations. It’s a pleasant change from being completely immune to danger and unable to make choices for the first five hours of the adventure.

Arguably one of the best parts of this title is that even at full price it’s only £6.99 on Steam. That’s an absolutely insane price for a title that seems to be making good on its promise that there’s going to be a lengthy campaign, a gorgeous world, and adventure abound for recently resurrected Lightbringers. If you like RPGs- give it a go! You likely won’t be disappointed!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie