All posts by bartmoss

GW2: World Completion

I finally made it – I completed all vistas and skill challenges, found all Points of Interests, viewed all Vistas, and got World Completion. Took me “only” three years, but to be fair I took extended breaks.

worldcompletion

The reward are two “Gifts of Exploration”, which allow me to craft Legendary weapons. Or would, if I had even remotely enough materials for it, or a precursor. (I did sell off Howl.)

wc-gifts

Doing this was actually a lot of fun. Some areas are pretty annoying – Orr, I am looking at you – but was actually quite satisfying to finally get it completed.

So, what’s next? I guess I really should complete the storyline as well. That, though, is a true exercise in patience.

Skyrim: Paid Mods on Steam

As you are probably aware – especially if you are a Skyrim player – Valve has dumped a big one on us. Mod authors are now able to menotize their mods for Skyrim, through the Steam Workshop.

At first glance, this might not seem like a big deal. Why shouldn’t a mod author receive some compensation for their time and effort?

That in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but there are so many other problems with this plan that turns what, at best, could perhaps be called a good intention (it’s not, as you will see) into a complete disaster.

  • It’s bait-and-switch: Mods were free, and were expected to be free, and in the case of Skyrim have been free for four years. Changing this now feels wrong, especially for the mods that already in use by people.
  • Future Dangers: Even if it’s voluntary now, there is nothing but a simple statement to the licensing terms missing from making mod payments mandatory. This will happen, sooner or later, have no doubts about it.
  • Copyright infringement and scams: Money is a great incentive for scammers. There are already cases of copyright infringement, and reports of people trying to scam others with useless mods, or uploading other people’s work.
  • It’s divisive: Just check the comments on Steam or Reddit. Did we really need another reason for a flame war? Well, we got one.
  • Important mods can abuse their power: SkyUI, for example, is an essential mod for Skyrim and needed by many other mods. It used to be free. It will require payment in the future. This essentially breaks the social contract that existed between the SkyUI authors and everybody else.
  • It destroys trust and cooperation: Suddenly, mod authors aren’t a community anymore – they are competitors. Already we are seeing people who disallow others to use their resources, because they feel strongly about the money-making scheme now afoot. Authors of commercial mods are incentivized not to help others, even authors of free mods, because doing so lowers their revenue potential.
  • Pricing is way off: The base game used to cost 60 Euro, and is now down to 30 Euro (for the legendary edition). The 17-mod “debut pack” has a list price of circa 37 Euro. This feels out of whack. For my install base, I’d have to estimate 100+ Euro additional cost just for the mods. No, really, this is way too much.
  • Worst of all – IT DOES NOT BENEFIT THE MOD AUTHORS: Valve tries to sell this as “supporting the mod authors”, while in truth the author gets only 25% of the revenue. Valve pockets 30%, and while you could argue they need to pay for infrastructure and administrative overhead, Bethesda grabs 45% of the revenue. Bethesda does nothing for that money. Skyrim is not even supported anymore.

There is some resistance forming – people who claim this will deter them from buying Fallout 4 or the next Elder Scrolls game, some who change their Skyrim review on Steam to negative. Some mod authors actively state that they will provide their mods free, forever. Some even hide their mods on the Steam Workshop in protest.

As for me, there is not much I can do. I can post about it, and raise awareness (to all of my two readers, haha). I will not buy another Bethesda game. I will continue my Skyrim series, but that’s out of respect for the three people who watch it. I will have to rethink my relationship with Valve/Steam – I am a fairly good customer, and I need to reduce this in the future, but there is pretty much no way for me to stop using Steam altogether unless I want to kiss the investment I made in it goodbye. (There is a lesson in DRM here, as well, and about platform lock-in.)

It’s a sad, bleak day.

Mountain Bay Map

I bought Cities:Skylines and am loving it. So much that it is the first game since Neverwinter Nights that I have considered creating content for. Here’s a quick early attempt, a map based on Morro Bay area:

cities-mountainbay-map
Mountain Bay Map Screenshot

You can subscribe to it (download it) via the Mountain Bay Steam Workshop Page. Constructive feedback is always appreciated, especially since this is my first map for Cities.

 

Well, look at this. Firaxis anounced Sid Meiers Starships.

From thee sound of it, it will be a Master of Orion remake/Generic Space 4X game set in the Civilization: Beyond Earth universe.  Color me intrigued; there are no current, good, space 4X games I am aware of. I still play Sins of a Solar Empire to scratch that itch, and as much as I like it, it has some big flaws (it also makes for lousy, lousy video I think).

The only problem I see is that it is also listed as an iOS title – I hope this doesn’t indicate compromises to design, functionality, and controls imposed by tablet platforms. That’d be a shame.

 

 

I know I haven’t shown this website a lot of love, but I’d like to change that and turn it into something that is actually useful instead of a simple aggregator for YouTube links. You may have noticed an increase in other types of posts, and a change of format introduced with the Skyrim posts.

Right now, I am reworking the “Games” Menu. Instead of linking to the (messy) WordPress archives, each game links to a page that includes the playlist as well as any comments or other links I deem useful. For example, I will keep a list of posts on the Skyrim page because each post for Skyrim contains some additional comments that can’t be found on the YouTube page directly.

I’ll also be adding “Featured images” for every (Game-related) post. Just to break things up a bit. (I probably won’t do this retroactively for every post.)

Finally, I’d like videos to show up differently from blog posts – haven’t got a good clue how to do this just yet 🙂

Small steps, but I don’t want this site to be a mere dumping ground for links to YouTube. As always, if you have any suggestions – let me know!

Let’s Play Skyrim: Mods Used

Here’s a list of all mods I am using for my Let’s Play Skyrim series, plus any extra comments on installation I might have – this is not a replacement for reading each mod’s documentation!

Note that while I own the game on Steam, I don’t use the Workshop at all – I download everything off of Nexus Mods using the Mod Organizer.

I own all Skyrim DLC and have the free High Resolution DLC installed as well.

I don’t use any ENB except for the speedboost ENB. And, just in case: The list below is not my load order, obviously…

 

Unofficial Skyrim Patches.

These are basically required for anybody who plays Skyrim on a PC. Download and install the ones you need based on the DLC you own:

SKSE

The SKSE is required by SkyUI and many other mods and is, for all intents and purposes, mandatory.

I do like OneTweak because I am a big fan of fullscreen window mode for games.

User Interface

Gameplay

In addition, I am using these “survival” mods:

See also “Real Shelter”, under Beautification.

Crafting

Weather

Landscape

Followers

  • Follower Trap Safety –This is a mod I actually don’t “like” to use; however, it’s hard to impossible to micro-manage followers and so I decided to include this mod.

Monsters and NPCs

Magic

Beautification

Equipment

I didn’t want to overload my game, but a few nice-looking weapons and armor never hurt anybody (except, hopefully, my enemies). Plus, cloaks should help with the harsh climate.

I did also install these two book mods:

Additional Content

Audio

 And that’s it…

…but I guess the list of mods will change as I play…