Yesterday I picked up, after watching a video from Scott Manley, The Long Dark. This is an Early Access game on Steam, available for £14.99 (or $19.99), with the expectation that the price will rise as the game continues to be developed (in a similar fashion to Kerbal Space Program). You are a pilot whose plane has come down in the northern Canadian wilderness following an unexplained geomagnetical storm, and you have just one goal: survival.

Survival games are not uncommon, but this game interests me in a way those other generally have not for a quite simple reason – no zombies. ūüôā The main opponent in The Long Dark is the weather and generally inhospitable environment, aided and abetted by a somewhat violent wolf population. In my three playthroughs thus far I have never really gotten beyond the scavenger stage of the game – roaming around trying to find useful things. I am also now mostly sticking away from finding out more about the game, finding fun instead in just trying things out.

It must be remembered that this is still an alpha game, its feature set is very incomplete. You will sometimes encounter things in the game which are not yet implemented (for example, in the main survival menu there is an option to build a snow shelter, which you cannot do so currently as it is not been done). Likewise there are bugs, but you have to take the rough with the smooth. Likewise currently you can only play sandbox on one map, but there are boxes promising a Story mode and another map. I know some people do not like the Early Access game model, but I have found it well implemented well in Kerbal, and my first impression in this is very positive.

I find the graphics to fit very well with the atmosphere. Not the most realistic graphics, but it works very well to enhance the feeling of being cold. Sometimes crystal clear realism just isn’t what one desires in a game’s graphics, and here I think they art-choice is inspired. The atmosphere is aided by the voiceovers, which I have found to be very effective. Nothing over the top, just right to add that extra flavour.

I can see how some people will also not like this game at all. It certainly has the capacity to be cruel in terms of luck. With limited save opportunities, and as far as I can tell none after you die, some people are going to get frustrated. Essentially, if you don’t like permadeath don’t play. That said I usually am not a big fan of permadeath, but in this game I find it works – perhaps because it is single player.

So far the longest I have managed to survive is just over a single day. I am steadily working out where everything is on the map, and the process of exploration is being really diverting.¬†I feel like I am only scratching the surface. Personally I think I am going to get my money’s worth out of this game.

Well the 9.3 update of World of Tanks is coming out on the EU cluster tomorrow, and there is the usual fairly hefty set of patch notes. What follows are just a few comments of things that most matter to me, and should be treated as an exhaustive overview.

The first and most obviously selling point of the patch is the introduction of a slew of new light tanks, which can really be seen as tidying up matters in the tech tree from previous updates. Every since the Chinese joined the French in having a Tier VIII light tanks it felt only a matter of time before the other major nations were given a similar line. Now Germany, Russia, and the USA all get a complete light tank line ending in Tier VIII. For the USA this also means the overhaul of the last of the trio of old Tier V lights, the Chaffee. I am not going to be playing any of these myself any time soon, but I will find it interesting to see them in the battlefield.

Whilst the light tanks are the headline change, the one that is probably going to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of players is the much anticipated change to the dreaded KV-1S. I think the split in the new Tier V KV-1S and Tier VI KV-85 is very interesting. Having watched a number of reviews it looks like both are going to be very interesting and viable vehicles. I would have loved to have gotten the new KV-1S for free, as they have done in the past (with the VK3001H/VK3002M for example), but c’est la view. I will be purchasing the new KV-1S when I can, and I am thinking of using the 100mm on the KV-85 with the rate of fire nerf to the 122mm. Overall I am muchly looking forward to this change, and I am hoping it will introduce a bit more variety to the Tier VI heavy landscape. In particular I think this is likely going to be a boost for the M6 and T-150, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of nerfing OP tanks, back in the depths of Tier II the T18 is also getting a nerf. This is long-deserved because I would struggle to name a vehicle more overpowered Tier on Tier than that little beastie. The Hellcat is also getting a nerf, but from the looks of things it will still be a very dangerous vehicle in the right hands. The FV304 is also getting the nerf-bat, and I think the most important element of this is the rate of fire being reduced slightly. This should make it harder to keep an enemy perma-tracked, which always used to be the most annoying element of coming up against them.

Another change I am looking forward to, as someone who plays a lot of German tanks, is this new concept of separating transmission from engine, and thereby cutting down on the number of fires. This is an indirect buff to a number of vehicles, which I think should help level the battlefield somewhat. It may leave certain vehicles a little OP (E75 I am looking at you), and if so I am sure the nerfbat will come down hard in due course.

Two other changes which will have a widespread impact is the new version of Murovanka. Personally I have always quite enjoyed Murovanka, so I didn’t actually feel a change was necessary. Nevertheless it will be fun to have a new dynamic on the map, and I will be interested as ever to see how long it takes new meta to evolve. The other development is the new hangar interface. I feel like this is probably overdue for some further work, and it looks reasonable from what I have seen, but will have to withhold judgement until I am using it on a daily basis.

There are introducing a bunch of easily obtained battle awards. I find this quite a fun addition, and generally a good thing. It feels like it will enable “intermediate” accomplishments to be marked and noted, and thereby help cater for the majority of the WoT playerbase for whom a Battle Honour is a relatively rare event.

A more subtle change to game mechanics is that ricochets will now have the potential to do damage to other tanks. This could make choke-points very interesting indeed, and means standing behind a side-scraping behemoth may be a dangerous place to be :). Overall I like this change – though I believe it will naturally favour better players at the expense of less good players (like shooting through soft cover has), I also believe it is subtle enough not to be a problem.

The final change I am going to single out is penalties for afk players and players who leave the battle early. I think this is a great change, and fully support it. Whilst occasionally I myself go afk if there is a need to look after my daughter, from everything I have read I hardly get the impression one game here or there is going to be a problem. Whilst I expect there will be afk players it is nice to see that action is being taken against them. It is a shame that they haven’t managed to get the automatic process on suiciders worked out, but better delay that rather than catch people incorrectly. After all, in certain places of some maps it is perilously easy to end up in the drink (mutters Windstorm under my breath).

There are of course plenty of other changes, but these I think are the mains ones for me right now.

 

As a somewhat delayed birthday present to myself last month I got the Jagdtiger 8.8cm, the Tier VIII premium German tank destroyer, whilst it was on special offer. Whilst I already have a Tier VIII premium Рthe KV-5 РI have been finding it a little less enjoyable to play. I think probably because it was my only Tier VIII premium meant I have ended up getting a bit of burn-out with it, which is a shame since I have had some great games in that tank. Anyways, the JT88 has always been on my list of premiums to acquire, so I was very much excited to get it.

So far I have played just over 50 games in it, desperately earning credits, and my win rate is pretty much in live with my overall win rate. Mostly I have been enjoying myself. I have always heard that this was a very good credit earner – even for a Tier VIII premium – and my limited experience very much backs that up.

The thing I like least about the tank is simply its general mobility. This is no real surprise, it is a rather large and unwieldy beast. I am very much going to have to get better at ensuring I don’t get caught out with some annoying scout behind me. It has¬†also lead to a few fast paced games when I have rather been left behind by the action, and the slow speed also makes it hard to fully impact¬†a battlefield in some matches. That, of course, is just the nature of the beast, and probably good practice for when I eventually get into such speedy behemoths as the T95 (probably¬†not until 2016!).

Otherwise I really find little else to dislike. The front is reasonably bouncy, and whilst the sides and rear are generally quite weak there are not impossibly so. The gun does have low pen, but its rate of fire is insane and very much allows one just to pepper a target to death. It does mean I am going to have to really learn when I need to use premium ammo, something I am working on¬†– and also when premium ammo will not be all that useful and so to concentrate on tracking and the like. The alpha isn’t brilliant, but is adequate when compared to the rate of fire. It does mean exposure, but if positioned right this does have the frontal armour to risk that exposure. If positioned right. Another thing to work on, since my positioning on certain maps is, shall we say, less than intelligent.

The crew I am currently using on the JT88 is a mixed one. Half of it is my old Marder II crew, steadily working on their 4th crew skill. The remaining three crew members I have taken from my Ferdinand, which are now on their second crew skill.

However, I bought the tank mostly for its earning potential, and there I am very happy. Even on my poorest games I am managing to get 20k profit, average earning is between 35k and 70k, depending on a victory or loss. I have had some killer games though, making a profit of over 90k on a loss and 120k on a win. Hopefully I will get more of those as things go.

When it comes to the EU series of games I have always found Russia to be quite entrancing. One of my most memorable games of EU2 was a Muscowy/Russian game, and after having a few trial starts as Portugal I opted for Muscowy/Russia for me first full play-through of EU4. It has indeed proven to be a fun game, containing some interesting elements of diplomacy, colonisation, and conquest – lots of conquest. It is now 1697, and the mighty Russian Empire stretches all the way from Lithuania and Moldova in the West to the Pacific in the East. Australia and Alaska both are being colonised, as are various other Pacific islands (including Taiwan). Manchuria has mostly been secured, and in Asia the Russian Bear is encroaching into Asia Minor, the Middle East, and Persia. Also Ukraine still exists as a sort of client-state, the result of a mis-understanding of EU4 game mechanics. In all honesty this is perhaps less impressive than it sounds, though there have been a couple of close moments along the way.

eu4_2

For the last fifty plus years however I have had no serious rival on my borders. Early on the Timurids (the now somewhat fragmented crimson state to the south) were a significant threat, but between myself, the Mamluks, Delhi, and internal rebellions they are a shadow of their former self. The Mamluks and I have been fighting on and off since the early 1500s, but their real rise to prominence itself early occurred in the last 50-70 years, and by the time we were sharing borders the Russian bear had become bloated enough to even somewhat disregard their now formidable strength. One way this can be seen is that their northern border used to be the Caucuses Mountains, whereas now Damascus is a border city. Lacking immediate rivals game mechanics have forced me to look farther afield to the old reliable enemy:France.

In the EU series of games France has always had a tendency, though not a certainty, to live up to its historical potential. In this game that is certainly true. It is the most dominant state in Western Europe, successfully dismembering any other continental state that became a threat. In the New World its Colonies cover the northern half of South America, and a goodly portion of North America too. Then they is their pernicious influence in Africa, and just recently they have seized a province in India. Perhaps it was inevitable, but there came a time when I could no longer select any neighbours as Rivals, but I could select France.

However, for the first fifty or so years of our Rivalry nothing much happened. We shared no borders, and no interests. I had basically stopped military endeavours in Europe proper against other Christian states, and they were fully diverted in various American adventures and sundry Western European wars. I was concentrating on southward expansion against the Islamic and Mongolion states – Crimea (now finally annexed), the Ottomans, the Timurids, the Oirat, and the Mamluks. In time all of those nations formed a Coalition against me, despite the Mamluks and the Timurids spending at least as much time fighting each other as me. Thus we pursued our differing expansions until, around 1670, I suddenly realised the diplomatic landscape had shifted: France and The Mamluks had become military allies.

This presented me with a practical problem: France is my only serious foe in land warfare. As Russia I have one tremendous advantage of almost everyone, and that is manpower. As someone is reputed to have said, quantity has a quality all of its own. However, the one other nation that also has a truly serious pool of manpower is France. It is not as massive as mine, indeed it is a bit under half of mine, but then France also has a significant other advantage terms of the quality of their army that to some of the Ideas they have selected, and their own National Ideas. To be fair it could be worse – there is one idea group they have not selected that I feared they would, but even so they have the idea advantage. Also as a Western nation they have a technological advantage in their units as well, one which will only become more prevalent over time (I am so large that Westernisation is something I am likely to avoid as it would be an excessively painful process).

Thus I went about the time-honoured route to deal with France – I sought out allies, the most obvious one being England. England has struggled a little this game, but it is still a respectable power with a significant colonial Empire. Whilst not the match of France, it can prove a significant distraction, and sometimes is able to hold its own. Of course, the thing with allies is sometimes they feel emboldened by alliances – and so England decided to continue its attempted takeover of Scotland. This war started in about 1690, and I honoured the call to arms, expecting nothing much to happen, except perhaps a naval landing up north. To my credit I did try to pressure on of France’s allies in the Baltic – but my fleet proved insufficient. It was with some surprise therefore I realised that France had managed to get the necessary access treaties to march a 45k army across Europe and end up on my borders.

There was no real surprise as to the outcome – I ensured I had a nearly 2:1 advantage in men in the battle, and after two engagements the French army was destroyed. This army’s destruction added significantly to our warscore, and helped the war result in victory. Meanwhile it marks the first time I have faced the French. I imagine it will be the first of many. Round one is over, an almost incidental affair in which ultimately on a single province changed hands. More significant confrontations will almost certainly occur in the remaining 120 years or so of gametime.

And this is why I love the Paradox series so much. This rivalry between myself and France began as an almost theoretical thing, an artefact of game mechanics. Over the course of fifty or so years it has become something different, something more real, something that is actively shaping the game and influencing my decisions. I am very much looking forward to the eighteenth century.

So, one thing I have done in the last few weeks is I have finally succumbed to Minecraft. As if I had any spare time. I can’t say exactly why I ended up purchasing the game, other than I had some money on the allowance I give myself for entertainment related activities, and the price seemed a little cheaper than it had been in the past (perhaps due to currency fluctuations). I launched the game, and died pretty much straight away ūüôā

After doing some very, very cursory reading I started a new game, and so far on this game I have not died. I have survived several nights, I have a rudimentary base (really just a simple, one-storey stone building), and have done some basic crafting. I have also done some quite enthusiastic mining. To begin with I just delved in a downward, more or less in a sort of spiral fashion. I rather got excited at my first discovery of coal, and the iron. At length I managed to get right to that impassable layer at the bottom, and in my mine I have now started some galleries, and have found redstone and a very little gold. So far no diamonds, emeralds, or other goodies, though I imagine they will come in time.

I think I am going to stop mining for a while though to concentrate on some above-ground work. The area I am spawned in looks to be where three biomes meet. One of these is obviously desert, the other looks like a swamp/marsh thing, and the other is hills – the spawn itself being in the latter. I have purposefully avoided so far looking up too much information on the biomes, wanting to try and explore. This it not to say that I have not looked certain stuff up, but my searches are tending to my directed to immediate practical problems. Anyway, there are a lot of trees around my initial base, which frankly are in the way. I have some vague idea of building a very tall tower – really just because. For that though I need room. I also want to try doing some farming, both crop and livestock. I have tried doing a basic wheat field, but so far not much success. Perhaps – probably even – I am doing it wrong.

Still, with only a relatively short time playing the game I can very much see the attraction. Microsoft – don’t much it up!

Well, it has proven to be very difficult to get back into blogging following the holiday. To be fair, it has also proven to difficult to get back to a few other activities as well. The return to work was swiftly following by some bugs (probably caught on the flight) and then quite a few family engagements and stuff, meaning I have kept shoving to one side getting back to both blogging and AAR writing. I have decided to return to blogging first as it is somewhat quicker and easier to do.

When I was on holiday I spent some time trying to work out what my short and medium term goals were going to be in the remainder of the year. I had just about settled on what they should be on my mind, when I started to read about the possibility that those who owned the current Tier X British medium, the FV4202, would get to keep it in its Tier VIII premium incarnation when it was swapped out in its Tier X role with another tank. There is precedent for this, because Wargaming did something similar shortly after I started playing with the T34. On the other, it could all just be false information. So I thought it about for a few more days, and came up with the following three scenarios.

  1. The free switch takes place, and I have managed to get the FV4202. I end up with a new Tier VIII premium, and my second Tier X tank.
  2. The free switch does not take place, but I have managed to get the FV4202. I end with my second Tier X tank.
  3. I do not manage to unlock and acquire the FV4202 before the switch, so regardless of whether the Tier VIII is free, I do not get it. Realistically I have probably unlocked another Tier VIII tank, and possibly a Tier IX tank.

So I looked at those scenarios, and I asked myself a question – do I lose out in any of those three situations? Obviously in the first scenario the answer is no – I clearly end up ahead. Turning to the second scenario – I have been speaking of wishing to unlock a second Tier X for quite a few months now, and in this scenario I would have had the impetus to do so, and it would be a Tier X rather different from my current IS-4. Once again, I think I can count that scenario as an ultimate win.

Now what about the third scenario – and this was a very likely scenario. Two things could cause me not to get be in a position to get the FV4202. The first was lack of time. At that moment in time I was still on a partially researched Cromwell. I worked out I had something in excess of 850k experience to go, unlocking the line and various modules. I would also need to amass something like 12-13 million credits. Given it was pure supposition when this change was meant to take place – I was betting early-mid December (before Christmas) I thought the timing was going to be tight, but possible, if I devoted most of my gaming time to this.

Which leads me to the second reason – I know myself well enough to know I could get very bored of just concentrating on the same tank again and again. I made it plain to myself that if I felt I was suffering too much from the grind, I would stop. With that self-made promise, I decided I had nothing to lose. With a healthy sense of scepticism, of course, since I could very well be heading to scenario 2.

That was about a month or so ago – so things have moved on a little. Firstly I have managed to finish the Cromwell, and the Comet, and am now on the Centurion. I free xp’d the gun and tracks on the Centurion following reading about, and have now also unlocked the turret. I still have the gun (which I will hopefully manage tonight) and the top engine and radio before I begin the long grind to Tier¬†IX. Overall I have had¬†quite a bit of fun so far with the grind, so there is another “win” so far, since fun¬†is, after all, the ultimate point of playing.

As for the likelihood of actually getting a “free” FV4202, we don’t actually know a great deal more than we did before¬†either. About the only thing that is becoming plain is that the switch date¬†is increasingly looking likely to be pushed back into 2015. I am still feeling fairly relaxed about¬†whether or¬†not I actually do end up with a Tier VIII premium at the end of¬†all this – the wonderful¬†result of realistic expectations. I am starting to think though that I am going to stretch for the¬†FV4202¬†regardless however, if only just to get that¬†second Tier X tank. However, given the pressure of the timing appears to be slacking off somewhat, I have going to allow myself¬†time to frolic around in some other tanks.

In particular I would like to advance the Japanese and Chinese tank lines a little bit, so I can unlock the Chi-To and IS-2 respectively, but these are ultimately still secondary goals. I also wish to keep plugging away at the Panther II, IS-3, and other Tier VIII lines. Realistically though I am unlikely to be purchasing many other tanks other than what is absolutely necessary, as those credits still have to come from somewhere!

So, it has taken me a lot longer to write this post than I expected. My principle excuse is that I have been taking advantage of this wonderful summer we have been experiencing in the UK. A secondary excuse would be I have been a bit wrapped up in some of my other gaming as well, but to be honest a lot of the time I used to spend writing (lunch-breaks at work, for example) I have been spending outside.

Anyway, where do I stand with World of Tanks at the moment. I am starting to play a little more regularly, having played very little for quite some time. Looking at my current desires in gaming, it is clear I am going to be playing somewhat less World of Tanks than I have been for quite some time. This is principally to make room for Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Kerbal Space Program, and EVE Online. Given I am going to have less time playing the game, I think it behoves me to take a good long look at what I would like to achieve in the game in the short and medium term, but also take a quick round-up of where I am.

To aid in that, a few stats, as of writing.

Games played: 9009
Win rate: 56.64%
Efficiency: 1209
WN7: 1430
WN8: 1524
Battles Survived: 30.34%
Kills/Death: 1.71
Damage Ratio: 1.23

The win rate has slowly been creeping up for months, but most of the other indicators have been pretty flat for a while. I am sometimes finding it frustrating to play, when I find myself doing things I know are probably stupid, do them anyway, and then get it demonstrated to me they are stupid. My usual weakness is what it has almost always been, over-aggressiveness. This remains the one key area of my game I have to work on. I feel if I could manage to boost my survivability up a couple of percentage points, everything else would follow. That remains the long-term goal.

However, improving in the game is not much of a goal – I am sure pretty much everyone shares that goal. No, I want and need some goals rather closer to the here and now.

Tiger II

The first of these goals is, in fact, incredibly easy: get the Tiger II. This has really three parts. Firstly there is affording the tank itself. Then there is affording the equipment I would like to place on the tank. Finally, there is getting¬†a crew for the tank. The first two are really just all about credits. I am going to wait for the tank and equipment to be on discount to acquire it if I can, though I won’t wait forever. This means that the purchase price of the Tiger II will became my credit floor – once I have amassed that many. I currently have just under 1.9 million credits, and the Tiger II at full price costs 2.45 million. For equipment I would probably go for rammer and vents, and then think about v-stabs. Another 1.7 million at full price, but discounts for equipment are semi-frequent.

The crew is more interesting. The crew I am currently intending for the Tiger II is currently in my VK3601H, and currently stands at 86% on their first crew skill (Commander with Mentor, the rest with Repairs). My current thinking is to get them trained up sufficiently so the Commander can retrain to Sixth Sense and the Driver to Preventative Maintenance, and both have Repair back up in the 50-60% range, before retraining the entire crew over into the Tiger II. To this aim I am playing the VK3601H very regularly, and will continue to do so. It is a fairly enjoyable tank to play, if not entirely up to the class of the KV-1S.

Tier X – to grind or not to grind?

This has proven to be a trickier decision, but I have eventually decided to continue currently with at least one of my Tier X grinds, in particular the Panther II. I am certainly not abandoning my other aspirations (the T110E5 line, IS-7 line, and Conqueror Gun Carriage line), but they are definitely taking second place. Indeed I hope to play my entire stable of Tier VIII tanks semi-regularly, as they are the ones at the level where I will find the greatest challenge. I do not see myself often playing the ST-I or IS-4 at the moment though, really only when platooned. This is simply due to the pressure of time.

Japanese Tanks

I now have both Japanese light and medium sub-lines to Tier III. I would very much like to get thorugh to Tier IV and VI respectively, sooner rather than later. Therefore these tanks are currently going to be my lower-tier tanks of choice. However, I have decided to make serious efforts to get the Ace Tanker badge with both before I move on.

Tier V/VI

Generally speaking I have a load of Tier V and VI tanks about, some of which I have not played, and some of which I have partially done. I would like to get as many lines to Tier VI as I reasonably can in the coming months. This is not an immediate priority – training the Tiger II crew – but it is something to start looking at in more detail once that grind is done. That said, it is going to be easy to do some Tier VI grinding alongside the VK3601H.

Crew Training

There is a natural movement here, as I have several crews currently on Tier V and VI tanks I would also like to be trained up to use on higher-tier tanks. In particular my crew currently on the KV-1S is due to go onto the IS-8 as and when I get that. That crew is currently in the high-70% range on its first crew skill. I also have a crew in the low-90% on the VK3002M, which I am thinking of using in the VK3002D or E-50 Рdepending if I decide to keep my Panther II active or not. Finally I particular I want to use the Stug IIIG to train up a TD crew for eventual use in probably the Jagdpanther II, or possibly the Jagdtiger. Both are a long way off however, as this crew is currently not even 100% in their main qualification.

Overall

Where do I stand? Well, in practical terms this means prioritising the VK3601H and Panther II, then the Japanese tanks, and then other grinds. Naturally some of this will depend with whom I might be platooning with. If they need to play a bunch of Tier VII games I am not going to get in the way – it just means I will be playing other tanks.

 

Lots of really cool things have happened to me in World of Tanks, but two in particular stand out because of how they link to an earlier period of my gaming and internet life. The first occurred on a random battle on Steppes, when someone (I forget whether on my team or the opposing team) suddenly shouted out to me, asking if I were the same person as on the Paradox Interactive forums. Also, when I joined QSF-X one of the people I first started to platoon with asked me the same question. I must admit to a certain warm glow that I was recognised – internet non-so famous! – because for a time I put my heart into a certain portion of the Paradox Forums, in particular the AAR forums.

The Paradox AAR forums are quite unlike anything I have ever discovered elsewhere on the internets, as a community, and has a place to recount the games we have played in a vast variation of styles. Some AARs are essentially full-length novels, whilst others are the barest bones of gameplay – a few screenshots with sparse accompanying text, and everything in between. I garnered a certain reputation there by being a very prolific commentator, to the extent my profile records me having made over 17,000 thousand posts, most of which were made between 2003 and 2008.

When I became ill, I never had the energy to re-engage with the forums as I wished to, so eventually I formally stepped back, and for a few years hardly visited. Along the way I played a lot of EVE Online, fell in love, married, became a father, and amassed nearly 9k games in World of Tanks. However, there was been something calling me back for some months now. The sound was subtle to begin with Рreally just a desire to once again descent into a Paradox game Рin this case Crusader Kings 2.

The original Crusader Kings was always a favourite of mine, despite its flaws, because it was so easy to construct stories from the interplay between the characters. Crusader Kings 2 is a very worthy sequal, being deeper and richer in all particulars. The various DLCs have only added to the depth of the game. I determined I was going to rate for Rajas of India before diving in properly, which I did. I started a game, and now I am thoroughly invested.

My main game at the moment is as Ireland. I began as the Earl of Dublin, and went from there. Part-way along I realised that the reign of one of my characters was so full of incident that it was sure to be remembered, and the spark of an AAR began. Originally I was going to write something based from the point of view of his immediate heir, showing the troubles of living in the shadow of a great ruler. Indeed I stopped playing for almost two weeks, thinking about things, but then I changed my mind. Rather than dilute matters by looking at the heir, I decided to write a series of short entries about the life of this one ruler, in a variety of styles.

Along with starting to write though, I also began to read other AARs once more. Some of these are just pure fun, others have useful gameplay tips, and some are just very good stories (some are also all three). Along with the reading, comes the commentary, and with a wry smile I noticed my post count has started to tick upward once again. I am taking things slower right now, not “pigging out” like I sometimes used to do on AARs. Still I am following a reasonable number of currently active AARs, and I am sure that will increase as time goes by.

Of course, one reason to read – and comment – is that it is only fair to read and comment in others’ work if you wish people to read and comment in your own. And touchingly, I find myself well-remembered on the forums, even by some folks who were not members when I mostly left. Which is quite weird, actually, to think that in this one community I have a certain amount of e-fame. It is good to be back and active in that community though, and I truly hope to manage to be so for another good long stint.

The only game I am hoping to get on the Steam Summer Sale is indeed EU4. HoI4 will probably be in my Christmas list at this rate. Meanwhile I am very much enjoying playing Crusader Kings 2 (including now a co-op game with a friend of mine once/week).

The AAR is Stories of King Sean. If the posting here is a little less, well, that project will be partially the reason why.

Well, that hiatus has proven to be a lot longer than expected.

For family-related reasons for most of the last month I have been sticking generally clear of online games, and also just had a lot less time generally. This period is now coming to a close (I hope!), so with any luck some sort of blogging will occur soon. However, things are not quite settled yet, and my gaming time schedule may be somewhat reduced.

Cross fingers, though. Cross fingers.

I have decided to take something of a hiatus from World of Tanks.

This is primarily because at the moment I am just too tired. My daughter is going through a phase of rather disrupted sleep, and for various reasons I pull the night-time duty. Naturally my daughter is now also waking up relatively early (though generally very happily). Given I sometimes have difficulty getting to sleep at the best of times, this has now meant a relatively sleep deprived couple of weeks, and it is definitely showing when I try to play the game. My ability to notice what is going on in the match, and my ability to make good decisions, are both compromised, which altogether means I am just not having as much fun as I usually would.

So, a break for a couple of weeks to try to refresh and then reset. I won’t say I won’t log in at all, just giving myself an extended freedom not to even if I am feeling “okay”.

This naturally means I will likely playing rather more EVE. What I am doing in EVE generally doesn’t require fast reflexes or quick decision-making. Might also explore some other games as well.